THE AFTERMATH

The Aftermath 

by John Yeo

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The four walls of a large empty house, can be dreadful to a lady of quality. Since the Admiral had passed on to the high seas of the unknown, his good lady was left high and dry, as it were. Elspeth was terribly upset and it was several months of wearing the required mourning black, and privately drowning her feelings in waves of tears, before she was able to begin to socialise again. Her two children and their families had been wonderful, rallying around and visiting her sporadically, but over the months the visits became more and more infrequent. Then the terrible, shockingly unbearable, loneliness, began to set in. Every knock at the door of the large four bedroomed, detached house, set well back from the road, sent a jolt of expectation resounding through her very being.

 Elspeth missed Admiral Theo, her dearly beloved husband, tremendously; she missed the sociable rounds of meetings with the officer’s wives and the pomp and ceremony of the Naval get-togethers.

  Elspeth wasn’t strictly a religious person. Devout in her own unique way, she would attend church when the need arose. This always seemed to coincide to the times when her feelings of abject loneliness began to take hold and she needed to reach out for human contact.
 The fact was, Elspeth was on the verge of an unmentionable solution to her myriad problems of lonely heart wrenching solitude. 

 One Sunday, a new face appeared in the pews of the fairly isolated village church and a lady dressed in dramatic black arrived alone. Elspeth immediately approached and introduced herself, sensing a kindred spirit.
  “Hi! I’m Elspeth: You’re new here. A warm welcome to you, come and join me on my pew. We must have a chat after the service. They serve a wonderful cup of tea here.” 
     “Oh! Of course. Thank you so much, I would like that it will be so nice to have someone to talk to. I’m Gill, I have downsized our house and I have moved into a cottage along Honeysuckle Lane.”
     “Welcome Gill.” whispered Elspeth, At that moment the Priest led the choir down the aisle to commence the service.
 Elspeth’s mind was racing during the service, she sensed a friendship forming that could blossom into something that could change her life, rescuing her from the intolerable loneliness she had endured recently.
  The two ladies met and conversed intimately after the service. Finding they had a great deal in common, Gill said.

       “Why don’t you come and have some lunch? You will be welcome to join me before I leave.”
 Elspeth instantly agreed, however her face fell when her new found friends words sank in and she realised the implications.
      “You are leaving!” She interjected quickly. “”Already, it seems you have just arrived. Where are you going?”
       “Oh! I’m going on a long sea cruise to the Caribbean, I don’t believe in letting my sorrows overwhelm me. I intend to take the bull by the horns and live life to the full! We only buried my poor darling, Henry a month ago and it has been such a rush moving house and now getting ready for this cruise. Henry and I talked about going on a cruise a year ago and I know he will be with me in spirit all the way.”
  This stunned Elspeth to the core. ’A cruise! I hadn’t thought of anything like that.’ she mused…. 

Then she thought, ‘Dare I? What would people think of me if I suddenly announced I was off on a cruise? What about the children and my adorable grandchildren? Rags, my faithful four-legged friend is bound to miss me.’ 
Then she was about to speak, when Gill suddenly said.

     “Why don’t you join me? I am sure the cruise line could find room for you. They have some spare cabins and we don’t leave for a couple of weeks. Plenty of time to make some fast arrangements.”
       “Wow! Let me think things through Gill, I’m tempted to say yes straight away. Anything to get away from this lonely life, however I must speak to the children, although I don’t see much of them these days.”
    “Sure thing.” replied Gill. “Look,” she continued. “I’ll phone the cruise line and see if they will fit you in, I’m sure they will. You speak to your family, and if you are ready. Let’s go and have some fun.”
   Finally these two new friends, who had hit it off so well from the start accompanied one another on that first sea cruise together. Thus began the many highs and lows and scrapes and narrow escapes of our two sailing friends who traversed the world on the high seas together. 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

MUSED MOURNING

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment ~ Mused Mourning

http://ourwriteside.com/category/prompts/master-class/

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MUSED MOURNING

by John Yeo

The black-edged cards were delivered to many friends and family in distant parts, announcing the sad news, with the date and time of the funeral.
The deceased man’s wife had tears in her eyes, as she checked the wording.
The children of the couple, rallied round her, sympathetically consoling her, while holding back their personal tears.
There was no positive response over the next few days, just guarded replies expressing deepest sympathy.

The day of the funeral arrived and the dead man’s wishes were followed as the service in the little village church took place in his desired format.

We were gathered around the grave. Thirty people, composed of the close family and friends of the deceased, stood back as the priest mouthed the last rites. Some were openly crying as the poetic words were expressed over the remains of someone who was once a respected member this small community.

My mind drifted over the life of this unusual person.
His childhood spent in an unsettling wartime environment. Followed by a spell in a reasonably happy home, with brothers and then newly acquired stepsisters.
Then came Boarding school and the trials of learning in a regimented environment.

