The Library #TaleWeaver

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Poetry knew it as a fine-able offence to take off her breathing mask whilst on the surface. But that was only if the Constables caught you and you were still alive afterwards to pay. Plus, Poetry reasoned there were green trees here, so the air must be okay. Taking a last deep breath of filtered air and oxygen, she pulled off the heavy mask and held that breath till she couldn’t anymore.

The next breath she took in was clean enough though it was tinted with the nuclear poisons that made the earth’s surface uninhabitable. Things weren’t so bad this far away from the core but Poetry knew she’d have to put her mask back on soon to avoid getting sick.

Being careful, where she placed her feet, Poetry edged into the building. A strange sight met her eyes; there were trees growing from the floor out of the roof of the room before her. The tree trunks were white and flaky as if they were wrapped in crumbing bandages but Poetry knew that was how those kind of trees looked naturally. Along the walls of the room were bookcases and most of the books were still in place.

Poetry tipped her head back and looked up at the balcony which formed a second floor. There was a staircase on either side leading up there. More bookcases and books filled the space and she breathed deeply in the old papers. On the floor there were broken tables and chairs, rotted by the incoming weather and time.

She was just about to step down when a voice called her name and she felt the brush of a gloved hand on her shoulder.

‘Where’s your mask?’ a muffled and gruff man’s voice asked her.

Poetry turned fully to her older cousin, Legend. It was thanks to him that she had been able to come on this surface run. He and his work colleagues were collecting salvageable items and also anything edible which could be decontaminated when they got back to the Hive then sold on.

‘Here. It’s fine,’ she added quickly, ‘there are alive trees in here and I just wanted to breath probably for a moment.’

‘And leave me to have to explain to your mother why you died?’ Legend cut back in.

He grab Poetry’s mask and shoved it back on her face. She tried to stop him but he was stronger and it was painful. She wrestled his hands away and put the mask back on herself.

‘There’s nothing good here,’ Legend spoke, ‘we’ve all ready been through.’

‘But the books,’ Poetry pointed out, shocked that her cousin couldn’t see the value in them.

He shrugged broad shoulders, ‘hard to decontaminated and only a few buyers.’

‘Hey!’ a man’s voice yelled and they both turned to look back, ‘Over here. I’ve shot a deer!’

Legend took off, jogging over to where two other men where heading into a clump of trees. Poetry watched him go then seized her chance. She rushed in and pulled a few books off the closest shelf. They were heavy, weighted down with damp and mould.

Unhappily, Poetry dropped them to the floor and went to seek any shelves that were sheltered from when light and rain come inside. Her heart was racing and she knew at any moment Legend would come back and drag her away. She only wanted a few books though, something new to read that wasn’t like the other stories she had.

There were bookcases at the back in corner which were in shadows. Poetry pulled a few books out and found they were drier. Not bothering to read the titles, she put her rucksack on the floor and stuffed as many inside as she could.

‘Poetry!’ Legend’s voice called from the distant doorway.

Poetry swung her bag back on, almost toppling under the weight of it. Then grabbing two last books, that were the biggest ones of the shelf and hurried back to him.

‘They are dry! Please!’ She gasped, her voice rasping through the mask.

‘If they don’t get through it’s not my fault,’ Legend huffed.

Poetry grinned, ‘they will,’ she said, ‘Conner the guard really likes me.’

Legend shook his head and turned away.

With a last glance at the library, Poetry followed him back into the long abandoned city.

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/tale-weaver-172-libraries-24-may-2018/ with thanks).

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Bleak #writephoto

The winter had stripped the land bare. The only place to go which the snow didn’t cover were the rocks jutting out of the sea. It was there that I stood that day and wondered what we would do if the winter remained. The wind whipped the lowering tide up and spray wet my flushed cheeks. The sky was dusky and the clouds heavy with another snow storm.

With my gloved hands, I pulled my cloak tighter around me. I was use to the freezing chill now. We had suffered five months of this bleak weather. Balancing on the jagged rock tops, I walked across to the tiny temple which the out going tide had revealed. I had no idea who had built the four short pillars and roof but we had always come here to worship the Goddess of nature and the God of the sea.

Everyday since the snowstorms had started, everyone had visited the temples once or twice a day. They prayed that spring came and that the snow went away. I had gone to but then I just couldn’t face it anymore. So, whilst the starving town and village peoples knelt together and muttered prayers, I came out here, to the edge of the world to look for something else.

