The eyes of Fox Hallow.

Part 6 – Tears like raindrops.

 

His body hung over heavy, his breathing, heavy, and the weight of his head pressing on my chin, heavy.
It took him a moment to catch is breath and pull himself off of me. “Go.” he said coldly signalling with his hand for me to leave. I did.
Shutting the door, I tried my upmost to hold back the tears that would soon cover my face, like a damn bursting they came flooding out at speed, though I had learnt to cry silently these days.
I walked slowly towards the bathroom, the wetness between my thighs made me feel nauseous, I hated the thought of having any part of him still clinging onto my body like a leech that just wouldn’t let go!
Picking up my mothers tinted moisturiser, I began to layer it over the finger marks left on my neck and thighs. Tears still running down at an uncontrollable rate, I felt as though it would never end.
“Charlotte, Michael is here for you!” Mother shouted from downstairs, her voice sounded sweet with merriment, she had been cooking with Tabatha, quiche I think, the smells permeated the house.
“Tell him I’m busy!” I yelled back, wiping the tears from my eyes, but she didn’t hear, the radio was on loud in the kitchen and to my horror she had invited him inside.
I heard his footprints trudging up the stairs “Charlotte?” Michael called out, his steps slow; I sensed nervousness in his voice.
I unlocked the bathroom door and came out to see him standing at the top of the stairs.
“Oh Charlotte! I’m so glad to see you, what an interesting house you have!” he commented, looking around trying to look impressed, when it was obvious he felt otherwise.
“Its nothing special! Just a tattered farmhouse, falling to pieces to be honest; someone will probably knock on the door any day and warrant it to be demolished! It’s falling apart, Christ knows why they bought this place!” I said angrily back crossing my arms.
“Well I like it! I think it has character!” Michael announced, running his finger over the stonewalls.
“You’ve been crying?” he whispered,
“I’m fine, really.”
“Will you not tell me what is wrong?”
“Why don’t we go outside? I think the fresh air will do me a world of good!”
Off we went into the fields behind the house, it was raining torrentially, the cold air hitting the backs of my legs.
“So, you goanna tell me what’s up?” Michael asked, nudging me on the arm, “I’ve never seen you sad before, grumpy, but not sad.”
I stayed quiet and held my head up towards the sky, opening my mouth I giggled as I attempted to catch raindrops into my mouth, Michael laughed and copied, it distracted his questions for now.
We span around, our arms stretched out wide, the rain covering our faces, for a short time it felt cleansing, until we stopped, dizzy, and capitulated onto the grass.

 

© Jasmin Elizabeth 2019

Advertisements

Where the Nightingale sings.

Part Three.

 

The walls that once held him close and secure, felt increasingly like a prison; Isaiah felt his dreams of purpose and exploration ripped from his very core, no amount of castle balls and showering in golden rain would ever suffice and fill the void which was evidently growing bigger. Like a hunger left to manifest, Isaiah found his tolerance slipping, his heart withering and his mind unsatisfied with the same conversations and same scenery. He couldn’t help look for any possible chance to escape, though nothing to this point seemed to present itself.
“My darling boy, will you come walk with your Mother around the castle? I wish to show you our latest treasures we have found on our last visit to Earth.”
The queen said merrily, eager to show off her magnificent findings.
Without a chance to speak, Isaiah was lead by the Queen down the corridor.
“What is it?” Isaiah asked, mesmerised by the Queens treasure.
The queen turned to pick up a crystal chest and opened it, revealing white and blue water droplets that sparkled and shimmered as intense as glitter.
“These Isaiah, are the tears of the children of Earth.”
“How do you collect such a thing Mother?”
“Dearest boy, my job as Queen of the light is to rid the world of pain, our work starts with the children of Earth, at night we find them asleep, and with just a single touch we are able to extract the pain from a child’s memory, and in doing so collect all the tears their eyes hold, leaving them rid of pain, and forever in the light.”
“But Mother, you can’t take peoples memories away? You are the one who has always told me our stories are what make us become something great? How are the children of Earth able to achieve greatness if they never remember the things that pained them? From pain comes hope and with hope comes drive, do you not agree?”
“Dear boy.” the Queen sighed, her eyes narrowing like a bird of prey about to go in for the kill, “We are the ones who will make greatness! We are the ones with stories to be heralded! Surely you can see, we take away their pain and give them the wondrous chance to feel peace in their heart, to feel no greed, envy, jealousy, hurt and no need to compete, and we my child, harness their tears and the power they hold, and we my boy become great.”
Isaiah felt muted, as if a hand had in that moment had gagged him, preventing him from saying something foolish. Biting his tongue so hard that it indeed bled, he nodded unwillingly at the Queen, as if to give her confirmation that he to, agreed with her plans of power.
Later that evening just as the sky sprites took their place amongst the stars, the Queen headed out into the night. In this realm the blackness of night became a tunnel to surrounding worlds, its thick air caressed her the angels, pulling them with the attraction a magnet would exude, towards the boarder of many lands and kingdoms to be explored and raided.
The Queen of the light shone like a star as she weaved through the tall silver birch trees in the earthly forest, her angels behind her dancing between the branches singing enchantments.
Coming to an end on her journey the Queen became still, the angels surrounded themselves in a arch around her, floating in the shadows, so not to be seen, but close enough to have their presence felt. Stood in the middle of the arch was a hooded man dressed entirely in black.
“Remove your hood.” Commanded the Queen, raising her chin in dominance.
The hooded figure slowly unveiled himself, showing himself to be a demon of the dark. “It comes to my attention Queen that you have one of my men held captive in your kingdom?” He said lowing his hood.
“I do hope Demon that you are not suggesting I have stolen one of your kind?”
“I know about the boy!” the Demon replied, his face angered in fury.
The Queen laughed and proceeded to walk towards the Demon, “My angels were doing their nightly enchantments on the forest when they came across a foundling crying in the hollow of an old oak tree. You see, this baby had been abandoned, so I do believe Demon that we rescued the child, he was anyone’s to take!”
The Demons eyes glowed in redness so hot it forced the Queen to retreat her steps. “The child was indeed abounded, by me. He is my son, and I warn you that if he is not returned to me then my kind will set war upon your kingdom!”
“Your son?” she mocked, once again laughing, “How foolish you were to leave him in the first place. You may indeed call war Demon, but you will loose!
He does not know of you, nor his true kind, and I promise you he never will!”
“You think you can save him? You think you can rescue his damned soul? He is a Demon!”
“I do not wish to save him, I wish to use him!“ she pronounced.
The Demon vanished, leaving behind a black mist that like a disease started to spread through the forest killing every living thing in its way.
The Queen and her angels by this point had flown high into the sky back to the boarder of light, each angel carrying a chest of tears back to the castle from their nights raid.
One of the angels found herself thinking, wondering even why they were carrying chests of tears every night back to the castle. Her name was Afriel.
Later that night she couldn’t help but notice the castle windows had been clouded, covered with a mist so thick that the view to inside the castle was blurred. Gone were the days where the angels used to watch over the children of Earth as guardians, the Queen had different ideas ever since Isaiah had been found that night in the forest; no longer were their purposes to look after the children, but now they were to remove their pain and memories, extracting tears into chests and ridding them of all hurt. Afriel couldn’t help think that as ones of the light they should be protecting and looking after the children, not playing god, that had never been their place.

