Chill #WritePhoto

The snow froze the ground and lay not as a solid blanket but more patchy and lumpy. The Wastelands were like that, rising and falling, all wild with long grass, spiky bushes and stunted trees.

A small cabin, easily missed, stood nested in between two hills and the cover of trees. Smoke rose from the chimney as the clouds blocked the last rays of sun. The chopping of wood echoed and the whooshing of an axe came from the behind the cabin.

Lance collected the newly sliced logs and juggled them with the axe. He could have left the heavy tool outside but he had lost his last one to the Imps. Going inside, he knocked the snow from his boots and dumped the wood and the axe by the fire.

The two dogs growled at him then settled again on the sofa at the sound of his voice, ‘it’s only me. It’s fine.’

Lance went outside to get the rest of the wood. It was dark now the sun had set and a few flakes of snow fluttered from the heavy clouds above. Lance couldn’t see that far into The Wastelands but he knew the layout as if the map was drawn onto his skin.

Back inside, with the rest of the wood, he put two pieces on the fire then put the other logs into the basket beside. It felt too early to light the lamps but if he didn’t the Imps might try to use the shadows to sneak in.

The lamps went on to the two window sills and on the small table next to the door. Lance touched the holly above the door, the leaves were bright green and the red berries shone in the light. There was also dried sage and other plants that The Hollow Witch said should help to keep the Imps away.

The snow was falling faster now and sticking to the ground. A chilly wind was creaking the cabin and creeping through the gaps to try and freeze the inside up. Night rolled in, claiming The Wastelands in darkness.

Going back to the fire, Lance sit in the only other seat in the cabin, an armchair. One of the dogs thumped his tail, whilst the other didn’t even raise her head. Lance didn’t mind, when the dogs were calm it meant the spirits were away.

‘Let’s hope we have a quiet night,’ Lance uttered, ‘the snow is coming down again and that should help keep things at bay but other things might be seeking warmth and we don’t ever invite anything inside.’

The dog grumbled in agreement and rest his head on the arm of the sofa to watch Lance.

Looking into the fire, Lance fell into wondering why him. He could see things people couldn’t for as long as he could remember. It had drove his parents away and he had been left as an apprentice to a shoe maker. That had only last a year though because he hadn’t been able to stop talking about the little elves who mended shoes in the night.

Lance had tried to be a baker, but couldn’t stop talking to the Spirit Keeper of the Ovens and the bread ended up burning too many times. Next, he had tried to be a blacksmith but the Talker for the Horses had kept telling him he wasn’t doing it right and Lance had kept getting in trouble even though it was the Talker making the mistakes.

He had found not pointing out the spirits was the best thing to do but somehow everyone in the town and the neighbouring ones knew he could see things. That unknown was frighting to simple people so Lance had moved away and tried to be a guard in the King’s City. But the spirits were worse there and Lance found seeing them and hearing them all the time too much.

Seeking out the help of people of magic or others that saw the spirit world had helped. Though it had also lead to him being exploited. As a young man he wasn’t aware of this, just glad to have found he wasn’t alone and someone wanted to help him.

As time went on and Lance become more awake to things, he realised that some of those magic people couldn’t see like he could and were using him to trick people into spending money and sometimes getting their houses robbed.

Lance had come all the way out here, to The Wastelands were people didn’t live. He had wanted to be away from everything and not bothered by spirits. He had built his cabin and made a living for himself as a carpenter. He carved bowls, cups, spoons, buckets, children toys and other useful items which he sold anywhere he could do.

The money he used for food and to pay for The Hollow Witch’s services. Lance was grateful to have discovered her. She had come to his cabin one night, seeking shelter and warmth from a snowstorm.

Lance had been unsure at first then The Hollow Witch had told him she could see that he was being hounded by a group of Imps and in return for a night or two of shelter, she would get rid of them for him.

Agreeing, Lance had let her in and once she was warm, The Hollow Witch had cast spells about and got out some sage to banish the Imps.

‘I’m the Hollow Witch because I live in a tree hollow down in the valley on the edge of The Wastelands,’ she had told him, ‘I can help you with your other spirit problems too. But I can’t take away your Sight, only help keep things at bay.’

‘Do you know anyone who can take the Sight away?’ Lance had asked her as the wind had whipped the snow outside and the fire had crackled away.

‘No one can take away your gift or your curse if that’s what you call it. It is your’s alone. You can use it as I have, to aid people and yourself or you can try and ignore it. But some spirits won’t like that,’ The Hollow Witch spoke.

‘The imps?’ Lance had pondered.

‘Yes. They will stop at nothing till they have your attention. They will steal from you, pinch and bite you, laugh and scream in your ears. Anything that makes you speak of them. Then they will continue because that is what they do. They plague us, trick us and led us to danger.’

Lance nodded and had fallen silent. He had felt coming out here would help him escape but it seemed he had been wrong.

Coming back to the present, Lance heard the growling of the dogs. He watched them get off the sofa and go to the door. They stood with ears and tails up, fur raised, growling deeply.

Lance followed them and tried to look out the window but it was too dark. He pressed the side of his face to the door and listened. He could hear laughter like a child but he knew it wasn’t.

He stood back and repeated what The Hollow Witch had told him to, ‘you are not welcome here. Go away. Don’t do anything to this place nor myself or my dogs. Stay away. I banish you from this space. Return to where you come from. BE GONE!’

