Writing Challenge 9th December 2019

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

flat-lay photography of variety of beverage filled glasses
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

…the old white haired/whitebearded man that is the Sint/who’d only heard of peppermint/and fennel tea before you taught/how one can flavour water hot/to titillate and tantalise/the tastbuds … it’s been paradise

A wonderful friend

A quick note about the quotation. In the Netherlands it is traditional to exchange gifts and a poem on Sinterklaas, 6th December. A wonderful woman (who spoils my son outrageously – thank you!) was kind enough to send me some goodies and a poem that included a reference to tea. The hug has kept me going all week and I thought it was too wonderful not to share.

As for the writing, if you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Hanging Around

Photo by Ram Gopal on Unsplash

Steve raced on to the landing. “Fiona, are you alright?”

“No, I am not alright.” Fiona’s voice echoed in the attic. “I am stuck floating with my head in the attic and my legs several feet above the stairs.”

Steve stared. “What happened?”

“I was getting the Christmas decorations down, and the ladder slipped.” Fiona said. “And I’m not complaining. I didn’t fall. It’s just that I’m stuck.”

Armani flapped up to the hatch and stared at the space between the frame of the attic entrance and Fiona’s waist. “I’ve never seen anything like this, boss.” The imp said.

“You promised you had got rid of all the magic in the house.” Fiona said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I didn’t land on my…” She glanced at Armani. “All I’m saying is that I thought you had cleared the house.”

Steve stared up at her. “Why the hell were you going into the attic with no-one else in the house?”

“Can we skip that part?” Fiona said. “It’s draughty up here.”

“We didn’t even put the decorations up there.” Steve said. “They’re in the cupboard in the spare room.”

Fiona sighed. “I realised that when I got up here, but I’ve always kept decorations in the attic.”

“We haven’t even been in there.” Steve said, staring up at his wife. “Fiona, are you comfortable?”

Fiona bit back her instinctive reply. “Actually, I’m really comfortable, like I’m floating in water. There’s no strain. I just want to come down now.”

“What’s up there?” Steve asked.

“I don’t know.” Fiona said. “I dropped the torch and it’s pitch black up here. If I could just come down now, please.”

Steve eyed the hatch and rummaged in his pocket. He pulled out a small, plain silver ring. “I’m not sure I can get you down.”

“What do you mean?” Fiona tried to wriggle to glare at her husband. “I thought you were the great magician?”

“I am a great magician.” Steve said. “I mean, I’m good at magic, but this is something else.” He frowned. “I don’t know where to start.”

“We could start with a ladder, boss.” Armani said.

Steve looked through the ring. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen magic like this.”

“The ladder, boss?” Armani said. The small imp flapped down and tried to tug the ladder into place.

“Hang on.” Steve said, thrusting the ring back into his pocket and picking up the ladder. “I’ve not seen this before.” He set the step ladder against Fiona’s legs then checked the ring out again. “I wonder if I need a different filter.”

Fiona sighed as she was gently lowered onto the ladder. “Thank you.” She said to the air in general. She looked at her husband. “Why don’t you work out a way to say thank you to the magic that saved me while I go and get the Christmas decorations?”

Steve held the ladder as Fiona slowly stepped down. “At least you’re no longer hanging around.” He ducked.

Writing Challenge 2nd December 2019

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

Photo by Ram Gopal on Unsplash

“Whom are you?” he asked, for he had attended business college.

George Ade

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Straightening Up

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

“Seriously, just stay there.” Ben glared at his wife.

Helen looked shifty. “It’s driving me nuts.”

“You cannot come in and rearrange the pictures.” Ben said. “We hardly ever visit Aunt Violet, the least we can do is be good company.”

“Those pictures make my eyeballs itch.” Helen said.

“She’ll be back in a second.” Ben said. “She’s just nipped out to get your favourite brand of tea. She’s an old woman. Let her have her way.”

“But they’re not straight!”

“It doesn’t matter. Look out the window instead.”

“Have you seen the state of that garden?” Helen said. “She can afford a gardener, I’m sure.”

