Door, Knob, Vintage, Antique, House

Shutting the door she had created in her mind, Amber told herself she’d never go back again. She imaged letting go of the brass doorknob and slotting the golden skeleton key quickly inside. Pressing a hand to what she thought of as cold wood, she sighed deeply. For a few seconds, she pictured the memories cluttering the dreamed up room. Removing her hand, she told herself it was the right thing to do. Amber locked the door and slipped the key out. She glanced at the other doors that lined this part of her mind then she walked away. The grief and heartache locked safely away forever.


In his head, Phil could be anyone or anything. Bouncing on his bed, he dreamed he was a pilot in a fighter plane. The enemy was all around him and it was his job to take them down. Firing off the guns, he made a dive and swung about. He was an Ace pilot, the king of the sky in his bright red plane and nothing could stop him.

Tumbling off his bed, he swopped about the toy plane in his hand. Rushing by the slightly open window, a slice of red caught his attention. He stopped and went back. He lifted the net curtain with a grumpy hand and looked outside. He saw the pastel blue sky streaked with plane jet streams.

Frowning, he opened the window fully and looked further out. In the distance he could hear the sound of pounding engines. Biting his lip, he tried to not think any more about being a pilot and his red plane. However, it was too late and before his eyes a small collection of World War Two German Messerschmitts had appeared.

Phil watched them grow as the panic filled him. The Messerschmitts become completely solid, their engines droning loudly in the sky. They formed an arrow formation and aimed towards him. Phil clutched the window sill and quickly imagined the king of the sky back again. He couldn’t think of anything else to do. He thought hard and desperately muttered under his breath as he brought his imagination into reality.

The sound of rat-at-tat gun fire caused his eyes to snap open. Before him a bright red plane was darting around the brown Messerschmitts and it was raining bullets. Phil almost squealed in delight, but managed to keep his excitement in. A Messerschmitt exploded and a ball of fire lit up the sky like a smaller second sun.

Phil ducked down, but he held onto the window sill still and peered over the top of it. He watched plane parts tumble from the sky and heard distant voices shouting. The dog fight was heating up above him and eagerly, he watched things play out. The king should have easily been over powered by the mass of Messerschmitts, but somehow he was able to dodge their bullets and take them all down.

Jumping up, Phil watched the last two planes fall from the sky in smoke and flames. The bright red plane did a loop-de-loop and vanished into a cloud bank. Phil leaned out of the window and looked across the flat countryside that lazily stretched before him. Passed the pale brown fence of his garden, he could see the burning body of a plane. Further on and the scarred ground was scattered with twisted metal, crushed wings and components.

A screaming voice, sent goosebumps along his arms and Phil scrambled under his bed. He heard running footsteps on the stairs then his bedroom door was flying open and the footsteps came into his room.

‘Phil? Where are you? Did you do that outside?’ his mum’s angry voice called.

He stayed still, holding his breath and keeping his head as empty as possible.

‘Phil? Come out here now,’ him mum continued.

He heard her open the toy chest and the wardrobe.

‘I mean it! You’re in big trouble, mister!’

The footsteps came closer, he heard his bed being searched then his mum getting down on the floor. He opened his eyes to meet her’s and shrink back as he saw the fury in them and on her face.

‘How many times do we have to tell you?’ his mum snapped.

She put her hand under the bed and dragged him out. Phil didn’t protested, he knew it was far too late to even try. His mum pulled him up and they sat on his bed together. Phil could smell fire and oil drifting in from his bedroom window. He tried to steal a glanced outside, but the window was too far away.

‘You have to control it,’ mum sighed.

Unexpectedly, she hugged him and Phil snuggled into her. He could smell damp earth, summer flowers and sweat. He listened to her heart beating and her steadying breathing. In the background came the sound of sirens, voices and burning.

‘I didn’t mean to,’ Phil mumbled into her chest, ‘I really tried. Honest.…’

‘Hush. It’s okay,’ mum smooth as she pulled back and held his face in her hands, ‘you’re very special and you have an amazing gift. But you can’t just go willing fighter planes into life. That’s not right.’

Phil looked down and began to concentrate on the blue flower pattern of her dress.

A car horn beeped outside and Phil could hear muffled voices talking. His mum got up and went over. She fixed the net curtain and closed the window.

‘That’s Dr. Mandle. I better go. Stay here and wait for me to call you down. Okay?’

Phil nodded and watched her leave. She shut the door and he gave her a few moments to go downstairs. Then he went to the window and looked out. Four men were standing in the back garden. One was his father, the other was Dr Mumps- Phil’s doctor- and the other two he had been told were Dr. Mandle and his assistant, Mr Baxter. They were looking and discussing the destroyed planes, which were now surrounded by fire trucks, police and ambulances.

