Monday, October 30, 2017

The Bolt (short story)

It is cold, icy cold. I miss the touch of warm hands, I miss to be hold and cherished. I miss the secrecy in our relationship. And I know you feel exactly the same.

    Do you remember we met for the first time, here at the same stairs?
I was so glad you were more experienced than I was. For me it was the very first time. Virginity at the highest level: untouched, blanc, a total unawareness of what life kept in store for me....
    You asked me if I was scared but I could not answer your question. I had never been scared before. Well, this is not true, maybe the moment I left my youth behind me and told I had a purpose in life. A useful purpose; meeting people, probably for longer periods of time, opening doors. The latter sounded so exciting, it indicated there was an other world. Other people, other rooms, other adventures.
    So scared? No, not really, more nervous but in a very nice way. You will recognize the feeling that you want something to happen but at the other hand you are scared it is going to happen. You want to postpone it but are disappointed when it takes too long.

    When we met, you were on your own too but seldom alone, so you told me. Yet you thought you missed someone or something. As if you were not complete.
I never had that feeling, I always felt if I was one of a kind and both our feelings turned out to be right. Although we both were lonely being separated for short times, I could cope with the lonely moments. Not you. Although you loved our time together, I always knew you could not give me more than half of your heart. As you asked me on forehand, I will not go deeper into this right now, the memories still hurt you. I am so sorry!

    Let's remember the cheeky and funny times when we were part of secret liaisons. The very first time I blushed all over and felt very warm, even without being held! You said I was allowed to close my eyes but soon would learn to keep them open. And you were right. I have to say that it all became a bit boring with the same partner and I was not the only one thinking this. The change of partner after a few years did all of us good although you and I were less often together. But the excitement returned.
   I have to say I preferred the first room with the glowing lights, the King-size bed, the soft pillows and comfy duvet. The second location was more... uhm... business like. Not so cosy but then of course I had nothing to say about it.

    We do agree that we had each other more to tell with different partners. Secrets and true events like that one time that her husband found out she was not going to the Women's Flower Arrangement Society but arranging something totally different!! It happened to me and you were almost jealous when I told you about it.
   The evening started very romantic. I just laid down, the candles lit, the striptease for one in full gang. The champagne bubbled in the glasses and the temperature rose! This time I did not close my eyes; I was not shy any more and fully admit I enjoyed it.
    Then all of a sudden that loud bang on the door! And again and again! We did not know what to do but before we realized what was going on, the door flew open and an extremely angry man with a nasty purple colour in his face, galloped into the room like a drunk and furious bull!! I even imagined coming steam from his nostrils. He tried to talk but his fast beating heart took his breath for a while.
    And she.... she grabbed her cloths and held it against her well developed bosom. Her eyes wide open in great fear. I have to say, with her mouth wide open she was less attractive.
    The row her husband started was heard over the entire hotel, the manager did not only needed to call for assistance but also an ambulance. No, it was not the husband who needed medical help....
Unfortunately I never leaned how it ended because I never saw her again.

    You told me about the appointment that went completely wrong, how embarrassing was that!! I can hear you laughing again. Fortunately the hotel had a very good name for secrecy and the 'victims' a good sense of humour but what a fuzz to get the right people together..... Please tell me again!

    “Alright, once more and yes, it was funny, very funny. Waiting for the appointment, all dressed up (or should I say, not so dressed up??), relaxed and in the favourite pose which she liked so much and that always started the passion.
It was very quiet in the room, the romantic music in the background was very soft but just right to create the atmosphere that was needed. Dimmed lights and here too, champagne waiting in the cooler. And there was the soft knock on the door before it slowly opened. First a leg appeared, then a hand with the most beautiful roses you have ever seen. Then a head with short blond hear, green eyes, a trimmed beard on square masculine jaws. Well, these jaws soon dropped when the green eyes noticed it was either the wrong room or the wrong gender!
    Imagine you are expecting a lady and you see a man! This was embarrassing for both sides of course. But with our very good sense of humour we laughed and laughed. The booking office downstairs was called and it turned out they made a mistake but at the end everyone got reunited with the right person.”

    Oh yes, I can't get enough of the story but it sounds if you left a few juicy details, how come? Because you are ageing? Or have we been left on our own for too long? There are so many possibilities after so many many years of a busy and eventful life. And of course this all happened before you found your other half. You never knew you were one of a twin.
    You were so happy to have found that one and only that looks like you, in all details, even the bolt. The bolt and the beautiful (my little joke...).
Together you went everywhere, just in case off. Fortunately I loved both of you and as a trio we got along very well.

Photo: @mudde.photography (Instagram)
    Ah.... the good old times. Very old times as the hotel has been abandoned long ago. The decay has set in, the smell of mould and the humidity caused by leaking pipes and a rotten roof is getting stronger by the year. The dust is now spread everywhere but hardly disturbed by the birds, mice or rats that live here and have there own liaisons. But they don't use us for it.
    
   
   We are left on the stairs to rust. It will not take long before we can't remember our previous lives as keys of the Secrecy Ensured Key Club, owner of the hotel where we went from one warm hand into the other and where we learned about a life of the members that not many keys in their families knew about.


Word of thanks: the photo of @mudde.photography (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Camiel!

Links: please visit the beautiful Instagram account of Camiel Mudde and his even beautiful Facebook account.

Note: the story is pure fiction! A figment of my imagination!

Helen


Friday, October 27, 2017

The Last Breakfast (short story)

    Françoise cried, she did not know where Philippe was. She took her large red handkerchief from the pocket of her apron and blew her nose, the sound scared her. One of those other things she did not like; being afraid of sounds, even silly noises as blowing her own nose or closing a door.
She put the handkerchief which had known better days, back in her pocket and folded her hands, waiting for Philippe.

   The farm was their life; they gave everything to it and received so much in return. They never wanted to leave it. No holidays, apart from not interested in travelling to places where you needed to spend money to have fun, who was taking care of the cows, geese, goat and chickens? And their loyal horse that did not listen to orders from strangers?
    No, the world outside their farm and fields was not interesting enough. Since they bought a tv, the world entered their house and she was not too happy with it. Too confusing but Philippe loved it. He bought it to watch Farmer's News on the Sunday's but she knew that he also loved watching other programs with a preference for discussions. She thought of all the voices being very confusing and went to bed on her own, knowing Philippe would follow soon; tomorrow was another early day.

