Coming In From The Storm (Part 2)

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Cole looked out of the grimy window and debated what to do. It was hard to tell when the house had been abandoned and when or if the owners would come back. Maybe, they had just left for the winter? He could imagine an old couple doing that. Being on the moors right now wasn’t good.

The sleet was turning to snow outside and night was arriving. Cole could hear the wind howling around, growing stronger like an angry beast. He could half believe that there might have been some huge creature roaming around and making all that noise. He was too tried and cold though to really care.

‘It would be our deaths to go back out there now,’ Cole spoke.

He moved away and patted the pony. Eve hadn’t moved much but that might have been because of the furniture in the way.

Cole made a large space in a corner for her. moving chairs and tables together against the other wall. There was a fireplace opposite with wood and coal still stacked beside as if the owners had been readying themselves for winter.

It was easy enough to light the fire and also more candles and lamps that were dotted around the room. Cole felt more at ease in the warm and light. He took off his clothes, left them to dry and put on another shirt and trousers from his bag.

He took a few sips of water and nibbled on the food so it was just enough to get rid of his hungry but save enough for later. Cole then give Eve a handful of oats then went into the kitchen to find something to put water in for her.

The kitchen was full of things and he found a deep bowl which he then took outside to pump water into. The back door opened easily and icy wind wrapped around him. Cole spotted the hand pump and spent sometime getting it to work At last water poured out and he was able to fill the bowl.

Cole took it back to Eve and left her drinking as he got warm again by the fire.

‘What happened to the family here?’ Cole spoke, ‘people don’t just leave everything behind. Something must have happened.’

Eve snorted and shook her mane.

‘Maybe they got sick and had to leave? Maybe the son didn’t want the farm….perhaps they had none? I hope there’s nothing bad here. I should check…’

Taking up his hunting knife again, Cole left the room and returned to the kitchen. He searched around looking for clues. There were some dried herbs which were beyond recognition, some things in jars which seemed inedible and bottles of maybe beer or wine? Cole didn’t want to risk any of that.

He found more firewood, coal, cooking tools, rusting knives, a bread oven full of soot and some other useless stuff. Cole opened other cupboards and found a few small, empty glass bottles. He took them as they might be useful. There were also more candles, a rabbit’s foot on a sliver chain, a few coins and new bar of soap which was wrapped in wax paper.

Cole took these things back and packed them away. He made sure Eve was good then he went into the last room on the ground floor. It was a snugger room and had two chairs before a fireplace and a few tables holding things.

Cole took a large woollen blanket and two cushions to help make a bed in the next room. There were a few books but there was no point in trying to sell them. People didn’t read much around here. There was also a family Bible which Cole knew would have some value. He opened the cover and looked to see if anybody had written inside it. There was nothing.

Once again, he took his finds back to the first room and showed Eve. He checked the fire and added some more wood. The room was warm and the freezing night outside couldn’t get in. It was snowing heavily now, Cole could see it when he held a lamp to the window. He watched for a few minutes that made his way upstairs.

Clutching a lamp and his knife, he was careful where he stepped. There was no point in being quiet as he and Eve would have been heard by now. At the top of the stairs, there were three half open doors.

Cole peered into each one, checking there wasn’t anything dead or alive in the rooms. After confirming this, he did a deeper look into the rooms. The first, held a double wooden bed, made up as if someone was about to sleep in it. There was more woollen blankets, which he took and more candles too. There was another book but it fell apart when Cole touched it.

He also found a few piles of clothes and looked through them, picking out a few items that seemed like they would fit him.

‘I’m not stealing,’ Cole muttered, ‘I’m taking what I need. God led me here, so it’s fine.’

In the next room were two small beds and few children’s items. Cole took a sliver rattle and an bone teething ring. In the last room, were forgotten animal skins that had been once left to dry. They were mostly sheep fleeces, deer and cow skins which as Cole touched them felt dirty and smelt mouldy.

Cole wrinkled his nose and was about to turn away when something caught his eye. It was the grey, black and white fur of a massive dire wolf skin. Cole pulled it out and was shocked to see he was holding a whole dire wolf in his hands.

He set the lamp and knife down then placed the head of the dire wolf on to his own. It was too big and slipped down. Cole pulled the front paws around him, crossing them over and felt the fur wrap around him like a cloak. The back legs and tail hung down passed the back his knees. He felt the heaviness and a sense of protection inside the fur.

‘This will keep me warm,’ Cole spoke and took the dire wolf skin.

Back down beside the fire, Cole showed Eve his find.. The pony moved away, perhaps still scenting the smell of dire wolf. Cole set the skin aside and made himself a bed for the night.

He could hear the wind picking up and the snow hitting the window. A storm was starting up and he was glad they had found shelter. Cole lay down, dozing in the heat from the fire and listening to the noises outside.

He was almost asleep when a distant animal howling jerked him awake.

To Be Continued….

