They met by the hellibores, just inside the cemetery gates. They were strangers, meeting because of a tweet one had sent and the other had read. They might have lived in the same town, the same street, but neither knew.
It was almost midnight when they met and misty, they nodded at one another, recognising a fellow conspirator.
They stood and talked, for minutes, exchanged notes, compared ideas. They were both in agreement. There was no doubts, they confirmed the transaction.
Yes that’s a meat feast pizza, two doughnuts and a bottle of cola.
The man got on his moped and drove off into the darkness.
He Lodge keeper took his order inside. Pizzas here, he said to his wife..
The bright reflection of my orchid plant in a glass covered picture my friend gave me. It’s a close up and it stands out because of the darkness of the surrounding area.. The pink, blue and green stands out bright and clear. I wish my phone camera could reproduce images more clearly when you zoom in. But it was worth taking the photo.
It’s getting dark again, and all around the house figures are appearing from the trees. Looking in through the windows, clamouring to enter.
Semi transparent, glimmering in the setting sunlight. They have been there since winter began. I think they are spirits. They hold me in. I’m trapped at night until the sun rises again. Fifteen hours, unless the day is overcast and then they arrive earlier and leave later.
If I run out of milk I drink water, if I run out of fresh food I have saved rice and beans. I will not risk going out. The car is parked far away and I’m too nervous to run to it.
Lately as the dark has deepened the creatures have been more determined. I’m hoping as the sun comes back, as it sets later and rises earlier, I will be freed. But now, drat it, the change creeps across the sky. The creatures must know it. Only seconds difference.
Last night they rattled the back door. This morning I found the cat flap open and the key on the floor. It was too far away to be reached where it had fallen. Today I’m hiding the key and putting things behind the door to reinforce it. But that means walking through the kitchen, and sometimes, sometimes, I see them watching me.
Up the channel between the islands, rushed the tide, waves pushed along the coast, great groynes had been built to stop the long shore drift washing sand along it. Seagulls swooped overhead, floating on the updrafts, silently drifting over the heads of people walking up the salty sands, scoping out victims who had ice creams or bags of chips.
The storm came out of the West, flying clouds darkening, scudding across the sky. The wind rose and fell, rose again, howling. Churning up the sea into foam, like whipped cream, the tops of the waves were being torn off by the winds, waves curled up and over, crashing onto the beach.
A memory of Mount Fuji, the picture of it with crashing waves. That was what it was like. The lighthouse along the coast was flashing, two short flashes, then a gap as the light rotated. Seaweed was torn from its beds, wood and ripped nets were cast up on the shore. The tide rose and swamped the town. Streets were flooded. Life takes note of the raging waves.
This is all in the future. Now there is rushing water, soon there will be storm force winds.
Sitting in the dark, feeling scared. The air around her was buzzing with static electricity. The witches were meeting outside, dancing in the darkness. Hiding their power in the night.
A splintering scream shattered her nerves. Then the chant, come forth woman, come here now! Over and over again, till her ears rang and she shook with fear. Green glowing eyes peered out, finding her shape within the building.
One witch, their leader, came forward. You will come forth woman, she cried. No female is allowed to be free. Witch you are, as witch you shall be….
No she cried, never, running to the front of the house, out of the front door, out of the gate. As she got to the pavement they grabbed her.
Witch you are, witch you shall be….. You are ours now.
She looked out of the window and saw the moon and stars. That was strange? Why were the street lights out? Normally there was too much light pollution to see anything. The world seemed very quiet, no car noises, no sounds of planes flying overhead. Something must be going on.
She had woken from sleep in her room that was in darkness apart from the moonlight. Then she noticed her alarm clock light was off. She tried to switch on her light. Nothing. She crept down stairs. The lights there were not working and the fridge was off. Worryingly the heating was off too. She picked up a jumper and put it on.
What the hell was happening? She felt alone, cold, her breath was steaming from her mouth. She opened the back door. No dogs barking, no bird song. Just the moon and stars.
I had walked into my bedroom and seen the shadowy figure of my partner sitting in a chair by the window. I tried to see his face but the full moon in the window behind him cast darkness across his face.
“What’s up with the lights?” I asked, trying to keep my voice calm.
“I took out the bulbs” he replied..
That was something I had not thought of. “Why?”
“I need the dark” was all he would say.
I felt the chill air seeping into my body, something was wrong with the heating, it had been playing up before I went out to choir practice. Now it was as cold inside as it had been out in the night.
“It’s cold” I said simply. “Do you want a coffee?”
I was getting worried and scared, Henri was usually a happy, talkative man. His manner now was just not like him.
“I’m going downstairs” I said,
“Well this is stupid” I started to edge towards the door.
Then he opened his eyes….they were glowing gold….
I ran. Down the stairs, tripping and falling but catching the bannister I managed to halt myself. I felt a bone crack in one of my fingers, but I found I felt no pain, I just wanted to get out. Get back in the car, get away……
Dark continues to increase during the winter until two thirds of the way through December.
Today is the shortest day, the 21st this year. The least sunlight, the cold drifts in under the doors. Subtle shades of black cover the sky. The dawn seems a long way away. Lights twinkle through chilled air and a steady drizzle drives into every crevice, making clothes damp and uncomfortable.
That dark is such a contrast to 6 months ago when the temperature soared to over 30 degrees and the sun had barely set before it sprang back up again. Bathing in heat then, we now sit in yellowed gloom from cheap low energy light bulbs. Colours are washed out, paint seems hard to differentiate from colour to colour.
Is it any wonder that northern lands cling to the classic religions that celebrate their most important ceremonies at this time of year.
Wassail and messiahs meld into a grand charge against the darkness. Dragging us forward into the new year and the return of the Sun.
There was a tap at the window, quiet, maybe a branch had gently knocked against it in the strong, cold wind outside. She lay back on the bed, the sunlight, so strong earlier on was fading into a gloomy clouded evening. The room was cold so she pulled the thin sheet up over her head to keep what warmth she was generating from her breath in under the covers. As the darkness deepened she started to fall asleep.
Then suddenly the knock came again against the window. The noise was a sharp click, scratch. She woke with a shock. How could there be a noise ? She slowly took a look to see what it was. She was on the second floor, so how could anyone, anything be tapping ?
The hairs started to rise on the back of her neck. She felt scared and fascinated at the same time. She slipped out of bed pulling her dressing gown on and wrapping it tightly around her.
Stepping up to the window sill all she could make out in the darkness was some sort of feathery mass. Then two eyes gleamed in the dark. Sitting on the outer sill was a tiny owl. It must have flown up to the window as the sun set.
“what do you want”? She thought to herself. But the owl, seeing her movement, turned its head around and fluttered off into the darkness,.