Chapel Keys

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It had been a long day of spreading God’s message, but the two Mormon men were still happy. As they walked down the street, dressed in their fine suits, back to their rented apartment they were tried but still prepared to greet anybody who crossed their path.

A clunking sound and clattering of metal on metal made them pause. They glanced down and saw they had just walked over a rain grid. The tallest one patted his pockets and came to a realisation.

‘The chapel keys! They’ve fallen out of my pocket!’  he declared.

‘Double check,’ the other suggested.

The first did then shook his head and looked down into the gloom of the drain pipe.

‘We’ll have to get them,’ the second replied.

With a nod to each other, they hurried to their apartment were they gathered torches, ropes and buckets. Heading back, they removed the grid, which was heavy and shone their torches down.

A small stream of  dark, dirty water was running by and the keys on their long thin rope could just be seen underneath.

The Mormons quickly set to work. They tied ropes to the handles of the buckets and lowed one down at a time to try and scoop the keys up.

A heavy set man walking his small white dog passed by them.

‘Lost something have ya?’ he asked.

The Mormons nodded and the first one replied, ‘yes.’

‘Good luck,’ the man answered and walked away with his dog.

Setting back to work, they brought up bucket after bucket of sewage water but none contained the keys. Desperately, they tried to think of another plan, but nothing else other than praying came to their tried minds. So, they carried on.

Twenty minutes later, the man came back with his dog.

‘Still at it, huh? What ya lost anyway? Car keys?’ the man questioned.

‘The keys to the chapel!’ the first Mormon replied.

The second was hauling up his bucket and looking deeply grim.

‘Oh….Not good then?’ the man asked. He seemed to be holding in his laughter.

‘Not really…’

‘What’s that?’ the second Mormon cut in as he looked at the scrum in his bucket.

The first peered over and respond, ‘it’s the keys! You got them!’ and he pulled them out.

The keys and rope were covered with something unspeakable but the Mormons were so happy that didn’t seem to bother them at all.

‘Well, goodnight,’ said the man and calling for his dog, he walked down the street, trying to still his laughter.

The Mormons tidied up as best they could then headed back to their apartment. They thanked God doubly in their prayers that night.

(Based on true events)

Twilight #writephoto

 

Twilight was the most dangerous part of the day. As the sun set and the moon rose the portal between worlds became unstable. Evil leaked through like oil into a river, covering everything it could. People hide, frightened by stories travellers told of the things that ruled the night.

 

(Inspired by: https://scvincent.com/2017/06/15/thursday-photo-prompt-twilight-writephoto/ with thanks)

The Basement (Part 5)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

The tunnel was mostly dirt held up with wooden boards and crumbing ancient bricks. I felt a chill along my back as if a spider was walking across my spine. Trying not to let my worry show, I looked at Raven. Her expression was excited and curious, her body language told me she was ready to go exploring the tunnel. My wife really loved things like this and she showed no fear when everyone else would have done.

‘Where do you think it goes, Crow?’ she asked.

‘I don’t know….Maybe we should find out later though. I’m thirsty and we have so much unpacking to do,’ I replied.

Raven turned to me, her face flashing to disappointment. She took a standing ground stance; pulling her shoulders up, holding head high and keeping straight. Turning to me, her expression became serious and calm, she was going to begin arguing with me.

‘I’m just saying,’ I said softly.

Raven was not a person you argue with. She would win with words or with fists. Having a black belt in Taekwondo made her pretty scary in a fight. Luckily, I knew how to avoid most of our arguments, having known her for twelve years helped.

‘We’re down here so we might as well,’ Raven spoke, ‘you’re not scared are you? It’s nothing just an old passage way. It’ll led to that ice house or something. We should make sure it’s secure. We wouldn’t want to get robbed or anything.’

I let the silence do the talking for me.

‘I’ll go by myself. It’s no big deal,’ Raven added.

‘It doesn’t look safe though,’ I muttered.

Raven shrugged and answered, ‘It doesn’t look that bad…I’m sure it’ll be fine. I need to know where it goes. Either you come or you don’t. I don’t care either way.’

With that, she walked in. I had no choice but to follow her because if anything happened, I’d never live it down and Raven would make sure of that.

The soil was hard packed under and around me. Someone had taken great time to make it so and it had been used lots of times over the years. Like the cellars though, the air was dry and old. This tunnel had been sealed for so long. Creeping after my wife, I tried not to let my fears get to me.

Torch light flickered over the reminds of brick walls and wooden planks that had been used to hold the soil back. Roots of dead plants and other rubbish made lines in the almost black earth. I hoped Raven was right and this was just a tunnel used to get to the ice house.

