Faceless Angel of Death

Tree blocking road

My mum hummed a tune as she washed the tea cups “Are you going to stay for your Sunday dinner Lucy?” she asked hopefully.

“I’d love to, but I think I’d better get back home. I don’t feel great. I’ll come to church with  you next week, and maybe we can go and have a nice pub lunch somewhere.”

“Yes I’d like that.” my mum said and then frowned, “Is there something you’re not telling me? You seem edgy. Are you still taking pain killers after your car accident. I’ve heard people get addicted to those things,”

“I’m fine mum, honest. I’m just stressed with work, and I won’t lie, I miss dad. I still feel responsible for his death. He was on his way to see me when he died.”

My mum hugged me. “It wasn’t your fault. He should have stopped smoking years ago. Cigarettes killed him, nothing else.” Thunder rumbled in the distance and the sky turned a nasty charcoal grey. “Let me call a cab, I don’t want you driving me home, this storm looks like it could get nasty.” I said.

“Don’t be so silly, I can have you home in five minutes,” my mum insisted grabbing her car keys. “Was that Jeff I saw you talking too outside the church?” she asked.

“Yes it was, you never liked him did you?”

“I didn’t dislike him, I just thought he was strange. Didn’t he used to be a hippy? I think he took drugs too.”

I laughed “Yes mum, I suppose he was a bit of a hippy, it was the fashion. I think everyone took drugs in the seventies”

“Does he still carry bones in his…………..”

“Mam look out”

Lightning hit a tree ahead of us and it crashed to the ground, blocking the road. My mum slammed on the break and I grabbed the steering wheel, yanking it to the right. The car skidded to a halt. We sat still for a few seconds in shock,  knowing we had narrowly escaped death. A dark winged shape perched on the wall by the fallen tree. It was little more than a shadow. Did my mum see it too?

Her hands gripped the steering wheel as though her life depended on it. She stared straight ahead, a terrified look on her face. “Mam are you alright?.”

No answer.

“I’m going to drive us home,” I said.

She neither moved or spoke. Did she see the dark shape on the wall. I followed the direction of her gaze, but angel of death was gone. Gently I prized my mum’s fingers from the steering wheel before getting out of the car and walking to the driver’s side. Taking her hand I gently helped out of the car and guided her to the passenger seat. “I’m going to take you home and make a nice cup of sweet tea, you’ve had a nasty shock.”

As I drove away I looked in the rearview mirror at the log blocking the road. Did I see a shadow again?

Dear God don’t let it hurt anyone else.

“Did you see that big bird?” my mum asked.

“What big bird I asked,” apprehensively.

“The big dark bird on the wall, I saw one just like it at the bottom of the garden this morning, I wonder what it is.”

The rain began to fall heavily as we drove home and I was glad. It blocked the images I didn’t want to look at.

Scarecrows

 

Noodle and TwisterCindy’s cats were spooked and ran back inside the house. “It’s only a scarecrow” she said. “You’ll have to get used to them while we live in Kansas. I am sure there will be quite a few, this isn’t Orange County you know.”

She laughed at her pampered cats.

After clearing the breakfast pots away, Cindy went into the bedroom to unpack her clothes. She only got halfway through her suitcase before she decided to join her sleeping kitties. It was just after twelve noon, but the journey had left her exhausted. Climbing onto the bed she snuggled up to her furry friends. Pretty soon she fell into a deep sleep. Cindy slept long and hard. When she awoke, it was dark. She looked at the clock beside the bed, alarmed that she has slept through the day, but it was only 4pm. Why was it so dark? She rubbed her eyes and walked to the window. “Wow, you don’t get skies like this in Orange County.” She said as she pulled her camera from her case and opened the window to take a photo. “Beautiful colors” I think I am going to like it here.

Kansas Storm

 

 

 

 

It was a peaceful, magical moment. “I wish you were  with me Jeff.” she said. “I know you would enjoy chasing the storms with me. Can you hear me? Are you watching me? Did you follow me to Kansas?” Cindy talked to her deceased husband a lot. He’d been a difficult man sometimes, but she understood him and missed him terribly. Why did he have to die so young?

She unpacked the rest of her clothes while Noodle and Twister still slept. Whilst  hanging away the last dress the rain began to fall. It wasn’t heavy and for that Cindy was relieved, she didn’t feel up to chasing tornadoes yet. The wind started to howl, making the wooden house creak. Without warning the kitchen door blew open with a bang and something fell off the wall. Both cats woke up hissing and then leaped under the bed.

It took some effort for Cindy to push close the door. She felt  as thought someone was trying to force it open, but it was only the wind. I could do with a little help here Jeff she said to herself. The wind dropped and she closed the door. “That was a storm in a teacup.” she said. From its veracity, it was easy to see how bad a storm could be on the plains.

