Summer Rain

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The rain dripped off the cafe’s canvas shelter. I looked up and just listened to the soft, steady beating noise. It was nice and calming and eased my anxiety more then the hot chocolate in front of me.

There was only handful of people on the street and they were hurrying about their business, masks on their faces and shopping bags crinkling beside their legs. Of the cafe tables, two or three had people sitting at them, the rest, spaced out were empty. Inside the cafe no one was allowed to sit, it was outside or take away only.

Two staff were behind the counter, masked and gloved and working as best they could. No food was on offer today, so the chocolate chunky muffin or slice of banana cake with thick frosting, I would have got to accompany my drink wasn’t there.

‘You okay?’

The gentle voice of my boyfriend broke in to my thought.

I nodded, ‘just adjusting. The rain’s helping. How’s you tea?’

‘Fine,’ he said and took another few sips.

Watching a man and his dog walk by, silence crept between us again.

Normally, we’d have lots to chat about and catch up on but this wasn’t a normal date. It was the first time we had been outside in public in twelve weeks and we decided to move in together before, perhaps that had been too soon but things had been fine.

‘We can leave whenever you want to,’ he spoke again.

‘I know. I’m okay.’

I picked up my hot chocolate and took a deep drink. It was nice and rich, the chocolate heavy but creamy. The warmth spread in my chest and I felt better.

Blessed

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It had been years since they had seen rain. The sky was was always clear, icy blue and the black ground dry and cracked. They, the plants and animals survived by the deep holes drilled into the ground and the pumps that let the water come up.

The water was heavily restricted; only two water pots per house a day then additional ones for people with animals and plants. In summer, this was further restricted as the need to make sure the water was saved became a priority.

The look outs, who normally yelled the sightings of travellers and enemies, were the first to spot the cloud back. Only one of them could remember the last time the sky had changed.

The message spread like birds taking flight in a panic. People gathered, faces to the sky then they hurried for anything that would contain the water. The streets became cluttered with pots, bowls, cauldrons and all manor of other things.

With held breath and quietness, everyone waited and after what felt like a life time, the sky became dark and grey. Then the first drops fell, a few spots here and there like a soft cast off of spray.

Then it started pouring down.

 

Zebrinny #AtoZChallenge

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Zebrinny – offspring of a male horse and female zebra

The zoo was quiet in the rain. I guess most people don’t like walking around and staring at wet animals that seem to have gloomy looks. I had promised Adya though and she wouldn’t hear about not going.

It was strange to think that in this moment I was tiring of having a five year old daughter but school was out, mum was working away and I was working at home, trying to juggle all the roles and feeling too tried to care anymore.

At least at the zoo there was things to distract Adya and walking in the rain was calming me. Without the crowds of people, I felt more safe to let her roam and do what she liked as long as it wasn’t trying to get into the animal enclosures.

‘Can we get ice cream, daddy?’ she asked as we went to see the Big Cats.

‘We just had lunch,’ I answered back.

‘Later then.’

‘Okay, later. Can you see the leopard?’

Adya pressed herself to the marked glass pane and looked around the forest scene.

I shook the umbrellas out and read the sign about the leopard.

‘I can’t see him,’ Adya whined and stuck her tongue out at her reflection.

I came over looked up, searching the thick tree branches. The leopard wasn’t to be seen.

‘Tigers!’ Adya cried and dashed over.

I trailed after her as we went from each big cat until we came outside again. The rain was really coming down.

‘Maybe we should go home?’ I asked timidly.

‘No,’ Adya shouted and stamped her foot in a puddle, splashing us both.

‘Okay,’ I uttered and huddled under my umbrella more.

People thinned out as we carried on. I saw groups of families gathered in the cafes or shops or under makeshift shelters. Adya wouldn’t hear about stopping unless that was for ice cream.

