Geoffrey’s Rounds

Geoffrey watches the morning light turn to harsh noon.  The shadows fade away fron the stately halls.  Tapestries with rich colors retreat to washed out halls.  Distance voices race down halls. The tours are starting again.

His pale face and hollow eyes dim.  The children bring a challenge to his type.  The adults look past him and sometimes walk through him.  Time changes things for the living.  Today will be tomorrow for Geoffrey again.

“Hey, I think I see a ghost!” a high-pitched voice rises above the crowd.

Geoffrey waves and smiles. The adults never understand the kids reaction of wonder and fright.

Written as part of a challenge called flash fiction for aspiring writers . Details are available at https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/fffaw-challenge-week-of-june-13-2017-2/

Thank you MajesticGoldenRose for our photo prompt this week!

Collage – Visitor From Beyond

“Be grateful for whover comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” My voice fades.  

The window seems to bring the flaked paint.  A strange grayish tint mixes with the earliest sunset.  A warbler jumps on the branch closer to me.  His orange nape takes me away from his searching eyes.  He is the visitor from beyond.  Beyond his season.  Beyond his range.  Her glares through my person.  He shrills a call out.

The dresser with its fading burgundy Gerbera lies waiting to crumble away.  The ancient house groans and pops as the evening chill gathers.  Timeless ritual of the night collapsing the days work is fine fashion.  It’s tender cool fingers run down my spine.  

I feint a move to warmer rooms.  I like the faded room.  Comfort in its condition.  An orange glow climbs past the metal frame toward me.   I’m glued by the scene of an ancient city catching it’s nightly fire before fading to black.

In the stillness moments rush by.  More fingers of cool reach across my back.  Reluctantly, I move toward a more festive place with strangers called family.

In the hall, laughing.  Tender as if calling a lover to gather.  Intimate details promise desires fulfilled.  

I stop in mid stride.  

A door open to the left.   A room with a tub and candles surrounding her watery grave.  I long for  her still.   I can sense the scent of her.  My eyes touch flesh that is no longer of this Earth.  I’m waiting for her to turn. …. she always does right before fading away.   Back under the water into which she left. 

I sigh.   My guilt is a pleasure.  Then glass silvers into my soul.  I gave up reaching out to her.  My trance shatters.

“Hey, are you going on there?”  The nephew points at the bathroom.

“No, I just thought I heard something  in there.”  I speak slowly like I’m learning the language.

“No ghosts! I hope.”  He jumps in the room closing the door.

“Not any more.” I’m telling myself this as I retreat to the rest of the people I escaped from 30 minutes ago

Scratching at the Door 

Faint sounds crawls down the hallway.

The cold air causes the house to Creek.  The sound persists. Light scratching upon a wooden door.  A whistling wind calls along the window panes.  A draft rushes to see its cousin outside. 

Four paws stretch out.   With a flip of a tail, Whiskers trots to investigate the sound.  

The scratching of nails on wood grows.  A sense of impatience in its tone.

The wind kicks up its heels and howls a bit.   Dancing trees paint shadows upon the windows.  Dim lights of a rustic living room hold them bsck from entering the house.

Whiskers sits in front of the door.  His eyes fixed about a foot from the floor.   His tail twitches with each scratch.  The sound deepens and adds a thud before the scratch continues. 

The wind dies quickly.   The trees freeze in place.  The thud becomes a knock.  it ends with a deep scratch.   Then repeats.

Whiskers scurries back to the hall.  He turns back to listen.   Watch, just in case. 

The wind howls again.   Trees dance their dance silently bare of leaves.  The windows rattle.

The bang on the door commands attention.  It’s tell tale scratch seems to come through the door now.

A muffled scream of low deep origin rumbles against the door.  It emerges as a whail.  Angry against the ears, sullen in the brain.  It carries the weight of burdens and suffering.  Cringing is the nature reaction. 

Once more the knock comes with a sorrid scratch running down a larger chunk of door than ever before. 

A flash of light drowns the porch.  Shadows form and scatter.  Long pointed fingers cling to the banister as they fade back into the night.

Tomorrow, or the next day yet may return. 

Ward

Photo credit: Joy Pixley

An old man peers down a stairwell.   His tiny flashlight meets the modem convenience of motion detector controlled lighting.  His aged eyes claw at shadows to make out figures.  Nothing comes into focus. 

