The house

This is a story that came to me from a prompt on Chrissy, a friend’s blog. It might be slightly off piste, but then I usually am.

Go to an Estate agents or look on line. Find a house that is up for sale and write about it.”

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There was one particular advert in the estate agent’s window that took Kelvin’s eye.

The write-up didn’t give that much away, but the photos jumped out at him. At first he wasn’t sure why they attracted him so, but he knew one thing he wanted this house.

‘Three bedroom detached house in own grounds,” was the basic description, with a few more things added for interest like ‘running water’ and ‘FGFCH’. But none of this described what Kelvin saw in the photos.

Without further thought he went inside.

Above the door the bell jingled making everyone in the small office look up as he went in.

“Hello, can I help?” The redhead with piercing green eyes at the first desk asked. According to the plaque on her desk her name was Briony O’Shea.

“I’ve just been looking in the window and would like to know more about one of the properties,” Kelvin told her.

“There’s not much more to tell really,” Briony said, leaning forward captivating Kelvin with her eyes.

“But I haven’t told you which property, ” Kelvin said.

“You don’t need to. I can tell from your eyes which place you’re interested in. It’s the house in Fairview, isn’t it?” Briony smiled.

“Wow, did you ready my mind?” Kelvin asked.

“Of course I did.” Briony winked at him.

Kelvin said nothing. He could almost believe this woman could see into his mind and knew what he was thinking at that moment.

“Interested?” She added.

“Errrr…” Kelvin wasn’t sure what to say. He was more than interested.

“… In the property.” Briony added, making Kelvin feel a little stupid. “I can grab the keys and take you right now, if you’d like.”

“Oh..I’d like,” Kelvin replied, hoping she didn’t know what he was thinking now.

“Hang on.” Briony jumped up from her seat and opened a cabinet at the back of the office. It was at this point Kelvin became aware that everyone was watching their conversation in silence. As he looked around the office everyone went back to what they were doing. For Kelvin it was a surreal experience, but not one he hadn’t had before. For a second he had a deep sense of deja-vue.

“Coming?” Briony asked breaking the moment.

‘Oh if only you knew what I was thinking just then,’ Kelvin whispered to himself.

“I know,” Briony said at just that moment. “… that this place is just perfect for you.” She continued, with a knowing smile.

Kelvin breathed a sigh of relief. She wasn’t referring to his last, less than clean, thoughts.

Throughout the twenty minute drive to Fairview Briony kept up a running commentary of the journey and anything that came into her head, or so it seemed. It was as if she didn’t want Kelvin to speak or maybe even think.

Finally they pulled into the drive. Kelvin gasped. The place was so much more than the photos. He had a strong sense that he was coming home.

“Welcome home,” Briony said as if reading his mind once more. “I have a strong feeling that this is the place for you.”

“It’s strange, but I almost feel as if I’m coming home, ” Kelvin admitted.

“Not strange at all. Buildings have resonance and if that balances with what is in us then we naturally feel drawn to a place.” Briony opened the car door as she switched off the engine and pocketed the keys. She headed for the front door.

Kelvin followed a few steps behind. He was trading in the ivy coveted facade, the shuttered windows, and the intricate brickwork. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was truly coming home.

Briony unlocked the front door and pushed it open. The utilities had been turned off but it was a bright cloudless day. As soon as the door was open the sunlight flooded through, bathing the hallway in a golden light.

“It’s almost better than I imagined,” Kelvin commented as he stepped over the threshold. Everything seemed so familiar. Even the faded wallpaper, or was it painted into the boards of the wall?, touched a memory. “But I…” he began as he moved further inside and touched the first rung of the banister. His mind was suddenly filled with images of the hallway’s past, so full that he couldn’t finish his sentence. When he let go of the banister the visions faded.

“Well?” Briony asked. “You’ve seen all the hallway has to offer. How about the front room, or parlour I believe it’s sometimes called?” She suggested.

“You know, don’t you?” Kelvin asked her.

“Of course I know, just like you’ve known from the very first look in our agency window. Give the house a little time. Give yourself a little time. Welcome home, Kelvin, welcome home. ”

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Dam

This afternoon I curled up on the bed and cried.

Another little piece inside died.

The dam burst open; I cried and cried.

All those tears for the last week held inside.

I don’t know how long,

I can go on,

Without you by my side.