   Françoise unfolded her hands and ate her breakfast. How silly she thought, to lay the table for 4 people. She could not remember any more when she did this. The time that they had two boys working at their farm, had long gone.
It was not easy to keep the farm going on her own and she wondered how long it would take for her body to give up. Since Philippe died there was not much left to live for. He passed away not long after their 56th wedding anniversary; a day as usual. Though life was very unusual afterwards. No one to cook for, no one to talk to and no one to keep her warm during the cold Winter nights when the wind blew through the cracks round the windows and in the roof. Philippe never managed to repair them and she was too tired. And did they have money to spend on repairs?

   While she finished her breakfast, she pondered over the savings. It confused her not to know any more where they left the money. She remembered their agreement about saving as much as they could for the bad times. It was something they were brought up with being children of farmers. The house needed a few repairs and Philippe was too old to do it himself. Oh yes, she knew he did not want to listen, he was as stubborn as the bull they had. As soon as she finished the dishes, she was going to ask Philippe about the money they had hidden somewhere. She smiled; it must be hidden in a very safe place... if she could not remember any more where it was, how could a burglar find it??

   She stood behind her chair with her forefinger against the top of her nose and frowned her eyebrows. What on earth was she going to do right now? Ah, yes, milking the cows and churning butter. Or did she churn butter yesterday? It was so confusing not to know which day it was today... or yesterday. And was it Wednesday tomorrow? Or Saturday when the few left customers were going to collect the butter? The best there was in the village.
    The best thing to do was walking to the barn to milk the cows and then check on the butter. Suddenly she got angry, why did Philippe die? He was not ill, he was as healthy as could be for a man of his age. In her memory he always remained the tall and broad shouldered Frenchman that carried her over the threshold; a smile that curled his moustache and a twinkle in his dark brown eyes that fascinated her from the moment he laid eyes on her. And now he was gone.

   She shook her head to clear the mist that blurred her memories. She could not remember any more why Philippe died. Was it his heart? No, no... he fell off the ladder when he tried to repair the roof of the barn. That is why she was so angry. He did not listen to her! He never listened, he said he was like a cat with 9 lives but it turned out he had just one!! “Philippe....!!!” she cried in her handkerchief, “Philippe.....”


   Coffee, she needed a cup of very strong coffee. There was definitely something wrong with her emotions; here she stood without knowing why she cried. It was a relief that Philippe was in the stables, it would have worried him to see her crying. She sniffed her nose and straightened her back: “Silly old woman! Smile and go on with your work!” she told herself. There was so much to do: the dishes, the cows, the butter. Philippe could not do it all by himself. They promised each other to run the farm together. She too walked behind the plough and drove their first second hand tractor. She was never ill and together with Philippe she could handle the whole world.
    There was one thing she cold not give Philippe; they never had children but both did not complain. They were happy together. The downside was that there was nobody to inherit the farm. Did she and Philippe discuss this before? She could not remember. Was it a good idea to start this subject during coffee?
Coffee..... she forgot all about it and she did not want that wonderful husband of hers to come and look for his coffee. That never happened in their marriage, she always called him when it was ready.

   Françoise walked to the stable which was so empty with only two cows to look after instead of the twenty they had before. So much changed since Philippe died. She cried when she sold 8 cows although she knew she could not milk them all. She simply could not take care of the farm as it used to be all on her own. Yes, the neighbours offered help but you can not always rely on them, can you? No, she had to minimize the work, she was not as young and fit as she was 30 year ago. The death of Philippe broke her energy and the will to continue. Life without him was empty, very empty.

   She passed the ladder that still lay in the hay. The ladder that killed Philippe. No one removed it after he was taken into hospital by doctors telling her they would do everything to save his life. Nonsense she thought. Her heart told her he was dead, gone, not coming back alive. And her heart was always right. While the ambulance disappeared in the far distance, she knew that part of her heart disappeared as well. Gone, forever. But not her love for Philippe!
    She loved him so much so how could she walk here in the empty stable without calling him for his coffee? And where had the cows gone?
And why was there a bright light in the otherwise dark stable? Where did it come from? The light spread it's beams on the floor until the hay shone like pure gold.
Gold she wanted to touch and she reached out to the light.
In astonishment she watched the light crawling up her arm, covering her head, her whole body. She looked up to it's source and there was Philippe how she remembered him: the twinkle in his beautiful dark eyes, his deep voice asking where his coffee was.........

   

Photo: @forgottenheritage (Instagram)
   The coat of Françoise still hangs at the door, she forgot to put it on when she walked to the barn. The table is still laid for 4, she never had time to do the dishes. Not even if she had remembered it. Philippe's death disturbed her life, her brains. The dust in her head that covered the day to day thoughts and duties is now visible in her abandoned house. It covers everting she was so proud of. But she is not aware of it any more. Maybe she looks upon it from above and does not care. Maybe she smiles when people are taking photo's of the farm. Photo's that will survive the house, catching the memories in an everlasting frame.

Word of thanks: the photo of @forgottenheritage (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Matt!

Link: the beautiful book Forgotten Heritage by Matthew Emmett and his Facebook Page

Note: the story is pure fiction!A figment of my imagination!

Helen

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Other Door (short story)

    The bond with her great-great-great-grandfather Walwyn Randal Norvin Kenrick (well chosen first names) was very strong.
Most likely because they shared a strong will and stubborn and brave character, something that had been missing for generations of offspring; not my words but those of Walwyn. Yet I agree with him, I served many generations of this family whose history goes back to the Vikings.

   This great-great-great-granddaughter was the first female descendant of the old Walwyn and I expected him to be disappointed that it was a girl who inherited his warrior genes. But he wasn't, he was over the moon when he saw her soft blond hair with the red glow. He almost howled like the wolf in his coat of arms. He ran through the castle, kissed every female (who still wonder where the light touch came from) he passed and returned to the nursery where he looked in great admiration to mother and child. He loved the mother from the moment she set foot in the castle. Unfortunately he could not pet himself on the shoulder for arranging this marriage – it was outside his restrictions – but someone somewhere must have arranged it from above. One day he was going to thank this Angel.

   And now this useless, lazy, ignorant great-great-grandson and his wife produced a female copy of him. And lo and behold, one of the names of the child was the female version of his own Randal: she was named Edrea Randall Bedelia.
Little Edrea and old Walwyn developed a bond from the very first moment; even before she saw him, the little child was aware of his existence. Her mother knew there was something in the nursery where her daughter reacted to but it did not feel bad and with her Welsh roots, she knew there was more between heaven and earth.

