ORPHAN

This article was written for “QUINTET,” our Parish magazine, requesting submissions on the theme of  ~ What’s in a Name?

 

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WHAT’S IN A NAME

ORPHAN

by John Yeo

   Our name is the handle by which we are handled.
The childhood is a time of a happy innocent vulnerability. My early childhood was spent in idyllic peaceful happiness, I was an only child brought up by two wonderful parents. Tom, my father was a gentleman farmer. This self-styled title always amused him as he worked from dawn to dusk on the land.

    “I’m a farmer and a gentleman, ask my wife Molly, how gentle I am.”
My Mother, Molly would gently smile and nod in agreement.

  What’s in a name? Certainly a contradiction, as far as my Dad was concerned.

    “Aren’t gentlemen supposed to be rich and lead a luxurious, cushioned wealthy life?” I asked grinning. At eight years old I was as sharp as a razor and very cheeky.

    “Come on Tom-junior eat your tea. Mind you finish those greens they are the secret of good health.” said my Mum smiling broadly.
Mum was a hard worker helping Dad on the farm. She somehow found the time to support the local WI. Sometimes the farmhouse would resound with her ladies busy chatting together, earnestly discussing matters of great importance.

   Such was our family’s happy life until the day of that terrible road accident that changed my life forever. We were out for a Sunday drive to the next village to visit my Uncle Bob when a huge tractor pulling a trailer full of heavy logs crashed into our tiny family car. My Mum and Dad were killed instantly and I was trapped…. Upside down in the back seat; still alive.

    At that moment my life was to change forever, I instantly became an eight-year-old orphan and a problem for the Social services. Uncle Bob and Aunt Millie took care of me for a few weeks but they were unable to make this a permanent arrangement as they had four children and very little space.

    I had become an orphan, now this is a name that due to our vivid Victorian literature has become irrevocably linked to poverty and pity. A state of unwantedness that generated much hardship and sorrow.

     I was fostered by several kindly families at the start of my new station in life and finally, I was adopted by a nice family.

    Mr. and Mrs. Smithers and their four children, all boys older than me, lived in a huge sprawling house in an acre of beautiful gardens with woods and fields stretching towards the horizon.

     The next few months passed in a blur as I quickly became accustomed to my new station in life. It was a slow degenerative process as I became that orphan, who was not really one of us. Quite unworthy to be a real part of the family. I was bullied by the children and ignored by their parents except for when I was expected to wait on them.

     “That boy will do the work! The orphan will clear the table!” said Mrs. Smithers.

 Somehow I had become a person without a name, a legal slave, fed and watered and expected to wait on the family hand and foot.

      ‘The orphan will do the job!” Was the favourite saying of the oldest son, a cruel vindictive fellow.

  I became insecure and frightened to get up in the morning. I refused to go to school in case I said something that would get me in trouble at home later.

     Eventually, I ran away and made my way back to my childhood family home. I was shy and reluctant to knock on the front door and I made my way around the back. A dog started barking loudly and a lady who I vaguely recognised, exclaimed;

    “Hello young Tom junior; what are you doing here? Come inside and have some tea.”
  At that I burst into tears, this was the first time I had encountered such familiar kindness for ages.

     “You must recognise me I am Rose, we used to come here for our WI meetings to see your Mum. My hubby and I bought the farm. Don’t cry Tom, come inside you are welcome.”

    That was five years ago now. I shudder at the memories of that period I spent as just a nameless orphan.

    I now live here in my old/new home with kindly new parents who have made me welcome. I feel secure in the knowledge that there is always an essence of our departed loved ones around guiding us in spirit.

 Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

FICTION NOTICE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

RUTH

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment 

JAILED INNOCENCE 

http://ourwriteside.com/assignment-jailed-innocence/

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RUTH

by John Yeo

“Innocently trapped in a prison of her own construction.”

  The sky was a mottled gray, cloudy with a stiff cold breeze. There was a dank autumnal smell of decaying leaves in the air.

   Two women were waiting at the imposing secure gates of Turney Abbey. An attractive young lady conservatively dressed in a gray suit and a middle-aged lady in a maroon coat with the collar turned up.

   There were tears in the eyes of the older of the two as they waited.

   “Auntie Eleanor; I know what I want! I have decided to follow my strong beliefs and give myself to God. My heroine is Mother Therese. I want the peace of worship and the satisfaction of working and making friends with people of a like-minded faith in God.”

