Restless

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The door of the box bedroom would not stay shut. Seconds after I’d closed it, the door would open again. If I was still nearby I would hear the handle turn and the door slowly moving open. I turned around to look but there never seemed a reason why this kept happening.

I would find my boyfriend, Reece, in another room of the house and start telling him about it for the hundredth time.

He would look at me with wide brown eyes, his face too quickly aged with worry lines and an expression that pleaded with me not to start anything. His short, dark brown hair always looked a mess and he seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was in his early twenties, same as me but both of us looked so much older.

I was younger by two years. My blonde hair cut boy-short, my dull blue eyes hollowed alongside my pale face and too thin body I gave the impression that I was a cancer victim. I had never been, it was just the way I’d always come across. I had been through a lot too. Different from Reece’s experience but it still amounted to the same out come.

‘We need to replace that door,’ I snapped.

‘We don’t have the money and there’s nothing wrong with it,’ he replied.

‘But it won’t close properly,’ I complained.

‘It’s an old house. A house we are lucky to have, Joanna,’ he remind me.

And that would be the end of the repeating argument before it had time to build because he was right. His grandparents had owned the house and they had passed it to him but left hardly any money for the upkeep.

Reece had been in and out of foster care until his grandparents had ‘rescued’ him when he was thirteen. He’d only told me bits and pieces, including how he’d never had a real home and had constantly been abused.

I disliked this house but I had nowhere else to go. Reece’s love had saved me from having to survive on the streets and I was about to throw that away. Maybe, if we were able to make the house ours it would be be different. We couldn’t offered to redecorate or get rid of all the furniture and it still felt like we were living with his grandparents.

I kept trying to let the door thing go but I just couldn’t. I had a niggly feeling about the bedroom door each time I saw it open and I would have try to close it.

Finally, I’d had enough. I saved some money to buy a lock and had a neighbour, Mr Duman, who was a local handyman, fit it for me whilst Reece was out playing in a football match on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Duman was a nice man almost in his sixties and he had known Reece’s grandparents. He was tall, going grey and had a pot belly. He reminded me of images I had seen of Father Christmas.

‘This is the door,’ I pointed out to him, ‘can you please check it?’

He nodded and set to work.

‘Maybe, the hinges are loose?’ I suggested, ‘or the door frame misaligned? Does the carpet catch on the bottom of the door?’

‘No,’ Mr Duman replied, ‘that’s all fine.’

‘Then why doesn’t it stay closed?’ I pressed.

‘Could be a drift or a loose floorboard underneath?’ he said, ‘I could take a look for you, Joanna.’

‘No, it’s okay can you just fit the lock?’

‘No problems. Looks like there was once a lock here anyway. Makes the job easier,’ Mr Duman said.

‘Really?’ I asked and he showed me where an old lock had once been under the door handle.

Then he fitted the new lock and we tested it out.

‘Should be good now,’ Mr Duman spoke with a smile, ‘no more problems!’

That was true for two weeks. The box bedroom door stayed locked and shut. Reece wasn’t happy about it but he could see how much better I felt about it and that was good enough. Then I came home from my job at a supermarket early one afternoon and the door was wide open.

Forgetting everything else, I walked over and looked. The key, which was always left in the lock was on the floor next to the door, inside the room. Nothing seemed to have been disturbed, though there was only an old child’s bed under the square window and small, empty wardrobe on the opposite wall.

I picked up the key, closed and locked the door then went through the rest of the house. Everything looked fine. I tried to put it out of my mind but it was really bugging me. Why would someone do that?

‘Reece, did you leave the box bedroom door open?’ I asked him as soon as he come from work.

He was tried, covered in dust and plaster from his current builder job. He looked at me confused as he took his boots off at the front door.

‘What? No, Joanna,’ he replied.

‘It was open when I got home from work. Like all the way open and the key was on the floor inside the room,’ I explained.

Reece shook his head and dumped his boots under the coat rack, ‘I’ve not touched it.’

‘Then somebody broke in and did!’ I cried.

‘Is anything missing?’ Reece demanded.

‘No….It doesn’t seem like it, but someone must have unlocked the door!’

Reece gripped my shoulders and said firmly, ‘stop getting hysterical about it. It’s just a door, Jo. Just a door.’

I took a few deep breaths and nodded.

Reece took his clothes off so he wouldn’t get dirt everywhere and I took his things to the washing machine. Once he’d showered and dressed, he checked through the house and I made us something to eat.

‘Nothing’s been touched,’ Reece came back to tell me.

He kissed and hugged me, giving me the little bit of comfort he was able too.

We ate, watched TV and went to bed early. I had a dream where I could see the door in front of me and the key was turning in the lock by itself. The door opened, I went inside, the door closed and locked behind me. I tried to get out but couldn’t. I yelled, screamed, kicked and punched the door. Exhausted, I curled in a corner and cried.

I awoke up into darkness and heard the sound of a door slowly creaking open. Turning on the lamp, I woke up Reece and though he was grumpy, we both got up and went out into the hallway.

