Short Story

How did we meet?

After reading an inspiring post, (a distraction) from my own obsessive scribbling, I paused, and found myself thinking about the time I met my partner of 23 years. It moved surprisingly quickly, from just an account, into something much more. In fact what I was about to write became quite life changing for me. I was like a woman possessed. I needed the right words. I wanted to get it right because this wasn’t fiction. I examined the evening in such fine detail and went through a whole gamete of emotions. Getting in touch with your younger self can be immensely cathartic. It isn’t finished there is so much more to write but last night I shared my writing with my lover and we filled in all the blanks. So thank you blog land, for inspiring me to write. It appears though older now, were not dead below the waist….. I would like to share the intro with you if I may….

People have asked many times, how we met and was it love at first sight? I exchange a glance, with my partner and we smile, a tickle stirs in my stomach. Time has not denied the vivid, headiness of that memory. The feelings, now tempered with wisdom, can be brought easily back to the surface. Though there’s no mistaking that look, which captured me, is still in her eyes. It Ignited a Sapphic spark to flame and still burns brightly now.

Inquirers are always so impressed at how we seem together and share the joy of our relationship, as though vetting us for some imagined trophy, in the lesbian hall of fame.

We give them our stock responses and tell them it was love, there are no words to convey the truth of what we shared that night. So if you’d really like to know, how it was we met, read on my friend, I may teach you something yet.

If poetry belongs to lovers I was illiterate before this night. I found a whole new world that I could read and write. I’d spent many years alone or going through the motions. I’d had several encounters but no giving of myself… and so I floated happily, sharing unconnected love. Until the night that my love walked in my life.

A smoke-filled busy pub, three days after Christmas, was the scene. I sat consoling a friend about her relationship that was never going to be.

A clearing in the crowd opened up a perfect view of you entering the pub and announcing your arrival in my life.

……….

Something powerful was happening to my body, drawn to your shape demanding your details. Transfixed and hypnotised I watched you. I hadn’t seen your face but something special was waiting.

You turned and as if knowing my eyes were on you and feeling the same thing. Our eyes connected and that my dear was that. The calmest hurricane ever known rattled through my veins. A hidden tsunami of emotions tumbled around inside. I’d seen that look in your eye before, but not this face, and not in this lifetime.

I turned to my friend and blurted out that I would end up living with the woman who had just walked through the door. My friend laughed in disbelief, thinking me dead below the neck.

But I knew better, I saw images, of future homes. Where you would be coming through other doors.

I couldn’t blink, I needed to ingest every detail of your perfect beauty. Though no words had been spoken we knew. We both knew in that moment that there was no going back. A door had been opened and there was now a connected energy between us made of solid gold. We mirrored each other’s movements and smiled when each other smiled. We’d never met but I already knew you so well. We could hold the gaze of intimacy reserved for special lovers.

A mutual acquaintance brought our company together, and now we knew our names. I was giddy on your aura as it wrapped around my own. The closer I got the faster my heart beat. We were alone inside this room. All else was shut out as I examined you in-depth. I could feel your skin before I touched your hand.

We neither should have been there that night, it was a quirk of fate. Predestined long ago and events had made it so. A minor accident had prevented my journey that day and an impassioned plea from a friend had guided you there but now we knew the reason. Everything would work out fine.

We played a game of tag as I ran from pub to pub, knowing that you’d follow and end up in my bed.

My home was not my own however, it was filled with other nurses, and on this night an impromptu party happened.

We’d lost contact as I’d played my game of hide and seek, I wondered if I’d got it wrong, but then in my doorway there you stood, a smile came over me.

You had competition that night, not from one but two and it ended up a waiting game as each gave up on me.

You asked me where the toilet was, my cue to take you there. A private moment we could share. As the door we locked behind.

