Happy 3rd Anniversary to The Story Files!

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Hi everyone,

WordPress has just told me that today is The Story Files’ 3rd anniversary even though I started writing this blog in the middle of 2014. I don’t know how the dates and times work out, I’ve a disability in maths. I’m also dyslexic, so how I ended up with a love of reading and writing, I’ll never know, but I’m thankful for it.

Writing stories has been my escape and stress relief since I was a child, despite the challenges I’ve had with letters, words and grammar! I’ve always found that novels- the ones I read and the ones I write, were there for me when no one else really was. Luckily, things are different for me today but I still finding writing good for dealing with my problems.

I started writing this blog soon after a graduated from a Masters degree in Creative Writing. I had serious depression and was feeling at a lost as to what to do with my life. In doing this blog, I forced myself to write a story a day, thus giving me an active thing to do each day no matter what. This and also rediscovering a love for crafts, helped me get over the depression.

Now though, I’m in the habit of writing stories for this blog. I enjoy it and I know for an hour or so each day I can escape into writing. if I can’t make time for it, I work it into whatever I’m doing during the day; I’ll write at lunch and my breaks, sometimes even when I’m meant to be working! Sometimes though, I don’t write a story everyday because I might be away for a weekend etc and it’s good at that time to give my mind a small break. In that case, I’ll write the number of stories needed on other days and that helped to mix things up for me and allows the creativity to grew further.

Originally, I started this blog to give myself some space. I didn’t care who read it or liked or commented because that wasn’t important to me. Over the years, that has changed and now I love feedback in anyway. It’s important to help my writing improve and I feel so happy every time someone lets me know they’ve liked a story and or they take the time to comment to tell me so.

I don’t know what the future is for this blog or my stories. I hope to continue as long as possible. Perhaps, one day I’ll make an anthology, or work on some stories to publish or maybe even write another novel – been awhile since my last one! Whatever happens, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who follows, likes, comments and shares my blog. I appreciate you all so much and you help inspire me to keep writing.

If you’d like to know more about me and also read the book reviews I write please check out my other blog; https://hailscrazyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Thank you again!

Hayley.

 

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Room 109

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The hotel staff knew him like they knew the numbers on a clock which was very useful because he was always on time. He arrived without flash, in comfy clothes and carrying a small black suitcase. To anyone else he looked like a tourist, but the check in desk girls knew him not to be.

He said his name quietly and he would check in. With his card, he would take the lift up to his room and he would roll his suitcase down the carpet corridor and to the door. There, he let himself in and the door shut firmly behind him with the please do not disturb sign swinging.

He would be seen frequently around the hotel; in the restaurant, in the bar, in the lounge and lobby. Sometimes he would be typing away on a laptop, other times writing in a notebook and whilst he eat; reading a book, always alone. No one seemed really interested him in, a quick glance then on to what they were doing.

His stay could last a few days or a week, sometimes though it would be more than that; two or three weeks, a month or two. It just depend on what he needed. Then he would tidy his room and check out. Often looking more cheerful then he came in.

Months later in the post, the hotel always received a copy of his new novel.

Peace #writephoto

I had been wandering around for a few weeks looking for a quiet spot where I’d be undisturbed to finish editing my latest novel. All my normal places; my study, my bedroom, the library, the park, the coffee shops and pubs I haunted, hadn’t allowed me to complete my work.

It wasn’t lack of motivation, determination or inspiration that was stopping me, it was more the background distractions. So, I had come out here to the middle of the woods to find the peace I needed. It was a bright hot day, unusual English summer time weather but also a week day so most people were trapped in work and school.

It had been awhile since I had last strolled or ran through the woods, so I was surprised to come across the wooden sculpture of a bed. It was made out of thick, but smoothed down tree trunk cut in half with a smaller part of the trunk shaped into a pillow.

I sat down, thinking it would be too hard to sit for long, but actually it was quite comfy. Settling back against the pillow, I set up myself to work and some good hours later I had finished editing my novel and was napping in the dappled shade.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/07/06/thursday-photo-prompt-peace-writephoto/ with thanks)

The Wall

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I was typing away that night as normal then the next second nothing. My fingers stopped moving, my mind shut down and I slowly slipped from my chair. I remember that, but only because I saw it like I was watching it happen to someone else.

