June 14, 2011 § 13 Comments
After ordering her usual small black coffee, Margaret sat alone at their usual table for the first time in her life. It had taken her two years to find the courage to come alone. It had been that long since her husband Ralph had mysteriously disappeared off the coast of Normandy in 1940.
Coffee rationing was imminent and Margaret was taking advantage of what was to be her last coffee for quite some time. Absorbing every memory and feeling, she hoped somehow, would bridge the void in her heart.
A single large tear rose from the corner of her eye. It was a tear of both joy and sorrow. Ralph had been a loving husband, she could never forget how wonderful he was. He was a caring, doting father. He is missed by all, but mostly by Margaret, his loving wife of 20 years.
The memories of a thousands happy conversations, soft tender touches and deep loving gazes into each others eyes, across their table, were still heavily prominent in her mind. As she gazed down at the dying swirls from the last stir of her spoon, she questioned everything the M.O.D had told her.
Nothing added up, she repeated in her mind, drowning out the bustle of other coffee shop residents. But there was nothing she could do. Colonel Tenet had warned her on the day of the hearing. The world was at war and her problems paled in significance, sorry but that the truth of the situation – he coldly added.
Margaret had fought the M.O.D for over a year to find out the truth of her husbands disappearance. Putting her new marriage, the bond with her children and her fading health at even greater risk. The situation had consumed her.
Margaret stood, shaking with bated breathe, infront of the M.O.D council as Tenet spoke. She had stayed strong throughout the whole affair and to hear Tenet’s words brought a darkness and loss over her. She fell forward onto her knees, no longer able to stand. She held her heavy head in her hands and cried uncontrollably. The situation had obviously taken its toll. She surrendered her faith, feeling lost, helpless and unsupported. None of the attendees moved to help, only watching blankly at the unfurling proceedings.
The echoes of silence were heavy in the brooding air. Margaret was left in a heap on the dusty wooden floor. Tenet respectively looked on and tried to empathise with the feelings, the pain and the anguish Margaret would be feeling. “What have I done?” he deliberated.
Tenet slowly rose from his seat. Quietly walked from the bench into the back room of the courtroom and closed the door behind him. “It’s done”. He cursively announced.
“Good . . . . jolly good. So, she thinks I’m dead? Are you sure?” Agent Ralph Peters retorted. A single large tear rose from the corner of his eye. “So it’s over, she can move on, good . . . . jolly good”.
After the passing of some time, she summoned the strength to leave the courtroom. Slowly make her way down Whitehall towards Kings Cross Station. She boarded the 14:32pm to Pickering and headed home to pick up the pieces of her fractured life.
It seemed the longest train journey of her life. Margaret thought many times of getting off at any other station than her home one. But the thought of leaving her children, the children she had with Ralph, kept her going. She parted from the empty cold mists of Pickering station and made her way through the town to the corner of Willowgate and Burgate to their favourite coffee shop. Maybe it’s time to move on and put this behind me, she mused and paused before opening the coffee shop door breaking the wartime silence of the streets, allowing the stir of the shops occupants out into her new life.
After ordering her usual small black coffee . . . . . . .
This piece was inspired by prompt “She thinks I’m dead” on the bekindrewrite site from their InMon xvi page. I have just started writing. I am using my blog to experiment and find my natural style. I would love to hear your thoughts. I hope you enjoy!
May 21, 2011 § 7 Comments
There was a girl, one of five that summer, alone. There had been so many before her, too many in my wavering opinion. It wasn’t my fault, location added to my appeal. I was in the centre of beautiful woodland, picturesque surroundings and it was remote. If we needed privacy, we would certainly get it here. However, she was definitely the prettiest of them all – I declare. I will never forget her beauty or how her lustrous skin felt as we touched for the first time.
On this particular summer’s morning, she stopped for longer than usual. She stood, silently staring across the unbroken, tranquil surface of the manor’s deepest lake, where I lay.
The morning sun shone across her troubled brow. For a solitary moment, I felt a deeply, undisturbed hope, things would be different this time. Her long blonde hair, flowing, shimmering gold in the dawning sun and refracting only the happiest of moments from within. The summer dress she wore complimenting her eternal beauty. Her gazed expression was not of sorrow but emptiness, of tiring lonely emptiness.
She had lost unconditional connection with other souls, left hollow by the passing of her loving parents. Unable to reconstruct the fragments of her fractured existence, she was lost in an eternal longing for untroubled times and a second of serenity. I knew, in empathy, as I had done so many times before her, I could guide her and help her through these troubled and tormented times.
