Cat Life

Black and White Cat in a Tree

In the mornings, he would sit in the tree and watch the village. At lunchtime he would come down, visit three houses for lunch then curl up somewhere warm and quiet for the afternoon. In the evenings, he strolled around till late then mewed at doors till someone let him in.

 

(Story inspired from: https://first50.wordpress.com)

 

 

Secrets

secret

Who knew what was locked away in the tower? Everyday life carried on as normal and no one give the crumbling structure a thought. It stood alone in the middle of the forest. Raising up over the top of the green pine trees and looking across at the village.

Maybe the tower had once been a part of a fort or a castle? A building now lost to time and the nature. Perhaps it had always been a watch tower, built to keep the village on the edge of the forest safe and warn them of coming danger?

Whatever it’s original purpose had been the tower was long abandoned now. And it would have slipped from history if not for a single story that involved it. Two brothers traveling across the country discovered the tower and made inquires about it.

‘Why do you wish to know?’ the oldest member of the village asked them.

‘It is so unusual out there by itself,’ the first brother answered.

‘We were think it might have a good story connected to it for the book we are writing,’ the second brother replied.

The old woman looked them up and down in the firelight of her wooden shack. They were young men; handsome and strong, yet tried from their travels.

‘Here, have some broth and I shall tell you the story I know of the tower,’ the old woman answered.

Gratefully, the brothers accepted the warm bowls of broth and settled down to listen to the old woman’s tale.

‘It was a long, long time ago and the king had just had a baby daughter. There was a big celebration as the kingdom now had an heir. The next day his wife died and an old hag, claiming to be a witch came to the king and demand his daughter. She showed him a contract his wife had signed in which the queen had brought a spell to make her pregnant.’

“By rights,” the witch said, “The child is mine!”

‘The king fought hard, but that night the witch kidnapped the baby and fled to the tower. Everyone searched high and low, but they could not find the old hag or the baby. Heartbroken the king died and his kingdom fell into war then ruin.’

‘And the child?’ the first brother interrupted.

‘Was locked in the tower,’ the old woman stated, ‘the witch raised her there and taught her how to spin and make things. Later, the lost Princess learnt about herself from books. She begged the witch to release her and the witch told her that could only happen when the Princess’ true love came to rescue her.’

‘And did he?’ the second brother asked.

‘No. Of course he did not!’ the old woman snapped, ‘they say to this day the Princess’ bones are still resting on the floor of the tower. The door magically locked so no one can get in.’

The brothers fell silent and finished their broth. They thanked the old woman and left. As they headed out of the village the first brother turned to the second, ‘I want that story,’ he declared, ‘but I’m going to change the ending.’

 

Inspired by: https://scvincent.com/2016/11/10/thursday-photo-prompt-secrets-writephoto/ with thanks.

Moonlit

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The full white moon hung in the ink black sky looking down upon the still village. Anyone walking past or through would believe the buildings to be abandoned. There were wooden boards nailed at windows and doors. Crosses, often makeshift ones, hung about and the air smelt strangely sweet.

Plant pots of blooming purple flowers were close to every door as well as mistletoe. Small green trees, turning gold by the autumn season, were also growing very close to the sides of the houses as well as in the surrounding fields. It was easy to see that the only thing this village planted was rye. The gold grain grew tall in the fields and looked almost ready for harvesting. Also, if anyone choice to walk around the edges of the village, they would find the river had been made to circle around the fields. So, it seemed the villagers had decided to become islanders.

But why?

Anybody who even made it out to the remote village in the valley would wonder what the reasoning behind it all was. However, the chances of finding a coachman and a team were impossible tonight. Anyone who had been a foot was now safe behind barred doors with their fires and candles almost out.

As the midnight hour arrived, a lone wolf howl echoed off the mountains.

 

Story inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2016/10/13/thursday-photo-prompt-moonlit-writephoto/ With thanks.