 

© Jasmin Elizabeth 2019

The eyes of Fox Hallow.

Part 5 – Fragility of the body,

strength of the mind.

 

I wouldn’t have believed it, if someone had foretold that Michael and myself would of become close. At first I saw him as just Mrs Collins son, the geeky lean one, with an obsession for bodily ailments and blood, but I was mistaken. Over the following months we became close friends, he made me laugh, which took me away from the blackness my home life exuded.

Father had become unwell, which in my head I hoped was karmas doing, though his sickness didn’t stop him from his dark thoughts and acting upon them.
The weight seemed to drop off of him just weeks after his diagnosis, a once well-built man, who towered over me, stood before me frail and weak.
I wanted to have the courage to stop what was happening, after all, these days he was no stronger than me, physically I could of had him on the floor in seconds, however it was his mind that was still going strong.
One night he called me into his study, books covered over the many small Persian rugs that lay on top of the oak floorboards, his untidiness was a true representation of his mind.
“Charlotte, I want you to do something for me?” he asked, holding out his hand,
“What father?” I replied hesitantly,
“Shut the door first my dear, then come sit down.”
I turned around and slowly closed the door, taking a glimpse at the hallway before it shut. Why didn’t I leave? I could have just said no, I could have ran out? He wouldn’t be able to stop me? But yet I didn’t. I did exactly as he said and went and sat next to him at his desk.
“I know you think me a sick man for what I’ve done to you,” he whispered, his hand resting on my knee. A single tear rolled down my cheek whilst he spoke, “For you know I am ill, I am sure you are pleased? Yet you’re still afraid of me aren’t you?” He questioned.
“You don’t scare me Father.” I stated unemotionally in response, “you have ruined me in more ways than I can think to describe, yet seeing you like this hurts, and I do not understand why?” I replied honestly, looking back at him at him, we had never spoken about his abuse, nor did I ever think I would be able to speak so frank.
“Well luckily for you, I am on borrowed time, though it doesn’t change my feelings towards you in the slightest, and you may hate me as much as you like for what I have done to you, or maybe you could think yourself lucky, grateful even surely you know nobody will ever want you like I want you, in fact its really selfish Charlotte that you do not recognise my kindness to you, for when I am gone your body will provoke no attention to any man, look at yourself, really? I am giving you a gift child, the gift of being a women, and when I die that gift will die also.’
My heart ached, my legs trembled as he pushed my legs apart and ripped my knickers off me in a violent manner, feeling him inside me was like being poisoned, every inch of my body resisted him, yet I was not able to move. Looking at the ceiling I thought to myself that it wouldn’t last long, it never did.

 

© Jasmin Elizabeth 2019

Where the Nightingale sings.

Part two.

 

