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20christine08

Write from the heart

The writers brain: Amazing or annoying?

Picture this: your having lunch with a friend and you are both wrapped up in a bit of gossip about a co worker who recently walked out of the job. Your eyes are suddenly drawn to the old man sat in the corner eating alone.
It’s not that you aren’t into the conversation but a seed of a story has just begun. You get the usual feeling of being drawn into the mystery of the man sat alone. You try to ignore it and concentrate on your friend but there are so many questions. Why was he on his own? What has happened in his life? What does he do for a job? Does he still work? Has he got a wife? Children? Grandchildren? Suddenly your mind is cluttered with characters from this mans life all wanting to be heard! All wanting their say! A story begins to grow and overtake everything. “We won’t shut up till you write this down!” The characters shout “we want to be heard!” “Our story needs to be told!” Sometimes they even wake you up at night with a new revelation and you have to reach for the pen and paper to scribble it down, if you want to get any sleep at all.
Your friend has got fed up with your distant behaviour and made her excuses.
Once I am in my story bubble there is no getting out of it! It is amazing to have that imagination but also very annoying when your trying to concentrate at work, sleep, eat etc… It overtakes everything! 

 However, I am not complaining. I love having this imagination that takes me to different places whenever I want. I can see it, smell it, taste it. I love writing down the stories of the characters that shout at me and demand my attention!
At the park I see inspiration everywhere. A tree carved into a bird! The dad alone with his child! The child trying his hardest to learn to ride his bike! The wind rustling through the trees reminding us there are powerful forces out there!
So, to my family and friends I must apologise. If you see me withdraw it is probably because you said something brilliant that fired my imagination. Please be aware my mind is now full of this story and I have become obsessed with it. Please have a little patience with me. I know it is annoying but actually, I find it amazing.

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The night of Halloween

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Sharon was home alone! She had been looking forward to this night for weeks! The kids were having a sleep over at Grandmas and Sharon had planned to slob out in front of the tv with a large glass of wine (or two) and rubbish food. She didn’t plan on moving from the sofa all night.
She put a large bowl of sweets by the front door and lit two pumpkins, which the boys had carved, and left them for the trick or treaters to enjoy.
In the lounge she lit her pumpkin and all the candles whilst thinking about all the loved ones she had lost. She did this every year. It was her way of honouring them.
As she lit the last candle she knew she was not alone in the house anymore. Her hairs stood on end as a creepy feeling came over her.
She knew he was stood in the corner. She heard him dripping, heard a squelch as he took a step forward.
Had he noticed she had seen him? Perhaps not! They always got a surge of excitement when they notice they have been seen.
Sharon had been waiting for this one. Ever since she had seen him on the news. Missing boy. Out drinking with mates. Walked home by the canal. She knew straight away. There had been so many of them. And they always ended up here.
Well so much for a quiet night in. Nothing she could do. When they came to her she must help them. Must use her gift to cross them over. You can’t ignore them she tried that before. Didn’t work!
She lifted her eyes to his and he stared at her. Or right through her! She felt a shiver run down her spine. There was something different about this one.
“I know you can see me!” The boy spoke and startled Sharon so much she nearly dropped the candle.
She hadn’t been scared by them since being a child. She had got so used to their ways that she expected a certain behaviour from them. This one was different somehow. Something still lived within him. Sat in his soul simmering away.
She stared back at him trying to work him out. He always looked through her as though someone was stood behind making her want to turn and look. But she could not take her eyes off him.
“I’ve been watching you for days!” He spoke again. “I know I can trust you!”
“You can!” Her voice was unfamiliar to her when she spoke. Shaky with fear. There was a presence about this man that was angry.
“I think you’re holding onto some anger from your life!” Sharon tried to explain though her mouth had become so dry that she had to push the words out with an effort as though giving birth to each one.
She moved towards the kitchen to get a drink but he had her rooted to the spot. He had some kind of power over her! She felt so heavy, as though she was stood in mud.
“Don’t try to fight it!” He glared at her now with evil eyes.
“Who are you?” She felt tears well up in her eyes,”why are you doing this to me”
“You need to see, you need to understand” his voice had taken an evil turn now, twisted into something demonic, “you need to understand what they did to me!”
“Okay you’re angry I get that.” Sharon tried to sympathise with him,”you can tell me. I will understand I will help you to cross over!”
He moved towards her now anger boiling red within him.
“I am not crossing over!” He walked round Sharon circling her like a lion on it’s prey. “You can’t move can you? You are stuck!”
Sharon could feel fear run up her throat. Heart pounding as she tried to think fast. How will she get out of this? She had never had a spirit come to her like this before!
“Your stuck in the canal! Like I was all those years ago”
Sharon suddenly felt cold and wet and could feel water lapping at her face. She tried to focus on his words. Years? Did he just say years? He only went missing two days ago!
“Your only 10 and your so called friends tricked you into the canal and when you got into trouble and couldn’t get out they left you!” His face was twisted with anger. “I was in that canal all night. I was frozen. No one came to help me. The next morning I woke to stones being thrown at me. My friends were laughing throwing stones at my cold, wet body that was still stuck. I asked them for help and they ran off laughing.”
“I…” Sharon tried to speak but got a mouthful of water.
“Not nice is it!” He laughed. “That’s why I did it! That’s why I am not crossing over!”
“Did what?” Sharon managed to Say as she felt the slow release of his power over her,”what did you do?”
The boy gave a twisted smile and stared into Sharon’s eyes “revenge!” He gave a deep laugh “I pushed each one of them in. Drunk staggering home. Didn’t think the first one would die but he did. Obviously weak! I got a relief from that. So I started holding them in till they twitched!” He smiled “but the last one. He got me first. Don’t worry though he’ll get what’s coming to him!”
“It was you!” Sharon whispered before she was released and fainted to the floor.
(co) Christine Jones 2017