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Another mission…

Today’s short story came to me whilst listening to one of my favourite singers. Her songs often transport me to other places. Long ago this one affected me deeply with its apocalyptic lyrics but I wasn’t writing back then.

Today the story formed in my mind and I transferred it to the page. I hope you like it, and that you’ll leave me a comment. After all it’s knowing how my work affects others that gives me the greatest pleasure.

**********

Each time I go on one of these missions I promise myself it will be my last. Then after a few months home I agree to come on another. I guess the benefits must outweigh the pain I go through every time. And this time it was more important than the last times. I didn’t want to go, but the consequences of my not going could be dire.
The first few months are basically an unconscious blur, I’m not even sure I exist for most of that time. Then things develop rapidly during which time I am conscious of everything around me, both inside and out.
Once again I am here, l am ready, I am hugely aware, and having come this way before I know what’s coming next.
This time round I think I’m ready for anything, for everything, then my life sac breaks and all hell let loose. We’re all told about this, but its always a shock when it happens.
There was so much activity around me, but I was in the dark. People were getting way too excited, I was worried, as I always am, that they could compromise my mission. I knew that most of them were professionals, that they had done a similar mission before but its never sure until its sure.
Finally I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and I meant this literally, not figuratively. I knew which way I was headed, and that too was literal. The only way out of this situation was to be head first. I just hoped someone was ready for me in that light.
Holding my breath I hear my team cheering me on, in my head or literally I’ve never worked that one out.
“Go on push. If you’re ready just push, “ one voice tells me. I was sure it was in on my head.
Then little by little I move closer and closer to that light as the tunnel gets wider and wider to accommodate me.
For a moment I taste the goo that coats the tunnel and my body. Throwing up at this point would not have been a good idea, just as well my diet hasn’t consisted of any real food for so long.
As I push towards the light I can feel the tunnel constricting around me. It is at this point that I needed to control the panic I usually feel, knowing that I’m almost there.
“One last push,” shouted one of my team, a voice so familiar to me already.
“I’m coming,” I want to shout, but know I won’t be heard.
Finally I push through the tightest space I’ll ever experience during this lifetime and into the light of this new place.
“It’s a boy. You have a healthy boy, “ someone confirms something I’ve known for an age.
“Samuel,” I hear the voice of my father clearly for the first time.
“Samuel,” the voice of my mother.
“ Your grandfather would be proud,” my father again.
“I am,” I want to tell them. Finally I am back. Finally I am born.

Inspired by Kate Bush’s “Breathing”.

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The Jubilee Bench

Today’s story is another in the series prompted by Nick’s photos (more at Nick Brennan Photography).  Weekly/fortnightly I am writing a story prompted by a photo of his suggestion. 

I’m beginning to wonder if Nick has a thing for Benches as this week’s photo prompt is another bench, but a very different one to before, with a very different resonance for me creating a different story.  The story came to me really quickly this time and in order not to lose it amongst the jumble in my head I just as quickly typed it up on my phone whilst in bed last night at 3am. 

Here it is. Please let me know what you think…

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At least twice every day, more or less, for the last forty years or so Jean had passed the bench; once on the way to work, once on the way home. Recently, every time the sight of it gave her a jolt.

The bench had been installed for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee back in 77, since then it had seen its share of life. It had been placed on the edge of the common land, which ran the length of one side of the river running through the centre of the village.  As it wasn’t in the direct line of any streetlamps it had been used for many a romantic encounter,  and the occasional sad break-up. It was even said that little Jimmy Baker had been conceived on the bench, but Jean thought that was one of those urban myth things.  She too had had her fair share of kisses and cuddles on it over the years.  The shape of it, unlike the other benches in the village, was more than conducive to romance.

When the bench was first unveiled it had had a brass plaque on it telling everyone why it was there.  At some point the plaque had been ripped off, whether by vandals or someone after a souvenir Jean didn’t know.  Now there was an oval of lighter wood where it had been.

At first there were complaints about its location, but where it had been placed meant it got regular use by young and old alike.  Some complained that it would have served the village better had it been placed closer to the bus-stop, but that didn’t make any difference now as the buses stopped passing along this route a couple of years back.

For Jean the bench had a special significance.  It was where her and Terri had met, and where they had had their first kiss, and a bit if a fumble. Jean had been on her way home from work one evening, the same route as now,  although a different job,  when she saw him sitting there with his two mates.

