The old wood

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Step over into the wood and you will be lost forever. Keep this side of the fence. That was what she was always warned as she grew up. There are wolves, bears, screech owls. Spiders big as dinner plates. The boogy man lives there.

For twenty years she kept out. But she knew one day she would have to climb the fence and go and look.

She was twenty one today, she had been to a birthday party at the village hall. Now she was walking home along the lane. The sun was setting and the wood loomed up above her rising up the hill, shutting off the sunlight.

One step led to another. Pine needles softened her footsteps, tree roots started to tangle round her ankles. She looked back to check where the path was, but could not see it through the trees. She tried to retrace her steps, but could not find the fence. Fear crept into her, she trembled as the cool night air touched her skin.

The night was darker and a cold rain fell, still she walked, tripping and falling into bushes, scratched from thorns.

It was early morning when the ranger found her wandering. She could not speak. Her eyes were staring into space, out of focus. No one ever found out what happened to her that night. But the Green man of the woods smiled to himself as she was taken away in an ambulance.

Howling

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The building was old. You could tell that by the wooden shutters over the windows, more like prison bars than anything else. Not a scary place to walk past in the daylight, but on the odd occasion that she walked past it at night she made sure she walked fast, just in case.

In case of what? No one knew much about the building, but it was attached to an old windmill and there was a tall wall leading off into the distance where the building ended. Just one gate, made of old and rotting wood, that was half way down the length of the wall..

When she had walked past before she could swear she had heard snuffling  like a dog, and something scratching at the gate. As she walked past her clicking heels would speed up to get her past. A rush of adrenalin enough to make her heart pound.

Tonight the alleyway was lit by a dim street lamp at either end. Slipping from behind the clouds a full bright moon gave extra illumination. Tonight the cobbles were wet, with a gleam in the light of small puddles reflecting back the moon.

No choice really, walk along the alley and cross the road to the car park, or walk half a mile round the one way system. At that moment a dreary drizzle started. It was the alleyway tonight. The quicker to get home and get warm. Her feet clicked and splashed as she walked along, she almost twisted her ankle on the cobbles. She passed the old shuttered window and heard, what exactly? Snuffling? Panting? She hurried on. Almost at the gate, just over halfway along the alley, point of no return. A sudden rushing sound, like a dog running, then a howl. She froze, there was the sound of something large hitting the old gate. She pulled off her shoes and ran….. The howl followed her…..

The steps

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The steps were old concrete and brick. Like the ones they had at school all those years ago. When she was a child they would play tinker, taylor, soldier on them. You had to jump up or down from one step to another depending on what your friends shouted. She couldn’t remember exactly how it worked but it was fun . That must have been 50 years ago.

She had walked past these steps every day for months. The tangle of vegetation was getting worse. Today though, she had decided to climb them. There was an old grey wooden door at the top of them. She would knock on and see if anyone answered??

It was quiet on the steps, the traffic noise from the road seemed to have died down. A haze like a mirage floated in the air. She stood for a moment taking this in. Realising how steep the steps were. How flimsy the handrail. She knocked……

Wow signal?

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Peeeeep she heard it on the radio. A loud pulse  then it was gone. What was that? It had been a piercing squeal.

But it was gone. A disturbance in the aether, a cosmic scream perhaps??

She checked the Internet. It was all over Facebook. At precisely 4pm Greenwich mean time a signal had slashed into the Earth’s atmosphere. So strong it was picked up by transistor radios and radio telescopes alike. The Internet was calling it a Wow signal based on a signal heard by a radio telescope on August 15th 1977.

Could it be interference from Earth? But the signal had eminated from the milky way galaxy. Millions of light years away across the sky from us.

Speculation increased  Could it be aliens? Or the voice of God? Maybe there was a new astronomical phenomenon.

For now the sky remained annoyingly quiet and the world waited with mixed fear and hope to see if it would happen again or what would happen next.

