He made toys for his children who he had never known.
(Inspired by; https://lindaghill.com/2019/08/07/one-liner-wednesday-the-good-ol-days/ with thanks).
He made toys for his children who he had never known.
(Inspired by; https://lindaghill.com/2019/08/07/one-liner-wednesday-the-good-ol-days/ with thanks).
As a child, Mary’s favourite toys had been a china faced doll and a wooden spinning top. Her brothers had also received the spinning tops that same Christmas and they had hours of fun racing against it each other.
Spinning tops were out of fashion, children were all about technology and complicated toys now.
When the school children arrived at the museum, Mary showed them and let them play with replica toys which they seemed to really enjoy. So perhaps, there was still life left for spinning tops after all?
(Inspired by; https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2019/05/25/weekend-writing-prompt-107-spin/ with thanks).
In the old days, Santa’s elves worked in pretty wooden sheds but now they worked in metal walled factories. The world’s population of children had become too much for the simpler times and with improvements in technology, the choice had been made to allow production to be faster, better and tripled.
Santa walking around the large conveyor belts and machinery on inspection missed the old days. Before the smell of candy canes, fires, newly sawed wood and paint hung in the air. Now it was all oil, smoke, warm plastic and metallic tang.
‘Are you happy elves?’ Santa asked them.
‘Yes, sir!’ cheery voices shouted, ‘we’re not stressed or tried anymore. There’s more time for creating, planning and double checking now.’
Santa nodded, he believed them but he also knew that in their hearts, just like his, they did missing the wooden workshops. Moving with the times had to be done though.
(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/crimsons-creative-challenge-5/ with thanks).
Brian had time to kill before his job interview, so he went into the toy shop next door, thinking he’d get some ideas for his kids Christmas presents.
The shelves were packed with classic toys and games, the latest must haves and reproductions of vintage toys, some of which pre-dated him but nothing drew his interested.
A whistle come from above his head, Brian looked up and saw a miniature steam train, puffing real smoke, click clacking on a metal track, that’s it, he thought, I’m going to buy them that this year.
(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/11/08/three-line-tales-week-145/ with thanks).
May stopped in her daughter’s bedroom doorway and asked, “why are you breaking all your dolls?’
Jenny looked up at her mum from the Barbie she was dismantling on the floor, ‘because, this is what I want to do to the bullies.’
(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/09/18/twittering-tales-102-broken-barbies-18-september-2018/ with thanks).
It was time. Elisabeth knew she had to do it, but she just didn’t know if she’d find the strength. Standing just inside the nursery room, she looked around and took in all the bright and pretty toys. There were so many things!
In pride of place was the dappled rocking horse with all his red leather tack. The doll’s house took up the left far corner, under the curtained window. The red bricked front tightly shut away, but inside was wonderful collection of fully fitted rooms for the china dolls to roam through.
There were soft toys and wooden toys gathered about. Books on a small bookshelf and other child size furniture; a desk, a chair, a sofa. A tea set all laid out on a circle table and dolls seated at the chairs as if they were really about to take tea. Everything was ready to be played with and you could almost hear the voices and laughter of children on the air.
Elisabeth sigh and thought about what should have been. She dropped her head and turned from the room. Her dark blue dress rustling about her. Her eyes caught those of the elderly housekeeper, who was waiting with dust sheets and the ring of house keys.
‘My Lady,’ the housekeeper spoke, ‘it will be open again before you know it.’
Elisabeth held her head high, trying not to show any of her grief. She swept passed the woman and went along the corridor and up the next flight of stairs to her room. Once there and with the door locked behind her, Elisabeth sank onto the bed and crumpled a child’s nightdress into her lap.
Tears began falling, thick and fast. Elisabeth buried her face into the nightdress and cried until exhausted, she lay down in bed and fell asleep.
(Inspired by: https://scvincent.com/2017/04/27/thursday-photo-prompt-child-writephoto/ with thanks)
We always knew when my brother was coming. Everyone knew. My mother would hurry around the house, removing everything that wasn’t nailed down and locking it in her bedroom. She would put the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs and make sure the back door and windows were all locked.
I hide in my bedroom, playing Xbox 360 games and listening to music till it was over. Then she would call me downstairs and we would stand in the living room, waiting. Looking out of the window at the neighboring houses, I noticed their drawn curtains and how quiet the street had become. So usual for a Saturday afternoon, but it was like this every other weekend.