“You in an ‘urry someplace?” He had asked, taking a drag from his Benson and Hedges.  His friends had giggled at that.

“Home,” Jean had said giving no more away, but she did stop.

“Can I walk with you?” He asked surprising Jean.

“As long as you put that bloody thing out,” she told him nodding at the cigarette.

As she spoke she got a good look at her possible suitor and wasn’t disappointed with what she saw.  Although he was sitting down Jean could see that he was probably about the same height as her.  He had blond carefully-styled hair, and a moustache.  All the lads were growing them at the time.  He was wearing jeans and a polo shirt. The late summer sun was just fading that evening. She noticed how blue his eyes were, and knew from that moment that her fate was sealed.

“Terri,” he said as he stood up stubbing out his fag at the same time.  He held out his hand.

Jean gently shook it and giggled. “Jean,” she replied, amused at his formality.

On the way back to Jean’s place they found out a lot more about each other.  Terri told her he was studying engineering at the local technical college while Jean told him about her job in a local café and her plans to someday run a hotel.  They found out they shared the same tastes in music and Terri promised to take her to a concert.  He kept his word a couple of weeks later when they went to see a local band in one of the village pubs, not quite what Jean had had in mind, but it was fun nonetheless.

Within no time they were a couple and often sat together on the bench discussing the future.  Terri’s friends had moved on to other pursuits, encouraged by Terri who wanted to spend his free time with Jean. Sometimes they sat for ages not talking, just wrapped up in each other, each enjoying the other’s company.  The only thing they ever really disagreed about was Terri’s smoking.

The bench held even more significance for Jean as a year after they’d been dating it was where Terri got down on one knee and asked her to marry him.  She would have preferred a more romantic place and time, but grabbed his face, kissing him deeply as she agreed to become his wife.  Her sister later told her she could have done so much better, but Jean knew she had the man of her dreams.

Over the years the bench had weathered storms and heatwaves alike, and gradually began to look its age. When it had been given a drastic face-lift just a year ago Jean had been saddened. She felt like her memories of better times had been erased by the clean up.

Two years ago she had come out here after it was all over.  She had needed to get away from everyone for a while. Her life had been thrown into turmoil. She couldn’t imagine going on without Terri, and for those few moments alone on the bench she had felt close to him once more,  that was until her sister came out to find her,  fussing and telling her what she should and shouldn’t be doing.

The bench now held such bittersweet memories for Jean. It had a firm place in her story, but the previous joy it had elicited was now tinged with sadness and pain.  She still came to sit there and think at times and feel closer to her lost love. Occasionally she even dozed a moment as she sat there.

Tonight sitting where she had sat with Terri so many times before she felt closer to him than ever.  She leaned back and sighed.  If she tried really hard she could imagine his arm around her.  She closed her eyes and relaxed.  The pain she had felt in her chest as she had walked up the road had eased off now, but she knew what it meant.  She was ready.

“I hope you’re waiting for me,” she whispered as her head dropped forward one last time.

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By the breakwater.

Nick sent me this photo from his recent day out at the beach. There was no suggestion that this was part of our collaboration; our joint creative project. It was simply a photo, and I think you’ll agree a bloody good one too. Blessing or curse images often suggest stories to me these days and so I have written what came into my head when I saw this one.
It does not have a happy ending, in fact it is far from a happy story, but who says all stories have to be happy?

This is a dark, and maybe controversial story…

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I’d always thought the breakwaters on the local beach were amazing. They had stood there for years unwavering in their support of the coast and marine animals alike. Not only did they protect the coast and slow down the movement of the shingles, sand and pebbles along the coast or out to sea, they are also alive with with marine creatures.

This morning my feelings changed. I found him at just before six o’clock as I walked the dogs along the beach. This walk being one of our twice daily jaunts. The dogs love the sea as much as I do.

I’d read about his disappearance a couple of days ago, but he obviously hadn’t been here so long as that. For starters he and his possessions would have been washed out into the wide blue (grey) yonder long ago.

His name was Thomas, and he was about 55 years old if I remember correctly from the newspaper reports. The empty bottle of vodka and the numerous pill boxes told their own, and in turn his sad story.

He’d clearly walked around in circles a while before settling against the breakwater. Making his final decision maybe? His footprints in the sand being washed away little by little by the incoming tide adding their own poignancy.