Phil came away from the window and after a few moments of looking around his room, decided to read a book. He selected one from his bookcase and sat on the bed. He knew as long as he didn’t think in too much detail, the world of the book would stay inside in the pages.

It seemed like too shorter time had passed when he heard his mum’s voice calling him downstairs. He went into the kitchen, taking his time to get there and slumped down at the table. Mum was preparing a pot of tea and some snacks. The backdoor was open and he could hear human voices mingling with animals calling to each other.

A young giraffe, slipped it’s head through the open kitchen window and starred at them. Phil smiled and watched the giraffe sniffing around the potted flowers and sink.

‘Get out of here, Jessie!’ mum snapped and tipped the giraffe’s nose.

Jessie withdrew and swung her head about as she walked away. The rest of her body passed the window and despite himself, Phil hurried to door. The giraffe stopped and bend down to his open hand. Phil rubbed her face then she was off again back to the other four giraffes. From the doorway, Phil could see a handful of buildings and fenced enclosures. A collection of animals, more commonly found in a zoo were gathered around.

‘Sit down, Phil. I don’t want you to go wondering off like last time,’ mum called.

Phil took his chair again and watched her set the table for afternoon tea, ‘that wasn’t my fault,’ he stated, ‘Aunty shouldn’t have brought me those books for Christmas. I didn’t know that walking through my wardrobe could make that happen.’

‘I don’t want hear it, okay? They’re coming, so just behave.’

Phil nodded.

The four men had seen outside before came and sat around the table. Mum began serving them tea, coffee and cakes. Phil got a glass of milk and a chocolate brownie. Whilst the adults talked, Phil studied Dr. Mandle and Mr Baxter. They didn’t look like doctors or rare animal specialists, they reminded Phil of polite gentleman.

Soon enough, they turned to him and encouraged, in the way that all adults do, for him to join in their conversations. Dr. Mandle started with, ‘What wonderful animals you have. Did you really bring them all into being?’

Phil nodded his head.

‘Of course, we had to get rid of the lions and tigers,’ his mum butted in, ‘we could hardly keep then around could we?’ she half-laughed as if it was a joke.

‘But the zoo wouldn’t take the other exotics?’ Dr. Mandle asked.

‘They took a few as did some other places, but when he was younger he really couldn’t help it, and we and they become quite over run,’ she explained.

‘And what happened this morning? Before we arrived?’ Mandle pressed.

‘Oh. He was playing with some planes and got carried away.’

‘It was very realistic,’ his dad cut in, ‘he even created German pilots!’

Phil bit his lip and stayed quiet.

Dr. Mandle turned to him with a soft smile, ‘you still like making animals though don’t you, Phil?’

‘I guess,’ he mumbled into his milk.

‘Well, we’ve got something very special for you to try and do for us…’

Placing down his glass, Phil watched Mr. Baxter take out a large photograph and hand it to Mandle. Who then showed the photo to him, it was of a small white fluffy lemur with a black face and hands. Phil looked at it and decided it was cute.

‘This is a Silky Sifaka. It’s one of the rarest animals on the planet and we’d like your help to bring them back,’ Mandle explained.

‘How?’ Phil asked.

‘By using that amazing imagination of yours.’

‘But, I’m not allowed too,’ Phil pointed out.

‘But this time it’s okay. It’s for a good reason. A true purpose,’ Mandle rushed out, ‘you could help save this cute animal. You wouldn’t like it if it was gone forever would you?’

‘Mr Mandle!’ Phil’s mum cut in.

‘Doctor, please,’ he countered back.

‘Doctor. We agreed we wouldn’t force, Phil, into it remember? It’s up to him.’

‘Of course, of course. I’m sorry.’

‘Phil, now,’ mum said as she came to stand behind him. She pressed a hand to his shoulder and they looked at the photograph of the Silky Sifaka together.

‘You don’t have to do this,’ she said with a hint of a threat in her tone, ‘it’s up to you. But your father and I would rather…you didn’t.’

‘It’s just a monkey, mum,’ Phil pointed out.

‘It’s a lemur,’ Mandle corrected.

‘That…doesn’t matter,’ mum chimed back in, ‘but I don’t want you to have to spend the rest of your life…dealing with people and their wants, okay?’

Phil pulled a slight face and thought back over the other things he had brought to life with his imagination. He’d never been asked to create something for someone else before. He wasn’t even sure he could do it. He looked down at the photo again and the cute black face staring up at him.

‘I could try,’ he whispered, ‘I don’t know what’ll happened though.’

‘Good. Good,’ Mandle cried with a clap of his hands, ‘then we must get you over to the wildlife park right away. We’ve built a home for the lemurs already.’

Phil felt his mum’s hand pressing deeper into his shoulder and her nails catching his skin. He wiggled out from under her and followed the men outside. Leaving her in the kitchen to tidied up, dad drove everyone to the park in the Land Rover. Phil looked at the photo for most of the way, thinking about how he was going to make that image real.

