What is this poem about? The winner/s will receive the acknowledgement that there are no flies on them, and they are the winners of this one off not actual- competition... answers to @ntaylortdt on Twitter. Good luck!
Friday, 24 June 2016
“Good morning!” Rhianne called cheerily, and opened Ciana’s curtains. “Time to wake up.”
From beneath the covers and pillow Ciana murmured, “Go. Away!”
“Come on Cici, it's a beautiful day out there. RJ has already gone out to investigate. Why don't you go join him?”
Ciana sat up “What did you say?”
Rhianne laughed, and looked at her strangely, “RJ has gone out to investigate.”
Flashes of the nightmare started to ripple through Ciana’s mind. “I had the strangest dream, well it was a nightmare and you said nearly the same thing.”
“Well then, it's fate. Come on, I let you lay in but it's nearly 10.”
Dragging herself out of bed she said, “Yes. I'm up, I'm up.”
“Only a few more days until school starts, and you need to get into a routine now.”
“Yeah,” Ciana stretched out. “Wait what?”
“School starts on Tuesday, and it is Saturday.”
“What the...really? How come?”
Rhianne placed more boxes in her room. “We have been packing all summer, so it’s gone really fast. Anyway did you get I tough with everyone last night?
Ciana hadn’t realised how fast the time had gone. “No. There's no signal or Internet!”
“Ah. I must admit I didn’t notice any cell towers. Well, while we wait to get connected in the house, maybe you can see if the library in town has Internet?”
“Yeah maybe.” Ciana grimaced when she noticed the box that she had packed up had been moved back in. “Where's dad?
“He's gone into the factory to meet everyone. He should be home about 3. Just in time for dinner.”
Inside Ciana cringed. It was no secret her mum couldn't cook, yet still she tried and every night the three had to force feed themselves whatever had been made. And, they had to pretend to like it.
“I'm doing a sausage and cabbage casserole.”
“Oh,” Ciana smiled with a bleary eyed look. “That actually sounds really nice.”
“I know!” Rhianne grinned back. “I just have to pop into town to see if they have any sausages, otherwise it’ll be a surprise.”
Ciana gagged, “I hope they have sausages then!”
Five streets all leading off this main road, and all filled with the same style house. Still Ciana could see no other signs of life. There wasn’t even any sign of Creepy Malcolm after yesterday’s welcoming party. She moseyed on out of the estate and down the main road. Though it was classed as a main road, there was no traffic and nothing but flat fields lying either side of it. Ciana carried on walking until she came to what looked like some small cobblestone building. Slowly she walked into it, thinking that maybe it was the remains of something else. On the far wall there was a list, and on closer inspection she realised it was a bus timetable.
“A little posher than the plastic covered bus stops back,” she stopped herself, and took a breath, “in my old home.”
Ciana took a closer look at the bus times, but the closer she looked the less sense the chicken scratches, that were supposed to be the times, made. She stepped out, and looked the building over again. Now she knew what it was the old remains now looked like a pretty little hut. No weeds were growing around the frame and the brick building hadn’t been touched by a can of spray paint.
“Nice,” she muttered.
A car zoomed past. It travelled down the road so fast that it nearly took the corner on two wheels. Ciana thought if there were other people living in this place she may as well see who they are, as they seem to be the only neighbours. She hurried along the road and turned off, following where the car had gone. She stopped. She was on the main high-street of LittleBridge.
For a town centre it was pretty empty, but then, there were hundreds of empty homes so Ciana wasn't that surprised. She wondered along looking at the shops. There once was a butchers, the windows now smeared with dust and grime. At the end of the street was a waterfall and beyond that a large house that had long since fallen into disrepair.
Ciana peered through the dirt smeared window and could see most of the outside had begun growing inside, and around all the counters that still remained. Next was a bakery, a pharmacy and many more little shops. All of which had gone the same way. The shops had been closed a long time, in some cases years more than others. There was one frozen food shop that was still open, a post office which too was still in operation and then a funny little shop. The car Ciana had followed was parked outside, and a lady dressed in bright colours dashed from her car back into the shop. Her skirt was a bright purple, and over it she wore a long green waistcoat.
“This weird little town just got stranger,” Ciana whispered. She watched the lady running back and forth from her car, carrying things into the shop. She was quite happy hugging the wall and not being noticed yet. She didn’t want to become the new sideshow in town.
Ciana cringed, her cover had been blown and the oddly dressed lady heard Rhianne call. It wasn't hard, there was no one else around. With a smile at Ciana the lady locked her car and rushed into her shop. The little bell rang as the door closed.
“Cici?” Rhianne called again. Ciana turned and watched her mum run towards her across the road. “You have come out to look around! Met anyone?”
“No, mum, I've only just got here.” She followed her mum to their car which was parked the other side of the strange little shop. “I found a bus stop, but there seems to be no signs of the buses stopping here.”
