This Old House

 

house 5

 

Original Photo Copyright : www.flickr.com/photos/svengottschling/12725162993

Text & Adaption : Helen Midgley

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Letting The Light Go Out

Wednesday already and time again for Friday Fictioneers. A 100 words of fiction created from a photo prompt and a spark of an idea.

Last week was manic and I didn’t get chance to catch up with everyone’s pieces, I promise to do better this week.

c2a9dawn_landau

 Original Photo : Dawn Landau

The sun had reached its highest, smudging the tops of the ash trees along the track. Summer thunder rumbled in the distance. She felt the darkness seeping in, tunnel walls closing around her, feet dragging towards an escape she couldn’t find.

Then in the distance… light… bringing her back and once more grass beneath her feet.

Memories back and forth; scattered clothes… bodies writhing…. her husband… her sister, the taste of bile that rose from her throat as she turned and ran.

The train was coming, she felt its breath chasing at her back. She lay down and let the light fade into black.

Silence

silence

Silence is my sanity,

My escape from life, my liberty,

The still that calms the raging storms,

And quells the hum of teeming swarms,

*

Silence is my honesty,

My release from fear, my lucidity,

The peace that stills the angry tide,

And calms the fall and its wretched slide,

*

Silence is my clarity,

My battle truce, my tranquillity,

The ease to know what’s right and wrong,

And the time to plan how the war is won.

*

Silence is my stability,

My rock of faith, my solidity,

The sound that fades my doubts to none,

And the hush that bids my woes be gone.

*

Original Photo : Original Photo : www.flickr.com/photos/neo-now/16115794559

The Family Business

I’m running late this week but couldn’t miss. This weeks contribution to Friday Fictioneers, a weekly photo prompt of 100 words of fiction hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

crystals

Photo Copyright : Marie Gail Stratford

A kaleidoscope of rainbows danced against the wall; flickers of happiness and shafts of despair, embers of loneliness and speckles of hope.

Does everybody’s look like that? The boy asked,

His whole life had been lived in darkness, amidst the fog of death. Now his eyes were bright as another wave of colour flickered across the glass.

“No, not everybody’s” his father answered, placing a hand on his shoulder, “Some never learn how to live”

Looking around he saw others, much darker, blacker, just shadowy spatters against the casing.

“Why do you take the bright ones Papa?”

“Even a Soul Catcher needs colour, Son”

Flashbacks – Part 2

Part 1 here 

The Court building is a large grey box, three stories high and well past its prime is in the centre of town, thankfully just a twenty minute car ride from home. As I pull up outside, the heavens open. Small rivulets of water are already running down the side of the road splashing knee high off the pavement and I don’t have a brolly, it’s buried somewhere amongst the debris on the back seat along with two pairs of trainers, an unopened Brie and Pesto Baguette and collection of Cafe Latte cups.

I climb the steps two at a time, not dignified, but I was running late and grateful for that extra ten miles on the treadmill. I caught site of Detective Ryan, a slick haired blonde of about fifty five, as I tumble through the doors. His dull grey eyes probing my frame, as I walk towards the group. He says nothing but I catch him glancing at my tits as I bend to open my briefcase.

“Creep”, I mutter as I head over to my client; sat on the wooden bench opposite.

Louise Jones is small; a size eight, with short waif like hair that seems to emphasis the hollows in her cheeks. She stands with her side to me, bent forward a little, looking down at the floor. She doesn’t move or change position an inch, her breath a delicate whisper. Her mother, bottle dyed and time worn, strikingly similar to Louise, is stroking her hand. A sort of automatic gesture that instantly seems a bit too contrived, or am I over evaluating? Hazard of the job I suppose. Louise has dressed down; she’s wearing a black trouser suit, a pale green blouse that falls over her waistband and black patent boots.  She looks younger, somehow more vulnerable and I’m glad. Then kick myself for thinking that, after all, what she’s wearing shouldn’t have any bearing on the case. She looks at me and smiles. Is that hope I could see in her eyes? It was hope I had in mine. My mouth is dry and my tongue feels like gravel but I mentally force myself to smile, a confident Boots No 7 blemished pink glazed smile. 

Another patch of city, another patch of time :

Bill Jones tightened his grip around his wife’s waist as they entered the side room. He mustered what little self-control he had left and forcibly guided her towards the bed. The police officer sensing their despair quickly stood, placed a compassionate hand on Bills shoulder then left them alone. Questions and more importantly answers would come later, now was a time for tears, for comfort, not recriminations. She opened her eyes and felt the salt laden tears burn at her face, she felt her body shudder and convulse as she released the fear and pain stabbing at her chest. “Why, why” she mouthed as she sobbed uncontrollably into her mothers arms. Then darkness…………..

 

“Local Man Charged with Date Rape”

A local man has been charged with rape in connection with an incident in Sanford.

Paul Snape, 28, from Alamein Road, Sanford, appeared at Linton Magistrates Court yesterday. The case was committed to Swinfield Crown Court (pictured).

The charge relates to an incident on April 25, 2008.

