Alone Again!

FootstepsLes washed his anger away in the shower and came down for breakfast in a better mood.

“Time to get my kit together after breakfast, my flight leaves at two fifteen.”

“I’d forgotten you were flying today, I suppose it’s best, DC is a long flight, if you left it until tomorrow you’d miss a full day of work.”

“Yes, and we go live next week. Are you OK, you’re quiet?”

Had he really already forgotten my nightmare? 

“I’m fine.” I replied. Not that you care anyway. I returned to my thoughts.

Shall I visit the barn again, or shall I go and talk to the old guy down the road? Yes, this could be my next story, but I had to see how it ended before I began to write. 

“I said, what do you think?”

I snapped out of my thoughts and looked up. Les was staring at me, waiting for an answer.  “Sorry, think about what?”

“Oh forget it,” he said irritated again.

“What did you ask me? I didn’t sleep well remember! I’ll probably try to nap this afternoon when you’re gone?”

“I said what do you think about flying out to DC in a couple of weeks instead of my flying home. You said you wanted to see where the President lives. How about it?”

“Yes, sounds great, I’d like that. Can you arrange a visit with him?” I replied, trying to be light-hearted and not show how I really felt. I really did enjoy traveling I’d wanted to go to DC for a while. DC and Boston were the only two US cities I hadn’t managed to cross off my bucket list yet.

I was relieved when Les finally left for the airport. I’d managed not to show it, but I really was hurt and upset with the way he’d talked to me. I needed him gone for a week to get over it. A nightmare was one thing, but surely he knew this was more. I waved him off, smiling as though nothing was wrong, but the smile faded as he drove away.

How am I going to handle this? 

My question was answered. As I turned to go back inside, a solitary figure appeared at the end of the drive. It was the old guy from the Stagecoach. He walked slowly towards me as though every step he took caused him great pain. I wasn’t sure if he’d even seen me standing at the door, his head hung so low his chin almost touched his chest.

I shivered as I looked at him, and the shadow that followed behind.

Gran, I hope you’re still looking out for me, I think I’m going to need you!

That was No Dream!

Nightmare

Image from ‘The Nightmare” http://www.theguardian.com

“Les, that was more than a dream”

Les looked at me quizzically, “what do you mean? You’re in bed and you’re screaming and thrashing like you’re fighting with someone. What else could it be?”

“Something’s wrong, the girl from the barn is calling me.” I told him.

“What girl?

“The dead girl. The girl who had the baby”

“What baby?” I could tell Les was getting annoyed. He wasn’t really interested, just going through the motions and thinking here we go again.

“She had a baby in that old barn up the road. It was a long time ago, she died giving birth. The old guy in the pub on New Years Eve is her dad. When he brushed by me I felt a connection. She needs my help.”

“What old guy? What the hell are you talking about? I’ve had enough of this, I’m getting a shower.”

“Les, you know I see things sometimes, it’s why I write. She’s reaching out to me and I have to find out why.”

“You write because you have an overactive imagination. Stop confusing reality with your imagination. People are going to think you’re crazy.”

“Remember the blood on my face that day, you helped me clean it off?”

Les rolled his eyes, “yes, you said you fell in the snow and scratched yourself on the bushes.”

“I lied, I was in the old barn. I saw a girl and a baby. Something in the barn scratched me. It could have been a stray cat, but I was in the barn that night. I went out walking and I was drawn to the barn. Now I know why, it’s the girl, she’s reaching out to me.”

“How do you know she died, where did you get the rest of the story from? Or did you just make it up?”

“Bonnie in the pub told me the rest.”

“Oh great! Another place we have to avoid now.”

“Don’t worry, I didn’t tell her about what I’d seen in the barn”

“There was nothing to see, get it into your head, this is a figment of your imagination, another plot for a book. Write a story and then forget about it for gods sake.” Les wasn’t shouting, but he was using that cruel cold voice that made me want to cry.

“I just asked Bonnie why the old guy was sitting alone drinking heavily. She told me his teenage daughter died giving birth to an illegitimate child in the barn. She’d kept it secret from them. She died. He’s never recovered.”

