Date #1

Architecture, Mbs, Shopping Center, Glas

I never set out to do any shopping, this was meant to be a first date after all. However, the bargains in the craft and book shop were too good to miss out on. The window display beckoned me with special offers and since we were just wandering around the mall anyway, I told my date we should go in.

To be honest, I wasn’t attracted to him at all. He was a head shorter then me, sadly something I’d noticed as we had left the coffee shop and I prefer my men tall. He was dressed all in black; hoodie and jog pants, so not very date presentable and he had longish black hair and a beard too. In fact, he reminded me of an over stuffed teddy bear; not very good looking, but very cuddly.

We split off; him to look at craft stuff and me to look at books. I browse the titles and book covers as my mind recalls something he had said before whilst we had sipped sweet coffee.

‘The last novel I read was last year and it was Fifty Shades Darker.’

I had shivered at both those things, ‘why?’ I had blurted as my mind screamed, I read a book everyday and get through one in about a week! How could anyone not read? 

‘I can’t get into them,’ he had replied and shrugged.

‘And what did you think of Fifty Shades?’ I asked slowly.

‘I liked it. Grey is an interesting guy. I haven’t seen the movie yet though, I’m worried it’ll spoil the books.’

I had hid the disgust on my face and finished my coffee quickly. I switched the subject back to TV series, which he seemed to handle better.

Shaking my head, to clear those thoughts away, I grab a book and looking at it decided it wasn’t for me. I choice another then a few more, but nothing appealed to me. Glancing over my shoulder, I track him down and see him talking to someone, a tall black man with a patterned shirt on. Must be a friend, maybe?

I get moving and wander a round. I spot a humors book about newspaper headlines and since it’s a pound decide to get it. I find some notebooks, really reduced, some craft stickers, two books on sewing and a few other things.

‘Looks like you found somethings,’ he says, appearing at my side as I am looking at the adult coloring books.

‘Yes, I did. I saw you talking and thought I’d leave you to it. Was that a friend?’ I ask.

He nods, ‘old friend, from about two jobs back.’

‘I’m going to get these and then…erm, I think I might have to go home,’ I trail off.

Silence creeps between us and we both hear a woman talking loudly on her phone as she goes past the shop. The traffic in the mall has picked up and I can hear school kids chatting and laughing.

‘What time is it?’ I ask.

He digs his phone out and answers, ‘almost five.’

‘Then yeah, I need to go.’

I head to the till with him following me then pausing to look at something. I pay, we meet again then walk out.

‘I wish I could stay longer. It’s been fun. I got this exercise class this evening and I don’t want to be late.’

‘It’s fine. I had fun too, maybe we could do it again sometime?’

‘Sure. Minus the shopping though? I didn’t expect to find all this stuff, but it was so cheap. One of the books I get was like three pounds instead of thirteen. It was too good not to get,’ I laugh a little.

We dodge a wave of people then head outside. I debate telling him not to bother walking me to the bus stop, but as we are all most there it doesn’t matter.

‘I shall text you,’ I say as we come to a stop.

‘Yes, please do. It was nice meeting up,’ he adds.

‘Yep, I had a good afternoon.’

He moves to hug me and met him. Hugging him does feel like a teddy bear. I break the hug before he can kiss me, though I am not sure if that even crossed his mind. We say goodbye and I watch him walk away.

I collect what I think about him and decided that though I don’t see him as being my next boyfriend, the possibility of friends is there.

Hen Party

Cocktails, Summer, Beverages, Silhouettes, Black, Red

Sasha was surprised her bridesmaids hadn’t blindfolded her before they had bundled into the taxi together. Rearranging the skirt of her red and black patterned dress before Amelia sat on it, Sasha bumped her shoulder into the car window. Pulling a face in pain, she watched her other bridesmaid, Dacey, shoving things into the boot then squeezing into the back seat with them.

‘Did you get everything?’ Amelia hissed, trying to hide her words behind her long brown hair.

Dacey nodded, her golden curls bobbing then shot Sasha a look, ‘It’s all good,’ she muttered.

The taxi driver got in and without a word, drove off. A trickle of India style music played through the speakers and set of beads clicked together around the rear view mirror. A light rain began to fall and he turned the wipers on.

Sasha looked out of the window, faking interested in the passing streets light by early evening sunlight. Secretly though, she listened into her friends hushed voices as they seemed to be double checking things.

‘They should be there when we get there now,’ Dacey was muttering.

