The Grey Squirrel ~ #FFFC #Shortstory

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #162

The photograph is from Anita Creations at DeviantArt.com.

For the visually challenged writer, the photo is of a woman with a pensive expression on her face as she sits upon a large, mossy rock deep inside a forest.

She was starving and very cold.

Her feet hurt, bleeding in several places from stumbling on the sharp stones scattered about in the woods. She didn’t know why she ran to this place every time her life became too hard to bear.

There were no answers here; she knew that. No help either. Just the soul-shattering proof that she really was lost and far beyond help.

She had been here so many times, always ending up feeling far more alone than ever. She strained her ears, hoping to hear a bird song or the stealthy movements of a passing creature, but there was nothing.

Maybe today, there would be a breath of wind to move the branches above her head, letting her know the world was still out there.

But this place seemed as dead as her soul.

As she stared at a large oak, the fallen leaves around the base of the tree began to move. So, something did live here, or were they merely visiting, like she was?

A small grey squirrel appeared as she watched, his tiny hands clamped around an acorn. He suddenly stopped, his fluffy tail twitching. He wasn’t looking in her direction. Did he know she was watching him?

He slowly turned his head and stared at her. His dark, beady eyes seemed to twinkle, and she wondered what he thought of her. He slowly nodded his head as if he heard the question, possibly acknowledging another lonely soul?

This thought caused her to look away in shame, and when she looked back, the squirrel had gone. That was when she realised he wasn’t lonely. He had a purpose.

Something she needed to find…

Jaye

Linda, Wednesday…

Sorry that we missed a day yesterday! I wonder what you think of Linda…

I found the Rose and Crown too smoky.

Pushing open the door, I remembered Brian had thick, blond hair, a crew cut back then, dark blue eyes. Making my way to the bar, trying to look without swivelling my head too much. Wouldn’t want anyone to think I was about to spew pea soup across the bar or speak in tongues.

It was the eyes I noticed at the corner table. I sat opposite Brian, holding out my hand. He stood, shaking my proffered hand.

‘I’m glad you came.’

The blond hair had vanished, a shiny dome in its place. That makes it sound as if he was doing an impression of St Paul’s. I remembered the whispering gallery when mum took me. I wondered what thoughts were running around inside that dome that will never get said that evening.

He ordered drinks, reminiscing about the old times. The past doesn’t interest me. I could feel boredom creeping over me like unwanted ivy.

About an hour in, I made my excuses. ‘I have a big lunch meeting tomorrow; I need my shut eye. Been nice catching up.’

I stopped myself from saying we should do it again. He stood; I could feel him watching as I left.

It wasn’t exactly a lie. I do have a meeting my boss wouldn’t want messed up.

On my way home, I scolded myself a little. I could have given Brian more time.

I didn’t have to be in work that morning, the boss wanted me fresh for the meeting with Peter Westwood. I chose to wear my pencil skirt, long sleeved pale blue blouse, three buttons undone, showing just enough cleavage. If his eyes drop below my face, I will know something about him. A gentleman never lets you notice his eyes wandering. He is practised, he can do it without staring. This one knew the rules. Not once did I see his eyes wander. Deep brown, like chocolate buttons. Thick black hair with a slight kink trying to be a wave.

He is polite, stood shaking my hand, letting me sit before he did. His voice is deep. Not down in your boots deep, just enough to be sexy. Which I very much found him to be. ‘Would you like to order? I have to admit I am ravenous.’

He spoke naturally, which put me at ease.

We spoke while eating, which surprised me. I had to admit his book idea didn’t go down well with me. A teenage story of murder come whodunnit with a prize, if you entered of a replica of a jewelled dagger.

Knives and guns are all wrong, I told him. I couldn’t in all consciousness work with his ideas. I wondered what my boss would say if he was standing right behind me. I could almost hear him screaming between clenched teeth.

