Green

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I had never seen a stone like it before on the beach. With the waves and wind whipping around me and Betty, my cocker spaniel whining, I bent and picked it up. The coat of my hood and loose hair strands got in my face, I blinked them away then looked in my hand. The stone was there. Sparkling wet, but perfectly round and a clear lime green colour.

I turned it over and it was the same on the back. Slipping it into my pocket, I straightened and began battling the storm back to my house. When I arrived, cold and dripping wet. I took my coat off and forgot about the strange stone. I had Betty to dry, myself to dry and though it was the height of summer, a fire to make up.

So it wasn’t until I put my coat on days later, to protect me from a miserable drizzly morning, that I rediscovered the stone. Taking it out of my pocket, I looked and felt it’s smooth edges. Betty was bouncing at my feet, eager to go out and wondering what was keeping her master from getting a move on.

I looked more closely at the stone and realised it wasn’t a stone at all. It was a piece of glass which the ocean had worn smooth and softened the edges of. It wasn’t unusually to find glass fragments on the beach, it was the fact the piece was so green that got to me. Wondering were it came from, I placed it safely on the little sill next to the front window. I took Betty out and once again forgot all about the green glass.

Storm

It had been threatening for days but now a summer storm was here. We’d picked the worse day for a funeral as the rain was lashing down, the wind whipping and lightening cracking across the doom grey sky. Sitting in the back seat of the car watching this all go by, I thought that actually uncle Arnold would have loved this. It was just the type of thing that would happen to an adventurous man like him.

(Inspired from; https://katmyrman.com/2017/07/18/twittering-tale-41-18-july-2017/ with thanks)

Storm

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It was the worse storm anyone had ever seen. Hurricane winds tore up everything. The rain raged down like an angry heavy metal drummer. Flash floods turned the streets into rivers, sweeping away what the wind had been unable to move. The sea swelled and roared as if Poseidon himself was raising upwards towards the sky. The thunder and lightening clapped together making the very clouds shake, perhaps Zeus was fighting to keep Poseidon down. Whatever was happening, People were sure the Apocalypse had just arrived.

Dear Diary #34

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Dear Diary,

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

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

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

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

What if someone is trying to get in?

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

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

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

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

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

Toxic Thunder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘I’ll get Madam,’ a maid spoke.

‘Where is Miss Victoria?’ another voice asked.

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

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

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

Rain on the Bus

Water Droplets on Clear Glass

The empty bus pulled smoothly to a stop and the doors opened. The bus driver peered out and watched the old lady getting on with the aid of the handrail.

‘Hello, Doreen!’ he said cheerfully as he recognised her, ‘terrible evening.’

‘Oh, no, Terry!’ Doreen cried with a little wave of her walking stick, ‘it’s quiet perfect!’

She pressed her pensioner’s bus pass to the ticket machine. There was a beep and some words flashed up.

‘For ducks maybe,’ Terry muttered with a glance out of his window.

The rain was coming down heavily and the wind was whipping up into a storm.

Terry closed the bus’s door to contain some heat. Then he waited for Doreen to shuffle off and sit down at the back, like she always did. Checking she was settled, he started up the bus and smoothly drove off.

Doreen smiled and watched the rain hitting the window next to her. She turned up her hearing aids and listen to the rain splashing and the wind howling. Under her, the bus’s engine rumbled away and waves of gentle heat brushed her.

She took off her big pink flowers decorated hat which she always wore on her rainy evening bus rides and set it to dry out next to her. Doreen placed her small red handbag flat next to it, then took off her bright pink rain mac. She was wearing a huge, fluffy green jumper that she had knitted herself.

Turning back to the window, Doreen relaxed into the ride.

There’s nothing, she thought, quite like a drive in the rain to make you fall asleep. 

Storm Doris

Lighting Strike

England braced itself for the worst storm of the winter. Heavy rain fell, causing fast flowing streams to run down the side of the road. Large puddles gathered and formed mini lakes. The wind whipped up into a gale and swept up everything it could. In the higher lands, snow fell thickly.

People battled through the elements. Driving their cars out into the storm named as Doris, determined not to let ‘a little rain,’ halt their day. Soon though they had no choice as the wind swept the rain in sheets and caused all the coastlines to become tidal pools. Cars were turned about and those people who had walked hurried back home.

Reports came flying in about people being injured, public transports being cancelled, delayed and the traffic at a stand still. It was an all day storm and people should stay at home. Instead though, those that could, hurried to the shops and brought everything possible. Full shelves suddenly became empty and cupboards became full.

