Not Alone!

candle-in-darkA solitary figure walked through the deserted streets. With every turn plunged he was plunged into deeper, darker shadows as he walked into the bowels of the city, but he wasn’t alone.

“Where are you leading me?” he said to no one.

He came to a dead-end, a courtyard.

“What now?” he asked.

Looking around him he felt hopeless, lost, but he didn’t feel alone. A candle burned in a small grimy window. The only light in the gloom. No wait, there was a door. A slither of light escaped beneath it.

The hinges creaked as he pushed it open and entered a tiny room. He stood for a while as his eyes accustomed to the darkness. The room was empty, but he heard whispers, was someone praying? Following the sound he walked carefully through a darkened archway. A woman sat in the far corner, next to a bed. She turned as he entered.

“Father, how did you know?”

She was holding the hand of an old man. His breath was uneven ragged.

“He’s ready to leave us.” she said. “Bless him Father, help him move on.”

The good father crouched down beside them and held their hands. Eyes closed, they prayed together.

Father Rafferty stood up, his old knees crackling as he did so. The ragged breathing had stopped. He turned to the old lady to offer her comfort, but she was gone. Was she ever there?

The smell of roses tantalized the air and Father Rafferty looked around. A beautiful young woman stood behind him. Her eyes sparkled with life and happiness. She held her hand out, not to him, but to the old man in the bed beyond. A cool breeze passed by him as a young man rose from the old body on the bed.

The young couple embraced and faded into the night.

All that was left was candle light and the smell of roses.

Revelation Tin

christmas-cookie-tin-vintage-green-fruit-bells-nutcracker-wreath-on-gold-lid-8a91ef866b8eb3bbe6a19b6dd17f3778We waited in silence for the cab to arrive. Silence wasn’t a good thing in a motel like that. The noises from the rooms on either side didn’t leave much to the imagination. I tried hard not to put Janie’s face in one of those rooms. Although we’d waited no more than five minutes, it seemed like an eternity and when the cab finally arrived I fled. As I left the room I looked behind me. Larry was rumpling the bed covers. “we have to make it look like we slept here at least”

I shivered, “whatever!” The thought of sleeping in that bed gave me the creeps. “Where to?” the driver asked as Larry slid in the back seat beside me.”

“Stagecoach Salon, Franktown.” Larry replied.

The cab pulled out onto the main road. “Thats a long way man, you good for the money?” Larry reached over and waved a hundred dollar bill in the guys face. “That should cover it. Keep the change.”

The city lights disappeared in the rearview mirror and the soft darkness of Douglas County swallowed us. “I hope Jacks OK”

Larry was silent. I looked at him. “He will be OK won’t he?” I asked.

“I don’t know, he’s an old guy, may have had a heart attack.

It seemed to take an eternity to get to the bar, and when we arrived, it was in darkness. I looked at Larry, he pointed to a dark shape in the gloom by the fence. It was the van. “You sure you want to be dropped off here?” the cab driver said. “Looks like its closed.”

“Yea, we’re good, thanks man.”

We watched the cabs tail lights disappear in the distance. “OK, let’s go.” Larry said. We turned to the van and the lights came on, temporarily blinding me.

“Everyone OK,”Larry asked as we slid into the front seat.

“The old guy’s a bit shook up, but I think he’ll survive.”

“How about Janie?” I asked.

“She ran, don’t know where she went!”

“What, when?”

“When we got back here, she took off!”

Larry looked at me. “Great, we went through all of this for nothing.”

In two minutes we were at Jack’s house. He sat at the kitchen table, his face ashen. Larry’s three friends were drinking whiskey. Jack was drinking tea. I pulled a chair alongside him. “Jack are you alright?”

“Yes, I will be, got a weak heart, too much excitement for an old man.”

“You’re not that old!”

“I feel it!”

“Where’s Janie?” I asked, trying not to stress him any further.

“I’m here!”

She stood in the doorway, the passage light framing her slight figure. She held a bundle wrapped in a blanket. At first I thought she was carrying a child, my heart missed a beat. Jack made to get up, but I put my hand on his should and made him sit.

“Where’d you go?” he asked.

“Back to the barn, I wanted to grab this stuff before anyone else found it. Those guys came searching for me down here once. They might come back!”

She dropped the bundle on the floor, but held onto a small tin, the sort you got cookies in at Christmas. She placed it on the table in front of Jack. He looked up at her.

“Open it!”

Just an old fashioned brothel!