‘Maybe it could be a magical mystery tour around London where the reader could track the perpetrator, and the winner could have lunch with you.’

He must have liked the idea, for he stopped chewing, took a swig of his white wine. ‘That a much better idea. I could run them all over London, then back to Mayfair to the Silver Spoon.’

Before leaving, he gave me his card and his ideas for the sketches he wanted in the book. A young man with a book and pencil in his hand, roaming through London, hoping to win a lunch date with his favourite author.

He offered me a lift back to work.

I told him I was working from home today.

‘Home it is then.’

He sat in the back with me, my skirt riding up more than I would normally like. This time I didn’t tug it down. I couldn’t tell if he noticed the amount of leg on show. ‘Ask your driver to turn left here. I’m the one with the monkey puzzle tree out front.’

Turning to face me, he asked if he could come in for coffee. ‘I think there is more we can do.’

I will let you know tomorrow what he had in mind…

© Anita Dawes 2021

A slip in time…

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

“What’s your name,” I ask the old man, sitting on the park bench feeding the pigeons. I liked the look of him. Small, with a slight hunched back, snow white hair and the beginnings of a beard.

“My name, do I have a name?”

“Everything has a name.” My reply did not fuel the conversation. Something about the way he moved his hands, the way the small bag of seed did not empty, the way the trees around us held their breath. The silence and the sharp pain at the back of my head, stirring, waking something in me.

“You are Merlin.”

“Am I?”  His blue eyes sparkled with the mischief of a five-year-old child. “Yes, you could be right. My memory is not as it should be these days. I have little to offer you, young man. You are wondering who you are.”

“Not true, I know who I am.”

“Do you know when you are?”

“Yes, I am here, in the park, talking to you.”

“Look around you, do you see what lies before your eyes?”

I looked and the trees parted, like an ancient curtain being pulled aside. Wondering if I had named him wrong. Could he be Moses with no sea to part? He split the trees. I saw a castle, dark jagged rocks surrounded by vast ocean. I look again at the old man. I could see a tear in his eye, the smell of apples filling the air.

He vanished. The air had taken him. It looked for all the world as if I sat there, talking to myself.

I cried out, “Merlin, where are you?”

Rushing through the trees, calling again, I heard his voice.

“Here I am, look again…”

© anita dawes 2020

BlogBattle ~ Owl

April #BlogBattle: Owl

I love watching the birds in my garden.

This year, we have more birds with the feeders, including red kites in the skies above. The robin with his wonderful red breast and skinny black legs is my favourite.

Jackdaws with their pale blue eyes can look a little menacing, especially after watching a punch up one afternoon between three of them.

The thing I like best is watching the birds pulling twigs from the trees for their nest. They can be so fussy, dropping all the ones I don’t like on my lawn.

It’s a similar story from my front window.

Across the road, we have three hazelnut trees. Here I can watch the building of a nest. The resident blackbird loves to dive into the bush below beside the tree.

One time, trying to take a chosen twig with him, he left it sticking out like a flagpole.

I must confess; I know nothing about owls apart from what I see on TV.

Silent when flying for their food, their cry haunting, like the cry of the lost, still wandering the afterlife for a home.

Their beautiful eyes give off a sense of loneliness, but maybe that’s just me and the strange feeling I receive when watching them.

Our feathered friends, a reminder of days walking with dinosaurs…

© Anita Dawes 2021

#Writephoto ~ Appointed ~ #Poetry

Thursday photo prompt: Appointed #writephoto

This week’s prompt ~ Appointed

For visually challenged writers, the image shows the black silhouette of a crow perched atop a blackened and dead-looking tree. In the background the sky is blue and the trees are decked in the full green leaf of summer…

Worry is a terrible thing, it steals the quality of life from right under your nose, reducing your world into a place of doom and gloom. We have been sitting on a massive worry these past six months and have refused to start the new year until we had good news.

