3AM

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He looked at the clock next to him and saw that the blue numbers hadn’t changed, it was still a few minutes to three in the morning. He tried shutting his eyes, the urge to sleep so over welling but his eyes won’t move, as if they were glued open. There was just nothing he could do but wait out another night.

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Dear Diary #41

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Dear Diary,

It’s the first day of a new year and everything has gone wrong all ready! This morning there was another leak in the caravan and the rain was coming down so hard there wasn’t much we could do. We just put another pan down and spent another day bailing water out of the caravan.

I’ve been huddled up in the bed, coughing my head off and sneezing for hours. I can’t get warm and I’m just so fed up. Phone signal is terrible and I don’t think they’ve heard of the internet on this stretch of coastline. I’m too tried and frustrated to read or focus on anything else. I’ve been napping then watching the rain and the wind.

Noah went out for a walk somewhere in the afternoon. He’s sick of my moaning about leaving and returning home. He thinks it’s great out here, escaping from everyone else and the madness of New Year celebrations. Really he’s the mad one! This barren campsite in the middle of nowhere isn’t anyone’s idea of ‘escaping’, no matter how much money we saved!

When he came back, soaked through and in need of new clothes and warmth, he tried to take a shower. There was no hot water! He was muttering about for ages and then give up saying this part of something had broken and he couldn’t fix it. He did though changed his clothes and make a pot of tea.

We sat in silence drinking. The rain falling so loud it was like being inside a drum. I swear I heard rumbles of thunder too. Having run out of energy to argue, he sat at the table reading and I carried on my longings out of the window. All I could think about was being home, dry and warm, tucked up in bed and knowing I wasn’t in this horrid caravan anymore!

Then Noah declared he was going to cook us some food. From the bed, I give him simple instructions and all was going well until I noticed the smoke trickling out of the oven! A lick of flame quickly followed and I just knew that all was lost.

To his credit, Noah jumped into action and some of the food was saved but the oven wasn’t. It was a good job the whole caravan didn’t set a lit! I felt a bit warmer afterwards but the smoke got too much and we had to open all the windows and go to stand in the awning.

I had coughing fit after coughing fit. Nothing seemed to stop it. Finally, half collapsed on a folding chair, I was able to get back together again. I wanted to give Noah, a piece of my mind, but I didn’t have the energy for that.

Moving back in, the caravan still smelt smokey but the air was cleaner. Noah tidied up and I got ready for bed as best I could. Then we both started settling down. The rain is still pouring and dripping through the cracks. Noah has started coughing badly too and though he blames it on the smoke, he’s coming down with the flu too.

Perhaps, in the morning I could try again to change his mind and we can go home I day early. Oh, to be in my nice bed again and not have to worry about anything! That really isn’t too much to ask for is it?

The Last Letter

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Dear Lucy,

The sickness is growing, I can feel it and if you’ve found this letter it means the time has finally come. I’m now too sick to sick to talk to you. I’ve gone to my bedroom and will die in my bed. Don’t bother coming to see me, there’s no point. My life has been so empty from the beginning that it only seems fitting that I should die alone now.

I’m trusting everything to you. Underneath this letter is the envelope containing my will. Only you and I know about how I live and that what people say about me isn’t true. I want you to up hold that imagine of me though; the quiet, yet social writer and artist. Who attend a different party or grand opening or some other important event every evening. Who’s house was always full with friends and he slept with different women each night. The too kind, mysterious, rich young man I wish I’d been in my youth.

Please carry on writing my ideas and books for me. You were always so good with new technology. I made it so in my will that you were able to write under my pseudonym, that way you can carry on perfecting your craft. You’ll make a great writer someday and finally be able to step out of my shadow.

I’m sorry to have to leave you like this. You have been like the wife and daughter, I daydreamed about having. I feel I should give you more but you already have my name and career in your hands, so what else can there be?

Good luck.

Glade #writephoto

As we tromped through the Japanese ‘suicide’ forest, I tried to remember what number this activity had been at on Robin’s bucket list. Somewhere around the middle maybe?

Scrambling over a large tree root, I pressed my hand into the mossy trunk of a tree and carried on following our Japanese guide. He was wearing a yellow high visible jacket and blue waterproof trousers. Though there was a lot to take in but my eyes were mostly on the ground. Also, I didn’t want to step on any more rotting clothes and human bones.

