The Searcher

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He haunted libraries like a vengeful ghost feverish on his mission. He sat for hours reading so many different books that the librarians lost track of what he had loaned. What he truly sought no one knew and perhaps the answer wasn’t clear to him either.

When he had exhausted all the public libraries in the country which surprisingly hadn’t taken him very long because all he did was read, he started to join collages, universities and other such places. Even if he couldn’t get in, he found a way for the books to get to him.

People began to take notice and soon he was interesting a lot more minds then just the librarians. Students and tutors would seek him out and ask him what he was doing, but he wouldn’t answer. No one ever knew what his secrets were but other people have now made it their life goal to find out.

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Modern Love

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I liked the new girl. She was quiet, polite and hardworking, plus she knew how to be a receptionist unlike the last woman! She had been here three months now and we were a good team. Settling into lunch that day which sadly was a working lunch like the many we had to have due to staff shortages, she suddenly switched the conversation.

‘Emma? Can I asked you a personal question?’

‘Sure, Alia,’ I replied. There was nothing I liked better then talking about my life.

‘How did you met your boyfriend?’

I looked at her. She was dressed in her normal long black coat, floor touching black skirt, loose and long black top and a black hijab which covered her head and neck, only showing her dark face. I had often wondered if she was in mourning since she was always dressed in black, but I hadn’t been able to bring myself to ask.

In contrasted, I always dressed in bright colours, favouring; blues, greens, purples and whites. I wore knee or ankle length skirts with leggings or tights, some days I put on trousers. My blouses and tops were sensible enough but some of them did draw focus to my large chest. I’d wear a matching jacket or cardigan as needed. With it being late summer, my skin was lightly tanned. I wore my long med brown hair up or down, depending on how I felt.

I had never seen even a wisp of Alia’s hair so I didn’t know what colour it was. she didn’t wear any makeup either whilst I went through the whole colour plate in time with the seasons and the weather. We both wore glasses- me thin metallic purple frames and her’s thick, round and black old fashioned frames.

I also carted a large and very full handbag around with me, whilst Alia seemed to keep everything in the deep pockets of her coat. Alia had a ring of keys attached to her which constantly made sounds as she moved and reminded me of the housekeeper in The Secret Garden movie.

‘My boyfriend?’ I questioned.

Alia nodded and waited for me to launch into the story. She was use to my length talks now.

‘On a dating website,’ I answered, ‘that’s where I’ve meet all my boyfriends, expect the ones I dated in education. I guess I find it easier, you know? I have a habit of creating bad first impressions with men. Plus, there’s so many different kinds of men you can meet and I’ve found it far better then bars and nightclubs.’

‘Oh,’ Alia responded.

‘Of course, if I could meet a boyfriend naturally I would do. I like the build up of friendship then the slow falling in love and the realisation of it,’ I explained then give a small shrug.

‘So, you’d like it as a fairy tale? Love at first sight?’ she asked.

‘That would make it easier, wouldn’t it? But life doesn’t happen like that.’

I laughed and give a little shake of my head.

The phone rang and our conversation was interrupted by someone making an enquire. After I had dealt with them I turned back to Alia.

‘Why did you want to know anyway?’ I asked her.

She looked a little guilty and there was a slight flush to her cheeks, slowly and almost in a whisper she said, ‘because I would like one.’

Alia pulled her hijab to cover more of her face as if she had told me a dirty secret and now needed to hide away.

I thought over her words for a moment. Sipping my water slowly.

‘And why can’t you?’ I asked.

She didn’t reply and had suddenly found something to do on the computer before her which totally had all of her focus. She ignored me as if I hadn’t spoken.

Casting my mind about, I wondered if Alia came from a family were arrange marriages were traditional. Perhaps, her parents were very strict about her seeing men? I wouldn’t know the truth if I didn’t ask, but I was nervous too and knew it would effect how I saw Alia.

Instead, I asked, ‘you know, online dating is normal now. It’s how most people met. Would you like me to show you how to sign up? I’ll put you on the free site I used. I meet my current and last three boyfriends off there.’

