An article I have written for Cornish Retreats advertising St Michael’s Mount and Marazion. Follow the link here.
A write-up for Mousehole Christmas lights that I have written has been published on Cornish Retreats. Check out the article here.
Quite a strange one, not sure where it’s going at the moment but it was fun to write! Enjoy…
Quiet nights always came as a blessing. A cool, soft breeze whispered through the air. Faintly illuminated by a vibrant moon alone in the sky, ever jubilant to be free from the tangling webs of the clouds. The silence of the winter’s evening was pure and delicate, almost unnerving to the solitary traveller. All creatures were hidden away and even the crickets and bats were nowhere to be seen or heard.
Little Lucy May was on her way home. Her footsteps lightly tapped along the concrete leading up the hill to her estate. Clip clap clip clap she went, occasionally silenced by soft turf as her feet took her from pavements to grass patches and back again. Her breath was soft despite the determination of her pace. The sharpness of the air cut away at the back of her nose, raw against the cold she gritted her teeth and kept her head down; intent on keeping her journey as short and precise as it needed to be. Her small silhouette flitted between the occasional streetlamp, street cats gazed at her from beneath parked cars, completely indifferent to her passing presence. Like the cats she knew the terrain well, barely having to raise her eyes from the ground as she twisted and turned through the dark. Before long she had reached the destination she knew as home. A terrace house just like the rest. The front door clicked open and she slipped inside.
Little Lucy May, hear us as we pray, we’re longing for your pardon, Little Lucy May…
A young girl all of eighteen years. Some said she had a pretty face, a kind girl all the same. A quiet girl all the same. She was very neat about her ways. Being very sure not to bring dirt into the house she cautiously removed her shoes after rubbing them against the doormat, then proceeded to remove her coat and hang it in its proper place in the cupboard under the stairs. Satisfied that everything was in check, she wandered into the kitchen where the clanging together of plates was heard.
They came crashing to the floor. Shards of china glistened invitingly upwards. Stacked incorrectly again, it seemed. Stacked carelessly to dry, teetering precariously against one another until a flutter of something-or-other brought them tumbling down. She sighed deeply. Her soft chocolate eyes tightened, darkened and thickened. Without pretence, her body swished round and took her to the stairs. Creak they went under the almost weightless pressure of her leather boots, creak they went all the same.
Upstairs. A closed door. An opened door. Standing in the doorway, Little Lucy May’s silhouette cast its shadow once more. A body squirmed in the blackened room, squirmed in her shadow. “Lucy, please! I’ll be more careful next time, one promises!” it babbled. The shadow entered the room and the door closed behind it. Case closed.
On the seventh day she cried for all her work was done, on the seventh day she lied for the sins she had become…
On the walls of the main room were shelves containing jars. In the jars was an assortment of creatures, each housing a unique resident. One contained a spider, a rather large one at that. It lay there all day; its long slender legs resting against the glass cage. Occasionally it would be fed. An unfortunate insect from the back garden perhaps, sometimes even one of the other residents if they hadn’t been behaving quite the right way. Maybe one day the spider would escape. Perhaps the spider would one day take a trip into one of its neighbours’ jars. There was a slip of paper stuck underneath the spider’s jar. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!
The following morning Lucy was up and ready for college. She ensured that she was dressed neatly and that everything was in check before she left the house. The contents of her bag were in check and with a level conscience she went outside. An overcast sky, cool and dry. Perfect weather. The journey to campus involved a short walk to the closest bus stop and a twenty-minute bus journey that dropped her right outside. There were others whom she came across on this journey day after day, and day after day she would ignore them just as they ignored her. The monotonous morning rituals were mundane for everyone and small talk was not something that would apparently lead to any liberty from that fact.
Copyright Daniel Aston 2013
She hadn’t wanted him to go with her. Instead he stayed at home, waiting. Pacing around endlessly in quiet desperation as to what would unfold within the next few hours. Into the living room his feet took him, eyes glued to the floor, hands clasped behind his back. The world outside gleamed into the room. The sun was dominating the rich blue sky; the weather had not been this pleased with itself for weeks if not months.
