And the hard times get… easier?

Balance seems to have returned to the universe. And once again the pen hits the paper. The wordslinger returns. Or am I just reading too much Stephen King these days? Ha. No such thing.

I haven’t looked at writing my book since November, but at least I can look at writing my poetry again. Since, for I while I had given it up. And at times I thought I had given it up… (duh-da-duhh…) permanently. I think at times I might just been a tad dramatic.  Maybe it had just went away for a while and then, it decided to return again. Just as well, it’s nice to know that I can do something right… every now and again.

So, I’m rambling.

Well, it has been a fine life. Too busy of course, teaching year 10s, two year 11 classes and a year 12 class. It’s all serious business of course and I have no time to think, let-alone write. That’s okay, though. It’s hard but it’s good. I’ve got things to look forward to and a goal all planned out. I’ve just gotta get the book finished. So I’ve gotta find some time to get it done after all this socialising and working and reading and working and eating and socialising. How am I ever going to get it done?

Despite the hard things, I’m still motivated to at least get some poetry done, but I have to get into some form of mantra to actually get THE BOOK DONE.

What do you think fellow writers?  What routines have you committed yourselves to? What wordslinging doctrines do you follow?

Something new, something… blue?

I like this time of year. You feel warm. You feel fuzzy. Somehow the light shines through the end of the tunnel and you rekindle with your motivation. I wonder how long it lasts? Is it really only because of the extra Vitamin D that we find ourselves such the merrier?

Hmm. Maybe not.

Maybe things just have an ‘expiry’ date, and somehow, things reborn. Winter is just winter.  Spring comes around again.

Today has been a mixed week.  A combination of being somewhat lonely and somewhat stifled. It is that dreading sense as a teacher, that one day, you’re going to have to face ‘them’ again. Yeah, I mean the kids.  Today was my first day back and it wasn’t so bad.  Actually it was a lot of fun.  I also took on a lot more responsibility as a teacher.

Weird.

I had a weird day.

Weird… in a good way.

Now, one of the reasons why, I figured, why I haven’t been writing a lot of poetry these days is because I haven’t been reading a lot of poetry.  I used to just read the classics.  Yes, a lot of Coleridge, Blake, Dickinson.  Nothing modern or recent has really caught my attention.

Do any of you have recommendations? I would love to have a read…

The Ripple of Inspiration

Okay, so a lot of you know that I haven’t been on here much lately, really at all, hence the title, and I bet you’re guessing what that reason is.

For the last couple of days, in my town, it has been raining quite a lot.  Today, I was outside (God knows why) and I was sitting watching the rain fall into slowly growing puddles.  I watched these puddles ripple as the rain fell.  There’s something graceful and curious about rain, especially when you watch it really closely, when you give yourself enough time to watch it and not just watch from inside but actually listen to it as well, you can see everything magnificent about the rain and see the brutality of it all.  Rain is not kind.  It is patient but it is not kind.  There is something gentle about rain of course, but like any form of pressure, it starts to bruise if it is repeated.  Over and over.

That is how I am feeling at the moment.  Even a small amount of guilt can bruise over time.  There is a pressing on my nerves.  Stories untold, ideas not expressed, and poetry withdrawn.  This is what I am doing to myself.  And, just like the ripples of water, the pressure of inspiration needs to be released and if not released naturally, it will bruise.

Whether it is the adjustment to winter, or because of the sudden change in my life, the lack of inspiration is hindering on my mind.  It is there, it can be done, but I need to see it to be able to let it go.  Put the pen in my hand and just let myself go and the let the ripple of inspiration begin.

So sorry for annoying you all with this melancholic post though with it I guess I am trying to inspire myself.  And hopefully you may get something from this, too.

Hope you are all well, and thank you all again for the support of this blog.

J. A. Weymouth

Blue Fabric – Short Story (Part 3) END

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Blue Fabric

(Part 1) (Part 2)

By J. A. Weymouth

Everything seemed slow the moment Mary fell.  Noah’s eyes bulged trying to see her in the dark.  The red of her coat could only be seen just by the fade of moonlight through the trees, bobbing in and out of the stream.  All was silent in the presence of the violent water carrying the unconscious girl away.   Stillness took over the forest critters, frogs no longer croaked, owls silenced their callings out to the night as they waited, watching the boy run after his sister.