The sound of a mini bus engine broke the stillness and I saw flashes of white from the other side of the hedge. My mother walked out of the room and to the front door, long skirts swishing around her. I stayed put tightening and un-tightening my fists, wondering what was going to happen during this visit.
The door opened and voices came from the hallway. I turned, sighing deeply as footsteps approached then my brother appeared in the doorway. He looked the same as always, a tall, thin mid-twenties man, with too short blond hair and bright blue eyes. He looked too pale, like he was ill, but really he just needed more sunlight. He was wearing black jog pants and a plain blue t-shirt and black jacket. He smile at me, made a gurgling noise then inspected the living room.
My mother and a male carer from the disability home appeared. They sat on the sofa and fell into the normal conversation about how my brother had been. I watched them for a few moments then decided I should go and put the kettle on. I went into the kitchen, aware that my brother was trailing behind me.
I ignored him and went about making everyone a cup of tea. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my brother opening cupboards and searching through them.
‘No. Peter. Stop,’ I said firmly.
I closed the cupboard he was in and took his hand. He made some moaning sounds as I dragged him back to the living room. Pushing him through the door, I went back into the kitchen again. He shouted something and followed me again. I crossed my arms and watched him opening and closing another cupboard door.
Putting the drinks on a tray, I took them into the living room and placed them on a table. With thanks, my mother and the carer took mugs and carried on talking. I sat down in the armchair next to the window and faked interested outside. I just wanted this to be over already, but there was still two hours to go.
‘He took part in art yesterday and he’ progressing well,’ the carer’s voice drifted over.
‘And has he been eating okay?’ my mother asked.
‘Not really, but he’s been better then other week. He’s been fussing less, but we are still finding it challenging.’
From the kitchen my brother let out a scream and the sound of water rushing out of the tap could be heard. My mother shot me a look, which I pretend not to see. She got up and brought my brother back into the room.
‘Drink your tea, Peter. Adam, made it just for you. It’s nice,’ my mother said.
She sat my brother down in the other chair and give him his tea. Even though it was far too hot to drink, he sipped it anyway. He made some happy giggling sound then in three or so gulps drink the whole thing.
‘Fastest ever tea drinker,’ the carer said.
My brother got up, handed the mug to him and wondered out of the room again.
‘Adam. Go and keep an eye on him,’ my mother demanded.
Groaning, I got up and started trailing my brother throughout the house. He went into the kitchen again and messed around in there before going to the dinning room. He scared the cat and chased her around, till she scratched him and I had to stop him from kicking her. Picking the cat up, I took her to my mother, then followed my brother upstairs.
He went into the bathroom and was using the toilet before I could give him some privacy. I pulled the door too and stood there rubbing my forehead. A headache was building already. I heard the toilet flush and the sink tap running. My brother made his happy noises then squealed.
I rushed in and turned the taps off. He’d burnt his hands again. I give him a towel which he just dropped on the floor. Ignoring me, he walked out and down the hallway. He went into his old bedroom and I followed him. I turned the light on and watched him looking at a few childhood things on the shelves.
My mind pinged with an idea and I opened the wardrobe. I pulled out a box and opened it. Inside was a train set. Sitting on the floor, I begin to take it out and set it up. My brother watched me for a few moments, then joined me. In silence, we made a track and played with the trains. Then my brother broke into loud laughter.
He smashed two of the trains together and laughed even more.
‘No. Don’t do that! Stop!’ I shouted.
A train whizzed past me. The sound echoing in my ear. I turned my head and saw the toy land in the doorway. I started turning back and the second train hit me in the face.
‘Peter! Bad!’ I yelled.
My brother just laughed.
Growling, I snatched up the train set and packed it away. Collecting the two train engines, I shoved them in last and put the box away. Then I walked out and into my own bedroom. I locked the door behind me and sat on my bed. I rubbed my face, which was stinging, but not cut.
Hands banged on my door and my brother began wailing. Trying to ignore him, I grabbed a pillow and wrapped it around my head. He started kicking my door and screaming.
My mother’s voice rang out then I heard her and the carer wrestling my brother away. They took him downstairs where I heard him throw a tantrum. It took them a long time to calm him, then I heard the front door open and the mini bus engine.