From stories up his castle has keep him safe.  From the outside, it’s well worn weathered face shows little of value here.  The floors creak and moan.   Walls pop and the day time heat leaves through  the roof.   Much like the old man, it lies in perpetual half awake mode. 

A small boy scurried across the floor.   A bouncing ball leads him.  

“Mommy ate the ghosts here?” A fragile voice of innocence carries. 

“No, darling! Ghosts are just for scary stories.” Mommy replies from an unseen place.

Ward looks down.   “Sonny, look up and you’ll see one!”

The old man smiles. Another family to occupy his time at last. 
Written as part of a challenge called Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers; details are available at https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/fffaw-challenge-week-of-september-20-2016/

Photo Prompt # 127 Maiden of the Cove

Her glowing lantern guides her way.  The gentle waters raise and fall giving her a dance across the seabed. She would float despite the tides anyway.  It’s her full moon tradition to visit the shallow wrecks.  Their hulls and beams strattle sandbags the reach out to the in coming season.  Gentle bar of unspeakable horror.  

Her trip is a necessary one.  She roams these coasts on those clear moon filled nights .  Back to where she entered the water.  Over and over again.  Maybe this time she will find the family that floated off.  Maybe they lived.  She’ll never know unless they cross paths in these moon filled nights. 

Written as part of a challenge, details are available at: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/photo-challenge-127/

Senses

I tasted you this morning

Sweet as ove ripe pear

Metallic like a bad tooth 

Bitter like swallowing pride 

I washed away your shadow 

Darkness hides your sinews

Light reveals your nothingness 

Rasping points gouge skin.

Lost lost caresses of crushed glass

I long to feel the velvet you hid in

Whispers of perfume call out

Excitement dares me closer

Carrion with rose petals

White noise voices tickle the ear

If I listen again,  I grow deaf 

Empty words fill out your form

Soothsayer

Indigo looks at a long rainbow sun dress.  Her bargain shopping on sidewalk sales followed her to the beach.  She picks it up holding it to her neck, kicking up on everything leg to check it against her tan legs. “Twenty five…..I don’t know.” She mumbles

“Child in three nights you will wear this in the moonlight.” An ancient woman look out from under a,giant straw hat, her eyes, cloaked by sunglasses.  Her skin wrinkled, furrowed deeply from time.  White hair rushes out from the hat, past shoulders. “Derrick, his name is Derrick.  You will know him, by another name.  Be wary.  You will sparkle, lightness draws the darkest ones.  He must be refused.  His other family awaits him.”

Indigo stands stunned.  Her world is swirling.  How the hell did she know Derrick’s name?  Other family? Could it be true?  He travels,but she goes with him often….not always, but that’s her job.  Lost in thought,she never notices the ancient woman is gone.

She breaks her focus.  And is alone suddenly.  “Now what?  Well, she is right about the dress…”

More Ghosts

“Are you ok?” Her little voice has an echo to it. The little girl had pigtails that start blonde and end uneven with charred clumps.  The sweet face is hollow.  Her figure is twisted.  She hides a second child behind her.   A even smaller face peers out from above waist height.  It’s spiked hair singed and face covered in soot.

Cecilia clears her tear stained eyes. She had been crying all night.  She wasn’t sure if it was night or day.  Hell did it even matter.  But her eyes behold these two little ones.  

Her mind tries to grab a hold of the scene.  The grey black had become more blue black.   Shadows stir  in the distance.   Some shadows
drag across what looks like ground.   Voices mutter in a language made of gibberish and underwater sounds.

“Sally, is she ok?”  The little head asks as he looks up at the girl.

“I think she’s scared. Tucker, she’ll come around.  I bet Dark man already saw her.”  Sally stares at Cecelia.  Her dark eyes are cold.  She holds no expression.  The face seems to go in and out of focus.

“Dark man! He’s the Dark man! What does that even mean?   How did both of you get here….your just little children.    I don’t…understand….it makes no….sense.  I. . ” Cecelia finds words harder to come by.

“He comes to pull you away.   That tree, or this place means something to you.   If you leave, you will drift.   You may find it again.  But we lost our way home!   The Dark man did it to us.   He’s mean.”  Sally looks at her like Cecelia should know that already.

“He took us.   We heard then calling us back.   But the Dark man said we being to him now!”  Tucker talks into his sister’s back.

