I was not really intending to publish anything, but as fate would have it I stumbled upon this creation of mine from the year 2018. I do not even remember writing it. Perhaps I never published it.RDP Tuesday: Storm
Although we got away quite nicely in our area, the winds manage to damage trees. The ground is covered with twigs and branches and it is now time to clear it all away. I saw this tree laying in the local cemetery. It had fallen and had been sawn off to prevent and further damage and is now waiting for transport.
I had finished my evening meal which is basically refridgerator choice on Sunday. This Sunday was not such a large choice, as we had been eating through the week-end. My son took the remainders of lunch and so I was left with some sort of undefinable potted meat and cheese. For a Swiss the potted meat is ideal, but for an exile english person it did not really tempt, so I decided on the cheese. Of course a nice piece of cheddar would have served the purpose, but even this was only the “remains of the day”, so Hobson’s choise was Greyerzer, a Swiss lookalike cheddar which I sliced onto bread and butter. I did not starve and I was saved.
I was outside on the porch or deck or whatever you call it, relaxing, reading on my iPad and basically enjoying life, as much as possible with my frugal meal. I then heard it in the distance: a rumble, somewhat subdued, but it was there. A storm was on the way. I did not really mind. We had good weather all the week and every evening I was turning on the hose and pouring water over the garden. This was disturbing work, as I would rather have been relaxing and enjoying a quiet reading session. I was relieved, no watering of the garden, I was saved. We are going to have a storm. Suddenly a strong wind arrived from nowhere, to support the stormy feeling. Mr. Swiss joined me and we were busy collecting pieces of plastic paper that had been blown onto our garden from a balcony above. No problem, these things happen.
My next thought was: take a photo. The result can be seen above. A few minutes later the sky darkened and the sun was reduced to a glaring spot lamp between the black clouds. I was sure doomsday was arriving. I was relieved, this evening no watering of the garden, just cosy indoors and watch the TV. Perhaps there is a football match, although I remembered that one of my soaps would be running. I love a good soap now and again. Mr. Swiss has had his share of football this week. I took another photo.
Doom and gloom: even my tabby feline decided to seek the safety of home.
So what happened next? I decided to put a brave face on the impeding tempest and remained outside with my iPad and camera. Then it happened. Unfortunately the sun poked its way through the clouds and the clouds retreated. Now we have one of those pleasant summer evenings and the worst is to come. I think I will have to water my garden. The weather forecast did prophesy there might be rain tomorrow, but I think it was just a wild guess.
Something out of the box, but I had a dream……..
In the beginning there was a storm: not really surprising. They day had been humid; the electricity in the air could be felt. The whole thing was waiting to explode. Evening came and the clouds grew darker. It then rained, it poured, it lashed down.
“Looks like we are in for a heavy one this time” said Fred to his wife Mabel.
She looked up from her knitting. Although it was summer, “you could never be too early” she thought and was busy with the needles creating a wonderful warm pullover for Fred. Unfortunately it was one of those pullovers with the wool that scratches, being bought in a local Summer sale, and the pattern was not exactly to Fred’s taste, one of those pullovers with a polo neck that prevents circulation of fresh air around the body.
“Yes, it definitely looks like a storm is brewing Fred, do you think we will be all right. Some parts were flooded the last time.”
“No problem Mabel, we are safe here. Our apartment is high above the river. What could possibly go wrong?” so Fred switched on the television to watch the match. It was an international football match for the European cup qualifications and Fred really did not want to miss that one.
It was then that it happened. The apartment, the complete house, was plunged into darkness. Fred had a new job, he was the caretaker for his house, and he was responsible for descending to the cellar room and redeeming the electric power for the house inhabitants. Fred was a handyman, had worked as an electrician for many years, and knew what was to do. He lost no time. He realised that a fuse must have been blown in the cellar, causing darkness to reign. Swearing under his breath he left his apartment for the cellar. This was not funny. The soccer future of his country was at stake. The football match was about to begin and he knew that all male members of the house depended on his prompt action.
He took a torch with him, and approached the room where all the central fuses and electric switches were.