‘And the food orders?’ Amelia whispered back.

‘All done.’

‘What about the…erm…ah..?’

Dacey shook her head and put her finger before her red lipstick mouth, ‘don’t worry,’ she uttered and winked.

Nervously, Sasha dropped her eyes from their reflections in the door window and started playing with the rings on her fingers. Her thoughts tumbled with what her best friends had possible planned and she prayed it was not strippers. That was something she firmly didn’t want to face tonight.

The taxi drove into Manchester city centre and the driver weaved around roadworks and traffic with only the skill a taxi driver can have before pulling up outside a bar and restaurant. Sasha looked out at it, but didn’t recognise the name or the view through the long windows. She could see large tables with white candles in glass holders, a front desk like area with a menu and behind it the start of a long bar, light up with large green shaded lights from above.

‘Stay in there a minute,’ Dacey shot over her shoulder as she bounced out, her curls flying everywhere.

Amelia followed her quickly and Sasha heard the clatter of high heels on the pavement and the two girls unpacking the boot. She saw them hurrying inside with things, speaking to a small white bloused and black skirt wearing hostess behind the front desk. Hands and bags waved for a moment then Dacey and Amelia started to hand things over.

Sasha turned away and watched a couple walking by. They were holding hands, talking to each other and smiling. They walked into a pub called The Black Lion a little further up, where a man finishing a cig was hanging by the door.

She noticed the rain getting heavier than the sound of taxi door opening again, drew her back and Amelia waved her out. Struggling, Sasha slide over the seats and got out. She stood on the edge of the pavement, pulled down her dress then excitedly followed Amelia in. The bar was warm and smelt of limes and vodka. There was a small group of people settling into a table beside the window, three men and four women poshly dressed up. Sasha walked further in and saw a larger group of women huddled around a half circle table.

Trying to contain her shock and delight, Sasha was swept up for a few minutes in greeting friends and family. Someone put a cocktail into her hand and she took a well needed drink. Tangy sweet fruit flavours danced on her tongue before she swallowed. Voices rose and fall around her and so did the clinking of glasses. She felt she was in a dream still though.

Totting in her very high heels, she leant against the bar, joining in parts of conversations and welcoming the stragglers. She finished her drink too quickly and placed the glass onto the bar. Amelia appeared at her elbow and ordered another one before Sasha could speak up. Then with that drink pressed into her hand and her mum taking her other one, she was led up the stairs.

Butterflies fluttered madly in her stomach, she had the urge to go to the loo then as she stepped into the private room, she saw a long dining table laid out with purple cloth, candles, wine glasses, cutlery, name cards and the little thank you presents she had made last week. Her breath caught in her throat then her mum led her to the head of the table and she gratefully sat down.

‘What do you think?’ Dacey asked as she rushed over.

Sasha nodded, ‘It’s very nice.’

‘The food’s on its way,’ Amelia added.

The guests circled the table for their seats and began talking with each other whilst inspecting the thank you presents. Sasha tried to take it all in, failed and took a few sips of her cocktail. An old family friend, began chatting to her and she fell easily into conversation.

The wine and food arrived and the air, which before had smelt of flowery soap and candle wax was taking over by the warm scent of chicken, soup and cheese. Sasha tucked in, recalling she’d no lunch and realising how hungry she now was. The starters were great, the mains even better and pudding the best.

After, Sasha sat back and enjoyed watching everyone talking. Then a photo shoot was in order and champagne arrived in small flute glasses to further clutter the table. Sasha posed, feeling like her smile would be glued on her face forever. Sinking back down, she reached for her glass.

Dacey stood up quickly and declared a toast, ‘Thank you all for coming! I just want to wish Sasha a happily ever after!’

Voices repeated Dacey’s words in a dim echo and the champagne was sip.

‘I would like to say thank you too,’ Sasha’s mum spoke up, ‘I’m so proud of my daughter.’

Sasha patted her mum’s arm and thanked her. They touched glasses and had a drink.

‘And now….’ Dacey said and walked quickly over to a large pair of doors that ended the room.

She flung them open and Sasha saw two smiling, half naked men standing there holding plastic bowls full of melted chocolate. They had little black aprons tied about their hips which read Nude Chocolatiers. The one of the left had three tattoos across his chest whilst the other one didn’t. They were both muscular but not overly so and they had short black hair.

Sasha giggled and felt an odd feeling of relief.