Suddenly, the once calm breeze of the summer morning was broken by a tempest wind. The tree tops playfulness and the settled foliage of the forest floor shattered by gusts of deviant air. The chaos of her summer dress broke this once tranquil scene, exacerbating the confusion of her mind. The beautiful girls angelic expression echoed the troubles of her turbulent life.
As I rushed towards her, for a seemingly endless moment, quiescent she stood, defiant in her desires for resolution. Then, in a butterfly’s heartbeat, she stepped forward releasing and spreading her troubled hands like the wings of an angel. Taking a lasting breath, she left the security of the broken bridge and the shattered pieces of her broken life.
There was a moment. An irreplaceable moment, where all hope was lost, where the peace of what she longed for, disappeared, forever. A moment where the last breathe of a beautiful girl signalled the inevitable akin of two entities. A soul, lost in purposefulness and a body, desirous to guide her to the depths of everlasting peace.
As she crashed through my surface, our bodies met, and our existences collided, the silence of her breath was broken with the deafening sounds of my despair. I could do no more. I was helpless to comfort her in whatever she had known. All I can do is smother her and encapsulate her in my compassion, my empathy and my flowing love.
For, what seems an eternity, her heartbeat slows to the rhythm of my ebb. We hold each other, we gaze, we dance, we kiss and we comfort one another. I look deep into my beautiful angels eyes, they reflect and refract the piercing rays of sunshine from my surface for the last time.
The final rays of hope and light are diminishing as we fall deeper into each other and inevitably become one.
Before her soul departs, her life is lost in my tenebrous abyss and she fails to hear my timeless song I whisper to her departing soul, the words I often spoke, comforting her last breath. Words she longed to hear in her mortal form, ‘My fallen angel, your sufferance will be lost with me, forever, in my eternal comforting embrace’.
May 20, 2011 § 4 Comments
The 3pm drive into the village was an hair-raising one to say the least, from the tight and even tighter 90 degree turns of the roads to the seemingly aimless sheep who, through some unfathomable sense of divine navigation, had decided to adorn the middle of the bending meandering B roads like fallen, unkempt clouds.
With a few more turns, twists and titchy tiny hump backed bridges came the entrance to the campsite, or rather the gates to a darker, less favourable, outdoor living experience.
The surroundings looked excellent, the canal – with its boats, yachts and barges – looked idyllic. Was this the holy grail of campsites? Had we found the Shangri-La of camping? And on my birthday too, this was the beginning of a successful year of travelling heaven . . . or so I thought, would all my hopes, wishes and dreams be dashed? I was only 300m from knowing the horrible truth.
The smell . . . it was the eternal odour of decay, death and disease. The burning smells, the animal smells, the smouldering flesh from the barbeque smells, the stench was rank, it was all wrong, it was all right-now.
Greeted by a dog, at least it appeared to be a dog. On closer inspection, it only had 3 legs, its left ear was missing and one good eye. It was and still is a dog of whose description escapes me – I am still shocked. It looked like its last meal would have been remains of Lucifer’s last supper. It hobbled around trying to follow our wallowing van into the second gates. The gates that signalled the last chance to get the hell out of there and to get out of they’re alive. Not that anyone would ever survive getting out of somewhere not alive or dead.
The last few gear changes, the last few rotations of the wheels and turns of the steering wheel, revealed the gate master, the keeper of the camp-yards deepest and darkest secrets. She, the one who covets the gold and silver the weary travellers wish to part with for a piece of camping nirvana.
“Herrrlllo” was the greeting from the withered lips below the crooked nose on her tarnished face.
She couldn’t have been taller than 4 feet tall, slightly built with long brown scruffy hair. She didn’t have anything on here feet apart from dog mess and chicken droppings. Not the type of shoes you could find on the shelves of Barratts Shoes, wearing a brown cardigan that looked like it had been made from the pelt of the campsites previous dog – it smelled like it too. I couldn’t follow directly behind her; I had to follow just to the left with my head in the air to get a fresh breath to stop the stink building up on the inner walls of my nose.
“Thiiiissss waaaay”, she crowed
“Am I ok to leave my van here?” I nervously answered
“It’s aaalllll gooooood” was her response, then she turned and walked away.
With a building sense of dread, regret and tense nervousness I couldn’t shake – I left the security of the van and made my way to the doorway of the wooden shack from which all transactions were executed, for want of a better expression.
Time seemed to expand, things outside looked to me as if they were being distorted, was this nerves? Was it some strange bend in evil time I was experiencing? Oh I wanted to be in my van again. Oh I wanted to be at another campsite. But I was here, I was going to survive, it wasn’t in my ever-crumbling nature to give in, to relent.
“How much do I owe you?”, there was no turning back now, I had created the first bond with the demon, was she a demon? Or was she simply an innocent old lady trying to make a living and provide expectant travellers a warming place to stay in the wilderness? I don’t think so. She-shaman-demon-hose-beast would be more fitting.
