Lancashire Lass's Literature

Just a few of my articles/short stories for you to check out. Pull up a chair, are you comfy, just enjoy? Please do leave your comments to tell me what you think. Your participation is very important to me.

THE MOUNTAIN MAN ~ A short story by Annette Donaldson

He was known only by the name the Mountain Man but he sure didn't look like any mountain man that Jonny could recall. No absolutely not. Jonny had read stories about the abominable snowman, and at the tender age of five , he remembered watching Harry and the Henderson’s on television. But the man standing under the Willow tree in the garden looked nothing like Harry either.  Reaching his tenth birthday Jonny was a big boy now and had been left with the responsibility of looking after his younger sister Hannah, while his mum and dad joined the next door neighbours for a cocktail party.

He looked outside of his bedroom window, his nose pressed firmly against the glass as if this would help him to focus on the figure below.  He shuddered and the hairs stood up on the back of his neck, just like the needles on a hedgehog would do if it was threatened. “Don’t be silly Hannah, there is no one there” Jonny raised his voice to make himself sound brave, but Hannah knew better, she had heard the growl above the sounds of music being played next door. She began to tremble, “Jonny I’m frightened, will you sleep in my bed tonight? Jonny looked towards his little sister sitting in her pink coloured nightdress, the one with little ponies on it, and he adored the way her bottom lip quivered, and the tears just sat on her eyelids before starting to fall. He smiled and walked over towards Hannah’s bedroom, “there are no such thing as the bogey man Hannah, dad as told us, remember?” Hannah smiled timidly at her brother and snuggled up to teddy nut kin under the blankets. She held teddy nut kin so tightly and thought to herself that even if Jonny wouldn’t sleep in her bed, teddy would save her. “Don’t turn off the light Jonny, please; teddy is afraid of the dark.” She whimpered like a lost puppy. Jonny could only smile, “OK I will not turn off the light now go to sleep before mum and dad get home.” He couldn’t tell Hannah that he had heard the growl too, although he hoped it was just a rumble of thunder.

Looking out of the bedroom window again, staring as deep as he could see into the willow tree, Jonny thought how strange it was that the limbs on the tree were swaying. The still night’s air was stiflingly hot, not a breeze to relieve the heat at all. He could just see his parents walking in the garden next door. Hand in hand they strolled like two lovers enchanted by each other’s company. He abruptly closed the heavy velvet curtains and turned his back to the window. His sense of uneasiness puzzled him. Shivers ran down his spine like ice cubes poured into a whiskey glass. Clink, clink, clink.

Jonny looked at the clock, mum and dad had promised to be home before 10pm but it was already twenty minutes past. He bravely walked down the stairs into the back kitchen to make sure the door was locked. The figure darting past the blinds cast a huge shadow on the floor taking Jonny by surprise. He ran behind the table, and resolved himself to sit and wait for his parents to come home. But there it was again, that growl, only louder this time, menacingly approaching the house.

Suddenly, the intruder light in the front garden went on, Jonny could see the humongous figure standing in the driveway. His heart beat heavily in his chest, and tears of fear ran down his face. Crawling slowly on his hands and knees, he approached the bottom of the staircase.  Stumbling with the hastiness of his steps he ran up the stairs and into Hannah’s bedroom, his pulse racing, pounding pressure he felt in his small head ready to burst.

Johnny waited just inside of Hannah’s bedroom door, mindful of trying not to wake her, but terrified of what he had heard. The growl came louder now and Jonny was convinced that he could hear the squeaky handle of the front door turn. He tried to stifle his screams holding his hand over his mouth.

But his attempt was in vain. Jonny ran towards Hannah’s bed, “Come on, come on Hannah, we have to hide.” Jonny pulled so hard at Hannah’s arm that he pulled her onto the floor with a thud. His sister had been sleeping deeply, but now was crying hysterically. “No Hannah, leave teddy nut kin there we have to run.” But Jonny did not know where to run, where to hide. He blindly lead his sister to the large walnut wardrobe in his parent’s bedroom, he pulled open the door and pushed Hannah inside, following immediately after her. All he could hear was the sobs that his little sister was trying to stifle, and he instinctively cuddled the little shivering body trying to be as brave as he could.

Footsteps now, Jonny could hear the sound of footsteps on the marble floor in the hallway.  He held his breath in alarm. Bang, that was the larder cupboard door slamming and then he could hear the rip of paper. Crash, the sound of breaking glass so unfamiliar to Jonny, and then footsteps again, slowly at first and then faster approaching the staircase, he instinctively held his little sister tighter, and the two terrified children peeped out of the engraved lions head which formed the centre piece handles of the wardrobe.

