The Reflective World #FFftPP

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I fell through a puddle and ended up in a world that was the same as my own but different because everything was backwards.

I walked the streets and saw the names of shop signs were written backwards. People, cars and animals moved backwards, never seeming to look where they were going but still reaching their destination without accident. I listened to conversation and realised that all the words spoken were backwards too.

‘Why is this?’ I cried.

‘Dlrow noitcelfer a si sith esuacbe,’ a man explained.

I didn’t understand him and laughed.

‘!Edur,’ the man said and walked away.

Going to a playground, I saw children playing and tried to join in but they were all going backwards and I kept going the wrong way! The children shouted at me and pushed me out of the playground.

I fell into a puddle and the world tipped the right way again.

‘Are you all right, love?’ an old lady asked me.

I sat up, looked around and saw everything was right again.

‘Yes, thank you. I’ve just come back from that other world down there,’ I explained and pointed at the puddle.

The old lady winked and said, ‘the reflective world is a fun place to be.’

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2020/05/13/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2020-week-20/ with thanks).

A World Gone To Pot #TWPC

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I put the key in the lock and pushed open the door. The familiar smell of grandma’s house flooded my nose. Lavender, lily of the valley, mothballs and old cigarette smoke.

‘Gran, it’s me!’ I called.

Closing the door with my foot, I took the bags of shopping down the short hall and into the kitchen. Dumping everything down, I began to unpack things.

‘Gran?’ I called after a few moments then stopped to listen.

She didn’t reply so I went into the living room. The TV was up full blast and she was fixed to the screen watching the news report about the spreading virus.

‘Did you lose your hearing aids again?’ I asked then muted the TV.

Gran looked around at me wildly then shouted, ‘Cara? When did you get here? I lost my hearing aids! Have you seen the news?’

I rolled my eyes and answered, ‘yes, gran.’

Searching for her hearing aids took a few minutes; they were down the side of her chair. Then we put the TV to a lower volume and I went back to unpacking. After, I made us both tea, sandwiches and cakes.

‘I got all your shopping in, gran. There’s no need for you to go out,’ I said.

‘What was that, Cara?’

I signed, my gran was ninety-four and still living in her own house because she was so stubborn we couldn’t get her to move into a home. Beside from her deafness and slowly fading memory, she was healthy and seemed to be coping fine.

‘We talked about this yesterday. You can’t go out and have to stay isolated because of the virus. You can’t catch it. That’s why I’m doing the running around for you,’ I explained slowly.

‘I remember! I’m deaf not dumb, child,’ gran shot back.

I sipped my tea and watched the news. There seemed no escaping the pandemic.

‘World’s gone to pot!’ Gran cried, ‘you youngsters don’t know anything. I lived through the war I did! We had to make sacrifices, live as we could, get on with things. We knew what to do; mending and growing, saving, scrapping, getting by without. We had to support our boys too. I knitted socks and scarfs to keep ’em warm. And what’s all this now?’

She waved her hands at the TV in anger and carried on with her speech.

I half listened, having heard most of this before. She was right of course. Everyone was behaving badly, only looking after themselves and driven by fear instead of fact. Gran had lived through worse times and she and others got through it.

‘Fighting over toilet roll!’ gran shouted, ‘I wiped my bum with last week’s newspaper!’

‘Gran!’ I snapped in shock.

‘It’s true, girl. We used what we could back then.’

‘I know. It’s okay. Let’s change the channel.’

With gran muttering, I put something else on; a repeat episode of an old TV drama series. We watched it for a while then I tidied up and got ready to go.

‘See you tomorrow, gran,’ I said.

‘I don’t need babying,’ gran mumbled.

‘I know, I know,’ I signed ‘and you are right by the way. People need to behave better, like they did back then. It would be easier if we were all not selfish and just able to carry on.’

‘Keep calm and carry on!’ gran yelled, ‘we use to say that!’

‘Yes, yes, you did and that’s what we need to do now. Right, see you later,’ I added and kissed the top of her head, ‘and remember no going out. Though the garden is okay. All right?’

