His eyes

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He was staring across the restaurant. A hard stare. Eyes wide, looking directly at the woman three tables away. She had not seen him as she was sitting side on to him, but her partner caught the look. Who’s the jerk over there? He said to her. I don’t know, she said, glancing across. The man was still staring and she felt uncomfortable under his gaze.

The couple had their meal in silence. Neither knowing what to say to the other. And both of them kept checking what the wide eyed man was doing. He in turn was drinking a beer, then another one..

I’m going over said the woman’s partner. She grabbed his hand, please don’t, she said. We don’t know who he is but he’s big, he could hurt you! She glanced worriedly at the man.

Then she realised he had signalled the waitress for the bill. He might come over and say something, she said as the man paid for his food. Ignore him said her partner. But she couldn’t, who was he. Did he mean to say or do something?

The man stood up, picked up and put on some sunglasses. Come on Jess he said. His Guide Dog stood up from under the table where she had been sitting, her harness jingling. Home Jess, he said, and the dog led him out of the door.

So here we are again

The woman with green eyes stared at her, there was something intense about the gaze. Powerful, insightful. She seemed to look right through the young girl.

Come here, it was an order not a request.

Timidly she stepped across the carpet. The sides of the big tent bellowed in the breeze. Your hand! The girl placed her hand, palm up in the womans larger one.

I see your future, you will marry, you will be happy. But first, you will have pain and worry.

The girl shrank back. Her eyes averted. The woman cupped the girls chin in her free hand and pulled her face gently upwards. The light caught the girls deep brown eyes.

Your sisters are jealous, they will not let you rest. But one night on the strike of midnight your fate will be sealed, and healed!

The girl shook her hand free, it was too much to think about, too much to dream about. Thank you, she had to say it.

The woman smiled, goodbye Cinderella, she said.

How did she know my name?thought the girl.

Staring at me…

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Lined up, their beady eyes staring at me..

Two owls, mock leather and fake jewels. They sit on the sofa and look back at me. Is there a glint if evil in their eyes. If I fall asleep, will there be a great flapping of wings? Will they peck my face?

They are mocking me, watching me, sitting ready to pounce once I have closed my eyes. I just know it. Nightmares fastening their claws into my arms. Beaks ready to stab at my ears, eyes and mouth.

I remember being paralysed by the fear of them. Black and gold feathers brushing my hands. Their talons raking my veins, tangling in my hair.

How can I escape their gaze. Looking back at me. My reflection in their eyes? I want safety. Instead I may be trapped inside them, in their black lined guts. Lost forever in their gaze.

He won’t put books back!

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We have bookcases, but the books from them are on the floor, on tables, on footstools, in flurries and drifts. So I asked him. Why won’t you put the books back? I will do, he snapped back. He is the one who puts them there, often opened and left unread.

When I change the bedsheets his side of the bed is six inches deep in books. I have to force my way through a tidal wave of them…

I plot now. I think about what to do. I want one of those camouflaged book cases, where you tilt a book back and a door opens. I would like that.

Open the door, fill it with books, or push him in and throw away the key. Oh don’t get me wrong, food would be delivered three times a day. There would be a laundry chute and a bathroom. A comfy chair and a bed. A secret trap door would be there to pass in things, or hook things out when he’s asleep. He would be happy, I would be able to tidy up….

Life goes on in lockdown. Ideas spring to mind. They are not serious.

I wish..

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I wish I could direct my dreams, if I could, I would travel to the seaside, or to a hilltop above a wood. I would look over at the setting sun. Red auburn hair of clouds wrapped round the bright orb. Wind blows streamers of air across the waves, or treetops, glistening light flickers over the boughs and branches. Gulls rise, then fall to roost. Night ascends, stars glint as shimmer. Sleep deepens. I doze.

Angel cat

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“Remember Felix?” she said.

“Yes, he was a good cat”, he said.

They sat quietly and remembered their adventurous cat.

“Remember that Saturday, when he came through the cat flap with a sirloin steak?” he asked.

“yes” she replied “I had to take it off him!”

