Friday, 29 April 2016

Everything Has Changed

Here is my response to the challenges set by Studio 30 (use the word Revenant and/or Zombie) and The Darkroom (a picture of some old gloves).  Funnily enough, the picture of the gloves seemed far more sinister than the original reaction to the idea of a zombie.    

Zoe sighed.  It had been a long day at work but now she could relax.  She could have a salad and a glass of wine in peace.  Mark would be over later, and they could watch a film before another romantic night.  She felt that her life was perfect.  She set the table in the dining room, lit one of her favourite candles and uncorked the wine.  There was a knock on the door.
“Hello, Zoe.” Ryan pushed past her.
Zoe couldn’t breathe.  She shut the door and leaned against it as she watched Ryan saunter up the stairs.  What could she do now?  For a short, awful moment she listened to Ryan moving around upstairs, then she forced herself upright, went into the dining room and poured herself a glass of wine.
“You know I don’t like you drinking.” Ryan said.  “And you’ve redecorated.” He looked around.  “In fact, this is the only room that’s still fit to see.  You never understood how to achieve elegance.”
“I cremated you.” Zoe drained her glass. 
“Apparently there was a mix up at the morgue.  I was embalmed instead.” Ryan turned around mockingly, flexing his shoulders.  “And I’m not in bad shape.  I’ve no idea who I was swapped with.  Obviously they enjoyed golf.” Ryan threw a golf glove on top of Zoe’s salad.  “I told you again and again that salad isn’t a real meal.”
“And I told you again and again that you needed to eat less meat.  That’s why you died of a heart attack.” Zoe poured herself another glass of wine.
“And I warned you that I would come back from the grave.  When I was dying I was very clear.  The house was to remain exactly as it was.  You were to dress in black and remain faithful to my memory.  Not that bit of rubbish you’re wearing. You’re thirty-three, Zoe, not a teenager.”  Ryan smiled thinly.  “But here I am.  I don’t suppose you kept my clothes as I instructed.  Wearing another dead man’s suit isn’t my style.”
“I sold your clothes.” Zoe said quietly. “I sold your car, your record collection, your shoes and your power tools.  I don’t know if I can divorce a dead man, but I am not staying.”
Ryan grabbed her wrist, hard.  “The only place you are going tomorrow is work and then to buy new wallpaper.  What were you thinking?  You’ve painted everything, it’s just not good enough.  You should be glad I’m back.”
“You can’t make me.” Zoe said, tugging her hand away from the unexpectedly strong grasp.  There was a giddy rush.  She had never said that to Ryan before and he wasn’t expecting it.”  You can’t make me do anything.  After all, you can’t stop me having money for the bus fare to work as all the money is now in my name now, legally.”
“I never liked you working in that office.” Ryan muttered.  “There were too many divorcees.”
“You can’t hide my clothes.  I’ve got a suitcase stashed in my car for the weekend and the money to get new stuff.  I have friends that would worry if I didn’t get in touch after a few days and a very nice boyfriend who would definitely come to claim me.” Zoe defiantly poured another glass of wine and took a long drink.  “I’ve just got a promotion.  I’m an Area Manager now.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Ryan snapped.  “We both know you’re too stupid to get a decent job.  That’s why I wanted you at home, to protect you.” He looked away from her.  They both knew he was lying.  “And I told you, I don’t like you drinking wine.”
“You’re dead.” Zoe said. “You don’t have an opinion.”
“Pour the wine away, you stupid girl.” Ryan loomed over her.
“I could call the police and say that a strange man has forced himself in here and could he come and get you.” Zoe said recklessly, drunk on the sudden ability to disagree with her revenant husband. 
“I would say I was your husband and point to our wedding photos.” Ryan paused and looked round.  “There are no photos of me.”
“I burned the lot.” Zoe took a deep breath.  She had to keep her head.  “This house is in my name only now.  You have no right to be here.  I want you to leave.”
“This is my house and you are my wife.” Ryan snapped and grabbed at Zoe.  She jumped back and ducked behind the table.
“I really loved you, really, really loved you.  When you died I cried for weeks.” Zoe made a grab for her car keys.  “But I’ve made a new life and I’m alive and you’re dead.”
“Come here!” Ryan lunged desperately at Zoe across the dining table, knocking into the candle.  It fell against his sleeve.  Zoe screamed as the flame caught hold of the fabric and raced up the sleeve. 
“What’s happening.” She looked round for something to throw over him. 
“I was embalmed, you stupid girl.  I’m flammable.” Ryan was panicking. 
Zoe tried to remember her training.  “Lie down.” She pulled up one of the rugs.  “I can smother the flame.”
Ryan screamed.  The flames had caught hold of him now and he was burning up.  “Do something you stupid girl.” It was too late.  Ryan threw back his head and howled as flames gushed from his mouth.  The stench was unbearable.  Zoe tried to throw the rug over him but Ryan staggered away, stumbling into the wall and leaving scorch marks and ash.  Then he crumbled.
Zoe methodically dampened down the scorch marks and opened all the window.  She looked at the ash covered, burned carpet, the marks on the wall, the soot on the ceiling and sighed with a sort of relief.  Even Ryan would admit that she had to redecorate now.  