Les wasn’t listening anymore. He switched the shower on a closed the door.

Thanks a lot!  

I grabbed my robe and went downstairs to make some coffee. I wanted to cry. I felt scared and alone. We’d been married for fifteen years but Les still didn’t accept I was able to talk to the dead. He’d seen it first hand sometimes, but chose to erase it from his memory. Couldn’t he see I needed him? I gazed out of the kitchen window while the coffee machine heated up. A couple of tears trickled down my cheek. Gran I wish you were here. 

Then I remembered her voice, she was here, she’d helped me last night in my dream. 

At least someone was on my side.

 

Darkness Comes!

inside-barn-e1392609756683

The air was frigid. I shivered. Les, wake up. My mind said the words, but my mouth wouldn’t open. I tried to move. I was paralyzed.

Open your eyes, you’re dreaming, wake up!, but I knew my eyes were wide open. There was nothing to see but a fog of darkness.

“Help” I whispered feebly, so feebly I couldn’t hear my own words. “Les, help me.”

A hand touched mine. It was icy cold. I didn’t want to see who it belonged to. It guided me slowly though the dark cold air, cold hands touching my body as I passed by. Leave me be. Let me go.

A bright light pierced the darkness ahead of me. We moved slowly towards it and then we turned a corner sharply.

The light is evil!

Malevolent whispers raped the silence.

“Where am I?”

Giggles, whispers, singing.

I’m in an asylum. I’m dreaming. I must be dreaming. “Les!” The only thing that came out of my mouth was a cloud of white breath. It hung in front of me like a frozen cloud.

I hit my head on something sharp, but I couldn’t raise my hand to rub it. Warm blood trickled  down my cheek. I was falling.

The giggles turned to hysterical laugher. “She fell, she fell, look at her. Oh look at her. We have her now”

“No you don’t. She’s only visiting, leave her be,” It was my grandma’s voice, soothing, gentle.

Where am I? 

Shapes emerged from the darkness. I was back in the barn.

Hush little baby don’t you cry, mamma’s going to sing you a lullaby.

“WAKE UP. WHATS WRONG WITH YOU? WAKE UP”

I gulped and sat up.

Les was shaking me.

“That was one hell of a dream!” he said!

I write for fun, but when I retire, I plan to make money from my stories. Just imagine, making money doing something I love. I know Iv’ve left it a little late, but I’ve actually been writing send I was 12 years old. Therapy, cheaper to put your thoughts and fears down on paper than lie on that leather couch and be analyzed. Anyway, if you want a cheap amusing read, go buy my first novel on Amazon. It’s only $0.99 and its a fun read Dead of July 

Also check out my Writer Page on FacebookDead of July – Facebook

New Year – New Haunting

To my amazement, my recluse husband did stay at the bar until Midnight. We sang Auld Lang syne and then grabbed the first transport home. It was only a mile to our house, but drinking and driving was never a good idea. Les tipped the driver $20. I looked at him in amazement, before laughing out loud. He wasn’t normally a good tipper, but alcohol had greased his wallet.

The fire had died long since and the house felt cold. We got ready for bed quickly, snuggling under the covers to stay warm. Les started snoring immediately his head hit the pillow, but I law awake for a long time, thinking about the teenager who’d died giving birth in the barn.

Why do these spirits pick me out?

A soft clear voice that only I could hear answered me.

“Because they can!”

It was the voice of my grandma, long since dead. A real character when she was alive and even more so after death. She visited me often. I liked having her around, even though she could be mischievous. My gran introduced me to my granddad who’d died long before I was born. It wasn’t scared to meet him, even though I was only six or seven at the time. He just appeared while we sat by a brook on the moors. I was glad I’d met him. My gift came from my gran.

What does this girl want from me grandma?

“That’s for you to find out hinney,” she answered in her Geordie accent. She’d lived in county Durham and Northumberland all of her life. I loved her accent! It made me feel warm inside. I’d tried to imitate it when I was younger, but spent too much time in North Yorkshire to perfect it.

