Happy Families – Finale

I reposted a short story that I wrote a couple of years ago about the discovery of a secret from the past. 

This is the final part:

 

I flicked through that infernal diary.

No, no mention of her wedding, but I stopped at another entry.

January 7th, 1918

Edgar and Theodore have enlisted. Emma and I both cried and begged them not to go. They looked so solemn. They had to go, they said. Foolish Pride! We had had such a lovely Christmas together, just the four of us and then they had to spoil it but joining the army. The war has been going on in Europe for some time, but America only joined in last year. I never knew why they did. What do we care about Europe?

Flick, flick.

November 15th, 1918

The war has ended. Finally, we have heard that Theodore and Edgar are coming home. They were both injured in battle and have been recovering at a Hospital in London but they should be home soon. Neither of them wrote about their injuries at all.

Emma and I have been getting on fine, keeping house together. We haven’t had an argument or a fight once, who would have thought it? 

This should be the best Thanksgiving ever.

 

November 22nd, 1918

Both Edgar and Theodore are different now. The war has made them withdrawn. I can understand why Edgar might have been affected by it, he’s lost and eye. Theodore doesn’t seem much damaged, he’s walking awkwardly but I couldn’t detect any other sign of injury at all.

 

Flick

February 14th, 1919

After months of pain down below I finally went to see Doctor Chinnery. He told me what I had begun to fear. My womb is deformed and I will never be able to have children. He told me it was probably something that happened to me as a child. I suddenly remembered when Emma had pushed me out of that tree house all those years ago. It was all her fault. She told me about Theodore’s war injury the other night too. Apparently, he had been shot, in the groin. So at least Emma won’t be having any children either, I don’t think I could bear that!

 

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I hadn’t gotten over how nasty and resentful Great Aunt Sally was coming across. She had always seemed such a sweet and dear old lady, always handing out sweets to me and my brothers. Clearly, she had been quite different on the inside. The thing that had caused me to pause and reread that particular entry was the bit about not being able to have children. If neither of them could have children then how could my Mother have been born?

I thumbed my way past pages, ever forward, hoping to find some answers. I wish I had stopped there and not read further but I did.

It seemed that they lived together, in this house and been quite happy together. Even Great Aunt Sally’s rantings seemed to die down a bit. I skimmed over snippets of parties and gatherings, Christmases and thanksgivings. Great Grandmother had moved in and eventually died. The passing of years played out in monologue until I stopped at an entry that made me shudder.

April 17th 1935

I had noticed something odd about Emma that was causing me to wonder. Since Christmas she seemed to be gaining a little weight around the middle. It was odd because we ate the same things. Neither of us had much of a sweet tooth. I noticed she had a kind of glow about her too. I challenged her about it and she admitted the truth. All those years stripped away and we were children screaming and shouting at each other, just like in that tree house. She told me she always knew I hated her and she hated me too. She admitted choosing Theodore because I had told her I loved him. Then she admitted that she and Edgar had been enjoying each other’s company. She was pregnant with Edgar’s child. I nearly killed her then. Only one thing stopped me. The thought of that little baby, that sweet innocent child. I decided that I would keep her secret for now. For the baby’s sake.

 

Then the final entry.

 

August 19th, 1935

The baby was born. A beautiful baby girl, we’ll call her Alice. Emma had managed to convince Theodore that he was the father. As if he could be capable of it with his manhood all withered, but I suppose love will make you believe anything. Edgar knew, of course, but he was keeping himself well out of it. I moved out of our double bedroom to that room at the end of the landing. I couldn’t sleep with him any longer knowing what he’d done. What Emma had made him do. Now the baby had been born safe, I didn’t wait another minute before I went and told Theodore the truth. He hadn’t wanted to believe me at first. Then he looked at me with dead eyes. How much he had changed from that handsome, blue eyed young man he’d been. The War had started it, but I had just finished it. He was dead on the inside now. Edgar was out in the barn chopping logs, making himself scarce. Theodore stood up and walked out of the house. I saw him through the window, go into the barn. I heard the gunshot too.

I went back upstairs to Emma. She was still sleeping softly. She’d had a hard time of it, but I’d helped her through. She begged me that if anything should happen to her, if she died in childbirth, that I would bring up her little girl. Of course, I would. That was all part of the plan. It was easy in the end, so easy. She always kept that gold locket around her neck. A quick pull was all it took really.

