Is this it ?

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Photo by Billy Huynh on Unsplash

Atmospheric

She looked out at the vast universe. She was always taken aback by its sense of infinity, of nothingness, of stretching to the never, never.  The silence, the sense of nothing moving. Although she had seen it many, many times before, it always fascinated her. Too mad, to brain disturbing to even think about it. She thought of her daughters, of her husband, and the day they had waved her goodbye, and wished her well on her journey. The trip she had dreamed of ever since she was a child.

Throughout her childhood, space, the ultimate sense, and real freedom, the universe, had always offered her an escape, from a family background that was less than healthy, or good for her soul. Many time throughout her childhood, she had sought solace, and peace in the vastness and emptiness that the very idea of interstellar travel offered. Her imagination soared freely, as she traveled alone , and in peace, away from people, away from others. Relationships  had always being difficult for her. It seemed to her, life would be so fine, if only she didn’t have the encumbrance of actually dealing with other humans. Animals, no problems there, of course. As generally speaking , they love you forever, if you show them, even a shred of kindness. They always remember, and a bonus being, they can never, ever speak. At least she was secure in the knowledge, that her deepest thoughts and ruminations that she shared, of which there were many, with the various  animals she befriended, would never, ever be divulged to another human being. Weather in the animal kingdom, if she was a source of gossip, she neither cared, or was concerned.

But now as her space capsule traveled,in the silence, through space, towards the outer reaches of the universe, and onward towards infinity, the prospect of never seeing her family again hit hard. She knew it was pointless to try the dim flickering switches of the instrument panel before her. The communication system to earth, had long since given up. She was afraid, sad, but also curious. What actually happens when we die. Where do we go, what happens next. Is there actually a God, a second life, a second chance to live life the way we would have done, given the opportunity. The chance to right the wrongs the all are guilty of. Cruel words and actions,  looking back, that perhaps given some thought and reflection, we would not have indulged in. Could we have being more lenient, gentle and forgiving of those whom we perceived did us wrong, of perhaps their crimes were too monstrous to be worthy of forgiveness.

What she would have given for a second chance. The opportunity to hold her husband gently, and softly tell him, how much she loved him. The opportunity to hold her daughters, just one more time, and to lay out some guidelines, some rules for life, for a happy, peaceful life.  To be compassionate towards others, to try to be  understanding of others lives, and what they have been through. To forgive easily, to throw grudges and resentments aside. To laugh  as much as possible, to have fun, to enjoy life while one can.

She glanced once more through the large open screens that sat before her, into the darkness, and the passing dull stars, as the relaxing classical music played softly and gently in the background, easing her mind somewhat. The effect of the over medication of the tranquilizers slowly and gloriously taking their toll on her once  bright, effervescent mind. Questions she once demanded answers too, no longer seemed  important.

She looked once again at the dark vastness before her, as her space capsule ventured forth into the unknown.

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Freedom.

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Photo credit : https://unsplash.com/@victorduenas

‘You are free’, she whispered, and gently blew the ashes into the wind, that quickly swept them away, towards the ocean. Her favourite place, when she was alive. The place where she sought solace. Where she often walked alone by the ocean and  gained some peace, and strength, when life and the people in it, became unbearable.

Now she could have permanent peace. Away from them. Away from the others. Away from everybody, who strove to be cruel, to betray, to lie and deceive. People she felt and believed she could trust to the ends of the earth. Proved they were not the infallible humans she perceived them to be. Relationships she believed to be rock solid, were not, as it turned out, all that they seemed. Vulnerabilities shared, and now misused, as cruel, thoughtless weapons. Wounded taken aback by how quickly some people she thought she knew inside out, and trusted to the absolute up most degree, could turn for no apparent reason. To leave others reeling from the ferocity of their venom filled words. Trust shattered and now broken, forever. Would they care now ? Perhaps for a few brief moments, and then life as ever would move on quickly.
Was it a misunderstanding. A mis-communication. Not that it mattered now. She was gone, and would not be coming back. It was one way, the only way out  it seemed to her. A cowards way out to some. But who are they to judge. They didn’t have her life. A person trapped in impossible, never-ending situations she did not want, with people she’d rather not be with.