Reece turned on the light and we both saw the box bedroom door wide open.

‘Stay here,’ he said.

He walked down the hallway, turned the light on in the room then bent down to pick something up. Turning off the light, he pulled the door to and locked it. He came back and showed me the key between his fingers.

‘I’m keeping this,’ he said.

I nodded and watched as he put the key in the top draw of his bedside table.

Without saying anything, he walked passed me and went downstairs. I heard him trying all the doors and windows, making sure everything was locked.

I got back into bed, wondering about my dream whilst I glanced around the old fashioned decorated room. It had been his grandparents room and there was a pink ceiling, flowered wall paper and old brown furniture. At least the bed was all new. I had refused to sleep in the bed both his grandparents had died in.

Reece came back, announced everything was secure and we both tried to sleep again. However, it felt like I spent the night awake listening to a child crying and a door handle being rattled.

In the morning, the door was still locked and we went back to having believed we’d dealt with it. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong and every night it seemed I could hear crying and rattling.

I didn’t believe in the supernatural and I’d never had much of an imagination, my strict Catholic parents had beaten that out of me. That’s how Reece and I had met and stuck together; both orphaned teenagers with lost childhoods.

The noise was getting to me and I starting to hear it during the day when I was home alone. So, one afternoon I took the key from the draw and unlocked the door.

‘There now, stop crying,’ I spoke into the empty room, ‘go out, whatever you are, be free and let us be in peace.’

Leaving the door open, I went back downstairs and made some Chamomile tea. I felt better after that and waited for Reece to come home.

‘Why is that door open?’ he asked from the hallway.

‘Because, I want whatever is trapped in there to leave,’ I replied back.

He muttered something then came into the living room doorway, carrying his football kit bag. He looked flushed and tired, still damp from the shower he had before coming home. He reminded me of a child, exhausted after a hard practice session and long day at school.

‘Do you want something to eat?’ I asked to change the subject, ‘there’s pizza.’

He nodded and without saying anything else went upstairs.

I thought he would come back down but later after calling him twice that food was ready, I went up to find him.

The upstairs lights were all off except for the one in the box bedroom. I went slowly up and along in the dark, my mind turning over all kinds of things. I peered around the door and saw him sitting on the bare mattress of the bed.

‘Reece?’ I whispered softly, ‘what is it?’

He took a sobbing breathe and turned to me.

‘Are you crying?’

I went in and hugged him. He grabbed me, wrapping his arms around me and burying his face into my stomach. He broke into a hard crying which affected his whole body.

‘What’s wrong?’ I asked in a soft voice, ‘whatever it is you can tell me.’

‘It’s me!’ he broke out through the heaving, ‘I’ve been causing this!’ he waved at the door.

I stroked his hair, trying to figure out what he meant. I sat down on the bed next to him, the old springs squeaking and we held each other until he’d calmed down.

‘This was my bedroom when I first came here,’ Reece began, ‘My grandparents didn’t hurt me and they convinced me I was finally safe. For sometime though I would have these angry rages. I would destroy whatever I could, I would scare my grandma and my grandpa. It was his idea to lock me in here to keep them and myself safe.’

‘I see…’ I trailed off.

‘I got over it, I guess’ Reece continued, ‘and they let me have the bigger bedroom next to their’s. I’ve hated this room ever since. Things were better afterwards, until they…’ he stopped and took a gasping breath.

‘It’s okay,’ I said gently, ‘I won’t complain about it anymore. We won’t lock or shut this door ever again. It’ll always be open and you don’t have to worry anymore.’

He nodded and snuggled into me as best he could. I felt his crying stop and his body relaxing. I stroked his face, waiting till he was calm again.

‘We have to make this place a proper home now,’ I whispered into his hair.

‘Why?’ he mumbled back.

I took his hand, placed it over my stomach and left my hand on top of his, my fingers rubbed his knuckles.

‘Because we are going to have a baby.’

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Crow Song #FirstLineFriday

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It sounded like birds were being murdered, the noise of their cries was that loud. I opened the blinds on the kitchen window which looked out onto the back garden. There on the lawn were four large crows fighting each other.

I had no idea what to make of it, other then they were fighting over food. It was too late in autumn for them to be mating. I knew nothing of birds though, nor put any food out for them. I was aware my neighbours did though, so perhaps that’s why they were attracted to my garden?

A half reminded, old poem came into my mind; one for sorrow, two for mirth or joy, three for a boy and four for a girl. Wasn’t that how it went? I couldn’t remember, it was something grandma sung. It didn’t matter.

I didn’t like the birds fighting out there and making all that noise. I went to the back door, calling my cat as I did so. He was old and lazy now but the sight of him might spook the birds into flight. I unlocked and opened the door, the cat came slowly towards me.

We stepped out almost together and the birds saw us both. Their horrible calling screeched upwards as if they were unhappy to be disturbed from their argument. One of them took flight, large black wings beating and the others quickly followed.

