No One Was in The Room But the Corpse

The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse. –War in Heaven by Charles Williams

The writing readers prompt from last year was ‘take the first line of the above and begin.’ A refreshed version of my original waits to see if you like my take on it, a very different direction for me and my first stab at writing this year.

The telephone was ringing wildly but without result since there was no-one in the room … but the corpse. I fumbled for my passcard hands fidgeting in each pocket. Once located I waved it in front of the fob. The panel slid left to reveal an image collector, the incessant ring made my ears throb. I pressed my eye to the lens then a swish, the security glass door released. Ring, ring, ring, “Shut up” I shouted as it continued to break the silence. Before a console, I stopped, slid my fingers in the fixed knuckle duster like holder. I hear it ping and pull my fingers free; wipe them clean on the dispensed tissue. I grasped the handle; one twist and I was in.

” Whoever chose this green antique needs hanging.” I say to the room as I unbutton my coat tug at my scarf pushing them together on the hook, ‘ring ring, ring ring’ … “Shut the bugger up.” It rang on while I fastened a white coat; covered it with a rubber apron, pulled surgical gloves into place, once the mask at my neck was tied I was ready for action.

My journey to the wildly ringing beast took forever with polythene goloshes over my shoes. snatched the handset from the cradle as it stopped. An eerie peace fell over the room my heartbeat seemed to echo and bounce off the white walls.exasperated I went to the trolley, wrapped the mike around my ear and began.

“I am unzipping the shroud from the cadaver, still warm to the touch 12° Celsius, samples drawn, toxicological, biochemical and genetic testing is underway along with fluid samples. It is 0600 hours 23rd December 2050, twenty-eight hours since dispatch.   X-ray’s, MRI and cat scans completed, copies have been sent by secure imaging to (SIS) and Downing Street.”

My mind focussed and the world shutout once in the flow, the zone I let nothing else penetrate. “External examination. The outer coating as seen has a prominent vein-like structure running just below the dermal membrane. The outer layer has an ashen tinge with some oedema present, on each of the four limbs and rear appendage. Three elongated digits on each limb at angles. Soft tissue is uncovered; no nail or nail bed present; professor  Jacobs breaking off at 8.22.”

‘Click’ I pull the microphone from my ear and place it (still running) on the trolly, peel off my gloves and bin them; I rotate my shoulders and stretch my neck feeling a silent click release. In the office area, I open the fridge and retrieve some water. My backside hit the chair; my mind took over. This way of working was intense.

The situation was unbelievable, I still hadn’t got my head around any of it. A car came for me and the official secrets act was sworn and signed before a QC across the City, recalling the facts; seemed so surreal now. I shook my head and stood up stretching. With no time to waste, I set to, putting my mind to the task.

The external exam complete, I was ready to begin the cut. This part of the process was to be documented and observed by an external anatomical pathology scientist. On reaching for the phone it began to ring, I physically jumped, the sound echoed around me, once I was steady I picked up the receiver. “Professor Jacobs lab” three, four minutes passed with me repeating the greeting, I stared down the earpiece; willing a reply. I was squinting so hard my head hurt; it felt uncomfortable, I dropped the phone back on the cradle. My frown stayed when I dialled reception, I was massaging my temples with a free hand, ‘click’ … “Jacobs lab here, I got cut off? Please re-connect my caller.” … Silence ensued “Hello, hello.” There was dead air, no background noise, which would be normal in a busy reception. Once again the handset replaced and my face wore it’s now familiar frown. Throwing a pencil on my desk I said to the room “Sheila’s probably doing her nails… I’ll collect the observer myself while she calls the tech to fix the damn phone, who knows I may get a smart one ‘Huh,’ I logged out once more and walked to the lift. Once more the phone ‘rang and rang and rang, and rang’  but no one was in the room but the corpse.

http://www.animatedimages.org/.

