Nap

The afternoons were getting harder to get through. The time dragged and it felt like waiting for paint to dry. I had tried to fill the time with watching TV, gardening and looking out of the window.

Still though, I caught myself dozing off sometimes and even woke myself from sleep, confused by what I’d missed.

Maybe, it was lack of sleep in the night or the strangely warm autumn. Perhaps, it was a sign as there had been others, of the old age I hated admitting too. I brushed it off, blamed it on other things.

Sleep though didn’t seem to want to let me go. I felt like I was having an never ending battle with keeping my eyes open and my thoughts in one place. I would nodded off and jerk myself awake, I’d get up and shake off the blanket sleep had tried to wrap me in.

Sometimes though it was too easier to give in. I didn’t have the fight like I use too and my energy was lacking after morning activities. So, a little sleep helped me to get through the rest of the day.

The days were getting shorter and darkness always seemed close at hand. My excuse for sleeping was justified; it’s cold and dark, I liked to be warm and feel safe. Plus, the growing aches in my joints were eased when I laid down. – Not so great when I stood up though!

Stretching in my basket, I looked at the clock then the TV and tried to see if it was time for a walk. The old man had fallen asleep in his chair again, his head was on his chest and his hands were in his lap. It seemed unfair to wake him up.

I was comfy and too warm. I yawned and snuggled back down. Maybe, I should just give into these day time naps? They didn’t seem that bad really.

Blown In On The Wind

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Returning from dropping the grandchildren off at school, I sank into my armchair and looked out the window at the storm I had just battled through. The wind was as strong as a car speeding on the motorway and it was driving the heavy rain and hailstones into you like shards of glass.

I turned the TV on, then left some daytime game show sounding in the background. I changed into slippers and a warmer jumper. There was housework to do but it could wait until later.

Sitting down again, I looked at the collection of photos on the mantel and the wall. There were many of my husband who had died six years ago, we had been married for fifty-two years. He had been in the army and though the idea of being an solider’s wife had worried me, I had enjoyed the travelling and many experiences.

There were photos of my only child, my daughter, Victoria and also her husband, Danial. Both had died in a car crash, five years ago. Then there were my grandchildren, ten year old, Beth and seven year old, Alex, smiling brightly in every photo.

I got out my knitting, feeling the need to relax. My joints were aching because of the cold and I couldn’t get warm enough. The joys of old age and having to look after young children once again. I would soon feel some energy back then I could do some chores.

A banging upstairs stilled the clicking of my needles. I looked up at the ceiling, listening as the bang came again. The wind was swinging a door about, that was all.

I got up and climbed the stairs, feeling pain in my hips and knees. At the top, I saw Beth’s door moving and banging against the frame as the wind blew about.

‘She didn’t shut her window probably, that child!’ I uttered.

I went in, closed and locked the offending window. Outside, the wind carried on raging away, leaving the bedroom freezing cold. Turning the heater up, I went to head back downstairs and put the kettle on.

Something white moved out of the corner of my eye and I turned to it. Was it a bird? No..it was something else….The shape seemed to grow and become more solid, yet still see through. The white colour became more cream and I saw the outline of a long dress drifting.

The more I stared the more the ghost took form before me until a young woman was standing before the bed. Her long hair was down to her waist and her face was full of sadness. As she looked around, confusion frowned her face then she went to the window and looked out as if she was lost.

‘Hello? I said gently.

No reply.

‘I can see you, ghost,’ I added.

The woman turned and looked at me slowly.

‘What are you doing here?’

She sighed and softly, almost in a whisper answered, ‘looking for my child.’

‘Are they here?’ I pressed.

‘No,’ she uttered, ‘the strong wind blew me into your house. I am sorry.’

‘It’s okay, pet. Would you like to stay until the weather passes?’ I asked, ‘some company meet be good for you.’

The ghost took a moment to think then nodded. She turned, taking the room in again.

‘This is my granddaughter’s room. Come down into the living room,’ I spoke.

