Over D.I.U-ing It#CCC

The hammering woke Mrs. Long before her alarm clock could. She rolled over, reaching for her husband but he wasn’t in bed next her.

Getting up, she crossed the room to draw back the curtains and swung the window opened. Looking down into the garden, she saw her husband. He was removing the rotting back fence.

‘What are you doing now, Tom?’ Mrs Long called.

He turned, peered up at her and shout back, ‘what does it look like I’m doing woman?’

Mrs Long shut her mouth before the angry reply could escape. She closed the window and walked away, thinking that she couldn’t wait for her husband to return to work so she could have some peace.

 

(Inspired by; https://crispinakemp.com/2020/08/26/crimsons-creative-challenge-94/ with thanks).

Coffee Art

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I had always admired the art designs on top of my lunchtime coffee from the posh cafe next to my office.

Since working from home though, I had missed it. My home coffees looked so plain, so normal and I missed that treat that broke up my day. In the morning, I looked forward to the coffee art; what design would I get today? In the afternoon, energised, I enjoyed thinking about the creativity.

There was only one thing for it. I had to learn how to do the designs myself. Perhaps, that way, I would feel better about working from home.

Trying to Juggle

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Working from home sounded great but in reality it was horrible. The kids always wanted something then the dog wanted something, then the wife was yelling at the kids or the dog of just in general.

Having a meeting was like dealing doing a deal with the devil. I was tried of telling people to un-mute themselves or turn there sound out or was that a fire happening in their background?

I just wanted a few minutes peace to write this report. My children stuck stickers to my back, I ran the dog’s paw over with my chair and my wife was asking what time I’d finished work because it was my turn to cook tonight.

The house was always a mess, the children kept moving my things and I just wanted my nice clean office back!

Right, enough is enough! I’m going to empty the shed and turned that into a office. I could lock the door and be at peace in there. I could carry my briefcase across the garden each morning and pretend I was going into work. I could get a radio and a coffee machine….

Yes, that’s what I needed, an office away from office.

Wayzgoose #AtoZChallenge

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Wayzgoose – an annual summer party held by a printing house for all its employees.

It was too warm and the cocktails had gone to my head all ready. I dipped my feet into the cool outdoor swimming pool of the hotel and watched everyone else. Everyone from work I knew was here, it was a work do after all! and there were people from other departments I had never seen before.

Everyone from the printing house seemed to be here; the big cheeses, the receptions and the kids who worked in the post room. Everyone was drinking or eating, talking and enjoying themselves.

It was good to be not at work in this four star hotel for a weekend party. It was the annual tradition of the business. A reward for everyone and a celebration of last year’s best selling books and online articles.

I hated it. I loathed shifting through the paper and online submissions. I grimaced at simple spelling mistakes and rolled my eyes at grammar errors. For years, I had read other peoples’ writings whilst mine had slipped away like shells out to sea.

‘So, I heard you’d handed in your notice….’

I looked up at the sound of the voice, frowning and scrunching my face up because the sun was too bright. It was Naz though, no doubt about it.

He sat down next to me and dipped his bare feet into the water. He was wet from a swim and there was a towel around his shoulders.

‘This isn’t a pool party,’ I joked.

Naz laughed and shook his wet dark hair, ‘everyone’s too drunk to care!’

I pressed my lips together and kicked my feet under the water. He was right, everyone no one cared and the drinks were flowing too much. Not even the Christmas party ended up like this.

‘So, is it true? You are leaving me?’ Naz uttered.

‘Yes. How did you find out?’ I asked.

Naz tapped his nose and laughed.

‘I leave at the end of next month.’

‘So you got on that journalism course then?’

‘University at the age of thirty-one here I come!’ I cried and swung my arms up.

A few people glanced at me then got back on with their conversations or nibbles.

‘Go get ’em girl,’ Naz said, ‘fancy a drink to celebrate?’

‘No, I’ve had too much.’

‘Come on!’ Naz half shouted and got up splashing me with pool water.

I watched him go over to the bar and a part of me wanted to get up and go, make Naz come back with two drinks and discovery himself alone. I couldn’t though, we had known each other too long.

