Spy In the Garden

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I had to know what he was doing, it was like a addiction. I thought about him all the time since he’d left me. How was he doing? Was he eating okay? Did he have a new girlfriend yet?

I always tried to squish that thought down. Of course, he hadn’t moved on yet. He promised to always love me. How could there be anyone else?

From the bushes outside his parents’ house, I watched him sitting a table eating whilst his mother talk to him just out of view. I couldn’t hear what they were saying.

The bruises on his face were fading. He looked happier, he was smiling and nodding.

When was the last time he had smiled at me like that?

I balled my hands into fists, dried blood still in the lines and soil buried under my nails Anger filled me, burning in my chest like an immortal fire. I wanted him back. I needed him back! How could I live without him, my one true love?

I got out of the garden and went to the front door. I rang the bell.

Putting my hands behind my back, I fixed a smile on my lips and waited.

He answered the door.

His face turned white, his eyes growing large and his mouth trying to form words.

‘I’ve missed you, honey,’ I spoke in a breathy voice.

He shook his head and stumbled backwards.

‘Are you going to invite me in?’

‘You’re dead,’ he gasped out, ‘I killed you!’

Forever

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She had wanted to swim forever and now she would.

Paint #FridayFictioneers

With paint and canvas, I could disappear. It didn’t matter what was happening in the world or what my mood was, I could always find peace with brushes, colours and images.

People asked me where I got my inspiration from and how I came up with all this strange but fascinating paintings. I shrugged and told them I had a great imagination and eye for the unusually.

‘I can’t stop looking at it! It’s grotesque but for some reason it’s calling to me. I have to have this painting!’ People told me.

I would smile and sell my paintings to them whilst the Daemon laughed as he claimed another victim.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/07/22/24-july-2020/ with thanks.)

Olde Sweet Shoppe

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I’d had the dream since a child but what child didn’t dream of owning their own sweet shop?

Things for me though had just fallen into place like it was meant to be my fate since birth. Or maybe, I just got lucky?

My uncle had a general shop which had been his father’s corner shop in the forties. The general shop sold everything you could want and things you didn’t know you needed. The stock was often seasonal and local; milk from the farm down the road, autumn apples and cider, flowers from Mr. Langes’s allotment and tools from the town’s smithy.

I always remember the smell when I entered, announced by the Victorian bell, it was a strange mix of pipe tobacco, freshly baked bread and sickly sweet ice buns, varnished wood and newspaper ink.

The sight was always one of a packed room and colourful packets and many objects placed around. It seemed you might get lost in a maze of goods and the placement of things made little sense as there was no direct order. You could find washing up liquid next to tinned peas, hair brushes next to carrots etc.

My cousins worked in the shop and I’d hang around with them. We’d take some fruit or sweets or crisp and pop and go out to play. Why didn’t they have to pay for things? I asked them. If we only take a few things it’s never noticed, came the reply.

The golden years of childhood in the seventies and eighties faded. I entered the adult world as did my cousins and we kept in touch. I moved away, moved back, did random jobs and had many relationships.

I saw the post online one evening, alone in my rented apartment. My cousins were closing the shop. I sent one of them a message to ask why and it was a simple answer; too much money being lost and no customers. It was the fate of all small shops now.

I had written back before I had given it any real thought; could I rent the shop from you and start up a sweet shop? 

I don’t know, she typed back, I don’t want you to end up in the financial issues we are facing. 

Quickly tapping on my laptop keys I answered, I understand, please let me give it a try.

Reflecting on the past and how things came to be is difficult but also interesting. I smile as I stand behind the polished counter and serve child after child, adults and families who are constantly returning and bring a new wave of people with them.

The shop no longer smells like it did before; it was cleaner and sweeter now. There are shelves bottom to top across three walls and one of those is behind my counter and the pick ‘n’ mix selection. The floor is open to the crowds and the window display is a rainbow of bright colours and calling temptations.

My cousins can’t believe I was able to turn things around for their family business. They’ve helped me a lot and we work alongside each other to keep this little shop going.

I’m on the internet too which has become my main source of income. I ship to anywhere and import too. American candy and Japanese snacks are my highest earns. It’s hard work and I don’t get a break but I love it and it’s like where I’m meant to be.

New Life

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In Iraq, Abida had had a nice house. It had been large and airy, with enough space for her seven children and her parents and her husband’s grandmother to all live happily together. They’d been well off. Not rich but enough to have the house with a garden and to pay the wages of a servant or two.

Now, the house like their lives was nothing but rumble. Behind in the dust they had left the newly buried bodies of her husband’s grandmother, Abida’s father and her youngest two children; three month old Fatima and two year old Shakur.

They had been in the house when the bomb had dropped and now they were in the cemetery with their other passed relatives. Her husband’s parents who were living in the house next door with his sister and her family had all died too.