“What are these voices?   I hear strange voices…it’s like a speaker…They are so distant.  Does the Dark man come by everyday?” Cecelia is shaking.   Anxiety chops at words.  Headless thoughts parade down memory lane. She is the adult and her grip on reality tells her the children need to help her.   Afraid is knowing why to fear.  Fear is worrying about what you should be afraid of.  The play volleyball with her mind.

A loud banging noise rings to her left.   The children let out a quiet “Oh, no!”

“We have to go.   He already knows we saw you!  It could be trouble.   Bye, lady!”  Sally no more then gets the words out and they are gone.

Part 1 in case you missed it is below…
https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/ghosts/?preview=true

Ghosts

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“It’s not possible.   It’s not possible.”  Cecelia shakes her head. 

Her skin has lost its color.  Her back up against a tree.  Her eyes see the white colored leaves tremble in unseen breezes.  Her ears bombarded with sounds that make little sense.  Strange groans.  Creaks.  Muttering in whispers.

She pushes back long locks of black hair.  Leaning forward she his her knees.   The dark air around her gives little clues to where she had found herself.   The land seems open but no structures loom in the distance.  

“I feel asleep.  All I did was fall asleep! I feel asleep.   Aaaaauugghh!   Wake up!”  Cecilia slaps herself several times.

“My dear,  you are going to wake the dead.  Now tell me your troubles child.”  A thin pale man in overalls look down at her. 

He’s no more than five feet away.   His beat up cowboy hat shadows half his face.   His wrinkles soften what could be a terrifying face.  Hollow checks sink into black holes.   More hikes where you expect eyes.   The soft beard and mustache add light to a smile.

Her eyes are fixed.   Her pulse through the roof.   She never seen him coming.   There is nowhere for him to hide.  Her mind is in overdrive.  Sounds in the background seem to call out, then change to leaves rustling in the tree.

“You can’t wake the dead! Why did you say that? Where am I?  Who are you? What’s going on here?”  Her words run together.   She stays in semi fetal position but starts to rock a bit.

“Quite right, child.  The dead have no need for sleep.  I could hear you down the street.   Needed to see what all the commotion was about.   I figured it was someone new.”  The old man tips his hat back a little.  His face is even creepier now.  Where there should be eyes seems empty.

“What do you mean ‘new here’?” Cecelia knows the answer.  Denial runs deep in her heart.  

He laughs.   Both thumbs rise up to straighten the straps of his overalls.  His hat slides back down and covers more of his face.   The laughter can be felt, not just heard.

“Child, we’re ghosts.  You’re dead!”

Ready for More Ghosts?
https://any1mark66.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/more-ghosts/?preview=true

Mining the Archives

#everydayinspiration
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“The ripening grape shall hang on every thorn.”

Incultisque ruhens pendebit sentibus uva.Virg. Ecl. iv. 29. Virgil

To make British Port Wine.[31]—”Take of British grape wine, or good cyder, 4 gallons; of the juice of red beet root two quarts; brandy, two quarts; logwood 4 ounces; rhatany root, bruised, half a pound: first infuse the logwood and rhatany root in brandy, and a gallon of grape wine or cyder for one week; then strain off the liquor, and mix it with the other ingredients; keep it in a cask for a month, when it will be fit to bottle.”
Taken from A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons, Frederick Accum, 1820

The small wooden barrel has three inches of dust on top.  The paper had been yellowed.  It’s letters the purple of poke berries still sharp.  The receipe on port wine was centuries old.  But why was it here?  The keg plug hammered in place well before a machine could make it.  Oil lamps burned back when it was sealed.  The two foot tall relic stood as a shadow off to the side.  If not for a chance passing, would it have ever been noticed.

“Uncle, uncle, uncle what treasures did you bury here?” A voice tears into the dim room.

The barrel moves easy.  Most of its contents given as the angel’s share.  The slushing inside announce a presence.  A mild berry smell beckons from the past.  The dark wood and cooper rings have aged in impeccable condition. Grabbing the top edge, he rolls it on edge, out across a deep shelf.

“Joshua, you don’t want to try that.”  Uncle’s voice rattles him to the core.  The hair on the neck are stood up.  Goosebumps run through the arms, like a jolt of electricity.

Joshua stops moving the barrel.  The keg plug stares at him.  The voice echoes.  The lack of body for that voice is a problem.  After another minute he pushes the barrel back.  Gathering his thoughts, it seems a good time for lunch.