A look At Life Along The Footpath.

On the day in question, she took the black tarmac path that snakes behind the row of terraced houses. Houses with their postage stamp gardens that are secreted away behind red brick walls. They sit prettily on the edge of the small English market town. Across the width of the path are the allotments. Every forty or so feet of its length are gates, if you stand still enough, you can sometimes hear the squeak and crunch, as rust drags itself across the warped hinges. The home owners can slip out of the doors of their walled gardens, and walk to their patch. Sectioned plots of land just big enough for fruit, vegetables and herbs to grow. Each one has a wooden shed, some are used for hiding Dads from noisy homes, while others are potting and tool sheds. Some, are the holders of secrets, places where illicit pairings take place.

Old Jack, wanders the allotment with a paint kettle, and a blackened gnarled brush. “A ten pound note will get your shed protected” he calls waving the brush. Jack sleeps wrapped in bubble wrap and cardboard; close to the Brazier. Often he rests inside unkempt sheds that he tidys in return. He blows and snorts as he splashes his face at the ice cold pump. You can see where his stained hands are dried on the threadbare seat of brown corduroy trousers. The scent of Creosote wafts around him like midges beside a Scottish loch. Often people smell Jack long before they see him. A harmles but important character of the allotment.

As she walked, she looked at the bustle going on both in and around the allotments. Old men nod in acknowledgement to each other; men with no need to waste words on pleasantries. Years of shared knowledge and friendship, camaraderie and memories have passed between them. Women with their hair covered, and gloves protecting their hands, lean on wheelbarrows and forks. Girls laugh at secret stories. A young woman colours as she looks about; checking she wasn’t overheard. An elderly couple stop what they are doing to smile at each other, and touch fingertips … A shared silent moment. Father’s dig and tend the early veg. Cutting curly spring cabbage for dinner, digging in Manure, sold to them all by old Jack. She scans the scene spotting a damp steamy pile at each shed as she passes, pressing a fine linen handkerchief to her nose.

Life goes on around her as she continues on the path. The sun shone on the crisp morning, birds sang and dogs wagged their tails. A boy on a micro scooter passed her; head down, furiously concentrating on the pounding of his white trainer against the path. A cough pushed spit from his mouth as he passed her. It slapped against her stockinged leg making her gasp. The woman wiped it with her handkerchief, curled her lip in distaste as she lifted her head and screwed her eyes.  He poked up a middle finger and snarled back. A moment or two  passed before she straightened her collar and went on her way.

The path comes to a halt. Cobbles trail a curve around the periphery of the luscious green patch of neatly manicured lawn. Several keep off the grass signs are the only things to mar its perfection. A dozen impressive buildings stand around the edge like sentinels. Her eyes scan the area and her brisk steps echoed as she looked for the large black door of number 5; the doctor’s surgery.

Old Jack squinted, and blinked. His green eyes followed the woman. Drawn to her composure, he followed at a distance along the track. Something bothered him, like an over-wound clockwork mouse with no control of her speed. He watched until she pushed on the heavy black door.

Inside they were very efficient. Fifteen minutes later it was over, Her chewed raw fingers struggled to push the three oversized buttons through the fastening’s of her best coat. Fingertips twitched, she pressed her palms into the worsted fabric to still them. Silently she tugged on the cuffs of her pristine leather gloves. A sound, a crisp snap made her flinch as the door closed behind her. Standing for a moment, she took a shuddering intake of breath, placed her smart shoes one in front of the other. She walked the cobbles in the same manner she came. Controlled, back along the tarmac path. But old Jack saw the difference, he saw her legs tremble, the tightening of her lips. Oblivious, she concentrated on the rapping sound her shoes made against the tarmac surface … Click-clack, click-clack. Holding her head high she blinked furiously a fixed determined expression on her face gave nothing away to the onlooker; the passer-by. So she thought.
All was changed for her. Her world had tilted in a sentence. But life on and around the path continued. Birds sang the sun began to shine as the wind dried her lashes. He watched, until she closed the gate that shut herself behind those red brick walls. He listened for the clink of keys opening her door. His view obstructed not by the walls or the door its self … but the clouds in his eyes. Jack shakes his head slowly as he logs another look at life along the footpath.

What do you think happened? Leave me a comment I answer quick smart.

Different Can Be Good.