‘Hello ladies,’ the man with the tattoos called, ‘I’m Chad and this is Luke. Sadly we are not strippers, but would you like to come and join us in making some chocolate truffles?’

School girl like laughed filled the room and the women moved into the next room to take seats at a new table. This one had been sit up like a cooking school’s kitchen work bench. There were plastic bowls, wooden spoons, grease paper and little pots of cream at each setting.

‘Who’s the bride?’ Chad shouted above the racket.

Fingers and voices shouted and pointed at Sasha.

‘You need to sit here,’ Chad said and helped her into her seat in a very gentleman like way.

‘We’ll get you all drinks,’ Luke added and began taking orders for the bar.

Chad helped him and then the handed out the drinks. When that was sorted, they began to instruct the woman in making truffles.

Sasha didn’t think she had ever laughed so hard. There was chocolate everywhere and the bridesmaids, even though they had boyfriends, were flitting with the Chocolatiers. Even Sasha’s mother-in-law to be, who had been happily married for thirty years, joined in the funny and embarrassed her own daughter with over the top remarks. Sasha was grateful her mum stayed quiet.

Removing chocolate from her fingers afterwards, Sasha decided her bridesmaids had done a good job after all and her trust had been well placed with them.

Dacey declared it was time for drinks and dancing on the roof top garden before dragging Chad along. Amelia grabbed Luke before he could escape and the whole party made its’ up to the roof.

Sasha stepped out of the doorway and took in the scene before her. The roof top was actually turfed with fake grass and lots of plastic grey pathways were cut in leading around and through. Fairy lights hung from small trees and flowering bushes in large plant pots. Solar powered lanterns shone from a top of small wooden tables which chairs and benches were dotted around. A small waterfall was trickling happily in one corner styled like a desert oasis. Luckily, the light rain had stopped and it was a warm night.

Sasha looked over the wall and across Manchester. Lights from the apartment and office buildings shone into the night and she thought she could make out people behind the windows towering above her. Voices, music and cars all travelled on the wind. She took a deep breath, feeling slightly more sober.

This was what I wanted, she thought, everything has been so right for this night.

First Date

Wine, Glasses, Outdoor, Cafe, Restaurant, Leisure

Poppy pulled down her light purple dress and decided she was showing too much leg. She went to select another, but nothing seemed as good. Sighing, she just decided to forget about it and leave. She was going to be late anyway. Getting her black high heels on and purple handbag, she went to her front door and stared longingly back.

What if I never come back? her paranoia whispered.

Shaking her head, she shut the door and walked off to the bus stop. Telling herself firmly she would come back no matter what. Waiting, she enjoyed the late spring afternoon and was glad she had decided against a jacket. The bus turned up early and was unusually crowd. Squeezing into a seat, she wondered if this was all really worth.

For a second, she almost changed her mind and got up, but then the bus moved away and carried her down the road. Trying to ignore everyone else and the softly crying baby, Poppy dug her headphones out and put some music on her Ipod. She listened to a natural playlist and found the sound of rain falling in a jungle soothing.

Poppy got off the bus at the stop she meant to. She looked around at the busy city street, which for a Friday lunch time felt more like a Saturday. Seeing the spot they were meant to be meeting at, she hurried over, happy she was the first. Standing there, holding her handbag in two hands, she looked around trying to see if she recognized any of the faces going by.

I hope it’s not that guy…her doubt muttered.

No! He had more hair in the photos then that…though he could have cut it. Okay stop thinking, Poppy thought.

She looked out across the little garden and watched the people eating lunch and talking. A group of teenagers with skateboards were arguing where to get coffee from. Poppy rested an elbow on the wall and put her chin into her hand. It was so strange, how everything just felt so…normal, she decided.

Turning back, she spotted a man dodging through the crowd. He was wearing what he said he would be and he was heading this way. Poppy swallowed and almost turned around again. He wouldn’t know her from the back right? Too late! Their eyes met. He smiled and came over.

Just breath and smile. Be normal! she told herself.

She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and smiled.

‘Hello,’ he said, ‘you okay? thought I was going to be late, but I made it.’

‘You did,’ she answered and laughed.

His smile grew wider and more relaxed, ‘Coffee then?’

Poppy nodded and letting him led the way, they walked off together chatting away.

Eleutheromania

Woman, Girl, Freedom, Happy, Sun, Silhouette, Sunrise

Eleutheromania: A manic earning for freedom – Collins Dictionary

The impulse to move on was getting too strong again. James looked at the sleeping form of his girlfriend then got quietly out of bed. He padded bare foot to the small balcony of her apartment which looked out across Manchester city centre.