Soon my mother was knocking on my door. I just wanted her to go away, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I let her in and we sat on my bed. I told her what had happened and she put an arm around me. Offering me a little comfort.
‘You must try harder,’ she said.
I fought down my words. It was pointless arguing. She left and I stayed on my bed thinking about how easily I could have been born my brother and he could have been born me. Both of us are unlucky, but he has come off worse. I know I should be grateful for the life I’ve got, but I’d rather we’d not been born because for us living with autism is just too hard.
I felt the break deep within me. Only back then I didn’t really understand it. Now though, older and wiser, I’ve many things to liken it to. Take this egg for example. It’s whole but once suddenly dropped it breaks into pieces and reveals what’s inside. Granted the egg is not alive and can’t display nothing of what has happen to it. Imagine if that egg was a child though.
That was how I felt with Ocean died. We were whole, we were one, we were mirror images of each other. Ocean and Haven, Haven and Ocean, sea and harbour, together forever.
It’s twenty years ago today. We were eight years old and troublemakers, but in the nicest of ways. A storm had hit our seaside village. The wind and rain had been raging all day and I remember seeing and hearing the sea look so wild and scary. I don’t think I cried, but I made my fear plain enough. I recall Ocean saying she wouldn’t leave me as she put a comforting arm around me.
We shared a room that had two single beds in it, but that night we settled into one. I think it might have been mine. It didn’t matter anyway as both beds were either side of the window. Ocean and I had often shared a bed, seeking the comfort and warmth of each other.
I had to go the bathroom. I remember that so clearly. Getting out of the bed, I left Ocean sleeping, thinking I’d be back soon. There was a massive crash and the sound of glass breaking. Everything shook around me and I fall to the floor. Things were rattling and all I could hear was the storm roaring in my ears.
They said it had been a freak accident. The tree had fallen into the house and taken half of it down. They said it would have killed us both, but for the fact that the bathroom was on the other side of the hallway. I hardly remember it, but for the image of the house torn in two and the fact that the other back seat in the car next to me was empty.
I asked after her often, ‘where is Ocean, ma?’ ‘When is Ocean coming back, da?’ ‘I miss Ocean.’ Of course, I knew the child version of death, but to me Ocean had said we’d always be together and that surely meant she was going to come back. Didn’t it?
My new bedroom only had a one bed and actually thinking about it from then on there was only one of everything. For ages, my parents let me set out another place at the table, buy two teddies or dolls or toys and doubled the presents at Christmas.
The years passed and passed, but I’ve never felt the same since that night. It’s always seems like a piece of me is missing and no matter what I do I can’t find it.
The museum was silent as the last of the lights clicked off and the caretaker left. The old building, that had once been a grand country house settled to sleep. As the darkness spread and the full moon rose, the sound of small bare footsteps sounded across wooden boards in a hallway. Followed by a soft giggling then everything went still again.
In the large room which held the toy collection, things started to move. An old bear’s paw was gently dipped downwards, a book was half pulled out from a shelf and a tin fire engine moved in it’s glass case.
Two sets of children’s running footsteps sounded on the creaking boards then the worn rugs covering the middle of the room. A soft humming echoed then faded.
Inside the doll’s house, the small china dolls began to move as the ghost children began playing.
(Continued from Pink Slippers part 1).
Lying in his new bed, Kyran rubbed Bunny’s ear and sucked his thumb on the other hand. The house had been making some strange noises and he’d been scared. Now, though he was on the edge of falling to sleep. I soft crying caught his attention and he wonder if Baby Kat had woken up again. Listener harder, he realised it was Harriet Hippo and he could hear the voices of the others trying to calm her.
‘What’s it?’ he asked sleepy.
‘I’m missing baby hippo,’ Harriet answered.
Kyran looked at the ceiling, which was reflecting the multi-coloured fairy lights strung up over his bed and wondered if he had seen the baby hippo almost Kat’s toys. Pushing back the duvet and blankets, he picked up Harriet and Bunny and took them to his half-opened bedroom door.
Peering out, he saw and heard nothing. The night light in the hallway glowed and the bathroom light was shining through the open door. Kyran noted the baby gate across the stairs and his parent’s door being a jar. He tiptoed out, opened Kat’s door a little more and slipped inside.