‘Make sure they don’t come back,’ I told the cat, ‘damn birds.’

I hobbled back inside, my knees aching and my chest heaving. It had been worth the pain to stop that racket. I settled into my arm chair, relaxing into the peace. I shut my eyes and began to drift off, exhausted all ready.

A tap tap on the window, stirred me. I didn’t want to awake but it could be important. The nurse coming to check up on me or my daughter visiting. I opened my eyes, moved my almost ninety year old body and looked towards the front window where the tapping sound was continuing.

A large crow was sat on the window sill outside, tapping it’s sharp beck against the glass.

 

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/first-line-friday-october-11th-2018/ with thanks).

The Olde Coach Inn (Part 2)

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As a grin spread wide on Colton’s face and he got ready to launch into a story, I reached over the bar and shoved my hand up in front of his mouth to stop him.

‘No! They can’t know. It’ll affect the evidence!’ I shouted.

Colton’s face crumpled and he swallowed his words. It was clear he wasn’t a man who was stopped from speaking. He was probably use to spinning the haunting tales of the Coach inn and making sure the listeners were scared. Something he enjoyed doing whenever possible – or so the reviews online had said.

‘I’m sorry, but no. It’s the way we work. Perhaps, afterwards?’ I added.

Colton struggled for words and his face flashed an angry red. His hands became fists and he looked ready to yell at us to leave. I scrambled to find something else to add on to make it right but Lexi bet me to it.

She lent over the bar, giving Colton a full view of her cleavage in the low cut top she had on. Smiling sweetly and batting her eyes, she said gently, ‘Alice is so touchy about our locations staying secret. She thinks it helps the audience believe in us more.’

Colton’s full attention swung to her and we all saw his brown eyes become fixed on her chest.

‘On the other hand, I don’t think the same,’ Lexi continued with a shrug of her shoulders that made her large boobs wobble.  ‘and I’d love to hear some spooky stories later. I bet this place has so many!’

Colton give a small nod, but he wasn’t really listening.

‘First though, can we go on that tour? I just love this place all ready! But can you, just a little bit, hold back on the detailed history and the hauntings,’ Lexi added.

There was a pause and I heard Quinn drag in a huge breath.

‘Sure,’ Colton muttered. The beast becoming tame again.

He came around the bar as Lexi turned to us and shot us a disappointed look that really said I just saved your arses. Quinn quickly turned his head away but he was unable to hide the anger and the jealousy. We grabbed our drinks and tried to get back on track.

‘So, this here is the main bar area….’ Colton began.

The tour took about forty minutes as Colton included all the out buildings, including the cottage he, his brother and mother shared. He briefly explained about each room, giving some dates, pointing out original fittings, highlight furniture that could also be original or of other interests. He also told us that the only area out of bounds for our investigation was his cottage. Understandable.

Every time Colton looked like he was about to spill something, Lexi would ‘accidentally’ brush a boob or a hand against him, else she would stand in front of him and ask a question.

Victor and I kept an eye on Quinn who got madder each time she moved like that.

When we arrived back at the bar, Lexi thanked Colton so sweetly it was painful, then she asked, ‘what time is dinner?’

‘We start serving at five,’ Colton replied, ‘guests get a reserved table and here’s some menus for you.’

Lexi took them and pressed them to her chest, without casting her eyes away from Colton’s.

‘You’re welcome to wait here….Would you like another drink?’ Colton tacked on.

‘I’m fine thanks,’ I said, placing my empty glass on the bar, ‘and thanks for the tour it was really useful. See you later.’

I turned and squeezed Victor’s arm. He placed his glass down beside mine, give his thanks and we headed up stairs.

‘Can we get drinks to take up?’ Lexi asked behind us.

I hurried upstairs and into our room. Sitting on the bed, I watched Victor close the door and come to join me. He took my hand and we sat for a few moments. I breathed the tension out, feeling a headache starting.

‘I’m going to have a shower then a nap,’ I blurted.

‘Sure. I’ll unpack some more,’ Victor said.

The shower felt so good and my head cleared. Despite the age of the inn the bathrooms were modern. I fell asleep afterwards but was woken up by loud voices. Pushing my head off the pillow, I looked at the wall above me and realised Quinn and Lexi were arguing.

I sank back down, turned over and bumped straight into Victor. He was curled up next to me, fast asleep. I shook his shoulder and he came back too. We talked with our eyes then both got up and left the room.

I knocked loudly on their door. It took a few tries but then Lexi threw it open. I almost fell inside.

‘What? What do you want?!’ she yelled.

‘Just stop,’ I said.

I pushed her aside and walked into the room. Quinn was on the other side of the bed, pacing like a caged tiger. He was flexing his hands into fists then releasing. He was also grinding his teeth and looking like he wanted to hit something so badly.

‘Just let it all go right now,’ I snapped, ‘I tried so hard to set all this up for us! And I’m not having it ruined over a little flirting! Okay?’

Lexi crossed her arms and turned her nose up.

