The Mystery Of The Night Bus

Stella had stopped on the corner of a crossroads, her phone pressed into her cheek. “I can find my own way, no, I don’t need help, I just wanted someone else to know where I was, you know, precautions and all. Honest, just covering my back, being responsible, a cautious daughter. I will, I will, yes, I’ll send a text once I get back. Yeah, love you too, bye Mum.”

She felt her mascara run as the light rain made her eyes water. > It’s good that it’s too dark for anyone to see me. What a state I must look, < She thought as she rubbed at her eyes with a screwed up piece of used tissue found in the pocket of her pale pink faux fur jacket. A half-laugh left her as she stuffed her phone in her silver clutch bag and click-clacked her way to a bus shelter she could see illuminated by one flickering bulb in the distance. At least she would be dry. Even she knew, standing on a street corner dressed in pink fluff and sequins at way past midnight was not the most sensible thing to be doing.

Sella had a smashing night, dancing at the club. It was great just her and her bestie, gyrating and giggling like when they were kids at the school disco. Until her fellah came. Jenny twitched and became shy, almost childlike. “Stell, this is my Gavin.” Stella frowned, stuttered, then had to shout to be heard over the music. “Jen, I thought it was just us. I am crashing with you in your bedsit. At least that was the plan?” Stella loved planning and needed to know what she would be doing next. When and how was the minimum, the basic stuff. “Gav missed me.” She said, lifting her arms as if doing some sun salutation or worshipping a sky-bound deity. Jen was promptly gathered up for a session of face sucking, right there on the dance floor. Stella was mad. A studio pad was not a place she wanted to be. Not if the demonstration in front of her was a prelude to the main event. So Stella left the club. That was how she ended up on a wet night in town, in the early hours of the morning, alone. … Dressed like a Christmas tree.

Stella tried to read the timetable, it was not helped by the flickering light. It seemed there was a bus. The night bus, but it gave no destination or times. She shivered as she tugged off her jacket and shook some of the rain from the fur, then pulled it back on. Fastening it firmly around her against the wind. A taxi passed with its light off > probably finished for the night she thought < All she could do is sit and wait for the night bus and take it from there.

A rowdy bunch, of mostly blokes, poured out of a building. They were staggering, jeering, pushing and shoving each other. Some stumbled into the road and were getting closer. “Ello darling on yer lonesome then.” A wolf whistle and shouts got louder the closer they came. “cor, I could, yeah, c’mon shows us what you’re selling.” shouted another. Stella pretended to call the police and spoke loudly down the mouthpiece. “Yes, a bunch of louts officer come right away!” A bloke at the back of the group shoved them along. He nervously checked behind as they passed. Soon they were out of sight, but she could still hear them in the distance. Usually, Stella was confident and strong. That night, she was decidedly uncomfortable and felt vulnerable. Tugging her skirt down, Stella pressed her bum into the rickety wooden bench. She twitched at each sound. The passing street cat startled her everything felt like a threat. The hiss of air from the buses brakes made her jump only then did she realise the night bus had arrived.

Stella hadn’t heard or seen it coming. Cautiously she approached the doors they unfolded with a whoosh. “Hello, can you tell me where you’re going, where you stop, please?” She put one sparkly foot inside the bus. looked up and down the aisle. “This is my last stop tonight, but as you can see, she’s empty. Where are you wanting to go?” Tom, was written on his name badge, had friendly eyes and a soft voice. “I um, … Stapleton, about six miles from here.” She flinched as her teeth nipped the inside of her lip. “No problem, I know it well, Stapleton it is. Make yourself comfortable I will have you home in no time.” She fumbled in her bag for her season ticket, swiped it on the pad and took a seat.

Now, if you were to meet Stella today, she would tell you, there seemed all but a minute between the whooshing of air as the doors closed to leave that bus stop and the hissing of brakes as he stopped and called, ” last stop, please disembark.” His bus pulled up right outside her door. Though she never told him where she lived. Stella would say that when she inquired, the council told her, the night bus was a pilot project supposedly run by volunteers in the 1970s. After only a month, it folded. The scheme was never funded and didn’t catch on. She would tell you that in the library archives, after investigating, she found that the bus shelter had long been taken down and replaced with a bus stop sign more than a decade past.

