Short Story -Platform Three

I was having a look at an old blog where I used to post my ramblings and writing and there are a few short stories that I might try and polish up and post here… The first was written for a prompt – the prompt word was “stranger”

Platform Three

trainLooking up at the departure board I sighed, closing my eyes for a second in the vague hope the glowing orange words would change when I looked again, but of course when I peeked out from beneath my lashes the news was still the same. “Delayed”.

It was late, I was cold and I had just had the day from hell. I wanted nothing more than to get back home, maybe have a nice hot bath, but definitely get into the comfort, familiarity and security of my bed, so of course my train was going to be delayed. Stands to reason doesn’t it, on the one day you really need things to run smoothly it’s sods law everything possible will go wrong.

“Sometimes I really hate this country,” I muttered to myself as I slumped into the hard plastic chair to wait for the train that would, I silently prayed, turn up eventually. “A few flakes of snow and everything grinds to a halt… the rest of the world must piss itself laughing at us!”

Wrapping my arms around myself in some vain attempt to hold in the heat the draughty station platform had leeched from my very bones I shivered and tried to find some comfort in the worlds most uncomfortable of seats. How was it possible to design a moulded plastic chair that was almost the entirely wrong shape to fit a human body? There are some days you know the world really does hate you.

From the moment I had got out of bed that morning my instincts had told me to get right back in there and skip the day, there was no way it was ever going to be a good one after all. But I had somewhere to be and something to do, something I had already been putting off for days, weeks really, something that couldn’t carry on and I had decided today would be the day. A decision that had been a lot easier to reach a few days earlier when it was still something in the distance, not so easy once I was leaving the house for a journey I’d made countless times before but never planned to make again.

When he’d first got the promotion and moved we had said it wouldn’t change things, we had said we would make it work and the distance wouldn’t break us. I think we meant it at the time, I’m sure I did, but time and distance proved too great in the end and while I waited for that old adage to kick in, you know the one about distance making the heart grow fonder, I started to realise I wasn’t missing him, I wasn’t waiting for his call and I wasn’t wishing he was back with me. That’s when I knew I had to end it; it wasn’t fair on either of us to carry on. There was no point lying to him and pretending I felt things I no longer did, if I ever had. Being apart made me unsure of even that, how could I have loved someone if it had been so easy for those feelings to fade?

So, as the first flurry of snow began to fall, I made the three-hour journey that would end a four-year relationship, only to discover my unannounced visit was somewhat ill timed as the man I had travelled all the way to dump had already found my replacement.

I won’t say I wasn’t hurt, I would have hoped he would have treated me better than that, had more respect for the years we had been together, but after the anger and the tears I had to admit the overwhelming feeling was one of relief. At last we could both move on with our lives, lives that no longer included each other.

And moving on was exactly what I planned to do, if the train ever turned up.

Sighing loudly I glanced up towards the departure board again but my attention was pulled to one side when I was gripped by the feeling someone was staring at me.

My breath caught for a moment, it wasn’t that the man a few feet along the platform was stunningly handsome, but there was something about him that made my pulse race abit faster. His eyes were the colour of molten chocolate, dark and intriguing, holding the promise of something forbidden in their liquid depths. And he was staring at me. Me! What was that about?

My hand rose self consciously to my hair, I knew it would be damp from the snow and I inwardly winced as my palm brushed against lank locks that must have surely looked as bad as they felt, no wonder he was staring, I must have looked a mess. The earlier meeting with the man who was now my ex had been emotional to say the least, and the flow of tears had smudged or washed away most of my makeup, the remains being touched up as best I could in the station toilets half and hour earlier as I squinted into my cracked compact. Yes it was safe to say I wasn’t looking my best.

The man smiled, only a small half smile, but its full force was pointed my way and I shivered, this time not from the cold. The smile made a bright glint of light seem to dance in the darkness of his eyes and I couldn’t stop my gaze from flickering back to the obvious softness of his mouth, my mind already imagining the feel of it against my skin.