Noah meandered through, forcefully pushing past branches.  The dense forest could not stop him as he pulled away from rogue twigs and leaped over high, imbalanced rocks careful not to slip or lose sight of the shade of red barely seen in the moonlit water.  He was not going to lose his sister.

He thought anger.  He thought desperation.  He thought rage as he followed.  But then the adrenaline rushed in, blocking out painful feelings.

It felt like he was running ahead, that Noah had finally managed to get to a point along the river’s path where he thought he could catch his sister.

Up ahead, he saw his sister being carried towards him.  Noah had not seen her face and tried to ignore the upsetting feeling that was stirring inside him.  Stones led the way through the river and he thought the largest would be a good place to try and catch her.  Nervously, Noah took his first step onto the rock.  Second.  Third.  He made it to the middle without falling and steadied himself ready for the catch of his life.

Noah knew he had failed the moment before he caught his sister’s jacket.  It was empty.  There was no Mary.

After he threw the jacket against the shore in frustration, thinking himself stupid after another failed attempted at saving Mary, he began to move again.  But before he could take another step, he heard a moan – distinct – coming from within the water.  It had come not much further from where he was standing as it had sounded like a baby animal in distress.

He knew it was frivolous to stand and think to confirm whether it was his sister making the noise, so he moved in the sound’s direction – and hoped.

Pale lips pursed through the surface of the water, now opening to suck in the air – desperately.  Mary had survived only to be carried away into a small enclosure from the side of the river bank; a separate stream dragged her into a dead end.

Noah became too far to stop her but he thought there was a chance to save her as he watched on miserably.

Water tickled Noah’s toes as he stood upon muddy ground. The water levels had risen, the river was flooded and now the urgency of his endeavour was becoming more and more desperate.  When he finally made it to the small enclosure, he could see that it was in fact a cave against the cliff side before the rising of a hill. Noah thought it lucky he had made it to this side of the river earlier on, as now it seemed impossible to cross the river with the force of the current in his way.  The only obstacle in his path now was his ability to maneuver himself into a steady position to reach his sister as there was only enough room for his footing to shimmy against the cliff side.  One slip and he could fall into the river and drown.

With steady feet and keen focus, Noah made it to the side of the cave and looked in.  The cave was a lot deeper than he expected and Mary stood there at the bottom, waist-deep in water and conscious.  Besides the blood and swelling near her left eye she appeared to be well enough despite her fall in the water.  She yelled out in glee when she saw her brother.  Her hand stretched out.  He grasped it tightly and pulled.

Her sister was such a small light thing.  Noah knew this well.  Small for her age he always found it easy to carry her on his back during their games of piggy-back rides.  But there was something terribly wrong when he could not lift her from the cave.

‘My leg is stuck,’ she whispered painfully but Noah ignored this and pulled her as hard as he could but all of a sudden he heard a terrible snap like the sound of a delicate twig breaking.  She screamed this time and cried out to him to stop.  ‘Stop Noah! My leg! I think it’s broken.’

Noah’s mind was racing.  With the water growing more and more ferocious as it rushed in to fill the cave, he needed to think of something quickly because Mary was now shoulder-deep in water.

Noah would have dived into the water with Mary to see the damage to her foot for himself but the cave was too narrow and he would not have been able to fit.  He tried to dip his hands in the water to see if he could reach the bottom but it was no good either, the cave was just too deep.

Soft water droplets fell onto Noah’s face.  Rain was beginning to fall.  Cold shrouded him with a light coat of mist.

This was not happening.  How could this happen?  Only hours ago were they playing on top of the hill in the wind with their kite flying pleasantly above them.  They were having fun.  It was a good afternoon.  By now, they would be at home with their mother, having dinner by the wood heater.

So how could this have happened?

Slowly, the realisation came to Noah that he could do nothing for his sister but watch.  Watch as the water slowly rose above her.  Watch the water slowly drown her.  And all he could do was hold her hand and watch.

Something happened.  The mist that had surrounding him became still in the air.  The water froze in place.  Everything quieted into silence and stilled.

