Boots #FridayFictioneers

I came across the boots whilst digging at the bottom of my new garden. They were just sat on the low wall as if waiting for their owner to come back. I glanced around but there was nobody, only me and the birds.

The boots had been out here for awhile also the toes were wrapped in duck tape. How strange! I had a flash of the fairy tale about elves mending shoes and laughed. Perhaps someone would come back for the boots soon enough? I decided to leave them be.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/05/16/18-may-2018/ with thanks).

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First Sunrise #TwittingTales

I embraced the dark, cold theater. Feeling secure despite many people nearby. Tampering down excitement, the pictures came to life, real but yet not real; moving and talking in full colour. Then, I saw the sun rise in all her glory for the first time in a hundred and twenty years.

(Inspired by https://katmyrman.com/2018/05/15/twittering-tales-84-15-may-2018 with thanks).

Blur #FridayFictioneers

Everything was blurred and Holly couldn’t focus on anything. The party had spilled on to the street, the music drifting away into the night. She felt dizzy and sick, so sat on the curb and shut her eyes. She wanted to go home but she wasn’t sure how to.

Someone pulled Holly up and bundled her into a taxi before she could fight. She slummed into the seat, feeling like she was at sea. Then she was falling into bed and overcome by the deepest of sleeps.

In the morning, she had no idea what had happened.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/05/09/11-may-2018-2/ with thanks).

Ink #1linerweds

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It was hard to tell what shapes the ink blots were, it depend on how creative he was feeling.

(Inspired by; https://lindaghill.com/2018/05/09/one-liner-wednesday-ink with thanks).

To The Clock #FFfAW

He’d always been on time before so where was he today? I checked my watch and looked out of the window again. The street was empty but he was normally walking past heading to work right now.

He looked so handsome in his black business suit with the wind ruffing his blond hair and his still sleepy face.

Perhaps, he had finally noticed me watching him and decided to take a different route? I should’ve tried to talk to him sooner but it’s hard to tell a stranger you’ve fallen in love with them.

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/fffaw-challenge-166th with thanks).

Not There #writephoto

There was someone on the stairs. I pointed at the strange dark shape and said one of the few words I could, ‘ogog!’ Look!

Nanny didn’t pause but carried on taking me upstairs in her arms.

I pointed again, waving my hand more and wiggling against her. I had a bad feeling about the dark figure that was coming out before us. I cried  and tried saying whatever I could but Nanny hushed me and held my waving hand.

We passed the ‘shadow man’ and I felt a cold wave like a winter wind brushing against me. I think I saw a smile on the face, but it was hard to make out. Then the coldness and the man was gone. I twisted and looked over Nanny’s shoulder but there was nothing on the stairs.

And that was how it all began.

It was strange for a child to avoid their nursery but I always tried too. I hated going up the stone staircase to the attic at the top where my toys were because I knew on the tenth step lived the shadow man. It always felt icy cold on that step, day or night, summer or winter.

Nobody believed me about him. Nanny said it was my imagination. My maid, Martha, told me it was just shadows. The housekeeper, Mrs Williams, claimed it was a drift coming from the window. My father declared it was a trick of the light. My mother scoffed then ignored me again as she always did.

So, I stopped talking about him and tried to ignore him too. It was hard because he always seemed to be there. I would have to climb the staircase at some point during each day; after lunch or after my lessons or when my mother had a party and she didn’t want me to be seen.

Pausing at the bottom, I gather the long puffy skirt of my dress and the white underskirt up to reveal the matching colour satin or silk slippers before climbing. Sometimes someone else would be with me; Nanny, Martha or Mrs Williams but as I got older they would send me alone.

On the ninth step, I would stop and look at the tenth. There was nothing making it different from all the other twenty-one steps but in the shadows next to the banister a darker shape lingered there. If I stayed long enough, I’d be able to make out the figure of a man. He was taller then father, dressed in a suit and had long hair tied back with a ribbon. His other features were harder to make out; his face was blurred by black mist but he had eyes, a nose and a mouth that always smiled at me.

I plunged through the coldness, holding my breath then raced up the rest of the stairs. At the top, I would peer down but there was never anything there. I would go into the nursery, close the door and try to play with my dolls, rocking horse, tea-set and jigsaw puzzles. When I grew bored or tried, I would climb into the window box and read one of my many books. Until Nanny or Martha would come up to either lit the lamps or take me to bed.

He would be there, awaiting on the tenth step. Stronger outlined in the night but still blurred and blending with the shadows. He would watch me and smile. I tried not to look but I knew what he was doing all the same. He never did anything else but I think that’s what made me most afraid of him. I hoped he was just stuck there with no power, but who was to really know?