The wind roared, making the sea hit the wave breaking walls and wash up and over into the seaside towns. People gathered to see the waves but were driven back by the strong winds and spraying water. They retreated to the safety of their homes and watched storm Doris rage.

 

Flames

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The flames grew, becoming brighter and warmer. Shepard shivered and huddled closer to the fire. Outside, the rain was really coming down now and the wind was hitting the countryside with force. The old, abandoned farmhouse rattled and creaked around him. Strangely though, he found comfort in all the noise.

Finally, shedding out of his soaking clothes, Shepard hung his things on the drying rack. Despite everything, most of the furniture had survived and the house appeared close enough to his memories. He hated that though as it made everything come into sharper focus.

Sitting in his underpants, he feed the fire some more wood and watched the flames. Even though he tried hard not to think about it, the memories swelled like an incoming sea. How many times had he sit by this fireplace as a boy? Too many.

Shepard shivered again, but not because he was cold. The flood gates had opened and for a few moments he was transported into the past.

Shadows danced across the wall in the farmhouse’s living room. The flames of the fire, the only light source in the room was unable to fight the shadows off. However, nothing seemed to be bothering the little boy and smaller girl who were playing with a hand carved Noah’s Arc set. They laughed as they lined the animals up two by two and made them all enter the big wooden boat.

Then though from the kitchen came sounds of raised voices. The children stopped, falling silent to listen. The voices grew, though they couldn’t make the muffled words out. A thumping as skin connected with skin rang out and the voices stopped.

The girl began to cry. Her older brother held her close but not to comfort her. It was to quieten her sobs, so they would avoid getting beaten too.

Shepard shook his head and brought himself out of his past. Grumbling, the urge to leave again grew, but he fought it away.

‘It’s only an old house,’ he uttered, ‘nothing here now.’

He felt his drying clothes. They were too wet still to put back on. He tossed more wood onto the fire, not caring that the stack was getting low. If needed there were other things he could burn.

He glanced around and spotted a knitted patchwork blanket draped on the sofa. Getting up, he shuffled across the floor and tugged it off. Wrapping the blanket over his shoulders, he took a deep breath and smelt dust. Pushing the edge of the blanket into his nose, he sniffed the wool, but couldn’t smell anything else.

Shepard saw a flash of his mother. She was sit on the sofa, knitting a blanket which humped over her big belly containing his then unborn sister. Her hair was dark and she was wearing a brown dress and slippers. Her face and arms were covered in old and new bruises. She was humming something as her needles clacked together then she was gone, back into the shadows of the past.

‘Don’t think about,’ Shepard whispered.

He stared hard into the flames, hoping they would burn the memories away.

It was too late though and just like the opening of Pandora’s box everything escaped.

Shepard sucked in a deep breath as imagines, thoughts and feelings tumbled by. Thankfully, he soon arrived at the last memory he had of the farmhouse. He saw himself, a young teenager sat in his mother’s bedroom. She was gone, fled in the night just as she had often threatened under her breath.

He looked out of the window and saw the little cross that marked his sister’s grave in the back garden. She had only been seven. He had dug that small hole himself only a few days ago whilst his sobbing mother had clung to the dirty sheet wrapped body. He had wanted to kill his father then but his mother held him back. Now though, there was nothing stopping him…

Shepard let it all go with a shaky exhale. Just the thought of all that blood again made him feel sick. He reached for his clothes and even though they were damp, he put them on. Gathering his things, he got up and after a few moments of debate tossed the knitted blanket away.

Holding onto the warm of the fire, he walked out of the farmhouse and back into the storm. It was better, he decided, to be out here then inside with all those ghosts.

 

(Inspired by a prompt at; https://scvincent.com/2017/02/09/thursday-photo-prompt-flame-writephoto/)

Something In The Night (Part 5)

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Abe reached the top of the stairs then feeling too tried, he sat down. The coldness of the stone sink into his all ready cold and wet skin, he needed to get out of here and into the warmth again. The torch shook in his hand which felt gnarled as a wizard tree trunk. The light beam shone wobbly over the stairs and walls.

Shutting his eyes and taking deep breaths, Abe took a few minutes out. The abandoned asylum creaked and groaned in the background as the wind whistled and howled though any gaps it could get in. Rain pattered against the window, a relaxing note bringing the other sounds together. Then though new noises started; footsteps on a stone staircase, a whispering voice calling, the rolling wheels of a trolley.

The candle on the window sill came to life again. The flame flicking yellow and orange before coming a steady glow. Slowly, other candles above and on the walls came to life. Lighting  up as if by a magic hand that could cast flames. Shadows faded, fleeing into the deep corners were the candles couldn’t reach.