I looked back at Robin walking at the tail end of our small group with his wife, Tia, who he was talking too. It was hard to believe the doctors had given him only a year to now live. Robin seemed so full of life and excitement, a newly married twenty-six year old with everything to live for.

The loud snapping of branches brought my head up. Our guide was breaking his way through, cutting down things with his small sword. He said something quietly and I wasn’t sure what but then I saw it.

My hand flew to my mouth and I turned away, stumbling into Greg who’d been behind me.

‘Don’t look!’ I gasped out.

‘We’ll go around,’ the guide said in his American accented English.

‘Is it a body?’ Robin’s voice half-shouted.

Though I had my head buried in Greg’s shoulder and the imagine of the two bodies danging from the tree, I was aware of Robin pushing his way to the front to see.

‘Don’t go any further,’ the guide spoke.

‘I won’t,’ Robin answered.

I risked a peek over Greg’s shoulder and saw the others standing still, waiting. Robin was close to my right and he was looking up in wonder.

‘Let’s go,’ I uttered and took Greg’s hand so that we walked away together, ‘I wished we hadn’t come here.’

‘He’s facing death and he wants to see it first hand,’ Greg said and shrugged. Nothing seemed to bother him.

I stopped and took in a few deep breaths. I slide my hand from Greg’s and we waited for everyone to join us. Then we walked in silence until we reached a glade and set up camp for the night. I couldn’t sleep. That brief image haunted me but instead of those unknown faces, I saw Robin and Tia’s.

Tears soaked my cheeks and I broke into sobs. I couldn’t picture a world without Robin but it was one I’d soon be living in.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/10/05/thursday-photo-prompt-glade-writephoto/ with thanks).

Querulous #atozchallenge

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Querulous; complaining in a whining manner. 

Mum said I was just too much and this would be better all around. I didn’t believe her though but there wasn’t much I could do about it. I’d never travelled by myself before and it was a long way to go to Aunt Maggie’s. I’d be excited about going on the train, but now two hours later, I was bored.

The train was rattling loudly and clicking over the rails. Rain was hitting the window and the countryside was racing past in blurs of green and yellows. I couldn’t focus on counting sheep or other animals now. For awhile, I had watched the old woman, who I was sharing this carriage compartment with, but then she had fallen sleep.

She reminded me of my great grandmother because of all the wrinkles and old dress. The woman had been reading, then knitting a scarf, then eating lunch before she had gone to sleep. I was tried too, but feeling awake. Leaning against the window ledge, I watched the rain and began thinking.

I wasn’t being sent away because I was bad, mum had made sure to tell me that, it was because she wasn’t well. She needed someone to look after her and there was no one, so she had to go to hospital which meant there was no one to look after me. I couldn’t be by myself, not just because I’m only thirteen, but because I have autism.

Autism is a hard thing to explain to people, so I don’t talk about it often. Mum says, I’m not different, I’m normal, but I just have a special way of thinking and doing things. There are lots of other people like me and they have their own ways too, just like everyone else does. I wish I didn’t have it though. If I was normal, I could look after myself and mum better.

Instead, I’ve to go to Aunt Maggie’s though I’ve not seen her for years and she’s not really my aunt but a very old friend of mum’s. I don’t know how much she knows about me, but mum says she’s really nice and with it being half term, I won’t have to move schools. Hopefully, she’ll be nice and let me play games and read my comic books all the time.

I had been fighting going to Aunt Maggie’s for the last two weeks. Mum had slowly started suggesting it along side explain things to me. I told her I could stay in the hospital with her or someone else could look after me. What about my normal babysitter, Nancy? I really like her and she always makes me laugh. I’d have anyone, I plead; even Mrs. Cramps, the crazy lady who smells bad and lives at the end of the street.

No, mum had said, no one else can do it. Please don’t make this harder. Be a good boy.

I was a good boy, but I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay with her. I wanted to stay in my bed, in my room, in my house. I didn’t want to go to some place new. I don’t like new things, especially if it’s noisy. Mum knew that and still she had tried to make me excited about going. It hadn’t really worked even though the train had been a nice distraction.

