Knife

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I found the knife on my jog through the woods. I had stopped for a minutes to shelter under an old twisted yew tree whilst I waited for a sharp down pour to end. The handle was sticking out from a low loose branch and when I pulled it the blade came easily out. Surprised, I froze for a few seconds. I hadn’t thought the knife would be that long!

Who had stuck it in the branch and left it? Someone who’d been up to no good, maybe. My mind began to flash with options; a criminal, a dealer, a suicidal person, a murderer? I jabbed the knife back into the tree branch then like a panic idiot I took the hem of my t-shirt and wiped the handle.

I turned my back and pretended that I had never seen the knife. I looked out at the rain dripping off the summer leaves and realised the shower wasn’t going to stop any time soon. Preparing myself to start jogging again, I wondered how long the knife had been there.

Every morning I came this way, so how come I’d just noticed it now? Maybe due to the fact I hardly stopped on my jog? Warm up done again, I set off and the rain full pelted me. Luckily, it was only ten minutes to the back door of my house.

That knife haunted me for months. I don’t know why. Before I fell asleep and when I awoke, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. On my jogs I didn’t stop at the tree, I kept focused and just ran on.

One day though, I just had to know. I stopped at the yew tree and searched for the knife, but it wasn’t there.

Rain #SoCS

Rain, Floor, Water, Wet, Drops

I stood in the street and let the rain wash the blood off me. My mind which had been running wild seconds before began to grow calm and I could think clearly again. I couldn’t hear anything other then the rain dripping off things and the breeze shaking the trees.

What had I been expecting? People to suddenly burst from their houses, crowd me and demand to know what had happened? Police to turn up and march me away to a padded cell? Whatever I’d been thinking didn’t happen and I found myself totally alone in the rain.

Looking down at my feet and I watched the watered down blood mingling. It was a faded pink colour and soon enough it would be nothing. I tossed my head to the sky and let the feel of the rain take me away.

I was free at last.

 

(Inspired from; https://lindaghill.com/2017/06/23/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-2417/ with thanks.)

The Basement (Part 4)

Woman in Black Walking in Hallway

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

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

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

‘No,’ she mumbled.

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

She muttered something that sounded like maybe.

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

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

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

‘It’s still early…’

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

‘Okay, I’m awake,’ Raven spoke.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Cellars, I guess,’ I replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

To Be Continued…

Dead Line

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The house phone rang and because I was hard at work editing my magazine, I picked it up on auto.

‘Hello?’ I spoke.

‘Good afternoon, Mrs Guilding,’ an man with a heavy Indian accent spoke.

I frowned into the phone. A cold caller for sure. I carried on typing away, too busy to stop.

The voice continued speaking without seeming to pause for breath, ‘my name is Kevin and I am calling you from the Peoples’ Life Survey. May I ask you some household questions? It’ll only take a few minutes of your time.’

‘Sorry, I’m not interested…’ I cut in.

‘Please, Mrs. I shall make it as quick as possible,’ Kevin voice’s rushed.

I sighed. I didn’t have time for this. I went to say goodbye and hang up the phone but Kevin bet me to speaking.

‘Don’t worry!’ he said.

Then the line went dead.

Puzzled, I took my phone from my ear before pressing it back again. The dial tone beeped like a steady heartbeat. I hit the end call button and placed the phone down. I could get on with my editing again.

A strange feeling crept over me. My mind began turning over those words and making them into some sinister.

I stopped working and got up. I had been sat for about four hours. Now, my body became awake. I had to use the bathroom and get a drink, maybe some food. Walking past the window, I peered out through the blinds. Everything looked normal out there. I walked out of the study, went to the bathroom then the kitchen.

Whilst I was making coffee and a sandwich, the phone rang again.

Ah! Kevin. We must have just got cut off. There’s nothing weird going on.

I picked up the kitchen phone, fully expecting to hear his voice again. Instead all I got was a beeping sound followed by white noise.

I checked the phone out, wondering if it was something wrong with my line. Placing the phone back, I picked it up again. The dial tone was just as steady as before. Shrugging, I finished making my late lunch and went into the conservatory to eat it.

The glass room was warm and comforting. The pale walls and wicker furniture give it a summer feel though looking outside the weather had decided to rain today. Settling into the sofa, I listened to the wind and rain outside, relaxing into the silence.

The phone rang. I had sandwich in my mouth. Swallowing, I got up and answered the phone.

‘Hello?’ I spoke.

The line was fuzzy was static.

A voice broke through, ‘Kevin…The Peoples’ Life Survey…I ask you question?’

‘I’m sorry. The line is really bad,’ I responded.

‘Make it quick, yes,’ Kevin shouted.

‘No. Bye.’

I hung up the phone.