   The father who was mentally not fit to cope with the character of his wife, let alone that of his daughter, spent more and more time elsewhere; hunting, gambling and drinking with his friends. His wife who tried everything to keep her husband at home and who learned to hate his lifestyle, gave all her love to her daughter and it was no surprise to everyone in the castle that there were no other babies.

   It was a very strange household: the mother with her beautiful child and enough staff to serve 10 times more people. Life centred in a few rooms, all others were closed until the guests for the annual hunting games arrived; the one and only time his lordship was at home.
    When Edrea (who was a curious and studios girl) grew up, she explored the castle.
A few rooms were closed and in others the furniture was covered in white sheets against the dust. Her interest in the previous use of the rooms was touching, it was as if the history made her blood boil. Holding her favourite doll tightly in her arms, she told it she was going to bring the castle back to its original glory but that her father had to die first as Mummy once cried that he was spending all the money and if there came no end to it, they would be poor as a church mouse in no time. Not that Edrea ever saw a church mouse but with Mummy being so very sad, it must be extremely poor.


   The little girl did not know what she was thinking and wishing, yet her wish was fulfilled when she was 10 years old and riding her pony during the hunting event. For the first time her father showed some interest in his daughter who looked so self assured in her riding outfit. Everybody who looked at her saw what a beautiful woman she was going to be. Father and daughter guided their horses in a slightly different direction than most of the hunters. No one could tell why they did it, who's idea it was because after the accident Edrea did not say a word about what happened.
   She came back alone, a straight back and no emotions when she told one of the footman to get some help while she was going to see her mother to tell her “father was thrown of his horse and not breathing any more”.


   Edrea nor her mother cried a tear about the loss. They never spoke about it either, at least not in front of other people. The mother took over the finances and after a year of sleepless nights, paying creditors and talking to all staff members she managed to save the castle from it's downfall. We all admired her for her effort and our loyalty to her was stronger than ever.
    It was around this time that I decided it was the right moment to arrange a meeting between Walwyn and Edrea. Yes, you are right, they new each other already but they never met in his world.
    At one day Edrea found the door of one of the rooms that was always closed, open. You might think it was odd that she never asked why it was closed, to whom it belonged or what was in it. She only tried the doorknob once and never again in the following 6 years. But today she walked into the room as if she knew it was open and waiting for her. In a sense it was, I arranged it.
    She looked round and walked to the large chest that stood open. She closed the lid and sat down on it; her feet crossed and her hands folded. Very much at ease she absorbed the atmosphere in the room where the family stored old belongings that were not used any more. She looked at her pram and smiled raising her hand if she wanted to touch it but she was to far away.

   “Hello grandfather Walwyn”, she spoke. “I am glad it is time to meet you. Will you guide me?” Walwyn smiled, opened his arms and looked at me for approval. I nodded, it was indeed the right moment.
    The two people with so many generations in between but so alike, walked hand in hand in my direction. I opened Edrea's eyes and the door and bowed when they passed me. I carefully shot the door and waited for their return.

   The old man dressed in a purple velvet jacket, a white blouse with lace collar and sleeves, trousers just over his knees, white stockings and shiny black shoes with silver buckles, his long grey hair held together with a beautiful purple ribbon, watched the young girl that looked like a little princes in her white dress with also a purple ribbon at the back. He was so proud of her and made a promise that the man who would hurt her was going to have a miserable and timely death; he did not hesitate a year ago and he would not hesitate doing it again. Particularly with this precious descendent at his side; they proved to be a good team.......


   I stand here in reflection, my heart full of melancholy.
When I think of Edrea I have to admit I fell in love with her. She was not only beautiful but also kind and generous. The people who were honest to her, knew they found a very loyal friend. She was never tired of looking after them in any way she could think of. They were always welcome in the castle and there was always food and a bed available to those who made a long journey to see her.
Photo: @marshallubx (Instagram)
  
   She did keep her promise to restore the castle to it's former glory. I can not tell you how she did it but somehow it happened, probably with the help of Walwyn who knew the castle so well and who revealed all it's secrets to her.
   Walwyn kept his promise to protect Edrea who's marriage only lasted a few months before her husband died. There were no children.
  
   Edrea moved permanently to Walwyn's world a very long time ago. And to you it might look if the caste is abandoned but you can be very mistaken.
Maybe you are related to the two people I loved most in my life, who knows. I hope so!
   Try.... stand in front of me and tell me if you too see in me the light behind the other door to the other world.....


Word of thanks: the photo of @marshallubx (Instagram)) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Marshall!

Links: please visit the beautiful Instagram account of @marshallubx

Note: the story is pure fiction! A figment of my imagination!

Helen

The Two Evils (short story)

    “Yes Mary, same cut and curls as last time!!” and whispering to her neighbour: “I have never seen such a stupid cow like Mary. My last visit was a week ago! You should think she remembered that do you?” And louder: “Yes Mary, you are a good girl, hurry hurry, we want our tea first!”

   With 'we' she meant her neighbour Dorothy and herself, Annabelle. The two ladies met each other at the hairdressers about 30 years ago and became 'weekly' friends. Although they had so much in common, they never met privately. If you ask yourself why they only met once a week I can tell you it is because they had more to gossip about.
   They crawled through life like a crab through the sea and gathered with their sharp claws every messy detail about people. And if there wasn't anything, they made it up. Outside the hairdressers they went to Bingo nights, dance clubs, women gatherings, shopping malls, you name it. They were everywhere but never together.

   Both were single, not voluntarily. Both had been married. Annabelle's marriage only lasted for two years before her husband disappeared with only leaving a note and the address of a solicitor. It turned out he met a young girl that did not have a tongue as sharp as that of Annabelle who was of course furious! She never stopped talking about her divorce and guess who she blamed...... you do not have to be a genius to know the answer, do you?

   Dorothy's husband Andrew was a very different story. He was a timid man who did not say much (well, how could he always being overruled...). Some called him shy, some called him humble. What ever he was, he definitely could not be competitive with his wife and almost everybody felt sorry for him. Men asked him for a night out in the Pub but noticed that this was horror for the poor man. He constantly looked at his watch and disappeared when others became more talkative after a few beers. And one day Andrew stopped going out, no one remembers if he just did not go any more or that the other men stopped asking.