Taking a few deep breaths, Lance pressed his ear to the door again and heard the wind blowing the snow.

The Imps were gone now but he knew they would be back soon enough.

 

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

Dreamcatcher #TwitteringTales

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The Wind Spirits called to me as they moved the dreamcatcher I had hung in the tree. The beads clicked together, making a light music to draw my attention. All the feathers pointed to the north and held there like a just shot arrow.

I knew what the Spirits wanted me to do even though it filled me with dread. Was there no other way but war? The wind and feathers dropped. I collected the dreamcatcher with a sigh and went back to my people. The bad news heavy on my shoulders.

 

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/06/12/twittering-tales-88-12-june-2018/ with thanks).

Hokora #Writephoto

I stopped before the shrine, my younger sister’s hand tightening in my own. I glanced down at her. Miki’s school uniform almost matched mine and her long black hair was tied back like my own. She had a bright pink backpack on her shoulders whilst I had a leather satchel on just one shoulder. Miki’s face was turned upwards, her usual blue eyes fixed on the shrine, her expression slightly puzzled.

‘It looks like an…owl,’ she said slowly.

‘I guess…it does,’ I replied.

We were use to seeing these Hokora -Shinto shrines- dotted along the roads, outside houses and important buildings. They were places for the Kami – spirits of nature – to visit and people to prayer and /or leave offerings. They were little one roomed ‘houses’ made of stones and or woods.

This one though, was different. It was made out of a tall single stone and had an archway at the top. Inside was a metal carving of a creature that looked like an owl but it it had long ears and a horn in between. Inside the owl was an unlit candle and around it were small coins.

‘Why, an owl, Keiko?’ my little sister asked.

I thought for a moment then replied, ‘owls are a symbol of fortune and protection. Which makes sense for travelers because they’d ask the Kami to protect them from evil spirits whilst on the road.’

‘Oh,’ Miki responded.

‘Let’s pray for a safe walk home and good luck,’ I suggested.

Miki give a single nod and a hum sound.

We put our hands together, shut our eyes and bowed before the shine before asking aloud, ‘Kami bring us protection and fortune on the journey.’

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/02/01/thursday-photo-prompt-shrine-writephoto/ with thanks).

Something In The Night (Part 2)

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Abe reached the top of the staircase, his old legs feeling shaky after the climb. He stopped and caught his breath. The light from his torch spotlighted on the wall before him and the edge of a large picture frame.

Rising the light up, Abe saw the huge portrait of a middle-aged man wearing an early 1800’s black jacket, white shirt and red cravat. The man had long black hair which was tied back with a black ribbon. The man’s head was slightly turned to the right, so the dark brown eyes were staring off into the distance and not looking down at you as many other portraits did. Underneath the painting, a worn out bronze sign read Jacob Oscars.  

Abe had looked the man up after his first exploration of the asylum and found that Oscars had been the original owner and designer. Though only a few years later, he had sold the place to Doctor Charles Denty who many people had believed was the founding father. Abe had researched Denty too and uncovered some chilling stories about the scientist and his brain experiments.

Turning to look behind him, Abe saw the window above the front door which looked down upon the stairs at this level. It was where he had first seen the light. Now though he could see the dark stormy night pressing against the glass.

Clearing his throat as quietly as he could, Abe turned left and went up a few steps that led onto the first floor and the east wing. The light he had seen from the security cabin had come from this side and past by the window he was now approaching. Not stopping he pressed on to the end where a large, but less grand staircase led to the second floor.

His feet slowed but instead of going up he turned right and followed the corridor around and into a long hallway. The wall on the left was lined with doorways and the wall on the right was broken up by a few windows which Abe knew looked down onto the asylum’s center courtyard.

Silence and dust hung heavy in the air as Abe shone his torch along the doors. Nothing looked undisturbed and still there were no fresh footprints. All of a sudden the weight of the search got to him. Abe’s thoughts tumbled and the thrill of the chase began to fade.

Where do I start? he asked.

Casting his mind back he thought about the few times over the last five years when he had caught trespassers. There had been three different gangs of teenagers who had made a lot of noise destroying things and one gang had started a fire in one of the ground floor rooms. They had been easy to track because of the noise and they had brought a lot of lights with them too.

Other trespassers had been small groups of work men  who had come to rob the place of any valuable; lead, copper, expensive wooden fits and anything else they could remove. Abe had easily heard them at work too. It was no quiet job ripping through walls and flooring.

The last lot of trespasser were the ones Abe didn’t mind and actually allowed in. They were the abandoned places lovers. They came with cameras and recorders to take photos and film the asylum. Sometimes there was only one of them but most of the time they came in pairs or threes. Their whispering voices and flashing cameras drawing Abe after them.

It had been awhile through, close to a year now since the last known trespassers had been in. Security had been tightened at that point, but Abe was sure people had found ways to escape his notice. Plus, old age had caught up with him and Abe’s hearing, eyes and fast movements had slowed.

Abe moved carefully down the hallway, listening hard for any sounds. At the first door which was half open, he shone his torch into the large room. The empty floor and walls met his eyes. It had been the night nurses’ room once, Abe had read on an 1852 blueprint of the asylum that were framed on a wall in the security cabin.