Drury Lane

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Drury Lane
October 2017
Hannah was absolutely fed up of waking in the night to a woman’s crying. At first she had felt sorry for her. But this had been going on for months now.
They had only been in the house for 5 months and Hannah had already had problems with the neighbourhood children. For some reason they found it funny to put red paint on the door. Hannah had washed the door at least once a week. She had had a camera put in but hadn’t caught anyone yet. When she does they’ll be hell to pay.
Today she decided she was going round to the neighbor. The depressed one. She obviously needed a friend or someone to drag her out of her despair. That crying and wailing was so heartbreaking to listen to! She couldn’t bear it any longer. So had decided she would go and see if she could help in anyway.
When Vera answered the door she got a shock. It was the girl from the new couple that had moved in next door. She hadn’t expected her at the door but she welcomed her in.
“Cup of tea dear?” She offered as she beckoned to the chair.
“No thank you!” Replied Hannah and with a sudden realisation changed her mind, “yes actually a tea would be lovely! No sugar thank you” Hannah thought perhaps Vera needed company and that is why she was so upset.
“I’ve just come to ask you about the kids on the road” she lied, although it was only a small lie, she did want to know about the kids after all but that wasn’t her sole reason for coming.
“Oh yes. You mean Louise, Josh and those Smith boys?” Vera replied growing suspicious, “lovely group of kids always helping me with my shopping and offering to do chores for me!”
Hannah nearly choked on her tea. She explained to Vera about how they had been putting the red paint on the door.
Vera’s face dropped. All the colour seemed to drain from her.
“That’s not the children dear!” She tried to break the news gently. She couldn’t believe she didn’t know about the house that she had bought. “It’s the house! Your not from round here are you love?” Vera explained the history of the house to Hannah.
She explained all about Eleanor and her children. The family that first owned the house that had stood on the same spot as Hannah’s house and how they had all died from plague. She explained how anyone that had lived in the house since had been woken by Eleanor’s wailing in the night and the paint on the door is to warn people away!
Hannah sat frozen to the spot. She never set foot in the house again. Another couple recently moved in. They seem nice enough.

August 1665

Eleanor had not slept in days. Not since her eldest son had caught fever. That night was long and drawn out. Eleanor checked on him throughout the night bringing him hot and cold compresses to ease the fever and shivering. He would scream out for water to quench his thirst as she ran up and down tending to him.
She got Anna to call round for the physician but all the real doctors had left town months ago all that were left were the ones brave enough to witness the ill and name the illness. And she was terrified that it was what she feared the most.

When dawn broke she opened her eyes to find that she had fallen asleep on the chair by the hearth. Her eldest daughter Anna came running into the room with tears streaming down her cheeks.

“It’s Tom, it’s Tom” was all she could choke out before she ran outside to be sick in the street. Eleanor ran to Tom’s room. As soon as she caught sight of him she turned away. The sight of his face was unbearable to look at. His features had been pushed to one side by a yellowy, purple boil that was the size of a very large apple. Eleanor calmed herself and went back to him. She could hear him groan in pain as she placed the compress on his forehead. Her eyes filled with tears as she watched Tom shiver to feel the cold compress on his scarlet skin.