It was almost evening when they got to the park. Mandle led them over to the enclosure that had been made for the lemurs and they went inside.

Phil held the photo up and thought hard about the Silky Sifaka. The photograph give him all the description he needed, just like the photos of the giraffes, zebras and lions he had seen and thus made real when was younger. For a good few minutes, he thought deeply about the Sifaka under the watchful eyes of the adults.

He was on the point of giving up, when a tree branch close by started to shake. Phil opened his eyes and they all watched a Silky Sifaka appear in front of them. Phil heard Mandle saying ‘yes, yes,’ under his breath. The lemur became solid and after a few moments of watching them, moved off higher into the tree.

Phil thought about another one, imagining all the trees having a Sifaka on them. He shut his eyes and opened them seconds later to see that it had become real. The lemurs began calling to each other and playing together.

‘More, more,’ Mandle hissed.

Phil imaged more and soon enough the trees around them were shaking with white fluffy forms. He heard Mandle laughing and saw him spinning around under the trees. Phil began to feel dizzy and slipped backwards. His dad caught him and he fell into a deep slept. He dreamed he was in the forest surrounded by Silky Sifakas thanking him. When he woke up, Phil found himself in his own bed and it was the middle of the night.

He rolled over and turned on the desk lamp next to his bed. The light hurt his eyes and it took a few moments for him to blink sleep away. Sitting up, he looked around his room and wasn’t surprised to see the twitching tail of a Silky Sifaka on top of his wardrobe.

About Unicorns

For this story to work you have to believe in magic. And also unicorns. Not just the white and golden horned ones, but every colour of unicorn. Once the world was a dark place, I don’t mean dinosaurs and cavemen times, but more sort of medieval times or maybe in the gap before that. Anyway, magic existed more in this time than at any other because people could see and perform it for real. Thus, meant that such creatures we believe today to be myths and legends did walk the land.

Don’t get me started on what happened to the magic or the mythological creatures connect with it. This story isn’t about that. This story is about you believing that there was once such a time in which magic and unicorns lived. Now, most histories say that unicorns love female virgins because they are pure of heart like the unicorns themselves. So, unicorns would come to them and share their magic.

Unicorn magic is powerful, no one really knows how powerful, but it is written that to drink the blood of a unicorn would give you all of their power. However, by killing something so pure you damn yourself. Don’t worry; this isn’t that kind of story. In fact, I’m not sure this is even going to develop into a story. It’s just that I wanted to talk to someone about unicorns and you seemed so interested to hear me out.

I’ve never seen one, only their likeness in old crumbling books and paintings. They do look like horses, but bigger and more powerful. Imagine a shire horse as that’s the closest we have to the figure of a unicorn now. Yes, the horn. The horn sits between the ears, a top of the forehead and the base just covered with mane. Do you know what happens if you cut off the horn of a unicorn? All the magic returns to the land and the horn is useless. No, I don’t know why they have horns, that’s not my area. No, I only know about their nature and their magic.

Perhaps, I should place all this in a story, you’d understand it better and this wouldn’t turn out to be a boring history lesson. Of course, this whole thing is only going to work if you help me. Now, I need a good portion of your imagination, a bit of your ‘suspended disbelieve,’ some of your knowledge of the medieval period and a dash of creativity.

Now, imagine you are a princess or a prince if you want, though princesses do work better for this. I don’t know why girls fit this role so well, but they just do. If that doesn’t work for you, imagine yourself as a knight. Now that part is always male, but I don’t mind it’s up to you. So, here you are then as a princes/s or a knight living in a land which is on the edge of the medieval period. You were born and raised in a large castle, you have never known hungry or real fear. The time you live in as at peace and everyone is happy. Often you go outside the castle walls into the growing town and country fields. You love riding horses and attending parties. In fact, ever since your sixteen birthday you have become very fond of balls. You like studying the people around you.

Now, one hot summer’s evening you are very restless. Everyone else is preparing to try and sleep, but you just can’t settle. You decided to go for a walk around the castle’s gardens. There are water features and lots of brightly coloured flowers to be seen. There are also tall trees and singing birds. The air is hot and sticky, you wonder how anyone else can get to sleep. You ended up walking further through the gardens then you imagined. You come to a high mossy wall, which you know to mark the boundary of the castle.

On the other side is a forest. It has had many names before you were born and it’ll have many others after you are gone. At your moment, the forest is called The Bow Forest. You have walked through its edge a few times, but have never wondered any further. Your nanny filled you with scary tales about the forest. Just as good nannies should do.