A creaking of a loose floorboard or door vibrated downwards. Abe rose his torch and looked up at the ceiling. He held his breath and waited for more. A whispering voice tickled his ear. He couldn’t make at the words. Another creak came, longer then before. Someone was opening a door on the second floor.

To Be Continued…

Something In The Night (Part 1)

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It was raining heavily but inside the security cabin, Abe was dry and warm. The electric heater was humming loudly and beside from the rain hitting the metal roof there was little other sounds. Out of the window, though the darkness, Abe could see the looming front of the main building of the long abandoned asylum and hospital.

He knew the place like the back of his hand, but not because he had lived or worked there, it was because he had been watching over the place for the last five years. Some big development company had brought the buildings and land when the government had sold them off. Abe had been hired to keep an eye on the place for a few months whilst work on knocking everything down got started. However, things hadn’t gone to plan for whatever reason and no work had been started. Nobody had ever bothered to tell Abe but they had kept paying him so he carried on being the night guard.

Getting more comfy in his plush desk chair, Abe reached for his sandwiches on the desk before him. He began unwrapping them, wondering what his wife had put on them. Suddenly, a small bright light shone through the night and the rain. Looking up, Abe saw the light coming from a middle window.

A few moments later, the light vanished. Abe kept his eyes to the windows and just as he thought; the light appeared in the window to the left. The white ball seemed to bob and flash around. Abe sighed, it could only be one thing; a torch. Which meant someone was trespassing inside the asylum.

Wrapping his sandwiches up again, Abe picked up his large heavy torch and the ring of keys from his desk top. Then checked he had his mobile phone in his trouser pocket. Signal was hard to get out here, but there was just enough to phone the police if he had too. Then he put on his thick coat, woolly hat and gloves. It was cold outside but even colder in the asylum. He went to the door, unlocked it, turned on the torch and stepped out.

The rain hit his face like he had just got into a cold shower and the wind yanked him around as if he was an old newspaper. He closed the door, locking it again then set off. Fighting against the weather, he made bad time and it took him twice as long to get to the side door. Pressing himself against the freezing stone walls, he fumbled to find the right key and put it in the padlock.

Opening the door, he hurried in and closed it behind him. The light from his torch bounced in the small corridor. The beam was so bright and large that it was a spotlight in the darkness. He breathed in deeply, smelling the rot and mould of the place. Shuffling forward, he avoided the peeling paint walls and the long cracks in the floor.

The corridor ended in a door which Abe had to unlock.Once through, he came to stand in the entrance hall of the asylum. The huge open space engulfed him and the light. A cold chill ran through him and he felt like he was being watched. Abe swung the torch slowly around. The floor was made of large stone slabs that were covered in dust, but a few footprints could be made out. The walls were dark wood panelling which give away to large arched doorways which were dotted around.

Abe moved, breaking the silence which lay as if caught in the end of time. He walked slowly to the centre of the entrance hall. There was a pattern on the floor here; a large many pointed red star or flower which was surrounded by a large blue circle. To the right of him were the huge front double doors that seemed to be more from a Medieval castle then an asylum. To the left, the grand staircase rose up, guard by two towering winged lions.

He went to the staircase and shone the light up the stone steps. Through the dust he could only see his old footprints. That didn’t mean he was the only one to enter the building though. There was lots of side doors, windows, the underground tunnels and cellars which a person could get inside by. The two hundred year old buildings were a rabbit warren.

Abe thought about calling out, but decided against that. If there was a trespasser he wanted to catch them, not give them a chance to escape. Reaching out for the once over polished stair banister, he began to climb upwards.

 

To Be Continued….

 

Objects (Part 4)

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The next day I went straight over to my Auntie Heather’s house. I took the object list book with me as proof. She greeted me at the door and invited me to a warm, clean but cluttered house. Telling me to sit anywhere, she sink back into a supportive cushioned armchair. I took a tatty smaller armchair next to her that a teddy bear was sitting on.

‘What do you know about the house Eli left me?’ I started with.

‘Nothing,’ she replied.

‘Nothing?’ I repeated.

I studied her, trying to decided if she was telling the truth. Her face was lined with wrinkles and she looked years older then she had a month back. Her eyes looked dim and she was tried. Her short hair seemed more grey then brown. She was wearing a knitted jumper, a long skirt and slippers.

‘To be honest, I wasn’t paying attention when the will was read,’ she spoke.

‘Okay…So, Eli left this small house in Lytham Saint Anne’s to me. The solicitor said it was his parent’s home.’

‘I thought he sold that years ago….It was his older brother’s first, you know,’ She recalled.

‘What happened to him?’ I asked.

‘Oh, he died in some accident. I don’t think Eli every told me the full story,’ Auntie Heather replied, ‘Eli had another older brother who went missing. Never got told that story either.’

‘What about Uncle Eli’s father? Do you know what he did for a living?’ I questioned as my mind turned over all of this information.

‘I think he was a collector of antiques…. I am not sure…’ she trailed, ‘he was always aloof and a loner. I met him about three times.’

‘And my Uncle? What did he do?’

‘This and that. He was handyman, a caretaker, a gardener,’ my auntie’s voice began to falter and I sensed tears coming.

I paused and wondered how to put my next question.

‘I should put the kettle on and make us some tea,’ she voiced.