‘But how did you know they were….okay?’ Alia asked.

She looked at me shyly over her shoulder.

‘Well, because I set myself some rules and stuck by them. Plus, once you’ve talked to them online for a bit you get a feel for them. Then you can meet up with just the ones you want too. You have to meet in a really crowd place that you know well. Like in town,’ I added.

Alia waited for me to go on. Her interest peaking and her expression becoming more relaxed.

So, I did, ‘and never go to their houses or a location they suggest that you are not happy with. Art galleries and museums make for good first dates. Or meals out. Whatever you feel comfy with.’

She nodded.

‘So, would you like my helping signing up?’ I asked.

Alia paused then in small voice said, ‘yes, please.’

I smiled broadly and wheeled my desk chair over to her corner. With my help Alia would be fine and I’d make sure she found a suitable boyfriend.

Summer Cold

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You had been feeling run down all of yesterday but you had thought you were just tried after running from meeting to meeting. Now though, as you wake up, you realise you have a cold. Struggling to get up, you hope a shower and a cup of tea will help. Doing that seems to help but even before you get dressed you know you’re not going to make it.

You phone in sick and crawl back to bed, feeling guilty. You should go in but your head is pounding, your nose dripping and your eyes feel so tried, you don’t feel like you’ve just been asleep. You pull the duvet over our head, nestle into the pillow and let sleep cart you away again.

Vacation

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It was that time of year again and as she looked out of her office window, she long to be away. Some place quiet and warm. Where it was always sunny and not raining. Where blue ocean meet white sands and the sky went on forever. Turning back to her computer, she did a quick search on a travel site and a few clicks later, she had booked a week’s holiday on a beach.

Play A Little Tune

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Bert’s blueberries were not doing so well this year. The too wet summer was the cause. He had been trying everything to make the blueberries happy as they were his biggest sellers and God knew he needed the money.  Finally, he decided to take his violin and play for them though it broke his vow to never play again. As the first notes rang out, tears marked Bert’s cheeks. He played and played till he couldn’t anymore but the magic of the music seemed to work because the blueberries grew and became the best crop he had ever had.

(Inspired by; https://carrotranch.com/2017/08/11/august-10-flash-fiction-challenge-2/ with thanks)

Village Bakery

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Every morning, Jenny got up and went to her family’s bakery. Always the first to arrive, she tied on a clean pale blue apron over her black pants and white blouse then set about the morning tasks. Firstly,  she took the now clean aprons out of the washing machine and hung them up on the line in the little yard. The sun was just coming up and there was only the sounds of birds to be heard.

Secondly, she checked the stock rooms and made a list of everything that needed re-ordering then Jenny placed that notepad on her grandpa’s desk for him to see. There was no need for her to clean anything as her grandma and mother tided when they closed then again before they opened.

Tying back her short chestnut brown hair and washing her hands, Jenny went to the back kitchen and the bookcase of recipe books. Even thought she knew how to make everything the bakery sold with her eyes shut, she still liked the comfort of the big, overused books. Selecting one which was all in her great-grandmother’s handwriting, Jenny placed it on the book stand and flipped through the pages.

Grabbing the ingredients, she began to make a few different loafs of bread. It didn’t really matter what kinds they were because the second they were on the shop’s shelves they would start to be bought. Having mixed, divided and put the additional ingredients in to the batches, she let all the dough proof.

At that time, other family members began arriving; Jenny’s parents and grandparents. Greeting each other, they all began their morning tasks. Her mother and grandma cleaning everything, her grandpa going in his office to do paperwork, her dad coming to help with the baking.

As the sun fully rose on another picture perfect summer day, the villagers and tourist started awaking. The lovely aroma of freshly baked bread filled the warm air. The bell above the bakery door tinkled and the first customer arrived. Jenny smiled as she heard an old man’s voice asking what bread there was this morning.

Her grandmother began answering as her father pulled a tray stacked with white and brown loafs out and carried it into the shop. Jenny breathed in deeply, shutting her eyes. There was no better job in the world she decided.