This morning he made me a cuppa; called upstairs to let me know. Gazing out the window into the sunlight, he stood pressed against the sink, my tea sat alone on the worktop. Silently I took in the shape of him, placed my flat palm in the arch of his back. Pressing firmly I rubbed slowly towards the back of his neck and twiddled the edges of his hair damp from his morning ablutions. I closed my eyes as my cheek found a space just the right shape; between his shoulder blades. I whispered softly, “I do love you” as my nostrils sucked in his fresh morning scent. The husband, (as I often refer to him) gave a low chuckle “Jolly good” he said. This was a response I had almost got used to, a tongue in cheek remark that sometimes … slips under my skin.

The thing is when you move and breathe in unison when you know what is about to be said … just once, you’d like something different, a fresh surprising thing. Aware as I was that although he did not want tea himself … he thought of me. Though he could have said I love you too, it would have been what many would have said. He chose to say something that he knew I would recognise as his. Even so, deep down, I would have been excited by a new response.

At the end of a special dinner, I know he enjoys a cheese board with all manner of pomp and smell. But just occasionally I surprise him with sticky toffee pudding made from scratch. I Serve it with a salted caramel sauce and fresh cream; in potbellied jugs. But this day, the one about which I write … I purchased a bun from the baker, one that I myself can’t eat.

He cooked us a roast with all the trimmings. We laughed at what we had both read and had done during our day. I spoke to him about his response this morning, how occasionally it would be good to be different, how different is sometimes nice. Not something you’d want too much of you understand, but good to be surprised with occasionally.

Then I presented him a warm hot cross bun, after all, it is Easter.

I listened to the locks turn as I climbed into our bed, I can hear him muttering something under his breath. Once settled we chat about everything and nothing; “Goodnight Husband, that I love” we kiss and squeeze. He wriggles closer, traps me from behind with both arms and legs. “Till morning you funny old thing.” As he blew a raspberry on the back of my neck. “That different enough for you.”

“Perfect,” I said.

Click on ‘Stream of consciouciousness Saturday to join or read other responses. SoCs the prompt was ‘Bun’. I hope you enjoyed my response.

Do you think we need to make the effort to be spontaneous … occasionally. Leave me a comment I can’t wait to read.

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.

blackbird-photo-by-httpsderrickjknight.com_.jpg.jpeg

A 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.

#writephoto The Summer Of Mystery.

Use the photo to form a story, poem or post by noon on Wdenesday 30th November click HERE to read other wonderful responses or to join in the fun.

Wendy took hold of her friends shoulders and shook her. “Suzy stop trying to peek, you aren’t being fair,” Wendy was pouting and frowning. “You promised me and if…  if you want to be my best friend,” Wendy had fat tears hanging from her lashes, threatening to fall.They worked their way deeper into the tree line, Suzy wobbled and tripped her way over the uneven ground. 

Wendy pulling her friends hands led her in wide circles over fallen logs and tinkling streams. “Suzy constantly moaned and flinched “Are we there yet” she called.” But on they trod, Wendy stopped her and let her smell some bluebells and listen to the woodland creatures rustling and birds in full song. “Listen… can you hear the magic? Do you feel the special? Oh Suzy we are almost there it smells like candy floss doesn’t it? We have to do the thing now… the secret words then it will happen.”


Wendy untied the scarf from her friends eyes. “Don’t  look! keep the eyes closed or or… it won’t work. Abracadabra round and round let the magic be found!  Wave Wendy, both hands hard..  go in circles keep your eyes shut”. Finally Wendy whispered “Open your eyes”. Rubbing her face and looking through squinting eyes she blinked rapidly. A huge grin spreads across her face gripping Wendy’s forearms both girls squealed and tapped their feet like flamenco dancers. 

Suzy looked her friend close into her face as Wendy whispered to her “I told you it is magic, the secret fairy den. We are the only special ones who know. The two little girls armed with their secret prepared for a magical summer.

Photographer E. Best  permission needed to use this image.

Did you have a secret place a summer of ,magic. Please let me know your story in the comments… I look forward to reading them all, i will reply to them all. 😇

The Interloper.

A 99 word flash fiction on a prickly subject is the prompt this week over at the carrot Ranch, press   Charli  to join in make connections or read.

 

chair

 

 

Sissy knew there’d been an interloper, things moved, food consumed under cover of darkness; she’d have them tonight, catch them red handed. Settling down in her chair among the shadow’s she was twitchy jumping at every creak.

Three thirty she heard it, a patter of feet, as they came close she leapt! Knocking a glass to the floor ‘CRASH’ Incensed she scratched and fought. Just then Mark switched on a light. “Sissy, did you bring in a hedgehog”?  He promptly chased them out into the cold night, scratched his head picked up the broken glass and returned to bed.

***
A lighthearted 99 words, did you get it? do you know who or what Sissy was?Let me know in the comments I love it when you talk.