   Actually, no one saw him outdoors after he lost his job. The redundancy is still remembered in the village because Dorothy who was afraid she could not afford the hairdresser (thus the evil gossiping) any more, cycled to Andrew's employer and started a row no one had ever seen or heard off before.
   It did not help, the boss was not impressed and it took him only 5 minutes to get Dorothy back on her bicycle. Neither was he afraid that the woman's sharp tongue was going to do his business harm. But here he was wrong, he forgot about Annabelle; the two together díd harm to his company and within 4 years he moved else where, leaving more people unemployed. But by then Andrew was resting in his grave at the local cemetery for already 3 years.

   People say he just faded away. His energy and spirit extinguished like a flame who ran out of oxygen. Everybody knew who consumed the oxygen but did not dare to say it straight in her face, afraid what was going to happen next.

   Another thing the villagers never talked about (in public, let alone near Dorothy and Annabelle) was the amount of money Dorothy spent on the hairdresser and cloths. Andrew had a very modest job in alignment with his character so where all the money came form remained a question for ever. Even Annabelle did not know which caused a minor disturbance in their relationship for a while. But because there was no one else in the village with the same skills of curling a tongue around other people's misery, they restored their friendship and booked their weekly visit for a hairdo.
   The owner of the barbershop, Jean, soon found out that the ladies were very willing to pay for a session of a few hours. She also noticed that other clients avoided her shop when the 'Two Evils' as they were called, were present. She came up with a marvellous solution: the shop closed on Thursday afternoon for 'ordinary' people as she told the two ladies. She convinced them that this was their exclusive afternoon, including a high tea. The ladies truly believed they were that exclusive and looked down on everybody who's hair was done on a different day.
   Jean told a different story to her other clients who of course, knew that this version was the right one. They were all afraid of the pair of sharp tongues and it was a local relief not to be in the shop together with them. And this way the barbershop flourished as never before.


   “Mary, what on earth have you done to the sandwiches!”, the loud voice caused Mary very negative goose bumps and almost in tears she apologized and ran to Jean who put her arms around poor Mary, promising her she was going to take care of it. Patiently she listened to the complaints and said it was never going to happen again. It did not matter if she apologized or not, soon the whole village was going to know about a bad service, carelessly sliced bread and dry scones.

   Jean returned to her desk to check the upcoming appointments with clients she liked, careful not to smile seeing a name of someone who was dear to her; the Two Evils never took their eyes of her and made up a story with every move of a muscle in Jean's face. In the meantime she tried to filter the loud gossip from the wishes of the two who now shouted at each other to outvote the noise of the hair dryers, neatly fitted next to each other at the wall.
   Jean learned not to be angry hearing all the lies about the nice people. She learned, yes indeed, to feel sorry for these two wicked souls that had nothing else to do in life. How on earth can you thrive on other peoples misery. Or worse: how can you make up stories if there isn't anything to talk about.... What went wrong in the heads of the Two Evils when they were young?

   Jean could simply not believe they were born like this. Of course, every one in the village was familiar with a small portion of gossip, like in every other village or street. But she could not remember meeting people who were so horrible.
   Neither did she remember who invented the expression 'curling your tongue around other people's misery' but it explained exactly what happened in the mouth of her two gossiping clients. If you managed to look at them without being seen, you literary saw their tongues curling, tasting, black stinking saliva almost dripping from their mouth. You could hear them chewing the gossip, chewing to squeeze every drop out of the stories until it was ready to be spit out; a moment Jean hated.


   Thinking this she noticed that she indeed started to hate the Two Evils. It shocked her, she had always been very down to earth; hate and anger were never part of her character. Is this what the 'exclusive afternoons' did to her? Grew the hate so strong that the other five and a half days with the nice clients were not enough to balance her feelings? Or was it the dream she had last night that caused a furious hate? The dream in which the Two Evils were silenced for ever?

   Jean's eyes moved from the list with the appointments to the hairdresser tools, in particularly the long narrow scissors with the extremely sharp point at the end. She tasted her own blood again when she accidentally stabbed her finger a few weeks ago. It was the first time in years she cut herself with her own tools.
Photo: @rurex_images (Instagram)
And the taste of blood... And her dream of last night.... And the loud – far too loud – voices under the hair dryers........

   Well, my dear readers, the barbershop has been abandoned a long time ago. After what happened nobody wanted to buy the building, let alone continuing the hairdresser activities.
No one in the village expected what happened that Thursday afternoon, honestly, no one! But it did happen. Please let it be a warning to all of you: never step into the shoes of the Two Evils.

   And before I forget, please do not enter the decaying shop. The building is soaked with evil gossip which drips from the walls, cracking the floors beyond repair.



Word of thanks: the photo of @rurex_images (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you!

Links: please visit the beautiful Instagram account of @rurex_images

Note: the story is pure fiction! A figment of my imagination! 

Helen 

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Shackles (short story)

    He could not take his eyes of her, she was beautiful! The way she laughed, the way she moved and even the way she held her pint. A relative simple thing holding a pint but she almost made it an art. Her long fingers with the purple nails that shone in the light, a ring on every finger, touched the glass as if it was pure crystal; it caused a stir in his belly.

   He loved jewellery and touched his own golden chain with the large and very solid shackles around his neck; something he often did. He paid a hideous amount of money for it. The deep yellow coloured beautifully by his black earrings in the delicate golden settings and the complicated tattoo in his neck.
    No, he was definitely not Mr. Average! He was not dull or dreary. The girls in the Gym loved him and although he had never been in love with one of them, he made love to quite a few. Usually one night stands but who cared; his whole life was still in front of him and the workouts to improve his already impressive shape, were more important than walking around with a high heeled and half naked sexy girl on his muscular arm.
    To be honest, as soon as a girl showed signs of claiming him, he backed off immediately. He was not well educated but the girls that fancied him were worse. It was fine as long as they flattered him but as soon as they started talking about wedding dresses or even worse, children, his underdeveloped brains registered 'DANGER'. Indeed in capitals, red capitals. All alarm bells went off and he started the only defence he knew: ignoring. Quite often if not always, the girl moved on to another fellow bodybuilder.

   But this girl in the Pub was different. He knew she was far more intelligent, he could tell by the look in her eyes. The way she looked at him. He noticed immediately that he caught her attention and the stir in his belly became stronger when she smiled at him without interrupting the conversation with the girl next to her who was less beautiful but like her friend muscular and with stunning legs.
He was not interested in the other girl, he was interested in 'purple nails' as he called her until he found out what her real name was. And he was desperate to find that out as soon as possible!