It’s the end now. All that Love and Hate, all those years. We had hated each other but now I was free. I will bury her outside under that tree that Theodore planted not long after we all moved in. Theodore will help me. We’ll bury Edgar too. I’ll lock this book up in the box that my sister loved so much and I’ll put the key in the locket around her neck and bury it with her. Nobody will know, but just for myself, I had to explain, why I killed my Sister today. I hated her, that’s why.

 

I looked down at the book. I had never felt so chilled in all my life. The Summer’s heat, it was 100 Fahrenheit in the shade, failed to dispel the sudden cold. I shivered uncontrollably.

I remember Grandfather had been a quiet man who barely spoke. He’d died when I was six or seven. My Mother had met and married my Daddy at college and he’d moved in to the family homestead and had me and my brothers. I remember it had been a happy home then, happy families. Mother and Father, Father’s brother, Uncle Peter and his wife Auntie Annie and their sons, my cousins, Bobby and Elwood. My brothers Denny and Will, and of course Great Aunt Sally. She seemed to love all the children running around. How could a woman who had shown them so much love have had such potential for hate?  They’d all gone; moved away or passed over. Looking back, that game of happy families seemed so shallow and empty now.

Coming back suddenly to the present, I decided that it was best that this secret died. I didn’t want my brothers reading it, or their children.

I worked with a single-minded purpose that I’d always had. I didn’t have trouble finding wood to burn, or kindling. The dry summer had provided plenty. I built a huge pile of logs over that body and I didn’t let myself think about who it was anymore. I took out a match and lit the pile. It caught straight away, the fire raging through that tinder dry kindling. I then threw the leather-bound diary into the heart of the flames. It seemed to act like a solvent, making the fire explode. Sparks flew up and landed on the timber roof tiles of our family house. Within seconds the house was on fire.

For just a moment I stood there open-mouthed as the flames licked along the roof and down the clapperboard facias. I thought I caught a glimpse of an old lady at the upstairs window, peering out through the lace curtains. Could it be Great-Aunt Sally?

Then I came back to reality. My Mother was in the house. The house was on fire. Quickly I ran into the house and up the stairs. My Mother was still on her bed at the other end of the house. She coughed then and started to stir slightly as I picked her up. She was so frail that I didn’t have much difficulty in holding her up and moving her towards the stairs. The smoke was building up now. I grabbed my handkerchief and put it over my mouth and managed to half-drag my mother down the stairs and out of the front door.

We both lay on the dry grass and watched as the family house burned. I hoped to God that the past would burn with it.

The End.

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 17/July/2018

Word of the Day: Potential

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/07/17/potential/

FOWC with Fandango — Present

A Multi Prompt Short Story – Happy Families.

I thought it high time that this story I wrote a couple of years ago received another airing, particularly as the Word of the Day today is Incandescent.

This story was written in response to the following word prompts.

Word of the Day: Woebegone

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/woebegone/

INCANDESCENT

Shery’s One Daily Prompt: Scorn

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/your-daily-word-prompt-scorn-july-15th-2018/

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/three-things-challenge-15-july-2018/

Today’s things are: great-aunt, ant, plant

Happy Families

It had been a while since I’d been to the family homestead. It was a rambling clapperboard house that at one time housed two extended families. Now only Mother lived there all alone. Walking up the pathway I passed plant after plant that was withering and dying in that long hot summer. It had been months since we’d had any rain.

The door creaked just like it always did as I pulled it open and walked into the relative coolness of the dark hallway. It smelt of wood and beeswax. All the wooden furniture was polished to an incandescent shine. I felt a bite on my ankle. Looking down I saw a solitary ant climbing my bare leg, which I promptly squashed beneath my fingertips. The long hot dry summer had brought out a lot of ants lately. God, how I’ve prayed for rain.

“Mama, where are you? It’s me Laura” I called out, my voice echoing around the practically empty dwelling.

“Laura, is that you? I’m upstairs dear, In Aunty’s room.”

There were a lot of bedrooms upstairs that were practically untouched, except for dusting, since the previous occupants had departed. Her Great-Aunt Sally had lived in the bedroom at the very end of the landing and for the last few years of her life had rarely left it. It was still full of all her knickknacks and memorabilia.

I walked in to find my Mother sitting on the bed crying. I sat next to her and put my arm around her.