I got her a small cone and watched her get chocolate ice cream all over her face. We sat inside a cafe before heading off again. There were monkeys to see, birds to admire and an ant eater to watch sleeping. Still the rain came down and water dripped off and soaked everything. To make matters worse most of the animals were in hiding and Adya was upset she couldn’t see them all.

‘But why daddy?’ she cried.

‘Because they come from hotter places and it’s cold out. They like to stay warm.’

‘Why do they have to stay inside?’ Adya pouted.

‘Because it’s wet and they don’t like it,’ I sighed.

‘I like the rain! And I like puddles!’ Adya shouted and began stomping about in a large puddle as only a crazy five year old can.

‘There’s a cafe and shop, let’s go get a drink and I’ll buy you a teddy.’

I got a coffee and Adya a juice. I was so numb that I couldn’t feel my fingers or my feet. I didn’t take off my coat because I’d lose heat but also there was nothing worse then putting a wet coat back on.

Adya swinging her legs, sipped her apple juice and looked at the map. It was damp, full of folding lines and starting to look tatty. She named the animals we had seen; sea-lions, camels, kangaroos, red pandas etc and the animals we were to visit next; warthogs, giraffes, wolves, deer and zebra.

I half listened to her, enjoying the spreading warmth of the coffee. There were a few people at some of the other tables; a young couple on a date, a mother and two older children, an old couple and a member of staff on a break.

‘What teddy do you want, Adya?’ I asked, nodding towards the little jungle themed shop.

‘I don’t want one for there. I want one from the big shop at the front,’ Adya declared.

‘Guess it wouldn’t get wet being carried around that way,’ I mused.

‘And we have to get mummy something,’ Adya added.

‘And me….?’ I asked like a child.

Adya frowned, her small brow creasing then nodded and said, ‘yes, you can get something too, daddy.’

We finished our drinks and went back out into the rain. Adya splashed in the puddles, pointed at animals and seemed never to stop. I plodded along with water in my boots, feeling tried, craving a hot bath and a beer.

We made it around the rest of the animals and finally ended up at the last set which was deer, antelope and zebra. Most of the animals were sheltering in the low wooden stables with straw covered floors.

I picked Adya up to see better but these animals were not as exciting as some of the others. Grateful to see her bored, we hurried along and got to the zebra.

‘Why is that one a different colour, daddy?’

I looked where Adya was pointing and saw a young zebra, a year or so old and it was brown and less stripy then the others. It’s mane and tail were dark brown and longer then the other zebra.

‘Maybe, because it’s a baby?’ I spoke, ‘let’s see if there’s a sign….’

I moved down, carrying Adya on my hip. She was getting to large to carried. We came across the information point and after a scan, I spotted the odd zebra.

‘His name is Oz and his mother was a zebra but his dad was a horse, their foals are called zebrinny. He was born in twenty-nineteen. He likes carrots- a lot!’

Adya giggled and waved at the zebra, who ignored her and carried on eating.

‘That’s why he’s different then,’ I explained, ‘he’s part horse, that’s why he’s brown.’

Adya give a satisfactory nod and our day at the zoo was almost over. We walked back and went to the shop. I was worried it would be busy and noisy with children but it was nearly empty like the rest of the place had been.

Adya got a basket, leaving me to carry her pink umbrella along aside my black one. I followed close behind her, watching as she looked at the things. We went to the stuffed animals, there was a huge selection to pick from.

‘What are going to get Adya?’ I asked.

‘I want a bra-nnie! Like Oz,’ she cried.

‘Oh….’ I looked on the shelves, thinking there was no chance they’d have such a rare creature, ‘what about a tiger instead? They’re your favorite.’

She shook her head and carried on looking.

A member of staff came by and I broke with the man protectal and asked, ‘excuse me do you have a zebrinny?’

‘A what?’ the teenage girl asked me.

‘It’s a half horse, half zebra.’

She shook her head and walked away.

‘They don’t have any, sweetie,’ I said to Adya.

