Cat, Bell, Book and Candle (Part 3)

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I heard Eden’s father arrive at about two AM. He came to check in on us then left. He got into bed and was soon sound asleep like Eden. 

I uncurled and slipped to the bedroom floor. Stretching, I went to the window and looked out. It was raining and the cold wind was drifting through the half open window. It was dark outside now, all the lights from the house had gone out and nothing lit the back street. 

Closing the window, I decided not to go out. Normally, I enjoyed walking through the empty night streets but the autumn rain put me off. Jumping off the window sill, I got back into bed with Eden and snuggled into the child’s warm. Sleep came back to me fast enough and I only woke again when Eden’s alarm went off. 

Uncurling, I padded over to the smiley face clock and turned the alarm off. No school today because it was half term. It was mid-week and only a few days till Halloween. I nosed, Eden how was dozing back to sleep and woke her up. 

‘Macavity,’ she mumbled and tried to wave me away. 

‘Time to get up!’ I called, ‘we have things to do today.’

‘Like?’ my Little Mistress asked. 

‘Decorating for Halloween,’ I stated. 

‘Of course!’ Eden cried and threw the duvet back.

She hurried to the bathroom, I followed her and waited whilst she brushed her teeth and washed. Then back to the bedroom to dress in jeans and long sleeved t-shirt. She pulled a hoodie on top and long socks onto her feet. We ran downstairs into the kitchen for breakfast. 

‘What time did dad come home, Macavity?’ Eden asked, around a mouthful of cereal.  

‘Two AM,’ I replied. 

Eden nodded and hurriedly finished eating. 

‘Is there nothing else to eat?’ I asked batting my bowl of dried cat food away. 

Eden frowned, opened the fridge and looked in. I jumped on the counter and tried to see around her. 

‘Ham?’ she said and passed it to me, ‘dad needs to go shopping.’ 

I wolfed down the ham and it was far better than that fake cubed chicken in my bowl. 

‘You had the last tin of tuna,’ Eden added as she moved to the cupboards. 

‘Let’s write your dad a shopping list,’ I suggested. 

My Little Mistress nodded and we spent some time at the small table writing a list of food and drink. We left that for dad to see and went into the attic to find the Halloween decorations. 

The attic was small and the walls were thin boards which hardly blocked access to the neighbouring attics. The chimney breast took up a lot of space too. Eden quickly found the two plastic boxes we needed and I used my magic to help get them down. 

Sitting in the hallway, Eden popped off the lids and began to get things out. There were typical plastic pumpkins, furry spiders, white skeletons, glow in the dark bugs and fake cobwebs as well as other things. 

‘It’s still raining,’ I pointed out. 

Eden nodded and begin untangling some purple lights. 

There really were not many decorations to put up and it took only some of the morning for Little Mistress and I to put things out and up. With the large plastic pumpkin set in the front window and the purple lights framing the front door, Eden added the last few skeletons and bugs. 

‘Looks better all ready,’ I announced, taking a seat next to the pumpkin. 

It was dark outside, the rain had coated the windows and the wind was blowing through the front bushes. The street was quiet, only a dog walker was going past. 

Eden sank onto the sofa and turned the TV on. She watched children’s programs and I left her to it after a few minutes. I went upstairs and elevated the boxes back into the attic. I raised the ladder and closed the trap door. 

Dad’s door was shut, I went over and opened it. The room was dark. His form was a lump on one side of the bed which was moving with his steady breathing. It would be a few hours yet till he got up. 

It would be easier if he had a day time job but he had to take work where he could get it and with no one else to look after Eden, we were alone for most of the the time. I signed and closed the door behind me. My stomach let out a growl as I trotted downstairs, so I went back into the kitchen. 

Up on the counter, I walked to a drawer at the far end and opened it. There was an envelope containing money there. I picked it up with my mouth and carried it to my Little Mistress. 

I dropped it into her lap and said, ‘let’s go to the corner shop.’ 

Eden frowned and picked up the envelope. I knew what she would say. The money was for emergencies only. 

‘Your dad won’t mind,’ I pressed and rubbed against her arm. 

‘He’ll go shopping when he gets up,’ Eden said firmly, ‘You only want tuna and cream anyway.’ 

I turned away sheepishly. 

