Here are collection of short stories I wrote in the quieter moments in my life.
He stood still and empty but quite calm as he looked unseeing into the night, remembering exactly one year before. It had all happened so quickly. Without warning his world had been turned inside out. He had been driving home one night, having picked up his daughter from the school play. She was wearing a fairy dress, and laughed as she told him how much fun she had at the Christmas party. She had everything to live for, everything to experience.
He slowed down at the traffic lights and stopped, the swish swish of the wipers as they brushed the snow off the windscreen was soothing and his daughters laughter as she recounted what happened was infectious. He pulled away from the traffic lights as they turned green, then, as he crossed the road he saw headlights coming towards him…they weren’t going to stop, then nothing.
He remembered how he had woken up in the hospital expecting to see his daughter, but she was not there. He had asked everyone what had happened to her, but they all said she was fine. Eventually they told him, but by then he had realised the horrific truth.
Accident…the euphemism used to describe the reckless drunk, driving too fast that had resulted in the loss of his daughter. One minute she had been laughing and the next she had been dying, he felt so guilty for failing to be there as she faded.
The weeks that followed had been difficult, empty and hopeless. The driver who had killed his daughter had been let off with a caution, but a few months later he had been involved in another incident. This time he did not kill anyone, just caused terrible injuries and again he walked away from a drunk driving charge. Another life ruined, another reckless amoral individual who would never change.
He looked across the city, the dead of night broken only by the wind that whipped past him. Through the snow he saw the lights shimmering in the distance, people going about their lives, oblivious to his pain. The thought of Christmas without her laughter was almost unendurable.
Looking down he saw the cold water, the reprieve it would bring would be final. He had lost the feeling in his hand as it held the girder, and he leaned forward as he prepared to jump. He couldn’t help wondering what his daughter would have thought, but then she was not here anymore.
“Daddy” a soft child’s voice spoke, its voice seemed to carry on the wind as it brushed past him.
He turned but couldn’t see anything, maybe it was the wind or maybe it was his imagination. He turned back and looked at the river below.
“Daddy” he was sure he had clearly heard his daughter this time,
Tears welled up in his eyes as he tried to concentrate on the job at hand. Even now on the brink of ending he had his doubts. He closed his eyes, the voice still fresh in his mind, maybe if he turned around he would see her there, oh how he wanted to believe that it was his daughter so he could ask for her forgiveness.
He stepped away from the edge and slowly turned his head and looked through the blowing snow. At the end of the street he could make out a small child standing under the street light, wearing a dainty fairy dress. He wiped the tears from his eyes and looked again, she was still there.
He walked towards her, thinking that at any moment she would disappear, but as he got closer he could make out his daughters face as she smiled at him. All around the snow and wind slowed down, everything faded into the background.
He stood in front of her and dropped to his knees, here was his daughter, as beautiful as the last time he had seen her. He closed his eyes, not able to at look her, the guilt he felt at having not been there when she needed him most.
“Don’t be sad daddy” she spoke softly
During his life he had seen it all, the horrors of war, lost friends, close shaves, but here in front of him was the one person he would have swapped places with in an instant. A feeling of warmth enveloped him as she put her arms around him, tears rolled down his face, he felt despair turning to hope.
“It wasn’t your fault”
He looked up into her eyes.
“I should have…”
“Shhhhhhh,” she whispered, “I don’t have much time”
He wanted to tell her so much, but could only manage a single question.
“Why are you here?”
“It’s not your time…don’t pay for the sins of others. There are so many good things you can do.”
“I don’t know if I can…”
“Daddy,” her eyes pierced his being and looked within his soul, “I will always love you but you have to let go.”
“I don’t want to be…alone” he whispered
He reached out for her as she faded, his hand passed straight through the space she’d stood in moments before. Was it real, was it a dream, he looked at the space where his daughter had been, wishing his life had meaning. He looked back at the bridge where he had wanted to end it all, as the snow and wind resumed their race around him. Carried on the wind he heard her voice for the last time.
“You will never be alone.”
Dee Roberts – 2012
Was it a dream?
I sat there for a moment, and then closed my eyes.He looked at her face and she smiled. He wanted to hold her, to give her his all but he was married. At best all he could offer was a friendship. Oh the dilemma, it tore at his emotions, churned at his insides. Oh how he wanted to tell her, but there was that voice of reason again, ‘you have to be responsible.’
The voice was right, as usual. Thinking about it he had to avoid hurting all those people in the resulting fallout.
He’d often questioned his marriage, feeling that she’d never shown her real self, the real her. Was that as a result of want or necessity that she’d clung onto her inner-self, only showing that which she felt she wanted to be seen. Again he wondered, was that his fault? After all, he’d never tried much himself and in the end it had been more of a bind than a want to try.
All his emotions, the tiniest to the most confused were tied up in a bundle ready to explode. Her face, the one he couldn’t forget crowded out the arguments he’d had. All he could focus on was her face, her beauty, her smile and her eyes. The more he thought about it the worse it got. His main dilemma had been more about what actions he needed to take to free his soul.