The voices grew louder, becoming a constant sound like the rain.  Footsteps running or pacing echoed off the hallways and rooms. The stink of candle wax, cleaning fluids and long unwashed human bodies swept away what had become the normal scents of mould, damp and rot. A woman’s scream rose and fell.

Abe snapped open his eyes and looked around. The sudden many candle flames burnt his eyes and he blinked away quickly. He dropped his head then rose it again and trying to convince himself he was only seeing things. The candles were still there and now he could here the voices more clearly. Abe caught snatches of words;

‘It’s not true. It’s not true!’ a male voice was mumbling.

‘I have seen the Devil! He’s coming for us all!’ a woman was shouting.

‘I don’t want it! Nurse! Nurse! Get ‘im away from me!’ a man’s voice rose above everything else.

Abe turned his head around and tried to see if anyone was there.

‘What an earth is going on?’ he muttered.

Abe looked down at his hands but instead of the torch and ring of keys that he had been clutching, there was nothing. He gasped and felt around for them, thinking he had put them down next to him. All he felt was cold stone.

‘Mr Fletcher? Did you fall?’ a female voice spoke from close behind him.

Abe turned and saw a young woman wearing a full black dress with puffy sleeves and a long white apron. She was carrying an empty grey tray. Her face was pretty with a small nose and eyes, her cheeks flushed with running about and her hair was hidden under a white cap.

‘I…’ Abe began.

‘Here,’ the nurse said.

She put the tray down and went to help him up.

‘What happened? Where am I?’ Abe questioned as she got him to his feet.

‘You are at the hospital,’ the nurse said.

‘The asylum?’ Abe gasped.

He looked around taking it all in and seeing everything so different to what he had known these last few years.

‘Let me help you to your room. The Doctor should be along to see you shortly,’ the nurse said softly.

‘Doctor Denty?’ Abe asked.

‘Yes. He’s such a good Doctor. He’s helped so many poor people.’

‘No!’ Abe shouted and snatched his arm back, ‘he removed their brains! He killed them!’

The nurse looked at him in shock. She stepped away from him, the tray she had left balanced against the banister clattered to the floor as he heels caught it. She turned to it but didn’t bend down to get it.

‘Stay away from me!’ Abe screamed, ‘Got to get out…got to…’

Abe turned and hobbled down the stairs. Behind him, he heard the nurse shouting for a porter and a doctor. He reached the top of the main staircase and cursed the coldness that had stiffed his bones. Going as fast as he could, Abe went down the stairs. Around him, he could hear people crying, screaming and saying words he could not make out.

He reached out for the banister but it was too far away. Forgetting that, he hurried on. His mind whirling as he tried to figure out what was going on. This was more then someone playing tricks and breaking into the asylum. This was real. But how could it be?

Abe felt hands touching his back. He let out a cry, lost his balance an fell down the last few steps. Tumbling to the floor, he lay there winded and hurting all over. Slowly, he rose his head and got up. The candle light was still flicking against the wall. Voices pressed through the darkness and running feet echoed off the stone.

He got up, ignoring the flaring pain in his leg and arm. He went to the front door and pushed against the wood. It was locked. He turned, shuffled away and towards a handful of doors lining the far wall. He made it to the side door and slipped though. Slamming it shut behind him, he weaved down the short hallway like a drunk old homeless man.

Reaching the side door, he opened it with easy and stepped out into a tall figure. Screaming, Abe stumbled back, throwing his arms up to his face. A voice was saying something, but he could hardly here above the wind and his scream. Hands grabbed him and stopped him from falling backwards. Then the spoken words began to make sense.

‘Police. You’re all right now.’

Abe blinked away the rain and looked up. Cutting though the night were flashing lights and torch beams.

‘I’m the night guard,’ Abe mumbled, ‘there’s something not natural going on in there…’

‘Come with us, sir,’ the policeman said and led him away, a female officer tailed them.

Looking back as they walked to the security cabin, Abe saw police officers enter the asylum. Torches lit up the darkened windows. Above the asylum, thunder rumbled and lightening forked across the sky.

The police took Abe inside and he sat down into his chair. He looked down and saw his torch and ring of keys in his hands. Puzzled he held them up and placed them on the desk.

”Did you see the intrudes?’ the officer asked.

‘Yes…but they weren’t…it was like back then…a nurse…’ Abe mumbled.

‘Your head and arm are bleeding. Did you fall?’ the female officer asked.