Long after I left my parents house, got married, moved into a new house and had children of my own, the shadow man still haunted me. Who was he? What did he want? When I could not sleep or was bored, I would try to find out but I never got any answers.

Then one day my daughter pointed something out on the stairs leading to the nursery. I looked and saw the shadow man standing on the tenth step, awaiting us.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/05/03/thursday-photo-prompt-ascent-writephoto with thanks).

Doors #twitteringtales

Seven doors; six things that would kill me, only one that would free me. I had reached the final part in this biased life or death ‘game show’ which was a reality in my country. I choice the middle one. Grabbing the handle, I opened the door and faced my destiny.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/05/01/twittering-tales-82-1-may-2018/ with thanks).

Yestreen #atozchallenge (Part 2)

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Yestreen; during yesterday evening. 

Finishing the washing up, I moved on to drying. I heard my wife moving around and it sounded like she was tidying the dinning room. I really hoped she was going to go out soon, I needed to phone Bob, Bill and Jim. My memory from yesterday evening was hazy and I needed them to confide in.

Putting the dried plates, cutlery and tea things away, I chased down the idea to question my wife about today’s activities. She was suspicious about me enough. I turned off the radio and went into the dinning room to get my newspaper, I hadn’t finished reading it. My wife had moved it and herself into the sitting room.

I settled into my favourite armchair and took the newspaper from the side table where she had placed it. The TV was on some drama show my wife liked and she was looking through her small diary. I turned the newspaper pages loudly and buried myself once more in the articles.

‘Perhaps,’ my wife said slowly, ‘I’ll go and visit the vicar’s wife. Though, everyone else is probably doing that. Their daughter was in my school, you know and I am a key member of the village council now.’

I nodded, tried of her reminding me about that.

‘Are you going to the allotment?’ she asked sharply.

‘What, darling?’ I asked, lowering the paper.

‘The allotment, dear. Are going today?’ my wife pressed.

‘Yes, yes!’ I cried, she had just given me a great idea and the perfect cover.

‘I’m not deaf,’ she tutted.

‘No, sorry, love. I had forgotten you see…I was going to show the lads my…erm…lettuces! I should give ’em a bell and remind them,’ I added.

Tossing my newspaper down, I hurried to the phone and called them one after the other. Bill, Bob and Jim were all confused at first but I talked them into it without giving away anything. Then I hurried to change and gather my things whilst trying to keep yesterday evening out of my head.

‘I’m off then, dear,’ I called from the front door.

‘Here,’ my wife called from the kitchen before hurrying down the hallway.

She give me a thermos of tea and a plastic box containing sandwiches.

‘Remember, be back before five. I’m cooking lamb chops,’ she stated.

We kissed goodbye and I left quickly. I hurried down the street, caught the local bus and went to the edge of the village. Getting off, I walked down the lane to the allotments’ gate. It was unlocked and as I walked to my patch, I could see a few other people moving about. Luckily, they were all too far away to over hear me.

I unlocked the wooden garden gate and stepped into my fenced allotment. In neat rows where growing all kinds of veg. I walked up down, checking them in the glowing sunny day.

‘Just a little water,’ I mused.

Soon after I’d done, that my friends arrived. We greeted each other and showed them the few things that were really coming up now.

‘What is that about really, Gerald?’ Bob asked.

‘The news this morning,’ I whispered, ‘did you see it?’

‘Of course! The whole village knows about the murdered vicar!’ Bill said loudly.

‘Hush!’ I hissed, ‘look, I don’t remember much, so I wanted to know if any of you saw anything in the church.’

They fall silent in thought.

‘We heard a scream, a thud and someone running out the other door,’ I said to jog their minds.

‘Yes, then we ran the other way,’ Bill put in with a shrugged.

‘We thought we’d be caught too, remember,’ Jim added.

‘I was too drunk,’ Bob announced with a scrunched up face.

‘And we didn’t…None of us saw the vicar?’ I asked.

They shook their heads.

‘We going to the police?’ Bill questioned.

We all looked shiftily at each other.

‘Why? What can we tell them?’ Bob cut in.

‘I don’t know….That we heard something and saw a figure but we didn’t know what had happened?’ I suggested.

‘Then they’ll want to know why we didn’t check the place out,’ Jim replied.

‘And what we were doing there,’ Bill tagged on.

‘Maybe, we should keep mum,’ Bob spoke out.

There was a muttering of agreements.

‘If they ask though…?’ I broke in.

‘Then…we weren’t there,’ Bill declared, ‘we were in the pub and everyone there can confirm that. When we left we dropped Bob off then went our separate ways.’

I flashed back to this morning. I’d rather face down a policeman then my wife.

‘So we agree then?’ Jim said.