I went back down and the ghost followed me. A cold draft trailed around her and her dress floated on a wind that seemed to be a part of her.

Settling in my chair and picking up my knit, I tried not to watch the ghost hovering around.

‘They have passed,’ she muttered after a few minutes.

I looked up and saw her before the photos, ‘yes, pet,’ I replied, though there wasn’t a need too but it did open a conversation, ‘you lost your child?’

‘At birth. I followed a day later,’ the ghost answered, ‘and I have been searching ever since.’

‘That’s why you are still here,’ I added.

‘Yes,’ agreed the ghost. She give a long moaning sigh and stirred the leaves of a pot plant.

‘Where do you think your child is?’ I questioned over the clicking of my knitting needles.

The ghost was quiet and thoughtful.

‘At your house?’ I pondered after a few minutes.

‘If she was, she is no longer,’ the ghost woman replied, ‘that is why I had to leave. I cannot rest without her.’

I nodded and fell to thinking. Soothed by the sounds of the TV and needles, it was easy for my mind to drift.

‘You know, pet,’ I said, ‘stillborn babies probably go straight to heaven.’

‘Do you think?’ the ghost gasped.

‘Yes. They are innocent and have no reason to stay here. Maybe, that’s what has happened?’

‘Has it?’ whispered the ghost.

‘And perhaps, it’s not the search for your child that keeps you here but the grieve of the loss?’ I concluded.

The ghost let out a low moan.

‘Have you tried to leave?’

‘No. I did not want to,’ the ghost replied.

‘Try and see what happens, pet,’ I responded, gently.

‘Am I scared.’

‘I know but there’s nothing to worry about and your child will be waiting. If not, I shall help you.’

‘You will? Oh! Thank you!’ the ghost cried and she smiled.

‘Now, try to go to Heaven, pet.’

The ghost nodded and after a few moments, she began to fade away.

‘I am going! I am going!’ she shouted, ‘I shall be united with my child.’

‘Yes, dear. Go, go! Find your child and be at peace.’

With a finally smile, the ghost woman vanished.

Her cold spot lingered another minute or two then warmth took over once more.

I lent back in my armchair, knitting abandoned on my lap, looking at where the ghost had stood. Then, I turned to the photographs and said, ‘if I was her, I would have done the same. Mothers and children should always be together.’

Christmas Elsewhere #3LineTales

three line tales, week 203

Irene hadn’t wanted to spent a wet Christmas at home, alone and falling asleep during the Queen’s Speech.

She decided to book a holiday and go on an adventure package holiday, she was still fit enough and didn’t feel her old age, though people were referring to her as ‘old lady’ now.

The first day involved getting into a warm sea and swimming with sharks, ‘What a way to spend Christmas!’ Irene uttered as she felt a fin brush her toes.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2019/12/19/three-line-tales-week-203/ with thanks).

Wrong Glasses #FridayFictioneers

The book’s words blurred, Rosemary wondered what was going on. She took her glasses off, wiped them on her loose cream nightie. Her gnarled hands began shaking as she put the glasses on.

‘What is wrong with these things?’ Rosemary muttered.

Taking the glasses off, she held them to the page and used them like a magnifying glass. That helped a little, she carried on reading.

When she grew tried, Rosemary set the book aside and noticed that there was another pair of glasses on the table.

‘Oh! My new glasses!’ Rosemary cried, ‘No wonder I couldn’t see!’

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/09/11/13-september-2019/ with thanks).

Christmas Cards

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Sitting back in her armchair, with hands that never stopped shaking, Mary opened the envelopes of the three letters the postman had just put through the door.

The first was an electric bill she would have to go to the post office to pay off. The second was a junk letter about signing up for a credit card and the third was a charity circular  which as well as wanting her to send money for homeless people, contained a Christmas card and gift sticker labels.

Mary looked at the Christmas card, it was a drawing of a brass band playing in the snow next to a town centre war memorial. She smiled and opened the card. It was blank inside.