Noah looked eerily into the distance and saw that everything that surrounding them had frozen into place.  He looked at his sister, as the water had become motionless before it completely engulfed her, and looked into her petrified eyes.  It seemed Mary too was solid, still and unmoving.  Everything around him was frozen.  Completely still in this one moment of time.

Then everything sped up around him as quickly as he realised it.  And he was standing over his sister.  Somehow they had made it out of the water – to the bank of the river.  But Mary was lying still by his feet with her eyes now closed.

‘Mary…’ Noah nudged his sister.  ‘M-Mary,’ his voice became broken with the realisation that something wasn’t quite right.

Dawn woke to the sight of a young boy crying as he lay beside his dead sister.  Frogs began to croak in the distance as the gentle, warm light stirred the forest awake.

~~~

END

I would like to thank everyone for your support and enthusiasm in the duration of this story. Thank you so much for your kind words and feedback.  It is what helps motivate me in the creation of these stories.

The Hand – Poetry

ImageThe Hand

By J. A. Weymouth

 

Faded/split into two.

Other side is conscious and knowing while one waits silently at the door.

 

Curious as ever,

Its eyes move rigid, pressed against untamed littlies.

Watchful, hateful, noiseless.

 

Finger tips encircle a crown as golden entrails seep outwards.

 

A word is rested,

sentimental even –

with festering purpose.

 

Circles ins and outs:

reflections of an ill-mannered past like pictures reminiscing velvet lies.

 

And I shudder.

 

Still shivering like a child who holds on.

Never alike to the become and the then before.

 

Always a child,

and never more.

Blue Fabric (Part 1) – Short Story

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Blue Fabric

(Part 2)

By J. A. Weymouth

Drowning.  That is all he can remember.  His mind was a blue haze of frosty morning and grey water.  And drowning.  He remembered the drowning again.

            He approached the door in muddy gumboots with raindrops in his eyes.  The soggy rain coat he wore did little to warm him.  His mother shook him to answer but no words would come out.  Only silent screaming.  And the deafening memory.

 

Noah was running.  Sunshine was in his face as he chased the cobalt fabric of the kite, its tail tickling his fingertips.  Joy was in his voice as he called out to his little sister.

‘Mary, stop! It’s my turn,’ he laughed as she slipped through his fingers again.  Mary had a natural talent in tricking Noah during their cat and mouse games.  She would deceptively slow down so that Noah would be fooled as to think he could catch her but in the moment before he had his arms around her she sped up in an amazing reflex, easily avoiding Noah’s grasp.

Stopping, now giving up, Noah watched his little sister speed off into the horizon, the kite now gliding in the wind in tail of her.  The blue of its wings stood out in the oncoming grey sky.  Mary took enjoyment in the fact that she had control over the kite again.

A shadow crawled over Noah’s face as the dark clouds loomed overhead.  The kite flew higher.  The wind had aggressively sped up whistling in their ears.  A storm was coming.

‘Noah, come here!’ Mary called with worry in her voice.  She was beginning to lose control over the kite as it flicked and twisted and twirled in summersaults.  The kite danced in complete obliviousness, alive in the domain of the sky.

They were on top of the hill.  Noah had been trying to take the kite from Mary, but her fingers became entangled in the string as she attempted to control the rebelious kite.  Its wild dances worried Mary as it flicked and twitched in painful pulls.  The string strangled her fingers and she cringed in pain.  She became determined to tame the kite becoming frustrated with the thing in the sky and her brother who had been challenging her for him to take over.  With a ferocious tug, Mary broke free from her brother but rather suddenly – tumbling over her own feet – she fell.  Shocked and winded by her fall Mary looked down at her free hands pulling up the loose string and the bare handle.  The kite had freed itself.

Mary and Noah watched the kite fly off into the distance, the wind carrying it through the black shadow of the sky.  Thunder rumbled softly, indicating a lightning storm hovered over the vastness of the Scottish Forests down into the valley.  The tail of the kite flipped and waved goodbye at Mary and Noah in mocking submissiveness of the wind.