Entering the temple, I could see the sea on three sides. The waves were a tumbling mass with chunks of ice floating on top. I watched two larger shards bump together then ride away on the waves. Water was dripping off the columns and there was seaweed on the floor. I picked that up and tossed it away. There were some worn etchings underneath.

I wrapped my skirt and cloak around myself before kneeling down. I traced the patterns slowly. They felt familiar and yet I didn’t know what they said. Perhaps, they were nothing but a pretty design on the floor or maybe a prayer. I hoped they were much more though. A spell maybe, to call upon Goddess’ help.

Looking up at the roof, I could see the same patterns up there and they were clearer. The sea had done less damage up there. There was the imagine of the sun and moon coming together, the sea rising below them and a gust of wind moving them. Then there were other symbol pictures and things that looked like words. If only I could understand!

I hung my head and clutched at my skirt. Even if I knew what it said, who was I to cast a spell? There had been no wizards or witches here for years and the wise women and hermits I knew didn’t seem to be magic users. Hugging myself, I sensed the strange feeling in my stomach. It was warm, fluttering, almost like a warm breeze wanting to take me somewhere deep within myself.

Coming here made it stronger, somehow but no matter what I couldn’t seem to follow the warm breeze. I was too weak to reach it. I pressed my hands to the tiny temple floor and breathed in deeply. I willed that feeling to get stronger, even if I couldn’t do anything with it yet, I asked it to help in whatever way it could.

I believed as hard as I could then I felt a snowflake on my nose. Blinking open my eyes, I looked across and saw that another snowfall was starting. The waves were also rising up and darkness was fast approaching. Getting up, I wondered how it had gotten so late, it hadn’t seemed I’d been here long.

Saying a quick prayer, I left the tiny temple and carefully walked over the rock tops. The wind tugged at me almost as if it wanted me to go back and the snow was making the rocks harder to cross. The rocks gave way to dirt and grass which the snow covered faster. I stumbled on, the strange feeling inside of me gone and my mind only on getting home.

Something though seemed to be happening behind me. There was a blue circle of light growing. Perhaps it was just the sea coming back in? I paused and looked but it was hard to make out. The wind blew my hood down, I gasped an turned back again. Either I could open my cloak, remove my hands and put the hood back or I could keep the warm against my body.

The storm was growing, blinding me with snow flurries and forcing me backwards. I tripped on something and fell down. I pulled my hood up and huddled on the ground, hoping it would be over soon. I saw that blue light again and realised that it wasn’t the sea but magic!

I gasped and forgetting everything else, I reached out for it. The light was warm and fluttery, it ran though my hands then was gone. The wind dropped and the snow slowed. I wiped my face, there were icy tears on my cheeks. The blue light was gone and behind me at the temple was nothing.

I got up and walked home. The snow stopped before I got there.

And that was the end of winter.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/11/23/thursday-photo-prompt-bleak-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Dear Diary #32 : Absquatulate (Part 1) #atozchallenge

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Absquatulate; to leave without saying goodbye. 

Dear Diary,

I need to leave. It’s not a question any more it’s the only way. If I don’t leave, I’m going to do something final…

I don’t think anyone want’s that, but what else can I do?

My parents just haven’t gotten over my baby brother’s death. My mother is still spending most of her time in bed. My father waiting on her and sulking off to work when he must. They are shadows of themselves.

And me? I’m more then a shadow. I’m invisible.

I’ve tried everything I can think of and more, but none of the attention seeking or cries for help methods worked. It’s like I’m dead to them too.

That’s why I’ve to get out. I’m going to leave first thing tomorrow. Everything I want is all ready packed and I’ve a plan. I’m going to take mum’s car and drive to my new apartment on the other side of the city. I’ll be still close enough to work that way. Then I can clear my head and figure out if I’m going to move further away or out of the country.

I’m not even going to bother to say goodbye to my parents. I bet they won’t even notice I’m gone.

When You Are Alone At Home

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I hated being all by myself at home. It was too quiet and there never seemed to be anything to do. Most people would like that, I guess. They’d see it as a chance to do those odd jobs or hobbies or watch TV which they couldn’t do when parents and kids were around. Yes, I could do all that, but I didn’t feel in the mood for any of it.