“Well, they better,” Rhianne laughed. “That's where you'll be getting the bus to school.”
“Fingers crossed they won't stop then.”
In the window of the little shops were dark curtains, but many coloured trinkets and hanging things sat in view. The colours all turning and glistening in the window had really caught Ciana’s eye
“I got a real feast in for tonight.”
“Right,” Ciana wasn't really listening.
“I'm think of still doing the casserole but maybe something else in it. It’s so cute here, the lady who runs the grocery store also runs the Postoffice, she has a little door from one shop to the next.” Rhianne chuckled to herself, “Though I don’t think she’s too busy. But, you never know, maybe as more people move in I could get a job here?”
“Yup.” There was one thing in the window Ciana couldn’t stop looking at. It looked like a spider web in a circle with feathers and beads.
“Right, so I'll see you back at home?”
Ciana brought herself too, “Yeah sure, that sounds good. I'll see you back there.”
“Okay. Oh did you find your brother?”
“No. I'll look for him on the way home.”
“That’s fine, I think he went to check out the old ruins.”
“Yeah yeah, that’s fine.” Ciana had already drifted towards the shop. She opened the door and the little bell rang alerting everyone to her presence. She stepped in and over a white line that ran along the door frame where she was instantly confronted by a curtain of beads.
There was a smell in the air, it was a dusty smell. Ciana fought her way through the beads and found herself in a very dark little shop. Shelf upon shelf held more items that sparkled and glistened in the little bit of light that came in. She spotted more of the things she had seen in the window. She wondered towards them, browsing the shelves as she passed. Hanging on the wall was a purple web that had pink and purple feathers coming off it. She smiled as she looked at it, she had no idea why she smiled she just did.
She outstretched her hand to touch it when someone spoke.
“Pretty isn't it?”
Ciana snatched her arm back and smiled, “Yes. What is it?”
“It's a dream catcher.” The wildly dressed lady stood next to her and explained, “Some believe it catches all your dreams, and then only letting the good ones through.”
“I could do with that,” Ciana laughed. “Had a weird one last night.”
The lady smiled. “Are you visiting?”
“No,” Ciana couldn't hide the regret in her voice. “No, we've moved into Third Avenue.”
“Oh,” the lady shifted a little. “I hadn't realised they were moving people into those houses...just yet. Anyway, I'm Lucy and this is my shop.”
“It’s a very pretty shop, and filled with the most…strangest things. I'm Ciana.”
As soon as Ciana said her name Lucy seemed to choke a little. “That's a pretty name,” Lucy tried to cover her shock. “When did you move in?”
“Yesterday,” There was an awkwardness between them now.
“You haven't ventured out too much then?”
“Nope, here is the first place. I was actually looking for my brother. Knowing him he's probably down at those ruins we saw on the way in. Ciana grimaced, “I should probably go and get him...”
“No!” Lucy shouted. “Sorry, it's just that erm I doubt he'd be there. Lydia, the lady who lives there, doesn't like children playing around the ruins. They're dangerous. So I doubt he's there, well I hope he's not. She can be...aggressive.”
Lucy nodded. “I would stay away from there. You’re new and I don’t want you getting into trouble on your first day.”
“Okay...well I should get going,” Ciana started to back out of the store.
“Wait!” Lucy rushed to follow her. “Please take this,” She thrust a dream catcher into her hands.
“I can't,” Ciana chuckled and tried to hand it back. “I haven’t got any money.”
Lucy refused to take it back. “It's a gift from me. Think of it as a welcome to the town, plus after last night’s dream this should help.”
“Please, Ciana, come back I'm always here and always happy for a chat. There's not many people here so a friendly face is always nice to see.”
“Sure. Thanks again.” She backed out of the shop and hurried away.
Lucy stood by the door and shouted, “Hang it directly over your bed, over your head!”
Ciana turned slightly and waved with a little smile. Through gritted teeth she muttered, “Seriously I have to live here?”
She stopped next to the old butchers and looked at the dream catcher. It was pretty and much bigger than the others she'd looked at. This one had three little dream catchers hanging from the larger one. She went to head home when she heard something. She edged towards the side of the butchers and she could see someone standing in the alley. It sounded like a girl as she talked to someone else, but there was no one there just the shadows.
"I heard," the girl said and no one replied. She turned suddenly and stared at Ciana.
“Erm...Hi?” Ciana smiled.
The girl looked back at the shadow then stormed towards the street, barging into Ciana as she went.
“Sorry,” Ciana said. “I wasn't...”
“Just don't,” the girl hissed and carried on walking until she got to Lucy's shop where she went in.
The girl had dark black hair. It was shaved one side except for a bit by her ear that matched the remaining length. Her makeup was dark, thick black rings lined her eyes and her lips matched too. Even her clothing was dark and tight fitting.
“Wow,” Ciana sighed. “With people a friendly as this, no wonder the town is dead!”