Mary followed.

Distracted by watching the kite fly away and over a sudden sense of mourning, Noah turned too late to watch Mary run in pursuit of the kite.

It had become dark too quickly.  Thunder boomed loudly overhead, shocking Noah and he shuddered all over.  A coolness licked the back of his neck indicating the drop in tempretature and that rain would fall soon.  It was like he was frozen by the idea that Mary was running towards a storm and the kite was leading her straight into the middle of it.  Fear began to coil Noah’s insides.

He ran fast and hard.  If there was lightning, the forest would be the last place they should be.

‘Daddy!’ Mary called out to the kite in nostalgic sadness.  There was no way that she would give up that kite and what it meant to her.  While running, Noah watched in dismay as his sister drew closer to the forest.

A memory of wide fields and windy weather, of a smiling face bristled by a bushy moustache watched over them with a look of paternal pride, the blue fabric flapped up above them all.  The memory dissipated as Noah watched his little sister fade away into the forest.  Dread sunk in and so he quickened his pace.

When he finally reached the forest there was no sign of Mary’s whereabouts.  Noah looked out as he stood against the tall gathering of trees, their long trunks standing apathetically in faithful silence.  A stir and a creek in their old, arthritic trunks voiced their ancient presence.  The wind stirred their branches alive ruffling the dying leaves.  An ominous feeling sat and waited inside him growing with each unsteady step.  It should not be this hard to see.  It became too dark too soon.  He could barely see through the thickness of the trees as they gathered together further beyond, far deeper in the forest.

Overwhelmed by the overbearing forest, Noah had just stood there dumbfounded and lost.  He did not know where to look first.  And what was worse, he knew his sister was out here somewhere all alone.  He looked up towards the tops of the trees to see if the kite had been caught, but miraculously, it must have made it through and avoided the trees’ cluttered branches.

Noah had decided to just move forward from where he entered, in the same direction he saw his sister come in.  He journeyed onwards in the hope that the trees had caught the mischievous kite and had not led his sister too far astray.

As Noah moved quickly, a flash of lightning forked out across the sky, lighting the forest in a shocking contrast of bright white against the blackness.  Another flash of light and a roar of thunder followed.  The white light emitted through the trees emphasising their dark shadows making them look like elongated arms stretching out across the forest floor.  These horrific hands reached out for Noah’s shadow as he ran, pushing past low branches.

The denser part of the forest closed in on Noah.  Woodland noises became louder.  There was something eerie in their boisterous noises, as they became more forceful with each loud bang of thunder – unsteady and nervous.

With another flash of light and roar of thunder, rain suddenly started to fall.  Noah was really beginning to feel lost and desperate.  He could not decide where to go, where to search, what direction to follow.  He felt utterly alone.  It began to pour and then he remembered.

***

Part 2 will be up soon.

He Saw Her in the Rain (Part 2) – Short Story

She Saw Him in the Rain 

(Part 1)

By J. A. Weymouth

It was then that she saw him again as he stepped out of the taxi.  His mop of golden brown hair quickly turned wet when he stepped out into the rain.  She saw him look down at his umbrella as if re-thinking about opening it now that it was already too late to save himself from the devious droplets.  Shivering, he moved forward not noticing her looking at him.  And then he looked up.  Everything paused around her that moment he looked up and she saw that look in his eye, that knowing, that remembering.  He was awake and she was alive.

She remembered him of course since he was never far from her mind from the day she first saw him standing by the edge of the breakwater.  The thought of him never lingered too long on her mind though, and it passed as soon as the memory of him came to her.  Like a dream or like trying to remember something from long ago.  Those images of him only seemed to come to her when she was in those dark places.  The little dark crevices of her mind.