‘No. I must be off soon and I only have a few more questions,’ I cut in with, ‘did Eli spend a lot of time away from here? Away from you?’

She nodded and the tears began spilling.

‘Did he ever say why?’ I pressed.

Auntie Heather shook her head then turning her eyes away from me, she said a low voice, ‘I thought he was having affairs. I know he was disappointed we did not have children. The deaths of his brothers and father hit him hard too….He was away more and more after all that. I thought I was not good enough anymore…but then he would come home and it was like he’d never been away….’

‘Listen, Auntie,’ I said, now well aware of her crying.

‘I don’t think I can take any more of this!’ she snapped suddenly.

‘He wasn’t having affairs. At least I really don’t think so,’ I cut in.

I stood up and held out the book. She didn’t take it but stared at it.

‘I went to the house and it was full of antique stuff. This book lists some of them,’ I explained.

She took the book from me and opened it with shaking fingers. Picking up her glasses, she put them on and began to read the pages.

‘I think he was a supernatural hunter. I found letters from people asking him to come and remove ghosts from their houses and other letters thanking him for doing so. He kept a diary every year and wrote about his visits and what he found,’ I gushed out.

She looked up at me in puzzlement.

‘I’m having a hard time with it too,’ I declared, ‘is there anyone else he might have told about this?’

‘I don’t know,’ she whispered and closed the book.

She handed it back to me and took her glasses off.

I sank down again, ‘why did he leave it to me? What am I meant to do?’

‘I don’t know,’ she muttered, ‘maybe it was because you are the youngest adult male family member. Perhaps, he saw something in you?’

I struggled for words and finally decided to ask her, ‘do you want to come and see the house?’

‘No, no, I don’t want to get involved,’ Auntie Heather responded with a wave of her hands, ‘whatever he was doing he’s taken it with him and it’s your responsibility now.’

‘All right,’ I said through gritted teeth.

She sighed and added, ‘I just want to be left I peace with the good memories I have.’

‘I’ll be off then,’ I announced.

Surprise crossed her face, but we said our goodbyes.

Getting back into my car, I threw the book on to the passenger seat and drove back to my flat. Once there, I sat on the edge of the sofa and made a list of people I could phone who might give me more answers or knew someone who would.

A whole afternoon, a lot of phone calls and no answers later, I lent back on the sofa, spent. The mystery of why no one knew about Uncle Eli’s parents’ house was just as mysterious as the house itself.

Trying to rub away a headache, I decided the only way to uncover more was to go back to the house and read everything I could. However, a part of me didn’t want to get any further involved. Even if Uncle Eli had come to me and asked me to take over this supernatural hunting business, if that truly is what he had been doing, I’d have said no. I didn’t believe in any of that! But what to do with the house and the collection of objects?

No! I had to figure this all out further. I had to know the full truth.

The next weekend, I drove back to the house. I took an old camera with me and I went from room to room taking as many photos as I could. However, that turned out to be not needed as in my search of the study, I found that the box files contained photos of every object. I also discovered that Uncle Eli’s father and two older brothers had also run this ‘business’. Before them had been Eli’s grandfather and actually it went back about five or six generations. It had passed to the oldest son and the father had trained them.

Sitting at the desk and drinking a mug of tea, I tried to work out once again what the best thing to do was. No one in the family seemed interested in this house or the contains. Someone out there would be though. Could I really just sell off all this history though? The place was a museum!

Maybe, that was the answer?

I spun the chair around and looked about the study. This house wouldn’t be big enough, but I could find a new place. People were always attracted to what they didn’t know. And if it was done right, maybe it would work….

Spinning back, I searched for some clean paper then began setting my thoughts down; a  museum dedicated to the supernatural.

Objects (Part 2)

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Getting my phone out again, I searched and found the light switch to the room and flicked it on. Just sticking my head around the door, I looked in. Perhaps, this room had once been designed to be a space for guests to wait or a living room or a dinning room, but now it was full to floor to ceiling with furniture. There were bookcases, shelves, glass cabinets, chests of drawers and in the middle a large red velvet armchair. Some of theses things looked antique and maybe a few had been original to the house.

However, it was more what the furniture held that drew me. The shelves, bookcases and cabinets were filled with all manner of objects. There were watches and clocks of all kinds, but none of them working. There were old weapons; pistols, knifes, daggers, a sword and to go with them; bullets, sheathes and holders. Figurines made out of all kinds of things, in different styles and scenes. There were framed photos in color and black and white of people and places. Old stuff toys, dolls and children’s play things were dotted around too. There was a few books, but they looked so old and broken that they’d fall apart in my hands.

A creeping feeling crossed over me and my hair stood up. A coldness that was totally different from the weather outside touched me and I felt the urge to close the door and walk away. However, I carried on standing there in wonder. Had Uncle Eli run an antique business? Had he been a hoarder? Perhaps it had been his parents’ collection or business? The solicitor had said it was their house….But he’d said it had been rented for a time too and surely this all hadn’t been here? Maybe, the tenants had been to blame?

I stepped into the room and tried to see if I could figure anything out. If there were price tags or description cards then that would suggest a business. There was nothing on any object though and the more I looked the more I saw. Feeling a sense of suffocation, I walked out and closed the door behind me. Maybe the next room would have the answers?