Maybe it was the lack of motivation? The pressure that I must do something! I had the space, the time, the chances, so yes, I must do some kind of activity which I couldn’t do other wise.

Nothing was coming to my mind though. I listened to the ticking of the kitchen clock, the dripping of the rain outside and the cat purring around my legs. I put the TV on, but only for background noise and just to hear voices so I wouldn’t be lonely.

I wondered if this was how it was when you got old and housebound. Would I just watch TV all day and doze? Would I reflect on my past and wonder what the rest of my future would be like?

I hope I’d lived a good past.

The cat jumped up and snuggled into my lap. We’re not friends, but with my parents gone for a few days, she was attention seeking. I petted her and listened to her purring more loudly.

I’ve have to get a cat when I was old and stuck inside. It would have to be a nice cat though. One who’d sit in my lap all the time and not be so wild. An indoor cat. Maybe, one of those with a really long coat and bright blue eyes. I hope I’ll be able to brush it though….

I channel flicked, but didn’t find anything worth watching. A nagging voice in my head told me to do something. ANYTHING!

Picking the cat up, I placed her on the floor. Disgruntled, she looked at me then trotted off. I went into the kitchen, though I was hungry and began looking around. Finally, I decided to do some baking.

I wasn’t that good to be honest, but at least it would kill time until the evening. Then there’d be soaps on and quiz shows and murder mystery dramas. I could get snacks and chill out, maybe the cat would come to me again?

I pulled one of my favourite cooking books off the shelf and flipped through it. What could I make? Something simple, easy and tasty. Cake? Cupcakes? Yes, that would do…chocolate cupcakes!

I set to work and found my mind better now it had something to focus on.

Horizon #writephoto

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The horizon didn’t look like anything Peaches had imagined it to be. She had thought it was going to bright and colourful, like in the old photos and film reals she had seen, instead though it was a dull blue-grey.

‘Not the promises I was led to believe,’ she muttered.

She lent her too thin body forward and rested her chin on her knees. Her arms were tightly wrapped behind her knees, keeping the long wool skirt in place and stopping the strong breeze from getting in.

Around her all the children and some of the adults from the Church Of The Redeemed Evangelists were splashing in the salty water or playing in the sand or exploring the rocks and caves. Cries of delight but also screams of pain could be heard amongst the babble of voices.

Peaches ignored them all, feeling tried and empty of the hope she had been holding in for so long.

‘What’s wrong with you?’ a sharp female voice asked.

With only moving her eyes, Peaches looked up and realised she wasn’t the one being addressed. Before her was a small woman, wearing the clothes of a Senior Sister; a long black dress which completely covered her body and a black head dress with a grey trim. Next to her was a small girl with blonde hair in a blue wool dress who was crying and rubbing her face.

‘My eyes hurt!’ the girl cried.

‘I knew this trip to the surface world would bring nothing but troubles,’ the Senior Sister spoke loudly, ‘and what have you learnt out here? Nothing. It would have been better to remain in the Temple. Come along, child. We shall wash your face.’

Peaches watched the Senior Sister taking the girl’s hand and leading her away to the little camp set up in a sheltered spot. There were two other Sisters sat there and from their clothes Peaches could tell they were Mothers, the highest of the female order.

‘I don’t want that to be my fate,’ Peaches whispered.

She looked at the horizon again, it still seemed bleak. However, there could only be freedom on the other side.

Peaches cast a long look around then slowly got up. She made as if she was just walking along the rough sand. Finally, though she was out of sight and trying to figure out how she could reach her horizon.

 

 

(Inspired by a prompt from; https://scvincent.com/2017/03/09/thursday-photo-prompt-horizon-writephoto. With thanks).

The King’s Skull

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By the time the goblet was handed down to Wisdom, the legend that the sliver helmeted skull was that of an forgotten ancient King killed in an unknown battle, had long been lost.

Wisdom placed the goblet on to his bookcase, not knowing what else to do with it. Staring at the empty eye sockets, he decided the skull was too real looking and he turned the goblet around.

Feeling a little better, he sit down at his desk and loaded a fantasy war game up on to his PC. For some reason though, his eyes kept drifting to the goblet and he couldn’t concentrate on his game.