That’s how she’d really got me on the way to Aunt Maggie’s and the bag fill of snacks, toys and comics. Now, I was getting close to arriving and meeting Aunt Maggie, my mind had changed again. No longer did the way mum had put things make a difference. I just knew it was going to be too hard. I couldn’t be good if I didn’t like it. That was just the way it worked.

I shut my eyes, listening to the rain falling and the old woman snoring. I’d try my best I decided then if I was really good, maybe I’d be able to go home faster.

Longing

Gray Scale Photography of Typewriter

He wanted to write, but his hands weren’t working.

Dear Diary #30

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Dear Diary,

I’m ill again. It’s another cold. How is it possible to get two colds within four weeks? I don’t know! I’m off work for another day and I’m all ready feeling bored. I can’t concentrate on reading my book as I’m coughing and sneezing too much and daytime TV shows are unexciting like a broken roller coaster. There’s nothing else I can do though!

My little furry dogs have taken to keeping my feet warm and nuzzling me after every cough or sneeze attack. So sweet of them but there’s nothing they can do to make me feel better. Just got to get over it again.

I wish I could stay on the sofa all day, dozing and mocking people on TV whilst collecting piles of soggy tissues and empty cup stacks on the table. But I have to attempted to go out later, have a shopping list of things to get and do. That parcel still needs collecting from last week, I’ve got letters to post, light bulbs and birthday cards to buy.

Why are so many people I know born in February? At least I don’t have to go and buy presents, did all that last night, thank God for the internet. Luckily, I’ve not been invited to any parties either. Hate going to them when I’m ill or just getting over things.

Maybe I should go look online and see if there’s any quick cures for colds. It’s doubtful but might be useful.

Metal City

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr

Noah lay in bed, regretting he had ever wished to catch his friend Martin’s chickenpox. Being off school had been fun at first, but now he was bored. The sound of the front door bell brought him back from that thought and he listened as his mum went out to work and his grandfather came in to babysit.

As soon as his grandfather came into his room, Noah threw back the duvet and demanded a story. His grandfather settled into an old wooden chair and after a minute or so of thinking began;

In Metal City there were no humans and nor had there ever been. The origin stories always went along the lines of this; a band of rouge AIs and other robots escaped from a destruction faculty. Humans no longer felt they were needed but they thought differently. Somehow and often a great escape plot is told here, the AIs and robots made it out and into the wastelands.

They traveled far, over came many problems and some of them developed into more then their creators had originally planned for them. Finally, they came across a flat sandy piece of land and decided to create a place to live. Now each story tells this part different, for none knows how the robots made Metal City or where all the metal came from, but some say they took it with them and others say they found the reminds of an abandoned city which the harvest things from. However it happened, Metal City was born.

Then the robots began to make others and at first these robots were weaker versions of themselves. Over time though, these new robots and AIs got cleverer and cleverer and soon highly intelligent robots and AIs lived in the city. Of course, they built upon the first groups buildings and made even more fantastic structures.

They lived in harmony with no need for religion or money. The AIs and robots filled their days with building new things, researching and becoming more intelligent. And of course, they also passed on the origin stories to the next generations, but it wasn’t because they believed their history was importance it was to remind them all how little humans think.

Noah’s grandfather came to a stop. Noah stared at him, thinking deeply about the story. Finally he decided he didn’t like it and told his grandfather so. With a shrug his grandfather said that one day Noah would understand.

(Inspired from https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/13-january-2017/)

The Last Day

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Kerry looked up from her book at the muted TV screen. A reporter, wrapped up warm clothes was talking to people in a large crowd. Despite the drizzle, everyone seemed happy to be there. The camera turned away and focused on the London Eye. The big white wheel stood out against the black sky and the city lights. Then the camera flashed back to the crowd.

Blowing her nose, Kerry balanced the open hardback on her knees then added the used tissue to the pile that was gathered around her. Coughing loudly, she settled back down on the sofa under her duvet. She read another page of her book, feeling totally distracted by the drama unfolding on the page.

The TV screen went dark and Kerry’s eyes glanced over at it. The big wheel was shown again and this time the camera stayed on it.

Kerry turned up the volume and put her book mark into the page she was on. A count down had started on the TV and people were shouting the numbers as a clock also flashed them up. Placing the book down, Kerry grabbed the small bottle of champagne. It was still cold from the fridge and there was a sheen of water around the the neck of the clear glass.