The above vignette is in response to Esme’s monthly picture prompt #3, the link to join in or read other responses is in the link under the picture of the bus. I hope you enjoy reading them. Have you ever travelled alone and been scared or uncomfortable please let me know, leave a comment in the box I love to chat?”

Cigarette Smoke and Bad Memories

To join in or just read -> Prompt here

On the anniversary, she hung her dress at the window. From her mattress, she watched the morning sun catch the turquoise fabric making it shimmer. She studied it through a haze of thick Cigarette Smoke.

The dress was the cleanest thing in there. The dress still bore the stain of his urine. Time had turned the intricate chiffon bodice a dirty shade of chartreuse.

Such a glorious name ruined as she had been ruined. It wasn’t only the prom he spoiled, but herself, her innocence and the only connection to family that she had left, her Grandmother’s beautiful dress.

September 2, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to the theme, “not everyone fits a prom dress.” You can take inspiration from Ellis Delaney’s song, the photo, or any spark of imagination. Who doesn’t fit and why? What is the tone? You can set the genre. Go where the prompt leads!

Led more by the picture I hope it sufficed to fit the requirements. Leave a comment please I just love to talk. x

Respond by September 7, 2021

The Day Tommy learns to fish

Tom grabbed his Mothers hand his eyes as big as saucers. Over his shoulder was a keep net and his three legged seat was planted close to Dad’s big rod where he concentrated on baiting a hook with wriggling maggots. “Mummy,” Tom whispered, “if we catch this one can I just have one fish finger for tea please.”

Gone Fishing

This is the last photo on my roll, taken at the #RedRoosterfestival and in response to Esme’s prompt #2 To take the last pic on the camera roll and write a short story or rhyme go where the prompt takes you. PressThis to join in or read.

Did you have a funny Story when you were small, leave me something in the comments and I will get right back

The Journey to Enlightenment #BlogBattle

The Master, Sagar, sat atop of the tallest mountain to watch. He gazed upon the hoards of people risking everything to stand at his feet to feel his presence. Soon he would see those that were not true believers, just adventurers or voyeurs wasting his time. Gaps began to widen between groups, some turned back, with no stamina for this pilgrimage. Throwing his head up, he sucked in hard and began to blow. His breath of frigid glacial winds swirled the snow and rocked the mountain. He summoned Thundersnow to test those on the treacherous slopes. Only the strong-willed, committed and brave would be able to traverse the terrain and reach their goal. He was not about to make their task easy.

Only four People had stayed on the trail. There were two bearded men; of undistinguishable age who arrived first. Behind them were Luna and Aaron. Aaron had promised to help her, guide her to the top. He was relieved they were almost there. It took Persistence, endurance, willpower and a lot of strength to get her to this point. Luna had trusted Aaron and had followed his training to the letter, knowing how brutal the trek would be. The two men ignored Aaron’s advice and pitched their tent with the wind behind it. Luna worked through her fatigue, stamping a flat surface into the snow while Aaron cut bricks to build a snow wall around the tent.

Luna, exhausted and weak she shivered. Her teeth rattled as a solitary tear plopped into her hand a second froze where it dangled like a precious stone to her lashes. She pushed her face into her palms and silently sobbed. Aaron worried for Luna. He wrapped his hands around a flask of freshly warmed and sweetened Yak’s milk. “Here, drink this. It will do wonders for you. Sort your socks and gloves out. We can then sleep.” She flinched at his voice, having not heard much for the last three day’s other than the roar of the weather. Luna shuffled a few inches and pointed to space beside her “Thanks, sit here,” she nodded, her eyelids drooped as she lifted the cup to her lips and drank hungrily. Her eyes twinkled when she passed it back. “You too, it was brutal today. Are we short of rations?” Aaron gulped back his half, wiped his hand across his mouth and said. “We could be here for some time, by the sound of it out there. Let’s say if we’re careful we’ll manage, but yes rations are tight.”