BrotherlThe creep who’s propositioned me made himself comfortable on a chair next to Janie. Without taking his eyes off me he draped his arm around her and pulled her close. Tears streamed down her face. Push him off Janie, push him away. I knew she couldn’t. He kissed her on her neck, then her lips. He stood her up and pinning her against the wall with his body, he slid down and nuzzled his head between her breasts. She was terrified. I looked at Jack’s face, worried about his reaction. Larry spoke!

“Hey man, leave her alone, I can’t concentrate on the cards while you’re doing that.”

Tom turned around and faced him. “Can’t have that can we!”

He took hold of Janie’s arm and dragged her across the floor. She fell to her knees but he didn’t stop, he continued to walk, dragging her behind him. She managed to get to her feet again when they reached the door, her knees were scraped and her blouse torn.

“You want to come too darling? I can handle two of you.”

Go Sheila go, it’ll be OK! He’s strong, but drunk. Go help her. The voices in my head belonged to someone I’d come to know. It was Jacks daughter. Go, we’re here with you. This time it was my gran.

“Sure, let’s have a party.”

The look on Janie’s face was horrific. “No, leave her alone, leave her out of this.”

“Shhh, honey, you can’t keep a mal like this all to yourself” I said, trying to take on the role.

I didn’t look behind me, daren’t see the look on Jack’s face.

The bedroom that Tom led us into wasn’t at all what I was expecting. It was clean and sumptuous, reminded me of a saloon brothel from some Western, where the madame would be called Kitty and her girls would wear frilly bloomers and basques. He saw the look on my face. “Like what you see, you’re gonna like what you get too.” He unbuckled his belt and started to unzip his jeans. “Lets play around a little first shall we?”He walked toward me, his belt hanging loose, the top button of his jeans undone and his zipper halfway down. Janie stepped in front of me, trembling, but trying to protect me. She moved towards Tom and draped her arms around his neck. He put his hands on her shoulders, dropped his head and kissed her breasts, then he pushed her to one side and laughed.

“I’ve had you before, its her I want. She’s new, fresh and I don’t think she’s done this before.”

Oh dear god please help me. 

I looked across at the speckled mirror in the old-fashioned dresser and saw four faces looking back at me. My own terrified face was in the forefront, but the faded, determined faces of my gran, and the two souls she’d befriended hovered behind, like fading holograms.

Everything moved very fast. Janie lurched forward and grabbed Tom’s jeans, she yanked them down to his knees and pushed as hard as she could. His legs tangled in his jeans and he went down hard, banging his head on the corner of the dresser as he fell. It knocked him out cold.

Run, run, run, run, run, run, ruuuuuuunnnnnnn! Get away, flee!

The faces in the mirror had disappeared, but the room echoed with their words. I grabbed Janie’s hand and we ran for the door. It opened as we approached and on of Larry’s boys appeared. He looked behind us and saw Tom on the floor, a pool of blood spreading around him.

“This way!”

We fled down the hallway and out of the back door. The old van stood outside, its engine running. We fell inside and the van took off, even before the door was closed.

“You girls OK?”

Janie and I didn’t speak, we just hugged each other!

“What about Jack,” Janie said, “What if they hurt him?”

I put my arm around her, feeling her wet tears on my shoulder. “He’s in good company, I think he’ll be OK!” I replied and hoped I was right.

 

Wanna Join my Girls?

I was nervous when I climbed into the front seat of the shabby old van, but I was also excited. As an amateur writer and budding novelist I wrote about
Gilded Lilyall sorts of weird and crazy things, but never anything quite like this. If I survived the night it would certainly give me material for my next novel. What do you mean if you survive the night?

I heard my gran’s voice, she was back at last.

Where have you been?

“I’ve been here, watching over you. You’ve been doing just fine without me.” 

With all of the doors shut and the engine running noisily, it really was an old rust bucket, Larry looked at me.

“Are you ready for this?” He asked.

“As ready as anyone can be.”

“Sheila, you don’t have to do this. We should just call the cops. Larry, let her out.”

There was silence in the van for about ten seconds, eventually broken by a husky voice from the darkness.

“You call the cops man, you’ll never see this girl again. She’ll just disappear. You aint messing with amateurs here. This is serious shit. We’re this girls only chance.”

“How do you know? You don’t know her!”

“I know who owns her. She’s money to him, nothing else. Get the cops involved and she’s worthless. She’ll be sold on, or worse.”

“Why do you care?” Jack asked, “Why do you want to help us?”

“Got a score to settle with this guy. An eye for an eye and all that!”

Larry pulled slowly onto the main road. The old van rattled and shook. I hope we don’t have to make a quick getaway ‘cos this van won’t do it.