Putting the other letters aside, Mary got up and placed the card with the handful of others on the window sill, next to the little Christmas tree who’s fibre optic lights changed colour and give little magic to the cold room.

Going back to her chair, Mary pulled a blanket she had knitted over her knees and dozed in front the TV. She was not interested in watching much now, it was mostly the background noise and the sound of voices that made her keep the TV on all the time.

The doorbell rang around lunchtime, breaking into a dream Mary had been having about being a little girl lost in a snowy countryside. Mary stirred, heard the door unlock and open.

A voice called out, ‘Mary? it’s only me, nurse Sandra. Sorry I’m late. It’s terrible weather out and Mr Lambrook fell this morning! Such a fuss! Are you okay?’

‘Hello, I’m fine thanks,’ Mary answered.

Sandra appeared in the doorway, rain dripping off the hem of her health visitor’s blue and white dress. Her dyed bright red hair was tied back into a bun and her face was blotchy red with cold and rushing about.

‘How about I make us a cup of tea and some soup?’ Sandra asked.

‘That would be lovely.’

Watching the lunchtime news they ate and drink, making light comments on the daily events. Then Sandra ran some health checks on ninety-three year old Mary, asked some basic questions and made a few notes.

Waiting for Mary to come back from the bathroom, Sandra noticed the new Christmas card and realised she had received the same one yesterday. Getting up, she left her notebook on the chair and went to the windowsill. Picking up the card, she opened it and saw it was blank.

Placing it back, Sandra looked in the other cards and found that all ten were blank. A few had come from charity letters, one from a high street shop valuing a loyal customer, another a craft magazine sample and two others from packs of cards that donated money to charity when brought.

Sandra felt a wave a sadness. Had no one sent Mary a real Christmas card this year and when was the last time anyone had?

Hearing the toilet flush, Sandra returned to the other armchair and took up her notebook once again. She wanted to write her finding down and suggested Mary was lonely. Sandra knew not much would come of that though, other then another push to get Mary to move into a care home. Mary had repeatedly refused, she wanted to die in the house she had been born in, like her mother before her.

‘Did you manage okay?’ Sandra asked as Mary shuffled into the room.

‘Yes,’ Mary answered though she seem out of breath.

‘Right. I’ve just a few more things and then I have to go.’

They finished up, said their goodbyes and Sandra went out to her little blue car. Sitting there, Sandra looked at the closing door of Mary’s house and wished she could do something to help the old woman.

Well…maybe there was….

The next day, the postman dropped more letters through Mary’s door. Mary hobbled from the kitchen were she had been cleaning up milk she had spilt. Collecting the letters, she went back into the kitchen where it was warmer and opened the envelopes.

There was a Christmas card and inside was writing.

Mary read the words, tears coming to her eyes. Sandra had sent her a card.

Abandoning the other letters, Mary took the card and moving the blank charity one, placed Sandra’s next to the flashing tree.

All day, Mary’s eyes kept going to the Christmas card and she found herself constantly smiling.

Leaving #FridayFictioneers

Finally, they had got Mrs Willoby out of the old peoples’ home. Supporting her, the careers walked her onto the awaiting boat. The crew were silent, nerves building. They didn’t like being here, an eerie deadness hung about the empty island.

Once the hundred year old lady was seated, Mrs Willoby smiled and peered into her handbag. Nestled in a tissue was a throbbing green stone. Space contamination the government said, but she had never believed them. It was just a pretty stone.

The boat took off at high speed, leaving the condemned land but sealing the fate of another.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/07/25/27-july-2018/ with thanks).

Irusu #atozchallenge

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Irusu; pretending to be out when someone knocks at your door. 

The door bell cut through Trudy’s chopping of carrots. She paused, wondering who that could be. Placing the knife down, she shuffled in her slippers towards the front door. It couldn’t the postman, he’d already been and she hadn’t order anything. Perhaps it was a neighbor?

As best her old body would allow, Trudy crept to the door and looked through the peephole. There were two women standing on the doorstep, they looked just a little younger then Trudy did. They were dressed smartly and held paper booklets in there hands.