It was still warm, and it wasn't much past lunchtime. With any hope as soon as she got home her dad would be there. If this house was as cheap as they said, then maybe they could send her home to stay with a friend. Who needed holidays?
The town was flat, and you could see far across the fields where there were no trees, but there were more trees in this town than houses and definitely more trees than people. If she turned right at the main road then she would head home, but left was the ruins. Where RJ would most likely be causing mischief.
Ciana turned left. All she knew was that there was a strong chance she would be confronted by some crazy old woman who wielded a frying pan or broom at kids. Either way, there was a strong possibility RJ would be antagonizing the poor thing.
The ruins were just about visible from the road, most of the hedges had grown tall enough to cover it, but there was one patch that was empty, showing off the old brick. Ciana peered through the gap and could see the cemetery and some of the building. In the distance was the little house she had been warned about.
“How are you supposed to get in?” She wondered. There was a large ditch either side of the hedge and there was no way she would be able to get through that way. She walked on a little further and found a large metal gate. The same kind that keeps animals in the field. The track beyond was really overgrown with brambles, stinging nettles and hedges that were wildly out of control. she couldn't see any forms of life.
“She really doesn’t want visitors, that’s pretty clear. RJ?,” She called quietly.
Lucy was adamant that she did not go in, and she wasn't going to. She just hovered around the old metal gates trying to see down the lane.
“RJ?” She growled again.
The wind whipped up around her, blowing dust down the lane towards her. She turned away so as not to get it in her eyes and saw an old man standing across the road. He was just staring at her, with his hands on his old-fashioned bike. Ciana didn’t want him to think she was going to break in, so she lifted her hand and waved slowly. The man waved back. Suddenly from down the lane came a scream. Ciana spun around.
“RJ?” She panicked and tried to push the gate open. It was caught on the thick branches of the hedges. She turned to ask the man for help, but he'd gone. “Argh! RJ you pain in the...” she throttled the gate back and forth trying to release it, but it wouldn't budge. She knew she had no choice and climbed over, the wind picking up even stronger. She landed both feet on the ground and slowly tried to fight her way through the undergrowth. Her jumper snagged on everything and she kept having to turn and pull it free. The lane turned around a bend and the hedges closed up, leaving very little sign of her being able to get through.
“RJ you little...” she ducked to avoid a wildly swinging stinging nettle. “Get out here now!”
There were no sounds echoing back, it was like the scream she had heard earlier hadn't even happened. She spun around, shouting his name. Panic was starting to set in.
The growth was so thick that she wasn't sure which way she was heading anymore. Her jumper snagged on something, and she pulled at it while she tried to work out which way she had come from, but everything looked the same. She turned to unhook it but she wasn't looking at the thorns of an overgrown weed, she was staring at the off white razor-like teeth that belonged to a huge dog. It had her jumper and was snarling wildly at her.
She couldn't scream, only a little yelp escaped her lips as she tried to pull herself free. The dog growled, and snarled. It was salivating. Ciana clumsily pulled at the knot around her waist, trying to free herself.
The dog shook its head with the jumper in its mouth, ripping it to shreds. She began to back up when she heard more rustling from in front of her. Two more large beasts joined in the hunt, and they were ready to kill her.
She should have listened. Lucy warned her it was dangerous to go down here. But what if RJ was down there? Was he lying hurt somewhere?
“RJ?” She screamed, but there was still no reply.
The dogs started to advance, closing in on her. They let the thorns and spikes brush their coats and faces without a flinch, but Ciana’s arms were getting caught and ripped to shreds.
“Nice dogs! She whispered with a shaky voice. She tried kicking sticks in an attempt to distract them but nothing worked. She still had no idea if she was going the right way.
She stumbled over a branch, falling backwards. The dream catcher fell beside her, but she was so scared she hadn't noticed. The dogs growled at each other as if they were talking, then one dog snapped at her foot. Ciana scooted backwards as fast as she could until she was completely snagged on the brambles.
Someone stepped out into the lane with her, he appeared from in the hedges and he stood with his back to Ciana, guarding her from the dogs.
“Close your eyes!” He ordered over his shoulder.
“What...why?” She screamed, still pulling her feet out of their reach.
“Just do it!”
The wind picked up again, so much dirt blew in her eyes that she had to close them tight, and turn her head away from the sudden gale.
There was a loud noise, and the wind rushed past her, the dogs were squealing and yelping, the boy made no noise. She couldn't tell if they were hurting him or if he was hurting them.
“What’s going on?” She tried to call out, but the noise was too loud. Then as suddenly as it started it stopped.
“What the hell are you doing down here?” Ben growled very uncaringly.
“I heard a scream! My brother, I came to check he wasn't playing in the ruins.” She wiped her eyes, and managed to open them to see the boy kneeling down in front of her. He looked angry. “I'm sorry,” she stuttered. “I didn't mean to come in, but I was worried about my brother.” She became affronted, “Anyway, there should be signs saying there are mental guard dogs on patrol!”