What did you think was occurring? Let me know in the comments, I will get back quick smart…

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What Colour is Christmas

Inside a tiny house, nestled in the suburbs of London. Emma looked up at her Mum. “Mummy the sunshine in my picture,” she said pointing to the drawing on the fridge door. “It is sunshine colour, isn’t it? The grass, with Daddy and Mummy, it is grass colour… isn’t it?” A frown sat on her face as she waited for an answer. Emma’s neck was stretched to its full length, her lips pursed and a chubby finger was pointed at her drawing. Mary crouched beside her daughter and explained about colour and name. She drew a colour chart for her, while her little brother straddled Mary’s hip. Mary told her the colours of their clothes and the cushions on the sofa. During the day they sang songs and told stories, together drew rainbows to add to the already crowded fridge door. Emma and Tom Carpenter, went to bed that night tired and happy, knowing that tomorrow would be Christmas. Both anticipating the excitement and their children’s reactions to the parcels beneath the tree.

On Christmas morning Emma skipped into the Kitchen. “What colour is today mummy?” Mary lifted her head, wearing a huge smile. Her eyes crinkled as they met that face. Her five-year-old was clutching pencils and pursing her lips. Mary’s pride shone from her face, as she wiped her forehead with the back of her flour encrusted hand and bent to her daughter’s height. “What colour do you think it is?” Emma screwed her brow and as if contemplating the world and left the room.

Mary wiggled and hummed to the music on the radio as she cut the last sausage roll and wiped her hands on the tea towel stuck in her waistband. Throughout the house, the air was thick with the scent of pastry and cinnamon and the sounds of happiness. The question forgot in the excitement of the day.

Tom crawled up the hall chasing his new train blowing spit bubbles; giggling as he went.
Dad burst through the front door stamped his feet and brushed a light dusting of snow from his hair. Joe’s nose was red and he rubbed his hands briskly to warm them.”Kisses” he called as he smacked his lips and waved mistletoe above his head.”Kisses I want kisses” he roared. Emma and Tom rushed to be lifted in a sloppy lip smacking embrace.
There were lanterns, twinkling lights and paper decorations dangling from every space in the little house. Carols rang out from the kitchen radio and sparks snapped against the guard on their open fire.
Dropping everything Mary ran to join Joe for a kiss; Singing as she went. Flour covered kisses ended in chuckling and tickles. With all four sat breathlessly on the floor. Emma looked up into her Mothers eyes and quietly said
” I think the colour is Christmas mummy”.

This is a story I wrote a while ago, revamped, extended and wearing its very best party frock I have bought it back. I hope that you like it and it gives you all you need to put you firmly in the seasonal mood.

Merry Christmas to you all, followers, friends and visiting readers.

Do leave me a comment I love to chat.

My First Exquisite Dress.

I love the life of your hat,

I once had a dress like that.
All grace and glamour,
The boy’s would clamour
To glimpse the off shoulder
French fancy.

And me, at sixteen,
I learned how to preen
I perfected a wiggle,
A look over my shoulder,
But under my brows.

The dress held my joi de vivre
My confidence my class.
It was in the lace,
While I hid the blush
Upon my face.

My parisienne dress
wasn’t me.
But in it, I could be,
Entertaining and sweet.
They would fall at my feet,
And I could shoo them away.

Back then, when age was nothing
But a moment in time.
Confidence plucked from air
As the flower in my hair.
It was all so fleeting,
like a clandestine meeting.

A Seat In The Bleak.

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Thank you Sue Vincent for the photo this week and the opportunity.  Press here To join in this weeks prompt. #WritePhoto

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Bleak, some say this view is bleak, the empty to me isn’t empty. The sky speaks of things to come and hints at things just past. I gaze thoughtfully while digging deeper into my pockets dipping my chin so the zipper scratches my nose. My quiet contemplating place; perched on crag like a bird with its feathers ruffled. Hair whips my cheeks and stiffens in the biting wind. My eyes struggle to see as far as I want them to. But here, the whoosh of the sea, the lapping of water against rock and the voices on the wind … comfort me.

Hours pass with me inside my head, the imagery sharp as Italic ink on paper.  The sky darkens, reflections flicker, horses lick, their white manes they flash and curl atop the surf and I am reminded of where I am. Cleansed and at peace I raise myself, soles firmly grip into roughness of rock, gouging in to keep me from slipping as I head back.