Hearing my her voice (if only in my head) soothed me, and I drifted to sleep easily, but only to be wake up again a couple of hours later.

What was that?

Les turned over, but remained asleep. I’d heard something. What was it?

“Hush little baby don’t you cry, mama’s going to sing you a lullaby.

Can’t stay long so please, please sleep.

Mama’s dying don’t want you to weep” 

I sat bolt upright.

A soft glow shone through the bedroom door. It came from the living room below. The fire was out, but something flickered down there. I slid out of bed carefully, so as not to wake Les. The light was fading. I looked over the bannister from the landing to see a pale sad young face looking up, but not at me. She held a baby in her arms. Kissing it softly on the cheek, she held it out to someone. The baby disappeared and so did the girl.hqdefault

The house became silent and very, very cold.

 

The Connection!

StagecoachWith all the Christmas decorations packed away the house looked bare, but fresh. A sign of new beginnings. A New Year on the horizon. The week between Christmas and New Year is a no man’s land, an alternative universe. A land where even wandering spirits daren’t venture.

I got home from work early, ready for a glass of wine or two.

“Why don’t we go down to the Stagecoach?” I said to my reclusive husband. “Let’s see the New Year in with friends.”

“Sure if you want, I’ve cooked so lets eat and go down later.”

Shocked at both the meal and the prospect of seeing the New Year with friends I poured another glass of wine. He’d cooked Italian, Risotto with Shrimp. It was delicious. We switched on the television and watched the fireworks over the London Eye as England drifted into the New Year seven hours ahead of us. It put me in the mood to celebrate so I fixed my make-up, changed my clothes and was ready to go.

The Stagecoach was less than a five-minute drive, but it was too cold to walk. We were greeted by smiling familiar faces and found two seats at the bar. “You staying until midnight?” Bonnie asked.

“Maybe, but I doubt it. Not sure if I can keep Les here that long.”

She laughed, she knew us both too well. I could talk for hours, Les, not so much.

“Well there’s a free ride home tonight if you have too much to drink, I’ll put your name on the list just in case.”

Les found someone to talk to and I chatted to anyone and everyone. I was a bit of celebrity to the locals because I had a British accent and was a writer. It made me feel quite famous, even though I wasn’t. In one of the booths in the far corner of the bar, an old man sat alone. Although this was my local I hadn’t seen him before. I felt sorry for him. Awful to be lonely on New Years Eve.

“Hey Bonnie, who’s the old guy in the corner? He looks miserable?”

Bonnie knew who I was talking about without looking in his direction.

“He’s called Bret, he comes here every New Year and gets stone drunk. Been coming in for 20 years or more, long before I started working here.”

“Why does he drink alone?”

“Don’t know the whole story, but his daughter died one New Years Eve, complications of child-birth. Kept her pregnancy a secret because she was only 17. Gave birth in a barn and never recovered.”

I felt cold, my voice was no more than a whisper, “Was the barn close to here?”

“Yes, up off the road you live in. Simpson’s barn.”

Trying to stop my hands from shaking I swallowed the contents of my glass in one gulp.

“Are you okay?” Bonnie asked.

I ignored her, “Did the baby survive?”

She filled up my glass, “No one knows, they never found it. Betty Simpson found the girl lying in a pool of her own blood. She’d been dead a couple of days.”

“Oh God how sad.”

I looked across to the old guy sitting alone drinking. He threw some cash on the table and got up to leave. He staggered barely able to walk.

“Bonnie, make him ride home with your driver, don’t let him drive.”

“No need, he lives at the bottom of your road, he walks.” The old guy brushed my arm as he left. A jolt of energy coursed through my body and I saw the face of the young girl I’d seen in the barn. I know he felt it too. He glanced at me as though he’d just woken up, and then quickly looked away.

I knew I’d see him again though.

The Haunting Begins

christmas-bauble_2399692kChristmas came and went, so did my family. It was lovely having them to stay, but nice to see them leave. I dearly loved my parents, but its hard to see them age. Every time I wave goodbye at the airport, I wonder if I’ll ever see them again. I don’t want to get old. 