I have desperately tried to keep everything normal, finish my WIP and keep the website going, but have to admit it was a poor imitation of the real thing, and I apologise for that.

I have not been sharing much of this with our friends and followers and this may seem strange after all your incredible support when Anita had that massive heart attack in 2020. Your love and good wishes pulled us through that terrible time, but when disaster struck again last year, it seemed far more serious, and we really felt that talking about it might make it worse.

Anita’s heart is still severely damaged, and despite having two stents and a pacemaker fitted, it only barely functions. When a series of lumps started to appear around her neck last year, the alarm bells started ringing again.

Because of the raging virus and all the hospital delays, it took months to have the lumps investigated. The consultant mentioned cancer and after deliberation, they finally decided to remove part of her thyroid. Surgery was a problem as they didn’t think her heart was strong enough, but they said that delaying it was not an option.

A nightmare time for all the family, especially Anita for she can’t abide hospitals at the best of times. My sister has never been ill and to be struck down by two life threatening illnesses almost at the same time seems very unfair. She made it through the surgery without incident, but we had to wait two agonising weeks to get the results of the tests.

By this time, we were all terrified and sick with worry, dreading the news.

The day of the appointment, I felt sick to my stomach but somehow kept a smile on my face. I think I held my breath when she was called into the consultants office, but five minutes later the door opened and she rushed out of the room, a massive smile on her face. We watched in amazement as she ran out of the ENT department to a standing ovation from the nurses.

By this time, we knew the news must be good, but I wanted to know how good. Just before we all reached the lifts, I caught her arm and made her stop walking. ‘Well,’, I said and waited.

She stood there and laughed at me, and I didn’t think she was going to say anything.

‘THERE IS NO CANCER,’ she shouted.

All the way home in the car, she kept saying those words, and her relief was wonderful to see. Despite the odds, her poor old ticker had survived the surgery and she was cancer free.

But four days later, we had to rush back to the hospital, as Anita was having trouble breathing. She is now back home, but it seems that worrying isn’t going anywhere after all.

She is looking better, although still very weak and breathless much of the time. The list of her medications grows ever longer, but … and you may have noticed this, none of what happened has stopped her writing her poetry.

Now all I have to do, is get my own head back together!

It was my habit to take a short cut through the woods on my way back from the shops, as it always seemed quicker that way.

It was also a much better walk, with the sunlight filtering through the branches and the dark green shadows beneath the trees.

I thought it a magical place, and once saw my first green woodpecker there. I often wished there were a bench as I would have liked to stay awhile and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

That day though, it turned out to be the wrong place to be.

I had barely reached the first tree when the strong flapping of wings somewhere above my head, stopped me from walking any further.

The sound of flapping wings became louder as several large black birds swooped down and attacked me. Disorientated, confused and more than a little scared, I waited for them to leave. I had no idea then what they were, but now I’m sure they were ravens.

When the first set of claws raked through my hair, instinct made me start running. Not easy to do, as they were all around me, clearly upset by my presence. I was in the middle of a nightmare, with no idea of what I had done to make these birds so angry.

Once clear of the woods, the ravens stopped attacking me and returned to the clearing beneath the trees. I stood still to catch my breath and watched them, wondering why they had behaved like that.

Most of the birds returned to the trees, still shouting the odds, but two of them seemed to be looking for something on the ground.

That when I saw what they were looking for.

A baby raven was hopping about in the undergrowth, struggling to fly, and failing miserably. I knew the parents of this baby would stay with him until he managed to take off, feeding and encouraging him, the rest of the flock on guard duty.

