I’ll never forget that day. Handing over the keys to my pub was a mistake. I hadn’t realised what an important part of my life The Vine Inn had become; important as life itself. But the price was good and I foolishly accepted it. Right then, I didn’t care. I packed my bag and moved away, far away.
Yesterday I returned. I wanted to see it, hear that buzz, feel it, breathe it in. I wanted to meet that mad crowd again! Share a pint or two of Tawny Ale, scoff a pie why not. Laugh, chat, hug. Cry even.
What I found chilled me to the bone. A feeling of utter despair crept over me. Cracked windows; rotten beams where tiles once hung. Overgrowth, garbage, and peeling paint where gloss had been. The grand old door hung crookedly from one rusty hinge. I pushed it, hard. It shifted. I fell inside. There I lay surrounded by fallen plaster, broken chairs, and upturned tables. A shaft of sunlight ventured through a gaping hole in the ceiling. Swirling specks of dust created an eerie mist. I cannot bring myself to tell you more.
Was it my imagination? Over there? Was it what I thought, or was my normally lucid mind playing cruel tricks on me? No. Trapped beneath a fallen shelf I saw a lifeless body. I crawled, shards of glass gashing my hands and knees.
I can’t describe how it felt to see my ole’ mate John the Joker laying there, a pint glass still gripped in his hand. Empty of course; he was never one to leave a drop. ‘Did you hear the one about...?’ his voice seemed to say. Only it wasn’t his voice.
Why he was there I can but surmise. Perhaps he wanted one last look before The Vine was reduced to a pile of worthless rubble. I heard myself call 'Time gentlemen please'; I heard my bell. I fled. I’ll never go back. Not ever.
Posted Thursday May 26 Please scroll down or click HERE for Three Word Wednesday.
Let me read it to you
The shingle crackles and grates beneath my feet. The rhythmic whoosh of the waves fills my ears and the shrieking of a hundred gulls gives voice to the deserted shore
I am alone. Yet my companion, this beach, is here to wrap me in splendid seclusion. I am alone but I share my very being with the raw edge of nature.
I hear my voice though silent. Here my thoughts surround me. Here I am at one with myself yet enveloped by a greater force, one which allows me the freedom I crave whilst lifting me out of myself and cradling me in glorious isolation.
Here I am myself. Unquestioned, unchallenged. Here I can think, consider, compose.
Friday Fictioneers. Thank you Rochelle for hosting and for your inspiring picture.
This week's given words are joyous, happy-go-lucky and ignorant.
'Hallelujah brothers and sisters. Joyful Jolene and Joyous Georgie-pie are here to en’ertain and inspire ya-all! Hallelujah!' Look at them all, happy-clappy happy-go-lucky happiness oozing from every corner, every crevice, every heart!
'Hallelujah brothers and sisters! Give generously. Your pot of gold is the key to the gates of eternal happiness'
Ignorance is bliss, or so they say. Hypnosis is a profitable ability as J and G-p know so well.
'Hallelujah' shouted Joyful Jolene as she counted their spoils. 'Hallelujah' yelled Joyous Georgie-pie as they set off down the road to the next land of milk and honey. 'Hallelujah brothers and sisters. We are on our way!'
No one knows when it started; why it started. It just sort of...started. Gradually. If you could have seen him back in the day, you would hardly know him as the man you see slouched in the corner over there. Devoted husband. Loving father. He walked away from them you know. Staggered away more like. They've never got over it. Rotten sod. He always liked a beer or two, who doesn't. Life and soul of the party was our Mac . But one day the booze set him on a downhill slope. You see that glass he’s clutching now? You know what’s in it? Absinthe. Absinthe Blue. Seventy-eight per cent you know. Yep. Seventy-eight bloody percent!
Just look at him – no, look at me.Me. Not just mumbling to myself. Mumbling about myself. Seeing myself as others see me. Ashamed at what I've become. I could give it up. It would be easy. 'My name is Mac and I'm an alcoholic'. Loud applause. 'Well done Mac'. You've jumped the first hurdle' Bugger that. Load of do-gooders. I'm all right. I am, aren’t I? Yes I'm all right. I'm….I’m…..can somebody help me, please? Where have you all gone? Is there anybody out there? Please?