We drove through the darkness in silence. It was thirty minutes or so before the skyscrapers of Denver lit up the horizon ahead of us. I should have been scared, but I wasn’t. I felt warm inside. Gran you’re there aren’t you? “Yes hinny, and I brought friends.” 

I closed my eyes and for a brief moment I saw my Gran’s face. Her piercing blue eyes looking into mine. She did indeed have company. I recognized their faces from the locket we’d found in the bar. I looked over my shoulder at Jack. “I think we’ve got company,” I said. He didn’t reply, just sat with his head in his hands. I think he was crying.

 

What happens next? Follow my blog and find out. I’m a budding (late starting) writer. I published my first book ‘Dead of July’ back in 2013. There’s been a gap, where life has been to busy for me to write, but I’m back in the saddle and writing up a storm. Stay with me and enjoy the ride. 

Dead of July – A Ghost Story with a difference

Help ME!

131286-aaa-tests-shine-high-beam-headlight-limitations.2As I walked home, my temples began to throb. Goddam this day! Why don’t I feel good about helping this girl? 

“Give it time!”

It was my Gran’s voice. I was comforted to hear it. Gran who is this girl.? There was no reply. The phone rang as I walked through the front door. I ignored it. After taking a couple of aspirin, I lay down on the sofa and slept. My dreams were a troubled mess of sirens and anxiety. When I finally woke up it was dark and cold. I was disoriented. Where am I?

Looking around, I focused my eyes and thoughts. At home of course. I’d slept for six hours. It was almost time to meet up with Jack and Janie again. Was that really her name? I doubted it. More likely she’d done her research on a poor lonely old man and chosen the name to take advantage him. But why do I feel the presence of his dead wife and daughter?

I washed my face and changed my rumpled clothes. The phone came to life again.

It was Les, “where have you been? I’ve been calling you at work and at home.”

“I stayed home, had an awful nights sleep and just couldn’t face work. I heard the phone ring once here, but I didn’t answer because I was trying to sleep.”

“Once, I rang about six times.”

Maybe the sirens I heard in my dreams was the phone ringing. 

“Well I never heard it.”

“Good news, I will be home this weekend after all. The system isn’t going live until next week.”

“Great,” I said, not sounding the least bit enthusiastic. “Look I’m not feeling well, I’ll call you later.”

I was becoming more agitated by the second. My heart was beating fifty to the dozen. I grabbed my coat, and jumped in the car, almost forgetting to open the garage door before I drove out. Something felt wrong!

Jack’s house was lit up like a beacon, porch light, bedroom lights, and the door stood wide open. As my car crunched along the driveway Jack appeared.

“She’s gone!” he said

“Is anything missing?” I asked without thinking.

He looked hurt. “I didn’t check and I don’t need to. We have to find her.”

“OK, jump in, we’ll go to the barn first.”

“No need, I already checked there, no sign of her.”

I closed my eyes and tried to collect my thoughts. Had she ever really existed? Was she something I’d conjured up? No, Jack has seen her too.

I started to speak, but my words were drowned by the noise of a truck passing by, music blaring from the windows.

“Help me!”

Icy fingers closed around my heart. I looked at Jack.

“Did I imagine that?”

He shook his head and jumped in the passenger seat.

“Go!” He yelled.

 

Dead of July  is my first novel and its available on Amazon for $0.99. It’s set in 1982 in Dortmund, Germany. If you’re enjoying my short blog stories, give it a try.

 

The Girl in the Bushes!

pine trees“This photo doesn’t look odd to you?” I asked.

“No, it’s faded, but it’s as familiar to me as the day I took it. So much love, so much happiness.”

I handed the locket to him, “Here, it’s yours Jack, I’ve a feeling I was supposed to give it to you anyway.”

He took the locket from me without looking, his eyes focused on something over my shoulder. I made to turn around.

“No, don’t move, just keep talking to me, I don’t want to alarm her. She’s not hiding anymore, she’s watching us.”

Jack smiled and raised his arm in a wave, “I don’t want to hurt you,” he said.

I turned around slowly. The girl was closer, and no longer hiding, but she didn’t move. “Hey, I’m Sheila, I saw you in the Stagecoach the other night. You left something behind.”

Jack held up the locket, “Is this yours?”

She still didn’t move, just watched us from a distance. Although there was no breeze the bushes around her rustled and moved. She turned her head as though she was listening to someone close by.

“Jack, do you feel that?”

“Yes,” he answered, “what is it?”

The dead January grass moved in front of us, as though making a pathway to the girl. “Someone is showing us the way,” I replied.

