Monday, March 15, 2010

Magpie/ Prompt #5

                                 Photo/Willow/magpie tales


WHEN I WAS A CHILD I thought my dreams were real.  I'd walk down the hall in my apartment and The Lady in Black might step out of a shadow and block my way.  Her wooden hands would clickety clack against the wall and her silence was broken only by her humming as she beckoned me.

At an early time of my life I slept in the living room, near the hall, on a chair that opened into a bed.  I thought that was swell and better than the ordinary beds every one else had.  Two large windows overlooked the street, three stories below. A large palm was pushed into the corner, and I believed it opened into the jungle.  Some nights I heard a call from behind the plant. 

One very hot summer my father pulled my bed close to one of the windows so I could catch a breeze that might flow across the sill.  I liked to rest my head on the ledge and wait for any slight puff of air to cool my brow.  I found the big dipper overhead one night.  Another time I saw a flying saucer hovering over the building across the street.  Some people were getting in, but not me.

There was a French door between the living room and my parents bedroom.  They slept in a huge carved bed, angels and roses entwined, that looked like it belonged to some king I'd seen in the movies. 

One night, when I was about seven or eight years old, I went out of my way to act like a big baby, because my Mom and Dad wouldn't take me to the movies with them.   I cried as dramatically as I could to summon their pity, but there wasn't any.  Well maybe a bit; Momma said I could sleep in their bed till they got home.  As usual, I cut my nose to spite my face, and stomped off to feel sorry for myself. 

My grandparents slept in the back bedroom.  Lots of windows and white lace curtains that fluttered without a breeze.  And on the window sill, an apple or pear, because Grandma never slept, and liked a bit of a nibble to break up the night till she made her way to the kitchen, leaning like an emerging ghost when dawn finally arrived.  Grandpa slept all the time.

I sat at my window and vowed not to sleep that night.  That proved to be impossible.  I awoke with my head on the sill and when I sat up I stared through the half open window into the very pale face of The Lady in Black.  She was floating outside and about to cross the sill.  Her wooden fingers clacked against the glass.

I jumped out of bed and screamed without a sound.  I tried very hard to force a noise, but none came.  How could I scream so much and not hear myself?  I ran through the open French doors into Momma's room.  No one there yet.  The Lady in Black was following close by as I found my voice and screamed to shatter glass.  I saw her pointy shoes gaining on me when she slipped into a shadow. Where had she gone?

I reached Grandma's room, dark, and fragrant with the lilac perfume she wore.  She was sitting up, leaning against the pale satin pillows.  Her eyes widened as I jumped into her bed.  I let her gather me into her arms, to comfort me with the little song she liked to sing to me..."Hush little baby, don't say a word, Nana's gonna buy you a mockingbird".... 

And she stroked my hair with her wooden fingers...clickety clack...clickety clack...


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38 comments:

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

You met the challenge and then some...love the clickety clack!

Lyn said...

Hi Mary Ann-
Thanks..just a little ghost story..my speed!!

willow said...

Oh, shivers!! Did the Lady in Black take over your grandma? Gosh, that clickety clack was scary!

(I giggled at your grandma never sleeping and grandpa sleeping all the time.)

Lyn said...

Hi Willow-
Still trying to figure that one out/ maybe one and the same?? Some family, huh?

schererart said...

I agree. The clickety-clack really got to me, and the photo helped. You are a good writer and must write often. I love the description. Very real.

Lyn said...

Hi schererart-
Thank you..always happy to cause a fright!! I do like these prompts..

joanny said...

Lyn:

Wholly absorbing and engrossing held my attention clear through to the end. Fascinating (was some part of it true I wonder?) The last part was so riveting that my heart was pounding...Strange dream like quality-

Joanny

I loved in an old house with a similar floor plan when I was growing up back in NY.

Lyn said...

Hi joanny-
Thank you so much..Some parts were true, yes..but I won't say which..booo..
Maybe we were neighbors way back when!

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Lyn, this is totally engrossing. I loved it. It's not "just a little ghost story." That plant, calling to you, the grandmother wandering into the kitchen to fetch a nibble (mine did that, too---but I never understood why she would drink pickle juice in the dark!), the dark/noir interior both of the rooms and the girl's dreamlife. ...well, it's really something special. I want more.