Cursing myself I dragged my gaze away from him, suddenly finding intense interest in the damp ground beneath my feet as my face flushed with embarrassment.

It was crazy; I was feeling like a silly schoolgirl over a single smile from a stranger, I was in serious need of help!

He was nothing special, I told myself over and over, sure he was good-looking, the dark overcoat wrapped around him appeared to embrace a tall and gently muscular physique and his dark, possibly black, hair was casually styled with just a hint of some product or other, but he was a far cry from an Adonis. So why exactly was my heart racing simply because I could still feel his eyes on me?

I was aware of him approaching even before I heard his footsteps, something told me he was moving, getting closer, and my interest in the mottled cracked concrete of the platform floor grew in its intensity. How could I look up? I felt too embarrassed, too shy, too confused and too many things I couldn’t put a name to.

“Could they make these chairs anymore uncomfortable?” He asked me with a laugh. The sound trickled over me like molasses, rich and sweet and thoroughly seductive. And I won’t lie because right at that moment I was more than willing to be seduced.

“Yeah,” I said in what was possibly the weakest most stumbling voice I had ever used in my life, making my cheeks flush an even deeper shade of crimson, but at least I wasn’t quite so cold anymore.

“You don’t remember me do you?” The gorgeously sensuous man asked, a man who I could not possibly have met before, men like that you don’t easily forget.

“Remember you?” Gathering up my courage I lifted my eyes to his, the force of his stare enough to knock me off my feet, thank god I was already seated. He must have mistaken me for someone else because I know I will never forget those eyes for the rest of my life, and possibly beyond. “I don’t think we…”

“We went to the same school…”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m not surprised you don’t recognise me Alison, I’ve changed a lot since then… but you haven’t!”

I smiled quizzically as I tried to place the man who was still taking my breath away. He knew my name, that couldn’t be a lucky guess, but why did I not know him? I haven’t changed… was that a compliment? Normally I would have thought so but there was something in his tone that seemed a little cold, bitter even.

Before I could comment further the rumble of an approaching train vibrated through the station, and he got to his feet with a confident smile.

“This one’s mine… Goodbye, Alison Moore.”

“Wait,” I said weakly, the sound lost beneath the noise and bustle of the platform as I watched the mysterious man walking away. He didn’t once look back and within minutes the train pulled away, and he was gone.

When I finally got back home I spent hours pouring through old school photographs, but I never saw him in any of them.

I never did find out who he was, that stranger who wasn’t a stranger.

Pinkie and Pow-wow Part Three

Well you can’t ever accuse me of overloading you with too many posts can you 🙂

But it’s a relaxing Sunday afternoon in the middle of a bank holiday weekend – what better time to catch up on the antics of a couple of naughty pups!

In case you missed it Part One is here: https://dawndelivers.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/pinkie-and-pow-wow-the-tale-of-two-playful-pups/  and Part Two is here: https://dawndelivers.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/pinkie-and-pow-wow-part-two/

So now it’s time for…

Part Three

“Pinkie, Pinkie, Pinkie…” Pow-wow’s voice was high pitched as she yapped the white dog’s name over and over, relentless and never taking a break until finally Pinkie relented and opened one eye.

blackpug“What do you want?” Pinkie asked as the small black pug bounced back and forward on the rug at the base of the sofa.

“Come and play, I’m bored.” Pow-wow said with an excited yelp as she jumped in the air before spinning around.

“I’m busy,” Pinkie replied with a deep yawn, her eyes already growing heavy again.

“You’re just sitting in the sun sleeping.”

Pinkie smiled to herself. She knew that before long Pow-wow would grow large enough to be able to clamber up on the sofa and her peace would be shattered, but for now the smaller dog was stuck at ground level and Pinkie could bask in the early afternoon sun which always bathed the back of the sofa in warmth.

“That’s what I do at this time of the day,” Pinkie said, closing her eyes once more.

“What should I do?”

“Whatever you want to, go and explore, just leave me in peace.”