We agreed.

‘Look at those clouds,’ Bob spoke, ‘don’t like the look of ’em.’

Looking up, I saw there was a bank of dark grey clouds rolling in. The sun seemed to have dimmed too. There wasn’t meant to be any rain today, but it seemed no one had told the clouds that.

‘I’m off,’ Bill said, ‘I’ve left Molly with the grandkids.’

‘I should mow the lawn before it rains,’ Jim spoke next, ‘Anne’s been getting on my nerves about it.’

‘I..got…’ Bob trailed with a scratch of his head.

‘It’s fine. See you all later,’ I said and waved everyone off.

Watching them all leave, I wondered if we had done the right thing. But what would we really told the police? And surely, because we all intoxicated they couldn’t really take our word? I shuffled around the bed where my carrots were, debating what to do.

‘Did we really witness a murder?’ I muttered.

I tried hard to recall what I’d seen but it was all shadows and dust. Deciding to go home, I finished my tea and packed everything up. As I waited for the bus, spots of rain fell. It seemed I had left just in time. My thoughts were still stormy like the sky when I got on the bus then off it at home.

My wife wasn’t in, I guessed she was still out visiting the poor vicar’s wife. I put the TV and lamps on then sit in my armchair. I couldn’t settle though. Finally, I reached for the phone and called the local police station.

‘Hello, I’d like talk to someone about the vicar’s murder….I have some information.’

Yestreen #atozchallenge (Part 1)

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Yestreen; during yesterday evening. 

‘This says he was killed yesterday evening,’ came my wife’s voice from, behind the newspaper.

I grunted, shuffled my own paper and turned the page.

‘Up at that old church in the glen!’ she added.

Grunting again, I reached around and felt for my teacup. My fingers clinked against the bone china and I groped for the handle. Finding it, I raised the cup and brought it to my lips, taking a few mouthfuls of tea.

‘Dear? Weren’t you up there the other night?’ my wife asked in a pondering voice.

I chocked on my tea little then coughed loudly to cover it up. Setting my teacup back on it’s saucer and my newspaper down beside it, I looked at my wife. She was looking fine in her Sunday best dress which she had worn to church earlier. Her grey hair was curled tightly and pinned up. There was a puzzled expression on her wrinkled face and a demanding look in her blue eyes.

‘What? Er, no. Course not. No where near!’ I spluttered.

Her face hardened, turning into the pinched and knowing look she had been famous for as the headmistress of the girl’s high school years ago.

I felt a wave of guilty school boy in my belly. There was no lying to my wife. I had to be careful now.

‘Oh, maybe we did a little,’ I said, trying to wave it all a way.

‘What did you do?’ she asked sharply.

I shrugged before replying, ‘just stayed at The Woodsman pub, talking and drinking. Played some darts, arranged that golf rematch with Bill. Then four of us went for some fresh air and we took Bob home. You know, he lives close to there…’

I smiled and picked up my teacup again. Dropping my eyes to the small table as I drank, I saw the reminds of our Sunday breakfast; greasy plates, empty toast rack, jar of jam, bottle of brown sauce, the teapot with it’s knitted cosy on, the small jug of milk and the sugar bowl.

My wife ruffled her newspaper again and looked down at it, ‘no details of how he died,’ she muttered under her breath, ‘police still investigating and asking for witness….Who would kill a vicar?’ she said loudly.

‘No idea,’ I answered and got to my feet.

I began cleaning the table, avoiding my wife’s staring eyes. Gathering up the plates and other things on the tray, I went into the kitchen. I put things away then began washing up. My wife had left the radio on and there was some song from the sixties playing. I hoped she didn’t come in here and went out instead. I tried to remember if she was visiting anyone today.

Washing the plates, my thoughts turned to yesterday evening. I hadn’t told her the whole truth. We had been up in the church, we had all been drunk and fancied a laugh. It had been Bob’s idea really, he had a spare key to the door but it had been Ernie who’d come up with the ‘joke’.

At the wooden front door though, we had heard voices shouting, a scream then a thudding noise from within. Bob had flung open the door and we had piled in to see a shadowy figure fleeing through the back door.

To be continued…

Runnel #atozchallenge

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Runnel; a small stream. 

The largepainting had always hung in the guest bedroom of my adopted grandparents house. The girl in the frilly red dress was their ten year old daughter, who had died a two years later. She was playing in a runnel which ran through an spring dappled woods.

‘She’s catching fairies,’ gran said, ‘she always loved doing that.’

That use to fascinate me as a child and when I couldn’t sleep, I would study the painting for the fairies. I never saw any though. As an adult the painting still interested me and I guess that’s why my grandparents left it to me when they passed.