Lyn said...

Hi Kathryn-
Grandmothers, huh? What a riot...pickle juice!
Thank you for your encouraging words..I do like this path..

Brian Miller said...

what a deliciously creepy ending...clickety clack...shivers....

Lyn said...

Hi Brian-
Thank you, Brian...I hope that when you look at the picture, you hear..clickety-clack!!

Ronda Laveen said...

No wonder grandma never slept. Great ending! Nice build to the reveal.

Rinkly Rimes said...

The clackety clack of the fingers is intensely creepy!

A Cuban In London said...

What beautiful memories! Scary, surely, but beautiful still. And I loved the pace of your narration, it was taking me places.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Lyn said...

Hi Ronda-
Thank you...who wouldn't want a grandma like that...waiting?

Lyn said...

Hi Rinky Rimes-
Thank you...scared me too!!

Lyn said...

Greetings to a Cuban-
Thank you so much..I meant to take you to scary places..guess I have to credit my unconscious!

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful ending! I love the clickety-clack!

SUN DANCE HILL said...

Superb! A great story, compelling and chilling, but, poignant too - I love the childhood nature of reminiscence.

Lyn said...

Hi Vicki Lane-
I guess there's something about that sound..who knew?? Thank you..

Lyn said...

Hi SUN DANCE HILL-
I rather enjoy becoming a child again..it has its own rewards! Thanks so much for your insight..

Derrick said...

Hi Lyn,

Well, this certainly gave me the shivers! When I visit, remind me to make sure all the lights are on at your place!

Lyn said...

Hi Derrick-
Visit?...I'm waiting...Once you cross the moat...you're on you're own!

Rallentanda said...

Poor Granny...years of untreated arthritis and not using hand cream causes that clickety clack.As for those bad dreams..I bet that apartment was painted white or cream.If you colour your walls blue and have green, aubergine or maroon trim you will never have bad dreams again.Try it and let me know.
Regards
Colour Gooroo

Lyn said...

Hi Rall-
Want to be my life coach? I'm needy! Will be painting in 2 weeks..maybe add your advice..to my salad!!

jeane said...

oh, how I enjoyed this xxo

Lyn said...

Hi Jeane-
Thank you..I really liked "remembering"!

Peter Goulding said...

Like the best stories, it leaves you wondering. Is there something in the Granny never sleeping? Has the ghost taken over the Granny or is the Granny the ghost?
Love the self-deprecation of trying to cause a scene to get them to bring you to the movies!

Cathy said...

What wonderful imagery. Reminds me of when I was a child and woke up screaming every night because I could see things moving and shadows coming towards me. I have been psychic all my life and I think that was when it started aged 7. My parents were hard headed sceptics so no cuddly Gran for me alas.

Lyn said...

Hi Peter-
Great comment! As I recall, kids are manipulative..as far as Granny, I like the threads you've chosen..enigmas are good!!

Lyn said...

Hi Cathy-
We have many parallels, a great imagination in childhood, also discovering my"psychic" powers at 7..but I had a very psychic Gran!!
Thank you...

steviewren said...

The cadence of the story made sort of a musical sound in my head as I read...not quite a clickety clack...but close.

Lyn said...

Hi steviewren-
Thank you...that is such a nice thing to say! Musical..

Jennifer said...

Oh the sound effects - a great example of how the exploration of all the senses adds colour and layers to a story. In this case - pure creepiness! I shouldn't have read it before bed!

Lyn said...

Hi Jennifer-
Creepy...thank you very much..Just what I want! I sleep with the lights on!!

The Muse said...

Two Ghosts...
your blog name has lived up to its mantle with this post!

So glad that although i am late, i was able to arrive...eventually...
whew! well worth the trip...!
heart pounding, or shall i say clickety clacking!

a tale to make even the most hardy campfire ghost weaver quiver!

Lyn said...

Hi Muse-
As they say, better late than never! I do enjoy the opportunity to be spooky!!
Thank you for visiting...

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