However, tonight, you find a large hole in the wall. The stones have tumbled away and left an archway for you to step through. You know, you shouldn’t do really, but for some unknown reason, you step into the forest. It is dark and you have no light, save that coming from the castle’s many windows. Slowly, you pick your way into the forest. Telling yourself that you won’t go very far, but somehow you do just that. You find yourself in a clearing and sit down for a moment. It is still dark, but now the full moon lights your way. As you try to figure out the way back, you hear something moving the trees close by.

It’s a large animal, not trying to hide itself and you believe that it doesn’t know you are even here. You think about hiding, but before you can move, the most wonderful creature you have ever seen in your life steps into the clearing.

Can you see the unicorns now?


Toby told himself not to be afraid. What is fear, but a cycle? If he broke the circle everything would be fine. He took a deep breath and tried to escape the growing anxiety. He told himself that this situation was easier to handle then it seemed. He just had to chip away at the problem and break it down like a stick of candy rock.

He felt the heavy chain of phobia wrapping around him. He selected one of the links and tried to separate the small metal rings. He believed if he could do this then he would be free. The rings were too strong, just like their neighbours on either side. He shook the links and felt panic rising in his stomach as the chain tightened.

Toby tried to think of happier times, calm places, or a funny joke. Anything that would take his mind off and away he tried to call towards him. Running from the fear didn’t help through. Everything became stronger, more intense. He saw colours swimming before him, the wind rushing in his ears. He felt as if he was on the highest mountain of the world looking down into a tie-dye coloured sea.

He thought about that scene from The Christmas Carol movie, where the ghost comes to visit and he was covered in chains. Toby felt like that. The chains were restraining him, locking him into the fear. He thought about an evil hand wrapping around his chest whilst mad laughter echoed in his ears. He tried to stop such thoughts, strongly aware that they would only get worse.

He breathed, shut his eyes and willed himself away for a moment, just so that he could have some space. Toby’s felt like his head had become as crowd as a circus tent on opening night. Escaping that, give him some time to re-collect himself. He relaxed as much as his rigid body would allow and thought of himself sailing away in a boat.

Oddly, the image began to work. He dreamed up the small white topped waves and the waving breeze. Alongside came, the pale blue sea stretching forever and himself at the front of the wooden boat looking ahead. He could hear the water lapping around him and smell the salty air. He breathed deeply, filling himself up with the ocean.

As he slowly opened his eyes, the image faded and felt the fear ebbing. The chain that had been holding him was at his ankles. He easily stepped over the loose links and walked away. The phobia can be controlled, he thought with the ghost of a grin on his lips, and all moments pass.  

Pink Slippers (Part 2)

(Continued from Pink Slippers part 1).

Lying in his new bed, Kyran rubbed Bunny’s ear and sucked his thumb on the other hand. The house had been making some strange noises and he’d been scared. Now, though he was on the edge of falling to sleep. I soft crying caught his attention and he wonder if Baby Kat had woken up again. Listener harder, he realised it was Harriet Hippo and he could hear the voices of the others trying to calm her.

‘What’s it?’ he asked sleepy.

‘I’m missing baby hippo,’ Harriet answered.

Kyran looked at the ceiling, which was reflecting the multi-coloured fairy lights strung up over his bed and wondered if he had seen the baby hippo almost Kat’s toys. Pushing back the duvet and blankets, he picked up Harriet and Bunny and took them to his half-opened bedroom door.

Peering out, he saw and heard nothing. The night light in the hallway glowed and the bathroom light was shining through the open door. Kyran noted the baby gate across the stairs and his parent’s door being a jar. He tiptoed out, opened Kat’s door a little more and slipped inside.

Her room was dimly light by a lamp on the changing table next to him and another night light in the far corner. Quietly, Kyran walked around checking out the shelves and the still unpacked boxes.

‘She’s not in here,’ he whispered.

‘Check the crib,’ Bunny suggested.

Nodding, he walked forward and looked down at his sleeping sister.

‘Look!’ Harriet gasped.

He twisted his head and stared down at the back of the crib. There were three shapes sitting there. Kyran frowned and moved closer. He dropped Harriet into the crib and watched her rub noses with a smaller hippo. The two small teddy bears, who had been standing guard of the baby hippo, seemed happy to give up their duty. One baby to watch over was far easier.

‘Let’s go back to bed and leave them here,’ Bunny whispered.

Kyran nodded his agreement and walked back to his bedroom. Rubbing his eyes, he climbed back into bed and snuggled down again. Putting his thumb in his mouth, he sucked it and rubbed Bunny’s ear again.

‘Did you find her?’ Bearington’s whispering voice drifted up from the end of the bed.

‘Yes,’ Bunny answered, ‘they’ll stay with Baby Kat now.’

‘Good. Goodnight then.’

‘Bark!’ Sir Barks-Alot added.

‘Goodnight,’ Mr Snuffles murmured.

Kyran smiled and let sleep wrap around him. He dreamed he was back in the old house again, standing in the front garden with Harriet Hippo in his arms. The wind shook the trees and the house looked menacing. Harriet wriggled in his arms and he set her down on the floor.