Breathing in the polluted air, James noticed the roads and pavements were already busy with people heading to work. They were dressed in winter clothes, which seemed odd for the middle of spring, but the forecast had stated there was a cold front coming. To James it actually felt more like an autumn day with the chilly wind and grey sky.

He went back inside and put his running clothes on. Creeping out of the apartment, he felt slightly better as he reached the hallway. Once outside on the street, he felt even better. He smiled, filled his lungs with exhaust fume and cooking fast food tasting air then began his run.

The wind whipped around him as if racing him, but in the wrong direction. James held out his arms to embrace it, feeling his urge for freedom getting satisfied. Letting his body do all the work, he fell into thinking as shop fronts and apartment blocks clustered around him. He wished he was in the countryside again or even back in Sweden or Canada, where he could be with just green fields or woodlands.

The urge to pack up and leave swelled. That little voice that lived in the back of his head told him to get on the next plane out of here. He almost stopped and turned around. Instead with a glance up at the sky, he forced himself onwards. For now, this would have to do until he had enough money again.

Little Black Book (Part 6)

Book, Open, Pages, Literature, Textbook, School

The train shuddered into Liverpool central station. Kimmy frowned out at the weather before they moved inside.  It was raining heavily with the sky dark and thunderous. She felt Alex easing himself up and turned to watch him stretching his legs. He then had to side step out of the way as a disgruntled older man shot him a look and tried to get passed.

‘Some people,’ Alex muttered under his breath as he sat down again.

Around them, the other travellers were collecting their things and queuing to get off the train. Voices and the clatter of objects vibrated down the carriage. Kimmy watched a group of six girls, partly dressed for a night out, began squeezing by other passengers. Their laughing and loud voices carried above the other noises.

‘Do you want that coffee? Maybe something to eat?’ Alex asked, drawing her attention back.

‘What time is it?’ Kimmy muttered and began searching for her phone.

Alex bet her to it and pulled out his, ‘it’s coming up to one.’

‘I’m meeting a friend, actually,’ she suddenly recalled.

‘Oh, okay…’ he trailed off, his face falling.

‘How long are you staying in Liverpool for?’ Kimmy cut in.

‘Till Sunday night. I’m working on some drawings for a family member.’

‘I’m here till about then too. Maybe we could meet? Shall we swap numbers?’

‘Sure.’

‘I think I left my phone in my bag,’ Kimmy pointed out.

Smiling, Alex slide out of the seat and grabbed her rucksack. Whilst she searched through it, he picked up his own bag and put it on. Finding her phone, they swapped numbers and got off the train together. Avoiding the tail end group of passengers, they walked off the platform into the station.

The rain rattled on the metal roof above them and the air was filled with train fumes, warm food, coffee and a tang of cigarette smoke wafting in as the glass doors opened. Kimmy clocked a coffee shop and was half tempted to change her mind about waiting. She heard her name being called and whipped her head back.

Two girls, standing at an advertising board were waving at her. They both had black hair, nose and ear piercings, heavy dark makeup and were wearing similar matching black clothes. To the fleeting eye they looked like twins, but up close they were completely different and easy to tell apart.

‘I have to go,’ Kimmy pointed out.

Alex nodded.

‘I’ll text you or you can text me. I’d really like that coffee and to see you again,’ she babbled.

‘Me too,’ he replied softly.

Kimmy smiled then trying not to look back at him, hurried over to her friends.

 

***

The weekend didn’t fly by as Kimmy had hoped it would. The idea of seeing Alex again hung around her neck like The One Ring. That Friday night, she had settled down on her friend’s lumpy student sofa and watched her mobile phone screen glowing in the dark. His number and name were on the screen and the empty white box below was waiting for her words.

She hadn’t been able to type or more to the point, she didn’t know what to say. Sighing, she had put the phone down and looked up at the dark ceiling. The thoughts and questions kept her up all night. Franticly, she wanted to see him again, but what if he didn’t want to? What if it had all been a spur of the moment thing? Perhaps, they’d never see each other again. Anything could happen in the space of a few days, hours or minutes.

In the morning, she felt and looked sick. Having gotten up early, put on makeup, eaten and plastered a smile on her face, her friends didn’t notice when they joined her. The day though, dragged on and she felt more on autopilot then at the wheel. Liverpool was crowned with payday shoppers fighting over the last of the reduced Christmas stock and making faces at the up and coming Valentine’s Day cards and gifts that had been slipped onto the shelves.