Complications further compounded the fact that the one he could get out of his mind, was also unhappy in her relationship. She too had been living under a spell, a belief that everything would be alright in the end. He too had also bought into the belief that it would all come right in the end.
His daughter would be the only real casualty in all this, always blaming herself as she grew up thinking that maybe she had been the reason for her parents split. Right now she was far too young to understand that sometimes adults find it hard to make it work. In the end it would, everything would be alright, but the intervening years would be hard on her, affecting all aspects of her life.
More thoughts drifted in, bringing with them memories of all the other emotional baggage he carried. It clouded his views, his thoughts and more importantly it blocked his creative outlet, the only way he knew he could truly express himself. For many years an internal fight had ensued between his brain and his heart. No matter what came of it, it seemed that the rational coolness of his brain always found a way to legitimise the reasons for his life being the way it was. No matter how much his heart railed against the reasons, dream-stealers and his own self conscious belief that he was never very good became the many reasons why he was who he was.
He had often tried to bear his soul to his wife, but each time he started she had turned against it, believing that he was just upset, believing that he was going through a strange period. Inside his soul was screaming, shouting, crying that it would never be heard, never taken seriously.
He’d even managed to write a short story, and those that had read it had liked it. The applause only went so far, because all the agents he’d sent it to, had failed to see it the same way. Of course he would continue to push this outlet, for as long as he lived he would try to make others see him for what he was.
On the surface, his emotions were almost under control, but buried deep within his soul, an unrequited love if you will brewed, silently waiting for the day when it would be let out of it’s prison. One day he would find the right person to share it with, to bind with, to be one with, but not right now. Many a time he’d seen this person in his dreams, then on a chance encounter he’d seen her for real.
A moment in time caught in his mind, a moment in his thoughts that would haunt him as long as they were apart. She felt something for him; he knew it with all his being, all his soul and all the truth that made him what he was. Back home, his wife had even suspected that something was up. that a threat was looming on the horizon. But without any evidence she just smoldered in the distance, hoping that it was just a mid life crisis. She’d not known how far his emotions had strayed, but then it is always hard to understand that which you have unknowingly lost. The biggest shock would come to her complacent belief; that she had a self worth in his eyes he could not let go of, maybe she thought, if she did nothing it would always be there, waiting for her.
But love is like a flower, if you don’t feed it, then it will wither and die. It must be worked on, worked with, adored, kept in check, but never forsaken. Love was the one force that made a mockery of logic and thought; it transcended the reasons for us being who we are.
Like the tide that comes in. it was only a matter of time before he would pluck up the courage and move on. He felt it in the background, his future was largely out of his hands now. Something had started on that fateful day, maybe the act of looking itself had started something, opened the door to a journey, moved from one realm to another. In the blink of an eye his wife had lost him. Was it her complacency; a belief that to do nothing was a safer bet than to do something.
Her belief might have been bolstered by the fact that now they had a daughter, the family would endure and could be left to go fallow, but it was all a fallacy, a house of cards. Even though his future was uncertain, and a times hard to accept, it would also be a difficult path to traverse. Rightly or wrongly, he believed she was something special, beyond just mere infatuation, out beyond the normal bounds of love, the links that make people connect but not always knowing why.
Brief memories of a past and future gave him glimpses of the possibilities of what is there if you really want it. Like the belief that his stories would one day be appreciated for what they were, also provided him with the means to gain the true link to his souls yearnings. There was change coming, like a storm in the distance rumbling away, and all the while he was wishing it closer.
In the dead of night he fought the waves of sleep to finish the last few words before dreams took him to see more of the future that had yet to be written.
Dee Roberts – 4th April 2014 – 3.15am
The way it is . . .
I sat there for a moment before closing my eyes.
There in the distance an old spirit, a creator spirit, talked to me. I got the impression from my conversation that he took the form of a Wombat.
I asked him why are people becoming so empty?
He told me that the pool of soul energy was limited for this planet. When a person comes into being, they are but an idea. When the idea is put into the pool of soul energy, it takes all it can. But like the gum tree sap, it starts to stretch and the soul becomes thin.
Old souls that have been here before, enrich those that have yet to live new lives. We, the first ones, are the richest and have the most to give. We have to pass on the dreaming to the others so that they can learn and grow. But they will never be like us, as their ability to expand will be limited. We, however, are unlike them and it is hoped that as we share and mix, both of us will grow beyond what we originally were capable of when we were but ideas.
Life is the way it is because that is the way things are. When the soul pool is empty, we must take back our experiences to fill it up again, before we return to guide the new again. But the soul pool when the creator made it, had different energy, and as we move on through what you call time, things change. As more and more people are born, there is less and less to go round, until finally there will be no more new people as you know them.
It is hard to explain in your tongue, but I will try my best, When we return with new experiences, we refresh the soul pool. However, as the experiences are repeated, and all the souls have experienced all that there is, then that soul energy is no longer put into the soul pool. Each time a soul comes back to the soul pool, it collects new soul energy, with the potential to gain new experiences and grow to the same as the first ones did.
Eventually everyone will move up and on to other Dream-times. Even now a new Dreamtime is being created for those that tire of this one. The original creators are leaving, and those thin souls are lost unless the older ones who were born after the creators take charge and help the new souls to the right path.