   “Mary! Do you realise that once you have committed yourself to this way of life; it will be extremely difficult to leave after you have made it past the solemn or perpetual profession of the holy vows.”

     “Yes; but Auntie Eleanor: I never want to get hurt by anyone again. I know you will say that is not a good enough reason to enter a convent but I am a devout Christian and I want the peace and security to worship unhindered.”

    “My darling, I will tell you a story of a distant relative in Ireland who became a nun and died of a twice broken heart that destroyed her faith and led to an early demise.” The elder of the two women cleared her throat and began to relate a tragic tale.

    “Ruth was an attractive young lady who got good grades in college and was headed for a career in nursing. She fell in love with a young man from the same village. Sadly he was a fraud and left her brokenhearted to face a lonely future without the means of support and little chance of furthering her studies or getting work.

    Ruth decided to take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and follow the path into a convent. There was no one to counsel her about this hasty decision and she was soon admitted to a convent.”

   At this moment there was a cacophony of noise from the rookery behind the high imposing walls of Turney Abbey. As if something in the vicinity had interrupted the silence of the afternoon and spooked the Rooks.

     “Aunt Eleanor, please go on, what happened to her? How did she die?” asked Mary.

   “All went well for the first few months and she took the solemn vows. Soon the harsh mundane reality of life in the convent began to tell on the intelligent young lady. Restricted to a wholesome but limited diet, there was never enough food to sustain her completely. Worn down by the drudgery of long hours of hard work and prayer. Restricted to the company of her fellow sisters, Ruth began to pine for her former life.”

  Eleanor stopped for a minute to wipe a stray tear that was running down her cheek.

   Taking a deep breath to compose herself, she continued.

   “Then she made the mistake of confiding in Sister Agnes a sister who worked alongside her in the kitchen garden. This was a sad mistake, Sister Agnes was a bully and a vindictive person who took advantage of the situation and made Ruth’s life a misery. Threatening to expose her as an evil charlatan who had lost her faith in God. Taunting her that she would finish up in hell if she broke her solemn vows. Ruth became frightened of the consequences of leaving and became too worn down to argue.”

   Mary gasped and said. “She was trapped in a way of life that became a prison. A never ending sentence for the rest of her life!”

   “Yes Mary; She pined away and a few months later, she was discovered dead in her bed. The official cause of death was diagnosed as a mysterious virus that had struck her suddenly and she had been called to God. Unofficially we all knew she had died of a hopeless, helpless, broken heart. Sister Agnes was unrepentant, but the strange thing was, she was found dead in her bed from heart failure exactly one month later.

  At that moment the gates to Turney Abbey swung open and a kindly looking nun smiled and said, “Can I help you?”

  “No thank you!” exclaimed Mary “We are just passing by!”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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ANXIOUS PEACE

A prompt response for Master Class ~ ANXIOUS PEACE

http://ourwriteside.com/anxious-peace/

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ANXIOUS PEACE

By John Yeo

The fighting was bloody, countryman against countryman. Explosions were tearing the country to bits. The stench of death and blood was so close it turned the stomachs of the most battle-hardened warriors.

   The stone farmhouses were dilapidated and dirty providing a temporary lodging place for the refugees from the war.

  Amy’s husband was away fighting on the borders.

   The birth pains were terrible Amy struggled and pushed as hard as she could, but the child refused to enter the world. This reluctance was causing a great deal of anxiety to the village midwife who was begging her to really try hard.

    “Push darling, push harder. Your baby is almost here!”

  Finally, a healthy baby was delivered, closely followed by another.

    “Two!” exclaimed the village midwife. “You have two wonderful strong young twin boys.”

   Sadly there was no reply from the mother. It was a difficult birth and the midwife was unable to save Amy, who died from a massive hemorrhage.

  A fire broke out in the kitchen of the farmhouse where the two young men were born. Villagers rushed to help the rescuers evacuate the inhabitants.
The guns were getting closer, the fighting was fierce. This internecine war had been going on for years. The leader said we would have to evacuate our homes and leave.

   The refugees suffered much deprivation and hardship as they traveled across the country seeking sanctuary.

  The babies were separated and taken to different parts of the war-torn country.
One brother, Amin went north to a small township, where the war quickly changed the ruling faction and he was raised as his dead father’s enemy. A father he would never meet.
Emir was dragged south and raised by a family loyal to the reigning powers.