This was the reason I had been attacked, and suddenly, I wasn’t scared any more…

© Jaye Marie 2021

A Picture paints a Thousand Words…

Image by Pixabay.com

A Picture paints a thousand words

Time has run out, the clock no longer ticks
Who lies beneath the weeping angel?
The stone etched name, faded, lost to history
I look upon her weeping form, her personal story aching to be told
Her face too young for tears so painful
Her beautiful hair is folded back, like wings that no longer fly
Yet there is a deep need to spread them, to be lifted once more
To reach home, warmth, comfort, a safe place to be.
I found myself wishing she could open her eyes
Are they blue, brown, or green with shards of light?
Would I fall in love, would her voice be soft, laced with music?
I didn’t come here to fall in love with a stone angel
I could hear her heart beating from a long distance
Her need to tell me about her yesterday’s swept over me
A feeling of standing too close to the fire…


Stepping back from her image as if touched by a flame
The light fading, I whispered, I will return tomorrow
reminding myself I was here to investigate the death of Joseph Frost
who died in 1832 at the age of twenty-eight.
Are her tears for one whose life was too short?
Returning now to the hotel, I wondered by whose hands she was made
Had they wept their own tears during the long hours of work?
Stories begin to fold into each other, blending, losing time
After eating a good supper, I slept, dreaming of my stone angel
How easily she had become mine.
She tells me the body that lies beneath her tears has returned to earth many
imes.
The soul that travels through these lifetimes belongs to her when she was
ore than stone. When she walked beside him.
She had hoped her tears would wipe away the years, yet eons have passed
nd stone she remains. Fantasy of an overworked mind, you might say. My mind tells me there is more to it. Our dreams may well be linked to stories yet to be told.
Like the feelings that triggered them that night. The ticking clock may have stopped for Joseph Frost, but my clock is ticking. Time is on my side, or so I believe.
With that in mind, I made my way back to my stone angel. She will be waiting after all.

Mulling over a conversation heard over breakfast, someone asking about the graveyard on the hill and my stone angel. As you might expect, my ears stood to attention. It appears the lady asking the questions wondered if there any stories about the stone angel standing over Jasper Frost’s remains.

Have people reported seeing her, kneeling beside the grave, minus her wings?
I felt my heart skip a beat to think my angel might have been flesh and blood at some time. I couldn’t let myself dare believe she might be real in my here and now.

As I walked, the sun warmed my back. The day would be good.

I told myself, reaching the great iron gate, that I entered the land of sleeping souls. One could say the land of the dead, only it is in the wrong place. It should be below my feet. Much further down than six feet.
I’m not saying that everyone lying here belongs in the land of the dead, or hell for that matter. Thing is, I don’t believe in heaven. So if souls exist, I had to wonder where did they go after the body gives up? Do we return to some great supermarket, waiting to be dished out again?

Not a bad idea, when you think sometimes you get two for one in the shape of twins. Then there are the broken souls, who seem to have come from a bargain basement garage sale. I often feel less than my full self, as if something may have been left behind when they sent me to meet my mother. I have no idea what I am talking about, or where these thoughts come from in the first place. Thing is once they enter your mind you are stuck with them. You end up shoving them around, like cold food on a plate. The fork in your hand, shifting strange thoughts from one side to the other, until your mind clicks back to the present and that moment when your thoughts become one delicious blank. Your sudden release sets of a rethink. You boil all down to one thought, what am I doing with my life?

The black marble headstone shone in the morning sun. Dark beacons of light for a small part of the day.
Slowing my stride, to read a few words. Sentiments the dead will never hear. Written by tear stained faces who no longer visit.
There she stood under the morning sun. A part of my mind hoped her tears would have dried, trying to imagine her happy with a smile on her beautiful marble face. Her tears remain, her body warm to my touch. Is the sun trying to give her life, to bring her back to the one soul she seeks to be with?

If only there was a way for the clock she holds to begin ticking. Old time returning widdershins. I know marble can never become flesh, no matter what kind of backward magic is tried.
Yet I hoped she lingered somewhere, waiting to receive a miracle and meet the one sweet love. To touch lives again, all pain of separation forgotten.

