Petrichor #atozchallenge

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Petrichor; the pleasant smell of the earth after rain. 

Everything smells better after it’s rained. There’s a cleanness in air which my ma said was God washing and cleansing everyone. I use to believe that without a doubt. Now though, I’m not sure. There’s so much I believed in as a child which has faded now I’m adult.

It’s strange how different things are after the rain. You notice the pools and reflections of things more. The sounds of splashing wheels and feet. The dripping of drops off things. I randomly remember a boy once telling me that the rain was actually a leak from Heaven’s showers.

I wondered for ages how that was possible and pictured angels having showers all together. Or God having a bath and all the water overflowing. Maybe that was the real reason behind a flood?

When you’re a child it’s easier to believe in these things. As an adult you are more logic and less imaginative. You know how rain is made and why it falls. The novelty of it has worn off too, like snow. I use to love snow! Now, it’s just a pain.

Even though, I know the truth behind things now, it doesn’t take the pleasure away from them. During the rainfall and afterwards, I open my window to let all the smells and sounds in. I sit on the ledge and take deep breaths till I feel calmer. I try to think of nothing at all, but sometimes like today, my mind wonders.

I look up at the sky, where the dark clouds roam and a few rain drops still linger. Are God and the angels up there right now having a bath and cleansing the poor below?

Rain on the Bus

Water Droplets on Clear Glass

The empty bus pulled smoothly to a stop and the doors opened. The bus driver peered out and watched the old lady getting on with the aid of the handrail.

‘Hello, Doreen!’ he said cheerfully as he recognised her, ‘terrible evening.’

‘Oh, no, Terry!’ Doreen cried with a little wave of her walking stick, ‘it’s quiet perfect!’

She pressed her pensioner’s bus pass to the ticket machine. There was a beep and some words flashed up.

‘For ducks maybe,’ Terry muttered with a glance out of his window.

The rain was coming down heavily and the wind was whipping up into a storm.

Terry closed the bus’s door to contain some heat. Then he waited for Doreen to shuffle off and sit down at the back, like she always did. Checking she was settled, he started up the bus and smoothly drove off.

Doreen smiled and watched the rain hitting the window next to her. She turned up her hearing aids and listen to the rain splashing and the wind howling. Under her, the bus’s engine rumbled away and waves of gentle heat brushed her.

She took off her big pink flowers decorated hat which she always wore on her rainy evening bus rides and set it to dry out next to her. Doreen placed her small red handbag flat next to it, then took off her bright pink rain mac. She was wearing a huge, fluffy green jumper that she had knitted herself.

Turning back to the window, Doreen relaxed into the ride.

There’s nothing, she thought, quite like a drive in the rain to make you fall asleep. 

Post It Note #32

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Spring seemed to have arrived but nobody had told Winter.

Sky Down

Body of Water in Middle of Mountain Under Cloudy Sky during Daytime

A few days after my twelfth birthday, the first clouds fell from the sky. At first everyone just thought it was snow. The stuff coming down was white and fluffy, so how could it be anything else? Plus, it was late in the night and it was too dark to see the truth.

By later afternoon though, people were beginning to wonder. This morning everyone had just got on, ‘the great British weather,’ ‘chins up everyone!’ ‘It’s only a little snow!’ but it wasn’t and it kept on falling.

I don’t know how the realisation that the clouds were actually falling was reached. I was at in school, trying hard to do maths – a subject I totally disliked- and the teacher had closed the blinds to stop everyone from being distracted. There was a knock on the door and Mr Monty shouted for them to come in.

It was a girl from the class year below us who had been picked to be the office messenger. Everybody got the chances to be messenger once and the day out of class. Though that sounds exciting it totally isn’t and most of the time you are just sat outside the teachers’ lounge room and the receptionist’s office staring at the pale peach walls. Today though, the girl looked out of breath and eager to spill her message.

‘School is being closed! Clouds are falling from the sky!’ she gushed.

Mr Monty looked from the blackboard to her, chalk covering his fingers and a large frown on his face.

‘What?’ he cried over the sudden din of children’s voices.

‘The headmistress said it. Everyone’s parents are coming to get them and we all have to go into the hall!’ she added then walked off in an important hurry.

Mr Monty sighed and left a maths’ question abandoned on the board. Everyone grabbed their things and legged it to the hall. Voices were everywhere, shouting and calling out demanding to know what was going on for real as how could clouds be falling?