It was the plague after all. It killed us all off in the end but poor Eleanor refuses to believe it. Refuses to believe we all died in this house! So we play this night over and over again. One day she’ll understand. She’ll have to. I’ve heard the other people that live here, the living ones, I’ve heard them talking about a priest to get rid of us. Maybe it will work. But for now I will tend to mother. Helping her with Tom and washing the red paint from the door each morning. One day she will see. One day we will get our rest.
(co) Christine Jones 2017

Football from the Grave

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“Meet you on the park after school!” Liam shouted to Adam before disappearing into his classroom. The two boys would meet every Tuesday for a kick around.
They were on the same team in the district league and took every opportunity they could to practice.
This year they had been meeting up with Tom. A lad that went to another school but was always on the park before they got there.
At first Adam had thought that Tom went to a private school as he didn’t really recognise the logo on his football kit. Then Liam had pointed out how old it looked and that Tom didn’t look like he came from a family that could afford private schooling. Liam had once offered Tom his old football boots that didn’t look as old and used as Toms but he had turned him down. Telling him that he couldn’t play without his lucky boots. They never mentioned it after that!
As usual Tom was there waiting for them when the boys got there. They greeted each other with pats on backs and got straight into a crossbar challenge.
After a long while the boys came together in the middle of the pitch to say their goodbyes.
“We’re going trick or treating tonight, do you want to come?” Adam asked Tom “We’re going down hill top avenue. Big, posh houses down there and if you time it right they run out of sweets so instead they give you money!”
Tom looked sad all of a sudden. He looked down at his shoes and muttered something about he wasn’t allowed and that he had to go. He said thank you to them both for playing football with him for the whole year. Liam and Adam found this odd, it was as though he was saying bye forever.
“Same time next week?” Liam shouted after Tom but he had already gone.
Liam had a funny feeling in his stomache. It suddenly felt as though he would never see Tom again.
The boys walked to the other end of the field and sat down on the bench to discuss their trick or treating plans. That’s when they noticed it. Gleaming at them as though it was brand new. When in fact it was exactly one hundred years old. A hundred years today! It was a plaque that had been screwed into the bench. Liam read it in a shaky voice
“In memory of our boy Tom, who loved to play football here on this field and when it got too much for him he loved to sit here on this bench and watch his friends play! You are always in our hearts!”
Could that be Tom? Their Tom? Suddenly everything seemed clear, the old kit, the boots, everything!
They never did see Tom again but Liam was sure he could see someone sat on the bench watching them every now and again but when he looked there was no one there.

(C) Christine Jones 2017

Silence

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The last thing I remember before the silence? I think it must have been the pain. A burning in my chest. I didn’t know anything had hit me at first. I kept on running with the others. Then the burning! Never felt pain like it before. Unbearable pain. It only lasted seconds. The silence was deafening. It buzzed in my ears. No gun shots. No Sarg shouting at us to retrieve. Last thing I saw was Robby. We joined up together, me and Robby did, both terrified and shaking but both trying to act like men, bold and brave. Over the years of service we’d become like family. He tried to grab me as I went down. I saw his mouth screaming “No!”

 Then nothing. Nothing but darkness. That was it all over. Just like that. Here I stand now. Shoulder to shoulder with the living. Shoulder to shoulder with the dead.

My great uncle stands next to me. I never knew him. None of us did. But we never forgot him. Known only through photos and the stories of older relatives. I stand with him now.
WW II took him from us. Died at the hands of the Nazi’s.  Me at the hands of terrorists.
The difference in our uniforms show the decades that divide us but the strength and pride in our hearts unite us now. Unites the living with the dead.
Here we stand. All of us. Those lost in war past and present. Side by side as the living remember us. A great sense of pride hits us as the crowd fall silent. We stand up tall. Head held high. And then in the silence great sadness and loss. For our lives. For the families. For the future that we never had. 

I see you Robby. And the rest of the lads. I see your guilt, your pain and your pride. I want to tell you I’m okay. To let go. We’ll see each other again. You’ll stand with me and all the others. Hopefully you’ll be an old man when you get here. 

Then it’s all over. The living go back to their lives. They live for us now. For everything that we fought for. My uncle taught me that. 
And us. We go back to resting. Until next year. When we rise again.
(C) 2014 Christine Jones. All Rights Reserved.

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