Sunday, 27 November 2016

Cecily: Looking for Love at Cyril's Creek -Part Five

Chapter Five

Bright lights danced across the face of the earth. They  came from an ominous, hanging spaceship which hovered above a sprawling city in the inky night sky. A throbbing hum echoed through the shining, deserted midnight streets as fierce lights strobed along the way length of the spaceship’s sides. Against the clouds, it was just possible to see the horrible weaponry available to those who manned the ship.
Inside the vessel, a giant robot stretched out a blood-red metal arm, bulky and functional. It flicked at icons on the screen before it and the hum changed volume and pitch. It was at the front of the bridge.  The room itself was a cramped octagon, full of blinking instruments and flippin’ computers. Behind the robot, in a large chair which was equipped with a massive range of buttons and switches, sat a green rather gelatinous lump. Every now and again it barked orders to the robot at the helm. After a few  moments, it oozed over a switch and a hood, like a giant welders mask, descended over the creature in the chair. From the virtual reality mask came indistinct sounds and faint flashes of light.
With a hum, the mask rose and the creature reached out to a microphone.
“First Officer Zrug, please come to the bridge,” it barked.
Moments later, a paler green blob slithered in.
“Ma’am?” Zrug enquired. 
“I have reached a conclusion, Zrug.”
“Is it to attack immediately?” Zrug responded, keenness evident in his voice.
“No, Zrug!” the captain rebuked her First Officer. “I have decided we must leave this place.”
The shock was evident on Zrug’s face was evident.
“Are their defences too great? Are the Galaxy Force on our tail?”
The  Captain hid her shame by looking into the Virtual Reality hood once more. When she spoke again it was almost inaudible.
“I am afraid we are in the wrong story.”
The ship zoomed away, back to the vast depths of space.
Meanwhile, Josiah Wigstand was trying to fully appreciate his eyelids. He was standing in the kitchen, repeatedly throwing flour into his face whilst keeping his eyes squeezed tightly closed. He was delighted every time he discovered that his nose and mouth were full of white powder but his eyes were as clear as day.
“Aren’t eyelids  amazing?” he enquired of the empty room.
Nothing replied.
Closing his eyes again, he threw another handful of self raising. Coughing and spluttering he opened his eyes again. Perfect vision once again! However, now he could see it was clear that he was no longer alone.
Cecily stood looking at him with surprise on her face. She  could  never  eat desserts without making a mess. This one looked like gooseberry surprise; it was full of raspberries. With her was a rather dashing looking man who Josiah took an instant dislike to. The stranger was smart, refined looking and obviously slightly injured.