The pair snuggled together, exchanging body heat, giving each other comfort. That night the storm grew to whip at the tent’s structure, screaming like a thousand warriors. Noise filled every space in the couple’s world. The whiteout somehow was somehow darker, more sinister than the black of night. The other tent, though only feet from theirs, was obscured. The storm raged on for two more days and nights. Twice Aaron tried to reach the other men, but it was too dangerous visibility was nil. Only his childhood skill for climbing like a mountain goat stopped him from being cast from the face of the mountain.

In the days that followed, Luna read aloud from ‘The Book Of Awe.’ She had found the book wrapped in a tan and white fleece inside a red Mahogany box, hidden beneath her mother’s bed. It was a Tome, full of Peruvian Myths and legends. There were photographs of her and Luna threaded between the pages. A tail feather of the Tunki bird she had pressed like a wildflower, the bird it was said to bring luck and prosperity. A talon from the Andanean Condor had been polished and hung from a leather thong. She found a lock of her mother’s hair haphazardly gathered in a strand of Alpaca wool. For weeks after her death, she had sat with her knees under her chin, reading. Sometimes Luna cried and wondered about this part of her. The Tome is where she read of The mountain and Khuno. He is said to be a high altitude storm God. She read to Aaron. “it says those who successfully reach the top to camp at his feet will get their wishes. People wrote of enlightenment and of having a new ethereal beauty and inner peace.

In In preparation for her task, Luna folded many paper birds. Each had a wish or a question that she inscribed in her best handwriting as the book requested. She will release the birds on the breath of Khuno, where they would be taken by the wind out to the universe. Luna stroked the picture of her mother, gently tied the lock of hair to the Tunki feather and fastened them to the paper birds. Aaron placed the thong inside her coat, pushed her offerings into a shoulder bag and held her close for the last time. ” I will walk you as near as I can. I will wait for you.” The wind had dropped, the fresh snow began to crunch beneath them as they made the final steps to the plateau.

If you were to be allowed to find the Book of Awe, You would read a tale of young lovers who beat all the odds to reach the feet of such a God. They climbed the mountain, overcame adversity, faced ferocious storms and the wrath of Khuno. Luna, a sun goddess and Aaron, whose Andanean name means mountain of strength, walk the realms of greatness with ancient Inca Gods together for eternity.

What myth or legend or old wife’s tale do you believe? answers please in the comments I can’t wait to read them.

We trundled off in the motor home towards Dorset. A week in the West Country was just the ticket. Easy Rider belted out, Born to be Wild became the anthem of our trip. Four days in Dorset, parked at a clifftop campsite with wonderful views,

We caught up with the husband’s twin brother and wife; sharing food and stories. Laughs came thick and fast with our niece and her partner, we built new memories to last a lifetime. The sun beat down, dragon flies whizzed as stick insects sunned themselves in the bay tree; idyllic.

We Sat under the sunshade together reminiscing as we stuffed our faces, laughed and dozed. A woodpecker hid inside the hollowed Apple tree.

The days passed with a gusto we didn’t want to end.

We packed up and drove on to Salcombe Regis, on Devon’s beautiful coast. You couldn’t ask for a better spot, sunny, green, clean and friendly, a few miles from Sidmouth. We arrived the day of the ‘underwear revolution’ in Colyton (see link). A news worthy story that made us smile for the rest of the week.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/12/town-rallies-around-mother-told-not-hang-washing-launching-laundry/

Off to Sidmouth on the local hopper, it was so civilized and easy. We enjoyed wandering around the picturesque Regency seaside town.

Back at the motor home, we familiarised ourselves with the layout, checked out the shower and toilet blocks, putting green and shop. There was a vigorous but pleasant stroll to the view of Salcombe hill and the sea.

