Trip #100WW

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He wouldn’t have liked his strangers going through his things and putting them on display. He was a private, independent and adventurous young man with a quiet talent. Those strangers probably thought they were doing a good thing; does anyone recognise this bag and contents? Handed to police (in random country). It only made me more heartbroken though because it meant he had truly gone. He wouldn’t leave his things like that. I suppose I should be happy to get them back but I’d rather it had been him instead.         

(Inspired from; https://bikurgurl.com/2017/11/08/100-word-wednesday-week-44 with thanks.)

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View

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He’d always liked watching the sea so it seemed only fitting for us to bury him there.

Here

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It was here on these benches that we sat together. Talking, laughing, kissing. I can still feel you every time I sit here. Nothing has changed; people still walk by, birds peck the ground, the seasons come and go. It’s autumn now, your favourite time of the year. You use to kick leaves, even though people stared. We’d drink hot chocolate and re-live our childhoods.

I still remember that as if it was yesterday, though years have past now. Sometimes when I come to sit here, I talk to you. I tell you about the grandchildren, about the holidays our kids took me on and about dear friends who are sick. I know people pause even if I don’t see them and I know in their minds they are wondering if I’m okay. Dementia has everyone on the edge.

I don’t have it. I just miss you so much. We use to say our lives were nothing without each other and how can we survive without being together? Those were just sweet things lovers say but I know the truth of those words now. Despite wanting to watch our grandchildren grow up, I don’t want to be without you anymore.

I’m ready to see you again now.

Believe

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I wanted to believe my daughter but how could there really be a ghost living under the kitchen sink? Opening the lime green cupboard doors slowly, I peered inside, knowing nothing was going to spring out at me but wanting to be careful for my daughter.

Glancing at Sasha as she sat at the table, watching me with large brown eyes which were like my own, I knew she was holding her breath. She lent forward on the chair, trying to see under the sink around me.

I opened the doors fully and looked inside. There was the normal collection of cleaning supplies and pipes. I moved things around as if searching for the ‘ghost’ and the plastic bottles splashed their toxic contents around. Making a mental note to put wood varnish on the shopping list, I came out.

‘No, ghost in there,’ I spoke.

Sasha had her hands over her mouth. She shook her head at me then quickly pointed into the top right corner of the cupboard.

Sighing, I checked again. There was just a small empty cobweb. I closed the doors and went over to her. My mind turning  what I should say to her. She was only five and knew of ghosts from Halloween and stories but that was it. What had now made her think they were real?

Sitting down, I said, ‘what does the ghost look like?’

‘Like me, only see through and he’s a boy,’ she answered.

‘Does he have a name?’

‘Sammy.’

I nodded, trying to keep my expression blank though my emotions were flashing on. She’s just making it up….there’s no way she could have found out.

‘Can you really not see him, mummy?’ Sasha asked.

I looked over at the sink cupboard.

‘He says he misses you…’

‘That’s enough now! Ghosts are not real!’ I snapped and stood up.

Sasha let out a little gasp and bit her lip. Sadness crossed her face and her eyes grew wet.

‘Let’s go to the park,’ I said as a distraction.

For the rest of the day I couldn’t stop thinking about the ghost. It was just too strange that she had called him Sammy and said he was about her age. There was no way I could ask her more though but there was some else who I could demand answers from.

That night as Sasha slept and my husband and I got ready for bed, I turned to him and told him, ‘Sasha says there’s a ghost living under the kitchen sink.’

‘Really? Where there? Don’t ghosts like attics, basements and old places?’ he put in.

‘She also said the ghost was like her, but a boy and is name was Sammy.’

My husband took in sharp breath as he got into bed. He looked at me then turned his attention fully to pulling back the duvet and plumping the pillows. I knew his thoughts and mine were one.

‘I didn’t tel her anything,’ he said to break the silence between us.

I sighed and we both got into bed, ‘I knew you didn’t,’ I replied, ‘but it’s just…’

My husband took my hand, ‘It’ll pass. it’s just make believe.’

I nodded and tried to get it out of my head but it stuck at the back of my mind.

 

A few days later, whilst I was making dinner and Sasha was colouring at the table, she asked me suddenly, ‘Sammy wants to know why you don’t talk about him any more.’

I dropped the knife I was chopping onions with and spun to her.

‘What?’