Cecily helped him to a kitchen chair and gently encouraged him to sit down by unexpectedly sweeping his legs away from under him. She regarded him as he lay winded on the floor with great satisfaction and bundled Josiah into the other room. Once there, she took a magazine from the pile and held it threateningly above her boss’s head.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Checking to see if you had gone mad,” she replied.
“Me? Ow! What did you hit me for?”
“You asked if I was speaking about you,” Cecily replied. “You  have gone mad and are starting to imagine there are other people  here.”
He sighed.
“No, I meant that accusations of madness seemed to be a bit rich coming from someone who has brought a complete stranger home!”
“He’s hurt. He needed help. He broke his glider.”
Josiah gasped. Then, he turned his concentration away from remembering an icy bath he had once had and thought again about the woman he loved bringing a man he already resented back to his house.
“You have feelings for him!”
“Would that be so bad? At least he has ambitions, “ she spat. 
Josiah reached for a dusty typewriter that he kept handy on the sideboard. Sliding a sheet of yellowed paper into the roller, he began to type maniacally and manically.
“I just need time to finish my novel. You know that I am trying to learn to be a novelist,” he yelled over the clacks and tings.
Cecily leaned over and read the extract in front of  her.
“You need to improve your spelling. And grammar. And characterisation. And your signature for book signings. And you need a scarf. A writer needs a scarf.”
Tossing the typewriter to one side, Josiah stood up again.
“You’re babbling,” he said. “How do we know that we can trust this man?”
Cecily looked scathingly at him. In response, he donned  his ScatheBan sunglasses. Unperturbed, Cecily whistled with absolutely the same amount of scathingness. He put in his Scatheaway ear plugs. She was not beaten yet. He was.
“Ow! OK. Stop!” he sobbed.
Cecily explained that she was  just  going to tend to Tarquin’s injuries and make him a cup of tea. With that, she was gone. Josiah started to dry his eyes and let his sobs subside. He decided to go back into the kitchen  and to try to look grown up again in his darling Cecily’s eyes. 
Looking back, the choice of arriving on a hobby horse was definitely a mistake. Even with the excellent trot he performed, it was in no way a dignified entrance. When he got into the kitchen, puffing slightly, the stranger was sitting in a kitchen chair. He was puffing on a pipe, the acrid smoke filled the kitchen. 
“Sorry to intrude, old boy,” he brayed. “Had a bit of trouble with the damn plane.”
They looked at one another coldly. Rivalry was beginning to rear its head. 
“Nice horse!” Tarquin sneered.
“Spiffing pipe,” Josiah mimicked.
The atmosphere grew heavy but began a crash diet when Cecily came to the table with a drink for each of them. When the young lady turned back to the worktop, the atmosphere stuffed some sausage rolls and a few doughnuts before spending a week on salads when Cecily returned with biscuits. The jealousy bubbled and threatened to erupt underneath the veneer of a nice cup of tea.
Meanwhile, in the fridge, a piece of celery wilted gradually. 