Perhaps life is better there, wherever there is, who knows. Is there even anything out there, again who knows. Her sister blew the ashes  of her troubled older sibling she knew only fleetingly, into the wind, and wished her love and contentment on her final journey to the hereafter.

Written in a response to a photo prompt seen here : http://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

Daily Prompt: Irrelevant

Irrelevant

‘Your irrelevant, you don’t matter now, you never did  and you never will’.
The scream was deafening. He looked at the mother who had born him, not so many years long ago, and asked, how could she hate him. What is it, he had done. All he had done, was to actually be born. Certainly, not a crime of his making.

‘I hate you, I wish to Christ you’d never being born’. So it continued. Although young, he could still tell when to leave others alone and walk away. Which is what he did. He left her with the ever present half empty bottle of red wine on the kitchen counter, and she near slumped over it. Her hair, a mess. Uncombed, and dirty. Black mascara following the trails of her self pitying  tears that flowed down her face. She was more than willing to attack and blame whoever came into her orbit. But it was usually just him. He went back to his bedroom, and began to play with his toys. Hoping and praying that she would fall asleep, and not come into his room. To physically slap and beat him, as she had done many times before.

‘Don’t worry Mark, it will be okay. There is no need to be afraid. We will be together soon’.

He had not heard that voice, in quite some time, but recognised it instantly.
He had spoken to her almost nightly since she went to heaven, although she never answered him. He wept many times, as he missed their play time together, and cried even more when he saw her in the hospital getting more sick, and weak as every day passed. So wishing he could help, but not knowing how.
He looked round the room for the source of the voice. Laying his toy action man figures on the floor. Outside the window, in the dark evening, he saw his sister shimmering outside the window , and smiling. She looked so happy, healthy and content.

‘We’ll be together soon, don’t worry, it will be okay’.

With that her image from outside the window disappeared. Mark, felt safe, secure and happy. More so then he had done in a long time, and clambered into bed, after carefully locking the door, not someting he usually did.

After she had finished the remained of the bottle of wine in the kitchen, his Mother was her usual angry self. Inhaling deeply of the cigarette, as she stumbled upstairs. Swearing loudly, her voice raising. As he was the only other occupant in the house, she went towards his room to vent, to off load her venom. Finding the door locked, she screamed and kicked loudly at it. But the door held firm. Her screaming and kicking of the door, had awoken Mark, and he snuggled down under the covers, his body shaking slightly, and his breathing rapid. The butterflies breaking free in his stomach. He waited expectedly for the door to break open, and his Mothers assault to begin.
Again she attacked the locked door, screamed and swore. Quietness, followed by a heavy series of thuds, akin to trees being felled. As her head hit the final step, at the bottom of the steps, she fell backwards, unconsciousness and the cigarette rolled out of her hand, and under the nearby curtain. It did not take long for the curtain to fully catch ablaze. Starting slowly, then gathering momentum and speed. The yellow and blue flames easily setting the wall alight and reaching up to the ceiling. The cracking sound, and burning stench, quickly engulfing the lower ground floor. The carpet around the fallen drunken Mother, soon alit too, burning all in its path.

‘Come Mark, it’s time to go. She gently touched Mark to wake him’, and roused him from his bed.

She took his hand as they exited the room together, through the calm night, out into the fresh cooling air, and skyward. Past the dark night sky. Past the glistening stars, and on into a beautiful, tranquil and peaceful garden. Where to his delight he ran into the open welcomong arms of his beloved Grandfather, and Grandmother, who embraced him warmly, and that favourite labrador dog, he believed was gone forever.

Thomas.

Thomas.