Isaiah grew strong and elegant with time; though he was shut away from the world outside. Having only of known life within the castle, he couldn’t help feeling more of a prisoner than a son to the Queen.
“Mother, dearest Mother, please allow me to go outside? For I desire so badly to see the silk blue sky and lie on the moist mossy banks in the castle gardens, I have heard so many stories from the other children, they say it’s quite magnificent!”
The queen turned her head to look outside, the sun beamed through its panes with a heat so warm it felt like the touch of an old friend.
Moving her eye contact back to Isaiah, the Queen sighed, “there is no use in in such trivial conversations my son, the outside world is of course with its beauties and magic, however its also littered with danger, evil, and sadness, you would be a fool to think I could ever allow you to wonder into harms way? My son, this castle has plenty for you to fill your mind with, and within these mighty walls you are free to dream and live as you like.” The queen turned back towards the window and gently placed her hands on it. A misty vapour left her hands and spread itself onto the window and like a rash it grew, winding its way up the panes, clouding the view from the world outside.
“Mother, stop! Please!” Begged Isaiah, his heart beating faster than he could ever of thought possible.
“I am doing this for you my son, I should have done this the day you arrived, a window is only a temptation as to what’s not within your reach. It would be cruel of me to allow you to spend your days pondering a life you will never have. Its the kindest thing to do. I do this because I love you.” she said, her voice ringing as disingenuous as the tongue of the devil himself.
Isaiah felt his dreams slip through his fingers as he continued to watch the spell crawling the many panes of glass, he told himself to remember as much as he could, taking one last look before it was all gone.
Fifteen and having not once been allowed anywhere but the rooms inside the castle, he new he was bound to be held captive if he didn’t choose to escape, but how? The King and Queen had been is family; his Mother had done this out of love right? It all seemed so puzzling to him, why were the angels daughters and sons allowed to explore the gardens, go on adventures to new lands? Why were the Queens other children allowed to go swimming in the fairy pools and great waterfalls that flowed from the snow-topped mountains? It wasn’t fair.
Isaiah faced the wall, turning his back to the Queen, as one single black teardrop fell from his eyes.
“You must be greatly mistaken Mother, there is nothing so special about me, I have no powers, I cannot fly, I am useless, and within this castle I am destined for nothing but to be your son.”
“Are you implying my boy, that to be the son of a Queen of the light is not good enough for your ambitions?” she said coldly, her words coiling around his body like a snake slowly killing its prey.
Isaiah paused for a moment, trying his upmost to prevent himself from speaking another word.
With the thoughts of the world he was now forbidden to see, Isaiah left his Mothers company and shut himself in his bedroom. Moving a heavy brown chest he pushed it in front of the doorway so he would not be disturbed.
Dipping is fingers in the many rich pigments of paint, he had accumulated on the floor; his eyes closed he put his finger on the canvas and allowed it to move in the directions it so desired. Flowing so easily and without fault, he created a snapshot of what he could remember the world had looked like; though only one painting, it was enough to make him never forget.

© Jasmin Elizabeth 2019

 

The eyes of Fox Hallow.

Part 4 – Wonderings.

 

Running through the fields in fits of laughter, our arms spread out wide as if we were flying, the countryside was vast, bleak and endless, but it was just how we liked it. It was rare to have moments when we would all play together without a care in the world.
‘Tag you’re it!” Christopher shouted, running fast down the hillside. I raced after him as fast as I could! Trying to catch him up, but his little legs were so quick! I found myself chasing after him for what felt like hours, but I didn’t mind.
The sun was starting to set, and I could hear Mother calling from the farmhouse. Father had cooked Christmas dinner and Mother had spent the afternoon baking cookies and a gingerbread cake. The boys ran up towards the house, the thoughts of a big roast in their stomachs seemed to pull them up the hill.
I started to run alongside James, but felt my legs tiring and I started to slow down. The boys, hungry with the thought of a feast, didn’t notice I had fallen behind, and continued to run up the hill.
Sitting down for a moment, I cradled my arms around my bare knees, and took a glance at the mud stains on my jumper dress. My wellington boots once blue with white polkadots were now brown. The frost was coming in and the sun was setting, It was getting dark quickly but still I didn’t turn and run home. Standing up, I dusted the mud and grass off of myself, and walked down the hill towards the village.
Roughly twenty minutes later I had found myself at the drive of ‘The Collins’ house, a large white cottage. Georgian sash windows with huge shutters, pillars at the doorstep, it was beautiful, unlike our farmhouse, dull stonewalls, small windows and a prominent smell of damp.
I could see inside the windows, their large Christmas tree, so high it reached the top of the ceiling! Their fireplace, grand and opulent, with holly trailing on the top of the mantelpiece. Two big brown chesterfields, against their soft cream painted walls, complimented the many pieces of classical artwork dotted around.
I felt myself drawn to watch, to see how they lived, it looked so different to my life. It looked peaceful.
Creeping quietly up the drive I wondered up to the window and peered through the glass. Mrs Collins was sat on the sofa sipping at a whisky, whilst her children sat around the coffee table with Mr Collins playing dominos. It all seemed perfect, just the way Christmas should be, I thought to myself.
I had sat watching them interact for what must have been over an hour, when Michael noticed me at the window.
“Shh.” I mouthed, putting my finger to my lips and pointing at his parents.
He nodded.
It wasn’t long until Michael had found a reason to leave the sitting room and sneak outside.
“Charlotte?” he called, looking around to find me.
“Over here!” I replied in a whispered voice, peering my head out of the bush next to the window.
“Why are you here?” he quizzed, looking confused, but happy to see me.
“I’m not sure.” I replied honestly in a penitent manner, “I was supposed to be running home for dinner, but found myself walking here instead. I suppose I must be going home, I shouldn’t have been wondering…”
“Wait! Let me walk you home.” he suggested, his eyes looking into mine, his kindness made me drop my harsh exterior for a moment, and I found myself resting my head on his shoulder. “ Okay. But won’t your parents notice you’ve gone?”
Michael laughed “No! They won’t, they think I’m in my room playing with my presents, and their way to occupied having fun drinking Dads special whiskey, he got if from Scotland, its a very expensive one that they only bring out for special occasions, I even took a sip!”
“Really? I’m surprised Mrs Collins let you!”
“Mum didn’t, I took it last night when they were cooking in the kitchen, just a little sip, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.”
“Well? Was it nice?” I asked sarcastically,
“No! It was most horrid! Made me feel like a dragon, guess that part was fun, I reckon if I’d of drunken anymore, I would of been able to breathe fire!”
“You lie!” I said, nudging him gently and giggling.
“No! I never lie, well not to you anyway!” He replied, blushing ever so slightly.

 

© Jasmin Elizabeth 2019

Where the Nightingale sings.

Part one.