Time

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Time is ticking normally as you sit at your desk in the too hot office. You longingly look at the window, which is open all the way but barely lets in any fresh air. You feel bored and sleepy, even though there’s lots of work to do.

You shut your eyes just for a few minutes. The background noises start to fade and you feel like you are floating upwards. The window opens wider and you drift outside. You fly, rising higher and soaring over the city. Cool air rushes all round you, making you feel refreshed.

Perhaps, it’s only a dream but it feels so real.

China

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It was only a matter of time until someone knocked the china set off the display stand. The moment Audrey finished putting it out and I looked at it, a premonition came to me. I saw all the china flying to the floor and breaking before anyone could save a single piece. I told Audrey. She laughed and told me to go back to work, which there was always plenty of the antique shop. However, I really wish my premonition had shown it was me that broke the china, that would have been more useful to know!

(Inspired from: https://bikurgurl.com/2017/07/19/16492/ with thanks)

Zombie Office

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Nothing ever got done in the zombie office. By the time most of the workers got in it was mid-day and when the last of them left it was almost nighttime. The air smelt like blood, over-cooked meat and rot which wasn’t something a non-zombie could stomach for long. Also, everything felt sticky and had strange dried prints on it from things no one wanted to knew about.

Watching the zombies from his large office window, the new manager called the chief executive up and said, ‘why have we hired zombies? They hardly get any work done and their office is a mess! Wouldn’t normal people be better?’

The chief executive breathed heavily down the phone and replied, ‘I understand but if we could’ve hired “normal” people we would’ve done.’

‘What do you mean?’ the new manager asked.

‘Well….We’re a bit short on humans at the moment,’ the chief executive explained.

‘I see……’ the manager trailed.

‘Don’t worry about it. The zombies will get their tasks done soon enough. If you need something rushed get a witch or warlock in office WW twenty-eight to do it,’ the chief executive added then put the phone down.

The new manager signed and turned away from that window to another. This one looked out of the city. He could see a dark grey gloomy sky and lines of black smoke raising upwards. Most of the buildings were burnt and or abandoned, those that were still occupied barely hung on to their grey and brown colours.

The Supernatural Take Over really wasn’t going to plan.

What Wasn’t There

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Introduction

My name is Bobby Wallbank. I’m a security guard for a company that buys up old buildings and land to do them up into housing, offices and shops. I’m use to the strange goings on in the night. All my life I’ve been able to ‘see’ and ‘sense’ the supernatural. The gift has always run in my family and many have made good use of it. My gran was a witch, my mother a healer, a second cousin a medium. I decided I needed normality, but sometimes I can’t ignore the gift. 

I keep a diary each year of the strange things I’ve seen/sensed either on CCTV cameras or my own eyes. I like to tab favourite pages; the supernatural happens I like the most and were rare. 

Friday 27th January 2017. 2:37 am.

A shopping trolley which had been laying on it side in the back car park for five hours started appearing and disappearing about four times before totally vanishing. The camera froze soon after. Went out to check and there was no sign of the trolley. Camera started working again soon after. 

Wednesday 1st March 2017. 3:56 am.

Saw a man dressed in a suit hurrying down the street. He suddenly disappeared beside a wall. Couldn’t find no trace of him on any of the cameras. Rewinding the footage, couldn’t see the man again. I know he was there though. He had been wearing a strange hat and carrying a briefcase. 

Thursday 20th April 2017, 1:09 am. 

For half an hour a cat was seemingly fighting with something invisible. Had complete camera coverage. The cat was acting aggressive and defensive, it didn’t seem to be playing. Cat ran off. Went to inspect and had strange creepy feeling of being watched. Felt something breathing on me. Walked around to shake it off before returning to office. Was on edge for the rest of the shift.

Monday 15th  May 2017, 4:46 am. 