‘Yes. It’s time for Countdown. Where’s the control?’

‘Right there, next to your hand, gran,’ I pointed out.

She nodded and changed the channel.

‘Bye,’ I called and let myself out.

 

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge: Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Day In Blackpool

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I smell the salty sea. I hear seagulls crying and the distant voices of excited children. Opening my eyes, I stay laying in the cloud like bed. At the half open window, the breeze moves the netted curtain back and forth as if it’s breathing. There is a waft of frying bacon.

I have eggs, bacon and toast then set off from the bed and breakfast. All day I walk around Blackpool. The morning is a little dull; heavy clouds fight with the sun, the sea waves over the dark sand of the beach. There is a handful of people about; dog walkers, families, old couples, a mini bus of school children.

I walk on the promenade. Going past all the shops selling tourist things; postcards, sticks of rock, magnets and beach toys. The cafes where breakfast is in full swing and their windows are dripping condensation. The arcades and casinos with their doors shut, locked until lunchtime. Ice cream stands, sweet treat stalls and fast food vans at every few steps trying to tempted me.

I walk on the piers. The damp wooden planks creaking underneath me. The sea crashing below trying to erode the iron supports away. The benches with their green iron frames awaiting weary bodies. The rusting memory plaques of people long gone who once loved this spot.

Just opening fairground game stalls with harsh looking aged men hanging up cheaply made soft toys. A closed beach shop, a closed arcade, a closed cafe and music hall. Near the end of the pier is a small collection of children’s theme park rides still hidden their covers. All these places will open in the afternoon when they make the better business.

Here, yet more food stalls; a white trailer selling burgers and hot dogs, a drinks bar, a sweet stand. There pink and blue candy floss swing in bags and giant ‘dummy’ suckers on red ribbon necklaces dangle next to them. In trays lay pick ‘a’ mix sweets, boxes of chocolate and fudge, mint hum bugs in jars with labels saying ‘A gift for you from Blackpool.’ Sticks of rock in all sizes stand out with their brightly coloured strips.

I buy a few sticks of rock and go to the end of the pier. I unwrap one and stand looking out to sea, sucking on the minty sweet. The waves are far out, blending with the grey sky. There are no boats or people in the water. Birds hover looking for fish. I think about being out there, surrounded by the waves.

Finishing the stick of rock, I walk back and go down a sand covered boat slipway. It sinks into the beach. I walk across the drying sand, noticing old bits of things the sea has left behind; seaweed, sticks, food wraps, drink cans, plastic bags, dead crabs, broken shells.

Close by, sad looking donkeys huddle together, their little bells chiming, their hoof prints deep in the sand. A middle aged woman in a high visible jacket gives the donkeys buckets of water and hay.

I walk pass them. The woman looks over her shoulder, sees I’m not a customer and ignores me. She pats one of the donkeys’ shoulders, muttering something to it.

I get off the beach via a long staircase which takes me back to the far side of promenade. I turn and look back. Over everything the Blackpool tower rises; a monster of iron.

It starts to drizzle. I feel the specks of rain on my face and hands. There’s only open space here, so I walk for the nearest buildings but the arcade isn’t open yet and the fish and chip shop has no seating inside.

Further on is a cafe but it’s closed, a few shops then a restaurant but going in would mean having to buy something. I cross the road and go into the shelter of rows and rows of buildings that are either eating places, shops, arcades and casinos. The rain gets heavier, the sky gets darker, I weave in and out of these places.

I realise I’m going in the direction of my B&B. I pause by a food van and get a greasy burger and a can of coke. I put them in my pockets and hurry back to my room. The front door is open, nobody at the small welcome desk. There is noise from deeper inside; a vacuum cleaner, distant voices.

In my room, I drag a chair to the window, open it and sit there. I eat the cool burger. Not enjoying it but it solves my hunger. I drink some of coke then leave the rest. I get changed out of the wet clothes and into something drier and warmer. I go back to sitting by the window. The rain is really coming down now. It sweeps across in sheets, pounding over everything.

I take another stick of rock and suck on it to get the bad tasting burger out of my mouth. I carry on watching the rain and I think about the people out there, the donkeys on the beach, the distant and constant sea.       