I wished my angel farewell, saying I would return someday to sit with her again. I have a love waiting, a home to go to.
That night as I lay waiting for sleep, I wondered how old my soul was, how many lives I may have touched. Did I, at one time, hold the hand of my stone angel? Am I the one she sheds her tears for?

Are we all twisted out of time…?

©anitadawes 2020

Diamonds…

Just another ordinary day, she thought, as the kettle began to boil for her first cup of tea. Nothing planned or expected, so nothing much to look forward to.

Moving to the office, she switched on the computer to start work and while she waited for the machine to boot, she turned her attention to the world outside the window as she sipped her tea.

No sunshine today.

The skies were grey and a fine, almost invisible rain was slowly drenching everything. Glistening raindrops dripped from the branches of the trees. A gentle breeze making these diamonds quiver before falling.

She became aware of a soft gurgling sound as the rainwater found its way from the gutter and down the drainpipe to the gulley just outside the window.

If only everything could be washed away so easily, she thought, thinking of a few things she could do without…

#Writephoto ~ Vista

Thursday photo prompt: Vista #writephoto

Image by scvincent.com

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a wide, summer landscape, seen from a narrow path near the top of a hill that looks out across a valley.

I once stood on a hill very much like this one, breathing in the hot sunshine as I tried to figure out which way I needed to walk. I didn’t really have a clue as to the direction and since leaving the train station, I seemed to have myself hopelessly lost.

I had an appointment that afternoon in a place called Clandon and that was where I thought the train had brought me. I found out, too late, that I should have stayed on the train for one more stop for where I was now, was East Clandon.

How or why I thought I could walk to the next station rather than wait for over an hour for the next train still puzzles me, even now. Or why I chose the countryside rather than the road to reach my appointment. I remember feeling confident that it would be quicker and that I could do it. I loved to walk, and the day was perfect.

What I didn’t know at the time, was there were a mile of fields to cross, not something I had done since a child.

Somehow, I guessed the direction and set off. It seemed to get hotter as I walked, the air becoming heavier as my breathing deepened. As I walked, I lost track of time as I enjoyed being alone and at one with nature. The everyday world had gone away, replaced by so much green, fields, hedges, and the faint song of a skylark so high above my head.

I managed to keep my appointment, but quite glad I wouldn’t need to walk back to that station…

Blown Tyre…

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Blown Tyre

I am leaving the small town of Hooton, my five-year-old daughter asleep on the back seat. Barely five yards from the last gas station for seven miles according to the sign, my right front tyre blew. Managing to keep the car on the road, I pulled over. Cathy remained asleep. Not the best way to end a great day visiting bookshops and a candle making museum.

After kicking the tyre in frustration, I looked up to see a young man walking towards me. Tipping his hat, he asked, ‘Can I help you, mam?

If you have a spare, I will gladly change it for you…’

Knowing I could not, I accepted his offer. He said his name was Dave and he worked in Floyds garage, the last one for seven miles.

Tyre changed, I was good to go and offered to pay for his time.

‘No thank you, Mam.’

I had never been called mam before and found it quite quaint. Before I could say more, he walked away towards the garage.

I sat thinking I couldn’t leave it like that.

Cathy still asleep, I decided to turn around and offer the young man lunch. I needed a coffee and Cathy must be getting hungry by now.

Pulling up to the first pump to fill my tank this time, I carried Cathy inside to pay, asking if I could speak to Dave.

The man looked at me as if I had sworn at him. ‘How do you know Dave?’

I explained about the young man who had called me mam.

‘That sounds like Dave all right, always dreaming of going to the rodeo one day, liked to think himself a bit of a cowboy.’

He pointed to photos of his employees on the wall behind him. ‘Is this the young man who changed your tyre?’

‘Yes, it is. I would like to take him to lunch to say thank you, as he wouldn’t accept any money.’

‘I’m afraid you can’t do that, mam. Dave died last year, right about the spot your tyre blew.’

Did a ghost really change my tyre?

