Yes #3linetales

three line tales, week 121: together for yes

The nightclub was called Yes and I wasn’t sure why but the story of having to say ‘yes’ to everything that my best friend spun was wrong.

I mean, I was fine with strange men buying me drinks on my big three-one birthday but I wasn’t about to let any of them take me back to their beds!

I knew how to have a good time but not to over do it, as we left I decided that Yes wasn’t really my scene, Satan’s Halo was more my place and the men were much more to my taste there.

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/05/24/three-line-tales-week-121/ with thanks).

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Lisztomaina #atozchallenge

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Lisztomania; the need to listen to music all the time. 

She couldn’t bear not to listen to music, it was the only thing that kept the tinnitus away. At night she always fell asleep listening to smoothing music; rain falling, bells chiming, the calling of whales. During the day, she had the radio on or the TV set to a music channel.

She had to work from home as she couldn’t cope being anywhere else. The office wasn’t happy though, so she left and set up her own handmade craft business. She sold scarfs, baby clothes, toys and everything else it took her fancy to make. She was a lot happier.

Hopeful Rest (Part 2)

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I came back around to the start of the graveyard and looked out once again. I could see the tracks I’d made in the long grass. My brain puzzled over that same last line and I tried to shrug it off as nothing but there was something here! There had to be a reason why it said ‘we hope they have gone to rest’ on all the headstones.

A rumble of thunder sounded over head, blocking out the music from my headphones for a few seconds. I looked up at the sky and saw it darkening with thick clouds. Time to go home. Going back the way I’d come, I put the route into my mind map. Rain began to fall and I pulled up my hood and hurried on.

Luckily, the storm held off until I had reached a place to shelter. I’m not a fan of rain or storms. I entered the little cafe and sat down at an empty table. It was busy as it seemed other walkers had been caught out by the rain too and huddled inside. I looked over to the small pocket like window and saw a flash of lightening.

I got a cup of tea and a slice of cake. My mind worrying that they might ask me to leave if I didn’t order something. I moved tables to this little one in in a back corner which had a huge bookcase towering over it. I watched other people looking out of the windows and heard them commenting on the sudden storm. The thunder was super loud and I’d kept my music on but I could hear the rumbles over the techno beats.

Forty minutes later and the storm still hadn’t stopped. The rain was now lashing at the windows and the wind threatening to blow the place down. I sighed and hating myself, I call my mum to pick me up and drive me home. At least, I got home safe and dry and had a chance to ask her about the graveyard.

‘I think once there’d been a village there,’ she replied, ‘but I don’t really remember. Gran would know.’

The storm raged most of the night. Highly unusual for England. I slept on and off, my thoughts drifting back to the gravestone and that inscription. Finally at around midnight, I got up and turned on my computer. With just the noise of the storm and the PC fans in the background, I researched the place.

There was little to be found. There had been a village, built for the servants and their families who worked in a manor house close by in the mid 1800’s but it had been bombed in World War 2 by a lost German plane.

Disappointed, I went back to bed and next morning got up and went to see my gran. She lived a few doors down from us. She had been born in this town and never left. If anyone knew about the graveyard and lost village it would be her.

I used my key to her house and let myself in, calling out to her as I opened the door. The smell that hit me was a strong reminder of childhood; mints, faded tobacco smoke, dying flowers, coal fire and old things. I walked into the living room and found her there, in her favorite arm chair, watching TV.

‘Hello, gran,’ I said and hugged her.

She patted my arm, ‘hello, Neil. It’s so nice to see you. Cup of tea?’

‘Sure.’

I helped her up and give her my arm as we walked into the kitchen. Once the tea was made and the biscuits gotten out, we went back into the living room and I started with my questions.

‘I found an old graveyard yesterday, out in the moors and all the headstones had the same last line on them; We hope they have gone to rest. Mum said there was once a village up there. Do you remember it?’

Gran thought for a good few minutes before replying, ‘yes. I never want there. Only heard about it.’

‘It got blown up in the war,’ I added.

‘Yes. That’s what all the stories said but we always thought differently.’

I paused and waited for her to go on.

‘There was some kind of disease, more like a plague, that everyone in the village had. No one knows where it came from. Some say the manor family had it and passed it on to the servants, who then passed it on to their families. Or perhaps, one of the servant’s families had it. It was called The Restless Plague.’