We walked for a good few minutes, just listening to each other’s footsteps, breathing and movement. There was nothing else to be heard. Thinking, I tried to come up with something to say. I could tell Raven was still tense and she was just wanting for me to light the argument bomb. I wasn’t going anywhere near it though.

‘Some adventure, huh?’ I finally said, ‘I hope this leads to more then just the ice house.
Some place cool would be good. Like the Batcave or El Dorado. What do you think, Pumpkin?’

Raven paused, her shoulders dropping as she turned to me. I fixed a smile on my face, even if it was fake.

‘I hope so too,’ she said, ‘I bet this isn’t on the blueprints.’

I forced a laugh and shook my head.

Raven smiled and turned back again. We walked for another good ten minutes or so then came to another stop.

‘I think there’s something up ahead,’ Raven pointed out.

I peered over her shoulder and saw a small door set into the end of the tunnel. I became half torn about it; wanting it to be locked and wanting it to be unlocked at the same time. I held my breath as Raven went up to it and tried the handle.

The door seemed to move a little. Raven put a shoulder to it and shoved the door rudely open. An unpleasant smell hit my nose. Before there had only been the scent of old dry earth, now this stank like rotted meat.

‘Raven….’ I uttered then had to cover my mouth and nose with my t-shirt.

She didn’t answer or look my way, she was shinning her torch through. I shuffled closer, wanting to draw her away without seeing what was there. I couldn’t help it but as I saw through the door there seemed to be nothing but an endless straight dark hole of space.

I reached a hand out for her shoulder. Raven jumped, turned to face me and lost her footing as she did so. I grabbed out for her, but my wife slipped through my fingers and fell into the darkness.

‘Raven!’ I screamed.

The sounds of a coughing fit rose from a little way below me. I shone my torch down, saw a cloud of dirt rising then spotted her. She didn’t fallen far and after a quick look around I saw there was actually some steps set before me that were half covered by soil. I raced down them, almost tripping.

‘Are you okay?’ I pressed as I reached her side.

Raven looked up at me. Her lip was bleeding and she was cover in soil. She nodded and I helped her up.

‘You didn’t fall far. There are steps, see? Where are we now?’ I gushed.

Raven began trying to clean herself up, so I cast around and tried to see in the claustrophobic blackness where we were. My  first thoughts were that we had found the ice house and were at the bottom. It was cold enough and that smell was still strong. Then my light fell on something and stayed there.

‘Raven, look,’ I whispered.

I felt her move at my side, shone her own torch over mine and gasp loudly.

Before us was large grey stone sarcophagus. It was half sunk into the soil and looked intact. A further exploration showed there were more of them and also some wooden coffins. There were too many to count as they appeared to carry on where our torch light couldn’t reach.

‘We must be under the cemetery!’ Raven cried out.

I frowned and said, ‘but why would they bury everyone together like this?’

‘No idea….Some of these must be named though.’

My wife determinedly moved off towards the first sarcophagus.

‘Wait! Be careful!’ I shouted after her.

‘I shall,’ she tossed over her shoulder.

I side stepped from one foot to the other, undecided then hurried after her.

‘No name,’ she uttered as her fingers trailed over the stone.

‘Maybe we should go….’

Raven pouted then frowned. She was torn too!

‘Listen, pumpkin. This could be dangerous. We have no idea what’s really down here or where it goes. Perhaps, we should leave,’ I pressed.

I took Raven’s hand and squeezed it. She was shaking. I hugged her gently and some of the soil transferred on to me. She breathed into my neck and wrapped her arms around me.

‘Okay,’ she voiced.

We turned towards the steps but a wooden creaking sound made us stop. I looked down, thinking we had stepped on a plank or a coffin, but there was only soil below. The creaking grew and there was no mistake the sound of a coffin lid being removed.

‘Don’t look back,’ I said for us both and I tugged Raven away.

An unmistakable human groan rose up from behind us. I felt panic rocket through me. I tugged Raven harder and broke into a run. All my senses were telling me to get out and far away.

Raven’s hand tightened on mine, I glanced to make sure she was okay and I lost my footing. I tried to keep my balance, but the ground was shaking like a small earthquake and I tumbled forward. I fell and heard my left out stretched arm go through something, then Raven dropped to the floor beside me.

‘Crow? Crow!’ she shouted, shaking my shoulders.

‘I’m okay,’ I mumbled, tasting a spot of blood in my mouth.

I eased upwards. My torch had rolled far away but the beam was shinning across what my arm had hit though. I gagged and scrambled away from the sight of the open coffin. I backed into Raven who held me down.