Thursday, 28 April 2016


I've dipped into another Writing Challenge from Our Write Side - have a look and perhaps have a go!  I took a lot of inspiration from the picture as well as the word.  

           Joe met Diane outside her work.  “I’ve got a great deal,” He told his wife.  “Liam down the road let me have the timber he had stacked for a really low price – half what I would pay in the store.  He told me it would be perfect for a garden shed, all drilled and ready to go.  I can’t wait to get started.”
“Good luck with that job.” Diane sighed.  She knew Joe’s love of a bargain.  He fell for the sales talk every time.  “We haven’t got a garden.”  

Tuesday, 26 April 2016


I am having far too much fun writing.  Here's a response to a prompt from Thin Spiral Notebook (which has awesome stuff!)

They had to be here somewhere.  I didn’t need my glasses.  I could do all sorts of things without my glasses.  I could read the microwave settings.  I could tell the difference between shampoo and conditioner.  I could read large print and work the tv without my glasses. 
I moved the clutter on the bedstand.  I looked in my all the pockets of all my coats.  They weren’t in their case or my handbag.  They weren’t on top of the bathroom cabinet and they weren’t next to my knitting. 

I absentmindedly pushed my glasses up my nose and kept looking  

Memories in Dreams

Memories in Dreams

I am dreaming.

Down the empty, echoing corridor,
Step by ringing step,
Heels click and soles tap,
Door after door.

I stop at the first door.

Inside I can hear memories, my memories
I don’t want to know,
I don’t want to remember.
The memories tap at the door.
I hold the door shut.
I can hear the urgent whispers.
I turn the lock in the door.
I think hard about a picture of sunflowers to blot the memory out
And stumble to the next door.

I stop at the second door.

I can hear the memories, more memories.
A snatch of music and a tap, tap, tap.
I see fingers against frosted glass and I hold the door shut.
I don’t want to hear the music.
I don’t want to remember.
The door is tugged.
I hold harder against the music.
I turn the lock in the door.
I think hard about the sound water over pebbles to blot the memory out
And stagger to the next door.

I stop at the third door.

I can hear memories, many memories.
A scent of flowers and old books drifts past.
I feel the door tremble as I struggle to hold the door.
I don’t want to smell this.
I don’t want to remember.
The door shakes.
I see the handle turn as I lock the door.
I think hard about the feel of clean sheets to blot the memory out.
I slide down and crawl to the next door.

I stop at the fourth door.

I am too late.
Memories spill out.

Your smile in sunlight.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

There Should be Storms

I have been inspired by the prompt from Our Write Side, and their Friday Flasher - A Small Cafe.  If you are interested in writing, do have a look.  I had quite a lot of fun.  

There should be storms, not the calm, still sky.
There should be storms, and dark castle walls.
This faded coffee shop, half empty, in the shade,
Is not the place to watch your life crash down.

I wait for you, and you are late again.
In the corner, reading a cheap magazine,
A woman droops and, trying not to yawn,
Turns the page to new adulteries.

I check my phone, there’s nothing new from you,
Just half an hour wait and waiting still.
I wonder if you know what waits here, crouching,
In this faded, shaded, tired coffee shop

Two girls behind the counter, talking low
Of boys and school and last week’s hair.
They bend the paper clip from next week’s hours
To try and free the block in the machine

They sound so young and earnest, taking care
Warning each other about the burning pipes
Promising to be there at the club
And one will lend the other their new dress

The woman yawns again and leaves the place
Out into the bright and shining mall
Past the old rabbi playing careful chess
Facetiming with his friend in Tel Aviv

The two old men talk with kindness, they are kind
And measure the words they use across the miles
What words can I use to you so close
When I stare across the table at your face.

The old rabbi taps his hearing aid and shouts
A gentle, kind goodbye across the miles.
Packs up his chess and leaves into the mall.
I am reading the left magazine

The coffee shop is shutting with the mall,
The sun is draining down the peaceful sky
There should be storms.  I text you, ‘It is over
Do not contact me again.  Goodbye.’