At first barely a glimmer of light shines from the tiny house creeping between badly pulled curtains. The rusted swing squeaks in the wind; the taste of salt lingers. I open the oak door, stamp my shoes on the coconut matting and strip off the sodden outer layer. His head lifts and kind eyes take me in, his book thumps closed as he makes way for me to join him. Tom pats the cushion next the fire on the double club chair. “Come, let’s get you warm,” his eyes crinkle as they do when he looks into mine. “You look rested now, how anyone comes back from such a bleak unforgiving spot looking as you do … I will never know.” Tom rubbed my feet between his hands twisted a strand of salt encrusted hair behind my ear and said … ” I love you Eve.”

With all my worries blown into perspective, I inhale the stew I have cooking on the stove, the bread Tom has put to warm. “Shall we eat, then I will tell you a new fireside story, one brought to me on a gust of wind.” I say. We clatter to the table amidst the spitting of logs laughing at the days turn of events. Knowing tomorrow my bleak will refresh me once more.

Do you have a place? I would love to know, leave me yours in the comments.

 

A Frantic photo.

Capture 1

 

I watch a very attractive twenty-something girl, (youth is beauty after all) she poses outside a well-known emporium in London. I sip my tea as I catch a glimpse of the figure through the steamy window, across the street. Her task became clear as pedestrians moved on, leaving her in view.

She shot five, ten maybe twenty or more snaps, all with different sections of shopfront. The window dressing backdrops, all varieties of poses. There was lipstick on and off, a chin down and up, head to the right then left. One which surely was one side only with a book covering one eye. Hair combed, twisted, tucked and pulled.

My tea finished I walked across the street curious to see her closeup. I couldn’t help it, I smiled and said ‘the first one, you were far more beautiful in the first one.’ She came after me; touched my arm. ‘Sorry. but how do you know?’ She was agitated not quite cross but rattled. I pointed across the road ‘I was in the tea house and saw you clicking, taking shots with your phone … you were perfect in the first one.’

She scrolled fast through her gallery as she tip-tapped alongside. Until she shoved her i phone under my nose. ‘This one … why would it be the best, my nose looks long at that angle and my lips look dry, it isn’t the best at all.’ She was quite frantic, rushing her words, pushing her chest forward. ‘But your nose is the way it is, besides in the first one you were twenty-five minutes younger than the last, so it must be the best.’ I left her baffled as I went about my day. We are what we are regardless of the persona we show the virtual world. Our looks constantly change so each picture depicts a flash of what was; not a perfect shot of what is. The worry on the face of the young woman bothers me. Why the image was so important, it appeared imperative so stressful that I swear I heard palpitations and saw a fear in her eyes. I suppose the term ‘selfie syndrome’ will soon be another condition that parents have to watch for. It seems appearance is all, and ageing humans such as myself, women and men that have lives and deaths etched on our faces will be invisible. At least to the people

We are what we are regardless of the persona we show the virtual world. Our looks constantly change so each picture depicts a flash of what was, not a perfect shot of what is. The worry on the face of the young woman bothers me. Why the image was so important, it appeared imperative, so stressful that I swear I heard palpitations and saw a fear in her eyes. I suppose the term ‘selfie syndrome’ will soon be another condition that parents have to watch for. It seems appearance is all, and ageing humans such as myself, women and men that have lives and deaths etched on our faces will be invisible. At least to the people whose faces, they believe are the measure of them.

thank you unsplash for the use of the picture.

I would love your answer to the question … why was the perfect shot so important?

The End of Summer.

Especially for ‘A Scribble of writers’

I was distracted when it came in, what with moving house.

When Easter’s sun puddled chocolate; it seeped through the foil.

Life exhausted my bones, each sinew ached for rest, but on I’d toil.

Pleased to be in this lovely space where history would join with our taste, we’d make a home.

He’d gazed a face like this before. His eyes focused, periwinkle blue.

That doctor, one Summers day … he knew.

When sun and storms made gardens green, The well was clear and ducks shared our stream. I missed those days and slept it seems.

Through Summer, the missed paddles and golden dreams.

Summer season will be remembered,

As the one, I slept away.

The summer of

Misty minds

And forgotten

Days that was

The End Of Summer for me.

Autumn calls now, I hope not to miss the golden leaves the morning mists.

A bike to peddle the flab away on crisp voluptuous days like today.

I hope you enjoyed my freeform write, leave a word, I hope you might. #SundayBlogShare

Conversation With a Grandson

First, the name I answer to, when being called by five particular individuals in this world is, ‘Grandma Duck.’ Why, is a whole other story, that isn’t for now.