Her room was dimly light by a lamp on the changing table next to him and another night light in the far corner. Quietly, Kyran walked around checking out the shelves and the still unpacked boxes.
‘She’s not in here,’ he whispered.
‘Check the crib,’ Bunny suggested.
Nodding, he walked forward and looked down at his sleeping sister.
‘Look!’ Harriet gasped.
He twisted his head and stared down at the back of the crib. There were three shapes sitting there. Kyran frowned and moved closer. He dropped Harriet into the crib and watched her rub noses with a smaller hippo. The two small teddy bears, who had been standing guard of the baby hippo, seemed happy to give up their duty. One baby to watch over was far easier.
‘Let’s go back to bed and leave them here,’ Bunny whispered.
Kyran nodded his agreement and walked back to his bedroom. Rubbing his eyes, he climbed back into bed and snuggled down again. Putting his thumb in his mouth, he sucked it and rubbed Bunny’s ear again.
‘Did you find her?’ Bearington’s whispering voice drifted up from the end of the bed.
‘Yes,’ Bunny answered, ‘they’ll stay with Baby Kat now.’
‘Good. Goodnight then.’
‘Bark!’ Sir Barks-Alot added.
‘Goodnight,’ Mr Snuffles murmured.
Kyran smiled and let sleep wrap around him. He dreamed he was back in the old house again, standing in the front garden with Harriet Hippo in his arms. The wind shook the trees and the house looked menacing. Harriet wriggled in his arms and he set her down on the floor.
‘We have to find my baby!’ Harriet cried and pointed towards the house.
Kyran bite his lip, the house looked scary and he really didn’t want to go inside.
‘Quickly!’ Harriet called and trotted over to the front door.
He followed her and pushed opened the door with a loud creak. Stepping into the hallway, he saw that the wall paper was coming away from the walls and the house was very dark. He heard Harriet sniffing around and something crunching under her large feet.
‘Upstairs,’ she muttered before beginning the climb up.
‘I can’t see,’ Kyran hissed back.
‘It doesn’t matter. You know the way.’
Screwing up his face in thought, Kyran decided she was right and followed her up the stairs. Around them the house groaned and made other unpleasant noises. The front door slammed and Kyran jumped. He glanced back at where it should have been, but couldn’t see anything. He froze, caught in the middle of the stairs, unable to go up or down.
‘Come along! We have to hurry!’ Harriet’s voice came out of the darkness.
‘No,’ Kyran sobbed, his bottom lips shaking and tears pricking his eyes, ‘the house doesn’t want us here. It’s angry we moved away!’
‘But we have to find her! We can’t leave her behind!’ Harriet shouted from the top of the stairs in the darkness.
Clutching the railing, Kyran lifted his foot up and climbed the rest of the steps. At the top, Harriet tugged on his pants and led him into his old bedroom. He felt around for the light switch on the wall, but wasn’t tall enough to reach it. Picking up Harriet, he let her click it on. The room was bathed in a dirty yellow light. His bed, Baby Kat’s cribbed and their wardrobe where still in place. Setting Harriet down again, he watched her run around the room searching for her baby and calling out. Kyran walked over the wardrobe and opened the door. A wooden box flew out, hitting his shoulder and causing him to cry out. Twisting around, he saw the box lid flip open and a pair of pink ballet shoes fly into the air on little pink wings.
‘Harriet! Look out,’ Kyran called.
He ducked as the ballet shoes swept passed him and tangled themselves around the hippo.
‘Get off her!’ he yelled and rushed forward, but the box moved and tripped him up.
Sprawled across the floor he cried loudly and yelled for his Mummy.
A white light came on above him and Kyran woke in a heap, tears wet on his face. He heard his bedroom door open and hurried footsteps coming over. He tried to see through the tears, but give up as he felt his Mummy’s arms wrap around him.
‘Hush. It’s okay. I got you. Did you have a bad dream?’ she asked.
Kyran nodded, ‘the box,’ he sobbed.
‘The box?’ his Mummy repeated, unsure she had heard him right.
‘In the wardrobe. I found it,’ Kyran answered in between short breaths.
He felt his Mummy frown as she pressed her head back to his, ‘It’s okay. It can’t hurt you. Go back to sleep now.’