“There, there Mama. Great Aunt Sally’s been dead twenty years, why are you carrying on so?”

“No, it’s not that. There was a storm last night and it blew over that old tree, the one that your Grandfather planted not long after he bought this place.”

I still couldn’t understand why she sounded so woebegone. All this fuss about a tree. I couldn’t help feeling some scorn. It was a lovely tree, but It was only seventy years or so old, not really that old as trees went. I gave Mama another hug, but she pushed me away.

“You don’t understand. There was a body buried there, under that tree. The storm brought it to the surface. It was wrapped in a tarpaulin, but it was unrecognisable. There was a locket with it and in it was this key.”

I looked down at the small, ornate brass key in my Mothers frail old hand.

“What was the key for? It’s too small to be for a door.”

“It was the key to this box. No one could open it when she died but we didn’t think there was anything important in it. Not enough to force it open.”

I remembered the beautiful small box, inlaid with scented sandalwood, that now lay on the floor, open.

Also, on the floor, lying as if it had just fallen from my Mothers hand, was a small leather-bound book. The kind used for keeping a diary or perhaps notes and recipes in.

I reached down and picked up the book. I recognised the highly ornate handwriting from birthday cards I had received as a young child. It was Great Aunt Sally’s writing.

She had written. ‘Why I killed my Sister today.’

The End.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 15/July/2018

Saturday Morning Music – Harmony

The Word of the Day is Harmony.

There are plenty of bands that were famous for their harmonies, here are three examples.

One of the best, in my view, was the Beach Boys – Good Vibrations.

Another excellent example of Harmony is Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Waters.

 

And here is one that you may not have heard. Peter and Gordon – World Without Love,

The song was written by Paul McCartney (of The Beatles) who was going out with Peter Asher’s Sister, Jane Asher at the time.

Some lovely harmonies on this one.

 

Happy Saturday everyone. 🙂

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/harmony-2/

 

My Top Songs – What I listened to in 2018

My Blogging Pal, Kristian, The other Kristian, of Life Lessons Around the Dinner Table,

has posted her top songs from 2018 from Spotify. Apparently, Spotify produces a list of the songs you listened to the most in 2018.

Here is Kristian’s post:

https://lifelessonsaroundthedinnertable.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/my-top-songs/

 

So here are my top songs. You will find nothing new or recent here, just some great songs from yesteryear. They all seem to be quite relaxing music. A few of them already appear on previous posts that I did about music I was listening to, see here:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/keeping-calm-music-to-relax-to/

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/more-mellow-music/

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2019/02/13/more-relaxing-mood-music/

Some of the songs are seldomly played nowadays, whereas others are established favourites.

  1. Bilitis – Francis Lai.

Apparently, this was written for a rather suggestive film, but I don’t know anything about that. The theme reminds me of that kind of electronic music of the late seventies and early ’80s like Vangelis Chariots of Fire.

 

2. Cavatina – John Williams – This was used as the Theme for the film Deerhunter. I have linked to this before.

3. Albatross – Fleetwood Mac – This is one of my favourite go-to songs for rest and relaxation and I have linked to it before.

4. Ballade Pour Adeline – Richard Clayderman.

5. The Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals – Saint Saens.

6. Stranger on the Shore – Acker Bilk

7. Nocturne – Secret Garden

8. Liebestraum – Franz Liszt – This is pretty famous so I won’t link to it. It is a lovely piece of music and one often used in films or adverts.

9. Chi Mai – Ennio Morricone – This was used for a popular TV show in the early 80’s called the Life and Times of David Lloyd George. I recommend both the song and the programme.

10. Music Box Dancer – Richard Clayderman (performed by) Written by Frank Mills.

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/seldomly/

Tell the Story Challenge – A Clandestine Puzzlement.

Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith has tagged me in the following Tell the Story Challenge:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/a-short-life/

Here is the Picture:

 

By the clandestine light of a single candle, Elizabeth Darwell opened her journal to write about the events of the day. Sir Percy, an admirable catch, had asked her father for her hand. Her heart fluttered as she considered her future as his wife. He was a man of great status and wealth and she a squire’s daughter, far beneath him, but he had been captured, so he’d said, by her demure beauty and innocence.

Just then, she heard a noise and looked up in puzzlement.