Leaving had been the only chance of survival they had. For the next few years, they had travelled and past through camp after camp and country after country. Abida’s husband, Maijd, wasn’t sure where was best to move his family to. Abida’s mother had suggest many places but finally Maijd had decided on the England.

It had been a trail and taken a toil which caused Abida to have a miscarriage, but finally the family got in England and were moved into a council apartment above an empty shop.

Abida hated it. There were three small bedrooms, a tiny bathroom, a living room and kitchen. The rooms smelt like the Indian takeaway restaurant a few shops down and also cigarette smoke. There was a handful of furniture including; a sofa, a double bed, one bunk bed and two single beds. It was the total opposite of Abida’s home but far better then the tent they had shared in the last few years.

‘How can we all fit in here?’ Abida asked her husband.

‘We shall make do. The woman said this bed pulled out…’ Maijd trailed as he took the coverings off to look at the sofa bed.

‘I’m not sleeping on that,’ Abida’s mother snapped, ‘I shall take one of the bed’s in here.’

‘Then, Bibi share that room with your grandmother,’ Abida said.

The eighteen year old nodded and took her and grandmother’s things into that room.

‘Kadeem and Hayfe can have the other room for now,’ Abida directed her youngest son and daughter, ‘Tarek and Tamir will have that bed,’ she finished with a look at the fifteen year old twin boys.

The family had settled in as best they could and with hope from Maiji that this was only for now and soon they would have a suitable house. Meanwhile, the children started school, finding it difficult with the little English they knew, Maiji searched for a job and Abida and her mother kept the apartment and looked after everyone.

A month or so later and the only change was that Maiji had found a job at a food shop. There seemed no chance of the family moving again soon which as Abida put her hands on her tummy, wasn’t ideal but at least her family were finally safe.

Just A Little Spook

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The rustling under the bed woke Penny. Moving the duvet away, she peered under the bed, looking for the source the sound.

A faint glowing child stared back at her.

‘Who are you? Penny asked.

‘I am Sally,’ came the whispered reply.

‘Why are you under my bed?’ Penny demanded.

‘I was only playing,’ Sally answered and crawled out.

Penny turned on the lamp and saw that Sally was hovering off the floor and admitting her own light which was a pale cream colour. Sally had long hair that moved as if caught in the wind and it was the same with the long dress she wore.

‘Who are you playing with?’ Penny asked.

‘Nobody. I’m alone. I was practising my spooking.’ Sally mumbled as she spun on the spot.

‘Spooking?’ Penny wondered.

‘Yes, I am a ghost. It’s what we do. We scare people.’ Sally explained, ‘were you scared?’

Penny shook her head, ‘you look like a normal girl to me, expect for the glowing of course. How old are you?’

‘I am eight.’

‘So am I!’ Penny cried, ‘do you want to be my friend?’

Sally thought what to do as she drift to the floor and sat on the rug.

Penny could see right through Sally but Penny felt more fascinated than scared. Here was a friend just as she needed one and it didn’t matter if Sally was different. Didn’t Penny’s teacher, Mrs Greene, said ‘it was good everyone was unique like a snowflake because if everyone was the same the world would be a very boring place!’

‘Let’s play with the dollhouse,’ Penny said and got out of bed.

‘You really want to play with me?’ the ghost girl asked.

Penny nodded and went across the room to turn on the light. Her bedroom became more defined, showing that most of the room was taken up by toys and child size furniture.  The doll’s house was an impressive Victorian style wooden structure which at first glance someone might mistake for a real one. However it was only fifty or so years old and only loosely modelled on the manor it had been copied from. The house stood on it’s on table pushed against the back wall.

‘You’ve lost some of your glow now,’ Penny pointed out.

‘Yes,’ said Sally getting up and floating over to join Penny before the doll’s house, ‘light makes ghosts less visible because we are made up of light.’

‘Shall I turn it off again?’ Penny asked.

‘It’s fine. I can make myself more solid. See?’ the ghost girl spoke and before Penny’s eyes Sally became less see through.

Penny opened the front of the doll’s house and they looked inside. It was well made and each of the rooms was carefully decorated with real wallpaper and flooring. The correct furniture and decorations were in their right places and it looked like you could step inside and live a comfortable life inside.

There were four floors which explained why the doll’s house was so large. The ground floor had the front hallway in the middle, to the left was a large kitchen and to the right was divided into a servants’ sitting room and servant’s bedroom. The first floor had a long sitting room on the right and a small dining room next door. The third floor had two bedrooms- the master room and a guest room. Finally, the attic had a large nursery and a joint bedroom for the children.