Outside Dreamtime, there is just as much creation of beauty and love as in the Dreamtime. But as with all things in the Dreaming, there are good and bad. The tricksters are always on the lookout to cause mischief, wanting what they can not have, lusting after what they can not desire. Tricksters come from another dreamtime, another place, where everything is opposite. To them the way things are seems odd, and through either intention or mischief they will try to guide the new souls towards their dreamtime.
Dee Roberts – September 2014
And then there was nothing . . .
The sun was shinning and the woods were quiet, nothing moved. She thought it was strange that no birds seemed to be flying or singing at the moment, even the air remained motionless.
Not a breath of wind, most peculiar
She brushed the thought from her mind and continued along the path, the single thought turned into a stream of coursing through her mind, had she prepared everything, was everything turned off, would she need something else. She didn’t want to get anything wrong before she and her 6 month old son went on their first holiday.
I didn’t like that replacement babysitter…
The more she thought about it the more it made her uneasy, call it motherly intuition or just an over active imagination, what ever it was she had to get back and collect him.
She was about to turn back and return when something in the distance caught her eye, but when she looked again she couldn’t see anything.
Maybe it was a shadow or something.
Her dog started to pull on the lead, he was straining to go after it, her arm was aching as he continued to pull.
“Will you stop pulling” she shouted at her dog and pulled him back.
The dog twisted its head violently and managed to break free, running off before she could react. She called after him but he was obviously after something far more exciting, she watched as he darted to the left and into the bushes out of sight. She jogged over to where the dog had disappeared and saw an old wooden style overgrown with fern and bracken; she could not remember seeing this before but with everything on her mind that did not surprise her. The path that stretched off into the distance looked overgrown but not completely impassable, as she climbed over the style and slowly made her way down the path. The high trees on both sides blocked the sunlight and kept her in shadow making her somehow feel smaller than usual.
Where is that damn dog, he couldn’t have got far.
Momentarily she stopped and the immediacy of her situation reasserted itself, was it panic or was there something else, she had to leave know. The thick forest on both sides made it hard to determine where she was let alone the damn dog. Standing still she felt a cold chill crawling up her legs and it was then she noticed the temperature drop, a cool breeze started to blow past her, she pulled her lapels up to protect her neck.
She called out for him, but as her voice tailed off she heard no sign of the animal. A strange sound carried on the cool breeze, it sounded familiar but she was not sure what it was. The path stretched as far as she could see, the trees eating it up in a strange swirl of colour and shimmering light.
Her apprehension had something else to hook onto, her dog failed to make its presence known and she continued to feel decidedly uncomfortable standing on the path. Turning back she walked to the style, but after a few paces she was no closer to it. A tingling at the back of her throat told her something was very wrong.
Out of the corner of her eye she noticed some movement, but again when she turned to face it nothing was there. To compound her mounting concerns the strange whistling sounds returned. Staring into the forest her vision greyed out, then she felt slightly light headed, it was as though she was being swallowed up by the trees.
Without waiting further she turned and ran for the style, it could not be more than five yards away, but as she ran forwards it never got any closer. How could this be, the surroundings were moving, but she was getting no closer to the style.
From behind her the whistling noise was getting louder and as she craned her neck round to see what was there, a grey shadow shifted out of her view point. Her lungs were burning now as she tried to reach the style, panic gripped her as the whistling had now reached a crescendo. She stopped running and closed her eyes.
The seconds stretched as she waited for something to happen, but nothing happened, even the noise had stopped. Slowly she opened her eyes, as though half expecting something to be in front of her, but to her relief all had returned to tranquillity. She would worry about what had just taken place when she was driving away in her car to collect her son.
Further down the path she saw something move, was it her dog, she watched as it moved again. She tried to call out but found her voice was mysteriously muted. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a shadow move, the sick feeling in her stomach lurched again as she realised it had only been a momentary respite.
She felt a stinging pain stab at her waist, just before a shadow swung past, only then did she notice the forest around her was alive with a mass of grey shadows, swirling and twisting between the trees. The pain in her waist was increased, she could almost feel it spread across her body. She looked down to see what had happened, but as her eyes settled on her waist she wished she had not. He hand had apparently disappeared, looking closer revealed that it had slid into her body. In horror she pulled her hand up close to her face, it was in pain, everything appeared to be slowing down. She watched as the colour drained out of her hand and it slowly became a smoky shadow.
Turning her head to look down the path she saw her dog, it was sitting there watching her, she tried to call to it but no sound came out, only a thin wispy mist. It was then that she saw the babysitter standing next to the dog, then she saw her son. The babysitter cradled her son carefully before turning and walking further into the woods, she tried to follow but the pain over took her, falling to her knees she made a last ditch attempt to shout, but her muted voice was soon drowned out by the whistling. Through the haze of pain she saw shadows all around her, closing in, the air thinner as they approached, the pain had almost overtaken her. In her mind she screamed out her sons name.
A cuckoo could be heard in the distance, its repetitive song seemed to trigger the other birds, before soon the forest was alive with the chorus of life, the sun shone down the path, and the forest felt tranquil again.
Dee Roberts – December 2014