Red sky morning

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How odd, she thought. The sky was just red in one patch. The rest was grey. And the red was in the wrong place. Not easterly where the sun rises  but north easterly.

She went downstairs to make a coffee. The red glow had increased in the few seconds that it had taken to get to the kitchen. She looked out over the garden  The leaves on the trees were tinged with red.

What was going on? She turned on the radio. It crackled to life but the reception was really bad. She heard the announcers voice through the hiss.

“The star we.. Nova…. It is about …. Milli… Miles away……….. No threat to life but…. .May see two shado…… The eff… Ct on Radio and TV… Ignals is ex… Ted to worsen…… Gamma Ray’s hav… Ready hit.

Small loss of…………. Expected.  Stay . Uned.

She switched off the radio. We’ve been star struck she thought irreverently.

Threshold, whiskey galore?

#writephoto looking-out-1

For Sue Vincent’s Thursday #writephoto prompt.

‘Well it was like this officer’ she said, ‘we were down on the beach and saw the cave’. She sneezed, the cold was getting into her bones ‘ it reminded me of the film “whiskey galore” based on the book by Compton MacKensie, so we decided to explore it. We scrambled down the rocks and walked past the waterfall. We went straight in because it had started to lash down with rain, so it was a chance to get under shelter too’

‘About what time was that?’ the policeman had a little hand held computer which he typed into. Not as interesting as a notebook she thought.

‘Around 10am yesterday.’ she pulled the silver space blanket tighter around her shoulders. ‘We are on holiday, we don’t know about the tides’ She looked down at her husband lying on a stretcher  The ambulance people had put an oxygen mask on him and dressed the cut on his head. He gave her a little wave.

‘Yes, the tide came in while we were exploring, the cave goes back so far and the water just came up before we knew it. We were in waist deep water, but the waves were pushing us deeper in when we tried to swim out. In the end we found a ledge to sit on…. .’ the policeman was still typing ‘so what happened then?’ ‘we tried using our phones but they wouldn’t work, they had got a soaking, we tried wading out, but by then we were too cold. So we just sat as close together as we could.’

She sighed ‘ we must both have fallen asleep because when we woke up again the tide had come back in. We were exhausted and decided to wait till morning. My husband stood up to stretch and that’s when he cracked his head on the rock’. ‘So that’s when we found you’ said the policeman. ‘It was the landlady at your B&B that alerted us’

‘one thing’ he said ‘what’s that wrapped in your coat?’

‘This? It’s an old bottle of 25 year old single malt’ she smiled.

Titchy play: Monster

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I wrote three little plays for the Titchy Theatre yesterday.  They were read out at the show. I will post them here one a day.

Monster (tourist to reporter – look south or some such channel)

Reporter : so where did you see it?

Tourist : down by the quay, you know, the harbour?

R: and was it big?

T: well… It was as big as a boat, no… A ship

R: what did it look like?

T: er…. It had glowing all over it

R: what sort of lights?

T: Well… Yellow-ish. Like Glowing yellow eyes, and I think it had huge teeth too!

R: why?

T: it seemed to have a grill or something over its mouth, but you could see light shining through… You know… Glowing like an alien?

R: did it make a noise?

T: yes, a very low humming, and a metallic, clanking noise.

R: so…. how do you feel?

T: very scared. I’ve never seen anything like it before

R: can I ask you where you’re from?

T: oh yes. Stoke-on-Trent

R: so … Have you ever been to the seaside before?

T: oh yeah. You know, magaluf, Malaga, Ibetha.

R: and there was nothing like this there?

T: No… Just always sunny, and at night we went off and partied… The other thing I remember is this long wailing noise! I mean, it was foggy, so I could only sense the looming figure  the Monster…. .!!

R: OK. Well…. We checked with the Coast Guard… .

T: Yeah??

R: the wailing noise was from the lighthouse foghorn.

T: Oh

R: And the big, dark, lit-up ship thing.

T: Yes?

R: Was a car ferry…….

Christine Mallaband-Brown