I was sat on the floor for a long time, staring but not seeing, not thinking anything, just like a robot that had been turned off. I must have lay down at some point and shut my eyes because when I woke the night had passed and sunlight was coming in through the small Tutor windows.

My back and limbs were stiff from laying on the four hundred year old floor. I got up feeling numb tingles throughout my body, I stretched and wondered what had happened. Had I fallen asleep working again? That wasn’t uncommon.

Getting up, on unsteady legs and went to my desk. There was still a piece of paper in the type writer. Not like me at all. I sat down and looked at it but I couldn’t read the writing. It was like it was in another language. I pulled the paper out and looked at it harder, but I still couldn’t read it.

I turned to the last full page I had wrote and scanned through it. Once again though, I had the same problem. I couldn’t understand the words! Placing the paper down, I got up again and hobbled from the room. I went downstairs and into the bathroom.

After that and having something to eat in the kitchen. I took a walk in my garden then in the village. All the houses here dated from Tutor times and in the late spring sun shine they looked like zebras on a grassy plain.

I went back home and sat at my desk again. The words on the page made more sense. I tried to carry on were I’d left off, but nothing happened. No words formed in my head and my fingers didn’t move on the keys.

Something was wrong.

I shut my eyes and thought about my novel. I called the characters out and pictured the plot I was weaving, but nothing came.

I opened my eyes again and realised I had hit the wall.

 

Monday Depression

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Harley didn’t feel like getting up this morning but she had done so anyway. Dragging herself out of her cosy warm bed, she headed straight for the bathroom, her stomach growling like an angry bear. Sitting down on the loo, she wondered how many times she had got up in the night to come into here driven by an IBS flare up as punishment of eating too much ice cream. She counted to four before the ringing of the house phone interrupted.

I’m not going to get it. It’s only going to be a cold caller, she thought.

Trying to ignore it, Harley yawed and wondered if she could go back to bed even though it was three minutes past eleven am.

A little dog’s yowling broke though her thoughts and with a growl, she sorted herself out and went to answer the phone.

‘Hello?’

‘Is that the bus station? I’ve left my library books on the seventeen bus,’ an elderly man’s voice spoke out.

Harley rolled her eyes before answering, ‘I’m sorry but it’s not. You have the wrong number.’

‘There were five books,’ the man continued, ‘The Queen’s Slave, Goldfish Keeping For All, Weave Looming And You, -‘

‘I’m sorry but-‘ Harley tried to cut in but the man carried on speaking over her.

London Werewolves and Whenever The Rain Falls Think Of Me,’ the man concluded.

‘What?’

‘They were in a bag for life. You know, the yellow ones with orange elephants on?’

‘This isn’t the bus station!’ Harley shouted, ‘you have the wrong number!’

‘Oh. I’m sorry….Do you know the right number?’ the man asked.

‘No. I don’t,’ Harley snapped and hung up.

Placing the phone down, she wondered what was going on with the crossed over numbers. A cold wet nose and a small licking tongue touched her bare toes and Harley jumped with a cry. She looked down and saw the tiny Yorkshire terrier give a startled yip and jumped back too.

‘Sorry, Yogi,’ Harley spoke and scooped the dog up, ‘just some people…’

Carrying the Yorkie upstairs, Harley set him down on her single bed then went to her wardrobe. Just as she had selected her clothes for the day; old blue jeans, black long sleeved top with a painted wolf angel on it, her Five Finger Death Punch hoodie and boot slippers, the phone rang again. Tutting, she left it to ring until Yogi pulled his head up and let out a mournful yowl.

Racing downstairs, Harley snatched the phone up again.

‘Hello?’

‘Is that the bus station? I’ve lost my library books,’ the same man’s voice from before came though the phone.

‘You have the wrong number again,’ Harley said.

‘Oh…’

‘I’m sorry but I really can’t help you. Try ringing a different number,’ she added then hung up.

Heading up to her room, she finished off getting dressed then picked up Yogi again. The tiny dog had been making a nest in her bedding. Going downstairs, Harley set him down on his own bed and went into the kitchen. There was a large puddle of water on the floor with a white scum on top of it.

‘Yogi! Did you do this?’ Harley called, ‘bad dog!’