He came back soon enough with tall glasses and something pink and fizz inside. I sipped it through a paper straw and found it fruity and sweet. We didn’t talk for a few minutes, just sat and watched a group of men try and push each other in the pool. Someone give at last and splashed in, followed by another man he had snatched the arm of as he fell.

Laughter and shouting rose up as people swamped the pool. The men got up and everyone distributed lured by the music coming from the marque on the lawn.

‘Party’s kicking off now,’ Naz pointed out.

I rubbed my head, feeling the growth of a headache. I should get something to eat and then maybe slip off back to my room. I wasn’t in the mood for dancing, having my bum and boobs grabbed at. Also, I didn’t want to end up in someone else’s bed tonight like a lot of these people would do.

I turned to Naz and saw him waving at someone, ‘Cherry in accounting, Let’s go say hi.’

‘You go. I’ll see you at the buffet table,’ I replied.

Naz nodded and hurried off.

I got my wrinkled feet out of the pool, back into my red flat shoes that matched my red cocktail dress and went to get something to eat.

There wasn’t a queue though there was enough people getting food to bump elbows with. Most people had gone off dancing. I got a paper plate and selected a few things, not really fussy over the trays of food.

I found a table outside and ate slowly, enjoying the setting sun and the lights coming on in the gardens. Noise echoed around me, the booming of the disco music, the shouting of the people. A woman was screaming somewhere- I guessed in delight as she was chased by a suitor? Or maybe a murderer? I didn’t care.

I finished eating and went back to the buffet table. I gathered some sandwiches, fruit, mini blueberry muffins and a few other things to eat in my room. Then acting like I was looking for somewhere to eat or perhaps the friends I had left a few minutes ago, I sneaked back inside the hotel.

It was a long way to my room and I was grateful not to meet anyone. Either the whole hotel had been booked for the company or the other guests were sticking in their bedrooms. I took the elevator and walked along the corridors until I made to my door.

Once in, I put the food on the desk next to the gathering of bottled water and fizzy drinks I had brought with me. A few packets of sweets and chocolates were there too. That had been my plan for night; far from the party and by myself.

I sat on the bed and turned the TV on. I nibbled on a sandwich and sipped some water.

What a way to spend my last work’s summer party.

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Typing #FridayFictioneers

I was too old fashioned but I didn’t care. I liked typing my food and restaurant reviews on an 1950’s typewriter. Kept in good order, cleaned and ink ribbon changed as needed, the ‘old tech’ had lasted longer then any computer device I’d had throughout the years.

It was satisfying to press down hard on each key and hear the clonking noise. There was the mechanical rhythm of continual typing and the ding bell at the end.  I loved sliding the feeder roll back and hearing that click into place again.

Sometimes, the old ways were the best ways.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/03/25/27-march-2020/ with thanks).

The Records Office (Part 2)

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Elisa frowned and walked back into the kitchen. The kettle clicked and she made a coffee. Looking around, she decided not to eat in here as she normally did, but go back to the office and turn the TV on for awhile.

The microwave pinged, she got her food and went back to her desk. The radio was still on but no longer playing classical music, it was an old rock song instead. Elisa went over and looked at the dial. It had been moved from her normal station to another. Wondering why that kept happening, she turned it off and put the TV on.

Channel flicking, Elisa ended up with the news again. She ate and listened to the reporter talking absentmindedly. Years ago, she would have often gone out to lunch with the others. Now, going out and eating alone seemed pointless. Staying at her desk meant she could work through lunch or have a shorter break and thus leave earlier. Today felt like one of those days.

Just before Elisa finished the phone rang. She gulped down her coffee and answered the call, ‘hello, Greenfield Hospital Records Office.’

White noise blasted back at her. Elisa listened for a moment then repeated herself. Still static. She hung up and waited a minute. The phone stayed silent. Eliza took another drink of coffee and the phone rang again.

‘Hello?’

White noise then a super distance voice saying something.

‘Pardon me? I can’t hear you,’ Elisa spoke.

