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 ~

Whole Words – Poetry

Whole Words

By J. A. Weymouth

There is a lonely man who ponders still

That crazy hoax that is beyond, near all

Of contemplation and sour thrill

The experience of many: the advanced scrawl.

 

The energy draws back in uneasy steps

Trailing inwards and coiling your insides

Quickening with horrid, trepid missteps

The look received fools and divides.

 

It is the poet who sees those naked eyes

Wandering over many matching reflections

Their quiet tastes of the idea standing by

Of all that fails those contemplative questions.

 

Who is the poet? Is that the man or the deer?

That doe-eyed look of words that do come forth

Sprung up beneath or beyond that higher seer

Come from unwavering lengths of tender thought.

 

It is like this equivalence, this treasured creativity

That is beyond all of me and my soul

These words are not mine, simply pure proclivity

From an un-tranquil mind in need to become whole.

The Red Scarf – Short Story (Part 4)

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

By J. A. Weymouth

The next day, Henry took the newly developed photos and began studying each subject to choose those that stood out and toss out some that he was unsatisfied with.  Those that he would decide to put up as part of his exhibition he started preparing them for larger sizes and the frames that he would later fit them in.

While Henry had placed his prized photos under the enlarger he noticed something odd about one of the photos that he had taken from his first photo shoot.  What he had noticed could not be possible.  At first he thought it was the speck of dirt or spot of light he tried to ignore while he had been trying to take the photo.  What appeared to be a disturbance of the lens was in fact a blur or a motion construed by something in the picture.  As he stared at the image, he slowly began to understand the shape – a blur of movement, like someone turning away.  Faint and distant.  It seemed to Henry like an outline of something small but distinct but almost as if it were a shroud of light broken by shadow.

As Henry stared closer, he began to think of it as something like a figure with the soft outline of someone’s head, crouched over in the very far corner of the room, as if in a strange way, that it was hiding itself from the mirror.

Adjusting the enlarger, and focusing the lens more, he then removed the photo and cleaned it for a better look.  It was distracting him.  But it was no good.  The motion was still there and as he looked at it closer, he realised the shape that formed in the picture had now moved.  The faint outline of a feminine figure became the centre of the photo.  She had raised her head as if something had caught her attention.  The movement was a blur but the gesture had never been so clear.

Henry was positive that he had been the only one present in the room at the time so it was impossible that someone else had been there at the same time as him.  He was sure since the door was the only entrance to the room, or at least, he thought he was sure.

Henry took the next photo and placed it in the enlarger.  It was another photo of the mirror.  Again he sees the disturbance in the picture.  He was sure it was a girl because now, unlike before, he could see the girl’s face.  It frightened him, the way the girl’s face seemed to move in his mind, but obviously it wasn’t possible.  Her figure in the picture seemed somewhat blurred still even though he could clearly see her as if someone had dragged their figure over her image, smudging the outline of her.

Something unnerving and cool coiled around his stomach as an idea throbbed inside his mind, itching to be thought. Soft drops of sweat beaded his forehead as Henry glanced over the photo again.  It couldn’t be.  He was certain that he had been the only one in the room at the time.  Not only that but he was sure the girl had moved, which was impossible.

The photo shook.  No, not the photo but his hands.  The idea that something that was not supposed to be there, in the picture, had moved physically, changing from one frame to another.  The impossible became more absurd with every new photo as he watched and trembled all over with each picture he picked up and put it through the lens.  Henry felt like screaming.  She was standing still, slightly turned but now facing him.

Each photo depicted her movement as she appeared closer to him.  Henry took the photos away as the image of her was large enough for him to see without the lens.  He saw her and realised, beginning to understand the unreal.  Hands still shacking, he looked at her closely and watched (still half denying and half accepting) her move before his eyes.  She appeared to struggle with her movement.  The outline of her stilled then blurred and stilled again in quick vibrating motions which gave Henry the impression of a hummingbird’s wings fluttering so quickly that it had stilled itself into a slow motion of beauty.  It was beautiful but frightening.  Her elegant neck twisted against the red of the slash in her throat – her eyes deep with despair.

The idea lashed out at him as he realised what this was.  He bit his lip as he thought the word.  Ghost.

Fear subsided as he held her picture and realised something.  The picture was empty.  He had blinked only for a second.

***

Henry had awoken the next day to red with the memory of the girl and her bloodied neck.  She had haunted him in his dreams that night but was not completely certain if the whole ordeal had been real, not unlike his nightmare.

Flicking through the photographs with a desperate need to confirm this ghost Henry tried to find his proof but found only pictures of a derelict room.  The pictures that had once been the photographs of the mirror were now blank.  All he had left was the reminiscence of a mirror in empty pictures.  There were no signs of the girl.

Starting to doubt himself, Henry went to the bathroom and washed his face.  The ice cold water jolted his senses but did little to remove the unnerving feel he had since the night before.  He was sure it was real, as any shocking truth could be.  He would have liked to deny it but the flashes of the girl’s disfigured neck had seemed as an all too real thing – and the insurmountable sadness that he felt from her.