Grabbing a tea towel, she began to mop the floor. Then though she noticed the far spread of the puddle because it filled the square space between the fridge-freezer, dishwasher, sink of the narrow kitchen. Also it was very close to Yogi’s bowls.

Puzzling and no longer thinking the dog had done this, Harley inspected the fridge-freezer, sink and dishwasher. Everything seemed okay. She went upstairs and got an old towel from the cupboard. Setting it on the floor, she saw drips coming out of the corner of the dishwasher.

‘Great,’ she mumbled then added, ‘I’m sorry Yogi. It wasn’t you!’

Getting up, she went to find the dog but the phone rang. Throwing her hands up, Harley went to answer it.

‘Hello?’

‘Hello dear. My husband his left some books on the bus. I was wondering if you could help us?’ an elderly woman’s voice asked.

Harley sighed deeply and brushed her hair back, ‘I’m sorry,’ she said trying to stay calm, ‘but this isn’t the bus station. You have the wrong number. This is a private house.’

‘Ah, I’m terribly sorry about that. Goodbye,’ the old woman said.

The phone clicked and Harley hung it up again. Going into the living room, she give some reassurance to Yogi then went into the kitchen and made some toast with jam on. Sitting down, she watched some TV, channel flicking between a house D.I.Y show and a famous courtroom drama. Though she had to get up a couple of times to use the bathroom.

Taking her breakfast things into the kitchen, Harley noticed that the dishwasher was leaking badly. The towel she had set down had a large half circle ring across it. Opening the door and breaking off the washing cycle, she looked inside and move a few plates and pans around. Dirty water fell out of the corner like a small waterfall.

Closing the door again, she waited as the dishwasher started again. However, water still dripped from the corner.

‘Dad will have to fix that,’ Harley spoke.

Leaving it and going to her computer, she pressed the on button and also turned the monitor on. Whilst she waited, she looked at a calendar on her desk. Under today, she had written; write chapter 23. working at shop- 5-11pm. 

Harley’s face fell, she had forgotten she was working. She doubled checked on the calendar in her phone and confirmed it. Sighing, she noticed the computer was done loading and clicked open the draft of her novel. She had barely started reading the last few pages when the phone rang.

‘I’m not answer it!’ she called.

Yogi began howling in the living room.

‘I mean it,’ she growled.

Letting the phone ring off and Yogi’s long yowling faded away, Harley got back to her novel. She reached the last page with writing on it and tapped down to the blank one underneath. Looking at the page, she tried hard to think.

The phone rang.

‘Seriously!’ she cried.

Harley got up and answered the phone.

‘Hello?’

‘Is that the bus station? My parents have lost some books,’a young man’s voice asked.

‘No. It’s not and I don’t know why they keep ringing my phone number,’ Harley moaned.

‘I’m sorry. There must be a problem with the line. It’s fine. I’ll go down to the bus station and sorted it. Thanks, bye.’

Harley set the phone down and rubbed her eyes.

‘That’s it! I’m going back to bed!’ Harley declared.

Pens

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The shops were full of back to school stuff and bickering children. Everywhere he went he was reminded that autumn was coming soon. However, he wasn’t going back to school, he was just snapping up the good deals on stationary in preparation for writing his next novel.

Typewriter

He found the typewriter on the beach. He wasn’t sure at first what he’d come across. It looked like a black rectangle, half buried in the dirty yellow sand, a corner pointing up to the sky. He was more then use to finding rubbish on the beach, the tourists and the local kids had no respect. As was his habit, he tapped the strange object first with his walking stick. It gave off a dull hollow metal sound. Then he inspected it from every angle possible, trying to see if he could figure out what it was. It did look sort of familiar, though he couldn’t be sure about it.

Putting his walking stick under his arm, he pulled his leather satchel over and from inside dug out a small gardening trowel. He always carried it and a few other things when he took his walks. He dug around the object carefully, piling the sand off to the sides. As soon as he was sure about it, he pulled the object out. It was a lot heavier then he’d anticipated.

Standing in the glare of the dying day, he knew what the object was right away. It was an old typewriter from the fifties, maybe. The ink ribbon and some keys missing, there was rust on the edges and sand had gotten in ever where. Still though, it didn’t look to be that bad. It reminded him very much of the typewriter in his father’s study, which he’d inherited, aged eighteen. He’d written his first novel on that machine.