Our images reflected in the mirror on the wall added to the feeling that there were more than us in the room. Love and fate joined hand in hand and added to our union

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Bleep

I hate that bleep sound. Why won’t they just come and turn it off? …BLEEP. My rising irritation is fighting with my deep desire to sleep and my anger is winning…BLEEP. With the last of my energy I turn to face the machine that is now the focus of my hatred… BLEEP. I see the saline and the antibiotics have run their course and although I know how to reset the machine, my energy is spent. …BLEEP. So I just lie and hate the instrument of torture before me…BLEEP.

My pain is back, this is a seven, and I know they’ll ask…BLEEP. Oh no! This feels odd, a pop and then eight, nine… BLEEP.

My buzzer lies just a foot away but may as well be miles, so I lie and hate that as well…BLEEP. I know they’re busy and they don’t realise how life threatening this is, I think, as my pain envelops me… BLEEP. I wonder, is my pain new or has the morphine worn off? I didn’t know nor really care I just want it away…BLEEP.

I find myself uncomfortable, awash with wet, cold, sweat…BLEEP. My body starts to shiver, oh man! That’s all I need…BLEEP.

The kind nurse appears, although no glasses, drugged and dying it’s hard to make her out… BLEEP. I recognise her aura, it’s strong with bright white light… BLEEP. She’s different to the others, she cares about what she does…BLEEP.

She resets the machine and there’s no bleep, and pushes the buzzer to my hand.

“You should have buzzed us dear”, she takes my temperature and runs away.

“I’m cold, in pain and don’t feel right” I whisper, but no one there to hear. My violent shaking made me hope she’s gone to get a blanket.

Sweat was running down my eyebrows and pooling uncomfortably in my eyes, I can’t raise my hand to clear them, another irritation. I blink and blink but even that is too much effort and so I close them…BLEEP. That bloody noise is back.

There is a lot of noise around me and as I force my eyes to open all I see are auras. White, yellow, turquoise, green and blue, majestic in their lustre…BLEEP. I want a blanket and she got me a fan… why is she so cruel. It is blasting right in my face… I hate my new endurance test. My pain has reached a pinnacle, my whole body alive with it…BLEEP. Before the morphine could reach my veins, my pain disappears. I transcend pain and leave my body, but my thoughts and sense remain. I connect to the energies, I now no longer care, all I feel is peace and see the love from the auras.

This is a rush, I am so aware of everything. I am connecting and merging with so many energies. A knowledge comes over me. I understand so much now that I couldn’t know before. Life is so simple and pure. My soul feels energised. How could I possibly ever have forgotten how this feels? I am happy to follow this energy trail, it is where I want to be. I want to connect with other brighter energies, I need to evolve…

I see a young pretty doctor, dressed in green scrubs. She has amazing eyes, big and full of compassion. She is talking to me but I can’t hear her words.

“It’s ok, you’re going to feel groggy, and you’ve had another big op… your bowel had perforated and you had sepsis again… I think we lost you, but your time here must not be done.”

I watch her walk away, the machine next to me starts to bleep, but it doesn’t bother me. My life will be different from now on. I need a pen and paper, I need to write.

1944

1944

After the cruel coastal carnage, the thousands of deaths and the blood soaked sea ran clear, an uneasy calm descended. It was the job of a few brave ambulance drivers to collect and identify body parts and deliver their dog tags back home. Amongst this committed but largely overlooked body of relentlessly hardworking people there were two females.

They had joined up from very different places in England, expecting to serve where they were needed but even they were shocked they’d ended up in Normandy.

“Caps”, a nickname given, for the Capstan full strength cigarettes she chain smoked, came from Newcastle, a miner’s daughter, incredibly strong and even in the day before equality was more than a match for any man, no matter what his rank.

“Tonic”, really should’ve been called ‘no tonic’ for the times she said it, ordering gin. Her lovely nature and able administrations with the dying also suited this this apt nickname.