 

 

 

Coming In From The Storm (Part 1)

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The moors were a hard mistress and Cole was regretting travelling at this bleak time of year. The ground was hard with a week’s worth of frost. The small puddles and streams had an ice cover. The sky was a dull grey and sleet was falling. A freezing North wind blew hard, scratching the empty landscape.

Cole paused for a break and wonder what he was going to do. He didn’t have much of a choice. He had everything he owned with him including, a wild pony, named Eve, he had tamed that would take no other master. The clothes he wore, the sliver chain and cross that had been his mother’s which despite Cole’s hardship he couldn’t bear to part with.

In his knapsack was spare clothes. A cloth securing a little hard cheese, bread, dried meat. There was water in a deer skin water bag. A large hunting knife and a smaller cutting knife. Carried over Cole’s other shoulder was a large axe which he used for his trade.

His pony was carrying another bag in which was; a wheatstone, tinderbox, a lamp, candles, a small bible, a bedroll and blankets, wire traps, a leather pouch containing a handful of coins – payment from his last job. A bag of oats for the pony, some rope, a glass bottle which contained a lotion for cuts, bandages and a small wooden carved figure of the Virgin Mary.

There was no shelter on the moors and Cole knew the sleet would turn to snow as a freezing night arrived. He looked at the sky and guessed he had only an hour or two before that happened.

‘I regret leaving that farm,’ Cole muttered as he patted the pony’s rough tan coat.

Leading his friend on, Cole reflected that he should have tried harder to stay with the farmer’s family. The barn hadn’t been that warm but at least it had been dry and out of the snow. He hadn’t minded sharing with the cows, sheep and plough horses, he was use to such living.

On the farm, there had been little work to do but Cole had been useful at chopping down trees for firewood. Cleaning out the animals, setting traps for wild creatures, gathering berries, mushrooms and whatever else he could find in the little woods which the farm edged.

Things had been going well then out of the blue the farmer had accused Cole of trying it lead his eldest daughter astray. She was promised to another and though Cole had liked the way the weak sunlight shone in her red hair and pleasantness of her soft face, Cole knew better and kept his distance.

The farmer though would hear no excuses, he couldn’t have strange young men lusting after any of his five daughters. He give Cole a handful of coins and sent him away.

With nowhere else to go but try and find another farm or village to stay in, Cole was trekking across a narrow road. He didn’t know where he was or where he was heading. He just had to hope that God guided him to a safe place.

The sleet came down heavier and Cole tried to wrap his jacket tighter around himself. He was already wet and cold. His pony was fairing better, she had been born and raised on this moor and was use to the weather.

Cole felt his numb feet begin to dip and noticed that the path was going down a hill and at the bottom were some kind of buildings grouped close by.

‘Another farm! Look Eve!’ Cole cried.

Feeling excited he urged himself and the pony on wards. The tiredness and coldness and that had been aching Cole’s bones was forgotten. They picked up the pace and soon passed a tumbled down stone wall on the other side of which was a rotting sheep shelter.

‘There’s no smoke coming with the chimney,’ Cole pointed out.

They passed another of the buildings, a small barn it seemed to be. The roof had fallen in and frost was crawling along the sticking out beams. Some twisting metal was sticking out of a hole, rust claiming it.

Cole felt his excitement and heart falling. Still though he tried to hold on to some hope. Ignoring the rest of the barns and shelters, Cole went to the farm house and knocked on the door. No answer came.

Peering into a dirty window, Cole’s instinct was confirmed. There was no one living in this house.

‘We have no choice,’ Cole spoke.

He withdrew his hunting knife and used it to force the door open. Lighting a candle and placing it into his lamp, Cole led his pony into the hallway of the house.

Going into the first room, Cole left Eve and came back to shut the front door. Then he went from room to room to make sure they were alone. The house was full of dust but with furniture and belongings still in place as if the owners suddenly fled.

To Be Continued…

(Inspired by; https://promptuarium.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/suddenly-fled/ with thanks).

Cross Grid #100WW

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He was close. He stood on the small around about, car horns beeping at him as the drivers zoomed over the stone cobble roads. He held up the phone and watched as on the screen came the image of everything around him. Then a hit; The Arc de Triomphe.

He smiled, of course it would make sense that the Geocache would be there! He waited till, he could cross the road enough then hurried over. A few moments later, he found the plastic box tugged into a corner.

It was another off his list.

(Inspired by; https://bikurgurl.com/2018/11/14/100-word-wednesday-week-97/ with thanks).

Foreboding #ThreeLineTales

three line tales week 104: an abandoned house in the Arctic circle

The abandoned farm house stood on the hill under the starry sky. At first glance it seemed like a welcoming place for a weary traveler but on the second look it really wasn’t. The house creaked and groaned with the trapped souls of the dead.

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/01/25/three-line-tales-week-104/ with thanks).

Gone

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One moment she was there, the next she wasn’t.