Wrapped in a cloak of velvet, he cradled his son one more time.
Looking at the face he had created, he placed the baby down into the hollow of an knobbly old oak tree, whilst wiping the tears that streamed down his face as fast and as sudden as a dam bursting, he whispered gently, “I love you.’
The screams of the young infant drowned out the whole of the forest. It was dark, no person was to be seen, just the outline of a father walking into the shadows, his arms hanging down by his waist, carrying a small piece of the blanket he had wrapped his son so tightly in.
It often passed the demons mind, if anybody had seen him cry that day? For one who’s heart was supposedly a roaring fire of eternal hate, it would have shocked any man or woman to find that inside his chest, his heart was in fact capable of breathing love.

That night the angels of the forest weaved their way through the trees, their bodies drifting so elegantly around each branch and curve, making their way towards the cries of the young child.
“What do we do with it?” asked one of the angels, who had come face to face with the little one.
“Is it human?” commanded a voice that came from the sky, rumbling like thunder.
“I’m not sure my Queen, the infant does look exactly like a human baby, except his tears, they are black!
A flash swept across the forest, lighting up the land in a warm glow.
Out of the light a woman slowly appeared, her face sharp and angular as if it had been chiselled.
Walking towards the infant, her long white robe trailed across the frosting grass.
She placed the baby in her arms, and unravelled the child from the cloth that bound it tightly in a ball, “I will name you, Isaiah.”
“But…” interrupted one of the angels, “the boy is not of the white light, but of the dark!”
“And?” questioned the Queen, turning to face the outspoken one.
“I was only trying to say my Queen, that the boy is not of white light, a name as powerful as Isaiah…”
“The name means salvation of the lord, and as one born to dark and found by the light, would you not conceive that as salvation?” The Queen questioned firmly.
Retreating, the angel stood amongst her fellow beings.
The Queen blew out into the crisp winter air, creating a big spheroid of blue light.
Placing Isaiah inside, he floated high above the ground, and together with the angels and their Queen the little one made his way through the forest, once again weaving and working around the tall trees that stood high and noble.

The night was coming to an end as the early morning sun rose high above the trees in the forest.
During the daylight hours the land looked ordinary, though beautiful with wildlife and rivers, with the most vivid blue hews. The Queen and her angels had snuck out of the forest just before the night had slipped away; they had slid into a frame of time governed by no clock.

The Queens castle cascaded into the sky, its height was truly magnificent yet some found its stature daunting.
At the entrance to the castle there stood a grand elm door; pressing her pale white hand over its knots she felt the hum of the tree it had once been.
The door opened and in she wondered, followed by the infant cradled in his ball of light.
The angels were not allowed into the castle, it was not there place. There job was endless, they were guardians of ‘the lost ones.’
They spent their days watching over the children on Earth who were abandoned, lost and alone.
The Queen had never taken a child back to her world, let alone to her castle; frightened of the kings reaction, she slid a glass knife into the pocket of her long flowing silver dress.

“What is this?” The king quizzed, idling over the child, now safely in the arms of his wife.
“This is a special child dear husband. We must keep him here, and raise him.”
“What?” yelled the king! “He is a human! No humans are allowed in this world! Have you lost your mind?”
“But dear husband, he is not, he is something else, something powerful, something astonishing. His name is Isaiah.”
“You mock me wife?” the king questioned angrily.
“No! Watch.” she insisted.
Pulling out the glass knife from her dress pocket, the Queen pressed the sharp tip onto the top of the child’s little finger. The infant cried, his screams echoing around the entire castle, but then the king saw it, the black tears dripping down the boys face and the blood that was not red but clear like water.
“What is this child?” the king asked in awe.
“I do not yet know! But he is important, I can feel it in my very core.”
“So very well, you may keep it here, but dear wife, do not be foolish and fall in love with this child, for you do not know of its origin, and black tears are not a sign of a child from the light.”
Bowing her head respectfully she waltzed out of the large drawing room, Isaiah still wailing in her arms.
Looking at the glass the knife on the table, the king couldn’t help standing in puzzlement by the oddities of the child’s peculiarities.
At that very moment he knew only of uncertainty, but in a world where time is not administered, a moment would last forever.

© Jasmin Elizabeth 2019

The eyes of Fox Hallow.

Part 4 – One big show.

 

“Charlotte! It is most unrefined to have your shirt pulled over your hands in such a way! Your poor mother must detest having to iron out the creases!” Mrs Collins snapped!
If only she knew why I had pulled my shirt over my hands, I thought angrily; looking at her, once again admiring her radiant beauty. For some reason it had started to bother me, how well groomed, well spoken and beautiful she was. It was becoming an irritant! How was she so perfect?
I released my shirt from my gripped fists and let it hang loose, thankfully I had been smart enough to sneak a bandage out of Mothers first aid tin before school, so know one would notice what a state I had made of my arm.
“That’s a big bandage! What’d you do?” quizzed Michael (Mrs Collins son)
“Nothing.” I replied casually.
“You are lying!” He pressed, “You wouldn’t have a whopping great bandage on your arm if you had only a little scrape! What’d you do?”
“I told you, I did nothing.” I said more aggressively.
Mrs Collins overheard and walked across to see for herself, “Charlotte, that is a mighty big bandage, what did you do my dear?”
I gave her a long look, hoping she would just drop it and move on, but she continued to stand in front of me, insistent I explain what had happened.
“I fell Mrs Collins, its just a little cut, its all my Mother had in her first aid box, I know its probably a bit much, but I didn’t want to get blood on my clean shirt.”
She looked at me in a concerned manner. I couldn’t tell whether she believed me or not. She turned round to continue her teaching. I let out a small sigh of relief. I was going to have to get a bit better at this ‘lying’ thing.
I had never had reason to not tell the truth before, but now I felt myself backed into a corner like a cat, ready to lash out.