Crossing the hallway, I opened the door that had been on my right and went in. Once again I had a challenge finding the light switch, but when the bulb overhead came on, I saw this room was totally different from it’s neighbor. There was a huge oak desk under the curtained window and on it was a colored glass lamp, a stack of papers to one side, an A4 black leather notebook in the middle and there was a fountain pen next to it. A large padded chair was resting under the desk too.

Floor to ceiling bookcases took up the wall in front of me and to the right. They were filled with books, files, diaries, scrapbooks, notebooks and box files. The last wall was covered in picture frames which held certificates, photographs and newspaper clippings.

I walked in, feeling like I would find answers in here. I went to the desk and opened the notebook there. Turning the pages, I read the clear fancy handwriting and discovered it was a list of items. There was the object’s name, it’s location in the house, the date it was got, where it came from, who it had been it’s last owner and strangely a danger level.

What did that mean? My mind puzzled over. I turned the page and ran my finger down another long list and for no reason at all I began to speak these things aloud;

‘Mantle clock, nineteen-twenties, fruit wood, white face, classic style numbers. Downstairs front room, back wall, shelf number two. Nineteen-nineteen-seven. Blackpool. Mrs. Pennyworth. Low danger.’

‘Dagger, plain sliver handle, tip broken off, no sheath. Late eighteen hundreds. Downstairs front room, cabinet B, shelf three. Nineteen-nineteen-seven. Liverpool. Mr. Gardener. High danger.’

I read a few more enters, but couldn’t make any further sense of it. Closing the book, I looked through the stack of papers and found they were all letters. Most of them were asking my Uncle Eli for help or thanking him. I hardly glanced at them really. There was also a few Christmas cards that must have come from neighbors and these people in the letters. There was too much to read and I wanted to stay in here longer, but the urge to go upstairs was too strong.

Leaving the room, I went up the creaking and rickety stairs. There was no light on this hallway, but I could see three doors. The first was in front of me and led into a very dirty bathroom. The light above me was dim, on it’s way out but I was actually glad I couldn’t further make out how filthy this room was. I used the toilet and when I flushed it the noise was as loud as the sea waves crashing into the cliffs outside. I tried to use the sink and even though water was dripping out of one of the taps, I couldn’t turn either one. I avoided looking into the large and deep bathtub and hurried back into the hallway.

Going first to the door on my right, which was above the study, I opened it and found it to be just like the first room downstairs. It was fuller though and packed more tightly with furniture and the objects were just everywhere! I could hardly squeeze through the door. The only spot that seemed to be clearer was the window sill. There was a table next to it and as I got closer I saw why. There were four large brown pot jars against the curtained window that were also balanced on the table.

I read the carved in words on the front of them; souls of demons, souls of lost ghosts, souls of children, souls of evildoers.

What the…?

Shaking my head, I caught sight of a thin bookcase that was crammed full of glass jars. Each had a paper label and though some of the words were faded, I could still see things like; the ghost of Mr. M. Barlow. Spirit of a large dog. Ghoul number 23. Curse of a hag and protection spell, once use only! 

I couldn’t look at anything else. I left the room and without stopping went into the final one. I hoped it would be different, but knew as soon as my fingers wrapped around the door knob it wasn’t going to be. Opening and going through the door, I spent a few moments finding the light switch. My hand knocked into a thing on the wall which rattled then I turned on the light and quickly wished I hadn’t.

The room was full of tribal items and bones. Most of the walls were covered in masks, pipes, tribal weapons, instruments and on the shelves and chest of drawers tops were bowls, pots and other such things. They seemed to belong to a vast number of tribes that had once been throughout the world. Also, there were human leg, arm, rib bones and two skulls dotted around as well as bones and skulls that looked to belong to animals. Some of these had been made into ceremonially pieces, decorations or jewelry.

I turned the light off and left. I went downstairs, but every time I blinked all I could see were the empty eye sockets of those two skulls and the countless masks. Going straight into the kitchen, I turned on the cold water tap which thankfully worked and I washed my hands and face. With my mind clearing, I went into the study and stood for a few minutes looking around. The diaries drew my attention and I went over had a look at them. On the spines they were all dated and shocking I found they went back over two hundred years!

I took the first one which was dated 1811 off the shelf. It was a heavy book, made from brown leather and the pages were yellow, but still intact. Going back to the last few diaries which were all in the 2000’s, I looked for this year’s; 2016, but didn’t spot it. I pulled 2015 out instead and went back to the desk with them. Placing them on top of the object list book, I collected the stack of papers and piled them on too.

Then I searched the desk. Surprising there were many drawers and they contained a mix of items, most of which I ignored. I found this year’s diary in the top right drawer and taking it out put it with the other books and papers. In the last drawer; the bottom one on the right, I found a few family photos. The first was the most recent and it had been taken at Christmas last year. I spotted myself, next to my adopted parents and brothers. The rest of the family was gathered around and there was a huge Christmas tree in the background along with the traditional fire place scene.

Adding this to my pile, I picked it all up and staggered to the front door under the weight. Placing everything down, I had to unlock the door before I could open it. As soon as I had opened it the wind snatched the door from me and flung it back against the wall. Large snowflakes tumbled in and stuck to the hallway floor. Struggling against the wind and snow, I stepped outside and found myself in a snowstorm.