With a gentle shrug, he went to set the typewriter down again. A sudden idea came to him just before he let go. Wouldn’t it look nice on the little table in the hallway with some old leather books on either side? He straightened and studied the typewriter carefully. It would need emptying of sand, cleaning and polishing up. Of course, it’d never work again, but as an ornament it would do. It had to be one of the more interested pieces he’d found up till now and it certainly would fit in with the rest of the fisherman’s cottage décor.

He put it back down gently, but only for a moment. He picked up the trowel and put that back in his bag. Collecting the typewriter again, he tipped it about in an attempted to get as much sand out as possible. He watched the yellow grains falling in curtain like lines back onto on the beach where they belonged. Hefting the metal machine up, he walked back along the beach.

The tide was coming in and the waves were growing larger. Some gulls called from the cliff tops and there was a breeze whistling through the small cave to his right. Across the sand was a scattering of shells, seaweed and rubbish. Occasionally, there was a small dead crab or jelly fish, a piece of drift wood or something unidentifiable. The air was damp, salty and gritty.

The beach was long and curved into a crest moon shape.  He never walked that far and so soon reached the flight of stone steps that cut its way up the side of a cliff. The handrail was rusted to almost nothing and it was too dangerous to use. The steps were worn smooth, though they did dip slightly down in the middle. Walking up them, he could hear the wind and sea getting louder. Seems like the weather forecast was right, there might be a storm tonight, he thought as he reached the top.

A pathway splitting off either side was marked out in compacted sand. He went to the bench to his right and placed the typewriter down. It seemed to have got heavier during the climb and there was a growing ache in his arms. Not that he was unfit, he was fitter them most of his generation, all that walking, hiking, sailing and swimming had seen to that. It just seemed that the typewriter was heavier than it should have been. Maybe it was all that sand?

He sat down next to it for a few minutes and watched the sea swarming the beach below. The tide was coming in a lot faster than it should have been. If he was still on the beach now he might have had to wade his way back. The writer in him wondered if the sea’s sudden surge was because he’d taken the typewriter. What if the sea had been eyeing up the machine all day and now it had had a victory of burying it or carrying it away snatched out from under it?

He shook his head and chuckled. Why would he think that? The sea didn’t care. And anyway the typewriter could have been sat on the beach for a few days, months or years. The sea had had its chance.

He touched the cold, damp keys and watched his fingers splaying across them as if to try to type. He shook his head again and picking up the typewriter shook some more sand out of it. Picking it back up firmly, he trudged under a darkening grey sky along the left path which winded through the cliff tops and into a patch of scrubland. As the sand became grass and the path dropped down, he arrived in a narrow lane at the bottom of which was a white cottage.

He approached the door and set the typewriter down on the step. He always turned the outside light on before he left. It severed as a beacon, much like the lighthouse on the other side of the cliffs did. He dug in his satchel for the keys and on finding them unlocked the door. The hall light was also on.

He took off his sand covered boots and placed them just inside. Then he picked up the typewriter and took it into the kitchen. He came back and closed the door. He put down his walking stick, satchel and coat. Making sure they were in their correct places before leaving them. He decide to firstly make a cup of tea and get the fire going in the parlour, which he’d turned into a study.  Afterwards, he would inspect the typewriter.

Heading into the kitchen, he could hear something banging. Turning the light on, he saw that the small window above the sink had come unlatched again and the wind was causing it to bang against the fame. Tutting, he fixed it as best he could and then turned on the kettle. His mug and a tea bag where already there on the counter. To waste time, he checked the back door was locked, got the milk out of the fridge and the sugar out of the cupboard. He ponder having a light bite, but then decided he wasn’t that hungry.

The kettle clicked as it boiled and he made his tea. He then went into the parlour and leaving the mug on his desk, set about lighting the pre-set up fire. It took him a good few tries to get the flames started, but once the fire had got going, it filled the room with a warm, soft glow.