Going into the hall, I went to the windows and joined lots of children there. The playground was covered in white fluffy stuff that looked like snow but really wasn’t. Above in the pale blue sky a handful of clouds did hang but as we stood there, one of the clouds began to fall.

It came straight out of the sky and landed silently on top of the other clouds. The jagged shape of it stuck out for a few moments then settled down with the others.

‘It’s not possible!’ a teacher was muttering, ‘how can this even happen?’

‘Children! Attention!’ the headmistress called.

Unhappily, we turned away from the windows to look at her.

‘The school is closing. Your parents are on their ways to collect you and until then we will all stay here. I’m sure this is nothing to worry about but for safety reasons we have to send you all home.’

Some of the kids broke into cheers and others looked upset. I just turned back to the window and looked outside, wondering if my birthday wish had actually come true.

 

(Inspired by a writing prompt at; https://thewriteedgewritingworkshop.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/writing-prompts-for-monday-february-20-2017/ with thanks.)

The Dying Light (Part 4)

lantern, light, rustic

Nathaniel braced himself for going outside. He could hear the wind and the rain knocking against the lighthouse door.

‘We’ll need the lantern again,’ Tom’s voice called from behind him.

Nathaniel glanced over his shoulder as the old station master lit the candle and closed the lantern’s door.

‘I won’t need to take my case. Just a few things,’ Nathaniel announced.

Opening his case on the floor, because there was nowhere else to search through it, Nathaniel dug out a large cross, a bible and a small bottle of Holy Water. Pausing he debated what else to take. He had never done this before, he was not that kind of religious man and he was more use to standing before the congregation and leading them in hymens and prayers.

‘You ready now, Father?’ Tom’s voice spoke out.

Nathaniel nodded and closed his case. Then he followed Tom to the door and they both stepped out into the bad weather. The wind blew hard around them, making sounds like a crying person as it swept around the marsh. Rain hit and blinded them, making the walk down the rock steps difficult. The candle flame in the lantern flickered and Tom had to hold the side with the broken panel close to him to stop the light from going out.

Slowly they arrived at the edge of the low bridge and Nathaniel blinked away the rain in his eyes. He could hardly see though and he thought for a few moments he could hear the very distant sea pounding on the rocky shore. The light from the lighthouse flashed by and for a few seconds, Nathaniel thought it was lightening and the sound he had mistaken for the sea had actually been thunder. Then though he looked up and saw the lighthouse beam turning slowly around.

‘Here is good,’ Nathaniel said trying to be bold.

‘I thought you might want to go more in the middle!’ Tom shouted over the wind, ‘closer to where the boy died.’

‘And where did he-?’ Nathaniel cried then the words were snatched from his mouth by a gust of wind.

‘No one knows for sure, but further out,’ Tom concluded after the wind finished whipping them.

Gritting his teeth, Nathaniel walked on, feeling the bridge under his feet and clutching the cross, bible and bottle to his chest. After a few paces he stopped again.

‘This is good enough! Bring the light here!’ he called out.

Tom moved closer till their shoulders were touching and they could huddle over the bible and lantern together.

‘What was the boy’s name?’ Nathaniel asked.

‘Paul, I believe!’ Tom shouted.

‘Paul? To the spirit of Paul, if you are out here, we do not mean you any harm, we wish to help you. Come towards us,’ Nathaniel began, ‘your sister has been worried about you for so many years, but now it’s time you went towards the light and up into Heaven. Your family is awaiting for you there. You will not have to be lonely or lost ever again.

Nathaniel paused for breath and felt Tom shivering violent beside him. A worrying thought entered Nathaniel’s mind; he did not two deaths in his hands tonight. Swallowing water that tasted salty, he held out the cross and hoped he was doing this right.

‘Paul come towards us now! Let us help you cross over! Go into the light, rise up to the Holy Father and Mother. I release you from this Earth and into their hands. Go now and be at peace!’

Giving the cross a little wave, Nathaniel then tucked it back in the crook of his arm and palmed the bottle of Holy water. Carefully he unscrewed the lid and let a few drops fall out before closing the bottle again. The wind snatched the Holy water drops away and mingled them with the rain. Whatever power they might have had seemed lost but Nathaniel hung on to his faith.

‘I bless this place!’ Nathaniel screamed into the wind, ‘I release all the spirits that have lingered! Go into Heaven! Go and be at peace! Go!’