‘It’s okay,’ she said calmly.

But it wasn’t.

The ground was still shaking, the sounds of moaning and creaking wood were getting louder. A patch of soil close to us suddenly sprayed up as if it was a water burst. I give a little scream and Raven yelled something out.

In the gloom we both saw it; a skeleton hand raising up out of the ground….

To Be Continued…

The Basement (Part 4)

Woman in Black Walking in Hallway

(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

I awoke my wife in good time for the arriving of the pizza. I kissed her face softly and nuzzled into her, before whispering her name and gently shaking her. Raven moaned and tossed about. She’s a heavy sleepy and it takes awhile for her to come around.

‘Honey, come on,’ I whispered, ‘time to get up now.’

‘No,’ she mumbled.

‘Don’t you want to eat?’ I reminded her.

She muttered something that sounded like maybe.

I ran my hand down the fleece blanket that covered her naked body. A part of me was tempted to slip my fingers underneath and touch her soft skin. Instead, I went back to trying to wake her up.

‘I ordered pizza. It should be here soon,’ I stated.

Raven tried to pulled the fleece blanket up to block me out, but there wasn’t enough of it free as I was laying on it. She made a growling sound and twisted over. Her pretty face screwed up like an unhappy child.

‘It’s still early…’

I checked the clock and it was a few minutes to nine. So not as early as I’d first thought before.

‘Okay, I’m awake,’ Raven spoke.

I smiled and moved out of the way, ‘I’m going down to wait,’ I added.

‘I’m going to try the shower,’ she spoke as she stretched out across the bed.

I nodded and watched her get up and walk naked across the room to a door opposite the bed. It led into a nice master bathroom which wouldn’t have originally been there but the previous owners or the ones before them had created it out of what I guess had been the Lady’s dressing room or day room. It was hard to tell. After admiring Raven once more, I got off the bed, put a t-shirt on and went downstairs.

Turning on some of the lights which took a few moments to figure out, I drifted down the corridor and the grand staircase. No sooner had I reached the hallway, the bell let it a dooming dong. Hurrying, I unlocked and the door. There was as a short, Indian man with dark hair standing there carrying pizzas.

He glanced at me, struggling to keep the slight shook from his face. He mumbled the price and I handed him some notes without really checking them. My stomached had just remembered how hungry it was. I took the pizzas, sides and the free bottle of cola. He handed me my change and walked back to his little blue car that had abandoned at the bottom of the steps.

Juggling everything, I closed the door and went into the first room. The light from the hallway helped me find the table. Then I turned on the lights, sat down and began eating. The pizza tasted glorious even though it was a standard takeaway. A few minutes later, Raven joined me, wearing a plain black lacy dress and we ate our first meal in our new house. Afterwards, we went to bed fully satisfied.

In the morning, we were too excited to lay in, so we got up and spent the day exploring the house and unpacking. It was gloomy outside and it was raining heavily. The house felt cool, so we both dressed in jeans, t-shirts and hoodies. Whilst we were in the kitchen, Raven opened all the doors and began looking through them. I sat at the table sipping a glass of water and watching the rain falling.

One of the doors did led to a big utility room, another was a larder, the third was a staircase up to the first floor and want had been the servants bedrooms. Behind the fourth floor was a staircase going down.

‘What do you think is down there?’ Raven asked.

‘Cellars, I guess,’ I replied.

Raven flicked the light switch that was on the wall up and down. Nothing happened.

‘Where are the torches? I want to go down and see,’ she spoke.

I frowned into my glass of water, ‘upstairs in the bottom drawer.’

Raven nodded and padded out of the room on her mission. I had kept the torches with us in case they had been needed.

Getting up, I went to the door and took my phone out. Using the torch on there, I went down the wooden steps. They creaked under me and I kept my hand on the rail. The air smelt musty and moldy, it hadn’t been fresh for years. It was clear the last owners hadn’t used this space at all, just like a few other rooms; the third floor and the attic, they had shut them away and forgot.

One day, I would confess to Raven how I had gotten us this house and she would forgive me, but for now it was a closely locked away secret. I tried to get that thought out of my head. My wife had always been able to read me very well, especially when I was keeping something from her. Raven would never give up till she got the truth out of anyone.

Stepping off the last step, I shone my little light around. It was hard to breath down here and I couldn’t see much. They were the originally cellars of the house though and where food and wine had been stored. The lowest servants might have had rooms here as well as general storage. This first area seemed empty.

A squeal of wood from behind had me turning so fast I almost lost my balance. I saw the glare of a torch light then Raven’s voice calling my name.

‘I’m here,’ I responded, ‘it’s the cellars. Like I said.’