Yearning #WritePhoto

a channel of water flowing out to sea, with the sun reflecting on the water.

I had come to the coast for my nerves. That’s what they did in the old days. They would get away from the coal smoke chocked cities, filled with diseases and death to the clean, brightness of the sea. For some that worked and they felt refreshed enough afterwards to return to their lives.

It had been three days and I wasn’t feeling any better. There was far too much more to worry about now then there was back then. We laugh when we read the classic novels were marriage was the biggest issue the characters faced because now marriage is meaningless.

Money and power and still talk though but I no longer have an interested in them. I’m yearning from something else, something deeper. I don’t know what it is though, expect that in quietness, I get close.

I watch the sunset across the beach. There is a river which is running straight out to the sea. The sunlight shines on the water, the light reflecting off the waves. It’s still, almost like a photograph.

Is this what I’ve been looking for? A single moment of silent?

It’s gone before I can capture it.

At least, I know now what I’m looking for and next time I shall reach Nirvana.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/05/30/thursday-photo-prompt-yearning-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

Dear Diary

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Dear Diary,

Thank God it’s February! I thought January would never end, it felt so long! Sadly, winter is still here and it’s been snowing A LOT over the last few days. There’s probably about five inches out there now, looks like twice that on the hills and peaks!

This morning, I was woken up by loud bleating and thinking a sheep had got stuck in my garden, I got up. Actually, it was a farmer leading his flock through the village. The poor things were covered in snow! I guess they must have been out over night and the farmer was bringing them home.

Strange to think that I’ve become use to such scenes. When I moved to Scotland six years ago, I developed a worry for the sheep I saw. An odd thing for a London born and breed city woman but if you remember my mental health break down was so bad that my anxiety and paranoia were out of control.

The first time a sheep got it’s head stuck in my fence, I freaked out so bad the farmer had to get his wife to help calm me down. It was actually thanks to her that I owed my recovery too. She taught me that Highland sheep were one of the hardiest breeds and they were fine to roam the hills alone. I don’t know why that knowledge help me but it did.

I’ve been thinking that this year I should move back to London and my apartment once more, try to pick up my career again and get on with my life. I’d have to switch the rent back on to my grandparent’s cottage and say goodbye to Scotland though.

That thought just doesn’t feel right now which is weird because I never wanted to come here in the first place. Being here though suits me so much better then being in London, perhaps I should just stay?

 

Drowning #100WW

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I’m drowning under the weight of it all and nothing makes sense. I want to stop and go away. I need to get back to the person I was before and not the one I’m now trapped in.

Everyone wears a mask. It’s easy to hide that way. You pretend to be someone else or fake being happy. Masks though have a tendency to slip off and mine has. Nobody likes what’s underneath, including myself.

What is this crazy voice in my head making me believe all these lies?

It’s killing me but I can’t talk about it because I sound insane.

 

(Inspired by; https://bikurgurl.com/2018/10/10/100-word-wednesday-week-92/ with thanks).

*Writer’s note; this story is part non-fiction and sums up how I feel with my anxiety and depression right now. I’m trying to work through it.

Remains #Writephoto

Death looked upon the human remains and thought about life’s endings. It was all those little things that made letting go so hard; the unresolved promises and dreams, the fear of the After, regrets and the pain.

Death didn’t remember any of that. He knew once he might have been human but those memories were faint like a dream you tried hard to hang on to but vanished all the same.

He thought about how complicated humans made themselves out to be with all their; traditions, wars, loves, creativity and historical records but in the end humans were just like every other living thing.

When they were gone, they were gone as simple as that. Death liked the idea. It seemed to him how things should be. Humans crazed about souls and how they were the invisible essence of life which would rise into Heaven. Death knew souls to be a fairytale, a good way to help easy the suffering but really there was just nothing. Nor was there was no After which some humans clung closely too.

And Death was not a ‘ferryman’ or ‘angel’, he was just the end.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/06/07/thursday-photo-prompt-remains-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

Dear Diary #44 Athazagoraphobia #atozchallenge

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Athazagoraphobia; the fear of forgetting, being forgotten or ignored or being replaced. 

