Hurricane

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It was coming. Atlanta could hear the gale force winds rattling the storm shutters and the rain pelting the roof. She held her breath and hugged her dog, Greg, tighter. He didn’t seem to mind but then he was old and deaf.

They was sat in a small yellow tent set up in the far corner of the cellar. Dim amber fairy lights in the shape stars cast some light down, but it wasn’t enough to do anything by. Atlanta’s didn’t really mind though as long as she wasn’t in the dark.

‘I’m safe. Everything is fine,’ Atlanta muttered.

Every since she had heard about the high chance of the hurricane last week, she had be preparing. All the kitchen and basement cupboards were stocked with bottled water, long life food, matches and extra gas canisters for the camping stove. She had double or triple camping equipment items and a whole range of lighting; battery and candle lanterns, torches and spare candles.

Atlanta picked up her headphones which were top of the range noise cancelling and selected some loud classic music from her ipod.

‘There’s nothing else to do now it’s here,’ she said aloud.

She rubbed Greg’s ears then wrapped herself in a thermal sleeping bag and began waiting out the hurricane.

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Play A Little Tune

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Bert’s blueberries were not doing so well this year. The too wet summer was the cause. He had been trying everything to make the blueberries happy as they were his biggest sellers and God knew he needed the money.  Finally, he decided to take his violin and play for them though it broke his vow to never play again. As the first notes rang out, tears marked Bert’s cheeks. He played and played till he couldn’t anymore but the magic of the music seemed to work because the blueberries grew and became the best crop he had ever had.

(Inspired by; https://carrotranch.com/2017/08/11/august-10-flash-fiction-challenge-2/ with thanks)

Mellifluous (Part 2) #atozchallenge

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Mellifluous; sweet and smoothly flowing sound.

I nudged the white headphones with the tip of my walking boot and tried to figure out why someone might have left them on the footpath. They looked new, but perhaps they were broken. Not wanting to crush them, I picked them up and inspected them.

My dogs were off playing somewhere and I could hear distant voices. The canal pathway was empty though. The sounds of the water lapping against moored boats and the birds singing made for a pleasant background sound track.

I half wondered if that was why someone had abandoned their headphones. Had they suddenly decided that the song of nature was much more interesting then whatever they had been listening too?

That was a fleeting thought though. Why would anyone do that? Maybe the headphones had been stolen or just dropped?

I looked around, searching the rough ground that edged the canal path and the line of short trees that led off into the woods. There seemed to be nothing more.

I placed the headphones back down. Leaving them for someone else to find. My thoughts lingered though and I couldn’t help but think of someone taking the headphones off, dropping them and embracing the sweet sounds of nature.

Mellifluous (Part 1) #atozchallenge

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Mellifluous; sweet and smoothly flowing sound.

It was her favourite thing to do after work. She would sit back, put the headphones over her ears and find some music to suit her mood. Sometimes it would take a few tries, but then she would hit a smooth song that would be sweet to her ears.

She would relax and let the sounds carry her far away. She’d leave everything behind; her troubles, her thoughts, her dreams, her body. She would drift on a cloud of notes, high above everything, where nothing could touch her.

And there she would find it; nirvana.

Dear Diary #28

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Dear Diary, 

It’s finally here! The first of December! And as usual Ted and I both had the day off work and we spent it decorating the house. Now, the outside and inside looks like Blackpool illuminations! There are so many different lights everywhere and it’s already making my eyes hurt and my head spinning looking at them all. I don’t care though because it’s Christmas!

I’ve been blasting themed music all day and singing along to most of them. When were putting the lights and decorations up at outside, I brought the speakers out with me and let the music drift into the street. Ted said it was a good job most of the neighbors were at work or they’d be complain about the noise! Let ’em I said. The shops do enough blasting songs as it is, why can they get away with it and not me?

The tricky part was setting up the tree. Every year I say we need a new one and Ted rolls his eyes and says this one is good enough. It looks even more scrappy this year. Some fake pines came off in my hands and it looked so small and depressed in the corner. Once the lights were on it, the tinsel, the baubles and those other decorations it didn’t look so bad. I’m thinking though come the end of year sales I’m going to buy a new one.

After it was done, I sat on the floor and sighed deeply. Ted asked what was wrong and I brought up the whole baby issue again. I want so badly to see ornaments saying baby first Christmas danging from the tree. Followed by the things they’ve made, which look crap but you put them on anyway because your kid made it. I want to hang a third and maybe a fourth stocking with our own. I want to buy toys and games and fun kiddie things. Most of all though, I want to share the magic with Christmas with them. Give them memories they can never forget.

Ted did his normal it’s okay and we will get there speech. But we’ve tried so hard this year and nothing. Not even a false reading on any of the tests! It’s shocking that I tried so hard not get pregnant all those years we dated and the first few we were married and now when the time is right, nothing! There’s time I know, but still….I’m ready and next year I hope we can finally hang that third stocking.