Ben snorted, and held out his hand to help her up. “Are you okay?”
Refusing to take his hand she picked herself up and looked over the cuts in her arms and clothes. “Yeah I'm fine.” She wiped herself down. “I really do need to check my brother is okay.”
“He's not here,” Ben said.
“How do you know?”
“Because I live here, and he didn't come down.”
“Hang on I was told an old lady lived here, and where did you come from?”
“That's my...aunt. I was working in the field when I heard you scream.”
Ciana couldn't stop staring at Ben’s blue eyes. They were such a bright and vivid blue. Then again the town was so dull anything colourful stood out. She suddenly realised they were walking and she was back by the gate.
“What did you do to the dogs?”
“I just scared them away that's all.” Ben started to pull the gate. It opened with ease. “Next time, don't trespass. It's dangerous around here and you might get hurt.” Ben had backed her out back onto the road, and was closing the gate.
“Yeah sure,” she replied confused. “Sorry. And, thanks for helping.”
Ben half smiled at her and waved her off.
“Ciana!” RJ called.
She turned to see RJ riding towards her. “Oh,” she looked back for Ben but he'd gone. “Where the heck have you been? I nearly got mauled to death looking for you!” She growled.
“Huh?” RJ was confused. “I found this in our garage along with a car! So I've been out riding all day.”
“A car?” She asked
RJ nodded. “Who were you talking to?”
“I, err, no one.” She glanced at the lane and there was no one there, no dogs and no boy that had just saved her.
“Found a new boyfriend?” he laughed.
“Hardly!” She snapped and hit his arm. “I thought I heard you in there. It was so weird, someone screamed and I went to help, but there were these massive dogs. They were trying to kill me!”
“Mum and dad won’t move back, no matter what you tell them.”
“Give over you plum, I’m not lying! Look at my arms.” Ciana walked at the side of RJ as he slowly cycled along. “Have you seen any other kids around?”
“No, but I have found some really cool stuff. Seriously, the stuff that comes with the house is amazing. It's like a dream come true!”
“Dreams!” She looked down and realised it had gone. The dream catcher she was given by Lucy must have fallen somewhere back there. No doubt those dogs would have eaten it out of spite.
Ciana nodded, “A gift someone gave me in town.”
“There are other people living here?” He snarled, “Oh man! I thought I’d be the king of this place!”
“I don’t think so,” She laughed.
Monday, 20 June 2016
The house was nice, with its clean walls and wooden floors, but to Ciana it wasn’t home. And more to the point, it was still filled with someone else’s belongings. Picture frames hung the walls, in them were just pictures of scenery with no one in the focal point. Ciana walked through the living room, noting how homely it felt but very empty at the same time.
“Ci,” Rhianne called from the kitchen. “Your room is the first on the left. Next to you is the spare room, that’s right we now have a spare room for visitors!” Her mum was so excited by that.
Ciana knew there was very little chance of anyone visiting. They had moved three hours away from her friends, from her school, from all the clothes shops a sixteen-year-old could want at her fingertips. Not to mention the cinema, fast-food shops and more she enjoyed with her friends every weekend. They had left that life to live here, a street where they were the only occupants. Even the Satnav had difficulty finding LittleBridge.
Rhianne walked through, carrying items to be placed in their new abode. “Your dad is unloading the van; can you start taking your stuff up to your room?”
“Sure,” she muttered.
“I know this is hard,” her mum leant against the wall. “And, I’m sorry we didn’t have much notice. You will miss your friends, but I promise this will all get easier. Once you start at the school, you’ll make new friends and this place will be perfect.”
“Sure,” Ciana muttered again. She was hurt, but there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. She picked up one of her boxes and climbed the wooden stair case.
“Ciana misses her boyfriend,” RJ laughed from the top step, turned around and ran his arms along his sides pretending he was kissing someone.
“Shut it!” Ciana warned.
“I’ll never forget you Greg,” he laughed again.
“I’m gonna kill you RJ!” On top of the box sat a mug that a friend had given her as a leaving gift. It said Friends Forever. Without thinking, Ciana grabbed the mug and threw it towards RJ’s head. It missed and smashed against the wall.
RJ laughed and ran into his room, slamming it shut so she couldn’t chase him.
She didn’t care now, she hadn’t meant to throw the gift, but she had. And now it sat in a million pieces across the floor.
“I’ll sweep it up!” Rhianne growled. Before Ciana could say anything she held her hands up, “I know, Okay, RJ is not making this any easier on you. He’s ten, and finding this as hard as you.”
“Funny way of showing it.”
“Just please try not to kill him, and please don’t break anything else. We’ve not even fully moved in yet and you’re both already trying to destroy this place.”
Her mum ushered her towards her room, and call RJ out. As Ciana closed her door, she could hear her mum telling RJ the same thing she had just told her.