Abe touched his head, ‘the stairs. They were chasing me…they were going to take my brain! he shouted suddenly.

‘It’s all right, sir, you are safe now,’ the policewoman said, ‘you need to go to the hospital. That cut looks big.’

Abe looked at her and took her fully in. Her face was pretty, her nose and eyes small, her cheeks flushed with the cold and her hair was tied back under her police cap.

‘It’s you….’ Abe gasped, ‘I’m not going to any hospital! I need to go home!’

‘Yes, of course you can. I shall take you,’ the policewoman spoke out.

‘No. I can take myself!’ Abe rose then fell back into his chair, dizziness hitting him hard.

‘You could be seriously injured,’ she snapped back.

‘I’m fine. Keep away from me,’ Abe spoke loudly and waved his hands at her.

‘Please leave us,’ the policeman said.

She nodded and left, closing the door firmly behind her.

‘Now, sir. Let me take a look at you,’ the policeman commanded.

Abe looked at him. There was something familiar about that face but he could not place it.

‘The cut does look very bad. It might be affecting you…How does your head feel?’

‘It’s okay. I’ll be fine,’ Abe said, ‘do I know you?’

‘I don’t think so…Can you tell me what happened?’ the policeman asked.

Abe turned, looked out of his window and up at the asylum. Torch beams were still flashing past the windows. He tried to piece everything together in his mind but nothing seemed to make sense.

‘There was someone in the main building. They started a fire. I chased them but they came after me and I fell downstairs,’ Abe spoke softly.

‘Anything else?’

‘No. I’m sorry for all the trouble,’ Abe said, ‘I still would like to go home now.’

‘Of course, sir. I shall get someone to take you.’

Something In The Night (Part 4)

abandoned, architecture, building

Abe swore under his breath and reached for the landline phone again. He dialled the emergency services. The second a voice answered, Abe barked into the phone ‘Fire! At the old Asylum!’ Then he threw the phone down and grabbed the mini fire extinguisher off the wall.

Scooping up the ring of keys and torch with his other hand, Abe dashed outside. The wind howled around him, threatening to throw him back inside. Rain lashed against his face, blinding him and soaking straight through his shirt and trousers. The idea of going back for his coat flashed in his mind but then Abe looked upwards and saw the fire flicking in the middle left window.

Abe battled on and went to the side door. Doing everything by feel then sight, Abe put the extinguisher between his knees and wrestled with the keys. He found the right on and slotted it in. Going in, the wind tried to tear the door off it’s hinges, but Abe managed to close it behind him. Leaving the door unlocked, Abe turned the torch on before racing though the small corridor and out into the main hall.

The scent of smoke drifted down the staircase and stuck in Abe’s nose. He went up the stairs. The keys jingling loudly and the extinguisher letting off a metallic din every once in a while. Rain water dripped off Abe and dotted the steps with droplets. He ignored everything and focused solely on getting to the fire. At the top of the staircase, he turned left and rushed up.

Skidding to a stop, he tried to catch his breath as his eyes took in what was before him. There was no fire on the hallway. He walked slowly over, his hands and legs feeling numb. He shone the torch around and saw nothing had been disturbed and there were no markings on the floor. The torch began to shake in his hand and Abe wondered if his mind had finally gone.

He shut his eyes and took deep lungfuls of mould, rot and dust contaminated air. A linger of smoke still seemed to be there. Feeling calm and in control again, Abe opened his eyes and really used the torch to look. He flashed the light over the floor, walls and stairs then he swept back to the window. The torch beam came to a pause.

There was a white candle in a Victorian bronze holder slightly smoking on the window sill.

Abe shuffled forward and looked hard. His eyes were not tricking him. The candle was there and had recently been blown out. Maybe by his own movements. Abe looked out of the window and could see the lights of the security cabin in the grounds below. Water clung to the window back dropped by the dark night. The wind tapped more rain against the glass is it whistled passed.

With his mind slotting things into place, Abe realised the fire he had seen had actually been the flame of the candle pressed against the window. He sigh and felt all the energy drain out of him.

It’s a kid playing tricks or some photographer getting an artist shot, Abe thought, that’s all. No real fire…Where are they now? They’d heard me for sure and taken to hiding again.

Abe turned and took in the view of the main stairs as well as the hallway stretching into the blackness before him. Abe tightened his grip on the torch, keys and fire extinguisher then walked back the way he had come. Carrying everything was making his arms ache and the coldness that had sank into his skin was making it worse.

‘The police are coming! You won’t get away!’ Abe yelled.

 

To Be Continued…