©anitadawes 2020

Not Yet Born… #Supernatural Fiction

 

ghost-1280683_960_720.jpg

Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

 

Jessica’s day felt all wrong.  She seemed invisible. No one spoke to her at school. She knew she hadn’t upset anyone, so they couldn’t have sent her to Coventry. She stopped off at the corner shop on her way home to buy the pint of milk her mother wanted. Paying for the milk, she had the feeling Mr Thompson didn’t recognise her. Lindon Avenue was ten minutes away. Turning the corner, she could see the front door was open. Her mother would never leave it open, something must have happened.

Stepping inside, she wondered how long could she sit in an empty house wondering what had gone wrong. Her mother wouldn’t leave without her. They had lived here for the past nine years. Jessica’s birthday was coming up at the weekend. He mother had promised a posh lunch and a trip to the cinema.

Standing in the middle of the living room, silence scraped at the windows like cats claws, but not even a ghost would stay inside this space.

Leaving the milk on the window sill, Jess knocked next door. Mrs Amos would know what had happened, she was always at her window.

Having pushed the bell, she remembered Mrs Amos always took her time coming to the door. The door opened with the usual squeal of hinges.

‘Yes dear, can I help you?’

That strange feeling from school came over her again and she knew the answer would be wrong.

‘No one has lived in that house for the past five years, I’m sorry dear, I don’t know you or your mother.’

Going back to the empty house, Jess sat on the floor. She drank the milk, hoping to hold off the hunger rumbling around in her stomach. She couldn’t stay in an empty house with no food, no furniture, and no mother. She had to find out where her mother was and why she left without a note. But where to start?

It was dark now, and cold inside this empty room. Jess couldn’t hold back the tears. What chance did she have if Mrs Amos didn’t know her?

She fell asleep, thoughts running through her mind like an old strip of telegraph paper, holes punched in her memory. Waking to the sound of birdsong, frozen stiff, the floor was no place for sleeping.

The world outside frightened her. What if no one knew who she was? Mass amnesia was possible, but telling herself this didn’t help. She searched her coat pocket for money as she needed food. Change from the milk plus her pocket money from last week. The memory reminded her of a house full of furniture, her soft bed with warm blankets, her mother giving her the money she held.

Norman’s cafe, where she spent most Saturday afternoons helping with the dishes would be open now and she had an hour before school started. Not many people sat waiting. Rushing to the counter, she asked Norman for her usual sausage sandwich and cup of tea.

‘Take a seat, young lady and I’ll bring it over.’

What was he talking about, he always called me Jess? She took a seat by the window, and everything was as she remembered. Clark’s shoe shop across the road, the post office on the corner waiting to open.

Jess forced herself to eat the sandwich and drink the tea, knowing she needed it. Once outside again, she passed faces she knew on their way to work. No one smiled or said hello. The paperboy rushed past as if he hadn’t seen her.

She took her seat at the back of the class. The register was taken but her name was not called. Why not, she was here? Jess couldn’t let this go. Mrs Johnson was ignoring her now, despite Jessica’s hand up, waiting to be noticed. Making her way to the desk, she said, ‘Excuse me, Miss, you didn’t mark me in.’

Mrs Johnson  looked at Jess, and said, ‘I think you must be in the wrong class.’

Jess insisted that this was her class.

‘Maybe Janet should take you to the Heads office. You are clearly upset about something.’

Jess let herself be led away. She had never had much to say to Janet over the years, still, she should know this is my class.

Janet left her sitting outside the Heads office. Five minutes later the door opened and the same grim face she knew, asked ‘Why are you sitting outside my office? Shouldn’t you be in class?’

At last, someone who knows me. ‘Mrs Johnson says I am in the wrong class.’

‘Surely you and Mrs Johnson must know where you belong?’

‘I do know.’

‘Then off with you, young lady. Time is wasting.’

Jess turned to leave. The wrong still surrounded her.