To Be Continued…

 

Objects (Part 1)

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If I’m being totally honest, I hardly knew Uncle Eli but for the sake of my family and Auntie Heather, I accepted the house he left me in his will. At the time, I pretended that I knew about it, but secretly I wondered why he had even remembered me and decided to leave the place to me.

A month after the funeral and with everything slowly being sorted out, I decided to drive out and see this house. Firstly though, I had to pick up the keys. When the solicitor handed them  and the papers over to me in his office, I asked him, ‘what can you tell me about this place?’ So far, I hadn’t asked anyone. Not because I feared their answers, but because of the questions that were bound to follow.

‘Well, Mr. Roberts, not much. I believe it was your uncle’s parents’ house which he inherited. He did rent it out for awhile. All the copies of that paperwork are there. But as far as I know the house has been empty for years,’ the solicitor explained.

‘Did Eli say why he was leaving it to me?’ I asked.

‘I’m not sure….I will have to check the will again,’ he replied and began shuffling papers around his over crowded desk.

‘It’s fine,’ I cut in, ‘all right. Thanks.’

I got up and left, even though he seemed on the verge of telling me more. Out of his office building, I walked across in the car park in the drizzle. I tucked the papers into my coat, there wasn’t many of them anyway and slipped the keys into my pocket. I went to my car which was parked alone by itself.

Getting back in the car, I put the postcode into the Sat Nav and set off on the hour and seven minutes trip to Lytham Saint Annes. It was a small seaside town I had been to in my childhood. I had only a few memories of being there; walking on the beach, eating fish and chips, playing crazy golf and seeing the windmill that stood on the coastline. I had never known and no one had ever told me that Eli had a house there.

Driving out of Manchester, the radio on low, I wondered why no one had yet to question me about Uncle Eli’s will. Of course, in the aftermath of the death and mourning, it might have escaped peoples’ minds, but I was still waiting for someone to come to me and demand to know why Eli had left a house to me; the youngest of his adopted nephews who had only seen him at Christmas family gathering.

I wanted to push it from my mind as I got on the motorway and my old car started complaining about being made to do sixty and above. It began to sleet too and though the Sunday afternoon traffic wasn’t that bad, things started to slow down. I turned the radio up and kept my eyes on all my mirrors.

When I finally got off the motorway, I followed the signs for Lytham Saint Annes. Then the next lot of directions were misleading and it took me awhile to find the house. Pulling up outside the place which looked like a nineteenth century fish man’s cottage, I cut the engine and got out. Eli’s house stood separated from the cottages around it, which were in much better care with their front gardens well kept and the paint on the walls looking fresh.

I took a deep breath and smelt the salty sea, we were very close to the coast and I could see the sea down below. I could hear it too as the waves were crashing heavily onto the cliffs and wall defenses. The wind blew around me, bring the chill of the sea water and also the early December freeze into my face. With the sleet still falling and threatening to turn into snow as the sky darkened, I walked up the pathway to the house.

There was no gate or fence, just a little patch of scrub land that made a square shape before the front step and small paled blue door. The house was whitewashed, but the paint was grey now and peeling. Two small windows were on either side of the door, the paint long gone from their rotting wooden frames. The curtains were drawn tight as if to keep questioning eyes away. Above those windows were two more and they were also curtained.

Reaching the door, I took the key from my pocket, easily fitted into the lock and stepped inside Uncle Eli’s mysterious little house.

It was dark inside and I fumbled along the wall for a light switch. Not finding one, I dug my phone out of my jeans and awoke the screen. Using that glow, I searched again and found a really old fashioned flick switch poking out of the dated wall paper close by. Pulling it up, a light came on above as the wind decided to shut the door behind me. I jumped and spun at the loud banging sound.

Catching my breath, I made sure the door was shut and locked behind me. Then I looked around the short hallway. It was normal enough; the yellowed wall paper had a flower print on it, the floor was wooden and so were the stairs in front of me. There was nothing in the hallway but two closed doors where on either side and a door-less room ahead. The air smelled like a mixture of things; the sea, damp, mold, old dusty things.

I walked forward and to the room at the end. It was a small kitchen and it seemed for the last few years had been little used. There was no fridge or freezer, only one of those old fire ovens against the wall to my left. There was a metal sink, a few cupboards and work tops which were empty but for a kettle with a mug next to it. There was a window and a back door but both were boarded and nailed shut from the inside.

I went back into the hallway and looked further around, but there was nothing else and no indication to when anyone was here last. I went to the door on my left and tried the old turn knob handle. There was a squeak and I had to shove the stiff door hard to open it, but even then it only opened halfway. A little slice of light from the hallway leaked in, however the darkness was too great.

To Be Continued…

 

Church (Chapter 7, Part 3)

angle wolf

(Continued from Church Chapter 7, Parts1 and 2)

It felt odd to leave Rain behind. I was half tempted to ask her if I could carry her back, but as soon as my feet had left the ground, she had vanished into the darkness and nature. I hovered for a few moments, trying to pick her and the wolf out, but I couldn’t see anything. I flapped off to the side and checked on the security guards. They were slowly walking around the perimeter, torches still shinning before them, checking they had not missed anything.

I headed back, there was no need to delay further and I knew Rain would find her own way to the church soon enough. Avoiding the airport, I took high to the sky and made a more direct line for home. The wind ruffled my feathers and I felt a light spatter of rain. I let my thoughts tumble away and cleared my mind. The cooler air helped this and a few times I paused to admire a city or town spread out under me.