The room was bigger than her old one. Against one wall was a bed, ready dressed, on the other wall was a wardrobe and a bookshelf, filled with books and other trinkets. There were more pictures in this room, each of scenery and no people.
She dropped the box on the bed, kicking up a dust storm in the process.
“Gross,” she coughed, and rushed to open the window and air the room out. Her bedroom faced out on to the street, and the house she was looking at before. The birds were still in the trees, as she looked out the window, they seemed to turn in her direction and caw louder.
The box that sat on her bed toppled over and out fell the pictures of her friends. The photo’s that had been taken on the last day of school sprawled across the floor. Ciana picked them up, and looked them over with a sadness. Although they had promised to stay in touch, and meet up regularly, she knew it was unlikely to happen. They were all moving onto college where they would meet new friends, and Ciana would become nothing but the girl they used to know. She could feel the tears welling up in her eyes.
“Cries don’t cry,” she whispered, and wiped them away. It wasn’t true, because Ciana had cried many times at night when no one could see or hear her. She hadn’t wanted to move, and had even been offered to live at a friend’s house. But the thought of leaving them was too much for Ciana, and even RJ who most of the time she would rather throttle, she would miss him too.
“Not too shabby, eh Grumps?” Ryan placed some boxes just inside the door.
Ciana forced a smile, trying to cover how she really felt. She placed some of the pictures against the frames, and sat on the bed.
“Well, what do you think?” Ryan asked, dusting himself down.
Ciana shrugged. Her dad had always called her Grumps, because she was apparently a grumpy baby wyo turned into an equally grumpy teenager.
“Hey, it’ll be alright,” he sat on the bed, and coughed through the dust. “Once the dust has settled,” he laughed.
Ciana smiled falsely.
“Yeah,” he stood. “A lick of paint and they’ll be great,”
“I want my room dad.”
“I know, I’m sorry. And, I’m sorry we didn’t get much time. But, Grumps, I couldn’t turn the job offer down. Plus, this house is great, and so cheap that we can afford to holiday for the next few years. One day you’ll understand why we’ve done this.”
“I know,” she sighed. “But this is all someone else’s stuff. Why is it still here?” Opening the wardrobe, she found clothes and shoes all neatly bagged as if they were new.
Ryan stood next to her, looking through the items. “I knew about the furniture, that was in with the house, but the clothes are a bit…excessive.”
“They’re for a 5 - year-old-girl.”
“Too small for you then,” he laughed. “I’ll tell you what. Unpack your stuff, and place all these bits in the boxes. I’m sure there’s a thrift shop in the town we can take them all to.”
“Don’t you find this whole place weird?” She glanced out the window, looking at the house opposite. “And, that guy Malcolm?”
“Yeah, he was a little over friendly,” Ryan smiled manically just like Malcolm had.
“Stop it,” she laughed.
“That’s better.” He clapped his hands together, “Right, let’s get this place sorted and then we’ll have takeaway tonight. Just hope your mother hasn’t unpacked the kitchen yet, we don’t want her cooking anything special on the first night!”
“I heard that!” Rhianne shouted.
Ryan grimaced and Ciana laughed. “Ok, Grumps?”
“Sure,” she smiled.
“Cool, come and help me get the rest of the boxes from the van.”
From the corner of the street Ben watched them unpacking. They seemed like a nice family. Friendly. He had heard the others talking about new people moving in, but he didn’t realise it would be this soon, and he didn’t know how many more there would be.
Ryan sat back, throwing his used napkin onto the table. “Well, that was a nice pizza.”
“Can I have another slice?” RJ asked.
Ciana hadn’t even eaten a whole slice, she’d just pushed it around the plate. “They don’t even deliver to here. Other people are scared of this place, Dad. What does that tell you?”
“It’ll do wonders for my figure, this way,” Rhianne smiled.
Ciana pushed her plate towards RJ and stood. “No, this town is such a weird place, that no one and I mean no one will come near it. Do you know where my laptop is?”
Rhianne took a moment to think, “It might be in your bag, that was in the car. Why?”
“Because I’m going to go and update my friends, and research this hell hole you’ve dragged me into.”
“Don’t…” Rhianne started to say.
Ryan stopped her, “Just let her go, she’ll be okay.”
Ciana grabbed her bag from the hallway and ran up to her room. Closing her door, she sat on her bed and emptied her bag out. The box of clothes and toys that once lined the room sat on the floor. Even with the lights on, the room gave her goosebumps. So, she stood, opened the door and simply slid the box out.
“That’s better,” she sighed, and switched her laptop on. As soon as it sprang to life, it looked for local WIFI but couldn’t find anything. She growled into the pillow which smelt of dust. Then, she spotted her phone and she realised she could use that to get on the internet. The phone was off; she hadn’t wanted to speak to people because leaving had been hard enough. Switching it on, she waited, entered her password and then stared at the bars of signal. There were none. “That’s okay, she told herself, it can take a minute.” She sat, with baited breath just waiting for a glimpse of something. Anything. “Nothing?” She shouted. “Can this place get any weirder?”