He turned on his desk lamp and sitting down, stared at the typewriter as he drank. It was interesting that the typewriter was sat next to his computer. The old technology with the new as it were. He could recall his first time on a computer, it had been the early nineties at the old library and he’d been researching something for his latest novel. He’d slowly moved on from his pens and typewriters, to the computer and when he found himself spending most of the day using one in the new library, he figured it was time to get one.

Finishing his tea, he decided that he should have taken the typewriter into the kitchen. There was a small pile of sand growing on the desk. Picking the machine up, he carried it to the kitchen table and then was a clean cloth, he went back into the study and cleaned up the sand trail.

With some more cleaning tools, he took the typewriter a part as much as possible and begin to clean it. He was careful and methodical about his task, though the typewriter would never work again he felt the need to treat it with respect.

As he worked, his thoughts turned to wondering about the typewriter and the more creative side of his brain took over. How had the typewriter gotten onto the beach? Who had it belong too and what had it been used to write?

If only you could talk, he thought.

There were probably simple answers to his questions. Someone had been cleaning out their attic and found the typewriter. Maybe it had been theirs’ as a youth or maybe it had belong to a relative. They had given it to someone; their child, a friend, a stranger at the market. Or maybe they had kept it? Whoever it was then had abandoned the typewriter on the beach and left it to the elements and time. They had seen it as junk to be discarded and nothing more.

Breaking his concentration, he became aware of the raging storm outside. The wind was whipping the rain against the windows. Waves were crashing heavily onto the beach and darkness had swallowed the cottage. It was also cold. He hadn’t realised how chilled he had become. Getting up, he left the kitchen and turned the light out. He went into the study, but the fire had died. Grumping to himself, he prepared for bed. He made another cup of tea and a hot water bottle. He checked everything was locked and that the outside lights were still on. He went up the creaking stairs and into the first room. He turned on the light and went to the small double bed. There he put down the hot water bottle and the cup on the nightstand. The curtains were drawn across the small window.

He went over and peered outside. He couldn’t see anything. Some nights though, he could make out the light dot of the lighthouse. That always give him a little comfort. Tonight, however, he felt utterly alone, like he was the last human on earth.

Trying to clear his head of that thought, he got out of his clothes and put on some loose, stripped PJs. Getting into the bed, he heard the familiar creaking of the springs. He had long concluded that the bed was the original. Or at least someone had gone out of their way to make sure it seemed that way. It was a typical Victorian, fisherman’s cottage bed. All wooden, with stubby bed poles at all corners, no canopy or curtains. A spring and horse hair mattress and hard wood head board.

He finished his tea and settled down to sleep. He left the bed stand lamp on as was his custom. His thoughts swilled from the bed, to the typewriter, to his youth, to the beach. He left them wash over him and when he felt the calling of sleep, he let it claim him.

New Year’s Eve

Rose always made a New Year’s resolution every year as the clocks struck midnight and shouting voices filled the air. As the numbers came from her mouth, her mind rushed with everything she wanted to do that year. This time around it been a simple resolution; loss weight and write her novel. Though she was sure those had been on her list last year too.

She felt her boyfriend clutch her hand tightly, their palms already damp. They were gathered around the TV just like everyone else at the party was, welcoming the New Year in with rest of the country. The last number and chime faded together then everyone erupted into song, even though most didn’t know all the words.

At the end, as the fireworks in London went off on the TV screen, everyone was kissing, hugging and shaking hands. Voices rose in wishing each other all the best and Rose felt swamped by all the bodies. Grabbing, her boyfriend’s hand, she tugged him out of the room and into the bathroom across the way.

‘Hey,’ he laughed, ‘slow down.’

Rose locked the door and turned to him with a shake of her head, ‘Don’t get any ideas. I just needed some space.’

The corners of his mouth dipped and Rose rolled her eyes. She stepped over and kissed him. Letting her lips linger, teasingly him before she broke away. He wrapped his arms around her, swaying them gently, though she suspected that was because he was drunk all ready.

‘Did you make your New Year resolution?’ he asked in a husky voice.

‘Yep. Loss more weight and write my novel. What was your’s?’

‘Aww, don’t do that,’ he said and grabbed her bum, ‘I’ll miss this.’

She laughed and pressed her hands to his cheeks, ‘I’m sure that’ll be fine. I just want my stomach flatter. What was your’s?’ she repeated.

‘This,’ he replied and kissed her deeply.