More static blared and Elisa had to hold the phone away from her ear. Placing the receiver back again, she had a voice once more but couldn’t make out anything out. She hung up and decided to let the answer machine get the next call. If it was important, they would keep trying.

Elisa finished her coffee and tided up. She went into the kitchen and saw the sink tap running. Turning it off, she told herself she had left it on and went to visit the bathroom. A tap was also running in here.

Elisa went to the middle sink and turned it off. She was sure she hadn’t left it on. She hadn’t used that sink last time she was in here. She went to the toilet and coming out of the stall, she saw that all the taps were on.

‘What the…? Is there a plumping problem?’

Elisa turned all the taps off then had to turn one back  on to wash her hands. That done, she left, went back to her desk and phoned her boss. There was no maintenance team anymore and any reports like that had to be put into the boss who would then find a handyman to fix it. If they could be bothered. It was unsure what the plans were for the now abandoned hospital. So, maintenance was no longer a priority.

Leaving a message, Elisa got back to work. If she skipped her afternoon break, she could leave forty-five minutes early. She looked at the clock to double check this and saw that the hands had stopped on twelve.

Frowning Elisa got up and took it off the wall. The battery had probably died. She set it on the edge of her desk and looked at her PC clock instead. Nodding, she got back to work, typing up the paper files and refiling things.

The tick tick of a clock stopped her fingers over the keyboard. She looked at the clock and saw the hands had began to move again.

‘Odd,’ she uttered.

Elisa took the battery out and turned back to her work.

Tick Tick.

She looked at the clock. The hands were still moving.

‘That’s not possible!’ Elisa cried.

She picked up the clock and watched the hands move. They stopped on two and four. Elisa turned the clock around and spun the dial back so that both hands were on twelve again. Holding the clock before her, she watched it closely but the hands didn’t move. Elisa placed the clock on the edge of her desk and watched the hands again. They stayed still.

‘I’m not losing it,’ Elisa spoke.

She got up and went into the kitchen. She splashed cold water on her face then drink down a whole glass of water. Elisa put the kettle on and made a coffee. Waiting, she heard footsteps in the hallway.

That must be security doing their rounds, she thought.

The footsteps walked passed the kitchen. A door creaked open then slammed shut. Elisa jumped and hurried out but there was no one in the corridor. She walked to each door, knocked on them, called ‘hello?’ then tried to open the doors but they were all locked.

‘Maybe, it was another door somewhere else?’

Going back to the kitchen, Elisa made her coffee and returned to her desk. The TV was off and the radio was on. A pop song was echoing through the speaker. Elisa turned it back to the classical station.

‘Today’s messed up,’ Elisa spoke.

The phone rang. She picked it up and heard static. Hanging up, Elisa sent an email to her boss complaining about a problem with the telephone.

A clacking, like something metal falling over, made Elisa gasp and jump around. The noise had come from above somewhere. Breathing deeply, Elisa told herself to calm down. Something had just fallen over. Maybe, a security guard had moved something. It was nothing to worry about.

A crawling feeling like a spider walking up her hand, rose the hairs on her skin and Elisa felt chilly. The feeling that something wasn’t right and she was being watched, had her turning this way and that.

‘I’m done for the day. I’ll make the hours up later.’

Elisa packed up, gathered her things and left. Going up the stairs, she felt slightly better. The basement without any windows sometimes felt claustrophobic and perhaps that all it was. Elisa reached the floor above and walked down the corridor.

She passed windows, it was raining and getting dark all ready. Lights flickered above her and footsteps fell into time with her own. Elisa turned, there was no one just an empty corridor.

Elisa hurried on, wanting nothing more then to get outside. Once, she was in the fresh air things would be better. It was all in her head, she had been working and thinking too hard. Ghosts weren’t real. It was all just normal sounds.

It felt like forever before she arrived at the main doors. She went though and outside. Rain splashed her face, cold wind stirred around her and Elisa felt more at ease. The strange notion that she couldn’t be got out here floated into her mind.

Elisa tried to shake that thought away. What did it mean anyway? Opening her umbrella, she huddled underneath it and walked back to her car. Not once did she look back but if she had done, she would have seen countless outlines of people looking out of the windows watching her go.