When I had finished lunch, I sat for a few more minutes and watched the rain fall. Kevin was still on my mind. What was that all about? I glanced at the phone. Willing it to ring, so I could asked him.

The phone stayed silent for the rest of the day.

Dear Diary #34

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Dear Diary,

I’m curled up in the bathtub right now waiting for the thunderstorm to be over. I’ve turned out all the lights and unplugged everything electrical, as you should. I’m writing this by the three tea light candles balanced at then end of the tub and my camping torch. It’s kinda creepy which is making me even more anxious.

I can hear the wind howling and rattling the trees outside like a giant beast enraged. I want to peek out of the frosty glass window to make sure that’s not actually true right now but I can’t. My legs don’t want to move and my body feels like a half set jelly.

The rain is pouring down like a tsunami. It sounds like the very sea is going to wash my house away. It’s so loud alongside the wind and the deep rumbles of thunder that I can’t hear anything else. This would be the perfect time for a serial killer to break inside my house because I would never hear them coming.

Is there actually someone else inside right now? I’m listening hard diary, but I can’t because things are creaking and banging about. I’m sure it’s just the trees against the windows and loose things in garden….

What if someone is trying to get in?

I can’t go and see! I can barely keep moving my hand to write this. Think, think…okay… The bathroom door is locked and who’d want to use the bathroom if you were breaking in anyway? Wait though….doesn’t everyone hide and get murderer in bathrooms?

Maybe, I should have left before the storm arrived. Gone stayed with friends or family or just found some place to hide in my car. A jail cell might be safer right now. Or another country.

Ah! What am I thinking? They said it was only going to be a small storm…Lightening just flashed, it was loud and bright, crackly and caused all my hair to stand on end. I couldn’t see it clearly in the frosted glass but I saw it enough!

I need to hide some more. Going to put my second sleeping bag over my head. That’ll make me look like a body, so if a serial killer is going through my house right now and he makes it to the bathroom, he’ll think I’m already dead.

So long diary! If I survive this see you tomorrow.

A Little Rain

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I hadn’t been paying attention all day. The events of work yesterday were still reeling through my mind like one of those old films on a projector which had ended but kept spinning. That was why when I unlocked and opened my shoe box apartment door, I didn’t see the postcard on the floor.

The next morning it was laying there, having waited like an obedient dog for me to notice it. Frowning, I stepped off the edge of the postcard and bent down to pick it up, careful of my tight pencil skirt and new coal tights.

It looked an old postcard which had been laying there for a long time. The edges were dog eared, the card was turning from cream to yellow and there was scuff marks on both sides. The picture on the front was a strange nighttime cityscape, with lights on in the tall buildings and the sky behind them dusky dark. I turned it over and read the scribbled handwriting;

Today, it rained that matters a lot nowadays.   

I checked the address but the lines hadn’t been filled in and there was no stamp. Puzzled, I put the postcard down on the side table next to the phone and went to work. I was too busy to decipher the message.

Of course, when I came home the postcard was waiting for me but I ignored it. Slipping out of my heels, my feet hurting after another day of running around, I dumped my stuff on the floor next to them and went into my bedroom.

I ran the bath and had a good soak, letting all my thoughts swirl away. I had something to eat after then I picked up the postcard and went to bed. I was too tried to give it much thought but now that I’d held it again, my mind was interested by it.

There was no date that I could see, nor any little description about the imagine on the front which these postcards always have. I didn’t recognises the handwriting nor the meaning of the words.

I looked at the small picture framed window covered by it’s thin peach curtain and wondered if it was raining. It was true that I hadn’t seen rain in months. There was a drought and all water was being saved. So, what the postcard said was even more remarkable.

Maybe it was like spy code for something? Perhaps it had been delivered to my address by mistake? Tiredness washed over me and I set the postcard down again. Turning the lamp off, I settled into sleep and dreamt about rain.

Outside #writephoto

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

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

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

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

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

Shelter

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It was the only place he could find to get out of the rain. Huddling into a corner, he made himself as warm and comfy as possible. He had already checked out the place and made sure no one else was in residence. The corner he had picked was also the best one. It was a large dry spot and he had clear views of the two doorways into the house.

He looked up and watched the rain falling in. The roof had long ago tumbled in, though the attic and floor above, creating a massive hole in the middle of the house. There were bits of roof tile, bricks, plaster and rubbish scattered around. He hadn’t seen any furniture and guessed the house had been well cleared out over the years.

He rested his head down and listened to the patter of the rain. Oddly he felt like an intruder. This had been someone’s home once. A place of love and safety. It had seemed nice too, a good place to bring up a family. Where had they gone though? What had made them move out?

Trying to dispel those thoughts- what did he care?- He settled for sleep. He began counting sheep jumping over a fence as was habit. He pictured each sheep differently as an individual as his father had taught him. Something about how that helps you fall asleep better.