Michael’s stares throughout the day were tiresome; so eager to take a look at my cut, he kept annoyingly requesting “Please char, let me have a look, I want to be a Dr when I’m older and its imperative that I get used to looking at cuts and injuries!”
“Well you won’t be looking at my cut!” I snarled, “Stop staring at me, can you not find something better to put your mind to? I don’t’ know, like maybe your work?”
The whole day I had felt in defence, it was all I had left, at home I couldn’t stop Father and what he intended to do, but at school I could, and I would stop anybody who wanted to take advantage of me! Here I could be strong! Here I wouldn’t be prayed upon! Or so I thought.

The winter months seemed to meld into one, it was always cold, always wet, and my god was it windy living on the moors! I detested Mothers kind attempts at making homemade woollen cardigans; they were so itchy that all of our skin would come up in rashes!
You would of thought our first Christmas at the farmhouse would of been one to look forward too, but that just meant more time at home, more time spent doing idle family things, and more time around family, which meant more time with Father.
The last month or two he had been so buried down with work and marking tests in the evenings after school that his interest in me had waned. Occasionally he’d tuck me in and kiss me, sometimes it would be just a brief touch of his hand over my bum whilst brushing past him between rooms, but the most recent move was him watching me undress before Id shower, he’d tell my Mother he needed to mark some books in peace in the study upstairs, when in fact he’d quietly sneak into my room and stand by the door, watching me as I remove my clothes, then he’d leave not saying a word. It was a regular occurrence when he would ‘accidentally’ stumble into the bathroom whilst I would be showering, yelling at me telling me to ‘lock the door!’ but when in truth, he had actually told me to leave it unlocked. It was all a show.

It was Christmas eve, Father and Mother were sat by the fire sipping port, the radio playing the usual cheesy Christmas songs in the background,
“Claire give young Charlotte a glass of port.” Father insisted, passing her an empty glass,
“John do you not think Charlotte is too young for a drink? It will most probably go to her head!”
“Claire give her a small glass, after all it is Christmas Eve!” he said, winking at me, whilst my mother unwillingly poured a small bit of port into a glass.
“Drink it slowly!” Mother commanded, hesitantly holding her arm out.
I took a sip, its sweetness and strength made my cheeks blush,
“Do you like it?” asked Father, smirking ever so slightly as he could tell I was flushed.
“Yes.” I muttered, “Thank you.”
James walked into the sitting room “Can I have a glass? Please?” he begged, doing his most ‘puppy dog eyes’ impression.
“No!” replied Father, putting his hand down on the coffee table.
“But why John? The boy is almost 16!” Mother retorted, astonished at fathers answer.
“Fine. Let him have some, but only a small glass Claire, I wasn’t intending on sharing the whole bottle with all the children!” Father passed him a glass whilst downing the remainder of his in one big gulp!
“Here you go.” Mother said, offering James the glass, he nodded respectfully and took a sip of the port.
We all sat round the fire that evening, though neither myself or James had much to say; we sat contently sipping on our drinks and watching Tabatha and Christopher put out milk and rich tea biscuits for Father Christmas,
“You can’t forget the carrots!” Mother said, chuckling as she watched Christopher run into the kitchen rummaging to find a carrot in the vegetable basket, Tabby waddling behind.
That night for a moment I felt a glimpse of happiness, it reminded me of the old days before we’d moved here, I remembered sitting on Fathers knee, he told me the same stories about Father Christmas and his elves as he did Christopher and Tabatha, we’d make mince pies, and hang our stockings on the mantel piece.
Although this hadn’t changed, our relationship had, I had, I was no longer a child, not in his eyes anyway.
Father kept refilling my glass each time Mother and James left the room, they were so pre occupied with my younger siblings that they didn’t notice Father was pouring me glass after glass.
“No more.” I said quietly, handing him back the glass.
“Drink.” He said, softly yet commanding.
“Please I…”
“Drink.” Father pushed the glass towards me, I took it, but this time I swallowed the whole lot in one. It made me shiver.
“Charlotte!” squealed Mother, “I will not have my daughter behave like a hooligan!” She grabbed the glass from my hand, giving my Father an intense look of frustration, “she is too young to be drinking, I will not encourage her to behave in such an uncultivated way!”
“Claire she was just enjoying a glass of port, haven’t we all drunk a little to fast before?” Father said, putting an arm around her to try and urge her to sit down.
“Charlotte is a child John!” She yelled, grabbing the bottle of port and storming into the kitchen.
Fathers face changed. His expression disgruntled;
“Stay here!” he demanded, looking at us all.
Storming into the kitchen, he slammed the old oak door with such force it made the room shake.
We all sat on the coffee table listening to them argue, until we heard the sound of a slap and Mother crying.
The door opened and out walked father, red faced and fists clenched.
“Go to bed! All of you!” he yelled pointing at the stairs.
We promptly made our way to bed.
On the way up the stairs I caught a glimpse of mother on the floor in the kitchen, huddled in a ball and crying.

An hour or so had past, and the house was silent, Mother had come up and tucked Tabatha in and washed the boys faces, though she didn’t come in to say goodnight to me.
In walked Father.
He paced up and down my room; it was obvious he was still very much wound up.
“Get up!” he said coldly.
I got up. Normally I may have asked why or said no, but he was so riled up, that I didn’t want to make him any angrier.
Worried as to what he wanted to do, I stood up straight, the cold night air making my legs pimple. To my surprise he came up, and put his arms around me. Then, what I least expected would happen, he cried.
I stood still, until he unwrapped himself from me, he said nothing, but touched my cheek and sighed.
I watched as he took both of his hands and gently held the ends of my nightdress and lifted it up over my head.
I stood shaking in just my pants.
“Go to bed.” he said, running his hands over my breasts.
I turned and into bed I slipped.
He turned around and folded my nightdress, placing it on my dresser, and walked out.