Morning arrived, overcast and breezy as Hurricane Hector’s tail whipped through. We chose to get ready and catch a later hopper, giving the weather time to calm. Off I strode to the nearest block.

Most people had long gone, jumped on the bus for their day out; despite the weather ( as we Brits do). I however had choices to make, a wet room or single shower, a cubicle block, toilets with basins and even a bath. The facilities were superb, spotlessly clean, the water hot and it was … empty.

Armed with bubbles and potions I chose the best space and I have to admit to feeling a tiniest bit smug.

(See Giffy image below🔽)

This was where I found myself in a difficult situation. To bypass any visual parts of my ablutions … I sum up by saying, my bag was dropped in a cubicle and I rested my cheeks to porcelain; next door.

On the way in, I noticed the lock turned a couple of times before the latch closed. I ignored the fact that the lever dropped free and rocked as I released it. Both of the above should have made me aware that something was amiss. After a short sitting time, I used the beautifully scented hand foam and checked out the attractive smile of the older woman in the mirror; before moving on to the shower room.

My hand wrapped around the lever and turned … around and around it went, my finger twisted & it spun the lever as if it was a feather. My sports strap alerted me to the rise in my resting heartbeat. My breath gasped, my hands became clammy and a pulse rapidly tapped in my neck.

The bumbag that hung over my hip contained my meds, a phone, a change purse with a debit card and a hair grip. After a few seconds I shook myself and delved into the zips. Phone extracted I tried to call the husband; fifty yards away in the motor home. I stood on the seat with my four-foot eleven stature stretched to the extreme, trying to find a signal. No such luck, finding a phone signal in the countryside is hit or miss at the best of times. Inside a toilet block, in the most rural of spots in the west country is nigh on impossible.

Now serious stuff came into play! With all the prowess of an Enid Blyton famous five character I thrashed out a plan.

I set the WiFi to search on my smart phone. Soon it offered to sell me WiFi from the campsite. With the debit card extracted the purchase of WiFi complete, I sighed with relief. I sent a text to a friend via Facebook’s messenger. HELP. LOCKED IN LOO. Phone Jay urgently PLEASE. I pressed send as the light in the lavatory timed out.

Back up plan fell into place; “Enid Blyton I love you.”

Clutching a hair grip between my thumb and index finger, I poked as I twisted the lever, I shoved, rammed and scraped about in the vicinity of the latch by the light of my phone; which was clasped in my mouth. I had been incarcerated for fifty minutes! My sport’s strap vibrated and fireworks went off, it obviously believed me to be vigorously exercising. With the battery on my phone now showing five percent I had to move fast. Logged on to Face book I found the campsite page friended the site and sent a private message. Help! Plot 153 locked in toilet. Send! Help. Next I emailed my brother-in-law. Please. Help. Phone Jay. Trapped in the loo. The screen went off just after I pressed send, the room was in complete darkness now; my battery flat.

A second blind (pardon the pun) attempt with the hair grip eventually bore fruit. By now I had been in the loo for an hour! My bladder was swollen, my cheeks damp and my grip ruined as I rushed out and towards the motor home. I thought to sympathy and maybe a touch of pride at my ingenuity.

I heard the ringtone on my approach, then the unnecessary laugher. Soon I looked into the eyes of a very jovial husband. One who pressed his Samsung closer to his ear as I passed him. Relieved to be relieved of the contents of my bladder in the safety of the motor home … with my foot used as a lock on the door. Only the music emanating from the other side of the door was to puncture the relief I felt.

Standing tall (as tall as a four-foot eleven woman can) I walked past ‘The Husband,’ I pushed the charger into my phone. Bleep bleep! My friend answered with ‘are you free yet?

Ring ring!

My brother-in-law howled in unison with his wife on speaker phone.

All the time … ‘The Husband’ sang along to, “Oh dear what can the matter be, three old ladies were locked in the lavatory” whilst wrapping his arms around his aching ribs and wearing the most ridiculous grin.