Taking down the Christmas decorations isn’t nearly as much fun as putting them up. I was cranky and not much fun to be around. Music helped a little.Why am I so sad?

If you won’t let me help you I’m going to the gym.”

I didn’t even answer, just waved as Les disappeared into the garage. I wiped my tears and blew my nose. Whats wrong with me?

Carefully I took the old ornaments from the tree, wrapping each one individually and carefully. These may be old tat to my mum, but to me they were heirlooms, passed down through generations. I wanted to pass them on to my children one day, if I ever had any. I’d never really given any thought to starting a family.

When the last of the antique baubles were carefully packed away I taped the lid onto the box. Another year gone! 

But you breathe, you have life and love. You’ll see your child grow up.”

Who said that?

The room felt cold. The sun disappeared behind a cloud. A gust of wind rattled the remaining dead leaves on the Aspen tree outside.

“Who said that?” My voice sounded strange and distant.

I picked up my cellphone, intending to call Les, but it had no signal. How could that be?

There was movement behind me on the Christmas tree. Scared of what I would see, I turned around slowly.

A single bauble drifted down through the branches and rested, without breaking, on the velvet tree skirt. I sighed with relief. It was just a bauble falling, why was I so jumpy?

How did I miss that? 

As I reached down to pick it up, it rolled away from me and settled on the hearth. Sunlight burst from behind the clouds and shone through the window, turning the bauble into a golden orb, so thin it was translucent. A face looked up at me from within, a sad face, smiling like the Mona Lisa. The face changed and the smile turned to a grimace. My beautiful antique bauble exploded and for a brief moment the face appeared again. This time distorted and then it was gone.

My first novel Dead of July is available on Amazon for $0.99. It’s a fun read and an introduction to my crazy life. Writing is my hobby, but when I retire, it may become my full-time job. I love to write. Support a new writer and check out Dead of July. It’s set in the early eighties in Dortmund, Germany. I was a young Army wife on my first posting abroad. See what happens to me!

She was Dying, but she kept it to herself!

catseyeSilence! The sobbing stopped abruptly as it had started. The barn was empty. I pointed my flashlight into the corner, where I’d seen the baby swaddled in the hay. Nothing! I was losing my mind? Something moved behind me and I froze, remembering the sharp claws that dug into my shoulder the night before. Turning quickly, I prepared to run, but instead tripped over some old farming equipment, dropping my flashlight as I went down. It spun across the floor, stopping by the wall. Pushing myself up, I went to retrieve it. Something brushed against my legs. I heard a sound again. “Who’s there?” I asked. “Show yourself.” Two large manic eyes stared at me. It was a barn cat. She hissed at me, warning me away from a litter of new-born kittens. “Oh Thank God.”

A cat protecting her litter I could handle. It also explained the scratches from the previous night. No Daemon lurked in the barn, just a mother protecting her babies.

I need to get home, before Les comes looking for me. Hurrying down the road I wondered about my sanity (and not for the first time in my life), I had an overactive imagination, which is why I wrote for a hobby, but could my imagination really conjure up a baby in a barn? Surely not. Did I see kittens and think baby? I don’t think so!

When I got home Les was switching off the TV. “Did you get some good photos?” he asked.

“Not really, too dark.” I answered.

I didn’t sleep well that night. A voice resounded in my brain, a sweet, sad, but unfamiliar voice:

I’m dying, but I don’t want to say, I just don’t want to spoil the day, 

I’m dying, but I’ll keep it to myself.

I love you mum, I love you dad, you’re the best parents a girl ever had,

I don’t want to ever let you down. 

My secret is I have a child, I gave birth to a baby so meek and mild,

She’s safe and warm and you will never know.

I’m dying, but I don’t want to say, I just don’t want to spoil the day,

I’m dying but I’ll keep it to myself. 

Sitting up in bed I listened to Les snore. I wish I slept as well as him, hard to sleep when your next story is festering in your brain. Is this whats going on, is this a story trying to escape?

The Little Ghost of Christmas

Baby in the hayHad I put too much Rum in the Apple Cider? I rubbed my eye and peered at the shiny bauble. The footsteps had disappeared of course, and my distorted face looked back at me once again.