“Strange” he thought. “There seems to be a glow in the room seeping through the door frame. Wonder where that comes from, we have no power. Perhaps a friendly neighbour lit a candle for me in the room, but no-one has the key to the room.”
Fred opened the door and his attention was drawn immediately to a corner which was illuminated by the aura surrounding the figure of a man. The man was almost transparent. Fred realised for the first time in his realistic life, he was looking at a ghost. He was fixed to the spot.
“Hello Fred” said the ghost. “I suppose you want to fix the illuminations.”
Fred was speechless. He had never seen a ghost and this one was actually speaking to him, knew his name.
“W-w-who are you” asked Fred.
“I am your house ghost, Geoffrey, pleased to meet you.”
Fred was now sure one of the kids from the neighbours was playing a trick and lunged for the apparition, but soon noticed that he was grasping a handful of ice cold air.
“I am a ghost, Fred, you cannot get me.”
“Aaah, I see” said Fred with a feeling of doubt. Fred was still wondering what it was that he saw
“You are a house ghost? I thought that was only in those Harry Potter books.”
“No Fred” answered Geoffrey “I am the real thing. Most of the apartment blocks here have their own house ghosts. We usually stay tucked away beneath the surface, but now and again a few bolts of lightning call us into action.”
“What action?” was the only answer Fred knew.
“Like showing ourselves for a change: since my untimely death, I have just been drifting around. I always wanted to meet you in person.”
“Why was your death untimely?”
“Oh just one of those things. I was having fun with the mistress and her husband came home early from the hunt. Silly man had fallen off his horse. Anyhow he shot me in a duel a week later, so here I am. Actually her husband is quite a nice man, died of alcohol poisoning a year later. We often go haunting together. By the way Fred, don’t forget to renew the fuse. Your football match has started and we don’t want to miss anything.”
In the meanwhile Fred had dropped the box of fuses on the floor, and they were scattered all over the room.
“I would help Fred, but you know how it is. Ghosts have lost their sense of touch. I am sure you wouldn’t want us meddling in your real world. So hurry up, the match has started and I have invited a few ghostly friends to watch.”
“We don’t want to miss anything? You watch my television?”
“Of course Fred, we just sneak through the walls and floors. Don’t worry you cannot see us. It only happens when lightning strikes and they we disappear again. So put the fuse in.”
Fred was slightly disturbed by the plural “we” that Geoffrey was using. Fred’s hands were trembling, but he found a fuse and screwed it into the right place and there was again light. Everything was working. Fred wanted to say something to Geoffrey, but he was no longer there.
“Probably gone to watch the match” Fred thought. “No I am not stupid. That was a figment of my imagination. He returned to the apartment.
“You were a long while Fred. Everything OK.” asked Mabel.
“No problem love: you just go back to you knitting and I will watch the match.” Fred sat in his comfortable armchair with a glass of beer on the table and enjoyed the rest of the evening.
Geoffrey told his friends to make theirselves comfortable as always. They did not disturb Fred’s view of the television, after all they were transparent.
Christine stood on the shore watching the white foam tipped waves going back and forth over the sand with fascination. It looked like a storm was coming, so she hurried back home to her mother’s house up the stone stairway carved into the cliffs. She loved the sea and weather storm or calm, it made no difference.
Sam Collingworth hugged his wife Anna goodbye. Time was getting short and as first mate on the M.S. Lady he was expected by the crew to take his place. This time he was particularly sad. His wife was expecting their first baby and the journey was taking him to the other side of the world. They both knew that Sam would never see their firstborn until at least half a year later. Anna was crying and Sam trying to comfort her.
“Please be careful Sam and come back safe to us.”
“Don’t worry Anna” he said “I have always returned and I will this time, even if it will take longer.”
“You are going so far and it could become dangerous. I have heard about ships crossing the Cape of Good Hope and never returning, being caught in a storm.”
and she continued sniffing into her handkerchief which she had embroidered herself.