Hunger

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Brian was so hungry, he could eat anything. Clutching the steering wheel, he drove down the dark motorway whilst licking his lips. At the moment, he was stuck out here with just the shadows of the trees and the glow of a farm house light in the distance. Soon though, he knew there’d be a rest stop and he could get something to eat.

He tapped the steering wheel and tried to listen to the soft music coming from the radio to distracted himself. His mind popped with images of beef burgers, fries, huge slabs of cooked meats and piles of crisp vegetables. Brian’s stomach groaned and he felt that if he didn’t eat soon he’d go mad.

His headlights flashed over a sign and he breathed a sigh of relief. There was a service stop a few miles away.

‘Soon, soon, soon,’ he told himself.

He sped up, taking the car over the speed limit, but out here in the middle of nowhere, close to midnight no one would see. He clutched the wheel tighter, so his knuckles turned white and even though his eyes were fixed on the road, he was no longer seeing clearly. He had to eat. He could feel the urge consuming him and riding over everything else.

The turn off came up and he yanked the car over violently. The wheels squealed then settled as he slowed down. Brian went through the parking lot and pulled up close by the door. He got out, locked the car and hurried inside. Warm lights and the pleasant smell of food filled the air.

He went to the first food place and got a burger, fries and a coke. Sitting down, he tried to contain the drool that was filling his mouth, but as he unwrapped the burger and bite into it, he felt wetness on his face. Brian moaned with pleasure into the bread and meat. He swallowed then finished the thing in two bites.

Not even bothering to wipe his mouth or fingers, he wolfed down the fries. They were gone in a few moments and he was left with the taste of salt and potato on his tongue. He picked up his drink, took off the lid and gulped that down like a man starved of water in a desert.

Brian sat back and wiped his hands and face. He felt better and the urge was slowly fading. He shut his eyes and for a few moments just sat there, patting his stomach. Then the hungry rose again, demanding more meat.

He got up, abandoning his tray and walked quickly to another fast food place. There he ordered a chicken burger, more fries, sides and a large coke. Sitting down again, he began eating. The urge was so great, it was the only thing he could think of. The burger tasted good, even better then the first and the fries were crispy, just how he liked them. He finished eating and drowned his mouth in the fizzy drink.

He burped loudly and threw his head back. The hungry began to fade again. He rested, but it only lasted for a few minutes. Getting up, he stumbled into the small shop and picked up random packets of sweets and snacks. He went to the till and dumped it all on. He swayed drunkenly and waved off the shop assistant’s questions. He paid with his card, grabbed as much as he could carry and went back to his table.

There he stuffed himself full of sweets, chocolate and savory snacks. It all felt so good and couldn’t get enough of it. He had to have more!

He looked up, deciding were to go next and saw that people were staring at him. All the employees of the service building and a handful of other late night travelers were watching him closely. He noticed some of them whispering to each other then turning away as they saw him watching them.

For a few moments, Brian came back to himself, what’s happening here? What am I doing? Then the hungry crashed in again. He hurried up and into the shop once more. This time not even caring what he eat, he tore items off the shelves and began opening things.

‘Wait! You can’t do that! Stop! You need to pay!’

Voices were shouting all around him, but he ignored them and carried on. His mouth was full of so much and he wanted to cramp everything in at once.

‘He’s gone mad! Someone phone the police!’

Hands grabbed him and Brian swung to hit them away. A fist crunched into his nose and he tasted blood. He spit out the mouthful of mixed food he had and reached for the hand that had hit him. Wrapping his hands around that strong arm, he brought the skin to his mouth and bit down.

Screams filled his ears, blocking everything else out, but all Brian could sense was the taste of flesh and blood in his mouth. It felt so good and finally he was satisfied.

The Last Humans

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The humans glanced out of the cage as the aliens passed. Unlike the Earth zoos in which the animals had been behind metal and glass, the last humans were behind an almost clear force field. Nor where they roaming though fields and trees, they had ‘mock’ houses and large gardens styled on what was known to be how the last earthlings lived in.

There were twelve of them all together. An old woman, who would smile and wave at the aliens from a rocking chair. Three children who would play in the gardens and staring questionably back. A baby, who was a fascinated by all, but not when he was crying. The rest were young and middle-aged men and women who lived a quiet life which to them was all they had ever known.

The humans were given enrichment and the aliens watched them in wonder. The children were given toys – stuffed fabric in animal shapes, puzzle games and wooden blocks. The adults were given art supplies, cooking equipment and exercise machines. The keepers wanted them to live as naturally as possible and enjoyed researching old earth pass times.

Today, the last humans had received a mixture of instruments and music players. The adults showed little interested, but the children enjoyed ringing the bells and blowing the trumpets. Finally though, the oldest man took up a guitar and began playing it. The others gathered around and soon form their own band.

The aliens were delighted. Humans were deeply mysterious after all.

 

Music

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Music speaks to my soul. Every note holds an emotion that resonates within me and is released as they are played together. I can lose myself within every song and feel the weight of every word. Or even if there are no words and it’s just the tinkling of a bell, I can still make out what that person playing it is trying to say.

