He looked at his expectant face with sorrow. Tears ran down his little face as the rain splattered against the window and flooded the patio in glistening puddles of water. The rocket ship, once a magnificent monument of papier-mâché and PVA glue, was now a twisted, soggy mess with the painstaking artwork of a five year old dripping onto the concrete.

The father sighed. The opportunity to spend a magical moment with his estranged son was ebbing away and he could hear the disappointment in the child’s voice. “It’s ok son, we’ll build another one next time you’re over. It’ll be even bigger and better than this one.”

The son shrugged. He knew that that could be weeks away but he smiled anyway. “Ok dad, we’ll make it big enough to get inside and then we can fly off to the moon.”

“Sounds great,” Dad rejoiced in the innocence of his boy. Handing him a spoon, they eagerly tucked into the ice cream and watched the lightning flash across the darkened sky.

“Do you think they have ice cream on the moon, dad?”

“Maybe, but we’ll pack some just in case.”

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Seconds, maybe minutes passed. His eyes, yellow flecks swirling in grey, deep pools stared at her, burning into her mind with ever increasing intensity. Unable to to look away, her gaze unblinking and focused, like an invisible beam drawing her closer to him. Images filled her mind, his thoughts flooding into her conscious. Bad thoughts, dark thoughts, some so depraved that she felt a sickness fill her throat and she longed to look away but they were inside her head, becoming part of her.

“I can’t…” she murmured, the sound of her voice sounded distant through the cacophony of voices enveloping her. “No more…”

With a sigh he closed his eyes and her body crumpled to the dusty, dry earth.

“Never ask again, this is proof that you are not and never will be ready to know me.” He stared down at her sobbing frame and he was shrouded in sorrow. She should have been the one and if not her, who…

Is he really expecting me to eat that?  

It sat in front of her, a gelatinous mountain of warm slop that had long since resembled food. His eyes flicked expectantly between his creation and her worried expression. Reluctantly she picked up her fork and moved cautiously towards the mound. Did it move as she got close or was it her hand subconsciously moving away? 

He was staring at her, she had to do something. Edging forward she picked up a tiny amount and placed it carefully into her mouth. His gaze never waned as she attempted to chew…why is he looking at me, she thought? She swallowed and it slid down her throat, her body gagging in an attempt to repel it. 

A pained smile formed, “It’s lovely” she exclaimed, as she reached for the water.  

The gnarled joints twisted and jerked as her body remembered the gracefulness of youth, 70 years of memories flooding through her muscles like electricity; the dancer was reborn. With a creak and a crack an elegant line was stretched between hand and foot, although the route was less smooth now, scattered with age spots and varicose veins. But she held her head high; her still dainty neck and delicate shoulders wore the contours of age in gentle creases but her eyes, once tired, now sparkled with exuberance. She smiled. She knew her lines were bent and her posture poor but for a moment she was once again that timeless beauty of 1955.

THUD…

The door slammed shut, sealing the occupants inside. The snowy, December breeze was shut out behind a foot of metal; Sophie gasped, she knew she was trapped. A baby cried, like a scene from a disaster movie, adding to her fear. Why is there always a crying baby in situations like this? Is there a ‘rent a baby’ website offering to fulfil all of your ‘crap your pants’ situations?

“Excuse me,” Sophie grabbed the passing stewardess “A drink, I need a drink.”

“Sorry Ma’am, drinks cannot be served until after we are airborne.” She replied robotically with her fixed doll-like smile, cocking her head to the right macabrely. “Please let go of me, Ma’am…Ma’am.” She snatched her arm away, her smile never waning.

Ten minutes till take off, the captain informed them in his overly cheerful voice.   Sophie looked around at the jovial passengers, completely oblivious of their impending danger.

“I have to get off…” she pleaded.

A different stewardess this time but the same unmoving face stared down at her. “Is there a problem, Ma’am? We really need everyone to settle down. You’re not going to be difficult, are you?”

“Would I be able to get off if I were being difficult?” Sophie asked hopefully.

“No Ma’am, once the door is closed it cannot be opened, but we do have ways to help our more nervous passengers.” Her eyes widened and she leaned closely to Sophie’s face. “We have made this journey many times, there really is nothing to worry about. It will all be over before you know it.”

The red numbers on the overhead digital clock flicked to 10.10 and the engines roared beneath her seat. She had run out of time…this was it.

No Work Saturday!

