Buried Truth

Time again for Al’s Sunday Photo Fiction. A weekly photo prompt to generate 100 – 200 words of creative fiction based on each weeks photo. Another of the prompts that’s easily addictive. Get yourself over and have a go.

?????????????????????

The first pebble represented wealth; Jenny rolled it in her palm running her thumb and forefinger over the smooth patena.

The second represented truth; she clutched it in her palm and sealed her fingers tightly round the stone.

The third was knowledge; knowing too much was what had brought her on this holiday.

The fourth was compassion; she skimmed over it without picking it up.

The fifth was forgiveness; she hesitated but skimmed past that one as well.

The sixth was renewal; she picked it up and passed it back and forth between each hand.

The seventh was the future; it sat in her outstretched palm, the rough edges seeming to burn into her skin. She dropped it back into the sand as if it had been on fire.

“What a load of crap” she blistered, pushing past the others and the strange little monk who’d been showing them around. She went back to the coach muttering about a waste of money and time. A tiny bead of sweat slipped down her forehead, then another and another. She opened her hand to scratch the itch that was driving her mad, and a faint hint of orange spread across her palm. Letters slowly formed in her skin,                                  K    I    L    L    E    R.

She thought of her husband Jeff, buried under the patio with a 10inch steak knife in his back. Her hand got suddenly warmer.

Advertisements

The Trunk – Part 3

$_57

Part 1

Part 2 

Sally reached for the wine glass and took another drink. Looking back at the letter, she read it for a second time,

“……………….I watched for your train, and the next. I waited under the clock for 3 hours before I realised you were not coming. Why Julia? Why let me hope, and then take it away as you did before? I explained my search was for answers, not recriminations. I have no wish to cause you pain but I fear my own sanity relies on your honesty……………….”   

If Julia was his mother, why didn’t she go, how could she leave him standing there, waiting? Three hours watching trains come in, then go out, people rushing past, never stopping. The first letter was so formal, but this one seemed more personal, there was pain in his words, she could feel it. Although they were strangers Sally felt strangely drawn to their story. She sat back, closing her eyes, picturing the woman who never arrived.

May 1941 –

The deafening sound of the roof collapsing drowned out the screams from the others in the shelter. A ball of fire whooshed upwards as concrete and tiles rained down on the crowd. Julia stayed knelt against the wall, her eyes tightly shut and her hands pressed hard against her ears. The noise was painful.

Coughing and brushing debris and what else from her hair, she looked up to find two men stood near. Their mouths were moving but she couldn’t hear what they were saying. They came closer, looking directly at her, their mouths still moving but their voices couldn’t penetrate the deafness in her ears. She groped unsteadily behind her trying to re-orientate herself in the darkness. A third man came forward, past the other two and put an arm around her waist, lifting her up, away from the wall.

The noise in her ears started to fade and she heard him call out to the other two men. “We gotta get outta here Mick, grab the bags and meet me back at Joes” The other two guys nodded, darted a look at each other and gestured to Julia.  “She’s hurt, I’ll just make sure the A.R.P’s get her, I’ll catch you up” The tone of his voice enough to get the other two moving and climbing over debris a second later, although she noticed a look between the two that suddenly added to her fear.

Lifting her, he half dragged, half propelled her over the scattered brick work and out into the street. Julia looked up at the darkened sky, angry and red above the fires blazing around them. There was a shroud of what looked like pink smoke, and now and again through a hole in the pink veil an absurdly, reassuring evening star. Her mind finally caught back up to speed. She looked at the dark haired man at her side, and swept her body quickly away from his hold. “Thank you, but I’m fine now, you can remove your arm from my waist” she raised her eyebrow expectantly, waiting for him to immediately release her. He didn’t.

His eyes, blacker than any she’d ever seen before, seemed wide with indignation, also humour she thought. He was laughing at her, she knew it, and she could feel it. She looked at him, about to repute him, but what could she say “I don’t like the tone of your eyes” for god sake the raid had left her demented. Then he smiled, a smile so incredible that her legs went weak and she almost swooned right back to him. He pulled her close, twisting a loose curl between his fingers; he brushed his lips over her ear and whispered ……

Come back next time to see what he said…………………………..

The Trunk – part 1

$_57

Wrestling with her conscience Sally let the faded silk ribbon trail between her fingers. Traces of a rich blue azure still marked the underside as she teased the texture between her thumb and her forefinger. She dropped the bundle on the coffee table as if touching it would burn her hands. Letting go of the ribbon she sat back on the sofa, chewing on her lip; the bundle of letters like a beacon flashing on the coffee table.