‘We need this!’ I shouted, ‘or else there’s no point anymore.’

Victor came over and grabbed my arm, he tried to draw me into a hug but I pushed him away.

‘Now, make up!’

Lexi sighed and dropped her arms, ‘okay, I’m sorry, Quinn.’

‘I can’t…’ Quinn growled.

‘Let’s give you some space,’ I suggested.

I took Lexi out of the room and into mine, Victor trailing us.

By dinner time we were all friends again. Sat at our reserved table in the smaller, cosier side corner off the main bar area, we watched as people arrived for meals and drinks. The inn was’t that busy. I guess the sudden turn in the weather had put people off. We order and ate, talking about how we were going to set up for filming.

We went to bed early, tried with food and travelling. I opened the window in the room and let the gale force wind and rain in. It felt so good on my flushed skin. Victor said something from behind me and I turned to ask him what, but he wasn’t in the room.

‘Vic?’ I called.

‘Just a mo!’ he called from the bathroom.

I frowned and did a full circle. There was nothing of course.

The toilet flushed, the tap ran then Victor came out and crossed the room.

‘You okay, bunny?’

‘Dd you just say something….like whilst you were in the bathroom or just before?’ I asked.

‘Erm, no,’ Victor responded.

I nodded and turned back to the window.

‘Did you hear…something?’

‘Yes. I heard you saying…I don’t know, it sounded like ‘Alice, come here’, maybe. Did you?’ I questioned.

‘No.’

I touched the curtain then pulled it across. The wind began flapping the fabric about. I pulled the curtain away and spent a few moments getting the curtains into place.

Victor put a hand on my shoulder and kissed me, ‘and so it starts,’ he whispered into my ear.

We got into bed. I listened to the sound of the wind and rain, the movement of the curtains and the bed shifting as we both moved. From the other room, I heard Lexi and Quinn having sex. I stroked Victor’s arm and we half started making love but then I couldn’t go through with it. My mind was too distracted.

‘What’s wrong?’ Victor asked me in the hushed darkness.

‘I didn’t want to say anything before. You know how I hate….’ I began.

‘Yep. You’re the most sensitive of us all but you deny the supernatural are out there all the time,’ Victor reminded me.

I pressed my lips together. The loud pleasure sounds coming through the wall filled the space were my voice should have been.

‘There’s something here,’ I breathed.

I felt my skin prickling and a waft of heat drift over me. It was hard to describe what I felt, heard or saw sometimes. My parents hadn’t embraced my ‘sixth’ sense but had taught me to ignore it and call it imagination. I wanted it to stay that way but sometimes it was hard to believe that there wasn’t something else out there.

‘With us now?’ Victor asked.

‘No. Something in the inn. It’s been following us…I think,’ I tried to explain.

‘Well, that’s good. Hopefully, we’ll capture it.’

Victor snuggled me and he was soon fast asleep. I though couldn’t and stayed awake. I watched the shadows across the ceiling and guessed every sound. I think, maybe I dozed off a few times but then in the early hours of the morning, I felt the end section of the duvet and sheets began to move.

Half asleep, I just told myself it was Victor shifting or else I’d moved the blankets before. I came fully awake, felt the duvet more move and had to question what was going on. I lay still, letting the duvet be pulled down slowly. I felt a touch of cold air on my arms then I heard the duvet shifting faster. My breathing hitched, I couldn’t move, the duvet stopped and I felt icy fingers grabbing my left boob.

I gasped, threw my arms around my chest and struggled to sit up. I thought I heard a groan or a growl. Flinging my arm out, my hand hit the lamp, knocking it against the wall. I scrambled to catch it then turned it on. Light pooled out, throwing the darkness away. There was no one next to me.

Victor stirred, mumbled something then rolled over. I glanced at him then around the room. I felt like something was watching me from the corner and I knew it was waiting till I turned out the light again then it was going to leave or come at me again. Steadying my breathing, I looked at the end of the bed. The duvet and top sheet really had been moved down.

I eased the bedding back and slipped out. The floor was cold under me, but I got up and walked to the end of the bed. I could just about make out that the duvet was almost to the floor. I breathed deeply, shook my head and tried to pin it on something natural. I went to the bathroom, switching the light on but whilst I was on the toilet, I heard a door creaking open.

I froze, listening as the noise stopped and boot steps echoing down the corridor. It could be Quinn, unable to sleep and going to read in the hallway or walk around the bar. He’d been known to do that before. But I knew it wasn’t him.

Not flushing or washing my hands, I crept back to bed. Snuggling against Victor, I squeezed my eyes shut, blocked out the sounds of someone stomping downstairs and tried to fall asleep again.

To be continued…

 

 

A Little Blood (Part 3)

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The next morning, whilst I was sorting Grace out who seemed determined to bring the roof down with her crying, Harry popped up at my elbow. I glanced at him and realised he was dressed in the vampire costume. Though he hadn’t gotten it on right. The waist coat was the wrong way and not buttoned, the cape was lopsided over one shoulder.

