Two beautiful winter friends, Holly is more dramatic, with a spiky personality. She has red lips and a sharp smile. Ivy is more introverted, a clinging persona who hides hidden depths. Ivy will climb up the social ladder and suppress her rivals.
Outdoor types, the girls are often seen around town together, usually in the winter months, and at the mid winter festival where they team up with pale mistletoe who hangs around with them trying to suck up to them.
Often seen at Christmas parties together it is always Holly that gets her claws into the office staff. Never one to miss some fun, Ivy likes to trail around town with Holly.
Meanwhile the baby narcissii and crocuses sleep in their beds waiting for warmer weather
“My face is turning blue” she shouted from the bathroom, “my skin is cracked”. The fear trembled her voice. Her husband muttered something, clearly not listening. “come here, look!” pleading, she shouted again. His footsteps thudded up the stairs, “what do you want?” “oh my god what is that?”. “how the hell do I know?” “is it a face mask?” he questioned. But she was on her knees, weeping, “call the doctors, call my mum, what is wrong with me?” she was wailing and crying .
One quiet word expelled by an almost silent breath “virus” he sighed.
It’s Halloween and the sense of foreboding hangs heavily in the air. Birds fly around the house, their fluttering wings catching at the windows as they fly up in panic from something slowly shuffling about the building.
Leaves are falling in a mimicry of snow. A crumpled carpet of browns and gold, dulled by the cold dark air. Sound is muffled, but even through it there is a lurking, grinding shudder.
As the darkness falls a tremor shakes the ground. The stems of ivy entwined around the walls of the house seem to stretch and shiver, the leaves expanding and contracting, pulsing, throttling. Dragging down on the building, pulling through cement, brick and concrete. Crumpling the floorboards and ceilings. Slowly the house changes shape, slumping down into itself like a car in a crusher.
Finally a spray of water rises above the debris as the water main bursts.
The birds fly and flutter down, settling on the rubble. Quiet descends.
The Sun had set half an hour ago, there was still a glow of light in the western sky. My car had broken down on the road out of town, in among the hills. I knew there was a village about half a mile a way with a pub, maybe some hot food, and at least somewhere to sit while I waited for the repair van to arrive.
so I started out, walking on the grass verge, hedges on either side, too tall to see over. On one side were farmers feilds and on the other an old graveyard with huge yew trees at the entrance to its gravelled drive. I could hear movement in the field, snuffling and soft snorting, probably cows.
I decided to walk on the other side of the road, past the cemetry. Its grass verge was wider and tidily cut. Someone had mowed recently and the grass smelled sweet. In a short time I had walked half way to the village. It was now fully dark, and I could not see very much. There were street lights a few hundred yards in front of me but not enough to light my way.
Suddenly I stumbled, my foot had gone into a hole in the verge. I didn’t have any way of stopping myself and I toppled over onto the grass. Thud, my ankle was twisted and I was shaken. I lay there getting the breath back that had been knocked out if me. Then as I started to sit up I felt a presence, something not right. I heard the snuffling noise again, this time it was much closer. Something loomed over me. Looking down at me, its eyes, its four? eyes gleaming in the street lights distant glow. As I squinted I thought I saw more than one mouth, several noses? What was this? It shuffled towards me, its clothes were grey and badly fitting, the four legs wearing two pairs of trousers. In that slow motion way that happens when you are in fear my brain was noticing too many details, and I was thinking “monster”……
The mouths opened and it uttered four words….”can I help you?”
I RAN……….concussion can do funny things to your sight….
There was a tap at the window, quiet, maybe a branch had gently knocked against it in the strong, cold wind outside. She lay back on the bed, the sunlight, so strong earlier on was fading into a gloomy clouded evening. The room was cold so she pulled the thin sheet up over her head to keep what warmth she was generating from her breath in under the covers. As the darkness deepened she started to fall asleep.
Then suddenly the knock came again against the window. The noise was a sharp click, scratch. She woke with a shock. How could there be a noise ? She slowly took a look to see what it was. She was on the second floor, so how could anyone, anything be tapping ?
The hairs started to rise on the back of her neck. She felt scared and fascinated at the same time. She slipped out of bed pulling her dressing gown on and wrapping it tightly around her.
Stepping up to the window sill all she could make out in the darkness was some sort of feathery mass. Then two eyes gleamed in the dark. Sitting on the outer sill was a tiny owl. It must have flown up to the window as the sun set.
“what do you want”? She thought to herself. But the owl, seeing her movement, turned its head around and fluttered off into the darkness,.
The eye peeps out, looking into the street, one clear square of glass, the rest opaque, hiding the room beyond.
A glimpse of an eye, now gone. The rusting bars of the window still hold firm grip of the blackened glass. No splits or cracks, just that small patch where once there was..a blue eye? Almost missed, only glanced at.
Do I knock on the door next to the window? Or ignore it and walk by. The dilemma is not knowing which to choose. Who (or what ) is in there? It could be a homeless person, a drunk, a security guard. I am alone, walking down an old alley way. No, I dare not chance knocking, I don’t know what the outcome might be. I might come back in daylight. I leave the window and eye behind, walking quickly….
But steps are following me……..