The wind howled and pushed hard against them as more rain flooding down on them. Tom lost his footing and waved his arms around to try and keep his balance. The lantern light waved and flickered around. Nathaniel grabbed and held on to him, struggling to juggle the things in his hands too.

Somehow, they steadied each other and the light candle survived. Pushing Tom ahead of him, they made their way back to the rock steps. Behind him, Nathaniel swore he could hear people crying but it must have been the wind. Feeling their way up the rocks, like tried and injured sailors, they reached the lighthouse door.

Tom opened the door and they tumbled in, slamming the door shut and fighting the wind as they locked it. Tom set the lantern and himself down on the first step. Nathaniel slumped against the door and they both caught their breaths back.

‘Is it done?’ Tom finally asked.

‘I did my best,’ Nathaniel answered, ‘though with the storm it was hard to tell anything.’

Tom nodded, ‘best go up and tell her.’

Collecting the lantern again, Tom started climbing the stairs.

Nathaniel opened his case and placed the now wet cross, bible and bottle inside. Closing it again, he picked up the worn handle and trailed after Tom upstairs. Water dripped off them and back down the steps. In the quietness of the lighthouse they could both hear the storm now raging outside.

They reached Mrs. Fitz and found her comfortable in bed still.

‘It’s done,’ Nathaniel said coming to her side and sitting down.

The dying woman didn’t reply.

Nathaniel took her hand which she had just slipped back under the blanket. He patted the warm skin and began praying, whispering the words softly with a bowed head.

Tom moved to the other side of the bed, the handle of the lantern tightly clutched in both his hands. The candle flame still glowing behind the glass.

Nathaniel finished his prayer and just as he was about to start another, Mrs Fitz’s fading voice uttered, ‘thank you, Father.’

‘Your welcome. Sleep now,’ Nathaniel whispered back then he took up the Lord’s Prayer.

The storm carried on through the night, seemingly attacking the lighthouse but the building had stood for hundreds of years and was well use to taking on bad weather. As dawn finally broke, grey and watery, the wind quieted down and the rain turned back into a light drizzle.

Nathaniel finished his final prayer and looked up at Mrs Fitz’s face. She was gone.

Tom, having placed the lantern down hours ago when the candle had finally melted and go out, drew up a blanket and lay it over her face.

Nathaniel took in a few deep breaths and moved his stiff body. He stood up slowly, feeling weighed down by numb limbs.

‘Thank you, father,’ Tom whispered, ‘I know she will be fine now.’

‘Of course. She is at peace,’ Nathaniel said.

‘I shall walk you back to the station and signal a train to stop for you,’ Tom spoke out.

‘Thank you,’ Nathaniel replied as he collected his case, ‘might I go to the top of the lighthouse first?’

Tom glanced up then with a single nod turned towards the stairs. They went up and on the fourth floor was another bedroom this time with a double bed and dust growing thickly across everything. They went up again and Tom opened a heavy metal door and stepped out.

Nathaniel followed, feeling cold and wet air sweeping passed him. The huge light of the lighthouse which had now gone out dominated the roof floor. A rusty railing ran around the edge stopping anyone from falling off. Nathaniel went to over and looked out. Far in the distance, he thought he could make out the sea but all around him was the marsh. A stillness had settled over the tall grasses and stagnate water pools now, bring a calmness that seemed heavenly.

Nathaniel took a few deep breaths then thought he heard the sound of playful children laughing somewhere below him in the marshlands.

The End

Postcard #29

black-and-white, boat, mountains

 

My Dearest Darling,

It’s stormy weather again, I’m afraid. Seems every time I decide to come home it happens! Of course, this is the only communication I can find. God damn this island! I hope this note reaches you. I’ve sent my best bird with it. I would suggest waiting until it’s calm to send him back. My research into the new plants isn’t going well. The weather doesn’t help, but it seems the animals here have a liking for the flowers too!

To be honest I’m thinking of cutting this project short and returning to you. I miss you too much to be a part for any longer. Even in the name of Science! As soon as this storm clears up I shall return to you. Perhaps it’s about time I let this hobby go for it’s causing us nothing but trouble!

All the best, Your One And Only.

Objects (Part 3)

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I couldn’t see anything, the snow was so blinding. The wind and waves echoed loudly in my ears blocking all other sounds out. I backed up into the house and wrestled the door shut. I lent against it, breathing heavily and I could feel the door shaking behind me. There was no way I could go out in that, let alone drive it! Britain wasn’t well known for it’s snowstorms, but it seemed one had hit now.

