On the shore he wandered, lost in his own thoughts. With his head down, he watched the surf lapping at his boots. The sea would be cold, he knew but still he took his boots and socks off. There was just something irresistible about walking barefoot on the beach.
Socks in his pocket, boots in hand, he carried on walking. The sand was cool and the sea cold, but he liked the feeling in between his toes. He let his thoughts go off again, like the seagulls that took flight when he got too close.
The beach was empty at this time in the morning which was how he always liked it. He could be alone without people staring and trying to ask him questions about what happened to his body. Children called him a monster and parents would quickly drag them away.
I was fighting for this country, he wanted to say, a bomb fell on a house, I tried to save the innocent family trapped inside but the fire was too bad.
Unfortunately, he knew it wouldn’t matter. His words couldn’t change the effects of his actions across his skin. However, out here away from it all, nothing cared. The sand and sea couldn’t judge him, he could just be himself, alone with his thoughts and scars.
It was Monday morning again. She lay in bed, having slept badly due to all the troubling thoughts. The alarm went and she turned it off. No work again today, she was too tried to face the world. She wondered if there was anything worth living for now.
The sound of children’s voices talking woke Ellie up. She stirred, wanting to go back to sleep after staying up so late finishing off the Christmas preparations. The excitement of her children wasn’t going to allow her that lay in though.
Her bedroom door crept open, squeaking too loud to be ignored and Ellie felt her husband waking up beside her. She nudged him before flipping the duvet back and turning on the lamp. In the glow, she could see her two children standing in the doorway, red stockings clutched in their hands.
‘What is it?’ Ellie asked sleepily, even though she knew the answer thanks to their bright, smiley faces.
‘Christmas!’ they both shouted and dashed for the bed.
Ellie burst into laughter. Her husband groaned then woke up, realising what was happening as the kids began unwrapping presents.
‘Is this all from Santa?’ he asked, looking around in pretend awe.
‘Yes!’ the children answered then began babbling over what they had found in the stockings.
Ellie smiled, her whole body filled with happiness at seeing her children so joyful and this was just the start of Christmas Day, there was a lot more to come throughout the next few hours.
Everything was hushed at 6 am as I hide in the forest, breathe held. Through the misty trees ran the wild horses with their coats of many colours, their hoofs pounding the earth, manes and tails flying in the wind. It was a beautiful sight and well worth the wait.
Looking out of my window, I was surprised to see deep snow covering the street. It was early in the morning, so the streetlamps were making the falling flakes sparkle. Frowning, I wondered how unpredictable snowstorms were. No one had said anything about this and though a few people would be happy, I wouldn’t be.
My wedding was in a few hours. The idea of cancelling, drifted into mind but it was impossible. Rain would be worse, I told myself and at least the wedding photos will look really pretty. It was hard to feel sure though.
Everything was too loud and bright; birds singing in the trees, dawn peering around the curtains. A cat meowing to be let in – her cat? Then someone’s whistling and echoing footsteps. A car engine started as she reached over and turned on the lamp which triggered an explosion in her head that sent her back down to the pillow. Groaning, she tried to get up but knew she wasn’t going to make it. She reached for some water and pills, taking them quickly. Then searched for her ear defends and a blind fold.
He looked at the clock next to him and saw that the blue numbers hadn’t changed, it was still a few minutes to three in the morning. He tried shutting his eyes, the urge to sleep so over welling but his eyes won’t move, as if they were glued open. There was just nothing he could do but wait out another night.
Mist danced in the rising sun which fell in-between the tall trees. The land was quiet, expect for the low movements of cattle and horses. The cowboys tried after their drunken late night and rough sleep, dozed on and off, missing the glory that was around them.
Every morning, Jenny got up and went to her family’s bakery. Always the first to arrive, she tied on a clean pale blue apron over her black pants and white blouse then set about the morning tasks. Firstly, she took the now clean aprons out of the washing machine and hung them up on the line in the little yard. The sun was just coming up and there was only the sounds of birds to be heard.
Secondly, she checked the stock rooms and made a list of everything that needed re-ordering then Jenny placed that notepad on her grandpa’s desk for him to see. There was no need for her to clean anything as her grandma and mother tided when they closed then again before they opened.
Tying back her short chestnut brown hair and washing her hands, Jenny went to the back kitchen and the bookcase of recipe books. Even thought she knew how to make everything the bakery sold with her eyes shut, she still liked the comfort of the big, overused books. Selecting one which was all in her great-grandmother’s handwriting, Jenny placed it on the book stand and flipped through the pages.
Grabbing the ingredients, she began to make a few different loafs of bread. It didn’t really matter what kinds they were because the second they were on the shop’s shelves they would start to be bought. Having mixed, divided and put the additional ingredients in to the batches, she let all the dough proof.
At that time, other family members began arriving; Jenny’s parents and grandparents. Greeting each other, they all began their morning tasks. Her mother and grandma cleaning everything, her grandpa going in his office to do paperwork, her dad coming to help with the baking.
As the sun fully rose on another picture perfect summer day, the villagers and tourist started awaking. The lovely aroma of freshly baked bread filled the warm air. The bell above the bakery door tinkled and the first customer arrived. Jenny smiled as she heard an old man’s voice asking what bread there was this morning.
Her grandmother began answering as her father pulled a tray stacked with white and brown loafs out and carried it into the shop. Jenny breathed in deeply, shutting her eyes. There was no better job in the world she decided.
It was some stupid time in the morning. That moment between night and day. We were parked on the roadside in the middle of nowhere where we had been all night. Some strange noise broke through my sleep and I had to get up. Navigating though the new motor home, I made it to the bathroom.
Coming out, I heard my wife moving in the bed, sighing and muttering. That was not the sound that had disturbed me though. I went to a side window because I had put the cover across the front window screen. Peering out into the predawn moments, I saw winter frost on the grass and shinning on the countryside road.
The noise sounded like an engine and my thoughts went straight to a car, a lorry or a tractor. However, as the sound grew it didn’t seem to be the engine of any of those, more it was an aircraft.
I put on my coat and boots before unlocking the door and going outside. It was weirdly still outside; no wind or sound. Then though a hole in the tall evergreen trees ahead I saw a glowing golden light.
The rising sun?
The noise of an engine filled the air and without really knowing it, I pressed myself to the side of the motor home. The light grew brighter, more stronger then the sun. I turned my head away, my mind flashing though everything I knew that could possibly be this machine coming towards me.
The gold light swept over me, the engine roaring deafening above. I blinked and looked up. There was something huge moving just above the tree tops. It was an aircraft, but like nothing I’d ever seen. It had no wings or tail and seemed to be round in shape. Light was pouring off it causing the forest to look like it was on fire.
Then it was gone.
I looked around, moving away from the motor home and searching the skies. There was just nothing. I was alone in the darkness.
To my left, through the hole in the trees once more, a weaker yellow light began. I knew this time it was the sun rising. The sky changed becoming soft pink and pale blue colours above me.
I got back in the motor home. A part of me wanted to wake my wife to tell her what I’d seen, but then what had I really just seen?