‘The internet said nothing about that,’ I said aloud.

‘No one said anything about it,’ Gran cut in, ‘we were not allowed too, but everyone knew not to go to the village or the manor house.’

‘So everyone died of this plague?’ I asked thoughtfully.

‘That was always the story. You see, it wasn’t a normal plague. Once a person had it they carried on living but they were different. They weren’t all together there,’ she said with a tap to her head, ‘when they weren’t working or sleeping, they would wander around a lot.’

I frowned, not fully understanding. I had another biscuit and a few more sips of hot tea.

‘I saw some of ’em a few times. They’d just be standing, staring at nothing or shuffling along not going anywhere. Everyone was told to keep away, lest you caught the plague too. I saw this one man, once, dressed up like a farmer and he was just moaning at a tree. Another time, there was this child screaming and screaming, until she was carted away,’ Gran said with a shake of her head.

I couldn’t think of any straight questions to ask, my brain was trying to process all of this.

‘Thank goodness they’ve all gone now,’ Gran spoke out, ‘more tea, pet?’

‘No, thanks. What about the headstones, gran?’

‘They all had to be buried in another place. No one wanted them at our church.’

‘And those words? We hope they have gone to rest?’ I pressed.

‘They had no rest in life so maybe they’d find it in death? Who knows…..I’ve some angel cake left,’ gran said getting up,’ You want some? You love angel cake, just like your mum.’

She hobbled to the door then paused and said, ‘there’s a good boy. No more talk about this now.’

I nodded and sipped more tea. My brain felt better that the puzzle had now been solved. I part of me was eager to find out more but what else was there to say?

Hopeful Rest (Part 1)

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Some days, I just mindless walk whilst listening to music. It’s a habit that comes from when I was a teenager and just had to get away from my family. I was so anger and upset all the time back then and I couldn’t talk properly to anyone about it because I didn’t know how to. Being autistic didn’t help either.

It still doesn’t, but at least things have become a little easier. I like my job as an IT assistant at a large office. People come to me with their PC problems and I fix it. Though the world still has a habit of getting on top of me.

I was wandering to cool off after a bad day at work, listening to classic Linkin Park albums on my phone when I came across the old stone gate and fence. I stopped and checked for any signs telling me not to trespass etc, it’s important to pay attention to those things. There didn’t seem to be any and now I had stopped, I realised I wasn’t sure where I was.

Around me, thick trees and bushes blocked out most of the light. The path I was on was overgrown and it seemed nothing had been here recently. I was far from any road or house, in the middle of the moors. There had been something man-made here once and nature had claimed it back.

Getting lost had never scared me, my autistic brain didn’t really understand emotions or feelings. I get them sure, but not on the same level as everyone else. Also, if you wanted to be away from people you had to get lost sometimes.

I went through the gap were a wooden gate once had been and found myself on a fading path heading upwards. There were piles of stones dotted around, all of which had fallen off the wall. Past the trees lay an open, tangled snarl of a clearing and popping up from the super long grass and trails of ivy were headstones.

Counting them slowly, I came to about thirty in total, though there was probably more hidden in the grass. So, a graveyard then. I couldn’t see a church poking above the treeline, maybe if there’d been one it was long since gone. I didn’t give much other thought to the hows and the whys. I liked burial places, they were often quiet and didn’t have that many living people about.

I walked to the first row of headstones and tried to read them. Weather, age and moss made it difficult. I traced some letters and numbers with my fingers and got a few of them. I tried to clear the stone, interested to see the date on it. 1879 seemed to be it. The last line on the stone was clear to read, as if someone had gone to great lengths to make it stand out; We hope they have gone to rest.

I moved on to the next which like the first was a plain arched shape. The inscription once again was faded but at the end were those same words again. I went down the row, looking at each headstone carefully, but they were all too hard to read expect for that repeating last line.

There was an odd sound to those words my brain realised. I had seen many epitaphs but that was just different. Who was ‘we’ ? The family? and why ‘hope’ for something that was true? I don’t really get why people do things sometimes.

I walked around the other gravestones. Some of them were clearer then others and I got the sense this resting place was for members of a small village that might now be lost to history. The earliest date I found was mid 1800’s and the most recent 1930’s close to the start of the Second World War. On all of them though were the same last words; We hope they have gone to rest.

To Be Continued…

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.

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.