Raven made a pleasant O sound and came to my side. She handed me the other torch and I turned it on. Together, we made our way through the cellar rooms, most of which were empty. It seemed not even spiders had taken up residence down here, though we did find old webs in some of the nooks. There was a stacks of wood that had once been shelves, bottle racks, bits of coal and writing on the walls.

I became lost and dizzy with it all. Raven loved it; the way the shadows lingered on the walls, the guessing what might have been held in this rack, what could lay behind each door. Finally, we seemed to have entered the last room. I lent against the a wall, taking in deep breaths of stale air mixed with dust and mold.

‘This is strange, Crow,’ Raven’s voice called to me.

I looked over to where she was shining her torch light and there seemed to be a door blocked off in the wall. I walked over, thinking maybe it was just in shadow but also hoping it was nothing so that we could go back up. My mouth was dry and I was sweating even though it was cold down here.

‘Someone tried to hide this door, but look,’ Raven spoke, putting her finger tips on a worn handle made out of dark wood.

‘Maybe, they had a good reason….’ I trailed.

Raven pulled a face. Without warning, she yanked open the door and cream paint surrounding it cracked and began flaking. The door shook but didn’t swing. Before I could get the words out, she had tried pushing and the door flung open.

‘They didn’t do a good job did they?’ Raven said.

We shone our torches inside and found a long narrow corridor straightening before us.

 

To Be Continued…

Basement (Part 3)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

I wanted Raven so badly that I could have ravished her there and then. She made me walk back to the house and to our new bedroom first though. Then in typical horny Raven fashion, she pushed me on to the bed and climbed on top of me.

Her kisses were hard and desperate. She nipped at my lips and tangled her tongue around mine. Her fingers hurried to get me out of my t-shirt and jeans. Her nails scratched my bare chest and I arched up against her. I was breathing hard and fast, as if I had just been running.

I helped her wiggle out of her own clothes whilst she stayed on top of me. My hands roamed her naked body, shivers ran though me and I knew I only had seconds left to control myself.

‘Wait, wait,’ I told Raven.

Her hand was all ready working quickly between my legs.

‘I want you, right now,’ she gushed.

‘I know, but I need a -‘

‘It doesn’t matter. I want your babies, Crow Southgate,’ she cut in.

My breath caught and I looked at Raven in her love making flush. Her hair was down, all over her shoulders and back, her body was pressed against mine, hot and ready. A mixture of pleasure and determination on her face.

‘Right now? ‘Cause I just brought a house which I can barely offered,’ I stated.

Raven stopped, her hand releasing me. The expression on her face began to change and I knew the moment was gone.

‘There’s plenty of time for kids,’ I said calmly.

I eased up, making sure I stayed in connect with Raven’s skin. I went into the top drawer of the bedside table and drew out some protection. I went to hand it to Raven, but she flopped down on the bed.

I put it on myself then showered her in kisses. She responded slowly, growing disinterested. I reached her neck, I began kissing and licking her. I gently nipped my teeth across her neck and shoulder. She moaned against me and ran her fingers in my hair. I let my hands slide down and I cupped her breasts. She moaned louder and I brought my head back up and slipped my tongue into her mouth.

The misunderstanding vanished and Raven let me arrange her legs on the bed. I slide my fingers into her soft wetness and watched her slowly wiggle about. I relaxed next to her, propping my elbow up and resting my chin on my palm. I watched her face and the fluttering of her closed eye lids.

I bent down and whispered into her ear; ‘how badly do you want it?’

‘So badly,’ she breathed.

‘Tell me,’ I demanded.

Raven tossed her head back towards me and her eyes opened. She ran her tongue over her lips. She took in a slow breath, almost as if she didn’t know what to say.

‘Well?’ I breathed.

‘Do you hear that?’ Raven suddenly said.

I stopped and listened.

‘It’s a door…Or something else. It’s fine,’ I uttered.

Raven shut her eyes and quoted, ‘ ” Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,” ‘

‘We’ll get use to it,’ I added and kissed her again.

‘I want to go and see The Tempest again,’ she said.

‘I’ll take you soon….Now though.’

Raven sighed loudly and stretched her arms out.

I nuzzled into her chest and planted soft kisses on her warm skin. I felt her fingers gently running on my upper back.

‘I’m hungry, Crow,’ she muttered.

‘Sex first,’ I replied in a muffled voice as I began moving down her body.

‘Is that your reward for getting this awesome house?’ Raven asked sleepily.

‘Yes,’ I mumbled and began kissing her stomach.