Sasha looked up from her colouring, waiting for an answer with a determined face.

I picked up the knife, giving myself time to think.

‘He’s not real,’ I answered slowly.

Sasha got down from the table and went to the sink. She opened the cupboard and looked inside.

I had to come over and wash the knife, so I came to her side and after doing that, I looked under the sink again. I still couldn’t see anything. I felt Sasha watching me.

‘Sammy wants to know why you don’t love him anymore, mummy,’ she said.

‘I do…love him…Do you know who Sammy is, Sasha?’ I asked her with a bubble in my throat and pain circling my heart.

‘He’s my twin brother,’ she answered.

I gasped and knelt down, a hand on her shoulder as I looked into the cupboard.

Of course, there was nothing there.

Tears clouded my vision and I couldn’t stop myself as I cried hard on the kitchen floor.

 

(Inspired from; https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/believe/ with thanks).

The Day Before

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The day before the apocalypse happened the weather went crazy. We woke up to dark as night skies and heavy clouds. Rain poured down like I had never seen before and it was like a huge waterfall. Many places were flooded. There was a massive thunderstorm which had people staying inside and those that went out regret it and came home again.

The hailstone fell in sharp bursts, large balls of ice hitting metal like it was dough. Glass smashed, car alarms went off and animals fled underground. The storm rumbled on; bright heavenly flashes of light going off like all the time and the thunder was deafening. The rain turned to snow. Huge flakes sweeping down on gale force winds and covering everything in a white blanket.

People peered out of windows, wondering what was going on. The news was a blur of reports as countries all over the world reported the wildness of storms and weather conditions. The warnings flashed by too; Stay inside! Await rescue! Whole cities swept by freak waves, whole towns buried in snow and the raising death toll.

And I stood by the shelter’s plastic windows, knowing what all this bad weather meant and the fact I couldn’t do anything to stop tomorrow’s rapture sitting heavy on my shoulders.

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The storm was fading and the sky looked peaceful once more. Casey had her doubts though. This suddenly burst of autumn weather wasn’t to be trusted. She pressed her head against the wall and looked through the collection of rain drops on the window. She could see a hazy outline of the sea and the docks. Working boats rocked on the still violent waves.

Casey’s fingers curled the corners of the book resting against her drawn up knees. It had been a day like this, five years ago, that she had lost her family on. They had taken their boats out to drag in their nets before a storm had hit. Casey had been ill and had to stay home which had saved her life. Though some days, she wished things had been different.

Turning away from the window, she looked up above the fireplace in which a fire was burning brightly and wrapping warmth around her. A painted portrait of her family hung there, dating back eight years or so ago. There was her mother and father, dressed in their Sunday best clothes and not their working clothes which Casey always remembered them in.

Mother was smiling, happy to be doing something exciting. Her curling blonde hair was down and she looked years younger. She was also holding a blanket wrapped baby in her arms which if Casey recalled was her sister Rose who had died at a few months old. Father looked the opposite of mother, he looked stern, proud and a lot older then he actually was because of the hard life he led.

Four children stood in front of them; three boys and a girl, all dressed in their Sunday clothes too. Casey avoided looking at her eight year old self and focused on her brothers. She whispered their names under their breath, ‘Will, Luke and Tom.’ They looked excited and trying to stay still, though it was hard. They had pretty much grown up into young men the last day she had seen them.

Casey turned back to the window as she heard a low rumble of thunder. A new storm was starting up and the sky was becoming dark once more. Rain splattered the window then began falling down in sweeping pattern. The lighting flashed and Casey’s fingers tightened on the book so that the corners and edge left an imprint in her palms.

There was a knock at her door. She let the book fall from her hands then closed it and slide it under a cushion of the window box. The door opened before she had time to invite the person in. Her uncle’s large framed filled the doorway, his stomach almost bursting out of his white shirt and green waist coat. He smiled at her but then began frowning as he walked across the room.

Casey stood, smoothing out any folds or wrinkles in her long blue and white dress. She clasped her hands and tried to look calm but nervous were over welling her. She give her uncle a bob of respected then avoided looking at him. Not because she feared him or was embarrassed, it was because over the last year her attitude towards him had changed.

‘I hope this dreadful weather clears for your wedding tomorrow,’ he spoke in a gruff voice.

‘I hope so to, uncle,’ Casey uttered.

‘The final preparations will be done this afternoon.’