There was something creepy about the goblet he decided and he didn’t want it in his bedroom. Getting up, he picked the goblet off the shelf and took it downstairs. He went into the dinning room and placed it in the glass corner case. The helmet wearing skull goblet looked out of place beside a small crystal rabbit and a hand painted porcelain box.

Wisdom went back upstairs and sat down at his desk again. He felt a lot better now. He got back to his game and forgot all about the goblet.

 

(Inspired by; https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/sunday-photo-fiction-january-15th-2017/)

Creature

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Jack knew he shouldn’t go further into the cave, but he was angry and didn’t care. Sand and shells crunched under his hiking boots and water dripped steadily. The light beam from the torch showed him how narrow the walls were getting. He hitched up his rucksack and heard it scrapping the wall.

He stopped and saw his breath misting before him. It was colder then he thought then. He shone the torch around, but there was nothing unusual about the cave. It looked just looked like the back of any cave on any beach. Jack turned back the way he had come. He couldn’t see the cave entrance, but he knew it was there.

They’re all outside having a good laugh at me now, he thought, whatever. Sod them.

He slipped his rucksack off and sat down on it. He tapped the torch about in his hands then turned it off. Darkness settled around him and he breathed in deeply. He shut his eyes and just listened to the distant sound of the sea. He also thought he heard the crackle of the fire and gusty blow of the wind.

The sound of soft footsteps moving towards him grew within the background of dripping water.

Great. I can’t even get a bit of space!

Jack thought about turning the torch on, but then decided against it. Let whoever it was find him in the dark. They liked playing games anyway didn’t they? His so called friends…

The footsteps came into focus and Jack knew something was wrong with them. It didn’t sound like boots or bare feet coming towards him. It sounded more like paws…

‘Hello?’ he shouted and flicked on the torch.

The light chased the shadows away and showed Jack nothing but the damp walls.

‘Quit messin’ and leave me alone! Jerks!’ he yelled.

He turned off the torch again and sat breathing heavily in the darkness.

The sound of paws picked up again and were followed by a low growl. The hair on the back of his neck stood up and Jack turned the torch slowly. Carefully, he guided the beam around.

Something moved against the wall to his left. He flashed the torch over and the light reflected two large grey glowing orbs.

He swore and scrambled to his feet. He tried to hold the torch steady to see more, but he couldn’t.

The growling came again. Fur brushed against the wall. The paws picked up speed.

He dodged to the side and ran. The light beam bouncing everywhere. He burst from the cave, kicking up sand as he arrived. He spun around and shone the light back into the entrance. Was it still following him?

His friends were scrambling around, he could see that out of the corner of his version. They were asking him what was wrong. But he couldn’t reply. He had no words to describe the creature he had just seen.

 

Story prompt from: https://scvincent.com/2016/10/27/thursday-photo-prompt-creature-writephoto/ with thanks.

Haunted Pumpkin

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Charlie arrived breathlessly home from school and went to head up to his room.

‘Charlie?’ his mum called from the kitchen.

His foot touched the bottom of the staircase and he almost broke into another run.

The kitchen door squeaked open and his mum appeared in the hallway. She was dressed in her office clothes; a black pencil skirt, white blouse and black jacket.

‘Are you okay?’

He nodded, not trusting himself to speak.

‘Come in the kitchen. I’ll get you a drink,’ she suggested.

Charlie looked longingly up the stairs and almost told her no. It was best just to get it over and done with though. Slowly, he followed her into the kitchen and sat down at the table.

There was a bright orange pumpkin opposite him. It was mostly round, but a bit bumpy. He reached a finger out and poked the soft flesh.

‘Here you go,’ his mum spoke and put a glass of milk before him.

Charlie picked it up, his eyes still drawn to the pumpkin.

‘How was school?’

‘Okay…Can I go now?’ Charlie said in a low voice.

His mum sighed, ‘I suppose. Dinner will be soon.’

Charlie nodded, took a sip of his milk and went upstairs with it. There in his bedroom, he turned his TV and game console on. He loaded his fantasy game and began playing.

‘Charlie!’ his mum called a few minutes.

He rolled his eyes and tutted.

‘I need to nip out. I forgot something. Do you want to come?’

‘No!’ he yelled back.

‘I’ll be back soon then.’

‘Fine!’ Charlie called back then under his breath, ‘I just want to be left alone.’

He heard the front door close and turned his focus back to his game. A boss battle was coming up. He charged head into the fantasy game, forgetting everything else. Until a loud thumping sound came from the kitchen.