   He finished his drink, rolled his muscles while he watched the two girls.
'Purple nails' whispered something in the ear of her friend who now turned round to take a look at him. This must be his very lucky night; two amazing girls, two Amazons who were clearly interested in him. He smiled back and lowered his eye lids halfway. He was well aware of the effect he had with his long dark eye lashes and mysterious green eyes and again he was successful: the girls winked and raised their glasses. He knew not to look too greedy and he tilted his head a little, smiled and looked around if he wanted to say: “You probably mean someone else instead of me?” The girls laughed and winked again.
    He left his stool and walked slowly to impress them with his godly body; the golden chain sparkled by every move.
The girls kept smiling but did not giggle; another proof so he thought, that they were different than the Gym Groupies. They introduced themselves as Suzie and Janet, two ordinary names for two extraordinary girls, this crossed his mind before he mentioned his own name: Alejandro (which was of course not his real name but it sounded so more exotic than Alex).

   The girls, who admired his body while he stood in between them hoping there would soon be a stool available so he could show them his mighty thighs in the best position, offered him a pint but he refused and offered them a drink instead. “What ever you want, I pay” and took his wallet from his pocket. A wallet with a chain, particularly after last night's deal where he earned a lot of money! He was not stupid so left a part of it at home but he was going to use a great amount of it tonight to treat his 'Amazons'.
    The girls said they did not want expensive drinks as he looked like someone who worked hard for his money. An honest person they did not want to rip off.
But he said that money was not a problem and joked that he could always sell his 20 carat chain. Suzie with the purple nails, bend over to touch the chain and made sure she also softly scratched his skin, knowing the effect it was going to have on him. “Is it really gold?” she asked admiringly. “Aren't you afraid someone is going to steal it from you?”

   He laughed, moved his arms and said: “Have you seen my muscles? No one will dare to steal it!” Both girls stared with large admiring eyes at his muscles and asked if they could feel how strong they were.
He almost blushed when 2 pair of elegant hands folded around his arms and softly squeezed. Suzie squeezed a little longer than Janet as if she was reluctant to let him go. He watched her eyes and noticed she bit on her lower lip which was, he thought, extremely sexy. The stir in his belly changed into another feeling of which he hoped it was no visible for her. But both girls were polite and kept looking at his eyes. Janet mentioned his long eye lashes and the green colour of his eyes: “Like a grassy field in the morning dew, aren't they Suzie?”  
   And Suzie agreed, telling him she never saw green eyes like his before and that, oh how cheeky she was, the colour must change into a deep green like a wild ocean when he was emotional.
It was at this point that he fell for Suzie, his heart started to race and his blood pressure did things to his body that were not appropriate in a Pub.
   And suddenly he wanted to leave the Pub, wanting to go somewhere where he could make love to her, even if it was with Janet too. He could handle it as along as Suzie was part of it. But of course you did not tell a lady this within the first 10 minutes after the introduction, so he behaved but was not sure for how long.

   The two girls knew exactly what was going on with Alejandro. They played this game before and always successful. It was not a coincidence they met him in the Pub, they knew from a friend Alejandro would have called a Gym Groupie, that he was going to be here. The friend that knew about last night's deal because Alejandro did have more muscles than brains and because he loved himself more than anything else... well... apart from his golden chain and other jewellery of course he bragged about.
    He was such an easy victim and like so many men before him, overwhelmed by the charm of Suzie and the prospect of an evening full of fun and beyond with two girls! He was a young stallion with racing hormones and they knew how to handle him.
   It was not very likely that he was going to remember much tomorrow, the pills in combination with the alcohol were going to do their work. As soon as the mist in his head would clear up, he was going to have a lot of questions; not only about Suzie and Janet who he was not going to recognize again - if there was a chance of meeting again anyway, wigs, false lashes, coloured lenses were mighty weapons - but also about some if his precious belongings.
    But how little did all of three knew how the evening was going to end. Never before had the pills such an effect on someone. Instead of making him sleepy before his wild night started, it made him psychotic and he fought for his life. He was out of control, cried, yelled and frantically waved his arms to chase away the demons that occupied his not so developed brains.....


   The jogger that lost his way in the woods because his mind was elsewhere, discovered an old rusty car he had never seen before. He looked around but did not even see a path. How could he have been so stupid?
The sun disappeared behind the clouds and did not guide him where to go.
The temperature dropped quickly and standing still, he felt the cold. He took the fleece from his rucksack and put it on. It felt much warmer but there was still a cold feeling he could not explain and which caused unpleasant shivers and goosebumps. He looked at his mobile to find the GPS and to run home from there.
Photo: @beautifully_derelict_ni (Instagram)
   He walked a few metres back and forth before he had a good signal and doing this, his elbow bounced against the old car. Ouch! His free hand rubbed his painful elbow while he looked through a window that was covered in green moss. At first he did not know what he saw but very slowly his brains digested what was in the back of the car. What looked like a heap of cloths, turned out to be a body. Or what was left of it. Black holes instead of eyes and a mouth. Teeth grinning at him. The skull was visible in between the decaying dry chin that looked like leather.

   The jogger sighed in relief, as a pathologist he had seen worse and he knew his first impression was going to be helpful for the police he was going to call right now with the coordinates of this place. It was within his district and he knew he was going to do the post mortem, very curious to know if indeed the only thing that still remained as it was, caused the death by strangulation: the golden chain with the massive and solid shackles.


Word of thanks:the photo of @beautifully_derelict_ni (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Jules! X

Link: please visit the beautiful Instagram account of @beautifully_derelict_ni

Note: the story is pure fiction! A figment of my imagination!


Helen

  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Case Closed (short story)

    He felt sick. He thought he knew what to expect, after all it was not his first case and not the first dead body he saw although he was one of the youngest detectives at the police station.

   He nodded to the constable who nervously looked in the other direction, avoiding looking at the victim. The poor guy who's dreams after this night shift were probably going to be haunted by images of this night.
The full moon shed a spooky light on the scene and reflected in the wide open eyes of the man that lay on his back, his mouth wide open in a horrifying grimace; a loud scream frozen in the last seconds of his life.