Her beloved was sneaking stealthily into her room. A look of undisguised lust marred his face as He held a half drunk bottle of brandy in his right hand and wiped his mouth with his left.

It seemed he now yearned to destroy the very innocence that had endeared him to her.

It was clear, he wanted a downpayment on their marriage contract and this was something she could not countenance. She had heard of many a noble gentleman who, after taking such liberties had decided that the lady did not meet with their expectations and called off the marriage altogether. When the lady was so much lower in status, it was her reputation that was irreparably besmirched not his.

Desperate not to end up in that fate, she jumped up and ramed the candle into his face and kicked him hard between the legs, where rumour had it a mans greatest weakness lay.

He screamed in agony and collapsed to the floor writhing in pain.

Carefully she went through his pockets and removed any objects of value. A gold watch, a fine leather wallet filled with silver and gold coins and an ornate snuff box.

She would need all those valuables now she had forsaken one fate for another. That of a highwaywoman.

The End

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 06/February/2019

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/02/06/your-daily-word-prompt-puzzlement-february-6-2019/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/your-daily-word-prompt-clandestine-february-4-2019/

 

I hoped you liked the story, I based it on the fact that the picture reminded me of a Jane Austen novel, so I tried to imitate that style, with, of course, a twist.

So Now, I shall choose a picture and if anyone reading this would like to take up the challenge a write a story about it, please be my guest. 🙂

 

IMG_3163

 To clarify, I nominate YOU, if you’d like to. 

Have fun.

 

Multiple Word Prompt Story – A Nice, Old-Fashioned Shop

On his way home, Steve decided to pop into the new butcher’s that had just opened on the corner of the high street.

He was always bemoaning about the decline of the town centre and how all the shops were closing down. Since the big shopping mall had opened several years ago, all the traditional shops had closed. The haberdashery, the Ironmongers, the Bakers and the greengrocers had all closed down. So, in order to put his money where his mouth was, he felt obliged to check out this new shop and encourage it as best he could.

As he walked in, the smell of the meat and the sawdust on the floor took him back to his youth. This was just the thing he wanted. The memories threatened to overwhelm him. His grandad had been a butcher and he often sat on a stool in the corner and watched him chop up things with his giant cleaver. 

The sound of a piercing whistle brought him back to reality with a bump. The Butcher came into the front of the shop through and he was whistling a haunting melody. He carried a cleaver in one hand and a large piece of meat in his other. It looked rather dubious to him. He tried to rack his brains to think of what animal resembled the red, bleeding carcass that the burly man held. 

“Can I help you, Sir?” The butcher asked.

“Erm, No thank you, I was just browsing. Good night” Steve replied, backing out of the door, rather sheepishly. 

‘I think I’ll stick to the Supermarket in future, after all’ he thought to himself.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 23/November/2018

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/11/23/dubious/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/11/23/rdp-friday-shop/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/11/23/your-daily-word-prompt-overwhelm-november-23-2018/

An Old-Fashioned Tale – The Two Sisters

As you may know, I am currently taking a break, but wanted to share some of my earliest posts with you, that you may have missed. 

This story was a fairy tale that I wrote back in April. 

All the best 🙂 

 

Once upon a time.

I do love those old-fashioned starts to stories, don’t you? They remind me of the fairy tales of my youth. Nothing is more likely to make me want to read on than hearing that lovely phrase. It takes me back.

Once again, I am a young lad sitting at the feet of my Granddad looking up at his worn but kindly face.

The tales he told me were not original; they were from an old book that his Grandfather had read to him. Tales of dark forests and wolves, of princesses trapped in towers with long golden hair.

This story is a bit like that, only it is original. It is a story about two lives that ran in parallel and then a momentous event sent those two lives off in different directions.

So here we go.

Once upon a time, there lived two sisters.

Continue reading An Old-Fashioned Tale – The Two Sisters

3 Day Lyric Challenge – Day 3

I have been nominated by this challenge by the fabulous Laura M Bailey at All The Shoes I Wear. See her post here:

https://alltheshoesiwear.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/3-day-lyric-challenge-day-1/

 

Ok, Confession time. She didn’t exactly nominate me, she left it an open nomination, but I fancied doing it so I have taken up the baton.

 

So the Rules:

1 Thank the person who nominated you.
2 Share one of your favourite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
3 Nominate three other bloggers each day.