Grandson: ‘Grandma duck’

he said, while screwing up his ten year-old brow.

Me: ‘Yes love’

Grandson: ‘This thing, the Haemachroma thing that you have.’

Me: yes.

Grandson:

Well, Daddy said about the iron and the blood *screws fingers together in a spider-like fashion* and the … Jeans ( not typo), steps from one foot to another rapidly.

Me: Umm … Yes love, you know they aren’t jeans you put on your legs the sort that are cool and Grandmas shouldn’t wear. I pull him in under my armpit sqeeze gently and kiss the top of his ear … as Grandmas do.

Grandson:

*wipes ear and frowns* ‘I know that Grandma *sigh*.’ His brows shoot up and with staring eyes he faces me. ‘It is about science and cells and Genes, they group together, some from your Dad and some from your Mum when they are together’ … He stops for breath, pokes his top lip with his index finger and continues. ‘They made you, and both of them gave you a mutant Gene so you have two… mutants, to get the thing.’

Me:

Okay, sorry, you understand that nicely, well done. I squeeze again, just a tightening of my bicep to reinforce how proud I was of the grasp he had of a difficult subject.

Grandson:

So, now you have #Haemochromatosis. His face lit up, a smile spread like crunchy peanut butter on warm wholemeal toast. ‘Does that mean you are a real Mutant? an Alien, like from outer space?’

He looks like he would pee at any moment, I glance towards the front door, half expecting a dozen excited school friends armed with lazer light and nerf guns to burst through at any second, armed and ready to capture the mutant Alien Grandma.

Me:

I roll my eyes, ‘tsk’ ‘No!’ now wash your hands while I get your lunch.

Grandson:

Slaps loudly his unwilling feet on the floor, audibly sigh’s as he foams his delicate hands. With his bottom lip protruding in disappointment he tucks himself under the table.

Me:

Eat your soup then you can have a biscuit … *wink wink*

The things that children understand are I am certain much broader than when I was their age. But there is I think a special type of imagination when your almost all grown, which spans the years and defys definition.

Talk to me, what do you think, are they more grown up, knowledgable better informed … or does as I believe imagination still shine through tegardless.

Genetically Challenged.

We moved away to Somerset, we didn’t find our forever place so after four and a half years we sold up and moved back to Suffolk in the east of England in May 2017.

We threw ourselves into the refurbishing of our house. Well the truth is I didn’t actually do very much as I was exhausted The husband, who can turn his capable hands to most things began the project working flat out to make our home warm and dry.

Eventually, we thought to find a doctor, a dentist and an optician etc. A week of changing addresses, doing paperwork, joining electoral roles and collecting information took place.

During my new Doctor consultation (I thought him very thorough), a gamut of questions were fired at me, from under an arched and knowledgeable brow. Lots of poking and prodding, weighing, measuring and listening occurred. Squeezing, knocking and the questions went on for an exceedingly long time. Next, I was given bottles and forms to both fill and present to the hospital. This is where I cut to the chase and leave my usual shaggy dog story peacefully in its dog bed.

I had been to the doctors over the last four years with, the pains in my joints, falling asleep, that we all laughed about, the getting lost and my words muddled, the misty or foggy headedness, the heartburn and the chills I had when everyone else was warm, bouts of cystitus that I just couldn’t clear up.

All the above were individually poked fun at by family and friends, none more so than by me. Silly me, getting old, winding down getting a bit quirkier than I was before. It seemed, the harder I tried to get myself fit, the slower and crappier I felt … the more often I stayed in my pyjamas the more it became an Ellen thing, to be laughed at, I stopped saying I am too exhausted to get dressed.

I had my thyroid checked several times, my blood, cholesterol and sugars, to no avail. I was told to lose weight, about 20lb was suggested for optimum fitness. At this point the doctors (I had seen a few) I felt, were beginning to think I was lazy and wasting their time. They said, maybe it was taking early retirement, or I was depressed missing family and familiarity, but losing weight and getting fit would help. So on I struggled a sleepy, chilly, foggy headed woman who was more and more muddled, weak and in pain.