‘Harry! Those weren’t the clothes I left out for you,’ I said angrily as I struggled to get Grace into a clean nappy.

‘I am a vampire,’ he replied, ‘and this is what they wear.’

I opened my mouth, words tumbling in my head but then I decided it wasn’t worth it. Grace was going to be too much of  handful today and I could do without Harry being the same way. Taking a few deep breaths, I decided what did it matter? I could wash the costume next week and beside going to the library and the park if the weather held, I had no other plans for the day.

Wrestling, Grace into some pink pants and a long sleeve matching top, I wrapped her in a blanket and scooped her up. She cried down my ear and no soft patting or soothing sounds seemed to work. She couldn’t be that hungry as my husband had feed her around 4 or 5 am.

I turned to the leave the room and spotted Harry playing with some wooden number blocks that had originally been his. I so needed to fix his costume but Grace had no plans to let me.

‘Let’s go get some breakfast,’ I said above the wailing baby.

In the kitchen, I put Grace in the supported high chair and made her some milk. Harry hovered about then took Grace’s hand and tried to quiet her down. Normally, he was really good with her and she did stop crying, but not today.

I hurried through making us all breakfast and making sure we’d all eaten. Grace finally silent for awhile but as I looked at her flush cheeks and felt her hot skin, I began to think she wasn’t well.

‘Harry, let me fix your costume,’ I said as he tried to pull his cape about him.

‘It’s stuck,’ he uttered.

I got up and took the cape and waist coat off. I tucked the shirt into the trousers then put the waist coat on better and the cape properly.

‘There you go. So much better. Now let’s tidy up. Can you help with that?’

Harry scrunched up his face but helped anyway. Grace watched us but soon reached out for me and I had to pick her up. Once the dishwasher was empty and filled with the breakfast things. I put a clothes wash on then had to go and change Grace again.

She fussed and cried a lot again, but at least it was quieter then this morning. I placed her back into the cot afterwards and asked Harry to read to her. He picked up a story book about monsters and read in a loud voice. I tided her room then got Harry to help me tidy his.

‘Do you want to go to the library now?’ I asked him.

‘Only if I can get a vampire book!’ he replied.

‘We’ll have to see what they have.’

We got ready then bundled into the car and I drove off. A drizzle which threatened to turn into rain added to the gloom of the overcast day and there was a sharp cold wind too. I remembered hearing something about a storm coming. Perhaps, we’d skip the park today, maybe we could do some painting or make something?

The library was busy as they had a story time session on. I let Harry join in though he did get some looks from the children and adults but then they acted like it was normal to see a boy dressed in a vampire costume.  After, we found some children’s books about vampires and also some baby books for Grace.

Down in the adult section, I breathed in that lovely smell of old paper and polished wood. The library wasn’t old but they had re-used books and bookcases from a much older one that had closed years ago. I found some books to read and we checked them all out.

The rain was heavier when we left and I drove straight home. The wind was turning into gale force and blowing everything around. The children were quiet, thankfully watching the weather or else Harry was flipping through his books and sometimes showing Grace a picture.

When we got back we had lunch. Harry was too hungry to complain about cup a soups and ham sandwiches. Grace only had half her milk though. I put her down for a nap, my thoughts of her being ill stronger then before. Hopefully it was only a cold.

Harry wanted to read one of his books. So we did that whilst his sister slept.

‘I’m like this vampire,’ Harry pointed out, ‘I like blood too.’

‘But can you turn into a bat?’ I asked teasingly.

Harry stopped up, shut his eyes and wrapped his cape about him. Then he unfurled it and flapped it. He made little squeaking sounds then ran about the room. The cape flapped and flew, almost as if it was flying.

‘Oh! A bat!’ I gasped and put my hands to my face.

Harry came and flapped in my face. I faked panic, though I had no fear of real bats. I grab Harry and tickled him. He burst into laughter and we tumbled on the floor together. Grace’s crying next door cut through out moment and I had to get up to see her to her.

Harry trailed after me. I picked Grace up and felt her head. She was so hot! I took her into the bathroom, cradling her tightly. I wet a cloth and pressed it to her hand. Grace cried on crying.

‘What’s wrong, Mummy?’ Harry’s voice called out.

‘Your sister isn’t well. She’s got a fever,’ I explained.

Harry came closer and took her hand, though Grace was wiggling around.

‘She’ll be okay.’

‘I could give her some of my blood. Vampire blood heals everything,’ Harry spoke up.

I paused, wondering how he knew that then I shook my head, ‘no, no. She just needs some water and some rest. Why don’t you get a book and read to her? She always likes that.’

As Harry hurried off, I damped the cloth again and eased it around Grace’s face and neck. She had stopped crying as much. I heard Harry getting a book and coming back. I told myself, if Grace got worse I’d take her to the doctors, but for now, if the I could get the fever down she’s be okay.