Youth, with the challenging teenage years, and the swinging sixties, with blue jeans and rock and roll. Girls and dances: Everlasting love, followed by several broken hearted partings.

Love and marriage, fulfilled with happy children and the many ups and downs of
a successful career, followed by a happy retirement.

My mind continued to rove over the peaks and troughs of this familiar man’s life.

How could he have found the dream, and lived with peace and contentment having experienced so many peaks and troughs?

My inner self, placed myself forward in time. Would my life’s end reflect the life I have led, or would my demise be just another death, mourned by the few, and forgotten by the many?

Perhaps if I follow my path through life and take life as it arrives?
My mind continued to drift, musing over the obvious realization that a life lived has already passed. The past is fixed and unchanging.

I will certainly live life while I have a life to live.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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LIQUID LUCK

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment  LIQUID LUCK 

http://ourwriteside.com/assignment-liquid-luck/

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Assignment: Liquid Luck

Liquid Luck

by John Yeo

   The economic news was gloomy and depressing. Oil prices were going through the roof, creating hardship and a loss of income to many. Food was becoming more expensive to produce and ship around the globe.

   Hank Gerome was a gambler, he gambled on the stock market, frequently losing, but sometimes, on a rare occasion Lady Luck smiled on him and he backed a winner. Such was the result and the outcome of his friendship with Marvin Price, the two friends were much the same age and both single financial adventurers.
They had invested in an oil well in Texas, and were partners in a gushing never ending source of liquid gold.

  In the time honoured way, of easy come, easy go, the two friends traversed the world, globetrotting together.
London, England; opened its doors to the wealthy carefree friends and they were staying in a famous five star hotel.

  Hank and Marvin were enjoying a pub crawl, when in the city centre they decided to cross the main city bridge over the busy waterway.
In days past this river was an important lifeline. The main artery for vessels carrying goods for trade both Worldwide and from the Northern and Southern cities and towns of the United Kingdom.

     “Do you see what I see Hank? There is a woman ahead who looks as if she is about to jump into the river!” Shouted Marvin.

  “Yes!….Hey wait up! We’re coming to help, what’s up?” asked Hank in a concerned voice.

  Startled the woman on the bridge shouted. “Stay away from me I’ve had enough; I can’t go home, I’ve lost everything!”

  Hank stood his ground and gently said: “It’s OK: Don’t worry l’ve been where you are now. Let us help you, I won’t come any closer if that’s what you really want. What happened? What are you doing here? What’s your name?”
Meanwhile Marvin had raced back across the bridge for help.

   The woman was openly crying like a baby, sobbing. “Stay back or I will jump. My name is Jenny, I have lost everything in a stupid investment. I was once a financial whizz kid, everything I touched turned to gold. Our family travelled the world in luxury nothing was too good for my children. They have been brought up to have anything they desired. Now Lady Luck has pulled the plug and my luck has gurgled away in the form of a liquid stream taking my will to live with it.”

  In the near distance a cacophony of sirens sounded as the emergency services arrived in force. The woman on the parapet wavered on the brink, looking down as if hypnotised by the inky black waters.

  “No! Stop! Please don’t jump!” shouted Hank. “What about your family? Your children will miss you if you go ahead.”

 The woman laughed wildly, loudly, madly, then with a single step into the wild windy night she was gone.

  Lady Luck had left a residue of this lady’s fortune behind however, the river police were waiting in a launch below and fished her out of the river.

  Hank and Marvin insisted on keeping in contact with Jenny, who made a complete recovery from her recent sad state of mind, and was soon happily reconciled with her family.
Jenny contributed much to the lives of the two friends, bringing a strange steadying influence.

  Thus, the infamous Three Financial Marketeers were born. They began to live the dream without relying on the unreliable influence of Lady Luck.
 Three prongs on an unbelievable financial tool that began to cultivate the opportunities that presented themselves.

  Three financial brains amalgamating in a series of adventures that would soon shake the world.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

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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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Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

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.

ANXIOUS PEACE

A prompt response for Master Class ~ ANXIOUS PEACE

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

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Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

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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THE BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

A prompt response to this photo from ~ The Dark Room on Our Write Side

http://ourwriteside.com/a-bridge-to-nowhere/

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THE BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

by John Yeo

  Rambling along a pretty lane bordered by tangled shrubs, Megan and I were enjoying an unplanned afternoon walk through the glorious countryside.

The hot Springtime sun shone between fluffy clouds that skittered across a clear blue sky. Hedge sparrows and small finches darted to and fro across the path.

    “The birds are building their nests in these thick bushes, to raise their families,” I remarked to Megan.

Nodding she said, “Just look at those pretty yellow primroses growing along the wayside banks.” She picked one and sniffed the soft yellow petals.

 “They are not perfumed at all, but they are so soft and velvety.”

Wood pigeons and rooks were feeding, as we skirted a newly ploughed field.

We approached the edge of some thick woods, green and luxurious with dense shrubs and leafy, branchy trees as far as the eye could see. The shady woods looked inviting.