Once composed, I walked to the reception, reported a faulty toilet lock. Numerous apologies later and the promise of fresh croissants to soften the edges of ‘The Escape.’ I found my own funny. Shhhh! *whispers* We won’t let on at least for a while *Huge grin*.

All photographs are mine taken on location … except the Gif from . https://giphy.com/explore/images

The news link from the telegraph UK. (the link in above text).

The Enid Blyton vintage first edition cover lifted kindly from the internet.

Have you ever used a book you read as a child, for such a good reason as I … ? Leave me something to smile at in the comments, I just love to chat.

The Escape. #ShortStory

A Rosy Pairing

press to join in. Sue Vincent’s  picture prompt.

Here is this weeks photo. All.entries to be in by March 22nd.

Stalactites hung like chandeliers from the roof of our cave, the formation split it into two rooms. Since his leaving I had made it welcoming, sweeping the animal waste in a pile,  hanging a lantern from a  root that pierced the ceiling. The rosy welcoming glow was encouraged by the minerals in the rock that cast a sunset; perfect for this night. Animal skins shone silver on the vine that provided cover.

My heart bounced in my chest, as his shadow fell on the ridge. I trembled and perspired at the shape of him. Picking up the mewing bundle I stood at the entrance and thrust it towards his broad chest and said… “Your  gift” With his huge hands he twisted the neck, a crack of splintering bone was heard. A gasp left my throat and I wiped my eyes with trembling fingers. With swift strokes he skinned and gutted it, throwing the debris aside. Taking me roughly in his arms to the inner chamber he reminded me what we were together for.The calf spat and cooked on the fire  as we writhed on its soft skin. Now I was his, I had successfully filled his needs and his belly .
I remember my son asking what it was like when we lived in caves. Though I am not quite old enough for that, I think maybe my story would have fit.I bet you thought that bundle was something else… leave me a comment I am dying to know  😀 😄 😮

A Favorite Christmas Decoration.

My idea for this came from here go check out her blog and handsome decoration.
Lindsey left a question on a post yesterday, asking “what is your favourite Christmas decoration and why”.

I thought about the Xmas pud my daughter made at four and the Santa boot my eldest made some thirty years or more ago. The snowflake, it was from my youngest son all white and sparkly made when five; I remember them well, their memories are the ones I treasure with a motherly equality and a sadness when each year I find them gone. The jointed Father Christmas who has pride of place stands two foot tall, he was my own first decoration. My daughter thought I’d like him as I had left so much behind; the beginning of a new life new Christmases to come.

But my own favourite, the one chosen by me… the me I am now, the one I purchased and placed here that is my best.  An angel in a red coat with sparkles on her wooden wings dark neat painted hair with a gold halo and a heart shaped cross body bag. I purchased her at a pop-up shop; a locally crafted display of all things Christmas. My visit was a surprise as I didn’t know it was there… it just popped up. She silently called me, at one point I do believe she winked; that part could be put down to artistic licence *sniff* but none the less drawn we were. At first, I stood her alone in the picture window facing the outside world, when I re-entered the room I turned her facing us. I have had her ten days now and we are getting the measure of each other, up to now she has been the only Christmas adornment to our home but today I will decorate the tree. And my scarlet angel will find her place as I have mine.

After Christmas, I may swap her heart shaped bag for a muff and make a fluffy headband to hide her halo but the wings elude me, maybe a classy fabric draped like a wrap to gently secrete them out of sight. I could put her betwixt my books in a bookcase to watch over us when Christmas has gone. I am not sure why I have become so attached to my scarlet angel but there it is; I am naming her as my favourite Christmas decoration.
What is yours? And why? Leave me a comment or just let me know what you think… And Merry Christmas.

A Little Wind Wreaks Havoc.

Thank you Sue Vincent for this weeks picture prompt go 🔜here🔙 to join Thursdays #writephotoprompt smoke.