He wouldn’t have being the first, and rather doubtful he’ll be the last. Many had chosen this hiding place. It was a respectable hiding place, At least in the view of the older people. The true believers. Yeah,those ones with the blinds pulled firmly down in front of there eyes. It wasn’t like it was a prison sentence, although to some it wasn’t far from it. No women. Not much alcohol. A false front, of caring, compassion, and interest in others. But what happens behind the doors of a religious order, never has to reach the knowledge of the outsiders.

    As he lay in front of the Bishop, on the altar. He and the three other victims, or should I say cowards. Well he and the other men running away and hiding from life. From themselves. Their friends and families in the Church looked on with pride. What an honour to have  a family member in the priesthood. Surely that would ease the passage of all associated with the new religious entrant into heaven. Hardly going to work against them.
               As Thomas lay on the altar, while the bishop conducted the very long, drawn out ceremony. Thomas with his arms outstretched to his sides, and his face down in the red carpet. Striving to cope with the current discomfort. The coldness of the Church. The hardness of the ground he was laying on. He reflected on what had brought him to this situation. To this choice. Was it really the only choice he had. Could he yet run from the scene before  it was too late. Before he was inducted into the priesthood.

That certainly would be unheard of, and a total unforgivable scandal in 1930’s Ireland. His mind turned to her. She was never far his mind now. The forbidden love. She was older, A lot more mature than her fourteen years. In looks, manner, and outlook. But it could never be. Not now, not ever, He told himself, many many times, as he twisted and turned alone in his bed at night.
                                 But the deep feelings of love, or was it just lust, he wondered, were impossible to hide from himself. True yes she was the first female to show any real feelings of warmth towards him. But he had heard of how many young school girls fall in love with there Teachers, but very seldom would they fall in love with a guard. Solid,Upstanding,Member Of The Community. This Was One Secret He Knew He Could Never Let See The Light Of Day.
                His Mind Travelled Back, How On That Sunny Day, As They Walked Along The Clifftop, Alone And Out Of Sight Of Others. That’s The Way It Had To Be. She Spoke Of Her Wishes For The Future. How Happy She Was, The Prospect Of A Family With Him, A Long Life Ahead Of Them.
           She Reached For His Hand. He Hesitated, And Suggested Instead, She Loop Her Arm Through His.

’It Will Look More Innocent’,

She Smiled And Laughed In Response. As They Continued To Walk Along The Cliff Top In The Warm Sunshine. Valuing Their Time Alone Together. He Teased And Chided Her For Missing Out On School To Spend Time With Him. She Laughed At His Mock Teasing, And Ran When He Chased Her In Jest. Catching Up To Her, She Turned And Softly Put Her Arms Around His Neck And Kissed Him Gently On The Lips.
              He Turned Back Towards The Clifftop Path. Feeling He Was Being Watched, And To His Utter Disbelief He Saw, The One And Only, Mrs Delia Murphy. Who Was Better Known As The Local Town Gossip. Standing And Watching Them. With Her Long Three Quarter Way Coat, And Large Handbag, Dangling From Her  Arm. A Small Hat Upon Her Head. She Had Never Married, And Had Taken Her Bitterness About That Situation Out On The World, On The Village By Spreading Scandal And Rumour. Overly Exaggerating Half Truths , About Anyone She Chose Too In The Village.
                                She Very Much Fitted The Image Of A Bitter, Aging Spinster. With A Large Physical Frame, Hair Always Tied Tightly In A Bun, In An Angry Manner. A Plain, Always Stern Face, And Less Than Pleasant Demeanour. She Eyed The Scene Of  Thomas And The Young Girl, And Her Mouth Dropped Open In Shock, Consternation, And Some Envy. But She Also Smiled, Because She Certainly Had Some Scandal To Spread In The Village Now. She Hurried Along The Clifftop Walk Towards The Village.

‘Mrs Murphy’, Thomas Called After Her, Releasing Sinead’s Arms From Around His Neck, As He Followed In The Footsteps Of Mrs Murphy’s.
‘i It’s Not What It Looks Like’, He Pleaded.