 “I wonder if they are private property.”

I mused when suddenly Megan exclaimed…

  “Look, just there at the edge of the woods, a tiny deer. It looks like a fawn in distress. Oh! it’s limping; where are the parents? Can we go and have a look, Joe?”

  “Of course! Come on let’s go.”

   We quickly made our way towards the edge of the woods. The handsome speckled brown and white baby deer seemed totally unaware of our approach.  In our haste to get to the casualty, I tripped and fell. I suffered no serious damage, just a few minor grazes.

The startled fawn looked up at this unusual noise and headed into the woods.

Megan and I without thinking followed the limping fawn along a tiny track through the dense woods. Startled woodpeckers and woodland jays flew high into the treetops as we approached.

The track led us to the banks of a wide river and we continued following the path along the banks of the river. The riverbanks were marshy at the edges covered in large yellow flowers. Moorhens and ducks were swimming among the reed beds, ducking their heads beneath the clear water to feed.

Suddenly I realised we were in a fix as we didn’t know these woods at all.

Megan suddenly said. “Joe are we lost? I have never been here before: Do you know where we are?”

 “Not exactly Megan, I think if we continue to follow this track along the riverbank we may come across a cottage. We might even meet one of the locals.”

We came across a separate pool alongside the riverbank full of the most beautiful, pink and white water lilies.

 “Those coots are having a feast on the small creatures in that impressive little pool,” I remarked.

 We continued along the riverside path and before long a wooden bridge on stilts loomed up in front of us.

  “Joe, perhaps if we cross the river over that bridge we may find an easier path.”

We breathed a sigh of relief when a canvas structure came into view.

  “That looks like a fisherman’s shelter Megan; I hope there is someone inside  who can guide us on our way.”

  “Hallo! Is anyone in there?”  I called loudly.

I opened the flap to the front of the tent to discover a wizened elderly man holding a fishing rod over the water. A rather strange looking elderly man wearing a floppy elfin hat dressed in multicoloured clothes looked up as I opened the flap.

  “What do you want? What are you strangers doing in these woods? This is private property.”

  “Sorry!” I said, “We were following an injured fawn, and we got lost. We just want to go home now. If you can show us the way back we would be happy to leave your private woods at once.”

The old man just nodded and said, “Which way did you come?”

I gestured to the path along the river.

 “We wondered if we crossed that bridge we would come across a direct path back the way we came,” I said.

 The strange old man jumped at this. “No! Whatever you do, don’t go over the magical bridge. That is the dividing line, Mad Molly lives in a shack on the other side. You will never be the same again if you come into contact with her. I will personally escort you to the edge of the woods. We will return the way you came on this side of the river. I’m Archie by the way, If we take the shortcut you will be home in no time.”

Archie escorted us to the edge of the woods and waved goodbye. We made our way along the familiar country lanes towards home.

 We soon arrived at a pretty little pub set in a well-kept garden full of fruit trees and flowers, with inviting looking tables and chairs.

  “Let’s stop here for a drink;” I said.

 “Yes please;” answered Megan.

I entered the comfortable bar to order the drinks and as the landlord was pouring them I related our adventures in the woods. Our contact with Archie and the magical bridge and his timely warning about mad Molly.

This resulted in roars of gleeful laughter from the landlord and the patrons in the bar.

  “Sorry!” Said the landlord. But you wandered onto the estate of Lord Archibald and Lady Arabella Fortescue-Jones. Lord Archie always referred to his mother-in-law as mad Molly.

Lady Arabella frowned on this and the bridge is the result. To cross the bridge is to enter a world where hunting shooting and fishing is banned. Lord Archie is not allowed to cross the magical bridge and Lady Arabella never visits his side either.”

We finished our drinks and made our way home. We have a wonderful after dinner story to dine out on for the next few years.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

HEY!

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Image from the net

A prompt response for ~ Inspiration Monday: Man’s First Word

http://bekindrewrite.com

HEY!

by John Yeo

   There was silence in the outer hemispheres of the galaxy for millennia. The elder trolls were unique in the areas of communication throughout the exo-galactic panoply of extraordinary people. Their way of communicating by nonverbal means had been raised to new heights.

  On an extraordinary blue planet, life was formed and developed. Asteroids had collided and re-collided. Comets visited;  bringing chemicals to permeate a life-giving mix of chemicals giving rise to unique life-forms. Exoplasm mingled and re-mingled again in the hands of the entity that was controlling the flow of matter.

  The life forms mixed and remixed, soon a survivor in the likeness of the controller emerged. “Hey!” Thought the controller; “I am almost there!”

 Then to his delight, he heard the word. “Hey!” Repeated back to him.

 Shocked he silently strained his ultrasonic hearing to the limits.

  Then the silence was broken by the familiar sound of his Mother’s voice resonating around the galaxy.

  “God! put your toys away! It’s late!”

“Oh; Mother! Please; Can’t I just have another couple of eons?”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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