Dark skies and dark moods, these women strange to each other discovered deep friendship in their shared experience of the cesspit of foulness they found themselves in. Even the bravest fell in tears or never got up again. At quiet moments comfort was found, men would reach out to other men in the desperate fear of dying alone, bodies acting in strange ways under such duress.

Caps had often found herself attracted to women and had a new focus for her attention. This was an unknown pleasure for Tonic, strangely drawn to Caps and captivated by her pretty androgyny and strength.

They found a private place, high along the cliffs that had witnessed such slaughter. They would place two fallen boots upon the tired fence. The boots could be seen in moonlight announcing that the other would be waiting.

This illicit tryst was thrilling amongst the devastation, within the hard and cruel landscape a surprising softness waited.

Tonic had only known the awkward harshness of her boyfriend, self-absorbed and greedy, who paid little attention to her needs.

From the very first moment, surprised at the softness of her comrade’s lips, gently responding, she belonged to Caps. It felt so natural and a Sapphic joy pulsed through her veins. The awareness of her growing love came unexpectedly, on discovering herself humming whilst carrying a dismembered leg.

Orders came, and the two were parted, on different ships with destinations unknown. All they knew of each other were their nicknames. They knew so much more but that knowledge wouldn’t help them find each other.

They asked around but nicknames changed and there was no social media in those days. They got on with their lives, their secret became a lifetime of thinking “what if?”

1995

Dorothy Bentley looked out over the same cliffs that had been an important place for her once. Attending Normandy for the Memorial, she’d wandered up the path. Despite the horrific things she’d seen, she had some very pleasant memories. A thought, a look, she was the only one around. She’d amuse herself and relive a little fantasy she had. She slipped her red shoes off her feet and placed them on the fence. Sitting back down she saw different footwear and the old feelings washed over her. She remembered the laughter, the touch of someone so beautiful her heart ached still now. She was lost in her thoughts, picturing uniforms spread out on the ground.

“Caps” a voice shouted.

Dorothy squinted to focus. An elderly lady, well dressed with a stick was shouting a name she hadn’t heard for years.

“Tonic” It couldn’t be, it couldn’t possibly be. It was! The two women ran to each other as fast as their aging bodies would allow. In their minds, however, they were in their twenties once again and joined together in a long awaited embrace. Fitting together perfectly, they held each other, never to let go again.

2005

“This is definitely the place Auntie Dot wanted us to sprinkle her ashes. It’s hard to tell from the photo but she left very specific instructions and wanted her shoes just placed right…I think Auntie Toni will be pleased… Make sure it’s on record. We’ll take it to the home and show her when we get back. Though God knows what the story was? …We’ll never know now. Alzheimer’s is so cruel…

Tonic was sat in her chair, rocking gently, oblivious to her surroundings or what was being played on the video. Her mind was in (another place another time). In her mind it was 1944 and she’s just noticed the boots on the fence.

500 word challenge

500 word challenge

Inside its current form, a child’s stuffed toy, the vile, malevolent darkness waited…

It had watched as the putrid flesh from the rotting carcasses had decomposed, revealing twisted skeletons, lying just as they had fallen.

The smashed bones, could allow the replaying of the final scene, so satisfying and sweet.

It would wait… it was all it could do. Its energy slowly depleting…needing… aching… craving new fresh blood.

Next time it would make the deaths and suffering last much longer. It imagined new and exquisite executions. It had learnt that killing quickly offered less in terms of satisfaction. It had time to think and plan and would curb its future maniacal instinct.

There would come a time when it could attach to organic forms and transitions would be rapid. As each new night began its hatred grew.

Splatting flies into walls and watching their bodies explode into puffs of blood became its main amusement. Honing its skills and creating macabre mosaics on the crumbling plaster became its purpose… for now.

It remembered its own death and how its own anger had spoilt that transition. If only it had known its soul was so dark and foul it would be allowed only one. It was proud that its soul was so unworthy and heavy it would never own a form again… merely use them. It waited for that night to come.