‘It’s the shoes,’ he gasped and tightened his arms around her, ‘they don’t want us here and the old house don’t want us back.’
‘What are you talking about, Kyran? What shoes?’ his Mummy asked.
‘The pink shoes in the box,’ he replied, ‘in the wardrobe.’
He felt Mummy let him go and turn around. She got up and he wiped his face quickly. He watched her opened the wardrobe door and stare inside. She looked deeper, but it was dark inside and she couldn’t see very far. Kyran felt around for Bunny and after failing to find her, checked the floor and saw her leg sticking up. He got out of bed, picked her up and opened his top drawer.
Pulling out a torch, he brought it over to Mummy and give it her. Clicking it on, they both looked into the wardrobe. After a few moments, she walked in and checked the back corners. In the right one, she found a small wooden box. Picking it up, she brought it out and put it on the end of the bed, as Kyran sit opposite and began pulling the duvet back around himself.
‘Don’t open it,’ he called out as he saw his Mummy’s hands press down on the lid.
‘Alright,’ she said, ‘I’ll take it with me.’
Turning off the torch, she put it back in the draw and balanced the box on the top as she kissed and hugged him goodnight. She tucked him in then left. Kyran watched her pull the door slightly closed and listened to her footsteps going into the room next door. He sniffed and shuddered, felt for Bunny and hugged her tightly.
‘We should never have opened it,’ Bunny whispered in his ear.
Kyran heard a shuffling on the bed and rolled over as Bearington and Mr. Snuffles came to lay on the pillow beside him. He felt the duvet dip slightly above him and looked up to see Sir Barks-Alot watching him.
‘It doesn’t matter, it’s gone now,’ Bearington responded.
‘Do you think the shoes will get Mummy?’ Kyran questioned.
‘No, no. She’s a grown up. The shoes would never think of doing anything to her,’ Bunny answered, ‘go to sleep now. It’ll be better in the morning.’
Nodding his head, Kyran closed his eyes and tried to fall back to sleep. It took a long time for him to do so and in the morning, when Baby Kat started crying he didn’t get up as he usually did. He rolled over and went back to sleep, till his Daddy woke him for breakfast. He hardly talked as he got washed and dressed, but a soon as they were in the kitchen and he saw Mummy he rushed over to her.
‘Did the shoes get you? Where are they?’ he asked.
‘The shoes?’ his Daddy cut in.
‘They didn’t get me,’ his Mummy laughed, ‘and I put them away. There was a box in the back of his wardrobe and he had a nightmare about it,’ she explained to his Daddy.
‘I should have taken the box when we found it,’ his Daddy muttered shaking his head.
‘Did you look inside?’ Kyran pressed as he fisted the bottom of her t-shirt.
‘Yes,’ she answered.
Kyran gasped and felt like crying again.
‘But it’s okay. They were things just left by the last family that lived here. Maybe we could find them and give the box back?’ Mummy suggested.
Kyran pulled a face and hugged her. She rubbed his back then helped him on to the chair next to her. Daddy was busy getting things ready for breakfast and Kat was in her high chair, watching everything going on.
‘I won’t open the box again, if that’s what you want,’ Mummy spoke seriously.
‘Ok. What do you want for breakfast?’
Afterwards, Kyran went back to his bedroom to finish unpacking the rest of his toys and boxes. Humming to himself, he pulled things out of the boxes and found a new home of all of his things. His friends watched him from the bed, making suggestions about the placing of certain toys and books. Finally, everything was unpacked and he went to join them on his bed. Picking up Bunny he sat her in his lap and looked around his room.
‘The walls, floor and ceiling still need doing,’ Bunny pointed out.
‘You’ll have to pack everything away again,’ Bearington mused, ‘you wouldn’t want paint and wallpaper over anything. Can you imagine that?’
Kyran giggled, ‘I guess so.
‘What about the box and the shoes?’ Mr Snuffles required.
‘Don’t bring that up!’ Bunny snapped.
‘Mummy will keep them safe. She said she was going to try and give the box back to the family that where here before. We shouldn’t be scared,’ Kyran explained.
‘We are going to brave and grown up,’ Bunny declared.
Kyran nodded, ‘and the new house isn’t scary at all.’
And so it goes...
Random musings on life, society, and politics.
Reclaiming my inner badass at 50