Well, I can tell you with some relief, that I am not lazy, fat or a hypochondriac, I have a genetic condition that has been very gratefully spotted by my new GP. How lucky was I to have moved and to have seen someone who knew what he was looking at. He noticed my bronzed skin which incidently makes me look super healthy. When your looks don’t pitty you it is hard to get acknowledgement. Then listened to my account of severe tiredness and sent me for the blood tests. Six hours later he phoned the house to explain that a DNA test was required to confirm the diagnosis. After weeks of waiting it was confirmed. I have Haemachromatosis, the Celtic disease, bronze diabetes or the Viking curse. For a condition that I had never heard of there are plenty of names.

Basically, I store iron, my blood then chucks it into my organs and tissue, the brain, liver etc. This toxic stuff causes havoc where ever it lands. There is no cure … but there is a treatment for which I am very grateful. And though scared, I will suck it up and get on with it. I won’t let it win or change me, it won’t define who I am. Still I smile, with damp eyes and a fighting spirit.

Since August, I have had needles and cameras in orifices I would have preferred not to, I’ve seen pictures of a few places … even I hadn’t seen before. I have been humbled by the kindness of medical people and scared by the condition and the vast amount of knowledge that I am unable to take in, but I am loved thoroughly by those who matter.

Here is the joke, you knew there would be one … I have a needle phobia, always have had and the treatment, the only treatment is Venesection. Blood letting, phlebotomy, removal of my toxic blood. Before we left for the first treatment the husband thought he would … relax me, he wore a wicked grin when he searched You Tube and had to wipe his eyes for the thirty minutes he played me Handcocks Half Hour, a comedy radio skit from 1961, where Tony Handcock donates blood.

One Venesection down and I didn’t disgrace myself, I am sucking it up! What the hell else can I do? So I guess right now, according to Tony Handcock I have an empty arm ‘Tah Dah boom!’

Every seven days a pint has to be removed until numbers drop and stabilise (how long is a piece of vein/ string). Then the gaps will widen to monthly and in a few months or years, maybe I can get down to four times a year with monthly blood tests. For now my toxic blood can’t be used and gets poured away. Once I am in maintenence it will be used and my donations will eventually help others. But basically … ‘If you want to live and be healthy, you got to bleed … forever.

The husband, he suggested leeches, we have a well in the garden so it could be an option. Someone actually said ‘You must wish you could self-harm.’ Then some people are sick! I became upset when a family member said ‘So what, it’s not a biggie,’ easy to say when it’s not you, said from that place of comfort. Another writer/ bloggy person unbeknown to him gave me an idea.

An advert!

Wanted! A Gentle Male Vampire with sharp teeth.

The successful applicant would be required to come to my home under his own steam. To be dressed in traditional uniform and to specifically partake of dinner twice a month, until further notice.

Wages will be in the form of warm B rhesus negative

Iron enriched the oxygenated blood.

Conversation will not be necessary,

Though good oral hygiene is a must.

The applicant/ Sanguineoue being, will not be permitted, in fact, will be forbidden to partake of any other beverage from any source whilst in my employ, or my home.

Once the task has been completed he will depart the way he arrived, leaving no sign that he ever attended.

If interested in this position please reply by email/ sonar or echolocation … at your soonest opportunity. Only experienced thirsty practitioners need reply.

P.s. no sympathy required I am lucky, I at least can be helped. Sometimes I can’t focus enough to grab my words and writing or talking coherently is not happening. It hopefully will improve and I will be back, talking, writing and reading and laughing regularly.

P.S. When the specialist said, “You’ll see, we will get you back feeling normal, it will take time; we will improve things.” He was looking into my eyes holding my hand. That’s when The husband laughed aloud and said: “That will be novel, nobody’s accused Ellen of normality in years.” Both men were in hysterics, I think that says it all. I have always risen to a challenge and Genetically challenged will be no different.

Hemochromotosis the most common genetic condition that is also the most undiagnosed and least talked about there is.

As a writer, a teller of stories I get through with my tongue firmly i my cheek.

Absent.

Wait for me when I’m gone,

Don’t forget I was here.

Come and read a while

There’s nothing to fear.

Life has other idea’s

That keep me away.

But please don’t

stop coming,

I still have a lot

To say.