“We don’t know that she has any money.” Ben said. “She’s my aunt, not yours, and for all I know she hasn’t a spare penny. But she was really kind to me when I was a kid.”

Helen fidgeted on the dusty sofa for a moment. “Perhaps I could come over a couple of times a week and do the garden. I remember it being really nice.”

Ben looked out of the window at the weedy flowerbeds. “She’d like the company.”

“And I could give her a hand with the pictures.” Helen said.

“Will you forget about the pictures.” Ben snapped. “It’s not doing you any harm.”

“But they aren’t straight!” Helen wailed. “I can’t bear it.” She jumped up and adjusted the dull print at the bottom.

The picture swung a little on its cord and settled straight for a second. Then, in front of Ben and Helen’s appalled stare, the picture sagged and pulled the nail right out of the plaster. As the picture fell, glass and frame shattering on the wooden boards left bare by the antique carpet square, the dry plaster behind the picture hook cracked and gave. Slowly, like snow sliding from a steep roof, shard after shard of the plaster fell, in widening sections, bringing down the pictures with it. As the dust settled gently over the remains, the coving at the top sagged.

“No,” Ben said, shaking his head. “No!”

With inexorable slowness, the plaster coving pulled away from the wall and slid majestically down, crashing into the furniture as it fell.

Helen looked at what had once looked like an antique drum table but now looked like kindling and the cut flowers that had been placed on it strewn among the wreckage of the glass vase. “I think I’ll give Aunt Violet a hand with the house over the next few weeks.” She winced as another chunk of plaster slid down the wall. “Or as long as it takes.”

Ben shook his head. “The whole house probably needs replastering and redecorating, and goodness knows what else.” He turned to his wife. “But I suppose you can make sure that the pictures are straight then!”

Writing Challenge 25th November 2019

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

Life is full of surprises, but never when you need one

Bill Watterson

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Numbers

room number on wall
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Steve looked at Darren. “The information is here?”

Darren looked around. The church clung desperately to the past. The old style pews were still here, along with the ten foot high board painted with the Beatitudes. Illustrated scenes from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs were painted around the walls. He found it faintly depressing. “Yes.” He said, absently flicking through the prayer books. It was the 1662 version of the Book of Common Prayer. What did he expect in a church that catered to elderly vampires. He took a photo of the numbers board with his phone.

“What does it mean?” Steve stared at the mismatched squares jumbled together in the slots.

“Hmm?” Darren said.

“That number at the top – Matt 7:7.” Steve walked up to it. “It’s some sort of code.”

“It’s the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 7, verse 7.” Darren said. “ It says ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you’. You should come along to Bible Class. It’s about asking for God’s blessings, usually, and often quoted in the Prosperity Gospel movement.”

“And the other numbers?” Steve said, staring up.

Darren had already turned to get out of the door. “It’s just numbers for the service. There’s the chapter and verse of the Bible readings, the Psalms, the collect and the hymn numbers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a church without something like it. And in this case they are also the map reference we need. Let’s get a move on before they catch up with us.”

Writing Challenge 18th November 2019

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

room number on wall
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I take a simple view of life: keep your eyes open and get on with it.

Sir Laurence Olivier

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Choosing the Battles

rain dropping from roof
Photo by Anna King on Unsplash

Tim put another log on the fire and then leant back. He hadn’t bothered to switch any lamps on as the light faded, and the flickering glow danced around the room, throwing shadows against the wall. It was that time of year again, when he wondered whether he had done the right thing, whether he had chosen the right path. A scatter of rain hit the window and he could hear the wind rising in the trees. There was a knock on the door.

Tim walked down the hallway, switching the lights on as he went, and checked the peephole. You didn’t get many surprise visitors this far out in the country, and he didn’t think it would be Estelle. She was visiting friends over in Rochdale and was staying the night. He did not expect to see a thin, hunched young lad, damp and bedraggled in the porch light. It could be a trick. Tim slid the chain on and cracked open the door. “Yes?”

“Mr Timothy Arndale McGuigan?” the young lad asked, shivering a little.

“Who are you?” Tim answered, peering around him for any possible accomplices.

