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.

Finding Magic.

Once in a moon
you walk in a room,
With feelings
like you belong.

Once or twice in a life,
When the weather is nice,
And the sun heats up the sky
You will hear a unicorn sigh.

Just now and then
for a smidgen of time
You believe you are
The subject of a song.

If you lay, for a week and a day,
Watch the sun play in the trees.
You’ll see faeries take up a dance,
On the warmth of the incoming breeze.

By holding the thread at end of your bed,
You get to tug it once in your dreams.
The world turns blue especially for you,
And magic exists … So it seems.

pictures by pixabay

The Privy.

A link to more responses here

Photo for #FridayFictioneers use only. https://russellgayer.com/

 

The privy, or outside toilet, Mother said, was called this because what happened within was private.

On the nail were neatly cut newspaper squares threaded on white twine. It was used if you were outside playing, or you had an upset tummy. Otherwise, we used the bathroom indoors; with the softest of tissue. The privy was a remnant of a bygone age; put to use by Mum.

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You could read the newsprint on my bum and us giggling sisters often tried … until Mum caught us and locked the door. The privy was never to be used again.

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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.

 

Memories of Sophistication.

Even forty plus years ago, people rushed, (power walking, as we would say today) to work across Putney bridge. Not so much lycra clad but wearing trainers and nylon track suits with Nike ticks. Oblivious to visiting girls on training courses, they squeezed the obligatory Mr Motivator or Jane Fonda’s suggested amount of exercise into their day. All the while plugged into a personal tape player; an early mobile distraction.😄😃😂

I was fifteen on my first adventure to The Olive Brown’s school of beauty, where I took the Revlon Manicurist’s course. My first journey on a train alone. From rural Berkshire to London. From a niave girl to sophisticated young woman.

There were many firsts ticked off in those three weeks. My first, first, was a carriage full of dark-skinned men who laughed and spoke in a way I’d never heard. The first time I looked at the underground map but couldn’t find any coloured tracks … surely if it shows a red line the track it stands to reason, the tracks would be painted red …

I tapped the arm of a uniformed man with a shock of grey hair. My chin dropped when he turned, another face as black as can be showing perfect dazzling white teeth. His jovial demeanour and beautiful smile; chased away any fear. Being lost in London, terrified of being impossibly late and wondering if It would be better to just go home; vanished with his kindness.

My first lesson in how to look ‘chic’ came crashing in at the first class. I was used as an example of how not to dress. Red-faced I stood before a sophisticated collection of Young women, it was painful, almost more than I could bear.

My first trip to Selfridges, my first makeover quickly followed by my first glass of Mead. I experienced my first hangover and my first and last unexpected unwanted grope by a stranger. My first excursion to a club, where cage dancers were stunning. The beautiful people with no inhibitions seemed like fun, with their magazine fashion looks and money to buy anything. Yes, I learned more than how to beautify peoples nails on that first adventure.

Lessons learned in the first four days were crucial, even pivotal, in my life. Those lessons stayed forever. Lessons engraved into my soul.

1. Skin colour is not a measure of the man.

2. Sophistication does not automatically bring Kindness.

3. I know how to get around London using the underground better than most … above ground is another matter.

4. Never get in the path of exercising tracksuit wearing commuter on Putney bridge, unless you can seriously swim!

5. Do not .. ever drink Mead.

6. Never lean in to hear what the man is whispering to you while in a nightclub.

7. Raising my knee with speed, while being held close to a persistent man will make him wince and buy me time.

8 I am an excellent runner when I need to be.

9. I am as good as anyone and better than some.

10. Though qualified, a manicurist position is not for me.

11. I have more to fear from ignorance than anything I may encounter.

12 . Travel is a great way to get educated and have adventures.

13. Nightclubs and the gamut of substances found within, don’t hold any attraction for me.

14. All is not always as it seems.

15. The Brownie leader was right! Being prepared is the best way.

14. Fascinating people come in all shapes colours sizes and creeds.

15. Makeup and expensive clothes will not change the you you are inside.

16. The memory of a pale pink suit with contrasting baby blue rick rack, purchased by my fifteen-year-old self in Selfridges, will be remembered  … even when I reach the ripe age of sixty.

 

The photo of Putney bridge is on loan from the independent newspaper, and the rest are free photos from Pixabay.

Do you remember your first learning curve into maturity? I would love to hear, drop me a comment I love to chat.

The whistlers

I catch a noise before I sleep
The whistlers skulk about
Spreading fear skin deep.
Chirruping secret calls,
Hiding behind garden walls.
Disturbing young girls dreamsI wake with terrifying screams.

I pull a quilt over my head,
Hide a torch beneath the bed.
Prepare to fight for my life
I take Mum’s vegetable knife.
It’s old and blunt, bent a bit
She stabs at spuds in the pot
To ascertain if they are hot.

Armed, I squeeze Emma tight,
Her yellow suit warm and bright
She comforts me as I hum
a lulluby learned from Mum.
Doll and me are doing fine
Until music starts keeping time.

Through the crack, behind the bed
I hear the tune, inside my head,
Sweet and soft hardly heard.
Matching me word for word.
Spuriously stuffing notes in a sack
My sleep is wrestled into the black.

Sheets tangle around my legs,
like on the line, around Mummy’s pegs.
I can’t escape, I scream at last,
Sodden sheets and whitened mask.
Tapping her foot beside my bed
Mummy glares, shakes her head.
washed and clean no longer soiled
Tea is made …
Once the
whistling kettle’s
boiled.

For those who want to listen to me speaking the poem click the link below…

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7WJ-42kvYrWdGtNM3RBdERHcWpYNlZwcXVxMGctWmVzYXFJ/view?usp=drivesdk

Written for A Halloween poetry competition press here to see all the wonderful enteries here Thank you Auroura for the opportunity.

A little Halloween can go a long way… What were you scared of? Or maybe you still are? leave me a comment I’ll answer quick smart.

Liking Autumn

I love the crunch beneath my boots,

Crisp mornings and coloured trees.

Fingerless gloves and owl hoots,

Long scarves down to my knees.

Conkers burst their, spiked armour,

Spill their seeds for conker wars.

Scarlet and golden paint a scene,

To cover paths and forest floors.

Without Autumn there’d be no respite

a harvest moon would not appear.

No Halloween or cosy suppers

To bring us all our Autumn cheer.

So many of you asked, ‘what are conkers?’ I have popped this link for you. Here . The shaddow fighter picture above was found un credited on the internet and depicts a conker war. All other shots are of my own making.

What do you like about Autumn? Have you played Conkers? I’d love to hear … go on, you know you’d like to.

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?