My daughter looked at me like she was about to explode.

‘We can just get a zebra…’

‘No!’ Adya screamed, ‘I want a zeb-brinie! And I won’t go home without one!’

I looked around desperately hoping one would appear out of thin air.

Adya crossed her arms over her chest, tucked her chin down and looked like she was holding her breath. Her little cheeks were red and her eyes all ready wet with tears. She was on the edge of a tantum.

I looked for another member of staff and spotted an older man stacking books. I went over and tried him, perhaps we could come to some other arrangement instead? Get a zebra and a horse and have someone sew them together in the back room?

‘Excuse me, do you have any zebrinny?’ I asked.

The man glanced up from the books and looked at me.

‘I’m cold, wet and tried,’ I explained, ‘my daughter wants one. I’m guessing you don’t have any, so can we sort something out for her and then we can go home?’

‘There’s one of the shelf behind you,’ the man said.

I spun so fast I almost tumbled over. I ran to the spot and hanked the half horse half zebra teddy off the shelf and looked at it like it was a miracle in my hands.

‘That one, daddy!’ Adya cried and rushed over to me, ‘he looks like Oz!’

I give her the toy and she hugged the zebrinny tightly.

Chuckling from behind made me turn and I looked at the male staff member, ‘happy to help!’ he called.

‘Thank you,’ I replied back.

We bought a few other things, took them to the till then left. In the car, I turned up the heating, took off my soaked through coat and drove us home.

Adya fell asleep hugging the zebrinny.

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

This story completes April 2020’s A-Z Challenge. It’s been fun and hard writing at times. I hope you have enjoyed reading these stories. Tomorrow, I’ll be kicking off a new month and I hope to see you there! Hayley.  

Storm #writephoto

The remains of the tower rose in the distance. It was hard actually to call it a tower now because it just looked like a lump of rock on the grassy hillside. It was the place Rhys and Ffion always met at and had been since they were children.

Today, Ffion had arrived first. She entered the tower and sat down on some stones  crafted into a bench. Above, someone had built a roof and blocked off what had been a spiral staircase. It was a freezing but sturdy little shelter.

Ffion listened to the strong gusts of wind blasting around this Welsh hill and the rain spray soaking everything. There was no warmth to be had in the tower but at least she was out of the elements.

She was bundled in a winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves with a heavy thick knitted jumper and thermal long sleeved t-shirt underneath. Also, she wore  woollen leggings, a long grey skirt and ankle boots. Not the normal clothes of a winter hill walker.

Ffion tried to stay warm and not let the guilty thoughts creep in. Her excuse to her husband and children had been an afternoon meeting friends for coffee. Instead of driving into town, she had come out here and parked the car at the bottom of the hills.

Ffion had followed a rough path up to the tower for an hour trying to think only of Rhys. Would he be waiting already? What would he been wearing today? Had his wife finally forced him to shave off his beard which I so love? 

Shifting her numbing body on the bench, she looked at the moss covered stones and distracted herself by counting. She reached forty then heard footsteps outside. Standing up quickly, Ffion saw Rhys enter the tower and she rushed to him.

The hugged tightly, despite their clothes being damp then Rhys pulled Ffion back inside. They sat on the bench, still embracing and breath each other in.

‘A storm’s coming,’ Rhys said softly, ‘how long did you say you would be gone for?’

‘All afternoon,’ Ffion answered.

Rhys nodded. He took off his gloves and pressed a warm hand to Ffion’s flushed cheek, ‘Fy cariad¹,’ he spoke huskily, ‘dwi wedi dy golli di².’

‘Me too, fy annwly³,’ Ffion gushed, ‘and she still hasn’t made you shave your beard!’

Rhys laughed as Ffion ran her fingers over his thick black beard.

‘I won’t do it. No matter what she says,’ Rhys answered, ‘because I know you love it.’

‘Yes, yes I do!’