But no-one noticed.

Cecily: Looking for Love at Cyril's Creek Part Four

Chapter Four
Cecily was alone again.  
The day was grey, which was ok, it was warm enough to play and she was out for her walk as usual. There was still a bounce to her step and her mood was buoyant as she made her way to the creek. As she walked past  the  terrible houses, the net curtains shook like doves in a storm. Her unfriendly and nosy neighbours watched her pass and made notes in the small books they kept to note who had passed and when. Later on, they would arrange meetings with each other to compare notes in one another's books but no-one would go to them. Instead, they would wait behind net curtains to write down who did attend (which was no-one). 
Her walk took her once again past the Henderson’s. Mr Henderson was out in the garden, polishing  some very long leather boots with an awe-inspiring heel. 
“Lovely day for it,” she called cheerily. 
Mr Henderson nodded eagerly, leaving a pause  as if  he wanted Cecily to  say  something  else. 
Lovely boots!” she continued, “I shall spend the rest of the day wondering how I should look if I were wearing them... 
Mr Henderson made a noise which was obviously agreement of some sort but oddly wordless. In fact, he turned a rather odd colour. 
"Perhaps you would like to try them on?" he managed. 
"Yes," she called back. "What do you think I should wear with them?" 
With a cheery wave, she left him behind and tripped merrily towards the open land. After what seemed like an age to her, she reached Cyril's Creek. As usual, all was tranquil and calm to the eye (although, deep in the reeds, a little grebe had just dropped a bundle after some speculative trading against the yen). She stood for a moment, breathing in the beauty. 
When the rapture had subsided and she had become more aware of her surroundings, movement in the thick stems that ringed the pond caught her eye once more. She felt odd; someone was watching her. But who? She decided to steal closer. Across the grass, over the dirt, between the ants, under the sky- you get the picture. Soon she was all but down by the water's edge with just a screen of tall, proud reeds between her and whoever was spying on her. Gently, the reeds were parted by questing fingers to reveal more behind. Onwards her exploration went until she was sure that the centre of the reeds lay before her. 
Just one more reed and the truth would surely now be revealed. Until- 
"Oh. Ow! The pain!" 
A scream came from behind her.  
She scrambled out of the reeds, looking around her for the source of the cry of pain. An oak tree regarded her, silent despite the presence of a woodpecker on its trunk; it certainly hadn't cried out in agony. Indeed, it bore the indignity and pain in silence, believing that a stiff upper lip was necessary to show class and breeding. The woodpecker just hammered away without mercy. It was the baddest, most evil woodpecker in the woods and worked hard to preserve its reputation. 
Cecily looked further afield. Or was that 'Cecily looked further. A field?' After carefully negotiating a barbed wire fence, the upright figure looked up and down the ploughed rows for any sign of who it was that had cried out. Once more, her search proved fruitless although she came back from the fields with a sizeable truckle of courgettes. Still the sounds abounded but the source remained a mystery to her. Perhaps there was someone who she could ask? Her head slowly moved through 180 degrees. Having made sure no-one was crying at her feet or directly above her head, she decided to look from side to side. 
A man lying on the floor. 
He was dressed stylishly in a suit but rather oddly lay among the ruins of a glider. Cecily rushed to his side. 
"Excuse me," she hailed him, "did you hear someone yell in pain?" 
He blinked up at her, a somewhat bewildered look in his eyes. 
"I rather think that was me," he said, smoothing his neat and small moustache. 
He was rather dashing in a lemon waistcoat. It must have been the largest piece of fruit anyone had ever produced. Aside from that, a silk scarf dangled over his silk shirt. His silk socks were just visible under his hand cobbled trousers before slipping inside the expensive hand-tailored shoes. A monocle hung from his neck and in one of his hands was grasped a gold topped cane. 
"I think I rather ditched the old crate, what?" he told her, with a rueful boyish smile. 
Breathless with exertion and speechless with unspoken attraction, Cecily helped him up. 
"Tarquin Ponsonbey-Smythe," he said. 
They shook hands and, as they shook, he winced. 
"You've hurt you hand," she cried in shock. 
Rather embarrassed, Tarquin told her that she had, in fact, hurt his hand. 
"That's some grip you have there." 
"You must let me take you to the house. We will get you patched up and I will make you something to eat. Would you like a cup of tea?" she asked, concern across her face. 
"Rather!" he replied. 
With his hand across her shoulders, he limped elegantly alongside her, away from the creek and back towards the house. Meanwhile, behind them, where the reeds were still flattened by Cecily's searching, a shadowy figure watched on. A dry croaking cry reverberated across the creek- a cry of anger and frustration. Then, a breeze stirred the river bank and the couple were hidden from view. And, in the creek, each frog quaked for it knew that vengeance would be meted on them. They hopped, they swam and slithered. But most knew that many of them would die. 
Meanwhile, Tarquin was describing his flying exploits and how he was a test pilot for a new, revolutionary and ,for the time being, unsuccessful glider. Cecily listened to him speaking, admiring his rich voice and swooning over his strong and handsome profile. 
Maybe this was what she had been hoping for. A man she could  admire, a man she could love. A man who could lift her to new and amazing heights. 