There was a note besids the bottle that was getting splashed by the either washes, and to save it from getting any wetter I picked it up. It told his sad story. Looking back I wish I hadn’t read it. Perhaps I should have called the police straight away, instead I read the letter first. I guess no one thinks straight in these situations. the letter/note wasn’t for anyone in particular just an explanation of how he had arrived here.

The note began with an apology for what he had done, I took this to mean taking his own life, but to be quite honest I am not sure I wouldn’t have done the same in his place.

It went on to explain how he had lost his worth, his meaning, his purpose, how the death of his “beloved Lindsy” took the joy out of his life. In it were apologies to those that had helped, and masked recriminations for those that should have.

He ended with a final ‘apology’:

I did not do this to hurt any of you. I did this for me. Sometimes enough is enough.”

Thomas”

Reading it my eyes welled up with tears that joined the salty water of the sea as they fell. Part of me really understood why he had done what he had done; without my dogs I’m not sure I wouldn’t be in the same place. There but for the grace … etc etc.

I called the police who came quickly enough, after all there was nothing they, or anyone, could do for him now so they weren’t rushing. They started in with their questions straight away. “Did you…? Didn’t you…? What time…? Whens, whos, wheres, whats and whys”

I stood there and cried, hoping that Thomas had found his peace, and that one day I would find mine.

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The forest of Special Souls.

My story today is the second story inspired by the photos of
Nick Brennan Photography.

Nick has agreed to provide me, and whichever members of our writing group wish to take part, with a regular photo update for inspiration.
As soon as I saw this one I had an idea where my story was going to go.
Once you’ve had a read please leave me some feedback. Thanks

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Alice was ready, she was so ready.  This morning her mum had sat her down and talked to her very seriously about something she felt she had always known about anyway.

“Alice,” her mum had started.  She was wearing her adult serious face. The last time her mum had worn that face for Alice was when she had wanted to talk about the birds and bees; another thing Alice already knew about.  Had her mum not heard of ‘Google’? She had wondered at the time.

“Alice,” her mum repeated.

Alice smiled and nodded as she placed her hands in her lap and leaned forward, showing she was listening intently.

“You are old enough to know this now,” her mum said.  “But I don’t want you to be frightened.”

Alice nodded again and whispered, “ok,” She had a good idea that she knew what was coming.

“I think you already know our family are special, and maybe a bit different. “

Alice nodded again but said nothing as she didn’t want to slow down her mum’s explanation any more.  It seemed like her mum was really dragging this one out.

“Well this afternoon we are going to be going into the forest at the end of the garden, the garden we have always told you to stay out of before today.” Her mum grabbed Alice’s hand, and looked into her eyes.

“Ok,” Alice replied. She wasn’t going to tell her mum that she and her older brother, Sammy had been going into the forest for over a year by this point. She wouldn’t be frightened this time, although she had been a little scared the first time she had gone there with Sammy.

“The forest is known around here as the Forest of the Lost Souls, I’m sure you’ve heard that,” her mum continued.

Alice nodded again, as her mum squeezed her hand.

“That name is far from correct. It was made up by foolish people who know no better. Liike I said our family is different and we know the truth. The forest is not one of Lost souls but of special souls.”

“I know,” Alice finally said, although she didn’t elaborate on what bits she knew.

“Good, then you know not to be scared.” Her mum didn’t question what Alice knew exactly, for which Alice was grateful.

“I won’t be mum,” Alice promised.

“Then after lunch we will go,” her mum had concluded the conversation leaving Alice with her thoughts as she went off to prepare their lunch.

*****

Straight after lunch, after stacking the dishes Alice’s mum told her seriously that it ‘was time’. She grabbed her bag and Alice’s hand and they headed out to the bottom of the garden.  She led Alice through what she said was a secret passageway into the woods, but that Alice already knew about. Big brothers were good for something she decided.

“When we first go in you’ll probably feel the energy of the forest. It’s very strong, but again I have to repeat; it’s nothing to be scared of.”

Alice squeezed her mum’s hand, acknowledging whet she had said.

As they came out of the leafy overgrown passageway Alice felt that familiar feeling again. It wasn’t alien to her anymore. She knew the forest meant her no harm.  She knew exactly what her mum was about to say too.