My feet knocked against the stack of papers and books. Looking down, I decided to put them all back on the desk. Dividing them up made it easier and soon everything was back again. I pulled out the chair then decided to open the curtains. That way I could see when the storm stopped. I pulled the curtains apart and they easily opened as if they were use to it.

I could see nothing outside as the window was blanketed by snow. A loud whistling came from the wind leaking through the wooden frames and house creaked. I pulled out the chair and sat down, it was cold but comfy enough. I looked at the paper pile and decided I needed a warm drink before I picked up the first book.

I went back into the kitchen, washed out and filled the kettle. I switched it on then began looking for some coffee, but the only thing I could find were tea bags. I put one of them in the mug and whilst waiting for the water to boil, looked through the cupboards. There were a few other mugs, two plates, a bowl and a handful of cutlery. Then in a top cupboard I found a large metal tin.

Pulling it out and hoping it wasn’t locked, I tried the lid. It opened and inside were army rations. There was soup, hard biscuits and packets of dried stuff I didn’t know. It was better then nothing, which was becoming my worry. Closing the lid, I made that cup of tea and went back into the study.

I turned the desk light on and decided to go through the papers first. I looked at the Christmas cards, I didn’t recognise any of the names so I set them aside. The letters were far more interesting. Most of them had been computer typed, but a few were handwritten. The first one I read went something like this;

 

Dear Mr. Eli Roberts,

I am writing to you because your services were recommended by a friend, Mrs Emily Hatchet. Who a few months ago you helped remove a ghost that had been haunting her house. She informed me you could help me with my ghost problem.

I have had a few people in so far, including; a Catholic priest, a medium and a ghost hunting team. They have gathered some evidence of this ghost but can not remove it from my house. It is causing me problems as the house is rented and I can not get anybody to stay there for longer then a few months.

I would be grateful if you could contact me to arrange a meeting to discuss this further.

Yours sincerely, Mrs. Jane Bogget.

I put the letter down, my head spinning and picked up the next one. It was almost the same, but someone else was requesting my uncle’s help in getting rid of a ghost. And all these letters were in the same vein! Only a handful asked for helping in dealing with something else supernatural;

Dear Mr. Roberts, I believe there is a demon in my attic!

Dear Mr. Roberts, I think my granddaughter has been cursed by a evil witch.

Dear Mr. Roberts, I am under the spell of a vampire.

I moved on and read the thank you letters. The first two were really just notes, but the third gripped my attention;

Dear Eli, 

Thank you so much for visiting and helping me to figure out my ghost haunting problems. I am glad to report that since you removed the South African tribal mask and bone statue from my house things have really settled down! No longer are we hearing chanting in the night, or a woman crying. My children are no longer seeing shadows and complaining of whispering and crying.

You can’t believe the changes this has made to my life and the lives of my family! I will be forever in your debt and I know you didn’t want any money, but please accept this cheque. Though I feel I owe you so much more. 

Best Wishes, 

Maggie Bradwell. 

I had a quick glance around for a cheque but didn’t spot one. I checked the date on the letter and it was three months back. So, Uncle Eli would have had time to cash it. I looked through the other letters and they were similar to that third one; people expressing their thanks to Eli for getting rid of their supernatural problems and giving him money.

I set the letters and cards big to the side where they had originally been.

So, my uncle is a hunter of the supernatural? My brain finally concluded. And this house is full of things he thought contained these spirits or he used to capture them? But this is….not real…not possible. No one had ever said anything about this to me. I looked out the window, trying to make sense of all this whilst at the same time my rational mind wanted to forget all about it.

The snowstorm was still happening and all I could see was whiteness outside the window. The wind had also picked up and was now howling. I felt cold suddenly and my mind turned to looking for something to warm myself with. There was nothing in the room, but maybe my Uncle had a haunted blanket or a possessed sleeping bag?

Laughing to myself, I got up and wandered through the house again. It felt even colder in each of the three ‘storage’ rooms and I could find nothing that would be suitable. I raided the kitchen again and with nothing else to do, made some more tea and one of the soup rations. They helped take some of the chill off. Whilst I ate and drink, I wondered about this house, my uncle and his supernatural hunting and gathering. How had he kept it secret all these years? Why not tell someone else about it? Surely he had meant someone to take over? And why leave this all to me?