Religious people, Trudy thought.

She debated a moment then decided she wasn’t interested and turned away. A rapping knock on the door followed and caused Trudy to glance back.

Did they see me? No, the new door is solid. 

Trudy stood still in the hallway. The only window now was the small rectangle one above the door. It was far too tall for anyone to see in or out of.

I’m not in. 

Shuffling off again, she pretended not to have heard anything and went back to the carrots.

Scrap Yard Boy

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I couldn’t just leave him there. He was wet, cold, hungry and crying. I had no idea who had abandoned him or why but they must have been desperate to dump him in my scrap yard or maybe his parents hadn’t cared?

It was luckily my dog found him and that I had called so late at the yard to pick up something I’d forgotten. Heaven knows how long he’s been there for. He couldn’t have been older the two or three. He dressed for a winter walk and had an old bear with him.

As the snow started to spiral down, I gathered him up and put him in the trunk. He cried softly all the way, clearly tried but too scared to do anything else. Once parked outside the glowing warmth of my home, it took a few minutes to get him out.

My wife was waiting for me, a hot meal on the table and the TV talking away in the background. She was as shocked as me to see the boy. She took him to the bathroom, muttering mothering words. I ate whilst she cleaned him and found t-shirt and shorts to dress him in.

We had always wanted a child  but God had decided it wasn’t our fate to have our own. We had spent years in fostering and adaption though had recently had to stop due to old age effecting us. My wife had loved it and I knew she missed it greatly, so she wouldn’t want to part with the abandoned boy.

She bought him to the table and got him to ate some of the stew she had made and drink some warmed milk. He rubbed his eyes sleepily afterwards and she put him to bed in one of the little bedrooms we still had.

‘How could someone abandoned him like that?’ she asked.

I was putting another log on the fire, having washed and tided away the dishes, ‘I don’t know,’ I replied, ‘ but we’ve heard all the stories before.’ I shrugged.

‘Well, he’ll have to stay now,’ she spoke.

I glanced at the clock and paper calendar on the mantle, ‘we’ll have to go and tell the officials. The offices will be closed for Christmas so we’ll have to do it in the new year.’

My wife nodded though I knew she wanted to suggest we don’t tell anyone about the boy. I couldn’t do that though and his life would be so much harder if he had to live in secret. Turning to the fire, I wondered how this had all come to be but I knew how I now wanted it to end.

(Inspired by; https://allaboutwritingandmore.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/daily-picture-prompt-334/ with thanks).

Longing

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He wanted to write, but his hands weren’t working.

Rain on the Bus

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The empty bus pulled smoothly to a stop and the doors opened. The bus driver peered out and watched the old lady getting on with the aid of the handrail.

‘Hello, Doreen!’ he said cheerfully as he recognised her, ‘terrible evening.’

‘Oh, no, Terry!’ Doreen cried with a little wave of her walking stick, ‘it’s quiet perfect!’

She pressed her pensioner’s bus pass to the ticket machine. There was a beep and some words flashed up.

‘For ducks maybe,’ Terry muttered with a glance out of his window.

The rain was coming down heavily and the wind was whipping up into a storm.

Terry closed the bus’s door to contain some heat. Then he waited for Doreen to shuffle off and sit down at the back, like she always did. Checking she was settled, he started up the bus and smoothly drove off.

Doreen smiled and watched the rain hitting the window next to her. She turned up her hearing aids and listen to the rain splashing and the wind howling. Under her, the bus’s engine rumbled away and waves of gentle heat brushed her.

She took off her big pink flowers decorated hat which she always wore on her rainy evening bus rides and set it to dry out next to her. Doreen placed her small red handbag flat next to it, then took off her bright pink rain mac. She was wearing a huge, fluffy green jumper that she had knitted herself.

Turning back to the window, Doreen relaxed into the ride.

There’s nothing, she thought, quite like a drive in the rain to make you fall asleep.