“What are you looking at?”

“Oh nothing, just thinking about my Grandma!” I said as I turned around.

The TV show had finished and Les sat with the remote in his hand and a look of hesitation on his face. “Did you say something about going out for a drink?” he asked.

“I thought it might be a good idea, but don’t worry, it’s started snowing again, lets stay home.”

The look of relief on his face was obvious. Les wasn’t a socialite and preferred the company of the television. He immediately began looking for something else to watch. “Anything you fancy watching?” he asked.

“No, I’m going outside to take photos of the Christmas lights.” I answered putting on my coat.

“It’s freezing! Why would you do that?” I didn’t answer because I knew he wasn’t listening. He’d found a Karate Cop movie and was already distracted.

I stepped out onto the porch, wondering if he’d even notice I didn’t bring my camera. It was bitterly cold, but beautiful. Huge snowflakes fell slowly from the heavens, turning the world into a silent white wonderland. Christmas lights glittered like jewels on the pine trees. Fairly lights, when I was a kid I called them fairly lights.

I pulled my hat down over my ears and walked purposefully along the drive way to the dirt road. Why I wanted to go back to the barn I wasn’t sure, but I was drawn there. There were only a couple of houses along the half mile that let to the barn so I switched on my flashlight to make sure any passing cars saw me. I needn’t have worried, none passed by. When the moon wasn’t hidden behind snow clouds, it shone brightly, guiding my path, showing me the way. There were no footprints in the snow, but I didn’t need them. I knew where I was going.

After climbing to the top of the hill I paused for a moment to catch my breath. I looked towards the barn. Dim light shone through ill-fitting door. Some one was in there. What am I doing? Why am I here. Why didn’t I tell Les where I was going?

I crossed the virgin snow and stood silently outside for a while, contemplating what to do next. This is a bad idea. Shall I turn back.

Thats when I heard it. The sweet sound of a lullaby. A mother singing to reassure her child, lulling her to sleep. It was enchanting, hypnotizing.

I enjoyed it for a minute or so, until it was replaced by deep heartbreaking sobs. I gently opened the barn door, just a crack and peered inside.

A baby lay sleeping, snuggled tightly on blankets in the hay.

Jingle Bell Rock – Footprints in the Snow

We sat by the fire drinking hot cider infused with rum. A perfect drink for a snowy December evening. It was Christmas in a glass. Les was engrossed in a noisy car chase on the television. So tense was his body, he might as well driving the cop car. It never ceases to amaze me how guys lose themselves in television. Isn’t real live much more fun?

I gazed at the Christmas tree. It was full of ornaments and memories. Many of the decorations were older than me, passed down from my grandmother to my mam, and then to me. My mam was still alive so they could have hung on her tree, but she ‘didn’t like clutter’. To me those old faded baubles weren’t clutter, they were history. When I touched them my body tingled as though they were trying to reach out to me, trying to tell me a story.

I took my empty glass to the sink and stared out of the kitchen window. It was snowing again. Christmas twinkled in the distance from the local bar. I faintly heard music, “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock” sang with a country twang. It was a Saturday night, live music night. “Lets go down to the bar,” I said to Les. “It’s live music night, should be fun.” No answer! He was of course, on the edge of his seat, avoiding a collision with a school bus that had somehow gotten between the cop car and the bad guy.

I smiled. I wish my mind switched off from real life so easily.

I was drawn again to the Christmas tree, and the old clutter that hung there. Smiling I touched one of my Grandma’s ornaments, balancing it in the palm of my hand. It was a golden bauble, so worn and shiny it was like looking in a mirror. It moved slightly in my hand, or did I imagine it? Carefully taking it from the branch I held it up to my face and gazed into its smooth surface. My own face looked back at me, slightly distorted because of its shape. I closed my eyes and thought about my Grandma. When I opened them again my face no longer looked back at me, instead I saw the image of a child with blonde curly hair.

She smiled at me and waved, before turning around and walking away, leaving only footprints in the snow!