“Explore,” Pow-wow repeated to herself. She could do that. She didn’t need Pinkie by her side all day long, she was a big girl now and she could do this on her own.

Sitting in the centre of the room Pow-wow looked slowly around her. This was the most familiar room to her, it was where she had spent most of her time since Lucy brought her home. There really didn’t seem much there worth exploring. Then something out of the ordinary caught Pow-wow’s attention.

She hadn’t noticed it earlier but one of the doors leading out of the room was every so slightly open. The other woman, the one Pinkie had referred to as “mum” clearly hadn’t pushed it all the way closed after she had brought Pinkie back from walks. She wasn’t sure what walks were but the woman had assured Pow-wow she would be able to join them before too long, after she had had her “jabs.” Jabs didn’t sound like a nice thing but Pinkie seemed to enjoy walks so much that maybe they were worth it.

Padding slowly over to the door Pow-wow scratched gently at its corner, leaping back quickly as the door moved a few inches, just enough for a small dog to wriggle through. The door opened wider as Pow-wow made her way through and into the kitchen.

Pow-wow’s feet slipped a little on the tiled floor until she gained her balance. She liked this room, it always smelled so good, especially when Lucy was in there clattering about with the pots and pans and sometimes dropping a tasty morsel onto the floor, most of which Pinkie snapped up before Pow-wow had even noticed, but that was okay as Lucy would then hold out a little taste for the pup to try.

Now Pow-wow had the kitchen to herself but it didn’t seem quite as interesting. There was nothing bubbling away on the stove and nothing roasting in the oven. There were still tasty smells but they seemed locked away and out of a small dog’s reach.

Pow-wow’s twitching nose led her to the large white door of the strange cupboard looking thing and, as she pressed her flat face against the rubber seal around the door, she caught the scent of many indescribable delights, her little mouth drooling at the smells.

“Pinkie, Pinkie,” she barked.

“Leave me alone!” Came the gruff reply from the other room.

Sitting on the cold tiles Pow-wow raised one paw and slowly scratched at the edge of the large white door, pawing at it over and over until one nail managed to hook onto it and slowly, carefully, it swung open.

Pow-wow sat transfixed for a moment. She had never seen so many treasures, so much to delight her puppy senses. Never had such a small dog been faced with the quantity of food as Pow-wow could see inside the open refrigerator.

“Pinkie,” Pow-wow barked again, “Come and see, come and see what I found!”bichon

The small dog’s barks were so insistent and so excitable that eventually, reluctantly, Pinkie raised herself from her comfortable resting place and jumped down from the sofa, slowly padding into the kitchen to see what all the noise was about.

“Oh!” Pinkie said, her eyes growing wide as she saw what Pow-wow had done.

“What is it?” Pow-wow asked, bouncing up and down in front of the refrigerator her tail wagging so fast it was almost a blur.

“It’s where Lucy keeps all the food,” Pinkie said, her mouth filling with saliva at the aroma of such delicious treats.

“Can we have some?” Pow-wow asked, stepping up close to the refrigerator and sniffing deeply. “Just a little?”

“I don’t think we should,” Pinkie said, taking a few steps closer to the lure of the food.

“Did Lucy said we’re not to?”

Pinkie considered for a moment. At no time had Lucy ever explicitly said they couldn’t have anything out of the fridge, but that wasn’t the same as saying they could.

“Just a taste wouldn’t hurt,” Pow-wow said, her teeth catching onto a sausage that lay curled up on a plate, just too tempting for a pup to resist. As she pulled back the one sausage turned into a string of them, unravelling from the plate and spilling onto the floor.

Pinkie moved forward and took a large bite out of the closest sausage. Now they were already on the floor it seemed pointless not to have a little taste. And it tasted so good that she had quickly devoured two, three and then four.

Pow-wow’s attention returned to the interior of the fridge where she quickly liberated a block of cheese and a carton of yoghurt, which splattered over the floor as it landed,both dogs eagerly lapping up its sweet creamy flavours.