The ritual of killing was like a three course meal. The fear of the shocked mortal a delicious aperitif. The energy it stole a taster for so much more. The decision to kill or prolong and how, the main, a mouth-watering menu of delights. Its last killing, replayed so many times became an erotic fantasy. A simple swift heart removal smashing through the ribs. The beating heart still pumping not knowing it was dead… and then the dessert. The sweet taste of a human soul, always hidden through flesh and blood. It took a moment to reveal itself and then the delicious ecstasy of the milky, pure soul. Eventually it would be quick enough to capture it all. For now a scrape would have to do. It was an insanely addictive drive that compelled the bile festering malevolence to demand souls.

But for now it would wait…

A car door and noises downstairs excites the demonic rage. Suppressing laughter. It needed to be silent not to fear the coming souls.

Anticipating the sight of faces shocked by death, almost too much to bear.

The door was sticking, the vile beast’s laugh broke out.

“What was that? Did you hear that? There’s someone in there?

A young male soul with an aura of pure love came into the room. Stunned, shocked, bent over and vomiting, he dropped his camera to the floor.

That was all the energy the vileness needed.

From inside the camera it saw the toy where it had spent so many years. Stronger now and thoroughly entertained. The waiting was over…

Somnambulance

“Fear not little one, for I shall keep you safe until you can do it for yourself” the now familiar stranger, whispered gently. His strong arms lifted sleeping Joy from her bed and shielded her as he carried her through the doorway to descend the stairs.

The darkness within the darkness stuck to Joy like cobwebs but had no power now. Their fragility was no match for the aura of the rescuer and delicately dissipated into a soft blur, leaving a trail of tendrils retreating back into the bedroom they claimed as theirs.

In her sleep Joy could smell safety. It was a warm aroma, like a Summer’s day after the sun had baked the grass for several hours. Her dreams always illustrated the arrival of her nightly visitor with the same perfume. Beside the grass was a gentle stream determined to reach its destination against the odds.

The stench in her bedroom was different. At age seven Joy had only sensed that smell at a certain hour through the night, whilst she slept. Although she had never encountered death, her soul recognised the redolence of damp, rotting mould and decomposing bodies that would surround and attempt to suffocate her.

It would start every few nights, with the ting, pinking of the windows icing up and crackling and then the tap, tapping. The noise of the latch being forced slowly open by strong invisible hands announced the hour of three o’clock. Then silence as the once nailed shut window would allow the icy breath of the darkness into the room. The watchful blackness within the darkness would hold vigil waiting patiently until its dark matter gathered enough strength.

It was very interested in Joy. She possessed a pure soul and if it waited too long she would be too strong to snare. All souls are born pure but normally the purity of that soul is lost by about the age of five and retreats deep into the subconscious soaking up only superficial human experience. Their souls didn’t interest the darkness. Joy was special, she retained the ability to see aura’s and see what others didn’t. She didn’t have the same fears found in young children. She had no fear of what was under her bed or what might lurk in the closet. The openness of her soul invited trouble though, for as she lay under the bed to allay her cousin’s fear, the dark matter had noticed her bright energy and wanted her. She stood out like a neon sign in a black and white photograph. The frightened, angry, children were easy to get and attach to but Joy required a special effort. Much dark energy must group together to claim her soul.

The good enlightened souls could see her energy too and she had been assigned a very special guardian to oversee her care. This little one was special.

Her gentle guardian was ever watchful and intervened when the dark matter started to get too strong. He took his mission very seriously. On nights like this when the darkness was black inside he must carry her away. It would take the darkness a long time to recharge after trying so hard. Soon Joy would be safe and be able to keep herself from harm but she would learn this on her own, in time.

He opened the living room door and smoothly delivered Joy to the comfort of the settee. The darkness hadn’t the strength to reach her here.

He knelt beside her and whispered “your strength will guide you but be vigilant. The darkness can attach to things as well as people”

The light of the two auras gave the room a warm loving glow which stayed to protect when Joy was left alone.