Although it wasn’t a coffee table at all really, just an old leather luggage trunk she had found in the attic when she’d first moved in. The attic hadn’t looked like it had been used in decades, so she really didn’t know where the trunk had come from or how long it had been there.  But when she’d been searching for bits to furnish the flat, she’d fallen in love with it. She’d already spent months scouring the flea markets and charity shops for ‘classy chic’ which in reality had turned into ‘classy cheap’.  So the old trunk had been perfect. There had never been a key, until today.

She had been foraging in the attic again when she found a carefully folded piece of linen; an embroidered handkerchief with a trail of tiny violets wrapped around the initials, J.W. She’d opened the hankie and a key had fallen onto her lap. She had somehow known what the key was for. Back in the lounge she’d carefully placed the key in the lock and turned; the expectant silence broken by a tiny click inside the trunk. She’d stilled. Opening the lid with a touch of trepidation, excitement catching her breathe, speeding it up and making her hands a little sweaty and unsteady.

Inside, the lining was worn and barely discernable against the wooden framework. The trunk had been empty and she swallowed her disappointment. Until she spotted a bundle pressed tightly into a corner at the base of the trunk. She lifted it out, twenty or so envelopes wrapped with ribbon. Sally felt an involuntary shudder somewhere deep inside, like someone had just walked over her grave. She closed the lid, holding the letters in her hand. Then she put them down on the table and sat back.

She looked over at the bundle, her curiosity going into overdrive as she reached for her glass, downed the contents and picked up the letters again. She gingerly pulled the ribbon, loosening the knot, letting the silk float to the floor. The one on top had a worn red stamp in the left hand corner ‘Return to Sender’. She gently flicked through the pile, noticing the same faded stamp on each. She pulled her feet up onto the sofa, tucked her legs underneath and opened the first letter.

Check back next time to see what it said……………………………………….

One Knight Is Enough

Another Sunday and another Sunday Photo Fiction, a weekly flash fiction prompt based on the photo  below. The idea is to write a piece of fiction of around 100-200 words.

Why not give it a go, just click on the link to add your story to the list.

43-01-january-19th-2014

Jenny had been sat on the banking for the last hour. The afternoon sun was trailing a blanket across her back and she’d taken her shoes off to feel the warm grass under her feet.  She’d been watching the tourists milling round the church, following the path to the old north wall and the beautiful stained glass up above.

The tourists thought of knights of old and maidens and dragons, Jenny thought of Tom. He once told her he was her knight in shining armour and she’d believed him. She’d also believed him the first time he’d cheated. She’d done the same the second and third time. But last night she finally accepted the truth.

She hadn’t even waited for his usual excuses. She’d read the texts, thrown his mobile back at him and left. Oh, she hadn’t been so strong that the pain hadn’t tore through her heart, but as any 300 year old witch will know, payback is a great healer. She looked up at the stained glass window and smiled. She wondered if any of the tourists realised that the window had an extra panel today…..

Day 30 – The Ice Globe

 

For more years than anyone could ever remember, the scene had never once changed. Or so it was always believed. Inside a small bevelled dome, rising high towards the stars was a town encased in glass, forever in winter. Little coloured buildings, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker all covered in a white cotton snowfall, no sun would ever thaw.

Where tiny flecks of glitter would shimmy and sparkle off reflective white ice. Tiny painted windows, and coloured glass panes, illuminated the houses for curious wide eyes. Children in mittens and scarves tightly wrapped, run through a carpet of powdered white grass. A boy with a snowball in his tiny clasped hand looks to another and plans his attack. Three little girls, in loose woollen hats, roll a large ball across to the flat. Two clumps of coal and a carrot lay close, waiting to awaken the snowman, we suppose.

A woman in grey, with a thick woven shawl stands by a window and studies its wairs. Inside the shop a little toy train track follows the curve of the glass fronted bay. A shiny black carriage is stalled at the station. The face of the woman is held in refrain, hope and despair are pained in her eyes. Christmas is coming and no money to spare; she could never buy the present she knew that he craved.

A pair of young lovers in an open top carriage steer a clear passage through a trail of white velvet. Their hands are entwined and hidden from view. A ring in his pocket, he would propose, she knew. Up to the church, that sits on a hill, a tower and a steeple, and a bell in pure gold. Their secret would out and all would be told.

A white haired old lady sits by her bed; her gnarly thin fingers show the life that she’s led. She holds the globe tightly, against her weak chest.  Her ruby red slippers on over-puffed feet tap to a melody that plays in her head. It was her time to go, she knew it was so. A long life of plenty, now the curtain must fall. As she closed her eyes slowly and breathed her last breath, with the glass covered globe still held to her chest.