She Have Turned To Face Him,

‘Get Away From Me Guard Thomas Brennan, I Know What I Saw, And Soon Everybody Else Will Too…..’

Her Face A Picture Of Triumph, Joy, But Also Envy, As She Again Hurried Along The Path Towards The Village, With Her Self Righteous, Indigent Walk. He Knew It Was Pointless To Reason And Argue With Her. He Returned To Sinead Where She Stood By The Cliff Top Edge.

‘Now Do You See What You’ve Done’, He Voice Raised, And Face Reddened. ’You Know We Have To Hide Away From People. You Know Who That Was ?’

.‘Yes, I Know’. What Can We Do ?’

‘I Don’t Know What We Can Do, But We Have To Stop Seeing Each Other, For One. You Will Just Have To Find Someone Your Own Age, We Cannot Carry Any More’.

With That Sinead’s Face Reddened, And She Hung Her Head. Thomas Reached Out To Touch Her Hand, But She Pulled Away. He Reached Out Again, Again She Pulled Away And Ran. Her Tears Blinding Her View.

‘Wait’,

The More He Moved After Her, The Faster She Ran, In A Disoriented Manner. He Watched, As If In Slow Motion, As She Got To The Cliff Top Edge. He Looked At The Clear Blue Sky, And Asked God For Help. God Didn’t Answer. He Watched Her Eyes Widen, And Her Lips Parted To Scream, But No Sound Came Out. He watched in the silence, As She Moved Forward Into The Clear Blue Sky. He Ran To The Cliff Top Edge, But It Was Too Late. He Didn’t Want To Look, But Forced Himself. A Quick Glance At Her Broken Body, Lying Bent And Misshapen On The Rocks Below.

       As He Lay Prostrate On The Floor In Front Of The Bishop, Again He Thought Of Her. She Would It Seems Never Ever Be Far From His Mind And Soul……

 

 

 

My Guilt.

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Photo Credit : Ian Espinosa.

It was with these hands I did it. That damp night in the forest. She had to go. My mind was made up. Problems and issues as long as your arm. I was saving her from a life of toil and misery, at least that’s what I told myself, and of course, setting myself free from an unbearable situation.

I didn’t think too far ahead. I just grabbed her from that place, and made a dash for it. Made sense all round. I was sure I could be forgiven, maybe not now. But given time most would see, it was the right course of action. I watched my wife sleeping. The effects of the medication she had being given, enough to knock out a horse. Along with the tranquilizers, to help her deal with the situation. The room was quiet, aside from the bleeping of the bedside monitor. The attached tubes, monitors and syringes, like some form of grotesque accessories, only ever available in hospital trauma wards.
Her face red, and blotchy. She perspired heavily, as she twisted and turned in the bed. Her nightdress damp. As was her hair, as were the sheets. He constant moans an indication of her troubled rest. We were alone now, in the semi darkness, as I reflected on what had brought us to this situation. I watched her in the bed, unsure if I still loved her. If I ever really did. Were we just two lonely people holding onto each other out of fear.
To be fair, the Doctors had advised us against children. The risk of damage too high. With her previous career, if you could call it that. Her love of the high life. The travel, and the illicit substances, and rubbish diet, that went alongside a life in the music industry. The cigarettes, and the numerous love partners she had entertained, and liked to boast about from time to time, especially when we argued. I had begged her to have an abortion, but she refused. I was unsure if her refusal was just another measure to inflict pain and torture on our increasingly loveless sham of a marriage. The more I thought of our past together, the more angry I became. I watched her breathing, and asked myself would it not be better if she did not breath any more. I watched her for a long time, before I made my move. Reaching into the glass covered incubator, I removed my sleeping newly born daughter from it, after removing the tubes, and syringes attached to her precious body.           Placing her in the dark rucksack I ever so gently carried her from my wife’s hospital room, and out of her life. Stopping briefly at the door, to view her sleeping body, very probably for the last time.
Luckily the corridors were near enough empty at this late hour. So I made my way swiftly towards the hospital exit, only to be waylaid by the night matron. I never liked the woman, although I understood she was just doing her best. I was forced to listen to her ramblings and nonsense, and did so, to be polite. So not to raise her suspicions. Thankfully on this evening she didn’t feel the need to drone on and on, about whatever nonsense was in her head.