Eden got up and took the money back into the kitchen drawer. 

‘Here,’ she said and give me a handful of fish biscuits. 

I ate them gladly then curled up in her lap. I dozed for awhile then my Little Mistress picked me up, placed me down where she had been sitting and went upstairs. I heard her in the kitchen next and guessed she was making her dad a cup of tea and toast to take upstairs to him. 

When she passed I called out, ‘did you use the anti-stress potion?’ 

‘In the tea,’ she answered and went on her way. 

I followed her upstairs. Her dad was all ready awake and grateful to see us both. We sat at the end of the bed whilst he eat and drink. Eden didn’t tell him about the potion. 

‘I made a shopping list,’ she said instead. 

‘That time all ready?’ he muttered, ‘I’ll go then.’ 

‘Can we come with?’ Eden asked. 

Dad eyed me. 

‘I’ll stay,’ I announced and jumped off the bed, ‘cat things to do.’ 

They left soon after. I watched from Eden’s bedroom window. It was still too wet to go out. I went downstairs and turned on the TV and looked for a weather report. I needed to go out soon and search out the familiars and witches that were arriving for the All Hallow’s Eve gathering. 

Eden was still young to go but I went for a few hours every year. It was the job of a familiar to attend all coven gatherings with or without their mistress and masters. It was important to know what was going on in all circles. I was also hoping to see some old friends…

The man talking about the weather said it would clear up later and the next few days, including Halloween on the Saturday would be fine enough. I pawed at the sofa and decided what to do next. More food would be good. I turned off the TV and braved the weather to go across the street to the old lady who feed all cats. 

Some people would have called her a crazy cat lady but really she was just alone and loved cats. She had a few of her own, fostered more and went out often to trap feral and stray cats. However, in the small village of Pendle in the middle of the countryside there weren’t a lot of non-owned cats that hung around for long. 

Entering through the cat flip, I found the old lady in the living room, three of her cats with her. She was in her seventies, lived here all her life and though she’d had a couple of husbands, no children or any relatives left. She had short white hair, a heavy wrinkled but kind face and thick glasses. She was marked with having small pox as a child, she was a fount of local knowledge and often told us stories of the past. 

I  wrapped myself around her legs, meowing loudly to announce myself. 

‘Who have we got here, then?’ she spoke. 

I stopped and looked up at her. I put my front paws on her knees and let her get a good look at me. 

‘Oh, it’s Macavity! Hello, pet. Have you come for lunch?’ 

I meowed in reply. 

‘It’s salmon today.’ 

I licked my lips. She always had good food in. 

Once I had stuffed myself, I curled in front of the gas fire and slept deeply. It was close to six o’clock when I finally realised the time. The mantle clock chimed the hour and I hurried home through the rain and dark.   

To Be Continued…

 

 

Dear Diary

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Dear Diary,

Today it rained all day which was great for the gardens but not for me because I wanted to sit outside. Instead, I sit in the window box on the landing and with a book, a teapot of tea and the cat.

The servants were all hurrying about because the housekeeper this morning received a letter saying father, step-mother and the twelve year old twins were returning home.

We hadn’t heard from them for the last few weeks and the last letter I got from father was dated Egypt, Cairo 1921, which said both the twins were sick with scarlet fever or something similar. They were staying at a hospital and would write with more news soon. 

My lady’s maid had received word from her sister who was my step-mother’s lady’s maid that one of the twins, Henry, had past away from the fever and George, just alive, was weak and unable to do anything. Plans were being made for the trip home.

We had no idea when my family would arrive but the hard nosed housekeeper had whipped everyone into action. The servants were cleaning everything within an inch of it’s life and there was so much noise and bustle it was like one of father’s factories.

That’s why I wanted to be in the garden. I would have been away from this madness! Instead, I had tried to keep out of the way and not demand so much.

I was home from boarding school and hadn’t wanted to go travelling from country to country. Normally, the exotic sights, smells and sounds would have made me desperate to go but I was heartbroken and only in the mood to mop around.

I told my father I would go and spend my time visiting family and friends, attending my studies and perhaps teaching others. It hadn’t really been a lie. I have been visiting people and I have been studying but I’ve been at home all the time and not embracing my freedom from school confinement.