‘We have to find my baby!’ Harriet cried and pointed towards the house.

Kyran bite his lip, the house looked scary and he really didn’t want to go inside.

‘Quickly!’ Harriet called and trotted over to the front door.

He followed her and pushed opened the door with a loud creak. Stepping into the hallway, he saw that the wall paper was coming away from the walls and the house was very dark. He heard Harriet sniffing around and something crunching under her large feet.

‘Upstairs,’ she muttered before beginning the climb up.

‘I can’t see,’ Kyran hissed back.

‘It doesn’t matter. You know the way.’

Screwing up his face in thought, Kyran decided she was right and followed her up the stairs. Around them the house groaned and made other unpleasant noises. The front door slammed and Kyran jumped. He glanced back at where it should have been, but couldn’t see anything. He froze, caught in the middle of the stairs, unable to go up or down.

‘Come along! We have to hurry!’ Harriet’s voice came out of the darkness.

‘No,’ Kyran sobbed, his bottom lips shaking and tears pricking his eyes, ‘the house doesn’t want us here. It’s angry we moved away!’

‘But we have to find her! We can’t leave her behind!’ Harriet shouted from the top of the stairs in the darkness.

Clutching the railing, Kyran lifted his foot up and climbed the rest of the steps. At the top, Harriet tugged on his pants and led him into his old bedroom. He felt around for the light switch on the wall, but wasn’t tall enough to reach it. Picking up Harriet, he let her click it on. The room was bathed in a dirty yellow light. His bed, Baby Kat’s cribbed and their wardrobe where still in place. Setting Harriet down again, he watched her run around the room searching for her baby and calling out. Kyran walked over the wardrobe and opened the door. A wooden box flew out, hitting his shoulder and causing him to cry out. Twisting around, he saw the box lid flip open and a pair of pink ballet shoes fly into the air on little pink wings.

‘Harriet! Look out,’ Kyran called.

He ducked as the ballet shoes swept passed him and tangled themselves around the hippo.

‘Get off her!’ he yelled and rushed forward, but the box moved and tripped him up.

Sprawled across the floor he cried loudly and yelled for his Mummy.

A white light came on above him and Kyran woke in a heap, tears wet on his face. He heard his bedroom door open and hurried footsteps coming over. He tried to see through the tears, but give up as he felt his Mummy’s arms wrap around him.

‘Hush. It’s okay. I got you. Did you have a bad dream?’ she asked.

Kyran nodded, ‘the box,’ he sobbed.

‘The box?’ his Mummy repeated, unsure she had heard him right.

‘In the wardrobe. I found it,’ Kyran answered in between short breaths.

He felt his Mummy frown as she pressed her head back to his, ‘It’s okay. It can’t hurt you. Go back to sleep now.’

‘It’s the shoes,’ he gasped and tightened his arms around her, ‘they don’t want us here and the old house don’t want us back.’

‘What are you talking about, Kyran? What shoes?’ his Mummy asked.

‘The pink shoes in the box,’ he replied, ‘in the wardrobe.’

He felt Mummy let him go and turn around. She got up and he wiped his face quickly. He watched her opened the wardrobe door and stare inside. She looked deeper, but it was dark inside and she couldn’t see very far. Kyran felt around for Bunny and after failing to find her, checked the floor and saw her leg sticking up. He got out of bed, picked her up and opened his top drawer.

Pulling out a torch, he brought it over to Mummy and give it her. Clicking it on, they both looked into the wardrobe. After a few moments, she walked in and checked the back corners. In the right one, she found a small wooden box. Picking it up, she brought it out and put it on the end of the bed, as Kyran sit opposite and began pulling the duvet back around himself.

‘Don’t open it,’ he called out as he saw his Mummy’s hands press down on the lid.

‘Alright,’ she said, ‘I’ll take it with me.’

Turning off the torch, she put it back in the draw and balanced the box on the top as she kissed and hugged him goodnight. She tucked him in then left. Kyran watched her pull the door slightly closed and listened to her footsteps going into the room next door. He sniffed and shuddered, felt for Bunny and hugged her tightly.

‘We should never have opened it,’ Bunny whispered in his ear.

Kyran heard a shuffling on the bed and rolled over as Bearington and Mr. Snuffles came to lay on the pillow beside him. He felt the duvet dip slightly above him and looked up to see Sir Barks-Alot watching him.

‘It doesn’t matter, it’s gone now,’ Bearington responded.

‘Do you think the shoes will get Mummy?’ Kyran questioned.

‘No, no. She’s a grown up. The shoes would never think of doing anything to her,’ Bunny answered, ‘go to sleep now. It’ll be better in the morning.’