I am having to take a break for a while. I can’t say for how long, but I hope to pop back and read any comments and reply when I can. I look forward to continuing to read your posts and banter on your blogs where possible. I will be back once I am fit and able.

But when life gives you lemons … you need to stand back and take in the scent, look at the whole tree; not just the fruit.

The Bird Was Witness.

 

ALERT! This flash does contain two swear words, I do not wish to offend therefore am letting you know before you read. This is a refreshed  #flash from Nov 2016.

Photograph by permission of Derrick J knight. Thank you once more.

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bird sat high on top of a telegraph pole, its black shape stark against the sky, I watched it through the steam on the window. With my palm flat against the glass, I cleared a better view; while my novel was clenched snug under my armpit. Sitting in the window seat reading I could zone out the sounds of the room and breathe easy.

Then it started… “Ange, Ange, come here now! come to me bitch”. I looked at the bird looking back at me and placed my book on the windowsill. The card game was getting rowdy, ”Angie” he shouted, warily I approached, “What Tom, what do you want? “ He grabbed my waist and tugged me into his lap, laughing, that sneery false laugh I grew to hate. Fear ran up my neck as he made a show of me in front of his mates.

He looked at them and pinched my chin as he forced my head to face them. Tom wrenched my hand between my shoulder blades. “Here boys, have you ever seen such a miserable cow… eh eh?” his grasp was cruel, his breath thick with stale booze and cigarettes. I felt the spray from his mouth warm as he spoke against my ear. Tom released my arm and pretended to tickle, but he dug and prodded with force, my cheeks flushed and prickles ran up my spine. My legs jerked as he stabbed his fingers deep between my ribs. The table caught by my ankle shifted, cards scattered as it righted itself with a thump. I struggled, kicking my denim clad legs in retaliation his fingers jab jabbing painfully; as his temper deteriorated.

The mood instantly changed, Stan leapt up threw his hand on the table, he kicked a spent chubby and took the Iou’s in his calloused hands and tore them; throwing the pieces like confetti in the air. “Fuck this you knob”, he booted the table over…”I’m off” he shouted. Pictures rattled as he banged the door. Mark and Des were worse for wear, swaying, they glanced from one to the other and back, both stumbled to the door in pursuit.

One swift movement had me flat on the floor with a swaying Tom above me. “You fuckin bitch, you just had to, didn’t you? Each word was punctuated with a kick and a gob from his mouth. The first one caught the bone of my hip the second connected with my thigh as I struggled lobster like across the carpet. A flurry of pokes, punches and kicks came thick and fast, he crushed my lips into my teeth with a direct punch. Stubbies bounced and rolled about like Otters at play, I spat two teeth onto the carpet which got his attention, it gave me a chance to swallow some air.

From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of the bird, me looking at it, it looking at me. Ashamed at this spectacle being seen. Me, a weak victim, small and helpless. Somehow the thought made me gather myself. I grabbed a bottle and scrambled to my feet. Holding the neck with cramped fingers I drew my arm out to the side. I remember screaming “No” He lunged forward teeth barred.  I screwed my eyes tight and swinging right to left the bottle connected. Phlegm hit full in my face and mingled with the tears and blood that dripped from my jaw. As if I was a character in a novel,  in slow motion the bottle cracked him below his left ear and flipped from my grasp. His eyes bulged, snot flew from his nose as he fell back. Stretching myself forward fingers splayed I tried to grab him before he fell, but only caught air. His head thudded against the leg of the upturned table and he dropped. Blood puddled behind his head and a lone trickle dribbled from the side of his gaping mouth.

Unable to look, I turned my head to face the window. I could see him, the bird, looking at me. He seemed to bob his head like a gentleman does when he catches your eye in acknowledgement. He ruffled his feathers and continued his pose.

 I felt the vibration of feet through the floor when I dialled 999. “Police and ambulance, I can’t hear you… I think he is dead, we are at 42 Granby street, come quick *hiccough* please”. Still holding the phone the door flew from its hinges the room filled with uniforms and bodies. A policeman shook me, grabbed the phone and spoke into it. My ears and head were ringing but I could only see angry faces as lips moved silently and Tom lay still, and only the bird was witness.

 

What do you think, was she in the wrong ?  please leave any comments as they are my wages for writing and each one is valued and replied to swiftly. Have a great week.