   The still visible part of the blade of the knife in his chest glanced in the moonlight and the fingers that were cramped around the handle were white and ghostly.
The white shirt was stained with large amounts of blood that found it's way to the cinders that paved the path to the coal mines, closed not long ago.
    “What a terrible place to die...” The voice of his chief who laid a comforting hand on his shoulder, spoke the words he just thought. “The team is on it's way John. Constable, can you please keep curious journalists and other riff-raff from the scene? No doubt they are already on their way. You are getting help from your colleagues.”
The constable nodded, glad he didn't have to stay here any longer, he realized it was going to be a long night. 

   John and his superior Roy both stared at the dead man and both had the feeling there was something very strange about this murder but without extra light than that of the moon and without touching the body before the doctor arrived, the knife was the only witness of how the man died.
Murder was not too common in this area in the 60's. 'Love and Peace' was the message and not 'Kill'. Idyllic thoughts in a world of wars, strikes, closing mines and poverty.

   The wind gained in strength and both men tried to hide in the warmth of their coats. A car stopped, it was the pathologist - not a man of many words - who used a torch to walk to the spot where the men gathered. He raised his hat in a greet, put his case down, pulled up his trousers and crouched down near the body. He observed it closely before touching it: “A very unusual knife... the handle suggests it is a knife with a very long blade. I would not be surprised if it went right through the chest to exit it at the back. Not a knife you find a the ordinary kitchen. I can tell you more after he is on my table. I do not want to roll the body over just now. Can you arrange it to be transported in this position?”
John and Roy nodded, it was the knife that gave both men the feeling there was something strange about it.

   Then the doctor stretched his arm and his fingers carefully closed the eyes of the diseased. It was then that John realized he more or less held his breath, he let it go with a feeling of relief. It helped him feeling better not to see the man's eyes any more. Although he was dead it was as if the tremendous fear for the killing was still visible in the eyes. Eyes that saw the murderer; the knife was driven into the chest with great force. John wondered if the man had been in shock, either by the brutal attack or the pain. Did he feel the pain immediately? Did he realize immediately what happened to him? Did he know his killer?

   The photographer arrived with his camera, a Hassleblad with all necessary options. He installed the flash and asked the pathologist if he wanted some special shots. He promised to take close shots from the knife and to come to the mortuary tomorrow afternoon. He took photo's from all possible angles; the light flashed dominantly in the dark. Soon he was ready, packed his camera and left again after promising to deliver the developed photo's around 10 AM at the station, the best he could do, and left together with the pathologist. John smiled at him; the photographer must have seen terrible things, worked ridiculous hours but never complained. He wondered if he had a family and if so, how they coped with his job. John was still single although he had very special feelings for a lovely girl he met at a party not long ago. They went out a few times but he never told her he was a detective; she thought he was a constabable.

   Despite the bustle at the scene, there were still no spectators or journalists which was only good. A murder in this community wasn't something they wanted in the news papers straight away. First they wanted to find out who the man was. Even Roy, who knew almost everybody around here, did not recognize the man.
    The car with the men form the mortuary arrived not long after and the body was carefully packed in a large black bag. The sound of the zip was loud in the silent night. The men placed the body on the stretcher and walked away with it, leaving John and Roy behind.

   They used their torches to examine the soil where the body had laid. The white sheet of paper, clearly visible in the light, moved in the wind. Both men stared at it before John grabbed it, afraid it would blow away.
They examined it carefully; the blood on it was mingled with the ink of the handwritten text. Hopefully the Lab could find out what was written.
    Then the light revealed a sharp cut in the middle of the paper. A cut obviously made by the knife.
The two detectives stared at the cut, then at each other. The wind felt suddenly very chilly when they realized the letter was pinned to the point of the knife after the victim was stabbed and before the body was placed in the position in which they found it. They understood immediately they had to look for a cold and unscrupulous killer...... This case was not going to be easy.

   The years passing by proved the first gut feeling of both detectives to be right; the killer was never found, nor the identity of the victim. The man wasn't a local and a photo in the newspapers – even nation wide – didn't bring a solution either. The man was not registered at Interpol and did not answer any description of missing persons.
    Also the origin of the strange knife that indeed had a long narrow and extremely sharp blade was never revealed. The conclusion with which the file of 'John Doe' was closed, was 'unknown male in his 40's, probably not British. Buried at the local cemetery June 1968, number 23'.

   But John had never forgotten the case. Every time he thought about it, he felt a little of the sickness during the night he saw the body. And he remembered his promise to himself to find out who it was and what happened.
   
   Due to the closing of the coal mines, people moved away from the small village and John's colleagues either retired or moved to other police stations in the nearby town. John stayed, not aware his drive to solve the case made him ill. He wasn't bad enough to be taken into a mental hospital and he wasn't dangerous. He still had access to the old police station where the files from a long time ago where left behind. A few people who felt sorry for Old John as he was called now, looked after him and made sure nothing happened.
Photo: @be.lost.in.time (Instagram)
    John not aware of this all any more, kept reading the old files over and over again.. The next day he had forgotten what he read and about who; the only thing that was pinned in his mind was to find the murderer of 'John Doe'.
   Until the day that one of the people that looked after John, an old lady, found the office empty. The chaos was enormous, files piled on top of each other, dust and cob webs everywhere. The smell of decay mingled with the fainting smell of John's favourite aftershave; a smell that nestled it self in the room after many decennia of police work. The old lady asked for help and looked everywhere for John but there was no trace of him. She reported it to the police who came, took her statement and sealed the office after moving all the files to a new place in the archive of the police station in town. But not before a note was added. A note that said 'Case Closed'.


Word of thanks: the photo of @be.lost.in.time (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am I am very grateful. Thank you Morrígan!

Link: please visit the beautiful Instagram account of @be.lost.in.time


Note: the story is pure fiction. A figment of my imagination!

Helen

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Search (short story)

   She was old and lonely.
Many years ago her husband left her for another woman, nothing new here. It happens all the time and causes very good reasons to feel desperate and betrayed.

   She laughed, her good sense of humour helped her to survive and to live her own life.
Of course back then she was angry at him and yes there were a few betrayed feelings; the roses all of a sudden should have warned her. But how could she be very angry? She knew that some men in their 50's exchanged their wives for a much younger and above all more beautiful example of the female race. An example without wrinkles, a wasp waist and with other parts that were not sagging. Brains seemed not important anymore.
   But her husband fell in love with one of the most ugliest women she ever met. Also without brains! A woman that always smiled, even when the subject wasn't funny or nice. A stupid laugh and not an intelligent word at all. Big and round, far beyond voluptuous with an old fashioned perm in her hair. A woman who preferred slippers instead of shoes; filthy slippers with holes where her large toes touched the ground. How on earth could she be jealous??