   They grew to manhood separately, raised amid the hardship and deprivation both quickly becoming strong quick adults.

   There was a gasp from the assembled hierarchy when the two leaders of the warring factions met.
The two sides met to begin a peace process. Separate histories, separate beliefs. Yet brothers by birth who would begin to try to do the seemingly impossible and strive to begin life in an anxious peace.

   They were identical, in looks. Two people who had never met, yet they had risen to command two different factions. Fighting the same war on opposite sides. Peace negotiations began between twin siblings separated at birth who were both chasing the same dream from different parts of the country.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

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SHOWDOWN

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Prompt response to this image supplied by ~ creativewritingink.co.uk

SHOWDOWN

by John Yeo

    Dust swirled everywhere, intense scorching heat blasted the sparse vegetation, frizzling the foliage, rapidly turning any suggestion of moisture into nothing. There wasn’t a vehicle to be seen for miles. The only sign of life was death, in the form of dead creatures along the roadside; roadkill by vehicles or a harsh death by thirst or starvation. Buzzards attracted by the chance of a free meal, always circling, quickly landing, squabbling over the carcass.   

Death attracting life, as the natural cycle dictated.

    Wild Wolf, accelerated, pushing the Harley to the limit the speedo registered 180 mph and his speed was climbing. Mary his girlfriend clung tighter and tighter to him as they powered along the highway.

   Wolf was a long term member of the Hell’s Angels. Mary, his lady went everywhere with him, she was besotted with this tall biker, Wolf had shoulder length matted black hair with a beard and mustache that covered his face. Not much was known about Wolf, he was a drifter who moved from place to place as the whim took him.

   Another motorcycle was roaring along in Wolf’s slipstream, his good friend Fearless Fox together with Molly his long-suffering lady, were having little difficulty in keeping up.

 Wolf felt a nudge and shouted, “Yeah, whaddya want?”  The noise of the Harley roaring along the road made any form of conversation difficult, niceties were impossible.

  “I’m bloody hungry and I need the loo! ” Mary yelled in reply.

“What? I can’t hear you! What’s the matter?”

“STOP at the next building or I’ll be wetting myself and you!”

 No reply came from Wolf that Mary could hear, she suspected it would have been a stream of curses and unintelligible diatribe.

  A building loomed up in the distance and Wolf signaled right to alert Fox who was close behind of his intention to pull in. The bike began to slow as he reduced speed and pulled into the forecourt of a rundown looking business, followed by Fox.

  “Hey, man!” Fox called to Wolf,

Mary and Molly rushed straight into the building obviously looking for the relief of the bathroom.

   “Hey you Foxy! We’re making a good time, shall we step inside and ask if there is food here for sale. I imagine the lady of the house will soon rustle something up, Mary is starving and I could do with a bite to eat myself,”

    “Sure man, but the place looks deserted. There’s no sign of any vehicles around and that seems strange to me, in an out of the way place like this,” said Foxy,

  Then with a sudden realization the two men rushed into the establishment following after Molly and Mary.

Three men were seated at a table playing poker as the two bikers rushed in. They looked up startled as the door burst open and Fox and Wolf barged in.

  An overweight man with his shirt hanging out got up from the table in surprise. “What the hell? Who do you think you two are? storming in here without knocking.”

The other two younger men got up looking menacing and stood by the older man. It was at that moment that Wolf realized they were both holding guns that were pointed straight at them.

  “Now hold on, there is no need for guns. We are looking for the two ladies that ran in here just a few minutes ago. Where are they?” Asked Wolf angrily.  “We are part of a large chapter of the Hells Angels and twenty more bikers will be here within the next few minutes. If they get here before we leave;  your establishment will be ransacked and destroyed.”

  The older man scratched his head and motioned the two young men, who were obviously his sons to put their guns down.

 “They’re in the kitchen out back, rustling up some grub. They asked if we would like to eat, as Ma and the girls have taken the trucks and gone shopping. We offered to give them the food free if they cooked some for us as well. It will be hours before the women get back.”

  Fox and Wolf both breathed a joint sigh of relief, they burst out laughing, soon all five men were seated around the table.

   “Can we deal you in?” asked one of the younger men, grinning broadly.

 

After a few hands of cards, Mary and Molly appeared with steaming hot plates of food. The whole group were soon laughing and eating together and swapping yarns.