I made it back before Rain did and landed by the lichgate to wait for her. The graveyard was silent, but I could see faint spirit lights dancing around. I became aware of the necklace around my neck for the first time since I had put it on. I dug it out of my robes and inspected the cross again. There was nothing remarkable about it, but it must have been close to a hundred years old. The metal still felt cold against my skin and I guessed that no matter what I did it would stay that way.

A dead child had been buried with this. That thought made me sad and I cast a look around the graveyard to see if I could see her or any of the other ghosts. There was nothing about the faint wisps of energy. I knew I’d have to get Rain to help them. I clutched the cross then let it fall back into place against my throat.

I jumped over the lichgate and walked through the graveyard, but even that didn’t stir the ghosts into coming out. At the porch, I did my normal glance backwards, before stepping inside. Everything looked the same and I felt a small drop of sorrow in my heart. I went upstairs and began taking off my armour.

Luckily, the wolf had not pushed the metal plate in as much as I had thought. I was able to take it off easily enough and pop the dint out. I discarded the rest of my clothes and put on a white vest top and a pair of fleece bed pants. I felt a change was very much needed. I sat at my desk and flipped though my Bible. The pages were dog-eared and I had underlined passages.

I read the story of Noah, which was a firm favourite of mine. Footsteps in the church below caught my attention and I quickly went for my sword. As I picked the weapon up I heard Rain’s voice calling out something. The words echoed too much for me to hear them clearly. I put my sword down and went to the door. The sounds of debris shifting vibrate though the walls and I paused. It had sounded like a part of the roof collapsing in.

‘Rain?’ I called downstairs.

I heard her light footsteps coming up and her voice saying, ‘I’m fine.’

‘What was that?’

‘Just Wolf chasing a rat he saw when we came in. He bounded off before I could stop him. I think he’s still mad at you,’ she finished as she came to the top of the stairs.

‘Oh. It sounded like something had falling…’

‘A pile of roof slates and wood got knocked though,’ Rain explained, ‘nothing fell.’

I stepped inside the room and let her in. There was a scratching and padding of heavy feet on the steps as Wolf followed her up. He paused and gave a growl when he saw me. Rain called him in and he sulked passed.

‘So his name is really Wolf then?’ I asked.

‘I don’t like saying his true name. It’s too long,’ Rain said, ‘it’s was just easier.’

Wolf began sniffing around the room and we both watched him for a few moments.

‘There’s something I have to ask of you,’ I spoke out.

Rain pouted and began to take off Haku and her robe.

‘There are some ghosts in the graveyard and they want to be taken up to Heaven.’

Rain dumped her stuff on the chair, her back to me.

‘I know you don’t do that kind of thing…but they made me promise,’ I carried on, ‘I thought we could at least try to help them.’

Wolf padded over to Rain, gave me a warning growl and pressed against the back of her legs.

‘I’ll see,’ she answered, ‘I’m too tried right now. Wolf decided to have a run through that woodland area and trying to convince him to come back was hard.’

‘I didn’t know spirit guardians could behave like that.’

Rain gave a small shrug and sorted out the rest of her things then went to the bed. Dropping on to it, Wolf got in her face and licked her. She petted him before giving him a bit of a shove out of the way and pulling the blankets up.

‘On reflection…’ I started, my mind having turned things over.

‘I made him a little too wolf like,’ Rain cut in.

I frowned, but Rain yawed and I decided not to question her any further. I watched her settle down and went to join her. Wolf gave me another warning snarl, but Rain waved him away and he went towards the door and phased through it. I stopped and watched till his tail had gone through.

I shouldn’t have been so surprised, I could do that too and Wolf was spirit. Getting myself back together, I went and got a bottle of water. I moved Rain’s stuff, beginning careful of Haku, off my chair and sat down again. Rain looked like she had fallen asleep straight away.

I turned back to the Bible which had fallen shut and opened it at a random page. I heard Wolf coming back a few minutes later. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him snuggling down alongside Rain and falling asleep too.

My mind wondered and I questioned what else Rain was keeping from me.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 7, Part 2)

angle wolf

(Continued from Church Chapter 7 Part 1)

I nudged Rain and pointed the lights out to her. We listened and heard a low hum of human voices. Rain waved the light ball out and lay down in the grass. She tugged the sleeve of my robe and trying to be as quiet as possible, I lay down beside her. I felt the ground vibrate under me and blanket of green light appeared above us.

‘They properly can’t see or hear us,’ Rain whispered, ‘just in case though I asked nature to hide us.’

‘I think you are right,’ I agreed.

For a few moments we listened to the sound of grass crushing under heavy footsteps and the hushed voices of the men. I caught a few words, but nothing that made sense. Rain touched me lightly and slowly sat up. Her fingers remind against my hand and I felt grateful for the warmth passing between us. With her other hand she pulled up her hood and mask which made me get the odd sense that she was clocking herself in darkness.

I wanted to tell her we could do that too, only we used light to shield ourselves. I kept it to myself though as the men were coming closer. Slowly, I eased myself up and looked over at them. It was hard to make them out with their sweeping torch light, but it seemed they were security guards. My hand clutched Rain’s as the men walked passed us.