He took a step forward, the young girl tensed, ready to run. Jack stood still again.

She cocked her head to the side, listening to words only she could hear, and then relaxed again.

I took two steps forward, Jack followed. We stood still for a few seconds and waited, expecting the girl to bolt. She didn’t.

“Come on Jack,” I whispered, “lets keep going.”

Slowly and carefully we walked forward until we were close enough to see her face. Her eyes were huge and frightened, her hair matted, straw on her clothes from sleeping in the barn. She was painfully thin, her well-worn clothes hanging on her body.

The world around us became silent, the air still, almost like we were in a vacuum. We were in the eye of the storm.

Finally Jack spoke.

“I think someone sent you to find me.”

He held his hand out, the open locket lying in his palm. “Did you lose this? It belonged to my daughter. I don’t think you knew her because she died long ago. Did someone give this to you?”

She darted forward a couple of steps and snatched the locket out of his hand. I expected her to run, but she didn’t, she backed away a few paces and then looked at Jack, and then at me.

“Why are you living in a barn?” I asked

She looked down at the ground, as though ashamed.

“Are you hungry?”

She looked up at me and nodded.

“Come with us, just for a hot meal, you need to eat.”

“Do you have a name?” Jack asked.

“Janie!” she whispered and then turned and ran.

Jack stared after her as she disappeared into the barn.

“Janie,” he whispered, “My Janie!”

****************************************

My First Novel is available on Amazon.

Dead of July – A Novel by Sandra Thompson

 

Death by Rifle?

Death by RifleJOY1690.0LI knew the old guy would most likely be at work, but I had to check. Someone was trying to make contact with me and I had a feeling it was his daughter. Why? Who the hell knew. Maybe I was the only person in the area who was open to her. I needed it over with. I needed my life back. Grabbing my coat, and stepping into my shoes, I set off up the road purposefully. I hadn’t gone far when my cell phone rang, it was Les.

“Hey, you didn’t call me back last night, still mad at me?”

“No, just tired, I went to bed. Not feeling great. I took the day off work.” Silence!

Ok say something! Ask me why I’m not feeling well! Give me some sympathy at least.

“You’re in the middle of another episode aren’t you?”

“Episode? What do you mean episode? You sound just like my mam.”

“I didn’t mean to. Are you going to be OK? It’s just hard to get my head around this stuff.”

“Why? When you’re mam died you knew it was going to happen. Explain that! You’ve seen things in this house that you can’t explain. Why is it so goddamn hard for you to get your head around this?”

“I know, I’m sorry. Just be careful OK!”

“I will!”

“Got to go, conference call starting. I’ll call later.”

With that he hung up. I ended the call and stuffed the phone back in my pocket. My fingers touched something cold. The pendant! I pulled it out and looked at it. I thought I’d left this with Bonnie in the Stagecoach! I opened it up and looked at the photos inside,they didn’t change the way they had last night. One side of the heart showed a young couple, and the other side was the face of a little girl, she was as cute as a button, her face beaming with happiness. I didn’t recognize any of them, but if I had to guess, I’d say the young couple were the old man and his wife. The little girl had to be his daughter. I choked back the tears. What a tragedy. Mother and child gone, and the old man wishing he were with them. It made me want to call Les back and tell him I loved him. Who knew what tomorrow held?

I walked along the driveway to the ranch, the neglected yard like a wilderness at either side of the rutted driveway. I approached the door cautiously, remembering what had happened the previous evening. The porch steps creaked as I mounted them. The door swung open slowly as a knocked. With a strong sense of deja vu, I stepped inside.

“Anyone home?”

Silence!

Then just like the previous evening I heard a noise from above. I was about to turn and flee when the old man appeared, he was carrying a rifle.

“I was expecting you!” he said.

Back to the Red Barn!

FootstepsAfter tossing and turning in bed for most of the night I gave up. Sleep wasn’t visiting me! At 4am I donned my robe and went downstairs to make coffee. I was tired and irritated. The dark silent house offered no comfort. It was no use calling Les, he was two hours ahead of me in Ohio, and probably already working, but what would I tell him?

I sipped my coffee and stared outside into the darkness. Nothing to see!

Gran what should I do? 

Opening my laptop I tried to work on my book, but I was too tired, too irritated!

Goddamn it, I have to get to the bottom of this.

After two cups of coffee and a lot of pacing, I showered. Work was out of the question, I was incapable of driving let alone working. Exhausted and defeated, I began to cry. I couldn’t go on like this.

Just after eight o clock, the phone rang.