“I’m Kane Thelwell, and I’m here on behalf of Major General Alistair Arndale McGuigan.” Water dripped from his plain brown hair. “He’s asked me to pass on some messages.”

“Alistair McGuigan is dead.” Tim said flatly. “He can send no messages.”

Kane turned, as if listening to someone. “No, I can’t say that! Or that! Okay…” Kane squinted through the rain back at Tim. “The Major General says that you wanted to call your first cat Cowshed, because a friend had a cat called Cola as…”

“Alright, alright.” Tim unhooked the chain and ushered the lad in. “You’re soaked!”

Kane managed a smile. “It’s a bit wet out there, sir.”

“Stay there!” Tim ordered. “My wife would kill me if I let you drip on the sofa.”

After a brief whirlwind of activity, Kane was perched on a bundle of towels on the sofa, his hair roughly dried and a large mug of hot chocolate thrust into his hand. Tim put another log on the fire and sat back in his chair. For a moment he watched the stiff winds whipping the flames up into the chimney and turned to Kane. “How did you know about my cat Kimble?”

Kane glanced uneasily at a space at his side. “I can see ghosts.” He said. “Sometimes I get paid to help people out with hauntings and stuff.” He glanced again and nodded. “But this time I’m doing a favour for Major General McGuigan, as a way of saying thank you for his help.”

“What do you mean?” Tim said.

Kane shook his head. “The Major General wants to pass on a message to you. He says he knows that he always told you to be a soldier like him. And that you became a solicitor instead. He says that he talked about you going after money instead of glory.”

Tim pressed his lips together and turned back to the fire. After all these years, the words still stung. “I am a damn good solicitor, you know. I’ve been invited to apply for a position as a District Judge.”

Kane paused and listened to the unseen presence at his side. “But you’ll take a pay cut if you do that.” He said.

Tim shrugged. “I’m not exactly on the breadline, and judges get a respectable salary. Besides, I’ll still get a share of the profits from my firm.”

Kane sipped his hot chocolate and listened again. “The Major General says that you were handling a divorce recently, the Atkins. He said that you encouraged them to reconcile.”

“They were just going through a bad patch.” Tim said. “It would have been wrong to force the divorce.”

“But you could have made a lot of money out of it.” Kane said. “The Major General says that the other solicitor was itching for a fight.”

“They didn’t want to divorce.” Tim said. “They just needed to have a long talk. And they’re happy now.”

“The Major General said you walked away from that fight.” Kane said.

“It was the moral thing to do.” Tim said coldly.

Kane cocked his head to one side. “But you went in hard for that financial settlement.” He said. “The Cawlstone one. The Major General said you fought that like a tiger. He said you spent hours on the books over that.”

“It was the right thing to do. I was merely pursuing a fair settlement against unfair tactics by the respondent.” Tim said. “It was a challenge.”

Kane listened for a moment, then nodded. “The Major General said that you did the right thing both times. That you showed excellent judgement and good leadership.” He paused and nodded. “He says to tell you that you made the right choice, in those and the other cases he saw. That you choose your battles with skill, use well considered tactics and strategy and that he is proud of you. He says you would have made a good officer, but you’re doing pretty good where you are.” Kane listened again. “He says to tell you properly, that Major General Alistair Arndale McGuigan is proud of you, his son, and that he always will be.”

Tim swallowed. “Thank you.” He said. “And I’m proud of him.” He hesitated. “I love you, Dad.”

Kane looked at the space next to him and smiled a little. “I think he loves you too.” He said. “He says, goodbye.”

“Wait, Dad, hang on!” Tim leapt to his feet, but Kane was shaking his head.

“He’s gone home now, passed over. He’s not here anymore.”

Tim lowered himself slowly back into the armchair. He found himself breathing a little harder, as if he had been running. He let the conversation sink in slowly. He turned to Kane. “Thank you.”

“No problem.” Kane said awkwardly, sipping his hot chocolate.

“Seriously, thank you.” Tim said. “It means a lot.” He managed a smile. “And that is just the way Dad would have said it.”