  There followed a screeching of brakes as a dozen farm vehicles appeared and disgorged twenty men and boys looking for trouble.  

  “Sorry!” said Clem, the older man, “I radioed for some help from the back room after you told me about your Chapter of bikers arriving.

 Moments later there was a roaring of motorcycles and a screeching of brakes as the Hells Angels rode in and sat menacingly waiting.

There was a facedown that just needed a spark to ignite a war.

 To everyone’s surprise, three pickup trucks loaded with food signaled the arrival of the women.

 A portly woman carrying a rolled up umbrella dashed out of the leading vehicle, yelling; “Clem! What’s going on? Stop this at once or I will beat every man jack of you myself.”

 There was a shocked silence at first, then a muffled giggle, smiles became laughs quickly becoming guffaws and soon the whole gathering were in fits of laughter.

 Well, they say laughter is a cure for everything and soon there was a hoedown, with the Bikers and the Country boys having one hell of a party.

  Peace reigned when later that day the bikers roared off and normality returned to the Service station.  

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

JANUARY BLUES

This article  was written for “QUINTET,” our Parish magazine, requesting submissions on the theme of January Blues

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Image © Copyright John and Margaret ~All rights reserved

JANUARY BLUES

Sowing the Seeds of Recovery

by John Yeo

    Uplifting Christmas carols and music. Sparkling, colourful lights have now been replaced with  the shock of the after-effects, and the  cold gray  winter weather of January.

   A moment of taking stock, counting the cost of the revels that have gone before.

  This time of the year can be a lonely time after the celebrations are over and the family have all left and gone their separate ways

  We plan to visit several people, neighbours, and friends who we know will appreciate a chat and a few moments of company. A cheery word in the right ear can bring magic to a sufferer of January blues.

  For some, January is a time of reflection on the past year, with high hopes for the future We feel the lowness of mood, that follows the high Christmas cheer, of the celebrations with friends and neighbours.

    January is a month of gloomy darkness.

  Cold, dreary weather,  when the blue of the skies is obscured by gray cloud, midwinter frosts, and freezing temperatures.

  There is a recognized uneasy mood affected disorder around, known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD for short. Light therapy is a way this disorder is treated by exposure to artificial light.  

  Perhaps another way to combat SAD is to bask in the benefit of the light that the enlightenment of the epiphany has revealed, by the special relaxed calmness that can be obtained through prayer and having faith that the future is a mystery that has yet to be solved.

  Another way to chase the blues away is by planning a holiday, this is one of the most popular ways to combat the January blues. Just seeing piles of brochures with photographs of beautiful blue skies,  and impressive surf with waves pounding into some golden sands is certain to lift the most downtrodden spirits.

    Sadly the alluring TV adverts and seductive  brochures, that drop through many of our letterboxes, can actually contribute to a deep feeling of depression, especially when some of us will never have the financial means or health to take advantage of them.

    Again this is a time to be considerate and cautious, with the sure knowledge that things can improve with the reaching out of a warm connecting smile.

  As a gardener and an avid grow-your-own enthusiast on my allotment. Easily the most satisfying, rewarding and entertaining way to spend those long January evenings, is with an enormous pile of seed catalogues and brochures; planning the growing year in advance. I can picture myself in the Spring, sowing tiny minuscule seeds, taking care of the seedlings to promote growth. I can close my eyes and picture an array of wonderful flowers in full bloom. I can picture fresh wholesome tasty vegetables that will bring a smile of satisfaction to my face with the sheer joy of accomplishment.

  The January blues will swiftly become a faint memory as I look into the gardening future.

 “Cheer up my friend Spring will certainly arrive. How are you today?”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

SOUL SURGERY

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Image from pixabay.com

A prompt response for ~ Inspiration Monday: Soul Surgeon

http://bekindrewrite.com

SOUL SURGERY 

by John Yeo

  Jim Greaves was a hard- bitten, been-around retired medical doctor. Jim had reached the age of honorable discharge from the health service and joined the ranks of silver-haired senior citizens.

   Retirement didn’t come that easy to Jim, he was no gardener, and the easy life of pints in the pub at lunchtime, with the doubtful, soul-destroying, excitement of daytime television, was beginning to bore him stiff.  

    When Jim took up golf, on the advice of his GP;  Mary his beloved wife of thirty years almost fainted away with relief at the news. Jim had become a bit of a nuisance, hanging around the house all day long and getting under her feet.