   After the first shock she wished him good luck, she did not even want to know what the attraction of her 'rivale' was. No, she choose to get on in live although easier said than done. She received a little financial support from her now ex husband and in those days there was no Social Service. She had to earn her own living and set her creative mind to work. Always very clever with needle and thread she made beautiful flowers from cloth in all different colours and sizes.
   To her own astonishment, people loved them and she even received orders. Soon she had enough savings to start her own shop in real and artistic flowers. And she flourished;  she lost weight, could afford a good hairdresser, bought new cloths instead of making them.

   One day her ex husband entered the shop to buy flowers for his wife but did not know it was the shop of his ex. As soon as he looked at her, his eyes grew large and then he blinked a few times. His brains worked hard to digest what he saw and he stuttered when he wanted to say hello.
She did nothing to help him, she smiled with a twinkle in her eye end knew she lost all the hard feelings for him.
   His throat felt very dry so he scraped a few times and than squeezed: "Well....uuhhm... how are you?" She did not answer but waved her hand to tell him 'look for your self'. "Uhm, this is all yours??" She nodded and then asked if he wanted to buy flowers.
Yes, he wished roses for his wife and while he said this, he did not dare to look her in the eyes and blushed all over. She grinned, winked at him to let him know she knew exactly that he had a guilty conscious, why else would he buy roses?
   He paid and left the shop in a great hurry, she knew he was not going to return.

   Although she looked years younger and of course more attractive and although men loved to visit her shop, there was no one she felt attracted to. Not that she was looking for a man, lover, husband, what ever but in the back of her head was this little voice that told her she was not going to be younger and one day she was too old to run her shop and what if she was still on her own?
No one to laugh with, no one to cuddle, to keep her warm during the night, to share the good ánd the bad moments in life with?

   Then came the day that she sold the shop. Her legs started to ache and the long hours caused a serious fatigue. She sold it for a very good price and did not have to worry about money anymore. She earned her own pension and she was very proud of it. She was not going to spend much, never liked travelling and loved being at home with an occasional visit to the local Pub. And eating her favourite brand of peanuts.
   Unfortunately she had to spend money on the dentist; one of the disadvantages of growing old. There was so much wrong with her teeth in her upper jaw that they decided to extract them all; a very painful time. But she looked forward to her new teeth and since she had a choice, she wanted white ones. The dentist disagreed, telling her it did not suit her age. But it was her money and thus new sparkling white teeth, like a film star. Three months later she was the happy owner of a neat pink denture. She treasured it, kept it clean and during the night it sat in a glass of water next to her bed.

   Se was aware of the fact that men were most likely not going to like her denture, they wanted pure and original. Stupid really because at this age not many men still walked around with their original teeth!
After all the hustle and bustle around the visits to the dentist, her life seemed empty. Her already occasional visits to the local Pub became less frequent since they started Bingo nights which she hated.
She loved reading but her books were not satisfying enough and the news papers kept repeating doom and gloom.
   Yet it were the little ads in the newspaper that drew her attention, especially the ones where people were looking for marriage. To her surprise there were more ads than she ever knew; why had she never seen them before? Probably because she was not interested.
   For a few weeks she read and read and seriously thought about placing one too but she wanted a very original text, one that would attract everybody's attention. One that people were going to talk about. But that only needed the serious attention of one man: humorous and not put off by her false teeth.......

    The visitor of the abandoned house walked with respect amongst the silent witnesses of a life that came to a halt a long time ago. Or maybe even two lives although there was little evidence.
A grime dust, typical for this part of the city back in the 60's and 70's, covered all the belongings of the lady that lived here. The visitor knew it was a lady, there was a very feminine touch to the house.

Real flowers, now dry and faded. Roses made of old cloth but beautifully done. Romantic books probably not bought by a man.
Photo: @my_urbex (Instagram)
And much more. Though one of the most odd things she found was a tin with a complete denture. Curiously she studied the teeth and noticed the upper ones being slightly whiter than the lower ones. Maybe of a younger date? Did the owner first had her lower teeth extracted? There was no one around to tell her, it remained a puzzle for ever she thought.

   But she was wrong, if she had found the one and only and carefully folded newspaper that was left in the house, she would have read the following ad:

   "Single woman with upper denture, seeks single man with lower denture to chew peanuts together".


Word of thanks: the photo of @my_urbex  (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Sandra!

Link: please visit the beautiful Instagram account of @my_urbex

Note: the story is pure fiction! A figment of my imagination!

Helen

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Hall (short story)

-5-

2006

    Gwyland Mureall MacQuilken set down with in her hand the letter of the grandmother she never met and who was never talked about. One of those many family secrets she never understood.
    Being the only daughter of two people who loved each other and her but who had a very strange approach to live. They were no hermits but avoided socializing and lived in a fairly remote area. She never had friends from school at home and was also never invited as if the other children knew there was something strange with her family.
    With no brothers and sister to play with, she often felt very lonely and was happy with the company of their animals. The poor cat was dressed like a doll but did not mind. The dogs were her best friends and when older, she made long rides on her horse.
    This was the stage in life she started to question their way of living. Questioning why she never received answers asking after her grandparents from both sides.
She did not know where they lived and if they were still alive. Was she named after one of her grandmothers? And why there were no letters or phone calls from them.
   Her father, a freelance photographer, had an Australian accent but not her mother, after all those years she still had a British accent. Gwyland learned not to ask questions any more but that did not mean she did not have them.

   She more or less escaped from home at the age of 19 and lived with a good friend until she found a job in Sydney as an assistant bookkeeper and telephonist with a solicitor. Her employer was very happy with her and it did not take long before she was a full time bookkeeper, she definitely had a good eye for numbers.
    Although she loved the job and the people she worked for, there was in the background always that strange feeling that she belonged elsewhere. Australia was beautiful and the people were nice but sometimes she felt homesick to a more enclosed and traditional area without knowing why.
    She was not very good in relationships outside the office and saved as much as possible money for her one wish: leaving Australia to find at least the roots from mother's side in the UK. She did not know where to start but hoped backpacking in a country so much smaller than where she was born, was going to reveal where she felt home. This was for Gwyland not a question but a certainty.

