Through the door into the dark shadows, light shining through dusty windows, shafts of sunlight with dust motes dancing through the beams. We were exploring, looking at the racks of plaster molds, stacked high on racks, above head height. Hundreds of them, all shapes and sizes. For slip casting pottery.
In the back of the store room something stirred. A figure unfolding, grey with dust. Semi transparent, like a ghost? We saw it as it lurched to its feet and grasped at the racks of saggars. It spoke. ‘you don’t belong here’ it shouted ‘get out’, and we did! We turned tail and ran, through the door, through the yard and away. We won’t be going back there again!
I was talking to a friend earlier about her valentine experiences and remembered an incident from about thirty years ago…
It was a cold, clear Valentines day morning. I’d got up to go to work, and as I stepped outside I found a red rose on my doorstep. It wasn’t wrapped in cellophane or paper. It was a long stemmed rose. Deep scarlet. Beautiful, slightly starting to wilt. I looked up and down the street, no one around. We were in a terraced house, so the door opened down a step straight onto the pavement. Anyone could have left it there.
I went inside and asked my then boyfriend, later to be hubby, if he had put it on the step. But he said no. I quizzed him, but no it was not him. To be honest it wasn’t his style, he rarely knows when it’s valentines day and usually only gets me a card if I get him one. He was as surprised as I was but said I should take it as a compliment!
So I had this beautiful rose. I cut the stem at an angle and it in a pint glass while I went out to do my shift at work.
But I couldn’t concentrate. All morning I thought about who could have left it? It might have been a neighbour. It might have been a friend, but I had no idea that anyone had romantic thoughts about me. My inner Miss Marple told me that it couldn’t have been there long and that it must have been bought from the nearby florists as no roses were in flower at that time of year. There are roses growing on the factory opposite our house, but they were bare stems.
Who? That was my thought. Whoever it was must have known I was in a long term relationship? Why? Did they think I was looking for someone new? The answer to that was no….
Eventually I decided that the rose must have been for someone else. Perhaps the anonymous person had mistaken my doorstep for someone else’s?
I will never know. It never happened again. The next year I felt disappointed. Since then I have rarely remembered it. Only today’s chat reawakened the memory for me.
Note: in the UK black cats are lucky as opposed to how they are regarded in other countries.
a familiar face.
Sleek and charming,
to one and all.
Found in night,
hidden in shadow.
A mysterious feline,
flying through the air,
a lucky talisman,
for the New Year.
Over the front door, the lamp caught the blood red light of the sunset. Strings of ivy trailing around it. Outside a gate heavily covered in it. Swathes of creeping vines hiding the steps.
Only one man came through the gate. The count, the noble man, Dracula.
It was time for his nightly wandering, the lust for blood strengthened his old bones.
New years eve, 2019. Time for sustenance, time for the deep red drink, and the thrill of the chase. Soon he would have his fill.
The leaves of the ivy rustled as he passed through the gate. The churchyard beyond was quiet except for a late dogwalker. The dog would arrive home later. Alone.
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.
Walking through the snow she came across some peculiar shaped trees, each one in flower with cherry blossom. In mid winter?! Was that a face? How could this be, what spirit of nature could have created this?
The trees seemed to breathe mist into the cold, crisp air. The frost turning it to tiny ice crystals. Sound reverberated from the mist. A whisper but so loud it shook her body.
“I AM SPRING”….
Life is here, waiting in the ground, waiting for water.. Now you are here this will be your place. You will not leave, you will nurture us with your body.
She realised she could not move, she could feel her feet lengthening, pushing into the soil, her arms were rising in supplication. Twisting and growing longer. Her eyes became knots in the wood, her body a trunk. No she would never leave here….. And she silently screamed as she transformed.
She woke to a bright light shining overhead, blue curtains round a metal bed. The smell of disinfectant in her nostrils. Why was she here? She looked at her leg, a metal cast was round it. Bolts stuck put at the top and bottom near her knee and ankle. She realised she had a cannula in her arm. What else? No visible windows, just the all pervading glow of light. No sound of anyone moving, no drink on a cupboard next the the bed. She felt thirsty, hungry even, no idea what time it was.
She looked round for a push button or a pull cord to get attention, nothing. She called out ‘Hello? Can someone help?’
Silence… She felt tired and fell asleep. Later, she didn’t know how long, she woke again, strangely no longer hungry or thirsty. The cannula was attached to a big bag of pale blue fluid. She looked at her leg. Now it was wrapped in a plastic bandage, the splint or cast was gone? How, she didn’t remember time passing. She heard a sound, a human shape pushed through the soft blue curtains. She flinched as she saw the metallic face.
‘Trust me, I’m a Robot’ it said.