The Records Office (Part 1)

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Elisa unlocked the main hospital’s back door and stepped inside. Rain dripped off her umbrella and coat. Named storm Jorge was building up out there, the rain was heavy coming down on all ready flooded ground and the wind was blowing like a speeding car.

Turning on the lights, Elisa shook her umbrella out and caught her breath. She could hear the rain dripping inside somewhere close by and the wind working it’s way through the broken windows. Hoping it wasn’t too cold in her office today, Elisa walked down the quiet hospital corridors towards the basement.

She was dressed in her relaxed Friday office clothes; grey trousers, flat black shoes, lime green long sleeve blouse and a woollen black jumper. She carried her heavy backpack on one shoulder which held all she needed, plus more to get her through the working day.

Choosing the two flights of stairs inside of the elevator, Elisa watched her step and recalled how only five years, this back staircase would have been busy with office staff and hospital workers. Now, like the rest of the place, they were still. For the past year and a half, Elisa and three security guards were the only people left at the recently closed grounds.

Reaching the basement, Elisa walked to the fourth door which was labelled as The Patients’ Records Office. The other rooms down here were a mixture of supply, storage, other paperwork, a large staff break room and other offices. Sometimes, Elisa would have to go in these other rooms to find things but mostly, she stuck to her desk.

Unlocking the door with one with the keys from a massive bunch of them, Elisa went in and put her umbrella into the stand. Wiggling out of her coat, she hung that up on a peg then put her rucksack at the leg of her desk.

The office was too quiet, she could feel the pressure on her ears. Elisa turned the small TV on which was on the far wall above the handful of abandoned desks and cabinets. The news came on, the sound breaking the quietness and making her feel like she was no longer alone.

Her desk was in the middle of the room, facing the door but she had turned the angle of it so she could see the TV as well. Eliza put her rucksack down, turned on her computer and both screens. Next, she put the heaters on and the kettle too. She made a coffee and sat down on her old chair.

Of all the staff to stay employed to complete the final tasks of the hospital, she was now the last one. Perhaps, she had been chosen because she had been here for over twenty years and had been the manager of the patients’ records for six of those? Maybe, it was because she had been close to retirement and her boss had felt sorry for her?

‘I don’t mind,’ Elisa had said at the deciding meeting, ‘I can’t imagine retiring and having nothing to do. I’ve been applying for jobs and got some interviews.’

‘The board would like you to stay awhile and finish up things,’ her boss had spoken, ‘would that be okay? Your pay and hours won’t change but you may find yourself working alone for a bit. I’m not sure who else will be staying on.’

Without thinking, Elisa had replied, ‘that’s fine. I don’t mind.’

Her job was simple enough; putting paper records onto the computer system. Checking things had been filed correctly, searching for information when contacted by medical staff or the public and disposing of documents as needed.

It was eerie being here alone but Elisa had grown use to it and didn’t mind as much now. She found she could watch whatever TV or listen to whichever radio station she wanted. There was no waiting around in the break room, no one distracting her and she didn’t mind being a bit lonely.

Sometimes, the phone would ring and it would be security checking  up on her or was medical person from another hospital wanting information. Elisa’s boss would call make sure anything was okay and maybe asking her to do something. Once or twice, a person had phoned who was tracing their family history and Elisa had been happy to help see if there was any records of that surname. 

Occasionally, the back door bell would ring and Elisa would answer the phone to find her boss was outside having come on a visit or it would be a PA from someone from the board wanting to pick something up or a security guard come for a chat.

More often then not, the working day would pass without Elisa having contact from anyone. It didn’t worry her though because she knew there wasn’t much of a need for a closed down hospital’s paperwork.

Recently, Elisa had stated hearing and noticing odd things. She didn’t believe in ghosts, she was a religious Roman Catholic and trusted that everyone went to Heaven or Hell. However, things that didn’t have an explanation happened were happening.

The sounds of doors opening and closing, though there was no wind that day. Voices whispering when Elisa knew she was alone. The phone ringing and no one being there or another phone ringing somewhere else which shouldn’t happen because all other phones were disconnected. Equipment being moved or knocked over, footstep above her or outside the records office door and two or three times, the feeling she was being watched.