   At the age of 24 she told her employer about her plans. He was very sorry to see her going but he knew already for some time she did not feel at home in this country. He gave her a large bonus and his blessings, hoping to hear from her in the near future. And if she ever needed a recommendation, he was more than happy to write one.
    Gwyland left and travelled to her parents with whom she had little contact. If they were surprised to see her, they did not tell. And they did not show any emotions when she told them she was going to Europe. Maybe a little curiosity when they asked where in Europe but Gwyland replied she was going to Spain and would get in touch by e-mail. Her intuition told her not to tell them she booked a flight to London. She stayed for two days and then left, no one shed a tear still she felt hurt and did not understand she was their daughter. She never doubted she was, there were too many similarities in the features of her and her parents. But her emotions and heart must be inherited from a more emotional ancestor and she was going to find out who.

   All this passed her mind after reading the letter of her grandmother Rhiennon Mureall Rhydderch nee Abernathy, born and bred in Crickcelyn in Wales and wife of the local solicitor Emrys Rhydderch.
Nothing happens without a reason; when Gwyland ran out of savings she heard about a solicitor looking for a bookkeeper. As soon as she arrived in Wales, she knew she was at home and as soon as she entered the office, she felt like stepping into comfortable shoes. She arrived home without understanding why.

    Her employer too understood nothing was happening without a reason after his father told him Gwyland was the spitting image of the wife of his old employer back in the 50's.
He dug up the old file that he found in the desk of the secretary (granddaughter of the first solicitor) that worked here but who suddenly disappeared in 1977. Back then he was too young to remember but the whole village talked about it for years and years. He did however remember the many visits from the farmer called Old Ed who died at a very high age in the 90's, though he never understood where his father and Old Ed talked about as they did have so little in common.
The file was still sealed and according to his father it had to remain sealed until Gwyland was willing to receive her inheritance after reading the letter of her grandmother.
    Gwyland still unknown about the file and still renting a room in the local Inn while looking for a house to rent, went to the pub for a drink; she needed it, she also hoped for some company to distract her thoughts from the letter; she was not ready to let it sink in and to go to the office to talk about it.

   It wasn't busy in the pub, just a few local people and a stranger who was looked at if he was an exotic insect although his accent was very British and his blond hair and blue eyes everything but exotic.
   His name was Henry Cavendish and he watched Gwyland when she walked with a scotch in her hand to a table in the corner near the window. Even without thinking he looked at her hands and did not see an engagement or wedding ring. He looked at her face and agreed to himself that she was a beautiful woman. Her classic and almost aristocratic features were out of place in this pub. He felt the need to meet her but did not want to disturb her thoughts. He recognized the way she looked inside her head.


   Gwyland had the feeling she was watched and when she looked up, her eyes met two blue ones behind the table at the other end of the Pub. Neither the owner nor she blinked when their eyes met, it did not feel uncomfortable. Reason for the blond and very tall visitor to raise from his chair to introduce himself to Gwyland who in return, raised and shook hands. It did not take long before they had an animated conversation exchanging professions. Henry was an architect involved in a large project in the nearest town where he stayed in a hotel but not being happy with the 24 hours noise of a town. He preferred the countryside and had just booked a room in the local Inn.
    They had a very pleasant evening and felt reluctant to part. But Gwyland was tired and needed her sleep before she had to go back to the office the next morning, knowing her employer wanted to talk to her first.

   The next day was one never to forget. She got a day off to let it sink in and to visit the house of her grandmother that had not be lived in for a long time but was now hers; she inherited it. She was very curious in what state it was because she was very determined to make it liveable. A house of her own and not just 'a' house but the house of the woman who's twin sister she could be if there were not two generations in between.
And then there was the file her boss showed her, the file she was only allowed to open in his presence and that of his father. This afternoon at 4 PM.
   Gwyland noticed the exterior of the house was well looked after. The paint was in good condition like the roof, the windows and the lawn. She wondered if her grandmother left orders in her will to maintain the house.
Inside it was dusty but not too bad. It was still furnished and definitely needed proper cleaning and probably also new curtains and upholstery but that was something she could do herself.
    After viewing the downstairs, she finally reached the room upstairs with the dress from the letter.
She touched the lace and for a moment she thought she smelled Lilly of the Valley but then it was gone. She held the lace against her cheek, like her grandmother did when she found it. And finally came the tears. Tears she never shed in her whole life. Tears of sadness for the past and tears of happiness for her future. She did nothing to stop them, even if she had wanted so, she could not.

   When Gwyland arrived at the office at 4 PM, father and son both noticed her swollen eyes but did not mention it. They could only guess about her childhood and understood the emotions the letter caused.
    Now it was time for the file and not even the old solicitor knew what was in it, there were only instructions in an old will of the former owner of The Hall, to open it when they found his legitimate offspring. And there was also the will of Rhiennon Rhydderch nee Abernathy who was not only leaving her house to Gwyland but also a fortune.
    As well as father and son as Gwyland, could never have guessed that she not only inherited her grandmother's house and fortune but also The Hall with all the furniture that in 1939 was transported to a large barn not far from here. A barn that belonged to Old Ed who left it to the son of Elgar who knew exactly it's history and what to do as soon as the solicitors contacted him.
    It was very late at night when Gwyland returned to the Inn after being assured to take the rest of the week off to come to terms with her inheritance and to visit The Hall.

   The weeks passed by before the whole story was told and all the paperwork was done with Gwyland being emotional ready to step back in time. To meet her roots, to step in the footprints of her ancestors.
    She wanted to know if The Hall was in a condition to be restored with the money left to her by her grandmother. If so they could open it to the public to receive money in return. For the restoration part she needed a professional advice and who else could do this better than Henry who became a very dear friend. For the time being she did not want to admit she felt more for him than friendship.
    And Henry was delighted to support her when she set foot in The Hall for the very first time in her life. He felt honoured and emotional but of course he had fallen in love with Gwyland head over heals but did not dare to mention it yet.
Photo: @riposta7 (Instagram)

    
    Charlotte, Rhiennon and Gwlithen, both long gone but after their death reunited, watched the two young people walking through the gate of the Hall. And looking into the future they smiled, knowing it would not take long before the beautiful dress with the lace skirt was going to serve as a wedding dress.





Word of thanks: the photo of @riposta7 on Instagram inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Mariusz!

Link: please visit the beautiful Instagram account of @riposta7

Note: this is the last story of a series of 5. The Story is pure fiction! A figment of my imagination!

Helen