Life for her had been monotonous and distant.  Grey overtones.  Dull noises.  There was no energy or drive working in the same place, bundling the same roses, and giving them to the same happy couples here at the florists.  But now… Now, he was the wash of colour that brightened her grey world.  That one step out of the car.  Those emerald eyes looking up.  Everything changed.  And she no longer regretted not turning around and going back to him, that day at the breakwater.

Two days in rain.  A life time of moments and pauses.  That was when she saw him in the rain.

“Happy Tuesday,” he said as he dropped the plastic, diamante ring into her palm.

He Saw Her in the Rain (Part 1) – Short Story

This is a sweet little story I wrote a little while ago. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Part two will be up by the end of the week.

He Saw Her in the Rain

(Part 2)

By J. A. Weymouth

He saw her in the rain when he was walking along the breakwater.  It was pouring as he looked over to see the waves lick the wooden stumps.  The waves moved in such desperation as if they longed to be a part of the land.

The sea’s ferocity moved him as he contemplated nasty thoughts.  They were inside his head and they were screaming.  But then he saw her in the rain, as he was about to jump hoping to become a part of that foreboding ocean.  He relished the thought.  He was going to become a part of something greater.  The most powerful thing he could think of.  Not some ridiculous human life.

He didn’t see her at first.  He heard the soft pounding of thick raindrops.  A rhythmic tap tap of rain falling on an umbrella.  It was the fussy sound that drew his attention. They were beating her umbrella as he turned around to see.  She wasn’t close either.

He turned and saw wellingtons.  The bright canary yellow stood out in the gray.  They were splashed in mud.  He couldn’t see her face it was covered by her umbrella.  He also noticed that she was slightly bent over.  Her back and shoulders were straight but it seemed she was looking down.  He saw a puddle at her feet, but whatever fascination she found in the puddle puzzled him.  What was she looking at?  He wondered.

He hears her sneeze and she bends closer to the puddle.  She pulls up a ring.  He sees it glitter.  Sunshine manages to escape through the thick of cloud covering her shoulders in a soft, warm glow.  It showers her face.  He sees it for the first time.  He thought she was beautiful even as she stood without protection from the rain.  The raindrops highlighted the paleness of her face and the blueness of her eyes.  Her umbrella left forgotten at her feet.  The attention was focused on the ring.

Blue globes look up.  He notices her noticing him.  All previous thoughts on the breakwater disappear as she gives him a pensive look.  She begins to move, walking closer to him.  He sees her put the ring in the small of her pocket, smiling up at him.  Her hands slid into the inside of her woollen jacket for warmth.  He felt nervous.  Her moving towards him made him cautious.  He fidgets suddenly forgetting why he was there and thinks of turning his back to her.

He didn’t.

The rain had stopped.  She is much closer now.  He could see her clearly, only a few feet away.  Chestnut wet hair clung to her face.  Now standing before him he could see her panda eyes masked by milky mascara, her lips pale and shivering.  She smells of oak and cinnamon.  He sees her hand move.  Up and open.  There sat the ring.  She nudges her hand towards him, encouraging him.  He takes out his hand and opens his palm out to her.  She drops the ring into his.

“Happy Tuesday,” she says.

He can’t find any words.  She is behind him now walking away.  He doesn’t look at her as she leaves instead he looks at the ring.  It’s a plastic cheap one, something a young girl would wear.  It has a light pink band and a diamante in the shape of a heart.  He suddenly decides the sea is too deep and too cold for him.  The thought of home was more comforting.  He would sit in front of a warm fire as he daydreamed of blue globes and wet chestnut hair, while the smell of oak and cinnamon still lingered on his mind.  He turns around and she’s gone.  He thinks he’ll keep the ring as a memento.  He didn’t feel like killing himself today.

That was when he saw her in the rain.