I slipped my fingers between her legs again and got her excited. Climbing on top of her, I finished what she started. Though, laying there afterwards, I’m sure that wasn’t what she had had in mind when she had climbed on top of me before. Her expression was relaxed but tense.

I snuggled her, holding her close and letting her rest against me. I stroked her hair and told myself that she was just tried. We both were, it had been a long day. I couldn’t give into the dozing though and I had to know what was wrong.

‘What is it, Pumpkin?’ I whispered, using her favourite nickname.

Raven sighed deeply and she moved her head, so our eyes could met, ‘you want children don’t you, honey?’ she asked. 

‘Yes,’ I answered without pause.

‘Then why…?’

‘I just think we should settled in first. You know, make it our own, enjoy it. We finally have our own space, Pumpkin, I want to have time to take it all in and spend it with you. We’ll have a baby soon, promise,’ I answered and kissed the top of her head.

Raven breathed against me and kissed my cheek. She settled back on my chest.

‘Anyway. You only want a baby to dress up and play with. I could get you a dog to do that with,’ I added.

Raven slapped me in the chest, ‘no! That’s not true! I really want a baby. And you know I’m not keen on dogs!’

‘I know, I know.’

I nuzzled into her hair. Ignoring the tickling sensation on my face. Raven stretched her arm over my stomach then left it draped over me. Her other arm was tucked against my side but I knew she’d move it soon enough because it would go numb.

We dozed for a little while, then Raven rolled over and snuggled into the other side of the bed. I pulled a black fleece blanket over her then lay back on my side. I didn’t feel as sleepy. I thought about finding my laptop but then I remembered we needed to reconnect the internet. Instead, I found my phone and ordered pizzas and sides for later.

Resting back, I sent a few texts and listened to Raven sleeping. The house give off soft creaks, groans and clicks which sometimes made me question what the sounds were. I had that strange feeling when you stay in a new place of the unknown. Yet, the house didn’t feel cold and empty, I guess the familiarity of our things helped.

Leaving Raven sleeping, I quietly moved around the room and put more stuff away. I did think about making a start on some of the other rooms, but I knew if Raven awoke and I wasn’t there she’d complain. Setting a large black vase on the window sill I looked out.

The early night was pressing against the window. I could see the streetlamps and distant glow of building lights above the hedge and through the tree branches. The sky was above, I couldn’t see the moon. It was quiet and peaceful. A world away from the city centre and the loud apartment.

I closed the curtains and looked around the bedroom, still feeling dazed that this was finally all our’s.

To Be Continued…

No More

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The theme park had stood empty for years. The rides rusting away, nature slowly reclaiming the land back. Animals came and went, making their homes in the now forever dark Haunted House and the infamous Hall Of Mirrors. The wind played through the Big Wheel, making it rock and creak eerily. Water lapped in the lake and against the sides of the Swan Boats  and the Bumper Boats.

People sometimes came still. They vandalised what they could, took things they could sell and did dodgy dealings. Other people were more respectful. They looked, took photos and memories before leaving in peace.

The demons didn’t enjoy when the mortals invaded their space. In the daytime, they were weak and busy working to do anything about it. At night though, the demons came together and did whatever they could to make people stay away from the abandoned theme park.

To the demons this land was now theirs. People had left it, so way should they be allowed back on it? There weren’t many places left the demons could linger safely together. However, the humans kept arriving in greater numbers since the location of the place had gotten out on the internet. And now someone was bound to see one of the demons and freak out as mortals often do.

The demons decided they weren’t going to take from the humans ever again. If they banded together and made a plan to take over then it would solve a lot of their issues. Slowly, all the demons began together. Their hour was near.

Full Moon

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I lay shivering and bloody on the floor of the forest, catching my breath. Around me, the full moon night was shouting with sounds but I could now only hear half of them. I tried to focus on the moon and saw it coming in to sharper focus as well as the dusting of stars around it. I breathed deeply, smelling the pine and soil, the scent of animals and plants, but my nose was not as keen as it had been before.

I got up shakily on two legs. It always took me a good few minutes to get use to the change. I lent my hands on a tree trunk for support then when I was ready I walked out of the dense part of the forest. I headed for an old rangers’ hut that I had made into my shelter on these nights. It was too dangerous to remain the forest in this form.

I struggled through the darkness, only finding my way because I had walked this so many times before. Also, I had marked the trees with cuts which I could feel with my fingers to direct me.

I let myself into the wooden hut and turned on the light switch. A single bulb pinged on and the room lit up. There was a chair, a desk, a bed, shelves, a little kitchen area and a fire place. I took a poncho from the bed and slipped it on. It would keep this fur-less body warm.