Charlie paused, shrugged and carried on playing.

The sound came again as if someone was knocking on the back door.

Charlie finally paused the game and got up. Growling, he went downstairs and into the kitchen. There was no one at the back door, but the pumpkin had gone from the table. Puzzled, he looked around for it and saw a flash of orange on the floor. He looked under the table and saw the pumpkin there against the wall.

‘What the….?’

He reached out for it. Changed his mind and went back upstairs with a shake of his head. The pumpkin had just rolled off. It hadn’t looked stable anyway. Charlie rushed back upstairs and to his game. Settling down again, he carried on playing.

He just about heard his mum come home and start tea. Later on, She had to call him down for it three times, before he give in and went.

‘What were you doing up there?’ she asked, as he sat down.

‘Playing my game…’ Charlie answered.

‘Did you do your homework?’

‘It’s half term. I got time now,’ he responded.

He ate quickly and before his mum could say anything further, Charlie had gone upstairs again. Loading his game, he fall back into completing his mission to find a magic sword. Sometime later, he heard his dad come home then his parents coming to say good night to him.

Charlie pretended to go to bed, but really he waited till he was sure his parents had fallen sleep and got up again. He went to turn on his TV when a he heard something moving downstairs. He stopped and listened. It sounded like a heavy ball rolling down the hallway.

Frowning, Charlie crept to his door and looked out. The hallway was dark and he couldn’t see. He walked out. Turned on the light and tried to listen for the sound again. He couldn’t hear anything. He made to turn back into his room, but then there was a creak. He went to the edge of the stairs looked down.

The pumpkin was in the hallway.

Frowning and wondering how it got there, Charlie went downstairs. The pumpkin was in the middle of the hallway, on it’s side. He touched it with his barefoot but it didn’t move. Shrugging, he went back upstairs, turning off the light and shutting the door. Charlie went to his TV again and turned it on.

He reached for the button on his game console. A dull thump, stopped his hand. Charlie looked over his shoulder.

‘What’s going on?’ he muttered, ‘Whatever.’

He pressed the button and settled down. As the game loaded, he heard what sounded like someone walking up the stairs. Only it sounded more hollow and with large gaps in between each step. Charlie ignored it and started playing his game. He was in the middle of another quest now.

He heard the loose board on the landing creak.

Charlie stopped his game and turned off the TV. He scrambled into his bed and pulled the duvet over his head. He quieten his breathing and stilled himself. He listened hard. It was just his mum or dad getting up to go the bathroom or something.

There was a knock at his door.

Charlie faked sleep as best as he could.

His door opened, but instead of footsteps the carpet, something very heavy rolled across his floor.

Frowning, under the duvet, he wondered what was going on. He almost pulled the bedding down to see, but nervous had gotten to him. He held his breath and waited.

Something knocked into his bed and he felt vibrations through him.

Taking a deep breath, Charlie threw the duvet back and clicked on the lamp. He looked down and saw the pumpkin at the foot of his bed. A crude mouth and two eyes had been craved in the surface out of which yellow light was coming out. The pumpkin was grinning evil up at him.

A scream ripped out of Charlie’s mouth and echoing in his ears. He tried to get out of the bed, but the bedding was tangled around him. He fell to the floor and the pumpkin rolled towards him. Charlie screamed again and scuttled across the floor to the door. He reached it at the same time his mum appeared in the doorway.

He grabbed her legs and pressed his face against her. He felt her arms around him then heard her scream as she saw the pumpkin.

She pulled Charlie to his feet and they ran into her bedroom. Slamming the door, they both looked at Charlie’s dad getting out of the bed.

‘What is it?’ he asked.

‘The pumpkin….did you do that?’ Charlie’s mother gasped.

‘What?’

‘The pumpkin had a face on it and it was next to Charlie’s bed.’

‘It came into my room by itself!’ Charlie cried.

‘Don’t be silly!’ his dad snapped.

Pushing past them, his dad opened the door and looked out. They looked too and they all saw the pumpkin sat in the hallway. Light from it’s eyes and mouth pooling on the floor and casting an eerie glow around it.

‘Charlie, did you do that?’ his dad asked.

Charlie shook his head and backed away.

‘Why would he?’ his mum shot in, ‘he’s been in his room all day.’