“Morning sleepyhead. Been sleepwalking again?”

“No! That nice man came again” Joy arched out to hug her mother who was on her haunches, her concerned face within kissing distance.

Faith wrapped her daughter tightly, Joy’s face nestled into her neck, fitting into each other perfectly. “We’ll have to do something about that window of yours. I don’t think your dad can nail it shut anymore” although her words were lightly spoken she carried an unsettled feeling as if something was going on that she didn’t quite understand.

“Don’t worry mam! Everything will be alright” getting up and finding the kitchen was warm as the oven had been on a while. Her pressed uniform carefully folded over the back of the chair hogging most of the heat.

Sitting next to the cornflakes, waiting for their milk was a little yellow ornament in the shape of a face.

“Oh!” fell out of Joy’s mouth when she saw it for she knew it had been smashed when it fell off her window sill a few days earlier and here it was in its perfect form.

“Yes I found it at the top of the stairs, I nearly tripped over it. It’s a creepy little thing isn’t!”

Joy knew exactly what it was and her mum was quite right.

Josh Delaney

In a single moment, the bad tempered rain clouds made peace and the sunlight wearing ballet shoes tip toed delicately over the faces of the suddenly silent new-borns at St. Cyprian’s maternity ward.

All was very calm and quiet and the air had a smell that something very important was taking place. It started with a small giggle. The red eyed midwives tending to Mrs Faith Delaney, were still carrying the burden of two stillborns earlier, felt a wave of healing energy and recorded the birth of Josh Delaney 6lbs 6oz at 06.06 am on the 6th day of June.

The giggle grew and became a belly laugh that spread from room to room, ward to ward and soon infected the whole hospital. The most uncontrollable belly laugh in the history of laughter.

The doctors were baffled! There had never been a child recorded as being born laughing, it simply wasn’t possible! Babies are born with an instinct to cry not to laugh. Laughter comes much later.

As they cleaned this delicious laughing baby they noticed amongst his mop of black hair a striking mass of white. The child had been born with grey hair. Josh winked at the midwife and giggled when she drew attention to it. His deep dark brown smiling eyes screamed a knowledge, a wisdom and an enthusiastic interest in all around him.

Faith had every reason to be proud for she had a most unusual son in so many ways. He had come late to her as she was 42 and already had a daughter Joy, who was grown and making her way in the world. Josh had been the last and loveliest thing her beautiful husband Alex had done for her. Sadly her husband had died suddenly of a sub arachnoid haemorrhage at the moment of conception. His last moment, an expression of pure love had created Josh. She knew at that moment when they took her husband away that she wasn’t alone, as she sobbed into her hands.

She didn’t grieve as people seemed to imagine as she had this little soul inside her to keep her company. Outwardly her appearance changed drastically as overnight her black hair turned white but her inner feelings could not explain why this happened. It was as if from the womb Josh was saying all the right things, speaking soul to soul and instilling her with a wisdom that was not her own.

As josh got older, the only noises he made were cheerful sounds. If you gave him something he didn’t like he would laugh so hard it would take two nappies to stop the laughing…. And that of course he found hilarious. He delighted in his bodily functions, changing nappies had never been such fun.

She didn’t know where she ended and he began, the bond and symbiotic love was so powerful and so pure. At night he slept next to her and brushed his little fingers through her hair gently as she became wrapped in sleep. So gentle and so caring was his manner.

One June morning when even the sun was happy Faith was tending to the lawn Josh came to her and took instinctively her by the hand. He led her to the area where the wild flowers grew, pointing out a nest of new born hedge sparrows on the way. He smiled and studied her and lifted up a leaf to show a struggling butterfly fighting the last of its cocoon. They watched mesmerised standing vigil over the butterfly, silent and vulnerable, waiting for its wings to dry and to be strong enough to fly. It was as if Josh was using this as a metaphor that it was time for him to fly.

