What if you discovered a space-ship in your neighbour’s garage?

What If January Challenge

I have had a dog all my life, in fact I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a dog. Apart from now that is, yes at 60 I found myself alone, no wife and no dog. My dear, dear Sandy died last year and my darling wife Emily died a year before. But I am not one to moan and I know I have a good life, I have a lovely home. Two brilliant kids and five amazing grandkids, they always keep me on my toes. Also I have Rex, who is in fact one of Sandy’s litters, now that was story in itself. We got Sandy from a sheltered dogs home, she was only four and unbeknown to me (or my wife for that fact) pregnant. At the time I was forty and my kids were seventeen and eighteen, Jack was at uni and Emma was still at home with us. Needless to say they were so excited about this fact and mithered and mithered for us to keep one, we tried to make out it wouldn’t be a good idea and told Jack we would keep one for him when he has finished uni. This worked in everyone’s favour as Jack made it his mission to keep good grades at uni because we told him if he didn’t we would have to find another home for the puppy, and it did us a favour as it gave Emily something else to mother apart from Emma who was growing up far too fast for us.

 

So there we were with Sandy, Rex and two grown-up kids whom soon flew the nest and got lives of their own. Jack took Rex as we promised and now he has a house of his own with a wife and three kids, Emma has a boyfriend to kids. We are all still extremely close and Jack, knowing I miss my long walks in the Moors with Sandy, lets Me be the official dog walker of Rex at least five times a week. We go everywhere together all through the villages and up on the moors, he absolutely loves it and of course being the Border collie that he is he loves to run everywhere chasing things.

 

This is when the adventures began, because he was on one of the mad runs off his lead one day and decided to chase the lambs in a nearby farm. It was my own fault really, I knew what he was like around the animals but sometimes I just love to see him using his instinctive nature. But today he left the lambs alone and decided to investigate inside the garage at the side of the farmhouse, I wondered where he had gone at first as the door was only open a crack, I followed him in to see what he was growling at. Inside was pretty dark, I could see an outline of a large vehicle which Rex was presently crouching down and growling at. ‘What you growling that boy, it’s only stupid old tractor.’ I whispered as I reached in to pull him away, but as I managed to get hold of his collar a deep rumble started to happen. At this point I was kind of stuck, my body was feeling the cold from the outside winter frost but my head and arm were inside the musty old garage where the rumble was. Rex started barking and in my panic to get myself out of this sticky situation I somehow managed to fall backwards tripping over my own feet and landed in a nearby pile of animal dung. As I regained my composure I  realised I had also flung open the garage door wide, revealing not an old tractor as I had first thought but a huge metal dome with flashing lights and four legs holding it up, Rex was sitting excitedly in front of the roaring machine wagging his tail at my astonished face. I stood up and walked towards him feeling a little frightened of the thing before me, wanting to get Rex and myself away from the gaze of the bright red lights beaming at us. ‘C-c-come on boy, let’s go.’ I stutter reaching down once again for his collar as I keep my eyes fixed on the dome, but as I do Rex trots towards the side of it and stares at the door which I had not seen before. I am still stuck there dumbfounded when Rex looks between me and the door growling and pawing at it, i inch myself forward trying to wave him away but persistent as ever he continues in his quest. In our sudden case of panic I suddenly feel a need to be the protector and stand in between Rex and the door, as I do so he stands on his back legs and pushes his paws into me making me stumble slightly onto the machine. Whatever I fell onto did exactly what Rex wanted it to do as all of a sudden the door lifts open with a suction sound like when you open a freezer door. Before I even have time to realise what is happening Rex jumps in and sits patiently on the far seat wagging his tail, I jump in after him and as I do so he leans forward and with his nose presses a big purple button which closes the door firmly beside me.

 