‘Right, well someone’s having a laugh aren’t they?’ his dad said.

He went out into the hallway, picked the pumpkin up and they heard him carry it downstairs.

‘Honestly, Charlie, did you do that?’ his mum asked.

‘No. Why would I?’ Charlie shouted.

Shaking off the last of his fear, he went back to his room and closed his door softly. Charlie turned the TV back on, but before he sat down to play his game again, he went to the window. His bedroom looked over the side of the house. He couldn’t see anything out there other then the glow of a streetlamp and the side of the neighboring house. He went back to his game and after a few moments heard his dad come back in and to bed.

He heard the hush voices of his parents, but couldn’t make their words out. No doubt they were talking about him though. Ignoring all of that, he started to play his game again. However, he couldn’t help but think about what had just happened. Who had done that to the pumpkin and why? It had seemed so real, but of course it couldn’t have been….

Soon tiredness crept on him and Charlie went to bed. Just as he was falling asleep though, he heard something moving in the downstairs hallway. Pulling a face, he listened and tried to decided what that was. Then he heard something rolling up the stairs…

He clutched the duvet then throwing it back, he got out of bed and rushed to his desk. Grabbing his chair, he dragged it to his bedroom door and wedged the top of the chair under the door knob. He stepped back just as something heavy banged into his door. Charlie looked around his room, wondering what else he could do. But there was nothing here that would help.

The bang came against his door again and carried on.

He wanted to scream, but couldn’t.

Then the banging stopped.

He waited for what felt like an age, but was only a few minutes. He took the chair away and opened his door. He turned the hallway light on and saw it was empty. Then he noticed his parents bedroom door was open.

His mum’s scream ripped through the house and Charlie bolted over.

He turned on the light as he entered and his feet stumbled to a stop.

The pumpkin was on the bed eating his dad’ head. There was blood everywhere and his mum was fleeing into a corner. Charlie looked around and spotted a pair of small scissors on top of a cupboard. He grabbed them, charged in and stabbed the pumpkin with them.

The pumpkin turned to him, blood dripping from sharp fang teeth which tried to bite his fingers.

Charlie stabbed down again and again.

The pumpkin tried to move out of the way, but Charlie was faster. He stuck the scissors deep in, grabbed the pumpkin and threw it to the floor.

The pumpkin smashed and the yellow light went out.

Charlie looked at the mess, trying to catch his breath. Behind him, he heard his mum scrambling around on the bed. She was speaking, but he couldn’t hear her. Then her words sunk in and Charlie reached for a mobile phone and called an ambulance.

Ghost House

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The house stood alone at the end of the street and I stood before it, just taking it in. It was a small home, a two up two down as those types of houses were known. Once and I’d have not have noticed this if I hadn’t looked it up, the house had been an end terrace place and built for the local cotton mill workers. Now, it was standing alone, surrounded by a wire fence hung with signs that said danger, keep out.

The front garden was overgrown and looked like a meadow. Totally, strange in the middle of this town were even a large patch of grass was sacred. This estate was almost through being done up and most of the houses had been demolished and rebuilt. but this one, stood alone, looking highly unwelcoming and yet begging someone to go in and discovery why it had been left out.

I looked closer and saw the front door was slightly a jar as if someone had just nipped back in. The door number, letter box, bell and knocker had been taken off as if the resident was desperate to be left alone. The four windows – two close by the door and two above them were not board up, though at one time they had been. The glass was broken in one of the downstairs’ windows and half broken in the top one opposite. The rest of the house was in shadows and as it was quickly becoming night, the house looked even more dark.

I unzipped my large fleece coat and withdrew my camera. Carefully, looking around, I saw no one about and heard nothing other then the wind and a dog barking. I turned the camera on and saw a ghostly like reflection of my face before pointing it towards the house. I took some photos, one after the other, not really bothering to be artistic. This wasn’t that kind of photo shoot.

With another quick glance around, I walked off the street and down the side. My shoulder and rucksack brushed against the wire and made a zinging sound. I side stepped a little, but didn’t want to loose my footing in the other grown grass. Halfway past, I stopped and took some more photos then carried on.

The back of the house was in worse state then the front. The garden was too overgrown and was pushing hard against the fence. I looked for a way in and found nothing. Letting my camera rest against my neck, I dug out my small torch and wire cutters. Timing the clips with the dog barking, I chopped my way into the fence.