The cheese proved harder to sample, its tough plastic covering refused to budge and after placing several puppy teeth marks across its surface Pow-wow returned to the fridge to find something else to try.

Before long most of the contents of the refrigerator lay scattered on the ground in front of it. Packets torn, cartons and milk bottles split open and several plates which had contained carefully saved leftovers smashed as they hit the floor.

No item of food which the dogs discovered had gone untasted, from a small bite of something which proved unappetising to fully devouring those items whose flavours were too good to resist.

Pow-wow slumped onto the floor and rested her head onto her paws, her belly was so full that it felt twice its normal size and the combination of rich food was beginning to churn within her.

“Pinkie,” she said quietly, her voice containing none of the earlier excitement. “I don’t feel very well.”

Pinkie looked over at her small companion and understood exactly what the little pug was feeling, her own insides were beginning to spin around, like that funny machine Lucy would put her clothes into, round and round and round.

Pinkie lay down on the ground and hoped that the spinning would soon stop. “Me neither,” she said to Pow-wow. “I really don’t think we should have eaten all that.”

The two dogs closed their eyes and felt very sorry for themselves. But it was nothing compared to how sorry they were going to feel a couple of hours later when Lucy got home and discovered the mess.

 

Nanowrimo2016 – Winner

November can be a strange month if you’re signed up to NaNoWriMo. A month filled withelvislive words (of course) but also numbers… that constant word count check, am I up to the target? My usual plan is always to try and write as much as possible on a Sunday and (hopefully) that way manage to get a few days ahead to allow for those days when you just can’t write – like if you have plans to go and see an Elvis concert for example (and that was AMAZING by the way!!)

And then you get to a day like today when I started the day with just under 3,000 words left to hit that magical 50,000 target… with each check the number got closer and closer and then, almost without warning, you do the validation check to see where your word count is up to and BOOM!!!!!

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winnerYes the 50,000 target has been hit – granted at this point I am only 56 words over the target but even one word over would count 🙂 The Imagined is in no way a complete book yet – there is still more of the story to go and I hope to keep on writing it for at least the rest of the month. And then we shall see 🙂

So, fellow NaNo-ers I hope the target is in sight for all of you and if not, well there are still a couple of days left to get those fingers tapping on those keys 🙂

Happy writing!!

The Imagined – Nanowrimo 2016

So, we’re at day 20 of Nanowrimo – doesn’t seem that long since the long hard slog was about to begin and now we can see the end just over the horizon. I know that many have already crossed the 50,000 word finishing line – bravo to you. Many others are lagging far behind – don’t give up if you’re at that point, there is still time to get your write on and race to the end.

As for me, well I am comfortably ahead of target at the moment – at the point of writing this I am on 38,224 words with the aim (or at least hope) to hit 40,000 before bed 🙂

This seemed like a good point to introduce you to the world which has taken up a large portion of my time and concentration so far this month… the world of The Imagined.

Novel synopsis: On the world of Nihedr (nee-hed-r) existed The Imagined. A race of creatures brought into existence by The Iigned (eye-gned).

Being creatures of imagination The Imagined were not considered alive. They were not real.

The Imagine disagreed.

Chia was Imagined but he always believed that the family of Iigned he worked for considered him to be one of them. When Chia was accused of a terrible crime his world came crashing down around him and his status of being “only” Imagined came painfully home to him.

Was there anyone out there who could help him now? Anyone who would even want to?

I hope someone is intrigued by this little introduction 🙂

But enough of this procrastination – there is a-writing to be done 🙂

 

Nanowrimo 2016

The first of November is almost upon us. For many this is just the start of another month, but for many others this date signifies the start of another Nanowrimo.

NanoLogoIf you don’t know what that is Nanowrimo stands for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth… yes that’s right – a month… to write a novel. Thirty days in which writers from around the world take on the challenge to complete fifty-thousand words of whatever they choose, but it has to be written within those short thirty days.

“Why would you do this?” People may ask. “How do you do this?” Others will enquire.