I sit staring around me in this black space with lots of buttons and lights which are flickering and bright, this is really weird. Rex is staring at me waiting for me to perform an action which I am not sure what, he looks in between us and I notice a stick. I look at it trying to register where I am and what exactly I am doing here, my mind starts racing with thoughts of logic and reasoning, but let’s face it logic and reasoning is not going to help me here. I am sat in what can only be described as a huge UFO with my son’s dog and no escape route to be seen, that’s it. Its official, I have gone stark raving mad! As this revelation dawns on me Rex gives me a little growl of encouragement to proceed with doing whatever action is needed with this stick before me, well in for a penny, in for a pound. I’m going crazy anyway so I may as well enjoy the ride, I think to myself as I leaned down and wiggle the stick until it clicks into a recognisable position (recognizable to Rex anyway) as Rex perks his head up. All of sudden a big screen slides up in front of us revealing a white picture the size of a dashboard, there is strange creature staring back at us, he is a big, fat balding man sat in a chair, he is just staring at me without saying a word. There is a dog with him, a little Scottie dog, I look at them both and try to think what to say until I hear. ‘Welcome home sir’ but the man’s lips were not moving. My eyes glance at the little Scottie dog who was staring directly at Rex before he proceeded to bow his head, I couldn’t work any of this out and before I had a chance to open my mouth some writing appeared on the screen ‘ENJOY THE RIDE!’

 

Sunday Photo Fiction: January 26th 2014

Well I know it is late but this is my attempt for Sunday Photo Fiction, a 100-200 word photo prompt provided by Al Forbes. Why not take a look over at the other stories posted each week and have a go yourself. Have a bit of fun and see what your mind creates :)

sunday fictioneer

Flashbacks

Word Count 170

I still wake up with flashbacks of that day, my grandkids playing at the bottom of the garden near the stream. They loved to fish, they were getting older and at sixteen and seventeen I had started to trust them to enjoy their fishing alone, without being watched by me or their grandfather. I was in the kitchen making tea when I heard them both announce that they had caught something, I could hear their commotion as they ran up to show us there catch. I stood there smiling knowing how proud they would be with themselves but as I turn round to greet them with my biggest full of pride smile, my eyes were met with fear and horror on their fresh faces. My eyes gazed down from there sheet white faces to see the bloody remains of a baby in their arms. The police said it had been in the water over 3 days, I don’t think that image will ever leave me again or my precious innocent grandsons.

Moving

 

Everywhere around me, every corner, every inch and every sound radiates the essence of me. The memories and stories these walls hold could never go away surely.

When I’m gone what happens then? If I can’t imagine the next person not feeling and sensing my own history in these bricks and mortar how will it be when I move?

What would be worse? Not sensing the previous owner’s history within its walls and having the luxury of feeling the walls are a blank canvas to make my own, with new memories and stories. But this would have the added insult of the knowledge that the next tenant, in my old home, would be able to just as easier clear away my presence in my home of 12 years.

Or the scary concept of moving into a new house and it not feeling like my own home as the feeling of a previous presence, with its own history and memories still lingering, but with the comfort that my own home, my old friend, won’t betray me by letting go of its memory of me?

What a scary concept both seem to be, or am I just living in denial that such objects could hold such important human feelings. After all what makes a home? Is it the bricks and cement which cradles your life, history and memories? Is it the items that are held within the building which has helped you live in such a comforting way? Or is it all in your own head, and the idea of the connection between the structure and items held within them are just the human way of connecting life together within a sense of grounding and being physical.

These feelings seem too intense to stay stored inside a single head; I maybe just over analysing a single thought but a single thought can spiral out of control. I need to wrap my head around this; it was my desire to move, my hopes and wishes for something bigger and better with more freedom to grow and move on from sad and hard times. After all not all the memories where happy, there have been quite a few which I would never like to relive again but they did all help to mould the person I am today.

‘Fat Mike’

‘He’s there again!’ said the tall sixteen year old with his school shirt pulled out and his tie sticking out of his trouser pocket.

‘Of course he is, he’s always there David.’

Replied Craig to his mate as they strolled down Market Street on their hour lunch, it has been their ritual since year nine and with it now being there last year of school nothings really changed.

It was during these times they had their brightest ideas. They had decided they wanted to be detectives when they were thirteen as they wanted to arrest all the bad people in the world. But then they realised from observing people each day that some of the people which they thought were bad were actually totally different. It made David and Craig realise that this is what they loved. Finding out about people, making people aware things are not always as they seem. Journalists were what they wanted to be!

They chose media studies as one of their GCSE options and with that and their excellent English grades they were all set.

The man they are speaking of, who was on the bench in the centre of Market Street every day, was ‘Fat Mike’. Everyone knew him, everyone had heard stories about him. You see it is well-known that ‘Fat Mike’ came to Manchester from London, it is also well known that he is stark raving mad, he comes down every day and sits on the same bench, spending the whole day smoking cigarettes and watching the world go by. He is about sixty but from the state of his matted greying hair and his discoloured nails and fingers he looked much older. He always wore the same clothes, black hemmed trousers and a dirty white shirt, if anyone ever attempted to speak to him he would just scream at them saying ‘DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM’  As the majority of people would flee at this point and never return. He also often had a note pad in his hand and would often be seen scribbling notes down with a non-existent pen, he was so strange and odd but Craig often spotted him looking into the distance with a distressed, tormented look in his eye. David also said he once saw a tear rolling down his face when he heard the carol singers play in the street last Christmas, whatever his real story was the boys new they had their GCSE Media Studies project, right there in front of them.