Curling around everything that had strewn her bed, she knew there was nothing else to do, but sleep.
Her mum was shouting, calling for her.
“What?” Ciana mumbled.
“RJ has gone out to investigate and its getting dark, can you go and get him in please?”
“Argh!” She growled, “I'm asleep.”
Ciana grunted and she sat up, wiping the sleep from her eyes. Her laptop was still open, the time showing she'd only been asleep for twenty minutes or so. The curtains hadn’t been drawn and it was dusky outside. She stomped down the stairs and out the front door.
“RJ?” she called, but the was no answer. “RJ!” She moved across the yard towards the street. The whole time looking for him. The crows squawked at her and fled the trees. She jumped, and watched as they circled above. "Seriously! I have jumped more times in this town than I have spoken! Shoo!” She threatened up to the sky.
The wind picked up, there was no sun anymore, just thick black clouds that caused a darkness. Ciana pulled her arms around her, trying to keep warm through the chill that appeared.
“Ryan-Junior, you come home right now!” She yelled.
It was eerie, there were no other people in the street, but she felt like a million pairs of eyes were watching her. The wind carried on, and she could hear whispers telling her to “leave” and “turn back.” The voice drifted right up to her ear making her batt them away.
As the wind blew it kicked up all the dust from the abandoned gardens, the dust travelled around her creating a fog. The further she walked the thicker it became.
“RJ, please, come on!” She called as she held her hands up to protect her face. Through the fog she could see a silhouette. Someone standing at the side of the road.
“RJ is that you?” She shouted. If she couldn't see, then he certainly wouldn't be able to. “Look there's some freaky storm coming, we have to get back. Mums going mad!” She ran towards him, tripping over the curb as she grew closer. She landed on her knees and scrambled to get up. The dust started to settle, and she could see it wasn't RJ but a man hanging from a hangman's noose.
Ciana screamed and scrambled backwards. The dust receded more and she could see the streets were lined with people, men, women and children all hanging from nooses. Their legs swung in the breeze and their dead eyes all stared ahead.
Ciana screamed again, and again trying to move away, but everywhere she turned there were more bodies. She sunk to the floor and placed her hands to her face, screaming into the night,
Ben smiled to himself. He couldn't help it. It was the only joy he got - interfering with their dreams. His hand sat on Ciana’s forehead as she slept. She lay on the bed tossing and turning, her breath leaving in gasps as the nightmare rampaged through her mind.
“Don't tease her, it won't make her go.”
“They can't be here, Anais. It's not safe.”
Anais put her hand on his. “We just deal with the fact that they are. And, more will come.”
He removed his hand from her head, a little smile sat on his face. Ciana stopped tossing and turning, settling into a more relaxed sleep. Ben turned to Anais, her fiery red hair and fiery red eyes glowing through the dark. “The shadows are growing.”
“I know.” She stood by him and looked at Ciana as she slept. “You like her, don't you?”
“No!” He said abruptly.
“She’s one of the first new people in this town for a while.”
“Nah,” he laughed. “Just someone new to mess around with.”
Anais grinned. “Never know, you might even attach.”
“No! I don't attach. The minute I do, then I'm in danger with the rest of them.” He ran his hands through his hair, “I just don't want to see anymore taken. Three earlier, and I watched them go. They were too quick.”
“I know,” Anais placed a hand on his shoulder. “Lydia told me.”
“I don't want to hear their screams anymore. If we stop the shadows taking, maybe we will all survive?”
“Maybe,” Anais said with little hope. “Just leave her be tonight, it's their first night here, don't you think they've had enough with all that moving?”
He nodded but wasn’t convinced. “One more warning won't hurt.” Ben leant in close, his face almost touching Ciana’s. "Leave this place, and never come back!" He whispered in her ear.
Ciana felt the breath on her skin and she awoke with a start. She could see someone standing in the shadows. She froze and stared at the silhouette, waiting for it to move.
"Oh crap..." Ben whispered and vanished with Anais.
It wasn't until Ciana’s eyes adjusted to the light she realised it was her clothes hanging on the cupboard door. She let out a sigh of relief and settled back down. Within seconds she was asleep again.
From the back seat of the car, Ciana just kept shaking her head. “Why here, again?”
Her mum, who was trying to concentrate on the road and the satnav, replied, “You know why! Your dad has a new position in his company, which meant moving. It just so happened the houses around here are going really cheaply, and we’re not far from the new factory.”
Ciana glanced out of the window, watching the houses go by. “I’m not surprised they’re so cheap,” she muttered. Each house that whizzed past looked abandoned. Some houses still had cars in the driveway, but the lawns were overgrown. It was weird.