Harry came back into the bathroom and sat down before me. He opened the book and began reading. I couldn’t help but smile, he looked so good in that costume and it was fitting he’d picked a vampire story. He struggled over some of the words, but he seemed to be doing okay.

Grace was listening too, though she was still being fussy. I wet the cloth again and that was how we spent some of the afternoon. We all had a nap afterwards and when my husband came home. I took Grace to the doctors. Her fever had come down but she was still ill.

Thankfully, it was only a bad cold and we were home quick enough. After talking to my husband, I sorted Grace out and put her to bed. We had pizzas for tea then my husband had to persuade Harry out of the vampire outfit and into PJs.

‘I thought you said you’d put it away?’ my husband asked when he came back down.

I was dozing off in front of the TV and I had come back too, ‘huh?’

‘The Halloween costume. I thought…’

I waved my husband away, ‘Grace was ill, I didn’t want to add a five year old to that battle too, so I just let him wear it. I’ll go put it in our wardrobe before we go to bed. He won’t be able to get it in there.’

There was a slight frown on my husband’s face then he came to me and we snuggled on the sofa. I fell asleep in his arms, my dreams full of children vampires turning into bats and drinking strawberry milkshake.

A Little Blood (Part 2)

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As soon as we got home Harry wanted to put his vampire costume on. I frowned about it but decided he had to as if it didn’t fit I didn’t want him to be disappointed.

‘Let’s put the shopping away and then we can,’ I told him.

After that though, Grace needed changing and feeding. Harry bounced around, unable to settle before the cartoons I’d put on for him.

‘Now? Now!’ Harry said loudly.

‘In a minute. Let me put Grace down.’

She was dozing off, lulled by the warm milk. Settling her on the sofa next to me, I turned to Harry and nodded.

He grab the costume and I helped him into it. Luckily, it fitted him really well. He spun around then gathered the cape together. He started making swishing sounds to match the noise of cape.

I shook my head, trying not to laugh, ‘okay. It fits. Time to take it off now,’ I said.

‘No!’ Harry shouted.

‘Shh! Grace is sleeping,’ I whispered.

‘I’m a vampire now,’ Harry responded, quieter, ‘hiss hiss hiss.’

He flapped out the cape and walked around the room with his head held high. He looked like a snobby aristocrat. It reminded me Dracula actually. Where Harry had learn to act like that?

‘All right my little vampire, what would you like to do now?’ I asked.

Harry turned to me, cape raised and his mouth opening wide, ‘I want blood!’

‘Blood?’

‘That’s what vampires like! And I’m a vampire now, so that’s what I want!’

‘Okay,’ I said slowly and fell to thinking.

Harry crept over and appeared at me knee. He pressed his face to my leg and made a muffled nom nom sound. I didn’t feel anything, the jeans I had on were thick. I patted his head and recalled something for a new cartoon we had been watching recently.

‘I don’t think you’re the blood drinking kind of vampire, Harry,’ I said.

He looked up, his mouth wet and red. He wiped at it before I could.

‘I think your the colour red drinking kind of vampire. Let’s go see what red foods we can find for you to eat.’

Harry thought, ‘I guess we could try that. But Mummy, I am a blood drinking vampire. I’m sure of it!’

‘Well, let’s see.’

I scooped up Grace and carried her with me into the kitchen. Harry ran ahead and he was opening cupboards and looking inside as I arrived. Grace stirred on my shoulder, getting comfy before continuing sleeping.

There was no where to put her down, so I had to one hand everything. Spotting, a blush red apple in the fruit bowl I picked it up and offered it out to Harry.

‘How about this?’ I said.

He glanced over his shoulder then shook his head, ‘vampires don’t eat fruit.’

‘I bet some do. Let’s try and it and see.’

Harry came over, took the apple and bit into it. He chewed then pulled a face and give it back to me. Swallowing he said, ‘no.’

I sighed and took a bite myself. This wasn’t how I’d planned the rest of the afternoon to go. There was a load of chores to be done for starters. Surly, Harry would get bored of this soon and want to watch a movie or play with his Lego.

Coming over to join him, I watched him pull out a tin of tomato soup and look at it. Shaking his head, he put it back and selected a tin of spaghetti hoops.

‘Nothing take your fancy?’ I asked.

‘No. Only real blood will do!’ Harry moaned.

‘Let’s check the fridge!’ I cried, suddenly remembering something.

Moving Grace further up my shoulder, I opened the fridge and took out a bottle of strawberry milkshake. I give it to Harry, a large smile of my face, ‘chilled blood, just for you, vampire.’

‘Yes!’ Harry said, clapping his hands.

He took the milkshake and opened it. Drinking some, he seemed happy.

‘Let’s go watch cartoons now. I’ve got ironing and tidying to do.’

Even though Harry spent the rest of the afternoon dressed up a vampire, I found it easy to distract him with TV, toys, games and books. When his dad came home, Harry showed off his costume proudly but then it took us a little while to get him to eat his dinner.

‘Vampires don’t like fish fingers!’ Harry said, crossing his arms and swinging his legs.