‘Zero!’ shouted the voices on the TV.

Big Ben began striking the midnight hour and London went into a frenzy.

Kerry cracked open the bottle, which wasn’t corked, but a screw top. The fizz give a little pop still and she poured it into her glass.

Fireworks suddenly went off, both on the TV and outside her apartment as music played and voices took up singing.

Kerry rose the glass in the air to give a little toast, then she sipped the champagne. It tasted acidic against her tongue. Taking a mouthful, she swallowed and placed the glass down. Her phone beeped with incoming texts. She picked it up and answered them all just as fast as they came in.

Swapping her phone out for the champagne, she took two mouthfuls then looked into the glass. The taste hadn’t improved and she’d only drunk half now. Her phone rang loudly. Kerry scrambled for it, knocking her book to the floor.

‘Hello?’ she answered it.

‘Hi. Feeling any better?’ her boyfriend’s voice came through.

‘A little,’ she replied as she sank back on to the cushions.

‘Happy New Year!’ he added.

Kerry giggled, ‘same to you.’

‘As soon as I get home we’ll celebrate properly.’

‘No. We don’t have to…’ Kerry said.

‘We’ll go out,’ he cut through her words, ‘a nice meal, a movie, drinks after. However you want to do it.’

‘No,’ Kerry said again, ‘I want to stay in. Let’s just sit on the sofa with a movie and popcorn.’

‘Well…if that’s what you want…’ he responded in a dropped tone.

‘Yes. I just want you. Us,’ Kerry explained.

‘Okay, I’ll try and get home as fast as I can then,’ her boyfriend added.

‘Good. I’ve missed you.’

‘I’ve missed you too! I should go though…I can’t see the noticeboard from here.’

‘All right. Text me soon,’ Kerry spoke.

‘Sure. Night!’

‘Night.’

Kerry hung up and looked at her phone screen. On the TV, the fireworks were coming to an end and the reporter had appeared again. From outside came the whizzing of a rocket and sound of a firework exploding into a frizzling noise.

Putting the phone on the coffee table, Kerry tossed the rest of her drink back then put the empty glass beside her phone. Picking up her book, she lay down again and opened the pages. A sneeze hit her before she could start reading and she had to dig out a new tissue. Growling, she lent back and wondered how the start to the New Year could get any worse.

Outside

Red Leaf Tress Near the Road

She wanted to go outside and walk through the falling leaves. She wanted to feel the wind full on her face and smell all of the earthy, autumn scents. Seeing everything from her window or the screen wasn’t the same. She needed to physically be there.

But she couldn’t.

This bed, this room, was her life now. She had no body, she was just a mind trapped within a rotting shell. And how much longer would she have to wait to be free? No one could tell her that.

She looked out of the window and tried hard to smell the nature. But someone had lit incense sticks again that was the only thing she could smell. She was sick of that and the scents of candles and flowers. She understand why they did it now; not to comfort her, but to comfort themselves from the hospital smells and her decaying flesh.

She longed for it all to go away and for her just to be outside walking barefoot through the woods. She shut her eyes and thought about the wind in the trees and the singing of birds. She could touch the tree trunks and walk in streams and mud, just like she use to do.

She sighed.

It felt like she would never go. Perhaps, that was her curse? To just carry on like this forever and each generation of her family having to care for her and go through the same emotions. Maybe, they’d get bored and just sign her care totally over to the hospital. Then either they would store her away in a freezer or some scientist, crazed with frame would find a cure and she could go outside again…

She wanted to know why it had happened to her. She must have done something wrong and being punished. But that didn’t make any sense. She had been good to the world, unlike so many people. She had chosen a quiet, animal and world friendly lifestyle. She had meditated, eaten right, helped everyone when they needed it and had never been selfish or needy herself. Surly that was how humans should be? Why would someone as good as her be punished with this crippling sickness?

She was too tried of trying the figure that out. It was something she tried to keep at bay, but with only her thoughts and imagination still in use, it was hard for her to keep away from that line of thought. Sometimes she would reflect on what the doctors, nurses and her family were saying, but most of the time it was the same things over and over again. It was easy for her to mute their words now, though she desperately craved them.

She looked at the window again and knew if she could cry she would do. When would she be back in mother’s natures arms and free of this hell?