 

The case has been heavy going. The defence lawyer, 6’3, mid thirties, strikingly handsome and impeccable in both his dress and argument is summing up. One hand rests on the mahogany hand rail in front of the jury the other confidently skims against the waistline of his trousers; a Paul Smith number, black with a faint silver wisp in the pinstripe. He continually gestures towards his client, emphasising the upstanding character and integrity of the accused. He’s in control, revelling in his power. Yet I can’t help but remember the time I caught him in the back of Judge Brown’s chambers, infragranti with the court registrar.

His beautifully starched pinstripe trousers gingerly edged around his knees, it’s a vision that still makes me smile, given the court registrar is a bald headed 60year old called Steve.

I need a bit of light relief; I’m finding it hard to judge the jury’s mood. Number six is a lady mid 60’s, thick rimmed glasses, once a week wash a set brigade, idolises her grandson and can’t remember if she fed the cat this morning. Number eight is heavy set, I’d say late forties with a distinguished silver streak in his hair, plays squash twice a week and shags the bar maid from the golf club while his wife’s at yoga; plus ten other equally random strangers.

As I listen to the end of his closing statement, which I have to say is good, too good. The evidence seems clear, Louise had faltered a bit on the stand but surely that wouldn’t count against her.

His character assassination of Louise has been brutal, a good time girl who drank and flirted her way up the office ladder.   A tease who had a grudge against a colleague and all the while I could see Louise shrinking back against the chair, her character been torn apart in front of twelve nameless strangers, not to mention her parents sat in the gallery beyond. She’s sitting hunched over, as if no one can see her, her hands writhing in her lap. She keeps her eyes down too terrified to face her attacker. His genial smile camouflaging a monster. The defence finishes and I slowly stand, fastening the buttons on my tightly tailored two piece as I do. I give myself those last few seconds to prepare and then I begin “Members of the Jury” ….

 

Another patch of city, another patch of time :

When her boss’s son had been sentenced the other local papers had gone to town. Paul Snape (Senior) was a highly respected Editor and local Councillor, chairman of the Golf club and recently appointed Justice of the Peace. The press had had a field day. Louise had never fully returned to work, although she had tried. Tried to ignore the silences as she entered a room, to ignore the disdain that spread across their faces whenever she walked past. Everything gone in a night, taken away in an instant. Her life had changed beyond recognition, she had moved back home away from the glare of prying eyes. She had slowly regained some sort of acceptance of the past, the mental anguish under lock and key. Occasionally let out in the darkness of her bedroom, the ticking of the alarm clock in time with her heartbeat as she retraces that walk along the cobbled pathway.

Then darkness………..

 

As for me, well it’s about eight thirty on a Monday morning, the fourth Monday in January as it happens. The Birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and on this day in 1953, the day Hugh Heffner gave the world that great litery classic, Playboy. I’m wearing my Marks and Sparks’s pink pj’s, the kind with a hundred anorexic sheep thundering over fences. There’s a well worn nicotine patch secreted to my fore arm and I feel great.

Winning the Snape case had been the eye opener I needed. It made me sit up and take stock of what I really wanted, where I wanted to be. Moving out of the city had been the best thing I ever did. Who’d have thought swapping court for running a B & B would have been so right. My fledgling pride and joy, on the edge of the village is an old weaver’s cottage; lime rendered brickwork with a beautiful garden and a trickling brook. And as I lay looking out of my window, I see the view tinged with early morning frost like thin threads of crystal shimmering in the sunlight or a hundred tiny spiders’ webs sewn together, and I can’t help but smile…..

 

Flashbacks – Part 1

It’s about eight thirty on a Monday morning, the fourth Monday in June as it happens. The Birthday of Henry ‘the Fonz’ Winkler and on this day in 1957, the day strawberry Blamange was first introduced into the UK. I’m smoking my second cigarette and feeling like crap, a strange acid type feeling that starts in the second half of your lower bowel and steadily rises until it reaches a crescendo affect at the back of your throat. Last nights party is ebbing into my brain, flickers of bad food mixed with equally bad company. I’m awake, hung over, starving and sore, and I don’t know why. I also don’t know why the bile rising from my stomach has a taste of honey. It’s everything the morning after the night before should be.

The bedroom of my apartment looks out onto the old canal route. It’s on the third floor of a converted paper mill, four stories high, made of bluestone and brick. High roofed, low lighted, wood floored with ceiling high windows and exposed brick walls. Yards of Egyptian cotton voile drape the 8ft high windows. Not only filling the room with an amazing amount of light but fantastic for people watching. This morning, it’s the power walkers mingled with the school shoes, the brief cases with the shopping trolleys. All seems calm, except for the orchestra playing in my head.

Then it hits me. I’m not alone. A shapeless mound buried nearby starts to stir. Yanking at the duvet, a vision of toned masculinity comes into frighteningly full view. For a second all I can focus on is the large morning glory winking at me across a well-formed thigh.

“Shit, who the hell is he”? my internal conscience screams in shame

“How much did I bloody drink”?

I scramble to the floor, clinging to the duvet and grab the mobile.