At last, free. I placed the rucksack on the passenger seat, and headed out into the night, and onto the highway.      A plan that had being forming in my mind over the past few days, soon began to come to fruition. The sky was clear, as were the roads. I reckoned on it taking two hours approximately to get to the forest. I listened to my daughter laboured breathing as we drove through the night. My mind focused. I knew what I had to do. Eventually we arrived at the forest clearing and drove as far as possible into the darkness of the trees. I always loved the silence of the forest, even more so at night. Affording the time and space to think, focus and clear one’s mind. I gently lifted the black rucksack, in which my daughter sleep and walked deeper into the forest. The large pillow under my right arm.

When I felt safe and hidden, I opened the rucksack and lifted her out. The movement woke up, and she began to cry. Just what I didn’t want, nor need. I wanted this over quickly and silently. So I did what I could to soothe and comfort her, and held her closely. Gently I laid on her blanket while I began to dig at the earth with my bare hands. I knew it would not take long.
In the quietness and silence of the forest I placed the pillow over her smiling and gurgling face, with her small hand reaching for, and grasping tightly my little finger, with all her strength. I told her I loved her, and placed the pillow over her face, until she released her grip on my finger. In the silence, I knew it was done. I laid her in the shallow grave I had dug with my own sordid hands. Sank to my knees, raised my hands up to God and asked for his forgiveness and understanding, and also cursed him for delivering to us a child destined to have nothing but a very difficult, and torturous life. Thanks to the myriad mental and physical disabilities she was born with.

‘Why Jesus, Why have you done this ?’ In the silence of the forest, my cries of despair went unanswered.

Written in response to a photo prompt seen here : http://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

The Beach.

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Photo Credit : https://unsplash.com/@venegas?photo=OhIfU2AczOg

She had threatened long enough, although no one had believed her. Just a call for attention. Nothing more, nothing less. they had decided. An old womans empty, and at times, humorous threats.
But obviously beneath the humour, there was hurt, and distress. No one had bothered to investigate. Everyone busy with their own lives. There careers, children, and business. Had someone actually taken the damn time to sit down with her, and sincerely ask her, what life was like for her. Had they show  more consideration and kindness, and maybe spent more time with an old lonely woman, life would have turned out differently. Perhaps many would have spent more time with her, aside from the one solidary visit a week, for the Sunday lunch. Nobody considering how the rest of the week was for her.
It was of course, too late now. The chance had disappeared. She lived for the weekends, and the once weekly visit from her children, and newly born grandchildren. Laughter and energy and happy voices once filled her household, just as it had been, when her own children were grown up. But there were always strains between her and her grown up, and now adult children. Did they really like each other , as people. Would they actually want to spend time in each other’s company, were they not related.

Some had taken sides, when the separation from her husband was first enacted, and then the divorce. Allegations and counter allegations flew between the two parties, and none of it pretty. Lies, distrust, and anger followed. Made up stories of abuse, and cruelty that may, or may not have had a grain of truth in them. Loyalty and kindness to her children, soon forgotten and dismissed by them, as they took the side of her husband.

The final straw for her, was the cessation of contact with her children, who were convinced by her husband, that she was the villain in all of this. That and the denial of access to her grandchildren, that she had helped care for, soon after they were born. No viable reasons given. All the love, kindness, and generosity she had shown them, and their Mother, her daughter, throughout the years. Amounted to nothing, it seemed. Kindness granted, soon forgotten.