I went back in the study and trying to keep as warm as possible, I read through my uncle’s diaries for this year and last. However, I found nothing but an account of his appointments with people and his visits to their haunted places. He had noted down what had happened briefly including what he had found, thought the supernatural was and items he had taken or other actions he had done. It was deeply fascinating.

Finally and I have no idea how much time had passed, I looked up from this year’s diary and saw that the snowstorm had quietened. Flakes were still falling and wind was still blowing, but it was more drive-able now. I closed the diary, deciding to leave it and the others here.

Getting up, I stretched and found my body stiff with cold and a numbness in my feet. I picked up the object list book and turning off the lights went to the front door. Opening it, the wind brushed snow at my feet, but I could now clear see my car and the other houses. I made a dash for it, shutting the door behind me and hearing the lock click back into place. I unlocked and got into my car. It was freezing, but the engine started and I turned up the heater.

I drove off home, being careful and taking it more slowly then normal.

To Be Continued…

Objects (Part 2)

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Getting my phone out again, I searched and found the light switch to the room and flicked it on. Just sticking my head around the door, I looked in. Perhaps, this room had once been designed to be a space for guests to wait or a living room or a dinning room, but now it was full to floor to ceiling with furniture. There were bookcases, shelves, glass cabinets, chests of drawers and in the middle a large red velvet armchair. Some of theses things looked antique and maybe a few had been original to the house.

However, it was more what the furniture held that drew me. The shelves, bookcases and cabinets were filled with all manner of objects. There were watches and clocks of all kinds, but none of them working. There were old weapons; pistols, knifes, daggers, a sword and to go with them; bullets, sheathes and holders. Figurines made out of all kinds of things, in different styles and scenes. There were framed photos in color and black and white of people and places. Old stuff toys, dolls and children’s play things were dotted around too. There was a few books, but they looked so old and broken that they’d fall apart in my hands.

A creeping feeling crossed over me and my hair stood up. A coldness that was totally different from the weather outside touched me and I felt the urge to close the door and walk away. However, I carried on standing there in wonder. Had Uncle Eli run an antique business? Had he been a hoarder? Perhaps it had been his parents’ collection or business? The solicitor had said it was their house….But he’d said it had been rented for a time too and surely this all hadn’t been here? Maybe, the tenants had been to blame?

I stepped into the room and tried to see if I could figure anything out. If there were price tags or description cards then that would suggest a business. There was nothing on any object though and the more I looked the more I saw. Feeling a sense of suffocation, I walked out and closed the door behind me. Maybe the next room would have the answers?

Crossing the hallway, I opened the door that had been on my right and went in. Once again I had a challenge finding the light switch, but when the bulb overhead came on, I saw this room was totally different from it’s neighbor. There was a huge oak desk under the curtained window and on it was a colored glass lamp, a stack of papers to one side, an A4 black leather notebook in the middle and there was a fountain pen next to it. A large padded chair was resting under the desk too.

Floor to ceiling bookcases took up the wall in front of me and to the right. They were filled with books, files, diaries, scrapbooks, notebooks and box files. The last wall was covered in picture frames which held certificates, photographs and newspaper clippings.

I walked in, feeling like I would find answers in here. I went to the desk and opened the notebook there. Turning the pages, I read the clear fancy handwriting and discovered it was a list of items. There was the object’s name, it’s location in the house, the date it was got, where it came from, who it had been it’s last owner and strangely a danger level.

What did that mean? My mind puzzled over. I turned the page and ran my finger down another long list and for no reason at all I began to speak these things aloud;

‘Mantle clock, nineteen-twenties, fruit wood, white face, classic style numbers. Downstairs front room, back wall, shelf number two. Nineteen-nineteen-seven. Blackpool. Mrs. Pennyworth. Low danger.’

‘Dagger, plain sliver handle, tip broken off, no sheath. Late eighteen hundreds. Downstairs front room, cabinet B, shelf three. Nineteen-nineteen-seven. Liverpool. Mr. Gardener. High danger.’

I read a few more enters, but couldn’t make any further sense of it. Closing the book, I looked through the stack of papers and found they were all letters. Most of them were asking my Uncle Eli for help or thanking him. I hardly glanced at them really. There was also a few Christmas cards that must have come from neighbors and these people in the letters. There was too much to read and I wanted to stay in here longer, but the urge to go upstairs was too strong.