“And a week later he came in with half a chicken?” “yes, I think it was from the neighbours?, I couldn’t tell them, and I think they blamed their own cat!”

“I still miss him, he was cheeky”.

They looked at each other.

“I bet he’s in heaven”, he said.

“You don’t believe in that stuff do you?” she said.

“bet he wangled his way in, and there’s a big ginger cat up their sporting a pair of wings?”

“maybe” she smiled.

Negative dawn

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The bright green sky shone out beyond the white branches of the treeplynths.

Flinners sang in the plynths, making booming noises and screeches. The star rose above the horizon, deep red in the sky.

Veleno watched the dawn, Earthship Orion would be leaving soon. The journey to Betelguse had been stressful, but they had found this beautiful and bizarre planet circling the red giant star. But now it was time to leave. The return journey to earth would take centuries, but the Red Giant was going to go super nova soon. If they didn’t get a fair distance away from it in the next fifty years they would not survive.

Veleno took a few more images of the dawn. The whole star rise thing took about three Earth hours. He looked at the rising star, moving so slowly, what would it be like to stand here and see it explode? No, he could not imagine its immense effects and size. Time to leave.

Snakes alive

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As Sara reached out to throw the dice she saw a flicker on the Snakes and ladders board. Something had moved quickly on the surface. She saw it in the corner of her eye.

It’s your go, said her partner Jamie. Are you going to throw the dice?

Sara picked it up and threw a six. Across the board, six spaces. Her partner took the dice and threw a three. Base of a ladder and up to the fifth row. He chuckled.

Beat that he said. She threw again and again, always missing the ladders.

It’s not fair, she said.

He was almost on square one hundred now, top of the board. Sara was getting fed up.

Then she saw a flicker again. She looked at Jamie. Did you see that? No, what? He said.

Next throw, two, oh no! As she placed her counter onto the head of the snake, ready to move it down the body back to the bottom row she saw the Snakes tongue protrude from the board. It flickered against her fingers. She froze, shocked into a paralysis. She felt its fangs pierce her index finger, saw its mouth open into a black void. With impossible speed the snakes mouth raced up her arm, gaping wide it covered her head, with one single swallow her body disappeared into it.

I told you I’d win, said Jamie quietly, as he chuckled.

A tail….

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Last week she had ended up halfway up a tree, and this is the story of how it happened.

She had woken feeling tired and the base of her spine was sore. Like she had sat down hard, or fallen over and bruised herself. They had been to a party, got ‘slightly’ tipsy, and come home. The rest was hazy. Something about Halloween, and trick or treating, and What was that all about? Then each of them had drunk from a cauldron, yes that was it, sip a drink from the cauldron of fate and see what happened? Except that she had knocked back the whole glass full. Then she had felt really squiffy, fallen over, yes, and hurt her spine. Ow.

Now it was the morning after, and she felt awful. A proper hangover. But it was time for work now, better get ready.

It was when she was showering that she felt a lump down at the base of her spine. She rang the doctor for an appointment. She was scared it was a tumour?

Two days later at the surgery, she was told it was some sort of bony growth, but the surface was covered in skin, and it was not any form of cancer the GP had ever seen. She had told her that they would probably need a biopsy, but that would take a few weeks to arrange.

She had gone home, wondering what the hell was going on. The ‘thing’ was growing at a fast rate, she couldn’t face calling it a tail. She realised she had control of it, like a prehensile tail of a monkey? Why?

The tail continued to grow. She had to wrap it round her waist to hide it under her clothes.

It was after about three weeks that she made the mistake of telling her friend. He laughed, serves you right, he said. You upset the witch! He said. Drank the cauldron dry. He laughed again. Wait till I tell the others. She must have cursed you.

The next day they came knocking at her door, ‘ let us in’ , ‘ show us your tail’ ‘you’ve been cursed’. Things were getting out of hand. She ran upstairs and opened her bedroom window. The group were hounding her now.

Suddenly she jumped. She was falling…. Then the tail snapped out around the branch, holding her weight, she swung back up to onto her feet. Using her tail for balance she clambered and swung into the trees. It had saved her life. Perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing after all…..

Where have you been?

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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!