It’s always been my gift. A replacement for being born blind.

Stormy

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The sky was alive. The white lightening shot across grey clouds then disappeared. Thunder rumbled, booming so loudly that everyone was deafened. Rain drops the size of golf balls bounced along the pavement. The traffic stopped and the sound of the storm grew louder. I tried to look out of my windows and I double checked my mirrors, but I couldn’t see the reason everyone had stopped.

Ignoring my messy, tried self in the mirror, I hoped that whatever was causing the jam went away fast. I just wanted to get home, get out of my receptionist clothes and into PJs. Then have some soup and green tea before crawling into bed. Letting down my chocolate colored hair, I shook it out then tied it back up again.

The windscreen wipes battered the rain away, but it was no good and I could hardly see outside. I put the handbrake on and keeping one hand on the wheel, switched my CD music to the radio. I skipped through a few, but then found one that was going through the hourly news.

‘Traffic reports are coming in as many roads have flooded and road accidents have happened. If you don’t need to go out stay in doors as this storm is set to stay awhile. However, it should clear up in the early hours of the morning, but tomorrow is staying wet and windy,’ the clipped female voice said through the speaks.

I sighed and rubbed my head. A car horn blared, though the driver choose the wrong moment as the thunder sounded over him. I looked up, searching for the lightening and then I saw it. The bright forking flash was just above the roof of a pub opposite and the light was spread really far across that part of sky.

The thunder rumbled and I swear I felt it vibrating through my small car. The lightening flashed again, making me jump. My hair stood on end and my eyes couldn’t leave the spot right above the pub roof. The lightening stuck again. The jagged white light seemingly taking over the sky as multiply forks came together.

I blinked the blindness away and looked hard at the rear of the car ahead of me. I could just make out the red glowing lights through all the rain. I stopped my windscreen wipers, noticing they weren’t even working now. Some rap song was playing, but the voice of the singer and the beating music were lost to the sound of thunder.

I turned the radio off and put my hands into my lap. It was going to be a long evening and my plans of PJs, soup and bed were on hold whilst I rode out the storm.

The Train Station (Part 6)

Train Station

Bridget returned to the train station the next day. Nothing had changed, expect for the people. As she walked along to the coffee shop, someone was playing the piano. Slipping her headphones off, she heard the end notes of a song that sounded like it came from a Disney movie. Trying to figure what it had been, she went into the shop and joined the queue.

It was busy today. The smell of coffee drawing everyone in and the sight of snacks tempting even the strong willed. Bridget fiddled with her headphones, wanting to put them back on but knowing if she did that it would be her turn to order. So, she fell into people watching without really meaning too.

The old man in front of her was holding his glasses to his eyes and looking at the menu. He was leaning slightly on the handle of a suitcase, though trying to act like he was not needing any support. His skin was tanned and wrinkly and there was golden wedding band on his finger. he was wearing cool, loosing fitting cotton clothes and comfy shoes that sort of looked like slippers, but could not have been. He was also muttering the menu under his breath.

Leaving him and looking further down, Bridget saw four other people, one of whom person  seemed to be holding up the line as they could not make up their mind. Bridget started with him, noticing the blue suit he was wearing and the neat hair cut. She thought for a second, she reconsidered him, but then he turned and he was a stranger.

After him were three people waiting for their drinks. They were all woman and two of them seemed to know each other. Bridget could not get a clear view, but she thought they sounded like they were from London. The third woman was wearing a bright summer dress and looking unhappy. Or maybe she just really needed some coffee.

‘Hi, can I take your order, please?’

Bridget snapped around to the man behind the counter and said the first think to come into her head, ‘a caramel latte please.’

‘Size?’

‘Medium with cream,’ she added.

The man nodded and told her the cost. Bridget handed the money over and went to join the small group of people waiting. Once she had her drink, she hurried outside and grabbed any empty chair she could. Sitting down opposite the teenage girl who had let her have the chair, Bridget relaxed.

She looked around the station, hoping to spot Drew or Sas or someone else she had recorded in her notebook. The people before her seemed alien. They were hurrying about in that way she had  become use to, heading to the trains or out of the station. The hum of voices mixed with the sound of trains and also the background sounds of the city that the strong wind was blowing in. The smell of coffee, mingled with engine oil, people and fast food.

Bridget wrapped her hands around her coffee cup and wondered why she had thought she’d ever see them all again. The train station was just a gateway for these people. They came from their homes or places of work, went to wherever they were going in the city then headed back again. Or the other way around. She sighed and without thinking of it dipped a finger into the whipped cream on top of her coffee and licked it off.

The teenage girl soon left, not saying anything else to her, even if she had seen Bridget licking the cream and sipping burning latte nosily. Bridget drew out her notebook and pen. She glanced around, sadly and tried to pick out someone from the crowd.

She just could not do it though. Her head was filled with a vision of those two men meeting and hurrying off. Their story had to be told and somehow she was the one who had to do it.