“He seemed a bit hard work, but he was a good man.” Kane said. “He helped me out with a problem last week, and I don’t think I could have managed without him.”

Tim smiled a little sadly. “He was a great man to have on your side.” He hesitated. “You say you are employed to sort out hauntings?”

Kane nodded. “Well, sort of sort out. I can see and hear ghosts, but I can’t make them do what I want.” He thought for a moment. “I could never have got the Major General to do anything he didn’t want to.”

Tim laughed. “That sounds like Dad. But what is your fee?”

Kane shook his head. “No fee tonight. It’s my way of saying thank you to the Major General. I don’t mind.”

Tim looked at the hunched young lad, with his battered trainers and worn, cheap jeans. “I feel like I owe you a great deal.” He said. “Are you sure there is nothing I can do for you?” He watched the emotions cross Kane’s face, as he struggled to resist temptation, before he gave in.

“Could you give me a lift to the station?” Kane asked.  

Writing Challenge 11th November 2019

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

clear glass bottle with white flowers on table
Photo by loli Clement on Unsplash

Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.

Thomas Merton

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

A Special Home

Photo by Renate Vanaga on Unsplash

Jenny really missed Granny. She pulled up outside the cottage and her five year old car looked shiny and new against Granny’s overgrown home and garden. In the grey, November light, it all looked so faded.

Jenny pulled out the keys and went around to the porch. It needed painting, but the hardest thing was the locked door. It had never been locked when Granny was alive. The paint may have been peeling a little as Granny faded, but there had always been a fire in the stove in the kitchen, and tea in the pot, and if Granny knew you were coming she would have baked scones, soft and fluffy and full of sultanas.

The lock was stiff, but Jenny managed to turn it and go into the cold kitchen. She’d been in a few times to air the place out, but it wasn’t the same. The crocheted throw on the little nursing chair that had been Granny’s favourite was damp and grey with dust. The curtains sagged and cobwebs straggled around the window frames.

Jenny took a breath. It was hers now, to the utter fury of her stepmother. Granny had pottered along, seemingly ageless, until she had a fall, which took her to hospital, and she had never come out. After the funeral, Jenny was shocked to find that Granny had owned a lot more than the cottage and had been quietly collecting rents on the fields around for many years. There was plenty of money for renovations and updates, though Jenny kept that away from her stepmother.

Granny had told her, before she fell into her final sleep, “You need to do it up, my girl. Get some new curtains, and that sofa has had its day. I daresay the stove will do a bit longer, but the bed is on its last legs and the carpets are almost threads. You get what you want, love, but be careful in the garden.”

Jenny paused by the window. Damp was speckling at the corners and the panes were cold to touch. The garden had been Granny’s pride and joy. Jenny had spent many happy, sunlit hours alongside her as they weeded, planted, pruned, pricked out and harvested. They had pulled caterpillars off the cabbages and fed them to Granny’s hens, placed pots of mint among the tomatoes and sage between the cabbages and sprayed soapy water over the aphids. In the rambling, purposeful garden, only one spot stayed immune from Granny. “You leave that bit alone, my girl.” Granny had warned. “Never touch it, never prune it. That’s the heart of the garden and it minds itself.”

Jenny had been fascinated by the small stand of hazel and wild rose near the gate, mingling with overgrown hawthorn from the hedge and quite impenetrable. She had never gone near it, though. It had been important to Granny, and, besides, Jenny had always been so busy. There had been the hens to feed, the garden to tend, the stove to clean, firewood and coal to stack up, cakes to bake, and, best of all, sitting in the shade of the garden, with Granny, listening to her stories while they knitted. Sometimes Granny would tell stories of years ago, like when the old lord had a manor here and he lost a bet with the local smith and had to pay a wagon of hay to every farmer. Sometimes it would be gossip about Him Down the Road and what he said at the Post Office and who had punched him for it. Sometimes it would be stories of fairies and goblins and why it was a good thing to have the swathes of honeysuckle that tumbled over the wall in heaped drifts.