Kimmy lost herself in a bookshop whilst her friends where in a clothes shop next door. Her fingers scanned along the book spines before randomly pulling one out. Her thoughts were far from the words and images in front of her though. She was glad for lunch and coffee followed by a break in a small park at the back of the town hall.

After they, visited one of Kimmy’s favourite places; Quiggins. An old cinema and orchestra hall turned into a small shopping outlet for indie and alternative fashion. Looking through all the amazing gothic style dresses at the back of one of the shops, Kimmy decided she just couldn’t take it anymore and took out her phone.

She texted Alex and asked how he was.

What if he doesn’t reply? What if it’s a wrong number? What if…? She shook her fears away and put the phone back in her jean’s pocket. As her friends drift over to a Steampunk display, Kimmy heard the ping of a text message. She scrambled for her phone, causing the woman owner of the shop to look up in concern. Kimmy’s eyes darted across the screen and she took in his reply.

Am fine. At work. Can I call you tomorrow morning?

Smiling like the happiest person on Earth, she texted back yes and felt her chest swelling. When she caught up with her friends and they questioned her, she refused to tell and brushed everything off. The rest of the afternoon raced by and they ended with a night out circling the bars and clubs, drinking and dancing till they had to go home.

 

***

Kimmy felt like her head had been crushed. Rolling over and pressing her face into a pillow, she half suffocated before having to turn back again. The living room danced before her as if it had taken on the motion of a ship at sea. Her stomach rolled with it and she felt sick.

Struggling up, she bolted for the bathroom, but tripped on the stairs and had to scramble up on all fours. Bursting through the door, she threw up and couldn’t seem to stop till bile had burnt her throat raw.

She washed her mouth, brushed her teeth, showered and dressed, somehow. Getting a cup of tea and glass of water, she sat on the living room floor and pawed through her handbag. She found her phone at the bottom.

Alex had tried ringing her twice and had sent three text messages.

Moaning softly, she text back, feeling guilty, but stating they could still meet.

If he hasn’t changed his mind! The voice in her head cried.

Curling up on the sofa again, she slept off most of her hangover before her friends woke her up to go out to eat. After, she wasn’t in the mood to stay any longer, so she packed up and left. She wandered around Liverpool by herself, enjoying the cold air and old buildings.

Finally it was time.

Alex had suggested they met at a chain coffee shop in the centre. As Kimmy walked over to it, he was all ready there. His head was down and he was checking his phone. A group of people stepped in front of him, but as they went passed, he looked directly up at her.

Kimmy waved and came to his side.

‘Hi,’ he said softly.

‘Hey. I’m so sorry about this morning. I don’t normally get so drunk!’ Kimmy declared.

‘It’s fine. You had a good time?’

She nodded, ‘I did. How did the art, drawing thingy go?

Alex shrugged, ‘okay. Going to need longer though…do you want to hear about it?’

‘I don’t mind. I really need a coffee though. This hangover is still lingering.’

Laughing, Alex swung open the door for her and she stepped inside with him close behind.

Little Black Book (Part 5)

Book, Open, Pages, Literature, Textbook, School

 

Kimmy closed the notebook and tried to tuck it away. Suddenly she felt over protective of it. Fixing a hard look on her face, she shook her head slightly and felt baby loose strands of hair brushing against her forehead.

‘Maybe, I made a mistake…’ he said and rubbed his hands on his knees.

They both looked away. Him around the carriage and her the window. Kimmy manged to slip the notebook into her pocket. She steadied her breathing and played with her hair. In the reflection from the window, she watched him turn and look at her. Swallowing, she nervously twisted around. The noise of the train rumbling into a tunnel echoed loudly in their ears mixing with the similar music still coming out of their headphones. The inside lights flickered for a few seconds, before casting everything in an ugly orange shade.

‘Why did you say that?’ she asked.

‘Because I lost a notebook full of drawings like that,’ he stated.

‘Weeks ago?’ she whispered, dropping her head and peering shyly back at him.

He nodded, ‘it must have slipped out of my bag. I didn’t know till hours later. I thought…I’d never get it back…’ he shrugged, ‘I won’t…’

Kimmy touched the notebook through her pocket before pulling it out again. She handed it to him. He paused then took it from her. She watched him flip through the pages and listened to the paper zinging together. He came to a stop, glanced at her then looked down again.