~~~

The Red Scarf – Short Story (Part 6) END

The Red Scarf

By J. A. Weymouth [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5]

The crickets sang in the hot summer night within the overgrown lawn outside a sorrowful looking house.  Any onlooker passing by would see that it was in a despairing state so unfit that it was to the point of decay.  Everything about the house needed urgent attention as the paint cracked flinchingly back from age, weather-beaten and worn.  The dried paint appeared like rotten potato peels revealing the naked wooden boards underneath.  The wood was in rot from previous pests that had been eating away at the house’s exterior.

Any person passing by would see this house and then somehow a cold shiver would crawl up their spines, even in the hot weather, making them feel ill at ease.  This happened so often, for so many years that people began to avoid the house altogether and even children claimed it haunted.

No one really ever saw the man who lived in that house.  People were only aware that someone was living there because of the rare chance of seeing spying eyes peering through moth eaten curtains staring out as passers walked by, and the newspaper pile that every once in a while was cleared away could anyone who cared enough tell that someone still lingered inside that rotten house.

There was one who was still brave though, amongst all the neighbours and curious onlookers.  Maggie White had grown up in that neighbourhood knowing all about the “haunted house” that all the other children had been so frightened of during their childhood.  But Maggie was never afraid.  In fact, she was the first and only child of that neighbourhood who could walk up to that house and touch the front door with her index finger in the middle of the night in a dare, and walk back to her friends, and then becoming, the coolest and bravest kid on the block.

Years later, as an adult, Maggie worked in that house and had begun to learn all about the agoraphobic old man who lived inside the rotten house.  Like the house he lived in, there was something disturbing about the strange old man. A sinister feeling would hang in the air as she nursed, cleaned and cooked for him and even Maggie, the coolest and bravest kid on the block, learned to grow wary.

She had been appointed in his care only a few days ago, but even then she started to feel uneasy.  He was impatient and rude, and although he never touched her (unlike some of her previous patients who would occasionally tap her on the fanny as she worked around them) the way he would look at her, unnerved her – a look she could only compare with when a man would greedily stare at a woman in a certain, chilling way.  Maggie could only cast this thought away, as he was still an old, harmless man and in great need of her care.

One day, something happened that she never thought would happen while she worked in this particular house.  Someone had knocked on the door.  Surprised and also very curious to know who would visit this loner, she answered the door, thinking it was probably just the postman but instead she found a young man, handsome with kind, blue eyes.  Was he his son?  She wondered.  She didn’t think the old man had even married.  Or was it a love affair?  Too lost in her own thoughts she forgot to greet the young man.

‘Excuse me?’ he queried hesitantly.

Shaming herself for forgetting her manners, Maggie apologised.  ‘I’m very sorry! I’m not used to strangers knocking on this door.’

He smiled in amusement but the smile turned strangely, as if it was a strain for him to hold.

‘It’s not I problem. I’ve only come here to drop this off.  Does Robert Cutteridge still live here?’

‘Yes, of course.  Can I help you?’ The man did not reply he only stood there, pensively, however, his body language suggested that he was not comfortable standing where he was.  Despite the large box that he was holding, it did not seem to Maggie that it was heavy.  Something else must have been making him feel awkward.

‘Would you like to come in?’ Maggie invited hoping this would ease him.  Instead, this suggestion only seemed to agitate the man even more so.

Maggie was about to say something until Robert called out to her, demanding that she attend to him.

At the sound of Robert’s voice, the stranger shoved the box straight into Maggie’s arms, not forcefully but enough to surprise her.

‘I’m sorry,’ he apologised quickly and continued to speak desperately, ‘but could you please give this to Mr Cutteridge?  Say that it is from an old friend.’

With his last word he smiled, but it was not a warm smile.  And then he left before Maggie could organise her thoughts enough so that she could reply.  Usually, she was so quick-witted and hot tempered that even she was shocked at her own loss of words.

When she looked up again he was gone.

‘Maggie! MAGGIE!’ Robert yelled once more and before he could scream her name again (in that demanding tone that she hated) she returned bitter-sweetly agreeing to make him a cup of tea.

After handing him his tea, Maggie shared her encounter with his strange visitor.

‘Well, who was it?’

After she explained that the man didn’t give her his name and that he only told her that the package was from “an old friend” Robert simply sneered and whispered under his breath that she was useless.  Maggie said nothing but rolled her eyes and placed the box onto his bedside table.

‘That’s the end of my shift, now, you know how to contact me if there is any need.’ The old man ignored this as she left, and stared at the curious package, his attention fully absorbed.

Robert Cutteridge, 82 years old, could count the seconds from the moment his heart stopped.  When he opened the box, to find the shards of a broken mirror he was dumbfounded at the sight of it at first, until he cut his finger on one of its pieces as he held it up to see.

It all came flooding back – when the blood dripped down, sleeking the edge of the shard in deep crimson – the moment he raped and then murdered his pretty Fanny Fahrner over fifty years ago.  His heart stopped and there was no one to hear his death cry, no time to reach the phone.  He was dead in an instant.

The next morning, Maggie would find the old man missing from his bed. Instead, what lay in his place, was a fully formed, magnificent mirror, the most beautiful mirror Maggie had ever seen.  And no one would ever find his soul, screaming from within its pretty frame.

***

END

Thank you to everyone who has supported and commented throughout this story. I know it has taken a long time but I wouldn’t be able to do it without the encouragement from everyone.  Thank you!