 

As many of you know, I have a taste for the Old-Fashioned, those golden oldies of music (and Film) and I toyed with the idea of choosing some more modern songs for this challenge…..But then I remembered I don’t like any modern songs, so here is one of my all time favourites.

Elvis Presley – Crying in the Chapel – 1965

 

The Lyrics:

You saw me crying in the chapel
The tears I shed were tears of joy
I know the meaning of contentment
Now I’m happy with the Lord

Just a plain and simple chapel
Where humble people go to pray
I pray the Lord that I’ll grow stronger
As I live from day to day

I searched and I searched
But I couldn’t find
No way on earth to gain peace of mind

Now I’m happy in the chapel
Where people are of one accord
Yes we gather in the chapel
Just to sing and praise the Lord

You’ll search and you’ll search
But you’ll never find
No way on earth to gain peace of mind

Take your troubles to the chapel
Get down on your knees and pray
Then your burdens will be lighter
And you’ll surely find the way

 

My Nominees:

The Britchy One from Bitchin’ in the Kitchen.

Dear Ex…

and

Melanie B Cee from Sparks from a combustible mind

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2018/10/04/addendum/

3 Day Lyric Challenge – Day 2

I have been nominated by this challenge by the fabulous Laura M Bailey at All The Shoes I Wear. See her post here:

https://alltheshoesiwear.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/3-day-lyric-challenge-day-1/

 

Ok, Confession time. She didn’t exactly nominate me, she left it an open nomination, but I fancied doing it so I have taken up the baton.

 

So the Rules:

1 Thank the person who nominated you.
2 Share one of your favourite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
3 Nominate three other bloggers each day.

 

As many of you know, I have a taste for the Old-Fashioned, those golden oldies of music (and Film) and I toyed with the idea of choosing some more modern songs for this challenge…..But then I remembered I don’t like any modern songs, so here is one of my all time favourites.

The Seekers – Island of Dreams – 1966

 

The Lyrics

I wandered the streets and the gay crowded places
Trying to forget you but somehow it seems
My thoughts ever stray to our last sweet embraces
Over the sea on the island of dreams

High in the sky is the bird on the wing
Please carry me with you
Far far away from the mad rushing crowd
Please carry me with you

Again I would wander where memories enfold me
There on the beautiful island of dreams

High in the sky is the bird on the wing
Please carry me with you
Far far away from the mad rushing crowd
Please carry me with you

Again I would wander where memories enfold me
There on the beautiful island of dreams
Far far away on the island of dreams

My Nominees:

Mel at Crushed Caramel – My music Buddy, who seems to share a lot of favourite songs with me.

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/the-flatmate-who-will-not-accept-my-terms/

and

https://thinkingclearly483645316.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/the-rose-in-my-heart/

Leaning on the Lamppost – More Old Music.

 

Fandango’s Word Prompt was Lamppost and being of an old-fashioned frame of mind, I instantly thought of this song that my Nan used to like.

George Formby was a man who became extremely popular during the War in England, he made quite a few films and his songs were hits. They were always comical and amusing songs, like “When I’m Cleaning Windows” and the wartime song “Bless ‘Em All”.

See this link to find out more about him.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Formby

The Lyrics.

I’m leaning on a lamp–maybe you think I look a tramp.

Or you may think I’m hanging ’round to steal a car.

But no! I’m not a crook,

and if you think that’s what I look,

I’ll tell you why I’m here and what my motives are.

I’m leaning on the lamp-post at the corner of the street

in case a certain little lady comes by.

Oh me, oh my,

I hope the little lady comes by.

I don’t know if she’ll get away.

She doesn’t always get away, but anyhow I know that she’ll try.

Oh me, oh my,

I hope the little lady comes by.

There’s no other girl I would wait for,

but this one I’d break any date for.

I won’t have to ask what she’s late for.

She wouldn’t leave me flat.

She’s not a girl like that.

Oh, she’s absolutely wonderful and marvellous and beautiful.

And anyone can understand why

I’m leaning on a lamp-post at the corner of the street in case a certain little lady passes by.

 

UPDATE: I have just found out that my very good friend Mel at Crushed Caramel has posted pretty much the same thing! Great minds think alike and we seem to share a great taste in music.

See here:

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2018/09/20/oh-me-oh-my/comment-page-1/#comment-2184

 

FOWC with Fandango — Lamppost