From then on four year old Josh, slept in his own bed.

When he was at school, although he never spoke, it didn’t stop him excelling in his work. He was loved instantly by everyone who came in contact with him. He carried a huge calming aura that extended well beyond his own personal space. On entering a classroom the other kids would immediately settle and focus on their work.

On paper though, because of his silence and that he would often seem to be in a world of his own, he was given a diagnosis of Autism. Faith and his teachers knew this was wrong as Josh was a powerful communicator. Faith asked him why he wouldn’t speak and implored him to start for she feared it might cause him problems in the long term. Josh just wrapped his mum up in a huge hug kissed her lightly on the cheek and chortled gently.

When his mum went to her little study later she found the printer had chugged out two quotes. One unknown “he who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words” and another “when you talk you are only repeating what you already know but if you listen you may learn something new” Elbert Hubbard.

Faith never asked him to speak again.

He was certainly a unique soul, receptive, intelligent and very beautiful with his two tone hair and captivating eyes and ready smile.

At school he continued to perform brilliantly academically, and to teach more than he was taught. He liked to sit alone and watch and listen to nature’s music and drama but students and teachers would seek him out to be near him or to confide in him.

Faith had received a phone call from the school stating there had been an incident. Apparently another boy had brought a gun to school and intended using it against his teacher. Josh was in another classroom and despite his teacher’s protestations had continued heavily with a purpose. He walked silently and calmly to the boy with the gun. Standing between the boy and a Mr Gaines, a cruel and unpopular teacher, the gun pointed at Josh’s forehead.

As the rain clouds gathered above, Faith’s fragile heart that had seen so much pain…… suddenly stopped.

Prof. Seidel Ma Msc Phd FBsPS ………….Character Sketch 5.13

” You must be the one they call Shaman” The boy with the serious Eastern European face grunted.

Professor Seidel held a steady gaze, and was forced to accept the thrust parcel, watching the sound of leaving footsteps.

She sat at her simple antique, satinwood desk and placed her hands flat, either side of the parcel,. mirroring the ghost of her father

The electric light, needed even on sunny days, at the oldest part of St. Cyprian’s hospital, cast a shadow of an African artefact over the square shaped curiosity in front of her.

She clipped the string with her father’s ornate letter knife releasing an envelope bearing her name. Prof. Seidel and pulled her small frameless glasses from her head into position.

Dear Sue,

Please!  Do not open the parcel. If you are reading this it means my life is over. You will be told that it was by my own hand. It was not! You are my only friend, my confidante, my teacher and my Shaman. You who has too much humility to call yourself so, but that is indeed what you are. You are in possession of great power and magic.

As you journeyed for me you never once asked why my soul was so troubled and so fractured. You did so well in retrieving pieces of my lost soul that had been stolen and replaced with illness.

I need to tell you my story and then you will know what to do with the contents of the parcel. As you know, I am of Polish, Jewish descent. Your suspicion that my parents suffered during the war was correct.  I was born in Buchenwald concentration camp, in 1941. I was four when we were liberated by the Americans. My father was a skinner in Weimar and was put to use at the zoo in the camp that the commandant’s wife had wanted. He made drums and lampshades out of the animals that died. When she wanted him to make the same items from humans he refused and she was so hot with rage she had him decapitated in front of my pregnant mother. A small drum was made from his skin and skull and his teeth held it together. My mother, a phantom of the night stole the skull and secretly buried it, until we were freed. My mother died two years later and the letters she left me are inside also.

This skull is not my father, they are just his remains but it does have demons attached to it. These demons attached themselves to my soul. I know you will know what to do with it. I will see you in your dreams.

Deepest Respect. Kasia Reznik.

Prof. Seidel unlocked the wooden corner cabinet and placed the parcel inside. She took slow deep cleansing breaths and lit her sage smudging sticks. Her next student would be in shortly. This would wait until later.