The next day in school they started their planning, they would use everything they had learned about journalism and create the greatest news story they could. They decided they would firstly attempt the direct approach, simply go up to ‘Fat Mike’ and explain who they were and what they are hoping to achieve. So that lunch time they went to Market Street and approached the old man.

‘Excuse me sir, we are from…’ David began before mike leaps up and screams ‘SHHHHHHHHHHH’ in his face.

Slightly taken aback David steady’s himself and grabs Craig’s arm in a moment’s uncertainty. Mike returns to his bench and continues to look at the world as it goes by, Craig try’s a different approach and attempts to sit next to mike, well as close as mikes obscenely potent body odour would allow him. David looked confused but without wanting another dose of Mike’s breath in his face he decided to walk away slowly and sit on a bench nearby, but close enough to be in reaching distance in case his friend needed him. Craig sat there for the next thirty minutes, every once and a while he’d take a side glance to inspect Mike. He realised that every time Mike attempted to write in his note book he would be mumbling something.

After thirty minutes Craig slowly rose and walked over to David to explain the plan he had.

‘Look I think I have an idea, we need research right?’

‘Oh yeah and it looks like we are going to get it from him aren’t we! He nearly took my head off’ David croaked with an attempt at anger.

‘well we know now the direct approach won’t work, listen he seemed quite happy with me just sat there so why don’t I do that for a while, try and gain his trust and in the meantime you get as much background info as you can on the guy.’

‘Hmmm are you sure mate?’ David said reservedly.

‘Yes, look we can do this David and if it’s good we can use it to get into collage’

David thought about it long and hard, this was real and although it was scary this is what they loved. And so, with a smile that grow on his face they began. David asked everybody he knew about ‘Fat Mike’ and started compiling a portfolio, he asked old residents in the area and local police all of whom new of mike but did not know much about him.

Craig sat with him every day for a week not saying a word, eating his lunch and observing Mike and his life on the bench never once attempting to interact with him.

On the second week he was eating his sandwich as usual and noticed Mike glance over, Craig stopped and with his sandwich in one hand he picked up the packet which contained the remaining half and slowly offered it to Mike without speaking. After 5 minutes of sitting like this Mike placed his notebook next to him, in between Craig and himself, and took the second half, acting very nonchalantly Craig carried on eating his own. Craig finally getting the chance to see the notebook close up realised there was a faint imprint of a once embossed name ‘Michael Macintyre’ without wanting to rush anything Craig waited until it was time to leave before whipping out his phone to tell David.

‘I got his name’ Craig told David as he walked back to school.

‘What? How?’ asked David

‘Don’t ask just look it up, it’s Michael Macintyre’

Whilst David was still in the library he went online and typed the name in Google, there was no results for Michael Macintyre, but there was an article from 6 years ago about an Amy Macintyre.

            19th December 2007

LONDON HEROLD

….It was a sad day today in Lambeth when four children were murdered by a drive-by shooting today as they stood with friends carol singing. It is believed to be in relation to the resent gang related crime which has broken out in the area. Amy Macintyre, aged 8 was caught up in the crossfire early Saturday morning whilst carol singing for local neighbours. This is just one month after MP Paul Richards gave his speech about reducing police patrol numbers in the area to save taxes.

David quickly prints off the article and races back to school, once he’s in he shows Craig what he finds.

‘Oh that’s bad, did you find anything on Michael?’ Craig asked

‘No but I’m going to go back after school, why don’t you come?’

‘OK I will, two heads are better than one.’ Craig replies.

They spent hours in the library that night, digging around online and in old newspapers.

Just as they were about to give up David spotted something in the obituaries of the following year.

20th March 2008

LONDON METRO

            OBITUARIES

            MIKENZIE MACENTYRE Aged 55

Makenzie (known as Michael to friends) will have a memorial service next Wednesday after the search ends for his remains from the Thames, Makenzie lost his fight to live after the death of his 8 year old daughter Amy at the end of last year. MP Paul Richards shall be making an appearance at the event to show support for his widow Janice Macintyre. Showing his respect to his long-time friend and trusted bodyguard Michael.