Squeezing through, I felt myself sinking into wet earth. Moving fast, I came to stand in the back garden on more solid ground. Looking up in the dim light, I could see that the back looked the same as the front; a door and four windows. These windows though were board up and so was the back door.

Pulling a face, I put my things away and took a few photos. I looked at the small screen, but saw nothing of interested yet. Of course, I was torn between hoping to see the ghost and hoping not. I believed in all that un-dead stuff, but this place and it’s story was something I couldn’t get my head around. That’s why I had to see it for myself and experience it too.

Slowly, I walked down the other side and towards the front door. Once there, I give the door a shove and slipped in. I stepped away from the crack of streetlight bleeding in and turned on my torch. The hallway was bare, but covered with rubbish. Teenagers had been using this house to hang out in. There were tins of food, cans of drink, cig ends and was that a needle?

Shuddering, I shook it off and tried not to think about what could have happened recently in this house. I took some photos, finding comfort in the weight of my camera. I shuffled down the hall and into the first room. My torch picked out a broken sofa before a fireplace. There was a collection of ashes and rubbish spilling from the grate. I circled the room, taking only a few photos.

Then I left and crossed into the next. My torch picked out the corpses of books and newspapers. There were beer tins and food wrappers. Two chairs sat facing each other on either side of a low table, which was covered with burn marks and wax. I took photos of it all. More then just teenagers skipping school and hiding from their parents had been hanging out here.

I stepped back into the hallway and froze. Something was moving above me. I looked then shone my torch on the buckling staircase. The noise was shuffling; bare feet on wooden boards trying to go unnoticed. I felt a lump in my throat and a twisting knot in my stomach. Was someone alive in the house beside from me?

Unable to bring myself to call out, I walked upstairs. Gently, I went through the two bedrooms and the bathroom. The rooms had all but been ripped out. I found some fitted shelves still in place in the front bedroom and a broken book in the middle of the room. The second bedroom was in worse state with graffiti on the walls and burn marks on the floor. And the bathroom….everything had been taken out, even the wall tiles.

There was no one up here.

I checked for an attic hatch, thinking that maybe someone could’ve gone up there, but I didn’t spot one. I went back to the second bedroom and found a good spot to sit on the floor. It was in one of the corners, so at least I had my back to something. It was pitch black though and I switched out my torch for the camping lantern I had brought with me.

The crying came as a little soft, hushed sound. It was childlike and almost trying to go undetected. In the silence of the house I heard it too loudly. The hairs stood up on my arms and back of my neck. I rose my camera and began taking photos. The crying grow and changed into a wail. Now it sounded like a old woman in pain and distress.

I stayed still, watching and waiting, sometimes taking photos. A few times I suddenly remembered to breath and dragged in freezing lungfuls of air. I felt a pain in my chest and legs, then the wailing switched to crying and screaming. The noise echoed all around me and I couldn’t pin it down. The floor and wall vibrated, causing the urge to flee to kick in.

I held out and took more photos, not caring how they looked, just desperate to capture the thing making all the noise. Finally, I found my voice and yelled out, ‘I know what they did to you Dorothea! I want to help you, come to me!’

My words faded, mingling with the screams. I licked my lips and spoke again, ‘your family disowned you and left you here to rot. You cursed them! But the curse also trapped you!’

Something flickered at the doorway. A shadow? A shape of light? Frantically, I snapped photos one handed whilst the fingers of my other hand scrapped across the floor. My whole body was shaking, I just wanted to get out and run far away.

‘Dorothea! Show yourself to me!’ I screamed.

There! A figure in the doorway for sure! I clicked the camera button hard so many times I thought my finger might break. For all I know it could have done because my body had now frozen solid to the floor. I felt myself losing conciseness. I wrestled against it and tried to move. I couldn’t though, my limbs felt too heavy and brain was going into overdrive. You won’t run from the danger, so you’ll black out from it!

I screamed, trying to get myself out and awake my body up, but it was too late. I felt my eyes closing and my back slumming. Right before I lost it though, I saw her; Dorothea, the gypsy witch, standing over me.

When I came too the house was silent. My body ached all over. I got up, un-sticking myself from my camera and the wall. Pins and needles ran down my arms and legs, my feet felt so cramped I didn’t think I could ever walk on them again. Somehow, though I found I was able to stand and begin moving like a crippled dog.