Leaving the room, I went up the creaking and rickety stairs. There was no light on this hallway, but I could see three doors. The first was in front of me and led into a very dirty bathroom. The light above me was dim, on it’s way out but I was actually glad I couldn’t further make out how filthy this room was. I used the toilet and when I flushed it the noise was as loud as the sea waves crashing into the cliffs outside. I tried to use the sink and even though water was dripping out of one of the taps, I couldn’t turn either one. I avoided looking into the large and deep bathtub and hurried back into the hallway.

Going first to the door on my right, which was above the study, I opened it and found it to be just like the first room downstairs. It was fuller though and packed more tightly with furniture and the objects were just everywhere! I could hardly squeeze through the door. The only spot that seemed to be clearer was the window sill. There was a table next to it and as I got closer I saw why. There were four large brown pot jars against the curtained window that were also balanced on the table.

I read the carved in words on the front of them; souls of demons, souls of lost ghosts, souls of children, souls of evildoers.

What the…?

Shaking my head, I caught sight of a thin bookcase that was crammed full of glass jars. Each had a paper label and though some of the words were faded, I could still see things like; the ghost of Mr. M. Barlow. Spirit of a large dog. Ghoul number 23. Curse of a hag and protection spell, once use only! 

I couldn’t look at anything else. I left the room and without stopping went into the final one. I hoped it would be different, but knew as soon as my fingers wrapped around the door knob it wasn’t going to be. Opening and going through the door, I spent a few moments finding the light switch. My hand knocked into a thing on the wall which rattled then I turned on the light and quickly wished I hadn’t.

The room was full of tribal items and bones. Most of the walls were covered in masks, pipes, tribal weapons, instruments and on the shelves and chest of drawers tops were bowls, pots and other such things. They seemed to belong to a vast number of tribes that had once been throughout the world. Also, there were human leg, arm, rib bones and two skulls dotted around as well as bones and skulls that looked to belong to animals. Some of these had been made into ceremonially pieces, decorations or jewelry.

I turned the light off and left. I went downstairs, but every time I blinked all I could see were the empty eye sockets of those two skulls and the countless masks. Going straight into the kitchen, I turned on the cold water tap which thankfully worked and I washed my hands and face. With my mind clearing, I went into the study and stood for a few minutes looking around. The diaries drew my attention and I went over had a look at them. On the spines they were all dated and shocking I found they went back over two hundred years!

I took the first one which was dated 1811 off the shelf. It was a heavy book, made from brown leather and the pages were yellow, but still intact. Going back to the last few diaries which were all in the 2000’s, I looked for this year’s; 2016, but didn’t spot it. I pulled 2015 out instead and went back to the desk with them. Placing them on top of the object list book, I collected the stack of papers and piled them on too.

Then I searched the desk. Surprising there were many drawers and they contained a mix of items, most of which I ignored. I found this year’s diary in the top right drawer and taking it out put it with the other books and papers. In the last drawer; the bottom one on the right, I found a few family photos. The first was the most recent and it had been taken at Christmas last year. I spotted myself, next to my adopted parents and brothers. The rest of the family was gathered around and there was a huge Christmas tree in the background along with the traditional fire place scene.

Adding this to my pile, I picked it all up and staggered to the front door under the weight. Placing everything down, I had to unlock the door before I could open it. As soon as I had opened it the wind snatched the door from me and flung it back against the wall. Large snowflakes tumbled in and stuck to the hallway floor. Struggling against the wind and snow, I stepped outside and found myself in a snowstorm.

To Be Continued…

 

Objects (Part 1)

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If I’m being totally honest, I hardly knew Uncle Eli but for the sake of my family and Auntie Heather, I accepted the house he left me in his will. At the time, I pretended that I knew about it, but secretly I wondered why he had even remembered me and decided to leave the place to me.

A month after the funeral and with everything slowly being sorted out, I decided to drive out and see this house. Firstly though, I had to pick up the keys. When the solicitor handed them  and the papers over to me in his office, I asked him, ‘what can you tell me about this place?’ So far, I hadn’t asked anyone. Not because I feared their answers, but because of the questions that were bound to follow.

‘Well, Mr. Roberts, not much. I believe it was your uncle’s parents’ house which he inherited. He did rent it out for awhile. All the copies of that paperwork are there. But as far as I know the house has been empty for years,’ the solicitor explained.

