Postcard Story

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My Darling,

The train journey was just awful! It rained and thunder stormed all night. My compartment companion snored horribly. Then there was a flood on the line and the train had to stop and wait for the all clear! I shall not be taking that route back home.

I finally arrived safely and auntie is gravely ill. I don’t think she’ll last much longer. Her will has been sorted now, of course can’t write the details of it. The poor thing wanted to see you but I said the pregnancy had kept you away.

You might have to make the trip soon enough through.

All my love, A.

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Hokora #Writephoto

I stopped before the shrine, my younger sister’s hand tightening in my own. I glanced down at her. Miki’s school uniform almost matched mine and her long black hair was tied back like my own. She had a bright pink backpack on her shoulders whilst I had a leather satchel on just one shoulder. Miki’s face was turned upwards, her usual blue eyes fixed on the shrine, her expression slightly puzzled.

‘It looks like an…owl,’ she said slowly.

‘I guess…it does,’ I replied.

We were use to seeing these Hokora -Shinto shrines- dotted along the roads, outside houses and important buildings. They were places for the Kami – spirits of nature – to visit and people to prayer and /or leave offerings. They were little one roomed ‘houses’ made of stones and or woods.

This one though, was different. It was made out of a tall single stone and had an archway at the top. Inside was a metal carving of a creature that looked like an owl but it it had long ears and a horn in between. Inside the owl was an unlit candle and around it were small coins.

‘Why, an owl, Keiko?’ my little sister asked.

I thought for a moment then replied, ‘owls are a symbol of fortune and protection. Which makes sense for travelers because they’d ask the Kami to protect them from evil spirits whilst on the road.’

‘Oh,’ Miki responded.

‘Let’s pray for a safe walk home and good luck,’ I suggested.

Miki give a single nod and a hum sound.

We put our hands together, shut our eyes and bowed before the shine before asking aloud, ‘Kami bring us protection and fortune on the journey.’

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/02/01/thursday-photo-prompt-shrine-writephoto/ with thanks).

River

Green Trees Beside Body of Water

The river was so reassuring in it’s constant movement. The sound of water flowing over rocks and tree roots as it passed through the forest was like the drum beat that kept everything else going. It was in fact the core of the circle of life but it could also symbolism so much more. Power, determination, cleansing and unity. The river did not seem to care about it’s small beginnings or it’s eternal joining of the sea, it just followed the set path before it and allowed it’s voice to be heard by anyone who would listen.

On The Train

James had become so engrossed in finishing off his essay that he’d missed his stop. With his noise cancelling headphones on, playing The Natural Sounds Of The World album, he hadn’t heard the station call out. Plus, his mind was fully set on the laptop screen before him and the crumpled paper notes scattered across the small table.

He hadn’t felt at all guilty about taking up a whole table and four seats on the train during morning rush hour as he had sneaked into first class and hardly anyone was in the carriage with him. Being the lazy and fun loving college student that he was, he had been out partying last night and thus not the all-nighter working on his essay that he should have done.

He was near completing the damn thing, when something caught his eye and he looked up at the window. Large snowflakes were splattering against the glass and with the dark grey sky the visibility outside had dropped. Frowning, James pulled off his headphones and looked at the announcement screen above the carriage door. The time was a little past nine and the next stations weren’t ones he recognised.

Panic hit him and scrambling up, he went to find someone. As he entered the next carriage, his hip hit the elbow of a business man reading a newspaper.

‘What train is this?’ James asked, breathlessly.

‘The one to Glasgow,’ the man replied.

‘Glasgow? Did it stop at Lancaster?’

‘Yes. We are at Lockerbie now, so you’ve missed it by a good few stops.’

‘Can I get off here and go back?’ James said desperately.

‘I don’t know, sorry,’ the man answered and turned back to his newspaper.

Growling, James hurried back and packed all his things away in his rucksack. As the train pulled into the station, he waited by the doors and got off. The station was tiny and worriedly he looked around for a ticket office and didn’t spot one. However, he did see a train table on the other side from him and Lancaster was listed as a stop.

He headed for the small bridge, crossed over and double checked the sign. Luckily, there was a train due in a few minutes. He lent against a wall, watching the snowfall and kicking himself until the train arrived.

Someone Else’s’ Divorce

When Millie heard about the neighbours’ divorce her thoughts went straight to the children. In an odd way she had always thought herself a part of their lives, even though she had only occasion babysit them, joined in on birthdays and said hi in passing. What would become of them if they moved away? It was such a weird thought that she scolded herself for trying to pretend they were her family. It had felt like they always had been though and hadn’t she once dreamed of having children like them?

‘Did you hear me?’ her mum’s gossiping voice cut through her thoughts.

‘Yes,’ Millie said slowly and then carried on staring at nothing in particular.

Her mum mumbled and pulled the car away from the traffic lights. The roads were emptying at this time of evening and the journey was going smoothly.

‘What happened?’ she asked suddenly, ‘I knew they were going through a bad patch. You told me about that, remember? But I haven’t had a chance to speak to Lucy yet.’

‘That was months ago!’ mum laughed.

‘I’ve been busy,’ Millie said defensively, glaring at her.

Unfortunately, they both knew it was a lie. Millie sighed and slide down the passenger seat. Her view changed so that now she could only see the edges of the road and lot more of the dusky sky. She crossed her arms and refused to get into another argument. Feeling her mum glancing at her, she turned back, still desperate to know the other details.

‘Apparently, Lucy’s had enough of Andy’s aggressive temper,’ mum picked up.

‘Understandable, he’s always been brash towards me. I thought it was a front or something though. A part of his personality?’

Mum scoffed, ‘No.’

Millie turned away again and tried to act disinterested. However, she knew that now the ball was rolling her mother wasn’t going to shut up about it. She bit her lip then let her chestnut coloured hair out of its pony tail and spilling over her shoulders. Checking the dashboard clock, she saw there was twenty minutes still to go. Why for once couldn’t time go faster? She thought.

‘Lucy said it started around the time you asked about driving lessons and he refused. Since then it’s just fallen apart. He’s still out of work and seems to be having a middle-life crisis. Problem is he’s decided to drag her and the kids down too. She just can’t cope.’

‘Has he been violent?’ Millie kicked in.

Her mum shot her a disgusted look, ‘Of course not. Do you really think he’d risk that? Though he does seem very capable…’

‘I should go over…see if she wants any help with Jenny and Billy.’

‘I asked her to come to you, Mill. I said we wouldn’t mind…just I didn’t want to get mixed up in anything. Nobody should get involved in someone else’s divorce. Are you okay?’

Wiping a tear from her eye, Millie nodded.