The HOW I would imagine is the same for all participants… you write… that’s it… you just dedicate the time and you DO it. The trick is you have to just keep moving forwards… it doesn’t matter if things aren’t quite right or if there are typos/mistakes… that’s what rewrites and editing is for… Nano is the time to get that story OUT…

They WHY I expect vary wildly and I can only speak for myself. This year will be my fourth year – the first three I have managed to win (meaning that I hit the 50,000 word target in time) and I hope that this is something I will continue this year. I have to confess I can be somewhat of a lazy writer and I find this challenge a great motivator – that story that has been swirling around in my head finally gets its release and I just go for it 🙂

So, if anyone else out there is signed up for this please feel free to add me as a writing buddy – seeing how others are doing also helps keep you going http://nanowrimo.org/participants/dawneh

Good luck Nano-ers – we can do it!!!

The Meadow – short story

A writer’s mind can be a strange thing, it can see things in everyday scenes and situations that an average person might not, and it can twist those casual observations into strange realities.

An example of this is the short story below (I say short story but it could be the opening of something more, who knows). So there I was, walking the dog along the side of a small stretch of water (a brook I assume) and the grassy area between path and water was covered with hundreds of little daisies and buttercups, they seemed to glow in the beautiful sunshine (where has that gone by the way) and my mind began to wander… until it created this…(this is a rough, unedited throw together but the words wanted out of my head!)

The Meadow

The sun was at its height. Full and golden, blazing in a clear spring sky.

White and yellow faces of the small daisies and buttercups reached up to bask in the sun’s warmth. Their petals reflected back the sunlight making the tiny flowers appear to glow amidst the soft carpet of green.

The grass was thick and lush, begging for bare feet to sink into it and toes curl in delight at the sensation of its soft blades wriggling between them.

Far enough from any main roads the meadow held an air of peace, the delicate birdsong enhanced rather than detracted from the quiet. All was calm. A haven in a world that all too often lacked such solitude or tranquillity.

In the centre of the meadow something else shone in the midday sun, something completely removed from the scattering of delicate flowers and as out of place as it were possible to be.

Red and viscous it glistened in reminiscence of fresh paint, asking for a fingertip to touch at its edges, curiously checking if it was still wet. But no fingertips touched at it. Touching was not permitted.

The peace of the meadow was shattered at the sight of what lay at its heart.

The police tape cordoned off the pool of blood and the figure of a man whose body had once housed it.

He was young, early thirties at the most. A trim physique and short cropped dark brown hair complimented handsome features which held an expression of pure serenity. If it were not for the blood he might well have just been dozing in the springtime sun.

His short sleeved shirt was open, unbuttoned rather than torn, and his exposed torso covered with countless small lacerations, each one with a small trickle of blood which had spilled from it, adding to the pool around his body.

The pathologist shuddered as he looked at the body. He had been to more murder scenes than he cared to remember and yet this one still gave him a chill.

It wasn’t the blood that caused the pathologist’s discomfort, nor the carefully placed cuts over the flesh, even the sight of the chest torn open was not the first such sight he had witnessed. And the removed heart was, if not common place, still not unheard of.

What really made the pathologist’s blood run cold was the placement, within the empty chest cavity, of a carefully made daisy chain. The small circle of linked flowers, such as young girls would make on a summer’s day to wear as a crown or necklace, lay where the man’s heart had once been. The flowers half sunk in blood and yet still visible.

The pathologist report would confirm that the heart had been removed post mortem and the numerous incisions had led to a slow death, yet somehow a peaceful one judging by the lack of any defensive wounds and the serenity on the victim’s face.

Had the killer brought the floral tribute to the murder scene or, a more chillingly likely scenario, had the flowers been weaved together while the victim lay slowly bleeding to death?

Was the killer so confident in their actions, so lacking fear of discovery that they happily sat on the carpet of soft grass, linking one small flower to the next waiting for the moment when the young man’s heart would beat it’s last and his breath would cease.

What kind of twisted mind would do such a thing, and why?

And where was the man’s heart now?