Calm settled over the house as the afternoon turned to evening. Cindy decided to end the day by enjoying an ice-cold beer on the porch. “Its a beautiful evening, come out and join me.” she said to her kitties, but Noodle and Twister watched her from the bedroom window, all the while keeping their eyes on the Scarecrows. Yes there were two of them now. The cats stuck close together, they didn’t like their new home, and they especially didn’t like strange smiling creatures in the cornfield.

Black and white scarecrow

 

Check back soon to see what happens to the Californian in Kansas………….

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My first novel ‘Dead of July’ is currently in the capable hands of my editor and will be released in the fall. Preview Dead of July

Ghost at the Airport

I sat at the Airport waiting for my flight to be called, it was delayed of course. No matter how many times I flew, I hated it. Yes it scares me. I put on a brave face, but honestly, I feel like kissing the ground everytime we land. If something goes wrong at 30,000 feet, there are no survivors. I had an hour to kill, so I took a stroll, sitting still made me anxious. I headed to the quieter terminals and found myself a nice peaceful spot. I made myself as comfortable as airport chairs allowed and took out my iPad.  ‘Ash’ by James Herbert was my reading choice for the day. I was gripped by the plot which involved a small aircraft plummeting towards the ground in the Scottish Highlands, when the airport shook with a huge crack of thunder.denver-airport

The lights went out! I was blinded by thick forks of lightening which seemed to surround the airport. I hoped no planes were damaged. This storm was brutal and made me even more nervous about the flight ahead of me.

The fury of the storm was directly above us now, nothing would be taking off or landing for a while. The power was off for only a few seconds, DIA was very efficient, but when it came back on again I had company.

A young lady sat next to me. Where had she come from? I looked around me, there was no sign of anyone else. No arrivals were announced. Distracted from my book now, I spoke to her. “Hi, are you trying to find a peaceful place to read too?” I asked.

“No, I am waiting for my husband Jim, he said he would meet me here, he’s late.” she said without turning to look at me.

“Are you sure you are in the right terminal, nothing has landed here for hours.” I said to her as I looked around.

“Yes, this is the right place. I told him terminal thirteen, he laughed and said ‘unlucky for some’. I know this is the right place.” she told me in a quiet tired voice.I felt sorry for her, she looked very pale and fragile. How could he leave her waiting for so long? “Why don’t you get a cab, maybe something happened. Can’t you call him?”

“My battery is dead” she said simply.

“Here use my phone” I told her “Whats the number, I’ll dial it for you” She gave me the number and I dialed. After three rings a voice told me the number was no longer in service. I must have dialed incorrectly. “Can you give me your number again?” I asked. I dialed again, but with the same results.

“There is something wrong with the number, I’m sorry. I really think you should go and find another way to get home. Use the shuttle or a cab. How long have  you been waiting here?” I asked.

“Since 1998” she told me.

I turned around to look at her “1998?” I said to and empty chair. She was gone.

I rubbed my eyes. Had I fallen asleep? Was my fear of flying making me hallucinate?

I heard my flight called, passengers started to board. I slowly walked towards gate B52, wondering if I should go home instead. I boarded the plane and fastened my seatbelt, still thinking about my encounter and praying I would land safely in New York. I didn’t want to be a ‘Ghost in the Airport’.

Eyes on Annie

It had been a hell of a day at work and Annie wasn’t in the mood for shopping, all she wanted to do was go home and open a bottle of wine to drown her sorrows. She paid for her groceries and pushed her cart towards the exit, past the cardboard cut out of ‘Bob’, the man selling air conditioning, or kitchen cupboards. Whatever he was selling, she didn’t want to buy it. Cardboard ‘Bob’s eyes followed her, which gave her the creeps. She tried not to look at him.

 

It was dark when she left the store and thunder clouds were gathering in the east. Distant lightning flashed across the sky. Annie packed her trunk with shopping and set off home. Storm clouds gathered, hovering over her. Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed. Annie’s cell phone rang. “Hello.” she was greeted by nothing but static, the storm most likely blocking the signal. “Hello.”

Still nothing. Annie put the phone down and concentrated on driving, the rain now falling in torrents. She wished she wasn’t going home to an empty house.

Lightning flashed again as she looked in her rearview mirror.

The eyes of the cardboard man from the store looked back at her, only this time they had taken a human form. Annie screamed and went into a skid. In vain she tried to control her car. It was impossible, the road was wet and she slid into the ditch. Even with her seat belt fastened, she was tossed around like a doll. When the car came to a halt, Annie’s tried to unfasten her seatbelt and get out of the car. It was fastened tightly, and wouldn’t budge.

“Help, Help” she screamed to no one.

She was a prisoner, tied to her seat and praying for another car to pass by. None did!

Annie was afraid to look in the rearview mirror for fear of what she would see.

The storm raged all night.

When they found Annie’s car the following morning, she was nowhere to be seen. There was no blood in the car and nothing to indicate she had been hurt. The seatbelt was still firmly fastened. Annie’s purse was on the passenger seat, and her groceries in the trunk. Annie was never found.

The following day a young girl went shopping in her local supermarket, as she walked past the cardboard man, she looked away. He was creepy.