Dear Diary,

Today has been one of those days. The phone didn’t ring and no one knocked on the door. I didn’t really want to sit in front of the TV all day but what else could I do? It’s been raining most of the time and looking miserable in between. Not many people past by my window and I guess the stray cats had somewhere else to be today too.

I tried to do a little knitting, just a scrap of a scarf I started but my hands were too shaky. I give up after twenty minutes. I can still do it every now and again, but I’m missing it more and more. I tried some other things; word searches, dot-to-dot, quizzes and coloring. Anything to keep me going. I did a little reading too of Wuthering Heights but mostly that’s from memory now. I can just about follow the words but they get jumbled.

I’m sure tomorrow there was something I had to do, something I was looking forward to but I just can’t remember it. I tried looking on the post it notes dotted around, my notebooks and my two calendars but nothing was written. It hurts to try and remember for too long then some other faded memory pops up and I start thinking about that instead.

Today has been just too lonely and emotional to bare. I’m laying in bed now, listening to the rain against the window and the wind howling. I think sometimes the weather, the TV and the stray cats are all I have left now. And the people I do see; the post office woman, the shop workers, the landlord, the neighbors I do know, they are nothing as I am nothing to them.

It’s a strange thought but I’ve had enough time to reflect on it now. I’ve accept the way things are. It’s too late to change anything. It always worried me when I was younger; this fear of being forgotten and ignored. I guess it still does worry me but in a different way now. I wanted to make people remember my name liked movie and TV stars but that career didn’t work out.

I’m starting to think that no matter what it’s the same for everyone soon enough. We all get forgotten. When the people who knew you go, if they didn’t tell anyone about you, then who’s to remember you then? If people stop watching the movies you made, using the things you invented, get rid of the things you created it, then that’s when you are officially gone.

And that’ll be us all soon enough.

Age #TaleWeaver

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Sometimes it was just nice to sit down in silence and think. The park at sunrise was my place to go and do that. Nearly everyone was still in bed and there weren’t many cars on the roads. My favorite bench was at the far side of the small lake, further in then all the other resting spots. It give a great view though and if joggers, dog walkers and early starter workers were around I wouldn’t see any of them.

Age was getting to me though and it was a struggle to rise at four or five in the morning. Let alone hobble all that way! Getting the bus was easier, but sometimes I didn’t make it in time to see the sun began to rise. I tried not to let it get to me, the same way one might an illness or an argument. Like a circle though, it keep coming back around.

You don’t really think about mortally when you are young. You believe you are immortal and your life is too busy to stop and ponder deep questions like that. Though death is close at hand for us. He doesn’t care what you are doing when he sees your number is up and it’s time for him to come to take you.

Death is a friend of mine. That seems strange to say but he’s taken my three wives, two sons, my oldest brother and sister, my parents and grandparents too. He’s been apart of my life since I was born. I’m not afraid and I’ve always known I wasn’t going to live forever. That realisation helps as you age and you are just waiting out the days.

I’m following in my dad’s footsteps once again. We all do that you know. As young people we say no! I won’t become like my parents, I’ll be better or even worse if that’s what it takes. But then, we slowly become like them. Little habits they have, become our own. Voices that sound like them in moments of anger or sadness. We phrase from ourselves to them and back again, another circle that can’t be broken.

The sun rises and I feel the warmth on my dry, wrinkled skin. I wonder if there’s anything beyond this life. I’m not sure I want there to be. One life has been enough for me. I’ve said my peace and that’s all.

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/tale-weaver-163-aging-15th-march/ with thanks).

Spider

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This morning whilst on the loo, I looked into the bathtub and saw a spider. It was struggling to get out; every time it slipped back down it would scramble back up again. I thought about turning on the tap and washing him away. Though that seemed to me I   a total waste of his efforts to escape. Instead, once I was finished, I used an empty loo roll to scoop him out with and setting him free. A thought came to me; weren’t we all trapped like the spider waiting for someone or something to set us free?