The next morning mother came in, I must have slept in late, which to her was a shock, as it was after all, Christmas day.
“Charlotte, wake up dear, its Christmas.” she whispered in a soft, loving voice.
Opening my eyes, I noticed a big red mark across her cheek.
“Are you okay?” I asked quietly.
“Its not for you to ask my dear.” she replied stroking my head.
“But…”
“Something’s are just between a man and his wife. Not the young minds of children who wouldn’t understand the complexities of a relationship. Now lets get you downstairs my dear, there may be something under the tree for you!”
Looking at her I couldn’t help feel guilty, if I hadn’t have downed the port, she wouldn’t have been slapped.
“I’m sorry.” I said, trying to hold back the tears that filled my eyes.
Mother didn’t answer, but instead pulled back the blankets, and stared at my naked skin.
“Where is your nightdress? Its a winters morning, you must be freezing!”
Turning her head to look around the room, she saw it folded on my dresser.
“You are silly! Its an old farmhouse Charlotte, you will catch a death if you don’t stay warm. Here, put it on.”
I took the nightdress and pulled it over my head, and followed Mother downstairs.
“Its Christmas! Its Christmas!” screeched Tabatha, so excited, looking at the presents neatly wrapped underneath the tree.
“He came!” yelled Christopher, pointing at the half eaten biscuits, carrots, and the empty glass of milk.
Mother smiled, pouring us each a glass of orange juice in a Champagne flute, whilst her and Father had the real stuff. “Merry Christmas!” she announced! We all clinked our glasses together, and sipped.

© Jasmin Elizabeth 2018

The eyes of Fox Hallow.

Part 3 – The First sight of blood.

The smell of casserole hit me once we got to the porch, I was just about to walk inside when he stopped me and grabbed my wrists, “Don’t say a word.” he said whispering, in a voice that was both commanding but calm; I turned to open the door and he caught me once more. Looking at him, I nodded, to which he then released my wrists, reached for the door handle, opened it and ushered me inside.

“Your favourite my love!” hummed my Mother, whilst helping my father with his coat and hat.
“You both must be hungry! The boys and Tabby have already eaten, but don’t worry I’ve kept yours nice and warm.”
Father walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, kissing at her neck and moving his hands down over her bum.
“You do things to me Claire, why must you tease me like this? The food smells delightful and so may I add, do you.”
Mother blushed, letting out a little giggle, and gently turned to face him, kissing him on the lips, then pulling out a chair and placing the hot bowl of steaming casserole on the table.
Moving towards me she gave me a long staring look, “Don’t you think Charlotte looks unwell?” she questioned, then turning to look at my father.
“She’s probably just tired from school, she walked in the rain this morning. I believe Christopher had a bit of a cold, maybe she’s coming down with it?” he replied softly, in-between sips of his vintage Merlo, looking at me as if the past hour we had spent together in the car, was just a figment of my wild imagination.
“Are you unwell my dear?” She asked, looking at me concerned,
I shook my head and looked at the floor, trying to avoid her eye contact, which only made me want to blurt out what he had done to me after school.
“Well if she’s not unwell, she’s probably just tired then my love. Charlotte would say if anything was wrong, wouldn’t you dear?” Father said, whilst chewing on a mouthful of casserole.
I nodded.
Mother sat me down at the table and placed a bowl in-front of me.
“Eat.” she said sweetly, “if your coming down with a cold, you need to eat.”
I ate, only to draw less attention to the fact I was so obviously ‘not okay,’ not because I was in any way hungry.
I could feel his looks, they burned into my skin. My mind couldn’t stop replaying what had happened.

This was the first night since we had moved into the farmhouse, that my Father had shown my mother any affection, and she was beaming from it; they were all over each other like a rash, kissing and laughing like any normal evening back in London.

I can’t lie and say it didn’t confuse me. How could he force himself on me in the car? Then, walk into the house and act as if nothing happened? How could he suddenly start behaving nice and charming to Mother, as if he actually loved her, or wanted her, which again was a conundrum! What was this game? Mother was so happy that he was in a good mood; they practically spent the whole evening laughing and groping each other.
I felt a wave of nausea hit me.
Lying in bed that night I felt dirty. I could still taste his spit in my mouth and feel his rough unshaven stubble on my face. Closing my eyes I was worried that if I opened them, id find him there staring back at me.
He didn’t come. Instead I spent the night wide-awake listening to the springs of their small double bed going up and down, and the grunts and other distasteful noises that came seeping through the walls.