‘It was over here. Maybe,’ a gruff voice muttered.

‘It could have been anything,’ a second raspier voice whispered back, ‘still, even if it’s nothing it gets us out. I’m dying for a smoke. You want one?’

‘Sure. But I’m telling you I saw someone out here flashing lights.’

The second man gave a shake of his head and dug around in his pockets. They both carried on walking then stopped when they reached the edge of the area that Rain had cleansed after killing the mindless soul. There was a flicker of flame from a lighter.

Rain tugged my hand as she stood up. I followed her, my eyes, like her’s fixed on the men before us. Distracted with their smoking, we made a quick escape. The grass seemed to part around us and our footsteps were silent. I could have added in some of my own power, but Rain was proving more than capable.

We reached the edge of the field, still holding hands. Rain paused to have a look back. I glanced over my shoulder too and saw the two torch beams and an orange dot glow still where we had left the men. Rain gave a squeeze of my hand and led me onto the remains of an abandoned road.

‘I’m sure they would not have seen us,’ I stated.

‘I didn’t want to risk it,’ Rain answered, ‘there was something that brought them out there and it was best to stay hidden. You can’t erase human minds can you?’

‘No, but I can slightly change their minds about me. What about you?’ I asked, before realising it was a pointless question.

‘No,’ Rain scoffed, ‘only the dying or all ready dead can see me and that’s only when I want them too. You on the other hand…it was probably your Heavenly Light they saw. That’s the only thing they could’ve been attracted too. I had a shield up, so there was no way they could’ve heard anything.’

I nodded and began rearranging my clothes which felt damp and were covered in grass seeds.

‘Your wolf did that,’ I said and pointed out the crumpled in dint in my chest armour.

Rain giggled before putting a hand over her mouth, ‘come on,’ she spoke with the laughter still in her voice, ‘we should go back to your church.’

‘If you want too. We are quite far away though,’ I pointed out, ‘can you fly?’

‘That’s a stupid question,’ Rain scolded.

I bit back my next words and scrambled for an apology.

‘I don’t have wings, but I can materialise to places. I can also make portals. That’s sort of the same thing,’ she explained with a shrug.

‘The human angels of death have wings though, don’t they?’ I had to ask.

‘You’ve never met one?’

‘No. I’ve seen one from a distance, but it just looked like a dark cloud. I thought I saw a robe and wings though…’

Rain looked at the ground, ‘they are the same as you, just black or grey.’

‘You’re meet one? Well of course you have done! Sorry, another stupid question!’ I snapped at myself.

‘Be grateful you’ve not meet one,’ Rain broke in, ‘they are too silent or angry or not interesting. They won’t help you in a fight and they all ways seem so dumb.’

‘Not like you, then?’ I said softer.

Rain shook her head and gently I brought her chin up. Her eyes met mine and she pressed her hand over mine. I could feel the warmth on her cheek and from her hand. I shut my eyes and rubbed my fingers over her cheek.

‘Hey, hey, Feathers. I’m going to eat your soul next!’ the wicked voice of Haku echoed in my head.

I growled and thought, go away.

‘What you going to do, oh, great warrior angel? You could not even help her tonight. She saved you again,’ Haku hissed.

It’s not true! I helped!

I felt Rain shove her other hand on to my forehead. Straight away an image of her formed in my mind and saw her running through white light corridors. At the end other black wrapped figure was taking form. I knew it was Haku before she reached him. It was him as he had been in life, I guessed.

He was wearing layer upon layer of ripped up grey robes, which covered him from the neck to the ankle. His feet were bare, but bandages were wrapped around his hands, leaving only his fingers visible. He wasn’t wearing a hood, so his mane of midnight black hair ran down his back like a cloak. His face was covered in thick black stubble and he had a sharp chin and jaw. His nose was off bent due to an old break and his eyes…they were mismatched! Just like Rain’s.

Haku’s laugh crackled in my ears then vanished. I came back with a deep intake of breath. I stepped backwards and felt Rain’s arms circling me. She kept me steady and I was able to hug her back.

‘We don’t need that right now,’ Rain mumbled.

‘I saw him,’ I gasped.

‘It’s all right,’ she soothed, ‘let’s go,’

She took my hand and led me a bit further down the road. We could no longer see the torch light of the men and the nature seemed to give us shelter. Rain stopped beside a tree. She let go of my hand and circled it. Ivy and moss were climbing the trunk and there was a canopy of summer leaves above us. Rain bent down and hushed something.

I watched blue lights appear and arrange themselves into a shape. The wolf became more solid and grey. He went to Rain, greeting her with a wag of his tail. She petted him and whispered something to him. Then he turned and eyed me. A low growl came from his throat. Rain tugged his fur lightly and he turned back to her.

‘I’m sorry about before,’ I said a loud, feeling the need to make my peace with the spirit guardian.

‘He won’t have hurt you if he’d know,’ Rain backed me up.

The wolf growled again and stalked around the tree. Rain moved after him, her feet scuffing on a large tree root. She clutched the tree with one arm and lent around it, calling him back.

‘Is there nothing I can do?’ I asked.

‘Not right now, but I wanted him to help me make the portal. It would have been quicker that way. I guess we’re going to have to fly back.’

I nodded my head and unleashed my wings.

To Be Continued…