‘I picked it up and I did mean to hand it in, but when I got off the train there was a storm and I guess I just forgot. I’m sorry,’ Kimmy gushed, ‘then I wasn’t going to look at it, but I couldn’t help it. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t important and try to find out who it belonged too. It’s yours isn’t it?’

‘Yes, he breathed.

Kimmy nodded and unable to take it anymore, she fixed her face to the window.

The darkness came to an end as the train blasted out of the tunnel. Rain hit the window, trailing clear beads down the glass. A mix of green and brown colours went passed like a smeared painting. The scene blurred before her and she felt tears prickling her eyes. Confused at her mixed emotions, she wiped her eyes and went to pull up her headphones.

There was a brush of warm air and fingers on her back as she moved. Kimmy glanced over her shoulder.

‘What’s your name?’ he asked softly.

‘It’s Kimmy. What’s yours?’

‘Alex. It’s nice to meet you.’

‘You too,’ Kimmy answered and let her hands fall into her lap.

Alex opened the notebook, having held a page with his fingers. He showed it to her and Kimmy saw the sketch of herself concentrating. She pulled a face which was quickly replaced with a small smile.

‘I hope you don’t mind…I couldn’t help but notice you a few times,’ he spoke.

‘It’s amazing. As are your other drawings,’ Kimmy answered.

‘Thanks. And thanks for giving this back to me. It means a lot.’

‘It’s okay.’

‘Here, you should have this…’

Kimmy grabbed Alex’s hand as he went to rip the page out.

‘How about you do a proper portrait of me instead?’

He stopped and Kimmy cursed herself.

Did I just say that? What? Why? She thought, there’s no way he’d want to even…and now he’s looking at me like I’m crazy. Great. Way to go!

‘Seriously?’ Alex asked.

‘Only if you want too…I mean….I don’t know if I can pay you and everything…’

He nodded then thoughtfully said, ‘why don’t we start with a coffee first?’

‘Yes. I’d like that,’ Kimmy replied, the growing smile lighting up her face.  

 

To Be Continued…   

Little Black Book (Part 4)

Book, Open, Pages, Literature, Textbook, School

Kimmy’s breath caught in her throat. It’s not really me, she thought. Lifting the notebook up, she inspected the drawing, her heart pounding loudly. However, there was no deigning her single plaited hair, large headphones and button nose. There was also that look of concentration on her face which she really hated because it made her look like she was pulling a funny face.

Biting her lip, she turned the page back as her IPod decided to play a Bullet For My Valentine song. There she was again! This time though her expression was distant and thoughtful as she was looking far too the right. The page slipped from her sweating fingers and her eyes unfocused for a few seconds. Lowering the notebook, she took a deep breath and turned to the window. The train was pulling into a station.

There was a movement of people and faint voices. She kept her head turned, ignoring everyone. A blast of cold air tickled her then rolled around her legs before the doors shut once more. The train shuttled off, the PA pinging on to announce the destination and stations on the way. The window view changed to outer edge city, with rows of houses, towers of apartments and storage buildings framed by a darkening sky.

Kimmy felt a tap on her shoulder.

She turned. There was a good looking man about her age standing there. He had longish black hair falling over his clean shaven face, brown eyes and a slightly desperate expression. A large pair of padded headphones was wrapped around his neck. He was wearing a long black leather jacket, heavy metal band t-shirt, black jeans with looping, dangling chains and large multi bucked boots.

Kimmy slipped one headphone off her ear.

‘I’m sorry, but there’s nowhere else to sit,’ he said.

She glanced at her backpack on the chair next to her then back to him.

‘I’ll put in the luggage rack for you,’ he added.

Nodding, Kimmy put the notebook between her legs and passed over the bag. He took it off her and slotted on the bottom shelf. He put his own next to it then sat down as she shuffled over.

‘Thanks.’

‘It’s fine,’ Kimmy muttered to her knees.

She slipped back her headphone, kept her eyes down for a few moments then picked up the notebook again. Turning away as much as she comfortably could, she opened the pages randomly. A raven glared up at her with a single beady eye. The feathers were wonderfully drawn and coloured in deep black. A string of red hung from a sharp looking beck and there was an eyeball at the raven’s clawed feet.

Over the page, another raven with its beck open in a scream sat on a skull who’s empty eye sockets stared haunting up at her.

