Tag Archives: speakeasy

Spring blooms

Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold. My bare feet soaked up the warmth of the log fire as I snuggled under the fur blanket to keep warm. It’d been a long, grim winter and the snow drifts had been plenty. For much of the season we’d been holed up alone in our log cabin, unable to escape. We’d stocked up prior to the worst storms hitting, but supplies were running low and we were waiting anxiously for the snow to start thawing. Toby had ventured out this morning, hoping to get some essentials we were desperate for. He’d been gone for hours and I was beginning to worry. I had no way of contacting him and was unable to go out searching in my current state. I opened up a book in an attempt at distraction and started to lose myself in the pages. Before long, I could feel my heavy eye-lids begin to droop with the wave of tiredness that washed over me. I let myself drift into a much needed sleep, welcome for the release.

I awoke with a jolt to the slam of the heavy door and was relieved to see Toby entering. Small icicles had formed on his eyebrows and he shivered himself out of his icy clothes. Carrying the bag over to the fireplace and sitting down next to me, he excitedly shared his finds. Meat from the butchers, fresh fruit from the greengrocer and bread from the bakers were among the delights that now littered the floor in front of me. I could feel my stomach rumble at the sight. ‘Hang on, I got something special for you,’ Toby said as he reached his hand into the bag one last time. I love surprises and felt the excitement mount. ‘Oooh, what is it?’ The edge of the light-weight knitted blanket was pulled out and I squealed with delight. It would be perfect for spring.

Not only was I willing spring to arrive for the sunshine and pretty blooms, but for the birth of our child. It was our first and we were excited to see what we would be blessed with. I hoped that a winter of discontent would surely lead to a spring of new beginnings.

This post was written for submission to the Yeah Write Speakeasy Challenge Grid 157. The post had to start with the sentence ‘winter seemed reluctant to release it’s hold’ and the photo prompt this week was:

The Park

The mist settles on the expanse of grass as night begins to descend. It is late to be out walking alone in this area of town, but I feel safe clutching at the lead of my dog. Our daily exercise ritual is not usually so late, but time escaped me somewhere today and we have just rushed out now, cloaked in darkness. The lack of street lights in the park is making it hard to see and I find myself fumbling in my pocket for my phone. I nearly drop it as the dog yanks me in the direction of a shadow he is trying to chase. I tighten my grip on the phone and get my footing. Shining the light on the ground in front of me, the reflection off the gravel stones paves the way ahead. Just then a deep woof erupts from the throat of my dog. I find myself impatiently shushing him, worried his barks will disturb the peaceful homes skirting the edge of the park. My thoughts quickly turn darker and I wonder if I should be more aware of the dog’s warning. I squint, looking into the darkness, making out shapes in the distance. Just a bunch of trees, no other signs of life apart from the odd lone bird cooing. As I shiver with cold, I think about hurrying back to the warmth of home, joining all the other sensible people who are on their sofas watching television. Reassured it is just us in the park I give a quick tug on the lead to signal we should move on.

A shuffling of leaves behind me catches my attention and I shoot a glance over my shoulder. Nothing. It must have been the wind agitating the leaves I think as I notice the brisk air blow past my ear. I return to our walk, but my paranoia is peaked and I find myself anxious to get back to the lit pavements. I know a short cut, through the cemetery and out onto the street the other side. It is then just a short walk home. I nervously laugh to myself about the cliche of walking alone in the cemetery at night. My humour a vain attempt to lighten my darkening mood and I feel goosebumps erupt on the back of my neck. I tell myself to stop being silly and speed up.