Was walking around when heard moaning from a locked room. Got in and saw nothing. On leaving the room, felt a coldness and as if fingers were pressing against my back. Turning, saw the shape of something small. I called out hello? and a girl’s voice answered back. Who are you? I asked. Mummy, the voice replied. I asked more questions, but got nothing else. I left the door opened and told the child she was free to go.   

Friday 19th May 2017, 3:59 am. 

Was walking in the area I had heard the girl on Monday. I checked the room and it had been left unlocked. Heard crying, but when I called out, got no answer. Walked away and the crying carried on. During my second walk around, I went into the room again and put a small teddy bear on the floor. The crying stopped. I got the sense that girl is trapped there. I’m not sure if she was murdered or died from something else. Tried talking again, but didn’t hear anything else. 

Saturday 3rd June 2017, 2:27 am. 

Too much is happening and it’s making me regret agreeing to cover this shift. The other security person up and left, not sure why but maybe he couldn’t hack the supernatural stuff that’s happening. It looks like a group broke in last weekend and did some kind of thing that called a demon to the building. There’s been a lot of loud bangs and  flashes of light. Every time I walk around, I get this sense of evil and I want to leave. I can’t though. Maybe I can find someone to remove this demon. I heard more crying and screams too and there has been so many shadow things. 

I heard whispering voices asking for help and telling me to beware. I got the idea the good supernatural were trying to protect me but this evil is too powerful. On my break at Midnight, I felt this burning on my shoulder and when I looked I had three long red scratches down my shoulder. I washed them in water and that helped, but I can still feel them. 

Saturday 3rd June 2017, 6:00 am.

Getting ready to leave and everything is quiet here. The scratches from a few hours ago have faded and I’ve not left the office since. The CCTV have been playing up though. Some cameras blacking out and losing connection, others becoming static. The noises too have kept up. I’m glad to be getting out of here.

Monday 5th June 2017, 10: 45 pm.

Brought a friend tonight to help get rid of the demon and release some of the ghosts. What she did seems to have worked and the place is settled once more. Won’t really know for a while though. Sometimes these demons like to pop up again. I feel better too. It was attaching itself to me, I could feel it. I’ve been having weird dreams, about a dark red and black creature chasing me. I don’t remember seeing the demon fully. She give me some stuff to bless myself and the house with. Maybe I might use some in the office too. 

Friday 9th June 2017, 3:11 am.

Everything is quiet here still. There’s been no supernatural happenings and I’m feeling fine. A new woman has been hired for the weekends and to cover me, she seems nice. I’ve been teaching the ropes all shift and now she’s gone for her first walk around alone. 

Monday 19th June 2017, 11:20 pm.

She gone missing, the new woman. Yesterday she clocked in and didn’t clock out. An easy mistake to make when you are tried but she never returned home. Her family have reported her missing and lots of searching has been happening. I got asked to look through hours of footage to find out what happened to her. Maybe she did leave and went missing off site? I couldn’t find the truth though. 

No CCTV camera has her last moments. I got one of her entering the corridor where the I’ve heard the girl crying and that’s it no more. A connect error message appears on all screens in that area. So she goes in but never comes out again. 

I’ve done one walk inside now and I’ve come across nothing but the traces of all the people who’ve been through today. I even asked the ghosts to help, but nothing has come of it. I hope it’s just a simple thing that she got lost and fell or she decided she’d had enough and ran away.

A part of me knows that’s not true though. She’d been taken by that demon! 

Thursday 22nd June 2017, Midnight. 

She is still missing and everyone is restless. I have seen supernatural things in the buildings and my home. Voices calling me, telling me where to go and that I must help them. I thought she had come to me at one point but she wasn’t there long. Lights have been flicking on and off, strange lights have been coming and going, sometimes close enough for me to feel how ice cold they are. Tools and other things have been moved around, stones thrown at me and others.

I know what I must do. I came here tonight to set things right. I know what’s at risk. I’m not trying to get her back either, she’s already gone. But I got to stop the demon before he takes anyone else. I’m prepared and ready to go.

I’m leaving my diary here just in case I don’t come back.