Witchy

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When the witch left her house she only had one thing on her mind. Taking her broom up as high as she could, she flew by the full moon and the dark stormy clouds. Below her, everything looked tiny and unreal as if the trees and village were only models. However, she knew the people asleep in those houses and she hurried to land in the middle of the village square.

There beside the well, she cast the village under a curse for all time. Hating them for their cruelness against her and their unwelcome nature. She wove the spell into the water of the well, so that it would spread farther. Then taking to her broom once more, she dragged the spell through the midnight sky so that everything would be covered.

Broken

Brown Shell Egg and Silver Hand Whisk

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.

I’m broken.

Xenophobic

Finance, World, Accounting

Xenophobic: ‘A person who is fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or of people from different countries or cultures.’ From thefreedictionary.com.

The girl making his coffee in the retirement village cafe wasn’t the normal one. Henry stopped suddenly and felt someone bump into the back of him. An angry snappy voice sounded in his ears, but he never heard what they said. He couldn’t take his eyes off the girl behind the counter. Her skin was dark, as dark as the night, he thought and her black purple hair was all twisted together in many braids finished off with plastic pony beads.

Someone, probably the man behind him, brushed hard passed Henry and up to the collection counter. He heard a low muttering and the other woman behind the counter taking the next order. He felt the urge to get out, but he still couldn’t take his eyes off the foreign girl. She turned and he saw her bright white eyes with a dark brown center staring at him. She was saying something, but he could not hear her.

She placed his cup of tea down and moved it across to him. Henry looked down at it, chewing his tongue with his remaining teeth.

‘Did I put too much milk in it?’ the girl asked with no trace of an accent.

‘I didn’t save this country for the likes of you,’ Henry growled.

The girl froze and Henry was aware that everyone else seemed to as well.

The girl opened her mouth and shut it again, her face crumpled like paper, but then she seemed to hold on and uncreased her expression.

‘I’m very grateful though,’ she muttered.

‘I don’t care,’ Henry snorted.

He turned and left, trying not to hobble so much. Behind him voices started whispering, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying. It didn’t matter, he didn’t care.

 

The Arcana Of Dreams (Part 1)

‘You don’t want that one, Child.’

I looked up from the open book in my hands, annoyed at being interrupted and called a child.

Mr Mole, the book shop’s owner, was standing at the end of the bookcase, a pile of books in his hands and leaning back to look at me. His black framed thick glasses were balanced on the edge of his nose. His face was heavy lined with brown wrinkles, yet his pale blue eye sparkled with youth. His white hair was thin and wispy, failing to hide his bald liver spotted head. He was wearing an old blue shirt, sleeves rolled up and light brown creased trousers.

I shot him a disgruntled look and turned another page, ‘Why not?’ I asked.

‘It’ll give you indigestion. It’s not a nice read for a young girl like you.’

‘Please,’ I snorted and turned around.

I saw him shrug and walk off to the next bookcase row, where I heard him beginning to slot away a book or two. My eyes twitched across to glance at him, but all I could see was the bookcase’s edges. Positioning my finger in the current page, I swept some dust of my long, red and black chequered high school skirt. I then rubbed down the undersides sleeves of my deep red blazer before loosening the matching tie. I also threw my double plated bronze hair over my shoulder. Then, ignoring everything once again, I got back into reading The Trial Of The Pendle Witches.

‘Are you actually looking for anything?’

I glanced up as Mole reappeared.

‘No. Thanks.’

‘You sure?’

I snapped the small dirty grey book close and fixed him a hard look.

Mole smiled sweetly back and waited. I got the odd sense that he knew…somehow, he knew why I was here.

I slotted the book back and looked at the next few along. There were all about different witch trails from all over the world. My fingers reached out to take the Salem one down, but then I saw Mole shake his head. I withdrew and walked right up to him. He still had six books in his out stretched hands.

‘Your secret is safe with me and the books, Child,’ he whispered.