“I have an idea Anna, Give me your handkerchief as it is. It is full of your tears for me and when I am away on the ship and feel lonely I can take it in my hand and know how much you are waiting for my return.”
“This is a small compensation” thought Sam, but it did the trick and Anna calmed down. She gave it to him and it helped her to think that things would not be so bad. Sam would be away but would have something that belonged to her.
Sam took his bag onto his shoulders packed with his personal belongings and made his way down the cliff to the harbour where the boat was waiting, clasping the handkerchief in his hand. He decided to keep it in his uniform pocket to make sure it was always near.
The ship set sail and apart from a few problems around the Western coast of Africa when they did not have enough wind in the sails, everything went well and the ship made its way to the Cape of Good Hope on the Southern point of the African continent on its way to Australia.
“What do you think Mr. Collingworth” asked Jim the cabin boy and cook’s help “will we see any of those famous storms that the others are always talking about. The horizon doesn’t seem to be very friendly.”
“Don’t worry Jim” said Sam. “We all want to go home again and although the Cape can have a few surprises, we are a good ship and good team.”
“Mr. Collingworth, if anything happens to me, well I wanted to say – you know my mum and dad get so worried when I am away at sea. Can you tell them that I was thinking of them all the time and that I love them very much.”
“You don’t have to be so worried Jim. Look my wife gave me her handkerchief because she was crying so much when I left and I promised to keep it with me. I always have it in my pocket in my jacket. We will make a bargain, if anything happens to us I will bring word to your parents, and you will take this handkerchief and bring it back to my wife.”
“It’s a deal Mr. Collingworth” and Jim was happy. Sam had said it to Jim to calm his nerves as he was only a boy and earning his way up the ladder of the ship’s crew. Sam had also started as cabin boy and today he was first mate.
On Christmas day the brave ship “Lady” made her way into the storm. She had a lot of experience with rough and tempestuous weather so no-one really doubted that anything could happen. The sky slowly turned from grey to black and the waves reached a height which almost covered the ship.
“Mr. Collingworth, I am frightened” shouted Jim above the noise of the storm to Sam.
“Stay by me son” answered Sam, “Hold onto my hand and we will remain together. Don’t forget our promise Jim so take this handkerchief and if anything happens bring it to my wife. She lives on the cottage overlooking the harbour on the cliff top.”
“Will do Mr. Collingworth, but please visit my parents if anything happens to me.”
With those last words a final wave crashed down on them and the ship turned over in the water and broke into pieces. It was the end of the MS Lady.
“Quick over here” Jim heard a voice in the distance. “Here is another one from the ship and he is still breathing”. The rescuers took the cabin boy Jim into their care. Jim was lucky, apart from a rough beating from the waves and a broken arm he was ok.
“Where’s Mr. Collingworth” asked Jim, but he never got an answer. Sam Collingworth became a victim of the Cape of Good Hope.
Some months later Anna had just finished feeding her baby Samuel and there was a knock on the door. She was feeling sad at this moment. She had been given news by the merchant navy of the loss of the MS Lady and that her Sam would never return. She opened the door to find a young man with a sun tan and a sailors bag over his shoulders.
“Are you Mrs. Collingworth?” he asked.
“I am, but who are you.”
My name is Jim and I was the cabin boy on the MS Lady”
“Did you know my husband Sam?” she automatically asked.
“Yes ma’am” he answered. “He was a good man and sailor and the best first mate I had ever served under. He promised to tell my mum and dad if anything happened to me on the ship, and in return I promised to bring this back to you.”
He opened his hand containing the beautifully embroidered handkerchief. Anna took the handkerchief and burst into tears. She knew that Sam had thought of her until the end.
It was Christmas Day and Christine returned home to her mother for the Christmas dinner.
“Has it got wet again” she asked her mother.
“Yes dear, as it always does every Christmas day” was the answer. In a frame on the cabinet was a beautifully embroidered handkerchief. It was very old, at least one hundred years, and had always been in the family being handed down from one generation to another. A mystery surrounded the handkerchief. It was noticed that on Christmas day it sort of wept leaving a damp mark and a salt crust on the cabinet.