Kimmy felt the man shifting. The back of her neck prickled as it seemed he was watching her. She glanced. He was. She stole a few more peeks and saw the look of puzzlement on his face. He also appeared to be leaning further over as if trying to see the notebook better. Kimmy thought about closing it or turning more away, but it was the growing look of recognition on his face that kept her frozen.

Finally, she slipped her headphones off and turned to him. Shock spread across his face then vanished as he turned away. He took off his own headphones then turned back to her. Kimmy closed the notebook.

‘I’m sorry. It’s just that…I think that’s mine…’ he trailed off.

 

To Be Continued…

Little Black Book (Part 3)

Book, Open, Pages, Literature, Textbook, School

Kimmy was packing her rucksack for a return weekend to Liverpool when her mind made a chain of connections whilst she was folding clothes. Stuffing a jumper into her bag, she went to the bedside drawer and found the black notebook where it had laid forgotten for two weeks. She stroked the fake worn leather and recalled how she had shoved the notebook away as her mum had launched into ranting mode.

Opening the pages, she looked at the drawings she remembered from last time. Reaching a new page, she stopped and looked at a half finished sketch of a woman’s head with amazing plaited hair. The pencil marks were so fine that induvial strands of shaded black hair could be made out. Marvelling, Kimmy turned to the next page and saw the attempts at drawing a long, medieval style dress.

A voice called her name and she looked up at her open bedroom door. Sunny was standing there, wrapping the brown ends of her tied back hair around her fingers. She was wearing a blue low cut top, a pair of old jeans and slippers. Kimmy clocked the slight puzzlement on her face as Sunny waited for a response.

‘Yeah?’

‘When are you leaving?’ Sunny asked.

Kimmy glanced at her watch and saw it was getting later then she had thought, ‘in the next few minutes. Why?’

‘I couldn’t remember,’ Sunny answered, ‘Logan just asked if I’d meet him in the pub in an hour or so.’

‘Oh, well, I just need to pack and then I’m gone,’ Kimmy explained, closing the notebook and slotted it into her rucksack.

Sunny nodded and slipped away, pulling the door to.

Hurriedly putting everything else in, Kimmy changed her clothes, putting on a pair of dark blue jeans, a long black laced up sleeves top and black boots. She called out a goodbye as she threw on her duffle coat and dimly heard Sunny’s bye. Leaving the apartment, she quickly walked to the train station and to the ticket machines. Joining the back of a queue of four people, she looked at the timetable board and sort her train. It was due in ten minutes.

Tickets got, she battled through the steady flow of people and onto the platform with a good few minutes to go. Standing in a huddled group of fellow travels, her thoughts wandered back to the notebook. She hadn’t meant to put it in her bag, but she hadn’t wanted Sunny to ask about it either. Deciding that it would give her something else to do on the train, her mind turned and she daydreamed about the person it belonged too.

Kimmy pictured a goth like herself, but with a nerdy side. Or maybe the person was all nerd? Perhaps, they just had an interest in medieval times and the drawings where not fantasy ones at all. Was the person a real artist or someone who did it as a hobby? Where they missing the notebook right now and cursing themselves for losing it?

The train pulled into the station, bring her back from a downward spiral of unanswerable questions. Kimmy watched the doors open and an influx of people trying to get off and onto the platform. She was pushed back and the teenage boy in front of her stepped on her boot tops. Shuffling out of the way and chasing down a half thought to kick the teenager in his ankle, Kimmy waited like a trapped sheep stuck with all the others.

Finally, she was able to step onto the train and find a seat. Heading towards the back of the carriage, she sat opposite a luggage rack with her bag on the seat next to her. Ignoring everyone else still looking, she got her headphones, IPod and the notebook out. The voices around her faded into loud screaming music and she got comfy.

Opening the book, she flipped the pages trying to not to look till she reached the last one. None of the drawings had been dated, but there must be clues to the owner and their travels, maybe? She reached a blank page towards the end of the notebook and had to flip back again. The last sketch appeared and she took in what shockingly seemed to a drawing of herself.

 

To Be Continued…

Little Black Book (Part 2)

Book, Open, Pages, Literature, Textbook, School

By the time the train pulled into Manchester Piccadilly, The rain had turned heavier and become a mixture of hailstone and sleet. Kimmy gathered her rucksack as the PA pinged the arrival and the train came to a stop. She let the stamped of people pass her before getting up and stepping onto the platform.