I took a deep breath and touched the small gold cross at my throat. The action was more out of habit then anything religious. It felt warm against my fingers, I pulled out the matching chain it dangled from and began playing with it.

‘No advice, I promise,’ he added.

‘I’ve been having these strange dreams,’ I muttered, ‘and wondered if I could find a book about them.’

Mole cocked a wild hairy eyebrow then looked at the witch trail books and back to me.

‘About witches?’ he asked.

I nodded, ‘and other things.’

He hummed and looked thoughtfully around the cluttered bookshop. The place was a messy labyrinth of old floor to ceiling dusty oak bookcases, short tables, large leather winged chairs and books of all shapes, sizes, years, languages and stories. I breathed in the soft mouldy dankness, loving the smell as it reminded me of the village church only on a heavier level.

‘I think I might have something,’ Mole spoke, ‘follow me.’

A smile flicked on my face and I dropped my chain as I fell into step behind him. We weaved through the bookcases and furniture like mice in a cornfield. Deeper and deeper we seemed to go, until at last Mole stopped. He set the books down on a small rickety table that looked like it was about to collapse.

‘I don’t recognise this section,’ I whispered and glanced at the gloomy corner.

‘It’s a bit out of the way, I know. But it’s the right place for these books,’ Mole responded.

I looked round, my eyes trying to read the titles, but unable to focus in the dim light. The books were undisturbed like a forgotten crypt. Their spines were all hard backed and some were missing their dust jackets or else were made of leather or velvet.

‘This one. It’s heavy,’ Mole’s voice called.

‘What are these books about?’ I asked.

‘Old magic, spells, palm reading, tarot cards, demonology etc and this…The Arcana Of Dreams.’

I looked at what Mole was holding out to me. It was a large, thick, dark purple velvet covered book. Curling gold letters stated what Mole had just spoken. The pages underneath looked creamy and dusty. I reached out and took the book from him. He’d not lied about the weight!

‘I’ll have to loan it to you,’ Mole said, ‘it’s far too…’

‘Expensive?’ I gasped.

‘Collectable,’ he said instead.

‘How much?’

He muttered a price which I barely caught, but my mind spun with it.

‘All right. How many days for how much?’ I asked.

Mole shook his head at our usual arrangement and replied, ‘keep it till you are sleeping soundly again.’

I looked at the book and nodded, ‘thanks,’ before I turned to leave. I pressed the book to my chest, expecting any moment to feel Mole’s gnarled but steady hand squeezing my shoulder. I made it to the front door and turned around. Weak autumn sunlight was trying to look through the grimy windows, though the towers of books were doing a good job at stopping it.

‘Goodbye, Mr. Mole. Thanks!’ I shouted.

‘Good day, Child!’ his voice rushed back to me from the bowels of the shop.

I grabbed the door and walked out into the clean fresh country air. I walked down the cobble street, passed the other seemly small shops that made up the centre of the village. Then the single road and pavement began to rise. I clutched the book tighter and dug my toes more downwards as the hill became steep. Cottages lined both sides, looking like children’s play blocks with their multi-colours and simple structures. At the top and passed a few more houses, was large gap at the hill’s peak before another rise up to the small church.

I walked along the cemetery fence, glancing at the moss or vine covered headstones. The church gates came and went. I turned, walked around the back of the church and up a small cobble track which a small car could just fit down. At the bottom of Church Lane, half hidden by a weeping willow and an ancient oak tree, stood the white thatched vicarage.

I opened the white gate, walked up the crazy paving path on either side of which lay empty flower beds marked out on the short lawn. Stepping on the flat dark grey slab step, I tucked the book under my arm and swung my black rucksack off. I dug out my keys from the front pocket and let myself in.

A warm breeze touched my face then vanished into the cold evening. I walked in, shutting the door behind me. The flower wallpapered hallway was short and taking up by a grandmother clock and the wooden panelled staircase. Listening, I heard the distant voices of my adopted parents coming from the kitchen followed by the smells of cooking. I climbed the narrow stairs and went down the hallway, past two other doors, to my bedroom at the end.