The next morning I made sure I was fully dressed and downstairs before the alarm had gone off. I thought it wise to make sure he didn’t have any opportunity to visit my room before the rest of the house awoke.
I sat at the kitchen table, which was so large and long, it seemed to drown me.
There I waited.
“Your up early!” teased James, “Nightmares again? Was it the Monster under the bed, or the thought of bed bugs tearing into your skin and taking a bite?” He laughed, Christopher joined in.
“No.” I replied in a monotone voice.
“Oh! She’s moody!” James mocked, “Somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed!”
I ignored the petty remarks, James and I actually got on rather well, though occasionally he would try and wind me up, he had so much pent up anger about his mothers death and feeling abandoned by his own father, it was somewhat inevitable
that he would take it out on me, from time to time.
Mother walked in, the scent of her expensive perfume (which she rarely wore) wafted through the kitchen, the delightful hints of vanilla and patchouli met our noses with great satisfaction.
Bursting in the door came Father, who then proceeded to pull Mother in towards him, kissing her gently on the lips, “You were amazing last night.” he whispered quietly into her ear. She giggled and went to start making breakfast.
I watched as he pulled out a chair and sat next to me. He didn’t even look at me. Instead he spoke to my brother about the state he had left his bedroom in, and told him that he expected it clean before he was to leave for school.
But then, at first I thought I had imagined it, the touch of his hand resting on my knee. I looked at him, though he was still totally engaged in his conversation with Christopher.
His hand started to move slowly up my thigh, and slowly reached my knickers to which he just stroked his fingers over them before slowly removing his hand from under my skirt and bringing it back onto his own lap.
I felt a shiver rise from my legs up to my head.
I watched him as he ate his breakfast, laughing and joking with my mother and the boys, whilst he completely blanked me.
For a moment I cant deny I had felt a sensation I had never experienced before, the way he touched me, it repulsed me, made me feel dirty, yet the sensation was pleasurable.
That was the morning I felt the urge to do it. Maybe it was because I felt guilty for feeling a small bit of pleasure in something that disgusted me, something that I knew was wrong and something I was sickened by.
I looked at his razor, and without hesitation I cut my arm.
Instant gratification.
I felt the blood slowly running down my skin, it hurt, but it also felt good, it made me feel for a split second, like I had done right in punishing myself for my feelings of pleasure at the table. I deserved to hurt.

© Jasmin Elizabeth 2018

The Diamond Flute.

The girl with the rainbow eyes series, part 7, (Finale.)

With a magnifying glass,
As big as her head,
Rhea Inspected each of the Paper Elephants,
Each night before bed,

There was no way she’d give up,
For she was certain she would find,
The Paper elephant,
Whose eyes were wise.

From a distance, it seemed, they all were the same,
Up close, they appeared neither similar nor plain,
For each Elephant had different eyes, different tusks, different smiles,
Different hearts, different minds, different laughs, different cries.

It wasn’t long before,
that important day came,
Though strange to see rainbow eyes,
On another creatures face,

For a split second,
Rhea fell deeply under a spell,
His eyes so hypnotic,
the eyes of an old friend.

And so he spoke:

“You have found me Rhea,
I never doubted that you would,
For you have determination and courage,
Like all good leaders should.

Now look at your key,
For you should recognise the code!
If you turn it upside down my dear,
The inscription is in-fact musical notes.”

“Its a song!” shouted Rhea,
Turning it upside down to see,
And there next to her appeared,
A diamond flute, into which she’d breathe.

Playing the notes,
One by one,
Rainbow tears filled her eyes,
As she heard the song.

The Elephant started to levitate,
A vortex of clouds swirling around,
In a blanket of musical notes,
He transformed to the beautiful sounds.

The music came to a sudden holt.
Rhea stood in awe,
For the spell had broken,
The blue sky’s strictest binding law.

“Its you! It was always you!
Why didn’t I see?” ,
Wrapping her arms around him,
Rhea let go of the key.

“For my dear,
You are brave, and you did not forget,
How important colour is in our lives,
And how love is the spell.

Now you must return,
To spread your rainbow of art,
You must make your Mother see,
I am still there within her heart.”

Rhea felt her Father,
Slowly slipping away,
Back to the angels in the sky,
And there, he would now stay.

Wiping her tears,
No time to say goodbye,
To the world she had become to love,
To the world she had created inside.

There she stood,
In the attic of her house,
The same old grey walls,
Grey cardigan, and little grey house mouse,

Rhea pulled out all of the paintings,
Hanging each one, back on the walls,
Filling the house with colour,
Where there would be smiles once more.

Her Mother walked in,
Taking a deep breath she sighed,
“Its beautiful Rhea,
But seeing his art makes me cry.”

Rhea hugged her Mother,
With all of her heart and might,
Feeling the colour trickling out,
Of her rainbow eyes,

“Its okay to cry,
It’s okay to be sad,
We have to allow ourselves to feel,
Embracing that isn’t bad!

Father would want us,
To enjoy his art,
To keep him close,
Within our hearts.”

Just like magic,
She let out a smile,
And some of the colour that had left Rhea,
Became alive in her mothers eyes.

What’d once been a spell,
Played on throughout the night,
And together they sang,
Bringing the colour back to life.

© Jasmin Elizabeth 2018

The eyes of Fox Hallow.

Part 2 – The beginning.

 

It was gloopy. I stirred my spoon around at the gunge that awaited my attention unwillingly. Porridge had never been a family favourite for breakfast; maybe it was because my Mother over cooked it? Or maybe it was its un-appealing appearance that made my stomach turn? Either way, with the taste of the un-sweetened oats and a texture that was between semolina and blancmange, both my siblings and myself struggled to swallow a single spoonful;
Needless to say, we were always shouted at to finish the bowl or else we were not allowed to be dismissed. Each mouthful set my gag reflex off, but thankfully there would always be a hot pot of tea on the table, alongside a big ceramic jug of fresh milk, which when poured into the cup, with the sweetness of a sugar cube swirled around, made us all feel warm inside; we all thankfully owed our ability to swallow the gruel down, to the wonder that was Yorkshire tea.

Tabitha was at the age where keeping still just wasn’t going to happen; it was like living with a slippery fish, always moving and difficult to catch.
Managing to climb out of her highchair and underneath the table (her face and clothes both covered in porridge and toast crumbs, Tabitha gurgled away singing nursery rhymes such as ‘twinkle twinkle little star’, the words being unrecognisable, but listening to her happily singing away, set a nice atmosphere around the kitchen. All of us enjoying her attempts at ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and ‘Mary had a little lamb’, which sounded more like ‘Mary had a little hand’ to which, we couldn’t help but laugh.