‘Wait a minute, what’s your name?’

‘Jessica Wilde. Two days ago you called out my name in assembly.’

‘There is no need to be flippant, young lady. You can’t expect me to remember every name in the entire school. Off with you to class.’

By now, Jess was getting sick of being called ‘young lady’ by those who deemed to speak to her. She couldn’t go back to class, she would only be sent out again. With the key still in her pocket, she went home to find the key didn’t fit. There were curtains on the window now and sounds coming from inside. Mrs Amos said that no one had lived here for five years. Had the whole world gone mad?

Jess decided to knock and a small boy about four years old opened the door, his mother right behind him.

‘Can I help you?’

At least she didn’t say ‘young lady’. Things must be looking up.

Jess stood for a moment, not knowing what to say. From the doorway she could see carpets she didn’t recognise, furniture that didn’t belong in there. Again the woman asked if she could help her.

‘I don’t think you can. You see, I am supposed to be living here with my mother. For the past nine years, this has been my home.’

‘You must be confused. I was told it had been empty for five years. I moved in this morning with my husband. I fell in love with the house. It was the magnolia in the front garden that sold it for me.

Jess remembered when she planted it with her mother, the memory causing her body to shake with sobs.

‘Are you sure you have the right place?’

All Jess could do was nod her head. A small whisper escaped her lips. ‘God help me…’

‘Would you like to come in for a moment, I could make a cup of tea. See if we can get to the bottom of this. My name is Jill and this is Thomas. We are trying to find a nursery for him. Jess didn’t feel like telling her that her school had a nursery. Maybe anyone living in this house would be invisible once they stepped outside the door.

Jess drank the tea, grateful for the warmth. She couldn’t bring herself to say much. Standing too quickly, she almost knocked the cup from the saucer. ‘I have to go now. I need to find my mother.’

She made her way to the park and sat on a bench, trying to remember her life. She began when she was three, her birthday, her friends, and her father who died when she was eight. Mrs Amos always came for a slice of cake, such happy memories. Starting big school, making new friends, it was all there inside her head. She knew she couldn’t sit there forever, she would have to go to the police station, they would know how to find her mother.

She was wrong. Her name didn’t show up on any listing. She heard the sergeant say that she didn’t exist. Yet she was standing there.

They told Jess they would keep looking, and they called Child Welfare to find her somewhere to stay.

Jess could feel herself shaking as this new information swept over her. They couldn’t find a record of her or her mother.  Jess pinched herself and it hurt, the pain telling her she was real enough.

Temporary foster care was found, a Mr and Mrs Foster. Jess couldn’t say she liked it there. She was just taking up space she would rather not be in. Her days were pleasant enough. She was sent to a new school where this time they knew who she was. A new uniform and books were supplied, making her feel even more out of place. She had almost forgotten how to talk. She couldn’t be bothered, for this wasn’t her life.

One afternoon, sitting in the library, she came across a book titled ‘Wrong time’ about people who believed they were born into the wrong time. So many people believing they are living the wrong life. Jess wondered if this was happening to her. Was she wrong? What if she shouldn’t be here yet? What if her mother was somewhere waiting in the life she remembered?

Jess wasn’t doing well at school. She drew into herself. The Martins didn’t know what to do to help her. Every day after tea, Jess would lock herself in what had become her room, a room full of things she didn’t want.

The curtains, the bedding, all wrong. The new shoes hurt her feet. Her mother would have known how to soften them.

Reading more of the book made her feel so much worse. She almost convinced herself that she had been born too soon. She felt out of place. She believed her memories were real, no matter how many times they told her that her mother must have run away. They must think she was really stupid, or her mother some kind of genius, able to vanish their names from existence.

This new life was too dark for Jess, and she couldn’t stay there. The water of the canal closed over her body, the last three minutes of her brain knew she would return to Lindon Avenue and the mother she loved…

AAAAA