‘Did Eli say why he was leaving it to me?’ I asked.

‘I’m not sure….I will have to check the will again,’ he replied and began shuffling papers around his over crowded desk.

‘It’s fine,’ I cut in, ‘all right. Thanks.’

I got up and left, even though he seemed on the verge of telling me more. Out of his office building, I walked across in the car park in the drizzle. I tucked the papers into my coat, there wasn’t many of them anyway and slipped the keys into my pocket. I went to my car which was parked alone by itself.

Getting back in the car, I put the postcode into the Sat Nav and set off on the hour and seven minutes trip to Lytham Saint Annes. It was a small seaside town I had been to in my childhood. I had only a few memories of being there; walking on the beach, eating fish and chips, playing crazy golf and seeing the windmill that stood on the coastline. I had never known and no one had ever told me that Eli had a house there.

Driving out of Manchester, the radio on low, I wondered why no one had yet to question me about Uncle Eli’s will. Of course, in the aftermath of the death and mourning, it might have escaped peoples’ minds, but I was still waiting for someone to come to me and demand to know why Eli had left a house to me; the youngest of his adopted nephews who had only seen him at Christmas family gathering.

I wanted to push it from my mind as I got on the motorway and my old car started complaining about being made to do sixty and above. It began to sleet too and though the Sunday afternoon traffic wasn’t that bad, things started to slow down. I turned the radio up and kept my eyes on all my mirrors.

When I finally got off the motorway, I followed the signs for Lytham Saint Annes. Then the next lot of directions were misleading and it took me awhile to find the house. Pulling up outside the place which looked like a nineteenth century fish man’s cottage, I cut the engine and got out. Eli’s house stood separated from the cottages around it, which were in much better care with their front gardens well kept and the paint on the walls looking fresh.

I took a deep breath and smelt the salty sea, we were very close to the coast and I could see the sea down below. I could hear it too as the waves were crashing heavily onto the cliffs and wall defenses. The wind blew around me, bring the chill of the sea water and also the early December freeze into my face. With the sleet still falling and threatening to turn into snow as the sky darkened, I walked up the pathway to the house.

There was no gate or fence, just a little patch of scrub land that made a square shape before the front step and small paled blue door. The house was whitewashed, but the paint was grey now and peeling. Two small windows were on either side of the door, the paint long gone from their rotting wooden frames. The curtains were drawn tight as if to keep questioning eyes away. Above those windows were two more and they were also curtained.

Reaching the door, I took the key from my pocket, easily fitted into the lock and stepped inside Uncle Eli’s mysterious little house.

It was dark inside and I fumbled along the wall for a light switch. Not finding one, I dug my phone out of my jeans and awoke the screen. Using that glow, I searched again and found a really old fashioned flick switch poking out of the dated wall paper close by. Pulling it up, a light came on above as the wind decided to shut the door behind me. I jumped and spun at the loud banging sound.

Catching my breath, I made sure the door was shut and locked behind me. Then I looked around the short hallway. It was normal enough; the yellowed wall paper had a flower print on it, the floor was wooden and so were the stairs in front of me. There was nothing in the hallway but two closed doors where on either side and a door-less room ahead. The air smelled like a mixture of things; the sea, damp, mold, old dusty things.

I walked forward and to the room at the end. It was a small kitchen and it seemed for the last few years had been little used. There was no fridge or freezer, only one of those old fire ovens against the wall to my left. There was a metal sink, a few cupboards and work tops which were empty but for a kettle with a mug next to it. There was a window and a back door but both were boarded and nailed shut from the inside.

I went back into the hallway and looked further around, but there was nothing else and no indication to when anyone was here last. I went to the door on my left and tried the old turn knob handle. There was a squeak and I had to shove the stiff door hard to open it, but even then it only opened halfway. A little slice of light from the hallway leaked in, however the darkness was too great.

To Be Continued…

 

The Bear

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Deep inside the cave the bear slept winter away. He dreamed of spring when the snow would melt, the grass would be green and the air warm. He splashed through the great river chasing salmon and searching for fruits. He meet other bears, fought them and found a mate. He had father cubs, but he’d never met any of them. He roamed the forest, searching for more food and avoiding the humans. Then he felt the season’s change and knew it was time to get ready for the long sleep. The dream slipped away and the bear dreamt of other things deep within his cave.