Going to the kitchen, I checked there was enough bottled water and canned food. I always felt hungry in this form, but I had to be careful with what I could get. Trips to the camping grounds and the nearest towns were long and I often spent all night searching for things. I didn’t feel like all that walking tonight.

I went to the shelves and looked at the things I had collected there; a few books I couldn’t read, shinny stones, broken ornaments, a map, a compress and a few other trinkets. Some had been here already but the rest I had brought back with me. I took down a large book, it was falling apart, so I was gentle with it.

Setting it on the desk, I sat down and began turning the pages. There were coloured photos and drawings of animals. With what I guessed was information about them alongside. I went to the section further at the back and looked at a few pictures there. Finally, I turned to the one that I knew was me.

I sighed and touched the main photo of the grey wolf. Then I feel into wondering like I always do. Why was I cursed with this change every full moon? And why did it take this human form? Could I not be a bird or another animal?

Shutting my eyes I tried as I’d done countless times to turn into something else or even back into a wolf. But nothing happened. I had no power over this body. Closing the book, I put it back on the shelf and sat back on the bed.

I’d have to wait this out, just like I normally did on staying in nights. I lay down and dreamt of running with my pack.

Outside #writephoto

He was lost and scared as he walked through the darkness in the rain. There were lights ahead, but he couldn’t be sure what they were. He thought he felt rough stone under his fingers. He carried on walking till there was enough light to see by.

Now, he knew were he was; the back area of his home. He could see the south tower, though it was wrapped heavily in shadows. Running over, he tried not to think about how much trouble he’d be in. Maybe, he hoped, no one had missed him yet.

How many times had he been told not to play on the roof? Yet, still tonight he had gone out there and he wasn’t even sure why. Trying only to think of getting back inside and to bed, he began trying to reach the third window of the tower. It was the only way back in from this side.

He climbed up, finding it easy to hold on to the worn stones. He pressed against the window. Thankfully, it hadn’t be latched back fully. Climbing through and wiggling over the ledge he entered the staircase, leaving behind him small puddles of water on the window sill.

(https://scvincent.com/2017/05/18/thursday-photo-prompt-inside-out-writephoto/)

Werifesteria #atozchallenge

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Werifesteria; to wander longingly through the forest in search of mystery 

Walking through the trees in the dimming daylight I was careful to stay as quiet as possible. There was a beast hiding in this forest and I was determined to gather enough evidence to prove it’s existence. My heart knew it was here and my head went along with it because of all the reported sightings throughout the years.

Having done my research, I’d found the records went back to 1809. The first report had been by a miller owner. He’d been passing through the forest in the early afternoon on a autumn day to delivery flour to the next village.

He was attacked by a beast which he described later as having long brown fur, kind of like a bear but not. It was standing on two feet and had long claws and sharp teeth, both stained with blood. The beast had thrown his cart over then killed his horse and carried it off into the trees.

Of course, the surrounding village men had all searched the forest but nothing had been found. Perhaps the miller was mistake? Or lying?

I had double checked him, like I had done with all those who’d claimed attacks. He’d been a very religious man with a wife and two children, they’d been more but they had died, he earned a good enough income and had respect from many. There was no reason for his account to be wrong.

I stopped by the river and took a long drink. I also filled up both canteens that I was carrying. Looking at the sky, I knew I’d have to set up camp soon. I’d been out here for almost a week now. I hadn’t found much; a few broken trees, a large footprint that I’d dismissed as an actual bear’s and an abandoned rusting car which had been so far gone it was hard to make out what make it had once been.

I knew I was getting closer though. It had been hard to map the points of the beast’s attacks. They were scattered across the whole of the forest and of course over the years the forest had grown, shrink and moved place. The river though which was a constant feature on all maps helped.

Pulling out my map of the forest which I had written across and made dots were the attacks had happen in a colour key, I worked out where I was.

A few miles ahead was one of the areas were most of the attacks had happened. If I could make it before the light faded I could camp there and perhaps I’d see the beast! Rushing off, I crossed the river on some slippy stones and carried on walking forward.

The trees were dense and the blocked the weak light from the setting sun. I stumbled over roots and clumps of bushes. The calls of animals began to fade and the wind dropped.

Twice I checked the map and saw I was still on the right route. Night came on too fast though and I didn’t make it to the centre of the attacks, instead I had to stop on the edge. Disappointed, I set up my tent and built a small fire to warm up some soup. Then siting in the tent doorway with my lantern, I read through photocopies of the most recent beast reports.

The latest one had been only a week ago; Miss Ivy Jameson, twenty-four, had been coming home from a friend’s house and had cut through the forest to enter her back door which faced the edge of the treeline. She had heard growling but thought it only a dog.