I made it out of the house and back on to the street. There in the growing dawn light, I used the last of my camera battery to view the photos. It was the last handful I become interested in. Was that the corner of a dress in the doorway? The outline of fingers? A face appearing out of the gloom?

It was too hard to tell, but perhaps….perhaps there was something there…..

The Yearly Drawing

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Roisin sat alone in a darkened room with only the flicking of candle light for company. Arranging her long and many skirts around the stool before settling at the low table, she shut her eyes, drew in a deep breath and prepared herself. Gently tugging back the purple velvet cloth she had draped around her like a shawl, she picked up the card box in her left hand.

The black liqueur box felt cold and smooth in her net gloved hand. It weighed heavily in her palm and she thought about this feeling. The box seemed to hold fate inside of it and mysterious that only the universe knew. That’s where all the weight come from secretly. With her right hand, Roisin slide the lid off and looked inside.

A very faded, but once bright red colored patterned card back met her eyes. The design was flowing, plant leaf like and had an Italian air to it. She touched the white board, which was yellowed with a hundred or so years of age and many fingers. Slowly, she lifted all the large cards out and put the box to one side.

Even though the cards weighted less, they felt more heavier in her hand. Roisin looked at them then held them out as she asked the invisible fingers of fate to touch them. She shut her eyes again and pictured shadows reaching out from the corners towards her. Upon opening her eyes nothing had changed and she was still alone in the room.

Pressing the cards together in her hands, she thought about what she wanted to ask. She felt a slight tingling in her fingers then began to shuffle the cards. For a few moments, she imaged herself in Ireland, deep in all that green and legendary land. The sound of the sea maybe or the wind in the trees. She was there with other people who were waiting in the shadows. They were farmers, maybe, village folk and they feared her yet were fascinated by her.

The image faded and Roisin came back too. She was sat in her bedroom again. The black out curtains on the window, the candles flicking against the walls and the silence pressing down on her. She looked at the cards and realised the shuffling had stopped. Placing them down, she drew the top three and lay then side by side.

Her fingers strayed towards the set aside deck and for a moment she thought about drawing more and making a cross. The reading would be more in depth, but not any clearer. Deciding, she didn’t want to be sat puzzling over the messages, Roisin removed her hand and touched her finger tips to the first card.

She flipped it over, the nine of cups; the wish card. One of her wishes or hopes had come true recently. Happiness and love was her’s and there was good luck in her daily work.

The next was the three of wands; presently she should be experiencing more success and financial matters were better. She should be proud of her work and perhaps a new job was coming up. Life and love was looking fine as long as she was being treated as an equal. If not it was time to move on and if she single, she needed to allow more time.

The last one. She turned it and pressed it down on the table. strength; remember to stay focused and keep things in check. Spend quiet time being reflect and keep a straight head. Work should be going well, there is room to move up or around though and finally find your true worth. If she was in love it was going well and if not now was a good time to find someone.

Roisin rested her hands on the table. She didn’t need to ask the deck anything else. She slipped off the make-shirt shawl and gathered the cards back together. She put them back in the liqueur box then from under the table took out a plastic box. Ignoring the papers and other stuff inside, she put the tarot cards away.

She got up, her thoughts still reflecting on the reading. She blew the candles out and lifting the blinds, let the dull autumn afternoon back inside. Her bedroom lost all of the sinister atmosphere and became a bright space once more.

She packed everything away and got changed into normal clothes again.

The reading had been good. Yet, she felt drawn to find out more. There was always a turn. The cards promised so much and yet fate loved snatching it away. She sat down on her bed next to the box which she couldn’t put away until the candles had gone back in. Roisin looked at the black tarot box through the wavy plastic lid.

They called to her in away she couldn’t described. She could heard them whispering to come out again. Other people needed to hear their fates and she had to be the one to tell them. Her family line was of tellers, so it was her destiny. But she couldn’t do it. Never had she been able to bring herself to embrace it and become one with this ancient magic.

Roisin couldn’t keep away and that was why on Halloween every year, she opened herself up to it to give her some peace. One day though, she knew it would consume like every female member in her family. She would leave like her mother, grandmother and aunts, going wherever the string of fate lead her, telling those who would listen the messages she had for them.

There would be no coming back from that.