Nodding his head, Kyran closed his eyes and tried to fall back to sleep. It took a long time for him to do so and in the morning, when Baby Kat started crying he didn’t get up as he usually did. He rolled over and went back to sleep, till his Daddy woke him for breakfast. He hardly talked as he got washed and dressed, but a soon as they were in the kitchen and he saw Mummy he rushed over to her.

‘Did the shoes get you? Where are they?’ he asked.

‘The shoes?’ his Daddy cut in.

‘They didn’t get me,’ his Mummy laughed, ‘and I put them away. There was a box in the back of his wardrobe and he had a nightmare about it,’ she explained to his Daddy.

‘I should have taken the box when we found it,’ his Daddy muttered shaking his head.

‘Did you look inside?’ Kyran pressed as he fisted the bottom of her t-shirt.

‘Yes,’ she answered.

Kyran gasped and felt like crying again.

‘But it’s okay. They were things just left by the last family that lived here. Maybe we could find them and give the box back?’ Mummy suggested.

Kyran pulled a face and hugged her. She rubbed his back then helped him on to the chair next to her. Daddy was busy getting things ready for breakfast and Kat was in her high chair, watching everything going on.

‘I won’t open the box again, if that’s what you want,’ Mummy spoke seriously.

Kyran nodded.

‘Ok. What do you want for breakfast?’

Afterwards, Kyran went back to his bedroom to finish unpacking the rest of his toys and boxes. Humming to himself, he pulled things out of the boxes and found a new home of all of his things. His friends watched him from the bed, making suggestions about the placing of certain toys and books. Finally, everything was unpacked and he went to join them on his bed. Picking up Bunny he sat her in his lap and looked around his room.

‘The walls, floor and ceiling still need doing,’ Bunny pointed out.

‘You’ll have to pack everything away again,’ Bearington mused, ‘you wouldn’t want paint and wallpaper over anything. Can you imagine that?’

Kyran giggled, ‘I guess so.

‘What about the box and the shoes?’ Mr Snuffles required.

‘Don’t bring that up!’ Bunny snapped.

‘Mummy will keep them safe. She said she was going to try and give the box back to the family that where here before. We shouldn’t be scared,’ Kyran explained.

‘We are going to brave and grown up,’ Bunny declared.

Kyran nodded, ‘and the new house isn’t scary at all.’

Pink Slippers (Part 1)

Kyran’s new bedroom smelt funny. Sniffing and holding the small breath, he tried to figure out what the smell was, but beside from old, he had no idea. Clutching Bunny to his chest and stroking her soft felt fur, he tried to remain calm. Sucking in his bottom lip, he looked at the bare wooden floor boards and the cardboard boxes scattered there. He tried to turn Bunny around to show her that all their stuff was here, but Bunny didn’t want to look, she was afraid and wanted to go back home.

‘This is our home now, Bunny,’ Kyran whispered and rubbed the tips of her long ears, ‘Mummy says this room will look just like mine soon enough. And it’s all ours’, no more sharing with Baby Kat. See, Bunny.’

He held her up and showed her the room.

A soft baby’s crying started up and Kyran lend to the right on his new bed, so that he could see out of the open door. The bare hallway and rickety railing meet his eyes. He listened and heard the distance voices of his parents. The baby stopped crying and Kyran settled back on the bed. He glanced at Bunny, smoothed out her flower patterned dress, then at the boxes on the floor. Mummy had left him the task of unpacking some of his toys and books, but he hadn’t felt like it.

‘What Bunny?’ he asked and held her up to his ear. He nodded his head a few times before answering her, ‘yes we should get Mr. Snuffles out of the box. He might have hurt someone with his spikes.’

Sliding off the bed, Kyran went to the first box and opened it, inside were his books. Moving on, he looked through a few others, before finding his soft toys. Pulling this box back to his bed, he sat down and began pulling everyone out. Mr. Snuffles was first and the hedgehog looked relieved to be out of the box. Setting him down next to Bunny, Kyran watched Mr. Snuffles snuffle around and Bunny start talking to him whilst point out the new furniture.

Next, he pulled out Bearington, Sir Barks-Alot and Harriet Hippo. Arranging them at the end of the bed, he watched them greet Bunny and then join Mr. Snuffles in looking around.

‘It’s not so bad,’ Kyran said and cast a look around the room.

‘But the paint is peeling,’ Bunny pointed out.

‘What is that smell?’ Mr. Snuffles wondered.

‘Are you not afraid of that wardrobe?’ Bearington asked as he rightened his stomach stuffing and patted down his yellow fur.

‘Bark, bark, bark,’ Sir Barks-Alot cut in before he went to the edge of the bed and started growling.

‘Did you find my baby yet?’ Harriet Hippo questioned.

Kyran shook his head and looked at the large fitted wardrobe that loomed over his bed. He was afraid, but there was no way he was admitting it in front of his friends. Getting off the bed he started to walk over, but then came back for the large basset hound.