‘Well, put ketchup on them,’ I suggested, handing my husband the bottle.

He pulled a face but he did eat after that.

I put Grace to bed early then after we’d watched some more cartoons, it was Harry’s turn. I let my husband put him to bed and I didn’t feel guilty as I listened to him trying to get Harry to take the vampire costume off.

‘But I want to wear the cape!’ Harry was saying, ‘Vampires sleep upside in it!’

‘It’s time not to be vampire now. It’s time to be a good little boy,’ my husband answered.

Harry made hissing noises and the conversation carried on. Finally though, he was in bed and my husband came back to join me on the sofa.

‘Why did you buy him that?’ my husband asked.

‘It’s Halloween next week and he wanted a vampire costume. I let him try it on to make sure he could fit in it but then he wouldn’t take it off. I’ve had to other things today and I decided it wasn’t worth arguing over it,’ I spilled to my husband.

‘He seems really attached to it!’

‘I know. I’ll put it away and get it next week only now,’ I spoke.

I wish it had been as easy as that!

 

To Be Continued…

A Little Blood (Part 1)

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It was a week to go and the shops were packed with Halloween stuff. I breathed in deeply trying to keep my excitement down. This was my Heaven! I pushed the trolley over to the shelves, a small smile creeping on my face. I reached out for the first thing; a gold pot pumpkin then a little gasp stopped my hand.

I looked down at my five month old daughter, Grace, who was still in her car seat in the special holder on top of the trolley. She was asleep, bundled in a pink blanket with a unicorn at one corner. The lullaby of the drive here had caused her to doze off. I glanced to my right side and saw my five year old son, Harry, dashing away.

He went over to the children’s costumes a bit further down and came to a stop. He slowly reached upwards with both hands then turned to me. My love for Halloween and Gothic things was rubbing off on him.

‘Mummy! I want to be a vampire!’ he shouted.

‘A vampire?’ I muttered as I re-collected myself.

‘Yep! That one!’ he added.

I looked to where he was pointing at and saw a full vampire costume hung up opposite him. There was a pair of black trousers, a white shirt, a white ruffle tie, a dark red waist coat with brass buttons, a pointy cross medallion on bright red ribbon and a huge black cape lined the same dusky red as the waist coat.

Harry reached up for it but couldn’t get it down. I moved the trolley around him and pulled the costume down. I  checked the price tag; twenty pounds then looked at the clothes in detail as Harry jumped up and down.

‘Please, Mummy! I really want it!’ he gush.

‘This one won’t fit you. It’s too small,’ I pointed at the age on the hanger.

Though it said four to five year olds, Harry was tall for his age and filling out fast. He was easily a size or two up.

He pulled a face and made his hands into fists. He looked like he was about to throw a tantrum but he was just angry. He turned away, his longish, black hair swinging and looked at all the other costumes. His eyes moved from the zombie, skeleton and pirate to the girls selection; witches, female vampires and bat.

I slipped the vampire costume back and looked through the other sizes. I selected the seven to eight age and pulled it off, I showed it him, pressing it against me as if I was trying it on.

‘This one?’ I asked to get his attention.

He turned his head then his body and let out a happy cry, ‘yes! Mummy!’

‘Okay,’ I added with a smile and put it in the trolley, ‘now what can your sister be?’

Harry hurried to the baby and toddler section and began looking through the clothes. I joined him, avoiding a younger man and his trolley who was speeding past. There were less costumes to pick from and more actual baby clothes decorated with Halloween themes.

‘These are so cute,’ I spoke out.

I reached for a little grey t-shirt that had a imagine of a bat on it with and block letters that read Let’s hang out! I picked the right size for her and put it in the trolley. Next there was a white baby gro with a cream coloured ghost and the word Boo on the front. I put that one in too.

‘A pumpkin!’ Harry cried and pulled a bright orange body suit with a green leaf shape topped hat off the rack.

I pushed the trolley forward and out, giving us some more space. Harry raised the suit to me and I took it off him. There was a Jack O’ Lantern face on the front which looked more friendly then scary. I checked the size; six to eight months.

‘Yeah, this looks good. Nice choice!’ I praised him and put the outfit in the trolley.

We looked at the rest of the Halloween things and got Harry some glow in the dark fangs and a makeup kit to turn him into a full vampire. Some packets of sweets and a few decorative pieces then we carried on shopping.

 

To Be Continued…

Jump

14 John Robinson 17 September 2017

There were flowers on the bridge again. I noticed them on my way to work. It seemed to be the way around here and everyone knew what they meant so no questions were ever asked.

I’d never seen anyone jump. I heard they did it at night so there was less chance of them being stopped. I didn’t understand it. What could make people decided to do that? Only they could answer, for only they knew what was in their heads.

I went to church and learnt it was the Devil that made people jump. Walking over the bridge the next day, I stopped and looked over the wall. Below the murky waters flowed, looking as inviting sewage. And yet, I felt drawn. It looked so calm down there and so peaceful, not like the madness of this city. You work or you die!