Then something had knocked her off her feet and as she rolled, she describe a creature with long shaggy brown fur, standing on two legs with large claws. It seemed to be like a human dressed in an ape costume. Only, it wasn’t.

Ivy had survived only because she had thrown a rock at the beast eyes and dashed off towards her house. There her family and the police had searched, however nothing had been found.

I suspected the chief police officer had covered it up though. I’d heard within hours on the radio of the attack and I came straight out to it.

I found broken tree branches which made a trail away from Ivy’s house. The ground had been really disturbed, almost as if someone had tried to remove something and there were jeep tracks too.

Going further into the forest, I found that police had given up a few miles in. There were the reminds of their tape clinging to a tree trunk and fluttering in the breezy. I had walked on and found undisturbed evidence; more broken tree limbs and trodden dirt. Following that on had led me to the path I was now walking. Luckily, I had been prepared for this hunt.

I settled down for the night and as normal it took my ages to sleep. I didn’t want to waste any power though, so I lay in the dark and just listened. I like the sound of the owls and other birds, the howling and yowling of other animals and the scampering of the small rodents. I had never heard the beast nor any strange sound that could be it.

How many more days could I last? I began tallying things and came to about three days. Maybe five at a push but then I’d have to return home after. That was a disheartening thought! To be so close and to have to give up….I couldn’t do that. Suddenly feeling well awake. I got up and went outside the tent.

It was cold and damp outside now, it was drizzling and also pitch black. Not great hunting weather. Looking around, I couldn’t see anything. Ignoring the urges to grab some light, I just stood there and listened.

‘Where are you beast?’ I whispered.

The cold and rain woke me up further. I felt I was so close to seeing the beast that I almost walked off into the trees. Standing my ground, I let the minutes tick by. Then I was too wet and cold, so I went back in the tent and changed my clothes.

Getting into my sleeping bag, I lay there once again again and listened to the night. Slowly, I fall asleep, hoping that tomorrow I’d see the beast.

Somnambulist (Part 2) #atozchallenge

light-forest-trees-morning

Somnambulist; a person who sleepwalks.

As soon as they were done eating, Chase tidied up and Faith dug a paperback romance novel out and began reading it. The camping lanterns glowed softly, casting just enough light to see by. The night was growing cold though and Chase wished they had matches.

‘I’m going to check again,’ he announced as he left things to dry.

Faith looked up at him, slight confusion on her face.

‘For the matches,’ Chase explained, ‘maybe I just missed them?’

‘Okay. I’m going into my sleeping bag. To get warm,’ Faith spoke.

Chase nodded and went over to the tent. He unzipped it and began looking through the bags again. Faith brushed past him, wiggling out of her boots as she did so. Chase heard her moving things around and the air bed squeaking.

‘I know I packed them,’ he muttered.

Faith sighed and said, ‘forget it. Come to bed. We’ll keep each other warm.’

‘It’s still early,’ Chase pointed out.

‘You got any better ideas?’ she snapped.

Biting his tongue to keep silent, Chase grabbed the other lantern and arranged it next to the one Faith had brought inside, so that they had a large pool of light. He zipped up the tent and took his trainers off.

Not being a reader, he hadn’t brought anything to do and he felt too awake to sleep. He changed clothes, noticing that Faith hadn’t bothered to get out of her jeans and hoodie. Chase put on some PJs pants and an old Star Wars t-shirt then got into his sleeping bag.

‘I guess we are going home tomorrow, then?’ he asked slowly.

Faith glared at him over the top of her book, ‘Looks that way,’ she answered.

‘I’m sorry, okay? I wanted to have a break from things and money is so tight right now, I thought this would be a good idea. If I’d remembered the matches it would be fine. What else can I do?’ Chase demand.

Faith was silent for a few moments. She turned a page then put down her book to look at him, ‘I don’t know what you can do, Chase. I knew this was a bad idea from the start. What’s wrong with another weekend in anyway? I’m too tried to fight about this now. I’m going to sleep.’

‘Well, I can’t!’

‘Here then, read this,’ Faith stated and handed him her book.

She turned off the lantern next to her and rolled over.

Chase took the hint and began flicking through the book. It was a simple romance story of a lonely girl meeting a heart throb man and the two of them slowly falling in love. Chase turned back to the began and read the first few pages.

‘This is boring. How can you read this?’ Chase muttered.

Faith hushed him and snuggled more down in the sleeping bag.

‘Guess I got nothing better to do.’