‘Oh my god David do you know what this means?’ Craig screeches to David so excited he almost pops.

‘Oh my god we are onto are first big story’ David says standing up slowly

‘We have found Makenzie Macintyre’

‘But wait. what do we do know? ‘Fat Mike’ won’t speak to us so where do we go from here?’ David proclaimed.

‘Print that off now and follow me I know what to do.’

David prints the article of and follows Craig, they get to Market Street and they spot ‘‘Fat Mike’’ he’s walking away from his bench, they decide to follow him to see where he goes. They follow him for at least 3 miles before they reach an old shelter and they watch him enter.

‘That’s it, that’s what we needed. We can now call her!!!’ whispers Craig always to himself.

‘Call who??’ David says confused and slightly irritated.

‘His wife you idiot, we can reunite them. Let’s go’

They rush back and the following day they ring the number on the obituary column, an old woman answers and they slowly and delicately explain everything. Janice Macintyre firstly goes silent and the boys think she’s hung up but then they hear whimpers, she explains how on the night day of Amy’s death Michael was supposed to of taken her carol singing but work had called to say MP Paul Richards was to hold an emergency speech in London and security was high,

‘He had called Mike in as he was his best bodyguard. He always made notes about anyone who looked suspicious for future recollection. He never forgave himself for not protecting Amy and said I was better off without him. That night there was sightings of him near the Thames and an anonymous call to say a man had jumped of the bridge. They searched for weeks but said his body had probably been washed to see.’ She explained.

After being on the phone for a few hours they arrange for her to come to Manchester. Their meeting was amazing, very emotional and very rewarding for David and Craig.

To thank them they let them write a beautiful article about their story which even made the papers in Manchester and London.

– THE END –

By Liz Daniels

Moments Treasured!

ChristmasCandleBest time of year Christmas, first thing I do is stand in my little girls’ room and watch as she sleeps peacefully waiting for Santa. As she stirs she mumbles in her sleep.

‘Mummy has he been yet?’

I lean down beside her bed and whisper ‘yes, wake up sleepy head.’ Opening her eyes looking all sleepy, she scans the room expectantly. She jumps out of bed running into our bedroom shouting ‘Daddy its Christmas wake up’ and proceeds to jump on top of Dan as he groans and rolls over.

‘Aww Jenna its 6.30am, give me five minutes.’ He protests sleepily at me, but we both know that will never happen today.

‘GET UP GET UP I WANT TO SEE WHAT HE’S BROUGHT!’ she screeches as Dan rubs the sleep from his eyes.

We run down stairs to see our beautiful tree all decorated and lots of gifts underneath, Kassie runs first to the mantel piece to check the mince pie we always left for Santa.

‘LOOK DADDY HE LIKED it’ she said giddily before heading for the tree.

‘Of course he liked them, he loves minced pies, who doesn’t?’ he answered feeling sick at the thought, Danny had always hated them since a child.

We all sat under the tree to open our presents and I sit watching my little girl open them one by one, never getting over the excitement of opening each package. I watch Dan as he helps her, he looks so anxious as the time goes on, he’s worrying about how todays going to pan out.

‘Look here’s one from mummy to you daddy’ she says handing him the gift before diving back under to open another.

Dan smiles and slowly opens the present, it’s a cook book entitled ‘Cooking for Dummies, Christmas Addition’. He smiles and lets out a little giggle remembering a private joke between us.

‘Just a little help to get you on your way’ I giggle back as he sets it to one side and reaches for another.

We sit like this until 9am, finishing opening presents, playing with toys and watching TV, then Dan gets up and heads to the kitchen, for a few seconds he just stands near the cooker just not knowing where to start.

Kassie follows him and looks up at him.

‘Mummy always does the turkey first.’

‘Oh does she now’ he reply’s smiling down at her, he bends down beside her and they look at each other with warm affection.

‘I know it’s sad without her daddy, but I will help you’ Kassie says putting her arms around Dan and giving him a big cuddle and a kiss.

Dan and Kassie go to my pin board and read my last note.

‘Dear Kassie and Dan

 I love you both so much. I shall be with you always, Merry Christmas!

 Love Mummy (Jenna)’

 xxxx

Cancer took me from their lives, but I know as long as they have each other they will do just fine.

– THE END –

By Liz Daniels