The only person I have confided in as my maid. She is sworn to secrets but I know she’ll tell her sister. It’s just I think that happens, I remember telling my sister Mini everything. We’d crawl into each other’s beds and pull the sheets up and lay there whispering to each other. I wish I could tell Mini everything now. She’d understand and know what to do.

Perhaps, tomorrow I shall go and visit her grave. Take fresh flowers and talk to her. Then I could sit in the church and do some drawing or reading. The little church is lovely and quiet.

No doubt it’s where Henry will be buried. There was nothing in any letters about then bring his body back but I know they will do. Father would want him in the family crypt with Mini and mother, all the other babies and children that have been lost and relatives.

I wonder what the funnel will be like. Mini’s was bright and busy, so many people loved her. Her’s wasn’t the last through, it had been my step-mother’s and father’s third baby; she had lived a few days and then was just gone.

It makes me wonder how many losses I might have……

There’s enough time for that. Night is pressing on the windows, it’s even darker out there because of the rain. Perhaps, tomorrow will be sunny and I can walk in the gardens and forget all about this.

 

 

 

 

Late Night

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Just one more chapter, I tell myself as I lay in bed. Rain is patting against the window and I’m wrapped up cosy.

Just one more chapter, I say, turning the page and carrying on. The rain continues and the window mists over. I’m too comfy to move.

Just one more chapter, I declare, determined this time to make it so. Night peers in at me, her soft voice whispering me to sleep and the rain is my lullaby.

Just one more chapter, the book calls to me, how can you stop right now? I turn the pages read more and more until dawn’s light sends night to her rest.

Afternoon Coffee

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It was still raining and it would carry on no matter what I did. Signing, I turned back to the jigsaw puzzle in front of me on the dinning room table. I had been wrestling with the 2,000 pieces of the solar system for days now. The boarder was there and some of the middle was starting to stretch out but I had a long way to go.

I got up, abandoning things for the fourth time that day and went into the kitchen. There was nothing amusing in here. I made a coffee but not just any, it was a nutty latte with a thick layer of foaming milk on top and a sprinkle of coco and nutmeg on top. The smell was amazing and like being in a fancy coffee shop during a break from the Christmas shopping rush.

Gripping some soft biscuits with creamy buttercream in between them that I made this morning. I took my hot mug into the living room and curled up on the sofa with a huge book about all the known myths and legends around the world.

 

 

Dear Diary

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Dear Diary,

It’s been over hundred days since I went into isolation to protect myself. From my window, I have watched the busy streets of Manchester city centre slowly empty and then become almost bare. The streets are filling up again now. Cars and buses on the roads, people hurrying to work or going shopping and the homeless huddling down where they can.

In the rain, umbrellas crowd and bash together whilst the rain washes the dirt away. I love the sound of the rain dripping off the pipes and tapping against the window. When the window is covered in rain drops it reminds me of being in an underwater world and looking out at the above space.

My doorbell rings and I go to see who it is. A delivery! Getting the box and setting it down sends a thrill of excitement through me. Of course, I’ve been ordering things off the internet a lot more then I did before. Mainly that’s because I’d go out and buy stuff but also, I’ve been getting things to help me pass through the time.

In the box is; two novels, three dvds, a large cross stitch of a white tiger and a colouring book.

I place everything on the coffee table, look through them then place them in their new homes. I put the box out for recycling.

It’s lunchtime. There’s lots of choice for me to pick through. I’ve been getting a food box once a week, other people have also been sending me things and I’ve got a shopping delivery date sorted for once a week. Food and other supplies are not in shortage here.

The problem is I don’t feel like eating. I pat my stomach and wait to feel hungry, but I just don’t. I feel sad and pointless. I make soup but only eat half of it then I curl on the sofa and watch TV but I can’t focus on it so instead I go to sit by the window with a book and listen to the rain whilst I read.

It’s just another day in lock down.

Other Summer

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Another summer without any sun and just full of rain instead. I wondered when I’d walk on dry ground and feel warmth on my face instead of the whipping wind. Summer happened in other countries but mine seemed to go from spring to autumn.

I should be waiting to make a fire and read before it like I did in winter. I should have been sitting out, enjoying the setting sun whilst sipping wine.

Oh, summer when will you come to me?

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