Friday, 11 November 2016

Cecily at Cyril's Creek Looking for Love-Part Three

Chapter Three
Cecily loomed over Josiah. He looked guiltily at her. 
“Have you been reading the book again?” she demanded. 
He shifted uncomfortably, mainly because the book was stuffed between his leg and  the arm of the chair. Had Cecily seen it? It was a close call. His heart sounded in his ears with the fear of it. He wasn’t sure why she made him feel so bad. The stern look? Maybe. The tapping foot? Probably. The trained, angry assault stoat poised for attack under her arm? Almost definitely. She was waiting for an answer, her forehead  unusually crinkled into a frown. He decided to come clean. 
“It was only a quick look,” he mumbled. 
“Yes, I am sure you did only have 'a quick look'. But, lovey, can't you understand it keeps you stuck  in the past. The days you have photos of are all gone now. Don’t you want more for yourself?” she responded sharply whilst plugging in an electronic keyboard. 
Inwardly, Josiah groaned. He knew this meant that a song was coming. 
Cecily was warming to her theme, speaking in a voice trembling with sincerity. Meanwhile, the keyboard began to hum a sequence of portentous chords under her prologue. 
I was out on my walk,” (C flat major). “There’s a whole amazing world out there.” (E sharp augmented 9th). “I want to move on.” (Drum fill followed by hurdy-gurdy riff getting steadily louder).  “I want you to move on too.”  
She began to sing, in a warm soulful voice, a song about self-discovery, fulfilment and homemade ginger marmalade. It wasn't Josiah's favourite song. That had been 'My New Cardie makes me Itchy', a heart-rending blues song that held out the faint prospect of undressing. After a performance of that, Josiah generally needed to lock himself in a dark wardrobe until he felt normal again. 
Snapping back to the present, he noticed with grim fascination that the stoat had now donned some delicate garments and was gliding across the floor in a literal yet soulful interpretation of the song through dance. It pirouetted as the chords swelled during the middle eight. Josiah could sense a key change like other men could detect the changing of the weather. He braced himself. It was no use. The full force of the relative major hit him and he groaned. The stoat paused, looked knowingly at his shin and bared its teeth. Josiah decided to clap along. 
The coda of the song dwelt horrifically with making the most of your life and being positive. The hook, now in a major key, became unrelentingly cheerful and jaunty. The keyboard burbled an automatic ending and the cymbals hissed the closing of the song. Cecily stood, poised and emotional, blinking back the tears in her eyes. Josiah applauded heartily. Finally, after the stoat had detached itself, he felt that he could stop. Pink and flushed, Cecily bowed to him and he nodded appreciatively. 
"You see?" She asked. 
"Oh yes," he agreed, trying to avoid the stare from the rodent crouching menacingly on the floor. 
"I just want you to start to embrace your life again. Who knows what the future will bring if you just strive once more?" She was almost begging for him to take this ride to positivity. 
He grabbed a pad of paper, a box of paints and a fine brush. 
"But Cecily," he whined as he dabbed, "you know that I am trying to become a watercolour artist." 
Cecily patted his hand as she surveyed the mess on the page.  
"Keep trying," she advised him. 
"It's just so hard," he whimpered., "I am a spent force." 
"Tsk! Self-pity!" snorted Cecily in disapproval. 
"Self-pity is a terrible emotion. I have been dogged by other people bringing me down with it all my life. Just when I think I am getting somewhere, some whinging, whining halfwit makes me feel sad due to their problems. Just think who I might have been without all their self-pity. Instead I'm a failure, a complete flop who-" 
"You can stop now," Cecily ordered. "That joke, as much as it showed irony, wasn't funny enough to be sustained for any longer." 
There was a silence. After a while, it grew to be awkward, having just reached that age when it was neither boy nor man. It slouched around for a bit then wordlessly informed them both it was going up to its room. It stomped soundlessly out of the room. 
A howl reverberated in its place. 
"The cucumbers!" Cecily yelled, bringing her hand to her mouth. 
She dashed from the room. 
Finally left alone once more, Josiah replaced the book with a wistful pat onto the teetering pile of wordsearch books, old copies of 'Cool Breezes Monthly' magazine and free samples of eyebrow tonic on the table beside him. The clock ticked and that could not be undone. The past got paster and could not be brought back. The future became now and then it was then.  
Just to be sure, Josiah counted his fingers. They were still all there. 
The call of the cool cucumbers roused him and he got up, ready to  see what Cecily was doing. Like a man trying to remember the way, he bumbled out through to the kitchen and the back door to the garden, all the while trying to remember the way. Once there, he followed the hubbub until he was standing next to the cucumber patch. Cecily was wrestling a long green shape into submission under the cold frame.  
"It's the bull one," she explained breathlessly, "it gets very territorial at this time of the season." 
He hitched his dressing gown up a little, knelt beside her and warily began to help her stuff the unruly cucumber back into its glass prison. This took much time and effort so long as it resisted but, eventually, the struggles subsided to nothing. At last it was docile and back in place. 
Once the emergency was over, Josiah realised his hand was very close to Cecily's. His face was very close to Cecily's. His appendix was very close to Cecily's. He yearned for her, he needed her. All too soon, she stood; the moment had passed. As a parting shot, the bull cucumber gave him a vicious and unprovoked nip on the finger. He trailed after her, finger outstretched, wailing loudly as they went back to the house to find a plaster and a lollipop.