He decided there was only one way to confirm it by going back to the mansion and seeing it with his own eyes.

~~~

Guilt – Poetry

Guilt

By J.A Weymouth

 

Day is like opening,

seeping a while not there

deep, thorough and momentless

it carries – stops/taken – the word is ever.

 

An unavoidable grasp sends

a wave to a shiver

as the memory curls

the motion blurs

a stain fixes itself

onto a translucent permanence.

 

It doesn’t care of the action.

& all of memory is divided and focused.

 

Parallel thoughts hinder it

& overwhelms.

 

The fist clenches as the eyes begin to stare.

 

That unknown triviality – frail like

but weighs against the mind and it

bemoans/shifts

 

Calming into a comatose state of denying

 

Let go.

The Apocalypse and why you need to listen to your dreams.

Now you really need to listen – to your dreams that is. When you wake up in the middle of the night and turn the light on because the Zombies are chasing you, or all your teeth fell out, or you walked in front of classroom to give your very important, life-changing speech and you looked down and realised you were naked so the whole class erupted in laughter…you can’t sleep so, these fucked up dreams are trying to tell you that something seriously is going on with your life.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that dreams can be interpreted as messages that reflect the troubles currently occurring in your life.  And you all know this, I know that, you know that, so why am I writing a blog about the obvious? Because dreams REALLY need to be listened to and so I’ve come to understand my dreams and how they impact on my life so now I’ll be blogging about them to try and get a clearer picture about myself and why it’s all affecting me at night, or in the wee hours of the morning, as I toss and turn pondering my turmoil.

And maybe you’re just dreaming about something so bizarre that it doesn’t make any sense (like a unicorn jumping out of a pine tree, galloping into a black hole, materialising into a grape and eating it, but then it’s delicious but it was a UNICORN but it… it’s a tasty fruit) then there’s probably so much going on that you CAN’T simply interpret the whole thing without trying to understand one thing at a time. Okay so, let’s not talk about that one just yet… or at all.

If you’re not listening to that little voice, the one that’s telling you all about how to deal with your problems but you’re trying very hard to ignore them and avoiding the responsibility of facing your fears as a result of you not wanting to confront them, then it is going to come back and bite you in the ass.  Your subconscious wants your attention and the best way it’s going to do that is by giving you some very weird dreams or simply – some fucked up nightmares!

The dreams I used to have when I was a kid really makes me think about what’s happening now.  When I was younger (maybe five or six?) I had some reoccurring dreams of my family falling into a volcano, dying and leaving me to fend for myself.  I would wake up crying and cry to my mother because of the emotions that the dream left me feeling affected me so powerfully that they convinced me that I was in a state of loss, loneliness and despair.  They felt so real but when I realised, while in my mother’s arms, that it was all a dream and everything was going to be alright – it was alright and I was going to be fine but then, the next night, I would have the same dream again…

These dreams impacted me so much that I would become an insomniac later in life, during my teens. I never faced my fears, my fear of loss, and soon these night terrors would evolve into something more terrifying for years that I would lie awake at night, unable to sleep.  I couldn’t face the idea of losing my family. I was so attached onto my comfort zone – just like a barnacle – that when I grew a little older and moved out, trying to detach myself from that part of my life, I couldn’t cope though and had a major breakdown.  This change in my life, in myself, manifested and my dreams became a reality. I didn’t lose my family, they were always there for me but I had changed myself so much that in one way or another, I lost something.  I had fallen into the volcano and had abandoned myself.

It was a good thing though, this breakdown I had. I learned to appreciate everything so much more. The people in my life, my family, the true friends I had, and I built a bridge and got over myself.  I learned to deal with my problems… I had to, otherwise I wouldn’t cope and maybe – I wouldn’t be here today. I became more assertive, confident and a little bit more wise.

Those events that happened still haunt me, the memories, but I feel no guilt because I did nothing bad, I just went about it the wrong way.  Instead, I learned to face the reality and maybe I could have avoided that breakdown if I really understood myself. That’s hard though, but one thing I do know, you can really begin to understand who you are by trying to interpret your dreams and listen to your subconscious.

Now, I dream about the apocalypse.  I know that’s my mind trying to tell me that things in my life at the moment are running very smoothly, that I have a good life and I’m trying to move on from my past.  These dreams I’ve been having are simply saying that I’m afraid of my world crumbling down around me because it’s all going so well… yes it’s true, I’m happy. I haven’t met the love of my life, nor am I in the ideal dream job, but I’m still young… and maybe I’ve just got to listen to that little voice that’s telling me to explore this world a bit more and accept that things will go wrong, the mistakes I will (undoubtably) make because really… that’s just a learning curve.

Well, I hope you get something from this.  If not, then sorry for rambling so much. But remember, listen to your dreams because they are trying to tell you something, by trying to help understand who you are.