      “Why don’t you come and join the golf club, Mary?” Jim asked excitedly:

  Mary went white at this request, but she quickly recovered to coolly reply, “No thanks, Jim, I will try to catch up with the garden on the days you play golf.”

    Peter Danvers, another retired medic and Jim became golfing partners and firm friends. Both men were having difficulty settling into retirement, and when an unusual opportunity came up for some part-time health officers at London airport, both men jumped at the chance.

  Life at the airport was full of varied experiences and close contact with people from many parts of the world. 

  One memorable day, several members of the border patrol force were summoned to a remote part of the airfield to interview and process three strangely dressed individuals. They were bussed to the spot to find a small alien-looking craft surrounded by armed forces.

  The first individual, to be interviewed spoke perfect English, with a slight old-style, Anglo-Saxon accent, introduced himself as the leader of the party.

   “I am Merlin, we come in peace, from the recently resurfaced island of Atlantis. We are physicians of the inner regions, making good the damage done by polluted thinking and feeling. We come to offer surgery to save the souls of sentient beings.”

    “Can I see your papers?”  Asked the Chief Security Officer.

  At that precise moment, Jim Greaves and Peter Danvers collapsed unconscious on the tarmac. There was a panic as medics were called forward and began desperately trying to revive the two men. 

  There was a sudden silent liftoff as the three visitors re-boarded their craft in the general melee. 

   It proved impossible to bring the two men round to normality and they became soulless zombies, confined to a hospital.

  Until the day, exactly one year later they came round and related a tale of souls that could travel without the need of a body. The first recorded communication by Jim, was as follows.

    “ Bodies age and decay! Life is forever!”

  Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

(“If you provide me some wonderfully bizarre prompts Stephanie, the chances are you will read a bizarre response occasionally.”)

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TURNIP AND CHIPS

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A prompt response for ~ Inspiration Monday: Vegetable Oppression

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TURNIP AND CHIPS

by John Yeo

“I tell you it’s the Turnips fault; ever since he was voted in with a narrow majority, we have been forced to be openly aggressive to anything and everything. I always used to think it was the Sprouts and Runner Beans that were full of wind. This Turnip fellow has majestic plans to sort out the rest of the allotment and stick strictly to home-grown vegetables in future. No more imports of any description will be allowed in.” The Pumpkin puffed out, as he openly flicked a large slug from attempting to gnaw into him, with a large frond attached to one of his leaves.

A group of Iceberg Lettuces standing in a neat row nodded in agreement in the strong wind, their spokesman addressed the assembly; “Don’t blame us! We voted for the Onion; a good choice: Not exactly a Spring Onion, you understand, but a super experienced Onion. An Onion that knows its Radishes from Beetroot.”

The Pumpkin continued; “The Turnip has promised some incredibly wealthy nutrients, riches beyond our wildest dreams. The powerful fertility from the rear end of some home-grown equines. An economic miracle is on the way.”

“Surely there is no way our economy can function without the cheapness and convenience of the new varieties of F1 interbreeding and Scientifically modified imports.” emphatically stated a venerable Pak Choi.

“No way? Our esteemed Turnip is decidedly against all mass-produced cheap imports and proposes we will function quite successfully with our own homegrown vegetables. The new leader didn’t hesitate to propose a solid wall be erected right around the allotments, preventing entrance by all alien varieties of vegetables.” the Pumpkin went on.

An army of potatoes, smartly dressed in heaped up piles of rich khaki fertiliser stood to attention, awaiting orders from their commanding officers. Always at the ready to be roasted, fried or mashed for the good of the allotment appetites.

Meanwhile grumbles of discontent at the new order were heard among the Carrots and Swedes and several other varieties of vegetables. Particularly certain sections of the Jerusalem Artichokes and Asparagus.

There were also rumbles of discontent among certain self-seeded wild flowers whose seeds had drifted onto the allotments from neighbouring areas. Dissatisfaction was noted with certain inferences and some mysterious patterns of thought as to their place in the future plans of the allotment growth.

Threats of anarchy and revolution were brushed off by the Turnip administration. Peace would certainly require a re-count and possibly a re-seeding of the whole administration to promote new growth and eliminate oppression.

The whole assembly agreed that the well tended allotment site would continue to function successfully regardless of the vegetable at the head of the assembly during the future growing seasons.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

FICTION NOTICE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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http://bekindrewrite.com