Ffion took off her gloves and put her hand over Rhys’ on her cheek. She turned slightly into his palm and nuzzled against him before planting a soft kiss. In return, Rhys pressed his forehead to her’s and tightened his other arm around her back. He dropped his head and pressed his lips to her’s.

‘I can’t wait any longer,’ Rhys groaned.

‘Nor me. Let’s do it,’ Ffion said and kissed him back.

They were quick in their passion because it was cold. Only the necessary clothes were removed and there was hardly any need for a warm up as they were both eager to have each the other. The rhythm of their bodies was in tune, their cries of pleasure masked by the howling wind and they shared the release of desire when it arrived.

In the after bliss they cuddled, listening to the rain pouring down and the steady drip of water coming down the stones of the tower.

‘Rwy’n dy garu di,’ Rhys whispered into Ffion’s hair.

Dwi’ dy garu di hefy,’ Ffion breathed back.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/02/13/thursday-photo-prompt-storm-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

 

Welsh Words Translations 

¹Fy cariad – my love

³Fy annwly –  my dear

²dwi wedi dy golli di – I have missed you

Rwy’n dy garu di – I love you

Dwi’ dy garu di hefy – I love you too

Shimmer #WritePhoto

The church bells were ringing the start of a clear winter morning. Roger had taken to wandering outside as soon as he got up, sometimes he found his way home again and other times he had to stop and work the way back.

Today, he was by the lake and the sun was shinning from behind fluffy clouds. The light was reflecting across the water making it shimmer like glitter. Roger watched the small waves lapping the grassy shore. There wasn’t much out here, it wasn’t a place people often came.

There was an island in the middle of the lake, crowed with trees and Roger had been over there and built dens in the summer as a child. He wonder if there was anything left of those makeshift shelters that had become Knights’ castles, caves full of bears and Native American forts.

Above the island rose peaks, cast black by the sun. Had he been over there? Roger couldn’t remember, his head was getting mixed up with old age. He listened to the church bells last echoing ring and walked on. Some birds were singing but everything else was at ease.

He could have walked for days before but now just these hours in the morning tried him out. When the weather was worse, short walks were in order and afterwards, he slipped a little whisky in his tea.

Winter was’t the best season for walking in, so he lit the fire when he arrived home. He sipped his tea and sit in his chair looking out of a front window. The sun was blocked by the roof tops of houses and more clouds were moving in. It would rain soon or snow, it felt cold enough too. Maybe, that was just him?

Roger dozed after finishing his tea and the fire spreading its warm also helped. It was raining when he woke. It had gotten darker too though it was only 2 O’clock. Roger got up on stiff and creaking bones. He stocked up the fire then made half a tin of tomato soup for lunch.

He read afterwards, picking up one of the tattered books on the shelf. He lit a candle to help see by and wrapped woollen blankets around himself. For years, the heating and electricity hadn’t work. The water still ran coming from a underground spring he didn’t have to pay for. He survived by a camping lifestyle in his own home.

It wasn’t the life he had grown up in nor the one he had lived as a younger man. No, it was another sin of being old. The money stopped, yet living had to carry on somehow. This was the best he could do for now.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/12/05/thursday-photo-prompt-shimmer-writephoto/ with thanks).

Stormy Day

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I could feel the damp coldness on the window and hear the gale force wind driving the rain. Sighing, I pressed my fevered forehead to the glass. I had wanted to go out today, get some fresh air and pick up a few things. Instead, an open window and rummage through the kitchen cupboards would have to do.

Something warm and furry brushed my fingers then a cool wet tongue licked my hand. My guide dog, Hope, had come to my side. I could hear her tail wagging as I reached out and stroked her head and ears.

‘Looks like another day inside for me,’ I said, ‘though Bob should be around soon to take you out.’

Bob was my next door neighbour, he had a guide dog also and another Labrador. He was only blind in one eye but did have some blurred vision in his left. He liked walks and use to do a lot of hiking.