It was that dull overcast November afternoon, that she headed to the isolated beach alone. With the tablets to hand, and a last small bottle of whiskey to encourage her bravery, she laid her reading glasses in the sand, and headed towards the ocean, and into the cold, uninviting waves. The mixture of the tablets and whiskey having the desired effect. As she stumbled and swayed, as she walked toward the sea. Her vision blurred slightly, and  feeling quiet light-headed. As a non swimmer she struggled and panicked at first, as the powerful waves, did with her as they wished. The whiskey and tablets helped to quell her rising fears, somewhat. The waves, and weight of her own clothing soon pulled her out and down, to the ocean bed, where she waited for God to take her.
In the cold, dark church, the priest stood at the lectern, gazing upon the congregation of mourners. Having conducted most of the formal ceremony, he could no longer hold himself back. Behind him the magnificent altar, towering upward. To him, they were nothing but hypocrites. He was well aware of the family history, having had been closely and connected to them for years. From births to marriages, to baptisms and confessions. He had heard and seen it all. They were here in this place of worship now to mourn her, with their crocodile tears, and false sadness.

The priest gripped both ends of the lectern tightly. His face thunder red, and perspiring. ‘What does it mean, to mourn someone when they have died. It means very little when you showed them little kindness or understanding when they were alive”. He spoke slowly and loudly. The anger and frustration plainly obvious in his tone. Her children shifted uncomfortably in their seats, as did her former husband. One or two loosening their shirts collars. The females fanning themselves with whatever was to hand. One or two members of her family gazed quietly at the floor.
‘I have very little time for hypocrites like you people, I want you to leave this church now. Get out of my sight. I am sick of the lot of you. Go, and may God have mercy on your black souls. Get out, go’, his voice rising to a crescendo. His booming voice reverberating throughout the silent church. The congregation left the church as directed, for the most part, with their heads held low. In the sacristy as the priest changed from the formal clothing of the funeral mass, he gazed out onto the cold uninviting waves of the ocean, under the dull grey November sky.

Written in response to a writing prompt seen here : http://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

Manchester 2017.

Sadness came to a city today,
While so many children were at play
That suicide bomber came and took so many lives away
On such an unforgettable day
Death, destruction and mayhem
That suicide bomber, came to slay them
Human bodies torn to shreds
They who will never again lay in their beds
Human bodies torn apart
Breaking so many hearts

Sadness, grief beyond belief
What is it, this brute did seek
Terror, fear, I’d say thats clear
Children who will never play again
A sadness descends……
When will this all end, so many alive no more
Families devastated by the score
Evil came to our city today
As those young innocent children, were at play
Now we are shrouded in sadness and despair

What the hell is happening here, to me it is all so unclear
What does this achieve, committing such an evil deed
Where is God, is he watching this
Where is Allah, can’t he see this is sick
How can these people do what they do
This is a question I ask of you
Politicians outraged, emergency services praised
But they will be devastated too
As they are only human, just like you

A city in mourning, as we wake today
The people of the city, had their say
Opening their doors to those in need
To be an antidote, to such an evil deed
Generosity and kindness to the fore
Letting the terrorists know the score
That try as they might, they will not divide decent people
Good will triumph over such an evil, even in the darkest of nights

A vigil for peace, where the religious leaders speak
The crowds listen in hushed silence, broken occasionally by applause
A man said it better, than I ever could, ‘ You ain’t no Muslim bruv ‘
To a would be bomber of his own race
These people are not representative of the Muslim faith
Acts such as this, should not exist
A city coming together to conquer this

Where does the blame lay, for this outrage
Far from Manchester I’d say
Try the corridors of power in the West
Try the Kremlin, and Beijing too
There you will find some answers
There you’ll find some clues
Foreign armies in foreign lands
Trying to gain the upper hand
Causing mayhem and despair, like they don’t even care
What are they even doing in their
This I just don’t understand

A sadness came to a city today
As so many young children were at play
Across the city streets, the people weep.