“We, our family, are the guardians of this sacred forest. Although the men of the family with the same bloodline understand the forest they do not take over the guardianship. When it is my time…” her mum left a pause. “You will be the Forest Guardian and you will be expected to pass the knowledge onto your children to maintain this as a safe space for all the special souls that went before us.”

Alice suddenly felt the weight of what her mum had just told her settle on her shoulders. “IT’s ok mum, I know, and I will do the job well, as you and gran have done before you.”

“I know you will darling.” Her mum crouched down and gently wiped aside the hairs that had fallen over Alice’s face. “But for now, enjoy the forest and all it bestows on you, and accept the knowledge from those that reside within in it. So, my darling now is your time to fly.”

Alice knew what her mum meant. She let go of her mum’s hand and started to run into the forest, her blond hair creating a heavenly halo around her head as she ran. Already she could see her grandmother’s shadow in the distance. Her Grandmother had joined the forest long before Alice was born.  Alice knew she would be pleased to see her again.

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The Bench

My  bestie, Nick is an amazing photographer and at a shoot recently took a photo of an old bench at the bottom of the family’s garden. When he shared it with me it  immediately crept into my head and started to tell me its story.  Nick has said he’s happy for me to share  his photos here with my take on the bench’s story. If you’re interested in his other work please go to Nick Brennan Photography. And make sure to follow him on Facebook for updates (Facebook link)

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Nana Jean and Grandpa Arthur’s garden held a cornucopia of mysteries.  In places it was carefully tended with flowering plants, that Nana Jean knew all the names of, and a lawn that Grandpa Arthur spent every Sunday primping and priming, as he said. In other places it was overgrown with little pockets that looked like no one had visited them for years. It was in these overgrown parts and in the pockets they contained that the mysteries were hidden.  Mysteries that Nana Jean and Grandpa Arthur understood better than anyone.

One Sunday afternoon after one of Nana Jean’s delicious roast lunches the three grandchildren went on a mystery hunt. Nana Jean had given them the usual warning of not interfering with anything they didn’t understand but being kids the warning went in one ear and out the other. They were high on the sugar in Nana’s special pudding and from the homemade ice-cream and weren’t ready to take heed of any warnings by the grown-ups.  Nana Jean worried that they might find things that they shouldn’t yet know about in the depths of the unkempt parts of the garden.

Daren grabbed a stick as they headed into a space between some brambles, being the eldest and a boy he thought it was his job to do the donkey work as he thought of it, making it easier for the girls to follow after him. In truth carrying a stick just made him feel safer. He bashed the brambles aside as they ‘went in’.

“Over there,” Olivia almost screamed after they’d gone a little way into the green and quiet of the undergrowth.

“What? Where?” Diane, the youngest of the three asked.

They all turned round to where Olivia was pointing. “There,” she said emphatically, a word she would have loved to use had she known it.

“A grimy old statue,” Diane said disappointed.

“Of an ancient girl,” Darren added in a teasing voice.

“You can’t be a girl and be ancient,” Olivia pointed out still staring at her discovery. Her eyes widened as she studied the statue more closely. “I’ve seen that face before, but strangely never seen the statue before when we’ve come in here,” she stated.

“Maybe you’ve seen that face In a mirror?” Darren asked.

“Ha, Ha, dummkopf. No in a photo. I remember now.  One of Nana Jean’s black and white photos on the wall as you go up the stairs. Olivia sometimes despaired at her cousin’s humour, and jokes.

Suddenly Diane screamed.

“Why did you do that? You scared the life out of me.” Darren looked truly startled.

“What a big brave boy you are,” Olivia needled.

“It moved. The statue moved,” Diane told them grabbing Olivia’s sleeve. “Come on let’s get out of here. Now come on.”

All having been spooked they turned and ran back the way they had come.

As they came out of the undergrowth they saw Grandpa Arthur coming towards them. “What’s going on with you lot?” He asked. “You all look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“That statue,” Diane said without further explanation, Darren and Olivia were staring at her.

“Aha, so you’ve met Dolly,” Grandpa told them.

“Dolly?” Olivia asked.

“Yes,” Nana Jean said as she joined them from the house too. “Aunt Dolly, your grandpa’s auntie. She…” her voice tapered off.

“Did you see anything else?” Grandpa Arthur asked them.