I shut my door and took my rucksack off, dropping it to the floor beside my desk. My bedroom was small and spotless. It looked more like a guest’s room then a sixteen year old girl’s. The four walls were covered in dark white wallpaper with blue forgot me not flowers. A small white window, with matching curtains was opposite me, halfway over the wooden bed. Then a large oak wardrobe and dressing table took up all the space on the right wall. My bed stand table, desk and bookcase were on the left wall, claiming almost all the space there too.

I pulled my shoes off, closely followed by blazer and tie which I abandoned on my made up bed.  Sitting on the wooden tall back, leather seated chair at my desk, I pushed back my laptop and the text books over. I placed The Arcana Of Dreams down in that space. I grabbed my back and pulled out a half-drunken bottle of water. I took a few sips then place it to the side.

I opened the book’s front page then flipped to the actual start. There wasn’t a content page, but the introduction gave clear instructs on how to use the book. Everything was in alphabetical order and I just need to look up the word I wanted to know more about. Witches. I started turning towards the back and was almost there when I got the call to come and eat. Sighing, I closed the book and went downstairs.

Four doors led off the hallway – the living room, dining room, kitchen and Adam’s study. I walked into the dining room and found him and Jane already at the table. I took the empty chair next to Jane’s and looked at the homemade stew before me.

‘Let’s say grace,’ Adam’s too quiet voice said.

I put my hands together and spoke the words alongside them. After we started eating and talking about our individual days. I was mostly silent and focused on eating, though I did glance up at their faces whilst they were talking. Adam’s face was pale and soft, he had large light blue eyes and very blonde hair. He was wearing a black shirt, buttoned all the way and his white vicar’s collar.

Jane was petite, with brunet hair tied up in bun and just a touch of make up to her face to hide the growing wrinkles. Her eyes were green, her cheeks slightly too rounded and her nose too small. She was wearing a baby pink silk blouse and had a Christian charm bracelet on her left wrist.

‘Did you go to the bookshop today?’ Jane asked me close to the end of the meal.

I nodded, mopping up the gravy with some crusty bread.

‘And how is old Mr. Mole doing?’ Adam chimed in.

‘Good,’ I responded.

Jane frowned a little and it seemed she was debating how to phrase her next words, ‘I’m still not sure I like you visiting him so often…Doesn’t the school library have all the books you need?’

I opened my mouth, but Adam bet me to it, ‘I’m sure it does, Jane. Abigail and Mr. Mole are just good friends and there’s nothing wrong with keeping an eye on your friends. It’s like the sermon I give a few weeks back…’

I droned out his voice and drifted into my own thoughts as he began quoting his sermon and parts of the bible.

It was much later and my bedtime when I returned to the book. I tucked it under my pillow before Jane and Adam came into say goodnight to me. Finally, alone, I pulled it out and flipped to the ‘W’ section. My eyes skipped down the page then stopped at the word;

‘Witches represent destruction and evil, either through seeing them physically or objects that are connected with them,’ I read aloud in a whispery voice, ‘Witches are also linked to negative ideas about females and the body. This could have been brought on by recent events connected with these matters. It is often centred on bad experiences with a heartless woman who is or will become a danger to you.’

I stopped, my breathing quickening, yet my mind couldn’t come up with anybody or event I could link to the words. I looked down and read the next passage, ‘Alternatively, a white or good witch has the opposite effect and they are seen as a symbol of goodness, power and enchantment. They can appear to protect you and/or offer guidance through their magic.’

Maybe that’s it? Though the witches always seem so dark to me.

I yawed, tiredness hitting me. I rubbed my face then decided to give into it. Muttering that I’d look up everything else tomorrow, I rested back on the pillows and went to put the book safely on the floor. However, sleep had stolen me before I could and the book stayed hugged in my hands.

To Be Continued…