Bus

There was just something about traveling on a bus that Daisy enjoyed, but she had never been able to pin down the actual reasons. Though, more than often the cons did outweigh the pros of public transport. Standing at the bus stop with her guide dog, Micah, Daisy’s mind wondered into thinking about those reasons why she disliked buses. Carefully, she counted them on her fingers and tried not to say them out loud, as was her normal habit.

Number one, you have to figure out which bus you want to your destination.

Number two, it’s guaranteed you always have to wait for a bus to show up.

Number three, most of the time the bus arrives later then stated.

Number four, buses like to show up in twos or threes.

Number five, making sure you have the correct amount of money in the right coins.

Daisy paused and tapped two of her fingertips to her lips as she thought. She came up with three more reasons and added them to the list. With a sigh, she petted Micah and leant against a low brick wall that boarded one of the houses that over looked the street. The main road before her was busy with a mix of traffic, but there didn’t seem to be a bus in sight. She repeated those last three to herself, whilst fiddling with the strap of her large shoulder bag.

Number six, bus drivers hide their moods and emotions well.  

Number seven, it feels like you only have a few seconds to choose a seat and sit down.

Number eight, sometimes you get bruises and your knees hurt.

Out of the corner of her one good eye, Daisy saw the distinct red colour of the bus. She went to the curb and kept her eyes focused on the bus number panel, which from that distance she could not figure out what it said. Becoming unsure, she stuck her arm out and watched the bus began to slow down. The numbers took shape before her and it was the bus she wanted. Could she get two more reasons and make it to ten before the bus stopped? She wondered.

Number nine, you never want to give up the seat next to you, but you end up doing so.  

Number ten, there’s always someone talking very loudly on a mobile phone or else someone playing music which you’d rather not listen too.  

The bus pulled up before her and Daisy moved back to avoid being hit by the wing mirror. The doors hissed open and she encouraged Micah to guide her on. She showed her pass to the bus driver and just about made out his slow nods. They walked down the small passageway and to the wheel chair and baby pram space, were there were fold out chairs along the wall. The seats behind the area were free, so Daisy sat there and let Micah sprawl out in the wheel chair space.

Rearranging herself as the bus eased off, Daisy backtracked and decided to come up with ten reasons why she liked traveling on the bus. For a few moments, she wasn’t sure where to begin, but as she got use to her surrounds she started a new count on her fingers.

Number one, traveling via bus can let you to get to places easier and faster.

Number two, you can do things which if you were walking or driving you couldn’t do.

Number three, listening into conversations happening around you.

She smiled at that last one and decided that was probably one of her favourite reasons. She had always loved listening to people talking. There was just something about the rise and fall of voices. It made her feel like she wasn’t alone. She felt Micah pressing his head into her lap and she scrubbed his ears. His soft, pleasant groaning and sighing made Daisy giggled. He also caused her to almost say out loud what her fourth reason was, but she caught herself just in time.

‘It probably won’t matter anyway,’ she said instead in a low voice.

Micah’s tail thumped on the floor a few times and Daisy rubbed his head harder. The chocolate Labrador was a slush and loved any sign of affection, even from strangers. Daisy fell back to her thoughts and came up with the next four pro reasons.

Number four, you can meet interesting people.  

Number five, the bus can cut through traffic more easily the majority of the time.

Number six, cheap. Well, when you take other transport into the count.  

Number seven, it can make traveling to new places more fun.

She stopped, feeling like the last two were not true enough reasons to make the list. She was running out of ideas though. The bell rang and Daisy looked out of the window and tried to figure out where they were. A few moments later, she realised the bus had only gone half a mile or so up the road from the stop she had gotten on. There was still awhile to go till the stop she wanted. Plenty of time to come up with the last three notions.

She pulled a few faces and had a deep think about what else she liked about buses. Micah seemed to be dozing off, but he was still being on the alert. Noticing that made Daisy suggest the next one;

Number eight, you can doze and light sleep on a bus.

‘I’m not too sure about that one. It doesn’t sound like a good idea to me,’ she muttered.

‘Are you alright, dear?’ an elderly woman’s voice came from a seat across from her.

‘Yes. Erm, sorry. I was thinking out aloud,’ Daisy replied turning her head to see the woman.

From what she could make out, she guessed that the old woman was over seventy and that she had a shopping bag trolley next to her. Her hair was white and she had on a big coat, also she was still staring. Daisy smiled at her and turned to Micah, who had on hearing her speak opened his eyes and looked about. She patted his head and told him he was a good dog. He licked her hand and wagged his tail.

Settling back, she looked out of the window and tried to keep a look out for the shapes of the buildings around the stop she wanted. Whilst, she was doing that the last to pros popped into her head.

Number nine, you can watch the world going by.

Number ten, other passengers are very considerate.

That’ll do. Maybe in the future I’ll come up some better ones.

Daisy then let her thoughts scatter on to other things until her stop finally arrived and Micah guided her off the bus.