With the lullaby of the rain, he fell asleep and dreamed of his childhood which he hadn’t thought about in years.

Petrichor #atozchallenge

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Petrichor; the pleasant smell of the earth after rain. 

Everything smells better after it’s rained. There’s a cleanness in air which my ma said was God washing and cleansing everyone. I use to believe that without a doubt. Now though, I’m not sure. There’s so much I believed in as a child which has faded now I’m adult.

It’s strange how different things are after the rain. You notice the pools and reflections of things more. The sounds of splashing wheels and feet. The dripping of drops off things. I randomly remember a boy once telling me that the rain was actually a leak from Heaven’s showers.

I wondered for ages how that was possible and pictured angels having showers all together. Or God having a bath and all the water overflowing. Maybe that was the real reason behind a flood?

When you’re a child it’s easier to believe in these things. As an adult you are more logic and less imaginative. You know how rain is made and why it falls. The novelty of it has worn off too, like snow. I use to love snow! Now, it’s just a pain.

Even though, I know the truth behind things now, it doesn’t take the pleasure away from them. During the rainfall and afterwards, I open my window to let all the smells and sounds in. I sit on the ledge and take deep breaths till I feel calmer. I try to think of nothing at all, but sometimes like today, my mind wonders.

I look up at the sky, where the dark clouds roam and a few rain drops still linger. Are God and the angels up there right now having a bath and cleansing the poor below?

Toxic Thunder

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It had been raining forever. At least it felt that way. I liked the rain, but I wanted to feel the sun on my face as I had done as a child. I remembered the yellow warmth, just about. The rain was always cold and wet, sometimes it would be a different colour too. When that happened people stayed inside for fear they might become contaminated. Though really, all water was toxic.

They claimed there was nothing they could do about it. It was a world wide disaster and the predicated death levels were higher then the War. That was the price we were paying for chemical warfare, the government said. Still, scientists and others were working around the clock for solutions whilst there was hope left. Everywhere warning signs stated not to drink unfiltered water, to stay inside as much as possible and report all health problems to a doctor.

Today, the rain was a lime green colour which was why I wasn’t allowed outside. Sitting in the window seat of the second floor landing, I watched a few brave people walking the street below me. They held their umbrellas up high and huddled in thick coats, as if that would protect them.

The book I had picked from our small library lay opened but unread in my lap. Since there was no going to school today, father had insisted we self-educate. My two brothers had taken over the library with their historical debates. Father was in the study and Mother had gone to lay down as as the lime rain had given her a headache, or so she had claimed. I could have gone to my day room, the family lounge or the parlour, instead I went to the best spot in the house to see the outside world.

I pressed the side of my head to the wet glass, knowing I’d be told off for getting my curled blonde hair damp. I didn’t care. I watched guards in red uniforms appear and began clearing people from the street. They must have been told that the toxic level had reached a high. A siren began to wail, confirming that. The street quickly cleared and just in time too as the lime rain picked up and started to change colour.

Black rain began falling and in the distance came a rumble of thunder. I tightened my grip on the book. The page corners curling under my fingers. I had always feared storms, but they were worse now. They said sometime toxic rain conducted lightening and exploded. Fires were common during storms and deaths.

I tried to relax my hands, the hard corners of the cover were digging into me. The thunder growled louder, sounding so close. The street before me went dark with only a few dots of light peering out. The lightening flashed, yellow red, capturing the street in that moment. I heard a popping sound and the lights around me all started to flicker.

The smell of gas and burning electricity filled the air. An emergency bell rang though the house, backed by the siren’s call. There was a rush of footsteps and voices. The clatter of things being dropped and doors moving echoed throughout the house.

‘To the shelter, quickly!’ my father bellowed.

‘I’ll get Madam,’ a maid spoke.

‘Where is Miss Victoria?’ another voice asked.

A flash of lighting hit the sky making me jump as it crackled away. I stood up, clutching my book and hurried two flights of downstairs. In the grand hallway, everyone was rushing into the kitchen, shouting at each other. I joined them hurrying into the cellars. My shoulders and skirts brushing maids and kitchen staff.

I tripped down the stone steps, losing a shoe, and my one of my brothers caught me at the bottom. He had to move me out of the way as the last people flew down and the metal door slammed shut. My brother rushed me down the corridors, through the wine and food cellars. My legs and feet hurt as we went further down. Finally, we arrived with everyone else in the last and deepest cellar. My brother hushed me into a corner and left me breathing in the damp air.

Huddling in the dim light with my family and servants, I caught my breath. My mother looking dazed was sitting on a small bed, half hidden by  a curtain. My father was sat comforting her and my brothers were giving orders to some of the servants. I tucked myself into a alcove, hugging my book and praying we would survived.