 

Another patch of city, another patch of time :

“Surrounded by an alleyway of tall red brick; weather beaten window frames cling to shattered remnants of glass.  Scattered rubbish litters the path and damaged street lamps shed small specks of light along the track. The stench of overflowing bins hits her nose with a ferocity all its own. Paranoia tells her to check again. She doesn’t dare, denial is the easier option. She quickens her pace…..

There it is again…  the sound…. footsteps. It chills her to the bone; there is no mistaking it this time. Quickly turning, a knee jerk reaction, she feels his hot breath skim across her cheek, almost tasting it.  Rancid. Heavy. Frighteningly familiar. A wide smile stretches hideously across his face. Eyes like pools of evil, flicker with malice in the absence of light and his arms stretch high above his head, holding something hidden behind the shadows.  “No please…Please no…Please!” she screams, losing her footing as she falls back against the red brick.

Then darkness.”

 

Locked in the bathroom waiting reinforcements, the heavy rectangular mirror standing loose against the wall mocks my shame as I scan the remnants of last night’s mascara.

“Where have I gone?”

I don’t recognise the face staring back. Maybe that’s a good thing.

“What happened to Sarah Green?”

Life, opportunity and money happened to Sarah Green I thought as I hear Jenny, my hardly ever at home flat-mate forcefully removing last night’s night cap.

“God, what did I do last night” I thought to myself,

Well actually it was more like “who, did I do?” but at 10am on a Monday morning I’m not ready for answers, neither am I ready for work,

“Shit” better get in the shower.

 

 Another patch of city, another patch of time :

 She opens her eyes to the bleak light and muted sounds coming from nearby. Every inch of her screams with torment. Raising a weak arm to her head, her fingers touch the still warm blood from the open wound across her brow. Blurred images smudge against the insides of her eyelids. Dirt and blood congealed like random ink blots on carbon paper, cover her torn blouse.  Slowly rising she reaches for her missing shoe, the strap torn in two and the heel bent back on itself. She has to get out of there.

 A vivid flashback hurls itself forward, forcing a wave of bile to surge up from her stomach. The acid stings at her lungs, ravaging her tender torso. She wipes away the vomit as best she can. Clawing at the wall for support she feels her way out of the darkness and into the open. Desperately scouring the anonymous faces, her pace quickens into a sprint, her exhausted body straining to hold on.

Then darkness……….

                                

Out of the shower I head for the living room. The air is heavy with stale smoke and the last nights half eaten Chinese. The sofas are minus cushions, and the sculpture from the pedestal stand in the corner is somehow upside down in the wicker basket. I walk through to the kitchen and reach for the coffee Jenny’s left on the breakfast bar. I gulp at it while trying to manoeuvre my legs into a pair of tights.

“Bugger” as a ladder rises from my ankle to my thigh.

Walking over to the breakfast bar, Jenny slides her hand across the empty pedestal stand. Her green tinged eyes and beaded lashes hidden by a mop of jet coloured curls, wearing an oversized sweater that hides a perfect figure. I sense her disappointment and I feel myself tensing. That feeling you get when you’ve just been caught putting a chocolate lime in your mouth at the pick and mix. There was silence. I look at Jenny. Jenny looks at me. Her eyes become thoughtful. She polishes the counter and sighs then leans down on her elbows.

“Want to talk” she asks hesitantly.

My heart is racing, my palms clammy

“No, I’m fine” I shoot back, then quickly add “but thanks”.

Today’s going to be hard. Analysing it with a hangover and the memory of last night’s anonymous guest isn’t going to help. I pick up my car keys, files, phone,

“Shit, where’s my bloody phone”

“Good luck”, shouts Jenny to the slam of the oak veneered door.

 

Another patch of city, another patch of time :

Her heavy eye lids lift to the scent of antiseptic tinged with stale drink and urine. A sense of loathing coursing through her veins. A strange cold sensation seeping beneath her skin. The more she strains her memory, the less she knows. Exposing herself to self-hatred, yet not knowing if she deserves it. She isn’t sure where she is, or how she got there, she just remembers the flash of blue and the paramedics that had swathed her in a blanket. The nurse draws back the curtain, the crispness of her clean blue uniform heightened by the florescent lighting that flickers overhead. She catches sight of the police officer sat in the corner. A look of sympathy washing over his face, then disappearing again just as quickly, She can’t shake the voices swirling in her brain, the sound of laughter, a taunting familiar laughter.

Then darkness…………

 

Part 2 here

Love Is….

love heart

 Original Photo : www.flickr.com/photos/dskley/6873835829

*

Love is your eyes that squint when you smile,

And the ruffle of your hair, not brushed in a while,

It’s the smell of your scent that seeps in my pillow,

And the warmth on my sheets still left by your shadow,

*

Love is the kindness that shows in your face,

And the look of belonging, we’re in the right place,

It’s the laughter we share and the tears that you heal,

And whenever I fall it’s your arms that I feel,

*

Love is your kiss that I taste on my lips,

And the thirst that you quench with steadying sips,

It’s the need that you feed without being asked,

And the want that you quell without any mask,

*

Love is not loving you for all that you do,

Love is just loving you because you are you.