After breakfast, myself, Christopher and James walked to school. It took about twenty minutes to reach the village, and on a cold wintery day we all turned up partially soaked with windswept hair, our black school shoes submerged in mud!
Mrs Collins classroom was full with colourful displays on the walls and bookshelves that housed masses of my favourite books, many of which were left when we moved up from London. It then hit me that we moved so abruptly and I hadn’t even questioned why?
We were settled, all of us in a good school, my Mum working from home, teaching piano to the local children in our neighbour hood, and our Dad working at an all girls school, just outside of London, where he’d worked for the past ten years. We were told on a Wednesday night that we would be moving and by the Friday morning we had gone.
Mother had given us each a big case to fill, with as many clothes and possessions we could fit inside; and so we did, squeezing in as many items that would possibly fit!

It had felt like the journey of a lifetime getting to Yorkshire, and when we realised that we would not be living in a Town or City, we gasped, the country was a wild and unknown place to our family, and I had never of thought my parents would choose to live in such a remote location miles from anything.

Mrs Collins passed out exercise books and made us copy timetables off of the blackboard.
I couldn’t help but stare at her, she was ever so beautiful. I caught a glance at myself in the windows reflection, I was hideous! Three red spots sat on my face like small mountains, my hair was a mess from walking in the rain and wind, and had gone all flat at the top as if it had been ironed, and fizzy at the ends, as if id been partially electrocuted! I sighed as I looked back at Mrs Collins whoms face seemed to beam with the beauty of an English rose.
“Charlotte?” Mrs Collins said whilst handing over a brown envelope,
“I need you to give this to your Mother, it’s an invite for your parents to come round for afternoon tea next Saturday, so we can all get better acquainted. Oh, and your Father asked for me to let you know he would give you a lift home after school. The weather has been so utterly miserable, and he doesn’t want you catching a death. Christopher is to walk home with James, as the back of his car is full to the brim with a coffee table and some chairs Mr Collins and I have given to you all, as we heard you were short on furniture in the farmhouse. I will get Mr Collins to bring up some raincoats for the boys, so they don’t get soaked on the way home.”
Holding the envelope in my hands, I felt my happiness slip away and the thought of having a lift home with my Father. The previous nights oddities had left me feeling exhausted with a newfound lack of trust in his motives.
Since the move he had been quiet, but when he did speak up, it was in a flippant rage about something insignificant, such as his toothbrush being moved from one side of the sink to the other, or someone talking too loudly, whilst he was trying to read the paper. It was if he’d had a personality transplant, and all his humour and heart had been ripped from his very core.
What bothered me most is that his anger and hostility since the move had been projected onto everybody bar me.
To me he had been nice; two days ago he gave me an extra square of cake quietly to one side, when my siblings and James were outside playing after dinner.
Before, he had never treated any one of us with favouritism, though if anything he would normally play with Christopher and James more, as they were boys and bonded over things such as cars, making dens and play fighting.

The clock seemed to tick slowly, and the day felt tiresome, though no real hard work was being done. It was the thought of getting a lift home that was unsettling, and I knew that it’s not something Id be able to get out of.

The door swung open “Hop in poppet!” he said, smiling at me in a way that made me smile back in nervousness.
“Wouldn’t you rather let Christopher get in?” I suggested hesitantly “he’s had a cold all week, and would probably appreciate the warmth of the car much more than me.”
“Mrs Collins gave the boys some raincoats, did she not?” he questioned, one eyebrow raised,
“Yes she did, but…” He cut me off,
“Well then, they are boys, they have coats! They will be fine! Boys have to be men, and walking in the rain will be good for them, hardy them up! Now close the door your letting in all the cold air! I’ve been sat here heating the car up just for you!”
I closed the door.
Driving out of the school entrance, he drove a way home I didn’t recognise,
“I thought we were going home?” I murmured.
“We are, but first I thought it would be nice to have a drive, get to know the countryside around our new home? Don’t you think that would be nice Charlotte?”
“Won’t Mother have dinner on the table?” I questioned, hoping he’d turn around.
We slowed down and he pulled in, onto a bridal-way.
“Dinner can wait, and if you miss it, I will get her to make you something else. Okay? Now Id like to stop being interrogated and start having some fun, wouldn’t you?”
I left it that he meant the ‘fun’ part as a rhetorical question, as I think deep down inside he knew what he was doing was wrong.
He turned the engine off, and we sat for five minutes in complete silence. I knew that in his head he was warring with what he wanted to do and what he could get away with, and also how best to go about his intentions in a way that would make me stay silent.
“Charlotte?”
“Yes?” I said, my voice shaken with fear.
“I want you to kiss me,” he instructed, now turning to look at me with a smile, this time more sickly and insincere than the last.
“No!” I blurted, pressing my body against the car door, to put more distance between us.
He moved in closer, this time putting is hand on my thigh, “I said, kiss me.”
I stayed still, and quickly his lips were on mine, they felt rough, the stubble around his mouth pressing into my skin, like thorns pricking me with their poison.
It took me a moment to realise this was only the start of what would come.
I was numb and sat frozen whilst he continued, holding my chin and in-between the kisses touching my lips, it was then that I caught a look into his eyes, and realised that he was not the same man I once knew. His eyes blackened and detached.
Pulling himself off of me, my face wet with his spit, he turned on the engine, put the radio on and drove home.
Tears filled my eyes, but I daren’t not cry. Instead I wiped my face and sat up straight, looking out of the car window at the moorland around us; our life in London feeling like a distant memory.

(To be continued…)

© Jasmin Elizabeth 2018