Casey stole a few glances at him, he seemed to want to say more but was holding back.

He would still rather have wed me off to someone else instead of his son, Casey realised.

‘You will join us for dinner,’ her uncle spoke, ‘some of the guests have already started arriving. Your lack of presence will be noticed if you don’t.’

He shot her a disappointed look then with a sweep of his long black jacket, he turned and left the room. The door clicking shut behind him.

Casey folded into the window box. Holding herself and trying not to cry. Outside the wind howled and threw rain at the window whilst sea waves bashed into boats and the shore. She looked out trying to distract herself but her eyes were drawn somewhere else.

‘This is all your fault,’ Casey whispered looking up at her family portrait, ‘if you had not all died then I would not have to marry my cousin.’

Casey pressed her head into her knees and took some deep breaths. Even though her life was about to change dramatically from fisherman’s daughter to middle class man’s wife, she refused to let her true self fade away.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/09/07/thursday-photo-prompt-fading-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Hand

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She woke to find a handprint on the bed. Smiling, she pressed her own over it, noticing how her smaller hand fitted within it. She breathed in deeply and knew within her heart that her husband was watching over her.

One Moment

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It had been a last minute decision that changed our lives forever. Getting into my car, I watched from the rear view mirror as my wife checked our ten year old twins were strapped into the back of her car. Then she walked around and got behind the wheel.

Starting my car’s engine, I glanced at my fourteen year old son, sat now in the passenger seat on his phone. He had been the trouble of all this and the reason why we now had to take two cars on holiday instead of one.

Sighing and partly blaming myself, I drove off. For years, my wife had been trying to get us to buy a bigger car but we couldn’t offered it, unless we got rid of both smaller cars and that would have meant one of us taking the train to work. Getting those thoughts out of my head as I reached the motorway, I tried to think of everything we had to look forward to.

The six hour journey to Cornwall always felt like forever. I found my driving quieter though as the twins weren’t bugging me and my son was too busy on his phone or playing games. I put the radio on and let the rhythm of the music mix with the steady engine.

After stopping at a services and having a quick meet up, we carried on the last leg of the drive. It was a few miles before the turn off,  that I checked my mirrors and saw a lorry swerve lanes and plough side on into the car behind me. My heart stopped and I couldn’t breath but then I had to focus. I slowed and pulled over, praying that car hadn’t been my wife’s.

Yelling at my son to stay, I dashed out and ran to the scene of the wreckage. The car had spun off the hard shoulder and was laying in a tangle remains of trees and undergrowth. I didn’t even look at the lorry as I pulled open the driver’s door. And even though I knew, I was still fighting for it not to be true.

Candle

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She put the candle in the window and prayed that her loved ones would come home soon.

 

(In memory of all those lost and injured in the Manchester Arena Bombing on Monday 22nd May 2017)

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Writer Struggles

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I can no longer feel it in my heart and soul. Where once I had energy and passion there is only a dry husk. I feel there is nothing left inside of me to write about. Every place I look for motivation I find none.

Sitting at the bus stop or lingering in a closing cafe, I listen and watch the people just like I have done for years. My mind draws no pictures around them. They are normal people with normal lives. Not fantasy heroes or Victorian heroines ready for adventures.

Searching in the library, I find books on writing, but I’ve read them all before. I look for more, anything that draws my attention, anything that might get the gears working in my head again. I leave with my arms full of books and spend all day and night reading, but it doesn’t solve my problem.

I go to the doctor and tell him the voices have stopped talking in my head. He smiles and says but isn’t that what everyone wants? What’s the problem? I shout back, but I’m a writer and my life depends on those voices! He shrugs, tells me to eat healthier, have a holiday, and take up a new hobby.

At home I lay in bed, watching spider shadows across the ceiling. I think about what if I’d not been born me. What if I’d been born someone else? Like my doctor or the old lady who always gets the same bus as me. What if I was leading a totally different life right now?

Would I miss writing? Would I even know I had a gift?

I once had a gift.

Now there’s only empty space inside of my head with cotton candy clouds floating by. I wonder if Heaven is like this?

In the morning, I get up and pack a suitcase and rucksack. Of my writing suppliers, I take only an old comforting notebook and a favorite pen. I go to the train station, choose the next train to the furthest away place and buy a one way ticket.

Hopefully inspiration will be waiting at the end of the line.