“Please, just give it a chance,” her mum whispered.
“Oh cool!” RJ, Ciana’s little brother, called. “Look!”
“What?” Ciana sneered. There was nothing cool about this town, it was all weird.
RJ turned on the seat and stared out of the rear window, his arms pushing down the mountain of possessions that filled the boot. “There was an old building, with a load of the walls missing and there was a cemetery.”
Ciana rolled her eyes and shuddered, “Really cool.” She leant through to the front, “Please do not tell me that I left all my friends and our house to live here, where a cemetery is the town highlight!”
“Ciana,” Rhianne sighed with an aggressive undertone. “It’s a lovely town and a really nice house. We haven’t seen any of this place yet, just please give it a rest!”
Ciana sat back, arms crossed and sullen. She looked at her brother who was still facing out the back, he smiled and waved. She turned to see their dad, Ryan, driving the rent-a-van behind. She grimaced and faced front, popping her headphones in she turned the music on her phone up full whack.
Five minutes later the car pulled onto a drive of another derelict house, and Rhianne switched off the engine.
Ciana pulled out her headphones and stared out the window, bemused at the house that sat in front of her. She was angry that they moved, and she was angry that they did it all in hardly anytime at all. But, most of all she was angry because most of her stuff had been thrift-ed away like she had died rather and wasn't moving with them. “I still don’t see why we had to giveaway my bed!”
Rhianne had grown tired of trying the softly, softly approach. There was only so much attitude she could take and she'd been on the receiving end of Ciana's moods for weeks. “Because the house came fully furnished. They’re re-development houses, where they’re trying to build the town up. Something to do with people moving further into the cities meant those that lived here were slowly dying through old-age and no one new was moving into the area. We’re part of the redevelopment.”
“Right.” Ciana climbed out of the car.
“Welcome!” A voice shouted, cheerily.
Ciana jumped and nearly fell back into the car.
The creepy little man had appeared from nowhere and was now staring into the car with a wide-eyed expression, and an over-sized and ugly grin. His hair was a mix of browns and greys, all brushed heavily to one side.
“Welcome!” He said again, and continued to smile. Not once did he blink, nor did his lips meet over his huge teeth.
“Hi?” Rhianne called equally as cheery, as she shut her door.
“Good morning!” He clapped his hands almost doing a little jig on the spot. He looked at each of them. “I’m Malcolm, head of the LittleBridge committee. I’m here to welcome you, and show you around your new home.”
“I think you did that three times,” Ciana muttered under her breath.
Malcolm turned his head, his expression not changing, and watched as Ryan jumped out of the van. “What’s this, welcoming committee?” Ryan laughed to himself.
Rhianne smiled, and through gritted teeth said, “Yes.”
Ryan grimaced, “Oh.”
Ciana couldn’t stop staring at Malcolm and his perfect hair. It was almost like a lego hairpiece; it was so glossy. Even his skin was so smooth and shiny, it could have been plastic.
“Now you are all here, welcome!” He led Rhianne and Ryan towards the house. “This is all yours, and we hope you will be very happy.”
RJ ran off ahead to go and check out the house, while Ciana stayed on the driveway. She leant against the car and looked at the street they were now living in. “Third Avenue,” she muttered to herself. “Not even a proper street name, just a number. And it’s so quiet. Great!”
Each of the houses all looked the same, and there were at least twenty in this road. Each of them were all uninhabited, she could tell. The silence of the street was suddenly cut through by a group of crows flying overhead. They flew towards the house directly opposite her new home, and settled in the trees that sat behind. The trees were so big, they towered over the house and Ciana could see each bird staring down at her.
“Stupid birds!” She growled, “Better not wake me in the mornings!” She noticed one of the curtains move in the house. She took a few steps closer, stepping onto the road.
“So, what do you think?” Malcolm appeared by her side, making her jump again.
“S…Sorry?” She stuttered, trying to hide the fact that he majorly creeped her out.
“About the house?” He grinned, and tilted his head as he looked at her.
“Erm, it seems…nice.”
“Good,” his smile grew wider, which seemed impossible. “You’re going to love it around here. And, there are plenty of friends waiting for you at the school.”
“Yeah,” Ciana regarded him strangely, and backed towards the house.
Malcolm followed her. “So, you must be Ciana?"
"Yup," she grinned awkwardly.
“Ciana Crie?” His smile was still there, and she was trying to tell if he was mocking her.
“Yes,” she huffed. She had already endured years of teasing over her name, and she knew she would have to go through it all again at this new school. Years of people saying, “Have you seen Ciana Crie?” and before anyone could answer the response would be, “Well, do you wanna?”
“Did you have anything you want to ask?”
She wanted to know why he smiled like he was a maniac, but she couldn’t. “Who else lives in this street?”
“So no one lives in any of these houses?”
“No,” his smile didn’t falter.