Jenny was shaken out of her memories by a car pulling up. It was large, black and shiny and the man who got out was unfamiliar. He was slim, slightly balding and his cold eyes had an unnerving air of assurance. She made sure she had her phone with her as she went out onto the porch.

“Miss Smith? I’m Richard Simpson. I believe you refused our offer for the cottage and the land surrounding.”

“I don’t want to sell.” Jenny said quietly.

“May I come in?” Richard asked.

Jenny shook her head. “I don’t want to waste your time.”

A flicker of irritation crossed Richard’s face. “This is not a place for a young girl.” He said. “It needs thousands spending on the house to make it up to code. You do know that I could call in inspectors to check whether everything is as it should be, don’t you? I daresay that place hasn’t had its wiring checked since…”

“It’s fine.” Jenny said.

“And if there are issues with drainage, or the correct licensing on the fields, you could find yourself with extremely large fines.” Richard waved his hands towards the Thompson farm. “And you would be responsible for anything amiss on your tenants’ land.”

Jenny was fairly sure that the Thompsons were up to no good. They were always up to no good, and Granny had warned her never to ask questions as long as they paid their rent on time. “I’m sure it’s all under control.”

“Right now we have a very reasonable offer on the table, but it’s reducing all the time, and, in the end, it may not cover all the fines that may be pinned on you.” Richard smiled. “Why don’t I come inside and we can discuss things reasonably.” He looked around. “It may have all your memories but keeping a place like this takes a lot more work than you would believe, and it would be a shame to see it all fall apart. The memories would be there, but then you would have the memories of the garden being overgrown or the house falling down and draining the little money you have.” He would have patted Jenny’s shoulder paternally but she flinched back. “Why don’t we just talk?”

“Please leave.” Jenny said, hating how her voice sounded small and frightened.

Richard shook his head. “If you feel this nervous about a respectable businessman visiting in broad daylight, imagine how you would feel when it’s dark and there is an unexpected knock on the door. It could be tricky for a young girl out here on her own. Have you really thought this through?”

Jenny swallowed. “I think…” Her voice cracked and she tried to clear it. She had to be assertive. There was no-one else around.

There was a rustle from the hazel trees and a young man strode out. His dark hair was tousled and unkempt and the rough trousers with the collarless shirt and waistcoat looked out of place, but his clear grey eyes were sparking fire and he strode up to Richard without hesitation. “The lady said you should leave. So leave now.”

“I don’t know who you are, but this young woman and I…”

“She’s a lady. And she told you to leave. Last warning, you heed my words!”

“This is my business, not yours.” Richard said.

The stranger grabbed Richard by the front of his expensive shirt and stared hard into his eyes. “I can see all your little secrets, all your dark places, all your fears.” He grinned wickedly. “Which should I release first?” He let go and Richard stumbled back.

Jenny watched, horrified, as all the colour drained from Richard’s face. He shook his head. “I paid them off. It’s all over. No-one knows.”

The stranger stepped forward. “I know. And I could keep it my little secret, or I could tell the world. What do you think? Are you going to leave like the lady asked?”

They watched as Richard jumped into his car, spun around and raced up the track, swaying wildly.

The stranger looked at Jenny. “You can call me Rob.” He grinned. “It’s not my name, but it will do. Your Granny told us about you. She said you’d take over and look after us.” He looked around the little patch. “We owe her. She found a few of us in a poacher’s trap made of iron and she set us free, without asking anything for it.”

“She always had a kind heart.” Jenny smiled sadly. “And she would never ask anything for helping someone.”

“So we owe her, and we promised we would look after her and hers.” Rob said. “As long as you stay kind.”

Jenny remembered all the stories Granny told her. “I’ll stay away from your home.” She said. “And I’ll let you know the news, and if I’m making changes.”

Rob had a devilish smile. “Your Granny said you would have to do a lot of building if you were going to stay. We won’t interfere too much. And if you’re planning on staying, you’ll want to settle down.” He nodded to a farm worker coming up from Holly Farm to see what the car was about. “He should do you pretty well. And don’t forget – keep the honeysuckle.” And he laughed, walking backwards towards the hazel, until suddenly he was part of it, fading and twisting, and then he was gone.