“Well. I know it’s pretty stupid, but Diane thought she saw the statue move, which is why we came running out.” Darren laughed to cover his nervousness.

Nana Jean looked at Grandpa Arthur. An unspoken message was exchanged between them.

“It’s nearly time,” Grandpa Arthur said a little sadly.

“We knew that,” Nana Jean answered.

Now all the adults were on the lawn watching and listening.

“I don’t think this is the place or time, dad,” Elizabeth, Olivia’s mum said grabbing Olivia’s arm, pulling her closer. Olivia looked up at her and couldn’t read the look on her mum’s face.

“There never is a good time, nor a good place,” Grandpa Arthur told her. “Now is as good as any. They have to know sometime.”

The children looked at each other, baffled by the conversation.

“Well I don’t think now is, and besides we have to get home; Olivia has a friend coming round in a little while. They are homework buddies.” She started to head towards the house.

“So big sis decides once again. End of discussion,” Sam, Darren and Diane’s father said.  His wife Alice looked on. This wasn’t her fight.

“It’s almost time,” Nana Jean almost whispered.

“It’s not the right time.” Elizabeth repeated, “And please don’t…” she ended her plea without the final words. It looked like the adults all knew what that meant.

“No mum, dad, please don’t.” Sam reiterated. “Not until we’ve all had time to talk.” He looked worried.

“You know it’ll be out of our hands,” Grandpa Arthur told him.

***

Over the next few days Sam and Elizabeth called their parents at intervals with made up excuses to get them on the phone talking.  They were both worried, even though they knew the secret.

*****

“I’ve just called and there was no answer,” Elizabeth shouted down the phone as soon as Sam picked up.

“I know. I tried twenty minutes ago. Perhaps they’re shopping or something,” Sam suggested, though he knew he was clutching at straws.

“I’m going over there. I’ll pick Olivia up from school on my way. Are you coming?” Elizabeth asked. She was panicked.

“I’ll see you there in about twenty minutes. The kids have just come in, so we’ll jump in the car now.”

“Where are we going?” Diane asked her dad when he came off the phone.

“To Nana Jean and Grandpa Arthur’s,” he told her without further explanation.

*******

About twenty minutes later the whole family, except Nana Jean and Grandpa Arthur, were on the lawn at their childhood home once more.

“It’s happened, hasn’t it? I can feel it. Oh Sam,” Elizabeth said to her brother as she hugged him. She sounded resigned to a truth the children knew nothing about.

Diane looked at her cousins. They both shrugged indicating they had no idea what was going on either. They each sensed something had happened and that something had changed. In short, they knew something was ‘off’.

Sam led the family into the undergrowth not far from where the kids had gone in the previous Sunday. It was obvious he knew exactly where he was going.

As they passed the statue of Aunt Dolly the children gasped as one. “She’s facing a different way now,” Olivia whispered to the others as a shiver ran down her spine. The others nodded back signalling that they had too noticed.

A little further on Sam stopped. His shoulders fell as he stared at something straight ahead.

Elizabeth pushed past him. “Let me see, let me see… how… how many?” She asked as she barged through. She stopped directly in front of Sam. “Seven. Oh my god, seven. Last time there were five.” She fell to her knees. Sam bent down to comfort her, and or the first time the children had a view of what was ahead.

It was an old wooden bench, crusted with lichen and mould. It didn’t look like the sort of place you’d ever want to sit.  Looking along the bench they noticed figures carved into the back. “Seven?” Olivia asked quietly counting them. It clearly meant something to her mother, but she didn’t understand the significance. On the bench there was a plate that looked like it had once contained some kind of food.  It looked as old as the bench.

“And one day there will be nine or ten, then after that twelve or fifteen.” Sam said quietly. “It’s the price we pay, we always knew that.”

“I don’t understand,” Diane said. She was close to tears. “Where are Nana Jean and Grandpa Arthur? What’s seven?”

“The bench,” Elizabeth replied. “The bench.”

The children looked at each other. “The bench?” Darren mouthed silently to the others.

“Yes Darren, the Bench,” his mother told him, she pulled her children to her, one each side.

Darren looked more closely at the bench. The two figures in the middle holding each other had a familiarity about them, and didn’t look quite as old as the others, but he couldn’t accept what his mind was telling him, not yet anyway. One day he’d have to, it was a family thing.

 

 

 

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