“Oh, maybe it was that flock of birds that made the curtain move.”
Malcolm's eyes flicked towarrds the house, and he nodded, "I would have thought so."
“It’s a murder,” RJ said, he too appeared behind her.
“What?” Ciana gasped.
“A flock of crows, it’s called a murder.”
Malcolm bent down and ruffled RJ’s hair, “Aren’t you a smart fellow?”
RJ nodded and Ciana sneered, “Yeah, a regular Stephen Hawking.”
“Cici,” Rhianne called from inside.
Ciana hated her name and her nicknames given by all, but her grandfather had chosen her name twenty years ago. Her grandfather was a vicar in the town where they used to live, but he had died long before Ciana was born. There was never a reason given as to why she should have that name, it was just forced upon her. But, Cici made her feel like a handbag-dog. “What?”
“Help your brother get stuff out of the car please?”
She rolled her eyes and followed RJ to the car.
“I will be seeing you around,” Malcolm waved.
Ciana turned to wave goodbye but he was gone, vanished into thin air. “Weirdo!”
“Who?” RJ asked.
“Malcolm, he’s just weird.”
“Your weird,” he replied.
“Shut it, Freak!”
RJ ran towards the house shouting, “Mum, Ciana called…”
Pulling the things from the boot, Ciana couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being watched. She looked back to the house where the curtain had moved, just waiting to see a face or some kind of life. But there was nothing.
Sunday, 19 June 2016
The boys, no older than fifteen, had wondered too far. The thrill of walking through a graveyard was always too much for the younger ones of the town, but they never stayed within the confines of the cemetery wall. The garden was large, the house was small, and the old lady who inhabited the old vicarage never strayed outside to stop them. She stayed in her living room, surrounded by clutter that kept her safe. The children of Littlebridge knew this, and ran amok through her garden. Though there was nothing they could damage as Lydia no longer tended the grounds. No one did. The grass had long ago grown too tall, it was now tall streams of golden hay, and to walk through it would be impossible.
“What’s over there?” One of the boys called.
Far beyond the cemetery, and ruins of the old church, sat a forest. It was thick with growth and brush, making it almost night inside. The voices called in a whisper, only carried over in the gentle breeze that whipped around them. One of the boys heard the whispers, an enticing voice beckoning him to come and see.
“There’s something over there,” he shouted to his friends, and ran off.
His two remaining friends watched on as he ran ahead. The wind picked up, and bellowed towards them, they too heard the voices and ran to investigate. Standing at the edge of the woods, they stared off into the darkness just wondering what was in there.
Ben watched on from the sunlight strewn deck of the house. The boys were too close and he knew there was nothing he could do. They were not his to take care of.
The boys were nervous, the darkness held some eeriness that made their hair stand on end. They looked at each other, egging each other to go first. But, none would. The wind picked up again, the voices turned from gentle whispers to shrill screams. It was that time of day where the sun was moving around the trees causing the shadows cast to move. Ben watched the darkness glide around like the hands on a clock, each second the boys stood still the shadows moved closer and closer, until the silhouetted of the tall Oaks engulfed them one by one. Once they were out of the sunlight it didn’t take long for their silence to become screams of pain and horror.
All Ben could do was turn his back and try to block out the noise, though it didn’t last long, it never did. When he turned back the boys were gone. Every trace of them had disappeared just like their calls for help. They were gone now, and they would not be coming back, and still there was nothing anyone could do. Ben sat on the top step, watching the trees dance and sway in the wind. Tonight would be a dark night, and that was not a good thing.
Please, please bear in mind that this is a works in progress - and therefore there will be spelling errors, typos and name changes. But I hope you enjoy.
I can feel my skin being ripped from my body, my bones popping out of their sockets. The pain is excruciating, and I scream so loudly. I call for him. I call for my mum and dad. I call to anyone who can hear me, but mainly I call for him. Then I remember he said it was like drifting off into the dark, and there was a warmth that surrounded him. I feel it now, I feel the warmth and the silence. . I look around, their faces are wild and their teeth sharp. The evil that inhabits them is shooting through my body, but I still feel no pain. In the distance I see it, I see the light. I don't know if it's the passing over or if I will become a watcher, but the light, it's trying to push through. I want to reach for it but I can't move. There's nothing left of me anymore, and the light drifts away. The darkness and warmth hits me. The darkness of death consumes me and I can close my eyes.
Just wanted to keep you update on the release of Play the Ace. It was supposed to be released at the end of May, but now entering the third week of June and i'm still working on the release. This is because I don't want to rush it. There are things I need to change around, but otherwise it is good to go! So fingers crossed, it will be released forthwith.
Just wanted to keep you update on the release of Play the Ace. It was supposed to be released at the end of May, but now entering the third week of June and i'm still working on the release. This is because I don't want to rush it. There are things I need to change around, but otherwise it is good to go! So fingers crossed, it will be released forthwith.