‘Defend me, Sir Barks-Alot!’ he cried and rushed up to the wardrobe with the dog barking loudly in his arms.

He yanked open the doors and looked into the emptiness. There were two metal railings above his head and some shelves too. A shoe rack was on the floor and some startled dust bunnies. He threw Sir Barks-Alot inside and watched him chase the dust bunnies away.

‘There’s nothing in here,’ Kyran called back to the others.

‘That’s good to know,’ his Mummy’s voice called from the doorway.

Sheepishly, Kyran peered around the door at her and wondered how long she had been there for. Smiling back, his Mummy walked in and began opening some of the boxes he had yet to do. He joined her and watched as loose strands of her blonde hair, which matched his own, framed her face and lay on her neck. She was wearing dark jeans and a loose green top.

‘I’ll put away some of your clothes for you and then I have to go and help Daddy set up Kat’s bedroom,’ she explained, ‘Are you animals settling in?’

Kyran looked to where she had nodded and saw his friends gathered at the end of the bed where he had left them, ‘yes,’ he responded, ‘it smells funny though.’

Mummy placed an armful of clothes on his bed, went to the window and opened it. A cold wind rushed inside bringing with it the fresh smell of the outside. Kyran went to the window and looked out. He could see the house next door and some of the street.

‘Be careful. Don’t lean out,’ his Mummy warned.

‘Okay,’ he called back.

Grabbing Bunny, he showed her the view outside.

‘Here’s Sir Barks-Alot. Look he’s got dust bunnies on him!’

Kyran giggled into Bunny’s ear and watched as Mummy tossed the dog back on to his bed.

‘Wow, there’s so much space in here. I think we might have to dust before we put any of your stuff in though. Let’s go and get some cleaning things.’

‘Can’t I stay here?’ Kyran asked.

‘I’ll have to close the window…’

‘No, no! I’ll come,’ he half shouted.

‘Alright, calm down.’

He threw his arms around Mummy’s legs and hugged her tightly. Pressing his face into her jeans, he took a deep breath. He felt her hand patting his head and heard her speaking gently. After a few moments, she tugged at his hand and he let her hold it and led him out of the room. Going downstairs, he saw his Daddy and Baby Kat in the living room organising some of the large plastic boxes.

They walked down the dimly light hallway and into the kitchen. There his Mummy got him a drink of orange juice and collected some cleaning supplies in a tub. She often him something to eat, but he shook his head. Going back up, Mummy paused to tell Daddy she’d be back soon and he asked if she had seen Baby Kat’s bouncing chair. She had no idea, so she took Kyran back upstairs.

Leaving him to put away his socks and underwear in his chest of drawers, she cleaned the wardrobe out. Kyran put everything neatly away then help Mummy hang up and organise his clothes and shoes. Afterwards, she kissed his head and went downstairs again. Kat was crying loudly and clearly wanted something.

Kyran turned to his friends and watched them staring into the wardrobe.

‘What’s that?’ Bunny asked.

‘What? Where?’ Kyran responded.

‘Looks like a box,’ Bunny answered.

Kyran picked her up and they walked into the back of the wardrobe. In the darkness of the farthest corner was a wooden rectangle box which he didn’t recognise and Mummy must have missed. Picking it up, he tucked Bunny under his arm and brought out the box in both his hands. His friends clustered around it and Kyran pulled them all into his lap so they could see what was inside together.

There was a lock on the front with no key inside the keyhole and this made him wondered if the box would actually open. Putting his finger nails into the black line where the lid ended, he eased it open. A collection of girly treasures lit up his eyes and took his breath away.

‘Look, Bunny,’ he said and pressed her face to the edge of the box.

‘I smell flowers!’ Mr Snuffles cried.

‘Those pink slippers look like a dancer’s,’ Bearington added.

‘Bark, bark!’ Sir Barks-Alot jumped in.

‘Is my baby in there?’ Harriet Hippo asked expectantly.

‘It must have belong to the girl who’s room this use to be,’ responded Bunny.

‘Maybe,’ Kyran muttered and he began pulling things out of the box.

Firstly, were the pink ballet slippers with their matching ribbons and worn soles. Next, the two dried rose flowers, tided together with a faded pink ribbon, thirdly a bar of soap wrapped in brown paper. Then there was a small photograph showing a young girl with her grandparents, followed by a letter and a book of poetry.

Kyran laid these out on the bed, then picked up a small golden egg. It felt cold in his hands and he couldn’t see anyway to open it. Giving the egg to Bearington to hold, Kyran pulled out some another small books and sheets of music paper.

‘What is that?’ Bunny asked.

He looked down and saw a small silver heart on a chain. Pulling it out, Kyran looked at it then give it to Bunny. He removed a few more sheets of notepaper with curly handwriting across it, then pulled out a ring with a red stone on the top.