Her family held a yard sale not many years later and a small girl of eight with moonlight coloured curls picked up the globe and held it real close. Every night before bed she would look at the scene and whisper her stories to the people inside. She loved all the people, the children and the shops. But her favourite part of all was the smiling young lady with the ruby red slippers. She danced in the snow and smiled just for her.

You, Me and a Cheese Sandwich

Day 21 Prompt – He or she sees their crush in a library. Describe the incident.

 

It was a quarter to six and Sheila was on her own in the main library. The only other people were the six or seven members of the Tuesday night painting class that were in one of the little meeting rooms upstairs. Sheila stood behind the counter and waited, fighting the ache that was strumming in her forehead. She put her hands flat on the desk, palms down, spreading her fingers as wide apart as she could, stretching them ever wider till she felt the sting. She knew the pain would dull the pressure in her head, it always did. She’d known that for a long time now. Pain was good; pain took away the fear and made tiny little lightning bolts sizzle in her blood.

She looked at the clock, then at the stairs, her eyes flitting wildly between the two. The hands of the clock slowly moved on, seven fifty four. A tiny bead of sweat settled on her brow, she didn’t move. She focused on the second hand hitting its target and moving to the next. She spread her fingers wider. The skin pulled tight, nearly opaque and a second bead of sweat merged with the other. She welcomed the pain.

Seven fifty five, she shot a glance back at the stairs. He always finished the class just before eight. They were coming down; chatting, laughing, heads huddled close. A haze of colour hit the corner of Sheila’s eye, shades of red and vivid blue, patchwork bags and floating skirts mingled into a mass of motion descending the open cased stairwell. Nobody looked her way. The browns and the fawn of her heavy set two piece made her almost invisible against the backdrop of books on the dark shelving behind her.

As the heavy front doors shut loudly behind the departing group, Sheila felt herself relaxing. She lifted her hands and let the pins and needles seep through her fingers. She closed her eyes for a second, savouring the discomfort of the blood rushing back into her fingers. A heady surge of pleasure hit between her legs. She shuddered.

Then she saw him, the teacher,  Jack Marsden; the one man she had loved all her life, the only man who would ever really know her. She knew he felt the same, or he would once he realised it was destiny and they were meant to be together. She would make sure he knew. She shuddered again. With the key in his hand he raised his arm to the lock and the muscular shape of his back stretched tautly against his T-Shirt. She could see him sideways on and caught the side of his square cut chin, the tiny indent of a dimple that flickered in his cheek and the sexy little lines at the corner of his eyes. He turned around without looking up and absently dropped the key into the safe box by the door. He still had his head down, rummaging through his backpack as he came down the stairs. Sheila didn’t move. She watched the stone wash of his jeans strain against his well-defined quads as he took the stairs in clean solid movements.

He still had his hands in his bag and head down as he left, too busy to notice Sheila grabbing her handbag, flicking off the computer and following him out. Once outside Sheila quickly double locked the library doors, dropped the keys into her handbag and pulled the collars of her overcoat up against the bitter night air. She watched Jack continue to search for something inside his back pack as he turned the corner and out of sight. Sheila gave a quick check in her handbag, yes everything there, snapped it shut and followed him round the corner.

She knew the route, she’d followed it a thousand times. She knew every shop that they passed, every car that was parked in the resident only parking bays and every window of the converted mill that overlooked the canal.  She twisted slightly in the darkness and went over on her ankle. She flinched and grabbed for the corner of a bench that sat on the towpath. She sat down and re-arranged the strap of her sensible brown work shoe, rubbing her ankle and cursing the council for the state of the pavement. Then she saw the light go on in his apartment. She straightened up and sat back on the bench opening her bag. She reached in, her eyes never leaving the 2nd floor room. She laid the bundle on her knees and slowly un-wrapped it.  Picking up one of the cheese sandwiches she took a bite then reached for the flask of tea she’d made earlier. She was always prepared.

Sheila was just about to reach for the other half of the sandwich when she saw the second shadow inside the apartment. She froze for a second, and then went for the binoculars in her bag. Her hands twisted tightly round the frame and the pressure in her head came back. She caught the silhouette of a woman move towards the window and saw Jack close the distance between them. Shelia twisted her hands tighter. Then she saw them kiss. Sheila swallowed. Her hand went back into the handbag and she felt the cold steel edge of the knife as it razored across her fingers. She gripped the blade harder and welcomed the pain.

Sheila’s mother always used to say “be prepared” and Sheila always listened to her mother. After all it was mother who said she would marry Jack Marsden, they were seven and neighbours before dad left with Aunty Mary and they had to move house. They never found out who stabbed Aunty Mary outside the bingo hall eight years later, or why a half- eaten cheese sandwich was left at her side. Sheila stood up, straightened her coat and walked towards the apartment, knife in one hand and cheese sandwich in the other.