Cold air wrapped around her, sending chills through her coat and prickling her skin. Kimmy tucked loose strands of her bright multi-colored hair back and joined the flow of people heading to the exits. The smell of oil, coffee and sweat mingled together and she felt desperate for some fresh air.

Once outside, the weather quickly changed her mind and Kimmy half-dashed to her apartment. Twenty minutes later, she was dripping wet and felt frozen to the bone. Letting herself in and catching the elevator, she went up to the place she currently called home. Unlocking the door, she found the lights off and remembered with a mixture of loneliness and thankfulness that her housemates, Sunny and her boyfriend Logan had gone on holiday on the weekend Kimmy had been away for.

Kimmy went into her bedroom, dumped her stuff and hurried into the shower. The hot water eased away the cold and aches from the cramped train seat. Getting out, dry and dressed and opened her rucksack. Emptying and sorting everything out, she spotted the black leather notebook and paused.

‘I forgot all about this,’ she said picking it up.

The silver writing glowed it’s warning at her, but unlike before when the notebook had been strange to her, Kimmy felt an odd connection to it. Setting it aside, she finished sorting out her things then climbed into the middle of her bed and slowly opened the notebook.

There was a soft creak of the binding and written a upon the first light yellow page was Sketches. The words ran diagonal with a slant and were surrounded by thin slashing lines. Kimmy turned the page. A baby dragon just hatching from a egg peeked up at her. Bold and thin pencil lines created shading in all the right areas, making the drawing look three dimensional. She looked closer and could make out some tiny spikes on the dragon’s head and the tips of the wings.

Kimmy peeled the paper and saw the next sketch to be a castle tower. On the next few pages were body parts of a horse then the horse itself, followed by parts of a medieval style knight then the knight himself till finally both images were put together. She paused over that sketch for awhile. Trying to take in all the intricate details of the knight’s armour and the muscles of the horse.

How could anyone not want to show these off? Kimmy’s mind raced, They are so good.  

Her fingertips slide along the corner of the page, but just as she was about to flip it, her mobile rang. Sighing deeply, she abandoned the notebook that had been warming in her hands and grabbed her phone. The caller ID flashed up it was her mother. Hitting answer, Kimmy mumbled an ‘Hello,’ into the phone and prayed her mum wasn’t about to rant about everything under the sun.

 

To Be Continued….

Little Black Book (Part 1)

Book, Open, Pages, Literature, Textbook, School

Kimmy squeezed her way on to the train just as the doors were closing. Yanking her plated rainbow coloured hair and the hood of her grey duffel coat out of the way, she glanced at the sealed doors. Catching her breath and pushing up her purple framed glasses, she felt the train moving and watched the platform sliding away.

Heading into the carriage, Kimmy looked for a double or table seat which was empty. People looked up at her then back to their screens or books. There was a low mumble of chatter as people talked to one another or their phones. At the back, she found a double spot and dumped her small rucksack down. Sliding across to the window, she looked at the darkening cityscape rumbling by.

Liverpool in all its grimy glory, she thought wearily, not that it differs much from Manchester.

The PA binged on and a rusty man’s voice began announcing the route. Kimmy rested the side of her head against the icy cold glass and shut her eyes. Something knocked against her shuffling foot. Looking down, she saw a black shape and reached a hand down to grab it. Soft worn, leather brushed against her skin and there was a rustle of paper. Balancing it in both hands, she inspected the small rectangle book. Written along the bottom in sliver ink was; If found do not open.

Staring hard, she tried to decide if the handwriting looked female or male. Her fingers sort the edge of the cover and she almost flipped it over. The words lingered in her head, causing her to wonder what was so important inside the pages that the writer had to instructed people to stay out. She pressed the book between her palms.

The train juddered into a station, bring her back. Out of the window, Kimmy saw people moving to and from, those walking away were opening umbrellas and pulling up hoods. Rain was dripping from the platform roof and beyond gathering on the wired fence. The sky was now dark grey boarding on black, threatening heavier rain, prepares even a storm.

The last passengers got on and began searching for a seat as the train started up again. Kimmy watched two businessmen sit down at a table were a young couple were holding hands across the thin plastic. They began talking loudly about a meeting they had just come from and making rude jokes.

Slotting the notebook between her legs, Kimmy unzipped her bag and pulled out her IPod and noise cancelling headphones. She put on some heavy metal and let the loud booming songs carry her away. Tugging up the notebook, she slotted it into the rucksack and without any further thought, watched the ever changing view going passed the window.

 

To Be Continued…