The gravel crunches under my feet as I quicken my pace. The dog walks ahead on the lead, only stopping for the occasional sniff. I can see the street lights at the end of the cut-through, which signals the street ahead. Reassured, I don’t respond to the shuffling behind me. As the dog growls, heckles raised, I feel a strong hand grab my arm. I spin round to face a tall man, clad in dark clothes. His face serious and abrupt in the dim light and I find myself letting out a panicked yelp. Sensing my fear, the dog charges towards the man ready to protect his owner. A look of concern etched over the mans face, he loosens his grip on my arm and I yank it out of his grasp. I feel so relieved in that moment. What a stupid man, trying to attack me when I am armed with the ultimate protector. I look at the dog, which has launched into the air and I nod my head in some kind of approval. As his teeth sink into the neck of my attacker, I feel the warm splatter of blood splash my cheek. Adrenaline courses through my body as I will the dog to bite, claw and rip his way through this evil man. He won’t be able to hurt anyone else again.

As he falls to the ground, blood gushing from his neck, I stand over him and peer down at my assailants face. I want my face to be his last image before his death. I catch sight of his left hand, pale fingers tightly clasping a set of keys, reaching out to me. A familiar silver heart-shaped pendant hangs from the key-ring. As I reach into my pocket to find my own keys, I already know my pocket is empty … I must have dropped them. Through the clarity of retrospect, the obvious conclusion surfaced: things don’t always turn out as planned.

 

This post has been written for the Yeah Write Speakeasy #154.

 

Blurred colours

Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes, but now I’m unable to focus past the haze of colours and blurred lines that represent my present. A lost soul amongst the uncertainties of what the future holds, grasping onto the last semblances of sanity before the madness takes hold. Before the image of last night, now imprinted on my brain, life had been picture perfect – bright, happy days, filled with the sunshine of family love. We had been childhood sweethearts, married young and raised a loving family in our perfect white picket fenced home. A devoted wife and mother, my life had been dedicated to the primping and preening of others needs, forgetful of my own self-worth. My family happiness integral to my whole sense of being and my own hopes, dreams and ambitions put on hold for the benefit of the greater good. Yet no sense of regret or resentment compounded my commitment and joy. Years of dedication passed, our children growing into adults in their own right, finally an opportunity to refocus and reignite our love and passion for one another again. But you chose a new fire to ignite, home not sweet enough to satiate your lustful hunger. ‘It wasn’t me, it was you’ – the classic one liner – an attempt to placate and soothe my emotions. A lie you had been living for so many years. Years which had been my sole purpose in life, now washed to meaningless by your false facade. Why seek love in the arms of another, when complete devotion was already at your door? The affection and love of years past now tarnished with your deceits. Would it not have been fairer to set me free before my prime had passed – I shouldn’t have been the cage that trapped you from your true desires. Colours are blurred, my hold on reality lost, your indiscretion now the definining moment of our lifelong relationship.

This piece of fiction was written for the Speakeasy weekly writing challenge number 151. This weeks challenge required the use of the quote ‘life had once been defined by linears and absolutes’ being used as the first line of the story. There was also the below photo prompt this week:

Vanished

Sarah kneaded the knots out the back of her neck, stiff from another uncomfortable nights sleep on her son’s bedroom floor. Standing tall and stretching her tense muscles, she wondered what the time was. It was dark, so she assumed it must still be the middle of the night. Satisfied with the sound of her sons sleepful breathing, she couldn’t help but take a look at his angelic features; so peaceful in his slumber. Stumbling to the bathroom, bleary eyed, she was unable to ignore the fullness of her bladder any longer. She was sure she heard the grunt of her son as she sat on the toilet and she smiled knowing he was close by.

Determined to return to the comfort of her own bed and get some decent sleep, she went to check on him one last time. Safe in the knowledge her son was fast asleep, she glanced quickly at his bed. She did a double take and squinted through the dim light her eyes searched out the shape of her son. An empty bed stared back at her, duvet strewn back and the imprint of his body still warm on the crinkled sheets. She knew there was a good chance he had gone to get into Mummy and Daddy’s bed, so she went to check, surprised to find her husband alone and snoring heavily. Hhhmm, maybe he’s gone in the spare room? Again, her search returned unfruitful, with still no sign of him. Attempting to quash the panic she could feel mounting, she returned to the bathroom, thinking he may have snuck past her to use the toilet, but there were no signs of him there either. ‘John?’ her voiced echoed downstairs. She waited desperately for a response, but no sound came back. She could feel the adrenaline and fear course through her body, her head blurry from the rising panic, she tried to contain her thoughts which raced around her head, making it hard to focus.

