Sounds #fivewords

Weekly Writing Challenge #168

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I am a light sleeper. Maybe I have become one. Not that I wake up for no reason, not at all. I just hear sounds, sounds, not noises. In my sleep I try to identify them, like what was that rapping at the window? Or, was that stones falling in the courtyard?

I listen to the rain, I hear creatures moving. Also, I see marks, on mysterious old walls, and I try to decipher them, still asleep. Then I wake up, or near enough, and I can’t see them anymore. This makes me think, as I go back to sleep, that I may be inventing things.

The floors shake, the ground vibrates. Is this a dream, or is there an earthquake coming? The night is a long adventure, with short intervals. No ground to worry, it’s age. Or that is what I keep telling myself.

Old memories, the little demons amusing themselves to annoy me. This is it: they can’t unsettle me during the day, so they take their revenge at night, or try to. Bar a failure of imagination, I still have plenty of ideas of what they may be up to next, that is tonight. And the night after.

Image source: le grand homme de la nuit

Am Nordufer

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Our paths crossed, again, as I was walking along the canal on a silent Sunday morning of mid November. The temperature had dropped overnight but was not yet at freezing point. The little man greeted me with a toothy smile, to which I politely responded. I knew of him for one of the multitude of minor demons that populate this city, largely innocuous, albeit one couldn’t tell for certain. We had met before, and I was a little intrigued to see him here, of all places, a hardly popular meeting place, squeezed between the industrial area east of the canal, and the deserted streets bordering the edge of the kiez.

“Are you enjoying the city at its quietest?” he enquired cheerfully. 

“Indeed, most adults are having brunch, or considering it, and the younger are probably still fast asleep after a night on the town!” I replied, half absent minded about the question. 

“You are right, this is a good time to enjoy the city, and forgotten places such as this… Or indeed our many beautiful cemeteries…”

I was surprised. I had taken an interest in the many small cemeteries to be found in all neighbourhoods, in the beautiful trees often planted there, and in some of the most intriguing old graves. But how would he have known of my interest? I decided silence was best.

“Have you been to the one on Turner road? The grounds there are beautifully kept…”

The street was on my way to the school, and I walked there twice a week during term. How did he know, or was it just a coincidence? In the summer I had stopped there a couple of times to look at the small stones of the soldiers’ grave in one corner of the cemetery, left of the entrance. Most civilian cemeteries in the city have a military corner, with graves from the two world wars, or their aftermath. 

It was time to counter-attack.

“Of course you know all these places of old, don’t you?” I said rather abruptly. “After all, you and your colleagues have not much else to do than visit, time and again?” He did not appear shocked by my statement. His smile was just a little more of a rictus, but he corrected himself quickly.

“We… I am busier than you seem to think, Herr Dupuis. We contribute much to the city’s knowledge of itself. Sometime the authorities don’t even notice, for example, the interest that someone like you, a valuable visitor, shows for these things, old streets, old churches, isolated parks… In fact, Herr Dupuis, by now you know more about it than many of its (younger) inhabitants!”

We were walking in the direction of the bridge and I was mulling over my companion’s story. Contributing to the city’s knowledge of itself? What did he mean by that? But, again, he was changing the subject.

“I see you wrote again about an interview with the one you call the “good doctor”… An intriguing name, from someone of your persuasion, I mean political persuasion!” I was lost. What could he possibly know about my political views? And how could he know about my writing?

The “good doctor”? Was this creature getting too personal? I was tempted to give him a shove toward  the water. But he continued.

“I enjoyed reading that interview. You understand a lot about our city Herr Dupuis. I think you are… transmuting, may I say, into one of us. But one of the old guard, if you know what I mean…” I did not and was getting somewhat annoyed by the turn of the conversation.

He must have sensed this.

“Ha… It’s getting late for me, and I must not take advantage of your kindness, Herr Dupuis. Einen schönen Sonntag noch! Au revoir maintenant!” He’d already disappeared. 

I resumed my walk. There were a few joggers around, and the odd dog walker. I had written about the interview on my blog, so that creature must have read it. I was being read, observed, I was the object of “their” attention. What did they report to their boss?

Picture: das Nordufer, weddingweiser.wordpress.com

Shadows #writephoto

Shadows

 

“I am not sure where to start,” said the old man, looking at me with a smile. “This is an ancient site, and it’s full of memories… of shadows too…” I was intrigued, but waited for him to continue. “A great poet once lived here, and also, later, people I don’t really want to say much about.”

From the edge of the little cave we could see the shadows moving fast across the dry ground. “There are several layers of old masonry below us, but this was never excavated other than just below the surface. You see, the present owners know: there are remains there that are best left, deep, undisturbed, forgotten…”

We moved out in the open, there was no-one around. Finally I asked: “But you are from here, I understand you are the best informed of our local historians here. This place is often visited, and photographed. What shadows are you talking about?”

There was a pause. “I will tell you, but not here. This place is haunted, and they can hear us. We must respect the past, whatever it was, and it is best to discuss these things away from them.”

 

By the riverside #writephoto

Calm

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We walk hand in hand in the peace of the morning. The river flows and reminds us of times past. We haven’t forgotten, but we have forgiven. For us, forgiveness has long been our way to give thanks. After all, the monsters are dead and we are alive, at least alive enough to admire the blue sky reflected in the calm water.

Glimmer #writephoto

Glimmer

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“Beyond those hills is our home”, he said softly to her ear, as they looked down the valley, toward the estuary. There the town was cradled, a thin glimmer of light against the darkness.

She shivered a little, but not from cold. She thought again of the place, the wild garden, the old walls. No-one had been there for ages. She could already hear the front door creak. Who would notice their return?

“I will look on as you fall asleep, I will wait for as long as it takes.” His voice so low only her could hear his words. She smiled, of course he will look after her, as he had done for all those years, as they roamed the world, away, so far away from home.

“We haven’t been near humans for a while…” she said, as she leaned against him.

“I know,” he replied softly, “we just hear them, they ignore us and will continue to ignore us. For them we are a flutter of fine dust, a tiny vortex in the air…”

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