Chase turned another page and read a good few chapters. The story still not grabbing him, but at least it had made him tried enough to try and sleep. Putting the book down close to Faith, he turned out the lantern and drew her into a hug.

Faith, who had been dozing on and off, shuffled about so they could be comfy together. She sighed into his arm and fell asleep soon after. It took longer for Chase, but being warm and comfy helped and he dozed off.

Chase came slowly too, fighting to stay asleep, but he didn’t make it. Opening his eyes, he looked into pitch blackness. He wondered what had awoken him then realised he had to go. Growling, he fumbled in the dark for his trainers, put them on and felt for the tent zip.

Letting himself out of the tent, Chase grabbed a lantern and went out into the woods. He turned the light on and found the nearest tree. A cold wind blew around him, stealing away the warmth from the tent. Setting the lantern down, so the light pooled around the tree roots, he relieved himself.

Collecting the lantern, he headed back into the tent. Pulling his trainers off, he turned the light off and snuggled back down with Faith. His hands sank through her empty sleeping bag.

Puzzled, he felt further to the side, but he found nothing. Chase grabbed and turned on the lantern again. Light shone down, showing him that Faith wasn’t inside the tent.

Maybe, she went out too? he thought.

Looking around, he spotted the other lantern and her boots which she clearly hadn’t taken. Chase unzipped the tent and standing on the edge, shone the lantern around. Faith wouldn’t have gone far. She clearly, trusted herself to find the way back more then he had.

She disturbed me going out, Chase thought, maybe she was so desperate she didn’t have time to grab her things? She’ll be back any moment now.

Watching out for her, Chase studied the shadows that the light was casting over the grass and trees. Trying not to think what was further out there in the darkness, he debated what to do.

Shrugging, he placed the lantern down outside of the tent, left the half unzipped and climbed back into bed. At least, Faith would be able to see the light now. Settling down, Chase fell into fitful dozing. An hour or so later, he awoke and saw Faith’s sleeping bag was still empty.

Panic floored him.

‘Faith?’ he cried out.

Scrambling, Chase put on his trainers and grabbed the other lantern. He unzipped the tent and got out. Leaving the first light as a beacon, he scouted the edge of the clearing calling his girlfriend’s name.

He heard and saw nothing.

Ploughing further into the woods, he roamed a large area. Low branches scrapped his face and arms, he stumbled over half hidden tree roots and startled small animals. He switched from shouting her name to screaming it. He tripped through a patch of brambles, feeling thorns snag on his pants. He tugged himself loose and hurried down to the river.

In the lantern light, he could see the shallow water slowly moving over large rocks. He walked downwards for a few minutes then turned and walked back up. He looked as far as he could and checked the other side of the river too. There was no sign of her or anything else that indicted she had been here.

‘Faith,’ he yelled, his voice growing horse, ‘where are you?’

Pausing, he caught his breath and tried to calm himself. Ideas about what had happened raced through his mind. Had she fallen and gotten hurt? Had someone kidnapped her? Had she really got lost in the woods?

Chase wiped his face, feeling his cheek wet with tears. He calmed himself and decided to check back at the tent. If Faith wasn’t there, he could take the car until he got signal on his phone then he could call the police. Heading back, he kept a look out, but tiredness had hit him.

Half way back to the tent, he heard the sound of voices and laughter. He stopped and listened hard. Turning to his right, he walked slowly over. The voices grew then as he got closer they fell silent. He paused then heard Faith’s voice saying something.

Crying out her name, he pushed through the undergrowth and saw Faith sit on the floor, with her back to a tree.

‘Faith? What happened? Are you okay? I’ve been looking everywhere for you!’ Chase gushed.

He knelt down before her and began checking her out. She seemed unhurt. There was a dreamily look on her face and her eyes were shut.

Chase shook her, but she didn’t respond.

‘Faith?’ he called.

He pulled her into a hard hug, feeling at a total loss. Barely holding back tears, he tried to figure things out, but he couldn’t.

‘Chase?’ a breathy voice whispered in his ear.

‘Yes?’ he said, pulling back from Faith.

‘Where are we?’

Chase looked at her. Faith’s eyes were half opening and she was struggling to stay awake and move.

‘In the woods. You left the tent and I’ve been looking for you,’ he explained.

‘I don’t remember….I was having this strange dream about fairies…’ Faith uttered.

She shut her eyes and lent against him, exhausted.

‘It’s okay. I got you now. Do you think you can get up?’

Faith mumbled something and Chase pulled her up.

‘Let’s go back to the tent. You’ll feel better soon,’ he added.

Grabbing the lantern, they slowly made their way back and once there, Chase put Faith to bed and spent the rest of the night watching over her.