She rushed into the bedroom and violently shook her husband until he stirred. Confused and half-conscious he took a moment to register her ramblings. ‘Hang on, I’ll go and check downstairs. He’s probably in the kitchen helping himself to treats,’ he suggested, as he dragged his tired body from the bed. Even before he returned, Sarah knew the trip downstairs would be to no avail. There were no signs of him anywhere, it was if he had just vanished. It doesn’t make sense. He was here just a moment ago. Thoughts of child abduction ran through her head, but she knew that it didn’t make sense. She saw him in his bed just seconds ago, there had not been a chance for someone to sneak him away unnoticed. Not knowing what to do, she conducted a futile search through cupboards, wardrobes and even drawers in the hope he was playing hide and seek, but all she found were the piles of folded clothes and stacked toys. About to pick up the phone, she noticed a strange dark shape in the corner of her son’s bedroom. What on earth is that? ‘Mark, I think you should come and see this.’ He rushed in, hopeful and then looked confused when only Sarah was stood alone, back to him, staring at the wall. ‘What is it?’

‘There’s something odd over there,’ she pointed to the wall.

Precariously they moved closer, wondering what the shape was. As they approached, the shape took the clear form of a black, empty circle. Unsure what to do, Sarah carefully reached out to touch it, her hand disappearing as it entered the hole. ‘What the hell?’ she remarked. ‘I have no idea!’ Mark responded. She reached down for one of the teddy bears laying on the floor and picking it up she hurled it towards the hole and it disappeared. They both looked at each other as realisation dawned. Hands raised at her sides and shoulders shrugged in uncertainty, she waited for someone to tell her what to do next.

This post was written for the Speakeasy Writing Challenge #150.

The Sin of Love

'don't blame the sinner'

‘Don’t blame the sinner.’ My glove clad finger traces the lines of the etching. Special words embedded deep in my soul. I turn my head away from the lashing rain and shake my windswept hair from my face. Looking down at the waves below, I squint to see through the descending darkness. An isolated and wild seascape – our special place. I can almost feel her soft skin under my fingers as I remember stroking her face. That tentative first kiss, unsure of the response it would elicit. Years of hidden emotions creeping to the surface. Was our love really a sin? Something so natural and beautiful, that filled our lives with happiness. How could that be so wrong?

We had kept it secret for a while, uncertain how people would react. I had wanted to tell everyone, but Chrissie was far more careful. It wasn’t long before people started talking, making up their own stories about us. It was our own private joke, mocking them – ‘Don’t blame the sinner!’ As if we could blame our ‘sinner’ selves for discovering the beauty of each other’s comfort. We would laugh the comments off, pretending to be content in our protective bubble. Chrissie, such a sensitive soul. I could tell the scars were running deep. Family was drifting away. Friendships were being lost. No-one wanted to be seen with ‘the lezzos’ for fear of recrimination. If they had just left us be.

Days and nights passed, Chrissie’s sad eyes looking more and more weary. First it was the drink. I would often find her passed out, hunched over the kitchen table. Then the tablets. As if a prescription from the Doctor would take all the pain away. Before long the arguments started. Hateful, resentful words would be exchanged. We were our only refuge from the unaccepting outside world. Yet here we were, driving our own wedge between us. Was this what they wanted? To see us pull ourselves apart. Two halves of loneliness and longing. Only together we could be whole. Now, I am destined to be just one half. As I clutch the urn close to my heart, I look down at that fateful etching. Who is the sinner now? Those who drove her to this!

As I lift the lid of the urn, ashes catching on the wind, I whisper, ‘Be at peace now my love.’

A fictional story inspired by the Speakeasy prompt #149.