With having the flu, I had asked him to take Hope out for me. She enjoyed being with the other dogs and having some down time from her job of guiding me places.

I crossed the living room and Hope followed at my side.

‘Alexa,’ I called to the device, ‘what’s the weather like today?’

‘Currently it’s forty degrees, heavy rain, strong winds and cloudy. Tonight, there will be more rain.’

‘Alexa, what’s the weather like tomorrow?’

‘Tomorrow it will be forty-three degrees, scattered showers and heavy clouds.’

‘Thanks. I’ll try and go out tomorrow.’

There was a knocking on the door. Hope barked and guided me over, though I knew well enough were my front door was.

‘Kat, it’s Bob,’ he called through the door.

I unlocked things and let him in.

‘Hi,’ I said, ‘is the weather as bad as it seems?’

‘Yes,’ Bob replied, ‘I’m in my waterproofs and wellies. Hello Hope. How’s the flu doing?’

‘Bit better. I wanted to go shopping but might be best if I don’t.’

‘Oh? I can go and get you somethings. I climbed mountains so this weather doesn’t bother me!’ Bob replied and laughed.

‘No, it’s okay. I’ll try later,’ I answered.

‘Well, if you can’t, I really don’t mind.’

‘I know but it’s fine honest. Here’s Hope’s lead. Have fun, girl.’

We said goodbye and I went back into my apartment and to the window again. I opened the window and felt the almost freezing air on my face and arms. The wind was strong and water droplets hit my face.

I was glad Bob was heading outside instead of me, it sure felt horrible out there today.

 

 

 

The Queue #FridayFictioneers

The rain dripped of trees and umbrellas, splashing into puddles as people queued. There was a chatter of voices, rustling from clothes, cars driving passed and an angry raven squawking close by.

I waked by and wondered why there was a queue. I was too shy to ask so kept on walking. The line was long but when I got the front, I still couldn’t see what they were waiting for.

I hoped it was nothing important. Had I missed some voting day or celebrate visit or grand opening day?

No….They were queuing to get Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks!

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/09/25/27-september-2019-2/ with thanks).

A Rainy Day #MenageMonday

I didn’t like rainy days, it meant staying in and the kids got bored. I had a plan; ‘we’re going to make a circus!’ I told them.

‘I’m going to make my teddies into circus elephants!’ Jewel cried.

‘Can we make a tent for the big top out of sheets?’ Conrad asked.

I nodded and we all hurried around the apartment gathering up what we could.

‘We need some flowers,’ the twins, Letty and Hetty spoke out.

‘Look in the windowbox,’ I called over my shoulder.

Soon, the circus rolled in and we all had a great time.

 

(Inspired by; http://www.caramichaels.com/defiantlyliterate/2019/03/25/menagemonday-challenge-week-2×26/ with thanks).

Pug Face #TwitteringTales

Back from a quick lunchtime walk, both my pug and I were soaked to the bone. We stood shivering in the hallway, wondering why we had risked going outside in monsoon style weather.

Grabbing towels, I wrapped us both up and saw my pug’s face saying it all.

 

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2019/03/19/twittering-tale-128-19-march-2019/ with thanks).

Rainy

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I liked walking in the rain. I enjoyed listening to the noise of water on the roofs of houses and cars, on discard litter, on leaves and umbrellas. Every note was a different sound, coming together to form the melody of the rainfall. That song for me calmed my soul like nothing else could.

I didn’t walk with a destination in mind. I went wherever I fancied with no fear of getting lost. I had explored the streets of this town for years, little had changed.  I crossed roads, went into parks, cut through graveyards with their dark church guardians then over the bridge.

The sound of rain on the river was loud and blocked some of the background town noise. I watched for awhile before turning and heading back home. I felt better, less stressed and calmer. Cold prickled my skin, making my sense of feeling higher, the handle of my umbrella a solid weight in my hands.