“Hello pet, I had the strangest dream and I had to call you.” It was my mam. She had no clue about the time difference between England and the United States, had I been at work I’d have missed her call.

“Hi mam, I’m glad you slept long enough to have a dream. I was awake all night. What did you dream that made you think of me?”

“I dreamed about your Grandma! She was walking through the field near your house. It was very odd because she died long before you moved to America.”

“What a nice dream. It makes me feel like she’s watching over me.” My Gran had been watching over me since the day she died, but my mam wouldn’t discuss such things. 

“There was an old man with her, but it wasn’t your Grandad. He was very sad. Your Grandma was holding his hand, like she was leading him somewhere.”

I cold barely breathe. Mam had never shown any signs of having the gift my Gran and I shared, but somehow she’d become part of what was happening. I let her continue.

“They were walking towards an old red barn. I could hear someone crying.”

The phone went silent.

“Mam, are you still there? What did the man look like. What happened next?”

“I don’t know pet, your dad started snoring and I woke up. I wish he’d stop smoking, I’m sure it makes him snore.”

I exhaled deeply. Dammit, I needed to know what happened next.

I chatted with her for a while, not really listening, but making the right noises. Finally in the distance I heard a doorbell ring. “I’d better go, some one is at the door. Take care.”

“You too mam, love you.”

By the time I put the phone down I had a plan.

 

The Ghost of a Pendant!

JOY1690.0LThe Stagecoach was less than a five-minute drive, but walking was out of the question on a dark monday evening in winter. There was no sidewalk on the busy road and no lights on the dirt road that led to my house! Country living has its drawbacks!

When I arrived I was greeted by familiar welcoming faces. I didn’t know everyone’s name, but they were regulars, I felt safe there. A glass of Chardonnay was waiting for me when I sat at the bar. They knew me well. No English pub had ever been so welcoming.

“We don’t usually see you on a Monday night”

“I know, Les is Ohio and I wasn’t in the mood for being alone.”

“Menu?”

“No thanks, not tonight”

Bonnie was a star act in the Stagecoach. She was quick and witty, but also drop dead gorgeous with her blue eyes and black hair. She rode a crotch rocket, and not in a girly way.

She bantered with one or two other customers and then came back to me.

“Its quiet even for a monday, everyone’s probably recovering after Christmas. That old guy was in earlier, the one you were asking me about on New Years eve. He looked worse than usual. Kept putting his hands over his ears like he was trying to block something out. He sure has some daemons to deal with.”

Well now I know why he wasn’t home! Someone was in his house though, I felt it. I hope they hadn’t followed me.

The door opened allowing a freezing gust of cold January air into the bar. Bonnie looked over, prepared to greet someone, but no one entered.

“Maybe I didn’t shut the door properly before I came in,” I said, noting the question mark on her face.

“It’s heavy and shuts on its own. You don’t need to shut it. That’s the third time its done that tonight. The folks sitting at the table near the door moved because of it. Weird!”

Yup, it’s a freaky Monday for sure. I drank my first glass of Chardonnay in no time at all. Bonnie placed another on the bar without being asked.

The wine did its trick, finally I relaxed. I glanced around the saloon to make sure I wasn’t ignoring any one I usually talked to, and noticed a young girl sitting alone at one of the tall tables by the dart board. She had no drink in front of her and sat with her head in her hands, long matted hair covering her face.

“Hey Bonnie, who’s that? She wasn’t there a minute ago.”

Bonnie followed my eyes. “I never saw her come in either. She looks like she’s been dragged through a hedge backwards.”

“Ha, you’re starting to use British phrases, you’ll be using my accent soon.”

Bonnie laughed as she walked over to the table to serve the young lady, looking back over her shoulder she shouted, “No, you’ll be talking like me soon.”

By the time she got to the table, it was empty. The young girl had disappeared into thin air. Bonnie shrugged and then picked something up.

“Did you see her leave?” Bonnie asked.

“No, maybe she was a ghost!” I wasn’t joking.

“She must be in the bathroom!”

Bonnie dropped a heart-shaped pendant on the bar in front of me.

“She left something behind.”

“The pendant was easily opened and revealed a worn photo of a child, cute as a button and laughing for the camera. The image changed before my eyes. It became a solemn young girl, then a serious looking teenager. Finally I couldn’t see the face that looked back at me, it was covered with long matted hair. I dropped the pendant on the bar and ran outside, looking for the young girl who’d dropped it. A bitter wind chilled me to the bone, but there was no one out there.

“Who are you and where did you go?”

The cold darkness revealed no secrets.