‘That’s it,’ he said, dropping the ring to Bunny and peering into the box.

‘It’s shiny,’ Mr. Snuffles commented about the ring.

‘Perhaps we should put them back,’ Bearington suggested.

Kyran nodded as Sir Barks-Alot started barking madly at the door. Kyran looked across and saw his Daddy standing there with a puzzled look on his face.

‘I found it,’ Kyran said quickly, ‘it was in the wardrobe. I was going to put it back!’ and he shoved the books and ballet slippers in the box.

‘Wait, hold up,’ his daddy said and walked over to him.

Kyran tried to put everything else back, but his Daddy swing the box away and began taking everything out.

‘It looks like a time capsule. I guess the little girl left it behind,’ his Daddy mused.

Kyran nodded and showed him the photograph of the girl and her grandparents.

‘We should put it back.’

‘I was going to,’ Kyran responded, ‘I just wanted to see what was inside.’

‘And now you have, so let’s put it back.’

Collecting the egg, locket and ring from his friends, Kyran put them inside the box and watched his Daddy stacking the books away. It took a few minutes to fit everything back into the small box, but once it was done, Kyran showed where he had found the box and his Daddy put it back.

‘Let’s go and see if the pizza is here yet,’ his Daddy said closing the wardrobe doors.

Kyran nodded and held his hand out.

To Be Continued…




Ryan sat on the nursery floor with Teddy balanced on his folded legs. As he stared into the deep black bead eyes, Ryan wondered why Teddy had stopped talking. Rubbing the soft and waning fur, he turned Teddy around and studied him everywhere. There was nothing unusually about the light brown coat which covered a body stuffed with wool and metal clockwork. Nor was there anything out of place with his joints or long rounded face.

Ryan’s fingers stumbled over the small hole at the base of Teddy. Frowning and looking closer, Ryan saw that it was the broken keyhole for the music box buried somewhere in Teddy’s inwards. He had never heard the music as Teddy had been broken when Ryan had received him from Grandpa on his first birthday.

Parting the fur, Ryan looked at the circler metal ring and tried to put his fingernail inside the ring. Maybe that would get Teddy talking again? However, it didn’t fit or work. Placing Teddy down, Ryan stood up and looked around the old nursery. The walls were painted blue and half covered in peeling wallpaper with an animal circus pattern, which a younger Ryan had always been fascinated with. He had his back to the door, so the wall to his left was mostly taken up by a bookcase, cupboards and other shelves, which held a number of books, soft toys and other toys. The right wall was empty, but two old wooden chests were pushed up against it and they also held a wealth of playthings. The wall before him was mostly taken up by a high row of window, which let in sun all throughout the daytime. Beneath them sat one of the most oldest and wonderful things in the room; an early Victorian rocking horse.

Ryan went to the cupboard and searched through it till he found a sharpened pencil. This he then tried to place inside the metal ring. The point fitted, but nothing happened. Crossing his legs again, he shook Teddy and tried to jab the pencil in more. Still, Teddy didn’t come to life. Sighing, Ryan placed Teddy onto the saddle of the rocking horse, where he had found him when he had entered the room. Casting his eyes around, he went to the door and reached out of the knob just as it was turning.

The door opened and his Nanny stood in the fame, her dull coloured eyes landing on his puzzled and bored face. Her plain black dress reached to floor and was covered with a long pinafore, her hair was neatly tied in a bun and she looked just like she always did, only now she was older.

‘Sir? Is something wrong?’ she asked in a whispery voice.

Ryan shook his head, ‘No. I was just trying to get Teddy to work.’

‘Teddy, Sir? That one of the rocking horse? Why, he used to be your favourite.’

‘I know,’ Ryan replied.

Nanny shuffled into the room and picked up Teddy, she inspected him closely with her fading sight then placed him back down again.

‘He seems fine to me, Sir.’

‘I know, but, something is different now. Did he…talk? For some reason, I remember him talking and we use to have such conversations,’ Ryan explained as he moved to the windows and looked outside. Below him he could see gardeners and builders working tirelessly to restore his childhood home.

‘Why, I believe he did! Sir,’ Nanny cried.

Ryan whipped around to her and found the old woman smiling. She picked up Teddy again and turned him towards Ryan.

‘You two were always together and forever chatting. You use to tell me all the time about the adventures you had been on and Teddy’s thoughts on important matters. You treated him little a younger brother and made me do so too. I only did it because it made you happy, Sir, and it was my job to keep you out of the way and quiet.’

‘I see, Nanny,’ Ryan said softly. He held out his hand and took Teddy from her. He turned back to the window and placed Teddy on the sill to look at the window, as he had often done as a child. He felt sadness fill him and a small voice whispering into his mind that he had found yet another lie amongst all the others that he was now uncovering from his dead parents and the surviving servants.