Posted: December 2, 2017 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

A to-do list spanning 2 A4 pages, double columned, can get a person quite stressed.  Never decreasing, endlessly adding to the enormous tasks that never seem to get done, just added to a new list once a week.  Oh, the life of a teacher! Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I don’t work all weekend, ignoring my family and putting the rest of my life on hold. Quite the opposite, I do very little but stress constantly about not doing it.  It becomes a vicious cycle; the guilt of not working causes demotivation and even less things achieved.  The thing that gets hit most?  Writing.  With a to-do list as long as the Brooklyn Bridge it makes you feel that writing, a hobby, should take a back seat until I have got back on top of things.  Of course, I never will, which is why I’m doing a No Work Saturday! No planning, no stress, just me, my family and a keyboard in an attempt to remember what I love about writing.  Happy Saturday!

A nonchalant stretch, his face buried deep in the greying fur

Yet he remained still, pretending he was not there

A paw, a scratch, a quiet pleading cry to undo the damage of a thousand days

Yet still he remained, a blatant refusal that he ever cared

 

Seconds, minutes passed, the pair locked in their ritualistic dance

But he would not break, plagued by past affrays

A decisive roll would end the deadlock, and with a screech he fled

Forgiveness would have to wait for another day.

The juices dripped off the roasting meat hanging from the makeshift grill and sizzled as they hit the fire below.  Thom didn’t know what meat it was; he didn’t dare ask. Instead, ravenous from the long walk, he tucked in regardless, far too hungry to care.

It had been almost midnight when they had finally stopped, choosing a little sheltered clearing as their campsite.  But it wasn’t like any campsite Thom was used to.  Stephen gathered together some branches, suspended from two adjoining trees and arranged the leaves underneath as a mattress. It was low, just enough room to crawl inside and barely a metre wide.  Thom wondered how the three of them were going to all sleep in there but he soon realised Stephen had no intention of resting.  

“Come on now, get your heads down. It will be sunrise soon and you need to get some sleep if you’re going to be any good to anyone tomorrow.” As he spoke, Stephen’s eyes searched around in the darkness and his hand rested on side. Thom guessed he had a gun there, but he had not yet seen it.

“Shall I take the first shift?” Alex asked confidently.

He knew he was dead, even before he hit the ground. It wasn’t like the movies, thrashing around as the victim clung to life. Thom watched as his body crumpled to the floor and the gunshot echoes faded across the sea.
From his vantage point behind the gravestone the teenager had witnessed the entire event. He had heard the helicopter long into the distance. A high pitch buzzing, like a distant wasp, had pierced the silence and he knew it was approaching the island at speed. 

I watched Ruby from a distance, longing to part of her again.  She was beautiful, I can see that now, but I had let her pull away from me.  Her dark hair would fall lusciously around her slim shoulders but she rarely wore it down now, preferring to tie it back in a functional ponytail.  Her eyes were tired…they used to be full of cheeky exuberance but worry had stripped away her vibrancy.   

Halfway down the long, seemingly never-ending road Ruby wondered whether to go forward to her destination or turn back and run home.  Her head spun, her hands shook and her stomach turned the familiar cartwheels. She tried to reason with her irrational mind; it wasn’t far, she’d be there in ten minutes…but then again she could be home in ten minutes as well.  She’d made this journey many times before but that had been a long time ago; it seemed so much more difficult now.  She considered what her actual fears were…she didn’t know; all she knew was that she had to get home as quick as possible.

“You can do this Ruby Belle,” she whispered to herself.  Her father had called her that as a child and it always made her feel safe, like his big hands were clamping around hers, but loosely so as not to hurt her delicate fingers. Ruby smiled fondly as she remembered him before the emptiness returned.  She missed him. They spoke often on the phone but it wasn’t the same.  Maybe one day she would be brave enough to make the journey…maybe.  She was tired of making excuses about why she hadn’t visited in two years but she knew she would never tell him the truth.  He would worry so she continued to make up stories of work pressures and broken cars to appease his nagging pleas.  If he could see her now he would never believe it was his strong, capable daughter who was stuck to the pavement not knowing which way to go.  With an exaggerated step she tried to move forward but each time her foot moved forward her insides somersaulted and her brain wobbled.

I once asked her what she meant by that and she said it was like her brain slipped off its axis momentarilyLike that feeling you get when you nod off to sleep for a second but your body pulls you awake. She often wondered whether she actually lost consciousness for a second, a mini blackout that no one noticed but her.  

‘Well, I got further than last time!’ She said as she flopped down on the sofa.  The feeling had passed now; it had gone as soon as she had made the decision to run, so now she just felt stupid and annoyed because she had succumbed once again to her ridiculous mind. ‘Tomorrow, definitely tomorrow’.