‘Why?’ he kept asking himself ‘Why!’ did she not want him to go with her, why was any of this happening at all? Inside a voice reassured him, reassured him that everything was going to be just fine, after all, they’d look back on this day and laugh. A brief, rather forced smile dissolved within due time as his eyes landed upon a photo that sat peacefully on the mantelpiece. It was their wedding photo. Captured forever in that image was a moment of euphoria. Gazing upon her face he saw how happy she was, how free they both were from the dangers of the real world; he saw how foolish they were back then.
He removed a tear from his eye and moved on. Inside, his stomach had turned to dust, his heart was pumping fast and he began to feel a little faint. Back into the kitchen his feet went, and where his feet went he would surely follow. A mug of lukewarm tea rested beside a plate of half-eaten toast. Pinned to the fridge door was a list of possible baby names. They had been trying for a baby for a few weeks now, the whole thing was exciting for everyone. In their excitement came a frenzy of pre-preparation. The names had already been shrunken to a final group of five, the many others crossed and scribbled out. His mind settled slightly as he pictured his future child, the three of them standing together as a family, living and enjoying life together. All the joys of parenthood awaited him, but his fantasy was rudely interrupted – by a knock at the door.
His heart lurched into his throat as he made his way for the front door. Everything slowed down, thoughts were no longer being processed, feelings ceased to function. Numb. All that mattered was the door. His sweaty hands gripped the handle and with one last forceful break, it swung open.
There she stood. Tears trickling down her face as her eyes stared softly into his. His heart remained wedged as he tried to speak, but try as he might words would not muster. In that moment he saw how beautiful she was. Her hair rested gently against her shoulders, her face pretty as ever. This was the woman he loved more than anything in the world. And then she said it. From her lips came the words he thought he would never hear. ‘It’s cancer’.
‘No, it can’t be.’ he muttered.
‘It’s terminal.’ she said. With that another steak was thrust into her husband’s chest.
‘Please to God, no!’
‘I love you.’ she cried as their bodies came together.
The man cradled his lover in his arms. He felt her body shake uncontrollably as his crumbled in unison. Outside the weather was in fine form. The best they’d seen in weeks.
THUMP! The football crashed against the garage door. The collision sent shockwaves through the house. An elderly gentleman struggled to his feet. He had been enjoying what he could of an afternoon nap in his recliner. Slowly and steadily, the old man made his way to the front door. The fury was churning up inside, but at the same time, so was the fear. The task of trying to appear menacing before a group of rebellious youths was something a man of his age could do without. One last deep breath and the door was open.
‘You damn kids clear off! If you put one dent in my garage I’ll put a dent in your reputation by calling the police!’ his lungs didn’t thank him for that burst of aggression, neither did his heart nor the rest of his body for that matter. Typically, by the time he’d got to the doorstep the majority of the ‘goons’ as he called them had dispersed.
‘Piss off, granddad!’ snarled the chief goon, who had stayed behind to collect his ball that was slowly rolling down the lawn. ‘You don’t have the guts!’ it snapped before returning to the rest of the pack.
The man was left beaten. Looking around he saw he was alone, nobody else had witnessed the incident. Upon checking the garage for any sign of damage it became clear there was none. No evidence. ‘Damn goons.’ he muttered, and stumbled back into the house.
That night he enjoyed a bowl of pasta alone. An old 70s hit was rambling on in the background. He gave up half way through – lost his appetite. His eyes gazed forward to an old mounted photo on the mantelpiece. It made him smile. It made him shed a tear. It was slightly faded, yet it still held its magic after all these years. ‘Damn goons.’ he spoke softly ‘They’ll never give me any peace.’ He spoke to the picture ‘Never mind, I’ll not be long now, dear.’
In the kitchen the clinking of cutlery and china sounded as they came together in perfect harmony. The man cleared away his meal and went to bed. As he lay there in the night he noticed that the wind was not howling and the rain was not tapping at the window. A silent night for once. He felt his eyes grow heavy and he soon drifted to sleep.
A bright light beamed. His eyes strained to open. The adjustment in vision was made and he couldn’t believe the sight he saw. It was as though an angel was floating at the end of the bed, smiling at him. He felt his heart stop. It was his wife before him. She was definitely there, he could see her. She was as beautiful as in the photo downstairs, no, even more beautiful. Her arm stretched out to meet his. Their hands touched. He noticed a small child beside her whom he didn’t recognise yet the child seemed to recognise him.
‘We’re free now.’
‘The River’ copyright Daniel Aston 2013