There was a cat, glaring, smelly striped feline of evil. I went to stroke it, it let out a screech, a noise so disturbing it could be used to signal the start to the end of all time. Maybe it was, maybe this was the last time I would be camping, living outdoors, experiencing any camper recreational bliss. I would soon find out.
She-demon appeared from nowhere, “Fifteeeeen poouuunds!” she barked. I nearly jumped out of my, already crawling, undulating skin. While I was outlining my spiritual demise, she had summonsed the toll for my stay from the devils dowry.
I handed her a crisp twenty-pound note, which I have acquired from the ATM in the previous village. Her eyes gazed upon it like it was some kind of extraterrestrial monetary offering.
“Fiiiiive pooouuunds chaaaaange!” she had done her maths, she was from this planet, thank god– or was it a rouse? So many questions. I hardly had room in my brain for the sense I would need to survive this leg of my journey.
I removed the five pounds change from her unwashed, wizened old hand quicker than a hare going round a dog track, she didn’t even see my hand move. I just wanted to get away from her before she turned me into a large, wet slimy toad. I didn’t even want to hang around long enough to check if the note was from this century or a darker time where paying the ferryman was as regular as the plague.
With a final screech and scrawk from the cat and a final exhale of my own clean breath I left the cabin.
“Theeere iiis yoooour pllllot” was the final banshee moan from the old woman as she pointed to a spidery-branched bush with an crushed orange traffic cone behind it. Why I heard “weeellllcommme to Saaallloms lllllot”, I do not know. Maybe it was the sounds that resembled the devils garden all around me, maybe it was the stares from all of the farm yard and domestic animals everywhere I turned, whichever it was it was nurturing the dark thoughts whirring around my head and they weren’t subsiding.
“Are you happy with your site?”, before I’d reversed the van into the bumpy, potholed pitch, a voice from half-a-toyota-rav-four hollered.
With a puzzled look on my face, “er . . . . its fine thanks, is this all yours” I replied, looking around and pointing at the grounds, animals, strange woman in the cabin and with nervous anticipation of any sort of recognisable response.
“Yup, unfortunately!” looking as if he’s been landed with sorting out the national debt in an hour, “It’s all mine” Then he drove off towards the cluster of caravans and campers that adorned the entrance when I arrived.
Without hesitation I climbed back in my van, turned the key and put it into gear. There was no measurable time between me getting the van going to actually being on the pitch with the electric hook-up plugged in and the doors of the van locked and me safe inside. I felt like a 12 year old after watching Jaws for the first time, I felt stupid. All this was in my head but yet the fear was still there, but still felt I should be hiding behind a sofa somewhere, not here facing this horror.
“Bugger!” I needed a pee. Why now? What a time to need a pee. Should I play it safe and use a pot-noodle container instead? It was a king-sized pot-noodle container, it would definitely hold but I would still have to discard it. “Damn! – I need to go for a wee!”
I played the whole journey, to the shower block, over in my mind.
Get out of the front door, drivers door. Lock it with the key that has “FB”on it. Be sure to have it ready. Have the shower block key in the other hand. Quickly open the van door, lock it behind me. Walk briskly to the shower block, making sure not to walk in an animal remains or droppings, get into the shower room, got to the loo, wash hands. Head down another brisk walk on the opposite direction to the van, get in, lock the door . . . . . safe and bloody well sound.
What actually happened was; I fell out of the van, dropped the keys, walked into a pile of dog poo and tripped over the steps to the shower block. I couldn’t find the right shower room, no loo roll when I finally did, no soap, barely any water. Slightly stressed, I walked back to the van after a very satisfying pee – washed the dog poo from my shoes, got back in the van, crawled into my sleeping bag . . . .safe and bloody well sound . . . . until night time.
It’s 8pm before I actually settle and stop peering out of the window to see if someone’s tampering with the van, the bikes or my sanity. The strange looking cluster of well-embedded caravans that welcomed me when I arrived are still active with the joys, merriment and ruckus of a teen party gone wrong, when will it end? The dogs are barking. Are they the beasts that call the demons to their nightly endeavours?
It is now 11pm, the ducks are still squawking, the dogs are the still barking, the demons are still screaming and I am sitting in horrid anticipation of a night of debauchery and din and, honestly, I am shitting myself.
Will I survive till morning? If this is my last line of text and I haven’t written anything else . . . . . then no, I was right and this was the hell site of all campsites, get my body out of here.
I wrote this while sitting in my campervan on my birthday this year. It was an interesting time, to say the least.It is only a draft – a germ of an idea. Let me know what you think of my writing. I will use your comments to improve. Thank you in advance.