Elisa had rung the security team and the police a few times and told them, ‘I think someone is in the building, can you check?’ or ‘I’m just seeing if a security guard is close by as there was a big banging sound and a door slamming.’

It was better to be save then sorry and Elisa was just sure it was animals or the natural movement of things. She got on with her work, filling her mind with her tasks and home plans. Perhaps, soon her employment would come to the end and she would get a new job where she had to work surrounded by people again.

I think I’d like that, to have colleagues again, Elisa thought, to chat with someone and get help with tasks. To make new friends and share cooking tips.

Elisa smiled and carried on typing up records whilst above the hospital buildings lay in silence. That didn’t last long because somewhere a door creaked open and a voice called out.

Pausing, Elisa looked up and listened. Blaming the wind, she turned off the TV and put the radio on instead. A pop song filled the room. Frowning, Elisa moved the dial back to the classical station she preferred and went back to work once more.

Lunchtime arrived. Stretching, Eliza got up and went into the break room. Her back and limbs felt stiff but some light exercises whilst she waited for her ready-meal to heat up would help.

‘It’s hotpot today,’ she said to herself, putting it in the microwave.

She filled the kettle and made another coffee.

Heavy footsteps sounded in the hall and approached the door.

Thinking it was one of the security guards, Elisa called out, ‘hi, come and have some lunch with me. I could do with the company today. Fridays drag so much don’t they?’

She turned, expecting to see someone but there was no one in the room. Puzzled, Elisa stepped out into the corridor and saw she was quite alone.

 

To Be Continued…

 

Bus #FridayFictioneers

The boss had booked the bus for the staff Christmas party, however he had forgotten to check how many seats the bus had, so only ten people made it to the party.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/12/04/6-december-2019/with thanks).

Apple #WritingPrompt

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My favourite apples were those picked straight from the tree covered with water drops from a light autumn shower or droplets from a misty morning.

It seemed like I spent all my autumn days outside harvesting, sorting out the animals and making sure everything was ready for winter. I had lots of help, I was the only girl out of eight children. The joke was my mother had kept trying till she had a girl but I had turned out more boyish then some of my brothers!

I was fourth generation of farmer and it ran strong within me. I had favourite jobs and ones I hated but I still did them all. My best was apple picking. I loved getting the reds and greens off the trees, stacking them in baskets before putting them in the trucks to go to the shops.

There was some comforting about the weight in hand, the smell of the crisp apples under my nose and when I tasted the sweet tang of the fruit nothing could bet it.

One of my brothers joked that it was apple juice that ran in my veins instead of blood. I believed that could be true. Another brother said I had been born from an apple seed mother had swallowed on the advice of grandma. A third claimed they had found me under an apple tree on harvest moon night!

However, I had come into the world my name; Autumn Apple Atkins was fitting and perfect to my ears. Some sniggered at it, others had used it to bully me but to me it was who I was and where I had come from.

My father had promised me the orchard and I could think of no greater thing to inherit then the trees that bear the fruit I love.

 

(Inspired by; https://sarahelizabethmoore.org/2019/11/03/writing-prompt-44/ with thanks).

Murmur #WritePhoto

The sky began to fill with light. The world murmured itself awake. Birds sing the first songs and other animals stirred themselves.

I watched from my bedroom window before I shut the black out curtains. The day was for people who could cope being outside. For me, even the slightest touch of the sun could burn my skin due to a rare allergic reaction I had been born with.

Closing the curtains, I got into bed. Thoughts of being a vampire filling my head. It was a laughable joke but it wasn’t true. I was no more a supernatural creature of the night then my boss was a pig. – Though he probably shared some of their DNA!

I snuggled into the coolness of the fresh sheets and reflected on my night shift at the open all hours petrol station. It had been quiet and I had been bored for a few hours but that was more capable then being rushed off my feet.

Dozing off, I started to dream of the day I was cured and could finally go out in the sun.

 

 

 

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/09/19/thursday-photo-prompt-murmur-writephoto/ with thanks).