 

A strange smell hung over the village it had done so for most of the summer; bad eggs, that’s the nearest I could Identify it as. Mornings around ten O’clock it was at its worst, and if the summer breeze wafted your way you knew it. People stopped hanging their linen out and they kept the windows firmly shut. The local shop took a bomb of money selling airfreshners, scented oil bottles the expensive ones with reeds. When they had a huge delivery of oscillating fans, which incidentally sold out in two days; suspicions arose. Fingers were pointed directly at the village postmistress who was the only one not complaining, and the only one rubbing her hands together behind the counter in our village store.

Emergency meetings were held in secret down the allotments, neighbourhood watch was only watching one place. Only Farmer Longstockings was  unbothered, he said “country folk should be used to country smells” refusing to join the village folks scuttle butting and finger wagging. Farmer Longstockings was now suspect no.two.

I loved it when folk came up to bluebell woods to gaze on the blanket of colour that spilt down the bank and mingled with pink orchids. Groups of camera clutching walkers kissed by the sun and happy to be part of a flora and fauna celebration. I made scones and best home made jams, we sold them at the village hall, the monies raised paid for the  party at harvest festival time. Several of us took part bringing sandwiches pasties and bottles of chilled cider. Some of the lads would charge three pounds to take them to the woods, they would give an elaborately expanded story on how they came to be. But this year our month of lucrative money-making seemed to be in jeopardy.

The scout group were making stench masks to sell when the visitors arrive, some bought up the dolly pegs from the shop and became peg wearing investigators with bandannas over their mouths. It wasn’t long before the scoutmaster took badges away for scaring the three pensioners in the Almshouses… No. Three on the suspect list.

One bright morning a gentle breeze hummed across the rickety bridge where I liked to sketch and gaze at the water, but with it came the stench and tails of pure white smoke.I covered my nose with a confiscated peg put on my sunglasses and followed the tails that licked the blue sky.  Beyond the bluebell woods past the copse of silver birch was a cave it was once a mine; it was said that it never produced much, a few fossils and semi-precious stones. There were tales of magic and folklore surrounding the cave, but mostly it was on private farm land (suspect no.two)  and unsafe. None the less it was time this was sorted and I believed it would be down to me to do so. Just as I thought in the distance I could see it curling as if from a chimney out of the mouth of the cave. My childhood memories of the tales came rushing back I hadn’t believed them at six so why did they make me tremble at a fully grown seventeen. A resting place for the last dragon my Father had told me, and of secret trysts and growls that came from below. Then there was the eerie light and fog that sometimes was seen from across the miles. What if…

Farmer Longstockings had spotted me, I watched him turn the rusted tractor in my direction, now I was… concerned, but as I was almost an adult I straightened my back and ploughed on.  Philip had spotted the smoke trail and guessed that maybe his ole snout was so used to stink that he could no longer smell, but his eyes made him suspicious. We arrived at the same time “Farmer Longstockings” I nodded my head and planted my feet with a stomp. “Philip! yer too long in the leg to not use my given name”.  He pushed his hat to the back of his head, wiped his eyes with a bit of scrim, they  were streaming as he gazed up at the gentle wisps emanating from ten feet above us.

“This is no task for a young lady, you go see the missus an tell her to send Toby with the big chains”.  Off I went pleased to get away from the vomit-inducing stench. Toby was the Longstockings son that hadn’t seen me since I was a child. He must be home for the summer, he’d been away at horticulture college for two years and the thought of actually seeing him made my heart beat most peculiarly.

Ann wasn’t as pleased to have me disturbing her chores and didn’t relish me talking to her son; that much was apparent. Three hours passed before they returned, wet, dirty and very smelly. They had capped the opening to stop the escape of sulphuric smoke that came from way beneath the earth. Philip phoned a geologist who would work with him and supervise the fitting of a permanent plug. Together they’d make  safe the cave  over the next few weeks. Before I left we had agreed that less said soonest mended would be the order of the day.

Bluebell month was glorious, and a new romance blossomed between Toby and me. That Summer I filled my bottom drawer in preparation… items purchased with monies earned from my book. The Tale of The Last Dragon. The story came about one summer’s day when a little wind wreaked Havoc.