The dolls were little china figures and they were around the same age as the house and had been originally made for the fake manor. The dolls could be made to stand or sit or hold things. There was a father, a mother, three children- a boy, a girl and a baby, there was a cook, a nanny and maid. Each doll was easily distinguished by their clothes; the family wore brightly coloured and fancy outfits and the servants were drab.

‘My great grandfather made this for my granny when she was a child,’ Penny explained, ‘I never met him but mum says his job was making toys. He made other doll’s houses but we only have this one now. We have to be careful because it’s old.’

‘It is really pretty,’ Sally said, ‘I never had a doll’s house.’

‘When did you become a ghost?’ Penny asked then wondered if that was a rude question.

‘I am not sure. Time is not important for me anymore.’

‘Did you live in this house before?’

‘I do not know. I think I lived around here but my house is gone now,’ Sally said sadly.

‘That’s okay, you can just live here with me,’ Penny responded, ‘here.’

Penny handed the mother doll to Sally and the ghost girl made the doll hover.

‘Can’t you touch or hold anything?’ Penny asked in surprise.

‘This is the only way I can do things. I use my energy with my mind,’ Sally explained.

‘That’s pretty cool!’

‘Do you think so?’ the ghost asked shyly.

Penny nodded quickly, ‘I wish I could move things with my mind!’

Sally giggled and moved the mother doll into a the living room and sat her down in a red chair by the glowing fireplace.

For a time, the two girls played then with a yawn and a rub of her eyes, Penny looked back at her bed.

‘Do ghosts sleep?’ Penny asked.

‘Sort of. It’s hard to describe….’ Sally answered.

‘I think,’ Penny answered as she got up, ‘I should go back to bed now.’

Sally didn’t reply but Penny felt the air get colder and sadder.

‘Will you come back and play with me tomorrow?’

‘Could I?’ Sally cried.

‘Yes,’ Penny said with a small laugh as climbed into bed, ‘everynight if you want!’

‘I would like that,’ Sally declared.

‘And we can be best friend,’ Penny uttered through a yaw as she snuggled down.

‘I would like that very much!’ the ghost girl said.

Drums

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I decide to take up the drums during my furlough in lockdown. I don’t think my neighbours are too happy about my new hobby….

Now Not Arriving On Platform 8

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The lights reminded me of a disco but the art deco walls didn’t fit in with a club scene. Nor did the clean, white stripe floor and the plastic seats in the middle which were empty. On either side of the platform were the train lines just lit up by a touch of green and pink light.

I was waiting. Walking slowly with only the tread of my shoes and whisking clothes making noise. I wasn’t wondering why I was alone or why it was quiet, I was just happy to be away from the bustle of the full platforms.

I felt the vibrations then heard a train coming into another section hidden by a wall and earth. I imagined all those people pushing their way on as people tried to get off. The bang of cases against legs, the howls of children and the fight over seats.

Smiling, I was glad to be away from all of that. Going over to the overhead boards, I looked up and read what they both said. Frowning, I wondered what had gone wrong because both signs said ‘no service.’

But I had triple checked and my train was coming into platform eight at five past three. I checked my watch and saw it was almost three. Of course, I had thought that a few other people might be waiting here too but this long haul, night train was normally quiet.

Were was the announcement to declare the next train? Perhaps, I had got it wrong…

I left and went back up to the stairs. I felt another train coming. I turned and saw a flashing of lights from the dark tunnel ahead. Maybe, I hadn’t been wrong?

I stepped back down and walked a little way along the platform which must have been new because way was it so clean and bright? The lightening too, I had thought odd but it could have always been like that. Who pays that close attention to a train station decor?

The train came into shape and I saw the destination on the front and it was where I wanted to go. Overhead, a crackling came to life and a voice spoke distorted words that I couldn’t make out but I guessed it was the notice for my train.

The doors open. No one got off.

I was the only one to get on.

Nun

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Dear God, I don’t want to be a nun anymore. I’m sorry but that’s just the way it is. I don’t feel cut out for what you are asking me to do. Mother says that you’ll help me but so far I’m struggling to see that hand. How can I bring new sisters to you when they are not interesting?

The world has changed and I fear we all must change with it. People don’t want a church anymore, they want something more, something we can’t give them. Perhaps, it’s a something even you can’t give it to them…

 

Packages #FridayFictioneers

The doorbell rang and I went to answer it. On the doorstep was a medium size box. Looking up, I saw the deliveryman waving as he went back to his van. I waved back then gathered my parcels.

‘Postman?’ my husband called from the study where he was working from home.

‘No…it’s a thing for me,’ I answered.

‘More Amazon?’ 

I went to deny it but I couldn’t. Since starting lockdown my world had moved online. Everything I wanted came at the click of a mouse and it was like Christmas everyday but if it kept me going then it was worth it.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/07/15/17-july-2020/ with thanks).