The Red Scarf – Short Story (Part 5)

The Red Scarf [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]

By J. A. Weymouth

There was an eerie silence about the derelict mansion when Henry returned.  Its stillness unnerved him.  It was in the trees, the overgrown shrubs – throughout the quiet grounds.  A curious sense lingered over him as he stepped towards the fallen passageway.  It was like stepping into a graveyard.

Henry felt unsure and wondered whether he should visit the room – the one with the mirror and ghost he thought was imprisoned inside it.

After avoiding the familiar traps that littered the path before coming into the room, he entered and realised how quiet the room was inside, almost peaceful yet incredibly lonely.

When he saw her he didn’t think it frightening like he thought it would be.  Instead, it was sad seeing her.  It was just like waking from a dream – or remembering one.  He wasn’t sure.  Her image was still smudged, blurred as it had been in the photographs so that it seemed to him that she was neither in this world nor in the world of the mirror. She was in between.  Her being struggled with the idiosyncratic existence as the mirror had trapped her soul but she was meant to be free.  It appeared to Henry as he looked closer that her image softly vibrated, struggling with her entrapment.

Henry trailed his fingers against the soft surface of the mirror then rested his palm over the place where her hand had touched.  At this, it was as if Henry could feel the restlessness of her soul.  He had realised that it had only taken a moment for each of their souls to coincide with the unique rhythm of both worlds connecting as each one touched the other.  Then, a strange sensation overwhelmed him as if being pulled by an unknown force.

The feeling lasted only a second but Henry moved by a strange urge to turn and find the girl standing behind him.

She was watching him as he stood to see her with a curious expression decorating her face.  Henry thought her pretty with her auburn hair tied up in a neat bun, the red scarf placed gently around her neck though hiding a shameful secret, and saw in her deep, brown eyes that still looked at him cautiously but with the same sadness that he found in those pictures he had seen yesterday.

He was about to speak but she moved towards him, very suddenly, even though she was standing as far as the other side of the room.  She had only taken one step and already she was in front of him with her hand open towards him in front of his face.  The movement was graceful and with her hand nervously meeting his cheek she spoke.

‘I’m sorry,’ she said with a displaced, little voice, ‘but I have to show you.’

And she did, with her touch, her memories passed onto him of the night she had died.

It was unbearable.  It was as if he stood by her side during her traumatic encounter with the older, vile man that had been chasing her and, in the end, had finally caught her.  He could not move as he flowed with every quickened step she took to get away from the man.  Henry barely was able to glance around to absorb their surroundings: forties London, war posters, apathetic scattering looks, and deafening alarms.

Then it came to her rape. Seeing everything, breathing, smelling the sweat on his face as he lay on top of her, then the blood… the blood as he scratched at her throat with a piece of the shared mirror; the vile man’s last pleasure as he finished with her.  Henry had absorbed all her senses, all her feelings, becoming her and it was too much to bear and yet, as he felt like he was going to pass, everything went black.

He woke to her hand on his chest.  It seemed too cold as he woke, and yet he was in sweats and shaking all over with the feeling of shamefulness from not being able to help the girl.  This feeling overwhelmed Henry for a long moment even though he knew that she was already dead and it had all been a memory.  With a sigh, and as he grasped the girl’s open hand to help pull him to his feet, he stood to find the girl gone and standing in front of the mirror, in the derelict room alone.

Angry, he took the mirror from its hanging, finding a sharp, dislodged piece of wood protruded from the collapsed ceiling; he swung and with great force and empathy, smashed the mirror against it and it shattered into a million pieces.  Henry fell to his knees and cried.

As he composed himself, and feeling somewhat at peace, he noticed a small light shining in his eyes.  The light irritated him.  Henry found that a piece of the broken mirror shone a new, morning sun into his eyes and picked it up to stop it from reflecting it into his eyes.  Before he threw the piece away, he noticed a scarlet thread attached to its side.  He picked at the thread and as he brought it in for a closer look, it vanished into dust.  Its scarlet particles shone like red glitter in the sunlight.

A soft breeze carried like a whisper and Henry then knew that the girl had passed with a final thank you in the wind.

~~~

Final part to come soon ~