You jump and live…..

 What was that voice? Where had it come from?

Why did I feel the urge to climb the wall?

Be Free! Jump!

I was climbing up. I was dropping my things, taking off my coat. People were gasping, shouting. The wind felt so good on my face. My feet were leaving the wall.

I wanted to be free.

 

(Inspired by; https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/sunday-photo-fiction-september-17th-2017/ with thanks).

Spur #writephoto

It was a strange thing to find in a charity shop and I don’t know why I was drawn to it. The spur was rusty but the spiky wheel still spun and it could still be placed onto the back of a boot. I didn’t want it for that though. I brought it, along with the other items I’d picked up then I took it home.

There was no where to place the spur in any room of my house, so I settled for putting it in the cacti bowl that lived in the kitchen. Then I just forgot about it which is just something everyone does.

I don’t know how long had passed but one night I had this weird dream where I was walking through the desert and I came to this abandoned wooden mining town. I walked through the silent buildings and saw a spur, just like the one I’d brought, laying on the sandy ground. I think I tried to pick it up but the dream ended.

After breakfast that morning, I looked for the spur in the cacti bowl. It wasn’t there. Shrugging and thinking one of my housemates had moved it, I went to university for the day and once again forgot all about it.

 

I had another dream days later and I remember this one more because I don’t normally recall my dreams that well. Once again, I was in the desert and walking through that abandoned silent town. I saw the spur and this time I picked it up. I spun the spiky wheel and sliced my finger.

A drop of blood hit the sand at my feet and sunk into the grains. I frowned and began to move on but the ground trembled and a zombie hand shot out and grabbed my boot. I screamed, yelled and tried to kick away. The hand hung on. Panic rose within me, I kicked hard but that caused the hand to pull more out of the sand and I realised the hand wasn’t trying to drag me down but it get itself up!

Without thinking, I jabbed the spur into the rotting hand. The fingers seemed to loosen. I jabbed harder, sticking the spur in like a knife and leaving it there. I kicked with my other foot and punched with my hands until the zombie hand let me go. I stumbled away then finding my feet fled the ghost town.

I awoke in a pool of sweat and shivering. My bed was a mess and my breathing was super loud. I got up and went to the window. It was a cold and wet autumn day but I opened the window and let the strong wind blast the reminds of the dream away.

I had a shower, got dressed and was grateful that I didn’t have any uni classes to attend today. The house was quiet, so I didn’t know who was in. There were dishes in the sink though and the living room was a mess. I tidied up, hoping it would take my mind off everything. Also, I had to find that spur!

When it didn’t turn up, I stuck a note on the fridge and asked my housemates to please return the spur to me. I went to my room and tried to study but my mind was far from my essay and research reading. Instead, I did some internet searching into spurs and abandoned towns in the desert. I didn’t find many answers to the questions I didn’t even know I had.

I went out in the afternoon to the shops and to the town’s library which was nothing compared to the uni’s library but at least I finally got a clear head to study! When I got back that evening, I asked my three housemates about the spur but none of them had seen it.

‘Like a cowboy boot spur?’ Josh asked.

I nodded.

They were all sat in the living room, the TV on an American comedy show and a menu for a local Chinese on the coffee table.

‘Why do you have one of them, Rachel?’ Holly cut in.

‘ It seemed interesting….’ I replied.

‘We’re going to order, soon,’ Kaden switching out, you want anything?’

‘Sure,’ I sighed and picked the menu up.

 

That night the dream came again. This time though I was more prepared and though the zombie scared me, I let him raise from the sand. He was dressed in the reminds of  brown leather pants and a jacket. Holding down my fear, I held the spur out to him. With a loud groan he took it from my stretched out hand then turned away from me.

My eyes flicked open. My dark student bedroom morphing before me. I fumbled for the lamp and got blinded by the light. I rubbed my face and hobbled to the bathroom. Afterwards, I padded back and got into bed again. The near silence of the house hurt my ears and I just wanted to go to sleep again.

I never saw the spur again.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/10/19/thursday-photo-prompt-spur-writephoto/ with thanks).

The Cook Book

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The witch took her favourite cook book out and began turning the heavy yellow pages. She wasn’t sure what to make, something to poison the neighbourhood kids or a light snack for herself?

‘Ah, mashed monster stew!’ she crackled, ‘that’s perfect for this stormy night!’

 

(Inspired from; https://first50.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/the-cookbook/ with thanks).

The Hanging Tree #FridayFictoneers

I’d always admired the old tree because of it’s size and odd shape, but the dark history that was attached to it always made me shiver. People had been hung for their crimes on the thick lowest branch. The rope cuts could still be seen between the knots. Every Halloween people came to ‘see’ ghostly figures hanging down and ‘hear’ the moans of the lost. I though, only had to look out of my bedroom window to see those souls and though I’d tried to get use to them I couldn’t.

 

(Inspired from; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/10/18/13-october-2017/ with thanks).