Jonny could hear the growl getting louder as the figure approached the staircase. The bathroom light flickered on and off. The sound of water running as if someone was having a bath, and the smell; acrid like burnt timber floating on the air. Jonny sank further back into the wardrobe, he heard that fearsome growl again and he held tightly onto Hannah.  He tried to hold his breath, hoping beyond hope that whatever was in the bathroom could not hear him.

Alarmingly his parent’s bedroom door opened, and silhouetted by the light from the bathroom the figure loomed. It appeared to wait and sniff, sniff again as if it was trying to catch the scent of the fright pouring out from Jonny and Hannah’s pores. Jonny was paralysed with fear; neither he nor his sister could move.  Both of their small body’s heavy in the darkness of the wardrobe. Slowly the figure turned and walked away.

Jonny could hear Hannah’s bedroom door open, and then with swift footsteps the figure walked to his bedroom door, on went the light and then silence. Such a quietness that seemed to last for hours, but would have been seconds only. “Jonny, Hannah where the hell are you?” There was alarm in the voice. A voice for one split moment Jonny didn’t recognise.

Relieved and in an anxious state Jonny and Hannah burst forth from the confined space of the wardrobe.  “Dad, daddy,” Jonny screamed leading Hannah by the arm into the bathroom.  Jonny explained to his daddy what he had seen and heard, and was comforted by the familiar sight and smell of his father. Hannah threw her arms around her father’s neck, choking with her emotional tears, her tiny body racked with her sobs.

“Children,” their father spoke sympathetically before giving a little chuckle, “this is what becomes of reading ghost stories before you go to sleep.” He smiled.

Copyright© Annette Donaldson

A Black Nose Day.

NOTE to diary, 28th December 2009, a very sad day, a day never to be forgotten.  The day I had to have my lovely Lady put to sleep.

 What can I tell you about Lady. Gracious, kind, gentle, elegant, but most importantly loved and cherished by all the family.  Lady had been abandoned, thrown out of a moving car into our garden as a three month old puppy. This little bundle of black fluff sat horrified on my front lawn. “Lurcher cross the vet said, heart murmur and everyone can see she has a club foot. Do you really want to give her a home.”  “Oh don’t send the puppy to the pound mummy,” my son squealed.  I looked at the little misfit in front of me and my heart melted. “She will be fine with Bruno and Bouncer, our two other dogs” I said, putting Lady down on the floor. That day was the beginning of our journey through life together.

 Lady never gave many problems. Of course she chewed the steering wheel and gear stick in the car when she was teething.  Like Bouncer before her, toilet training was a challenge with many a wet patch to slip on. She was fascinated by the colour green.  Grass to pee on, unfortunately, it was my kitchen carpet most of the time.  Table legs were also a favourite,

 all having a personal calling card, with some depth of teeth mark left on them. As everyone knows this is all part of adjusting to a human world, and Lady didn’t take long to adjust.Ten years had gone by with hardly a trip to the vet, except for the routine vaccinations. Ten years of fun, and long walks in the park. Swimming in the sea, and trying to drown Bouncer in the small river at the bottom of the lane. Lady never chased a ball, preferring to chase Bouncers legs whilst he ran for the ball. She was the first one to reassure Bruno when he suffered an epileptic fit. Lady was always there with love and loyalty.

 Christmas Eve was just another day. Work in the morning, busy with the mad rush to remember everything we needed.  No Christmas lunch to cook this year. We had been invited to Gordon’s sisters. Lovely. Lady was very quiet, not even nipping Bouncer as he forced his way into her basket for a cuddle. She had escaped from the confines of our garden yesterday.  Apart from panic in case she came foul play to a car, no one gave a second thought when we brought her home none the worse for her adventure.

Christmas Day was a lovely family day. We had to leave the dogs at home, but that didn't matter too much. We only intended to stay away a couple of hours.  On arrival home to the usual commotion of wagging tails and frustrated barks. I noticed Lady was unsteady on her feet and bumping into the table. She went out to wee along with the others, but came straight back into her basket.  The others sniffed with great excitement at the Christmas presents we had brought home.

 During the day I watched Lady carefully.  She ate a small tea but was drinking so much water.  I looked at her face, down the long black snout into the eyes. They told no story, she had gone blind.I rang the emergency vet service and was told that her symptoms were not uncommon with  a stroke. “Keep her warm, and reassure her” said the vet. “Call tomorrow if you are still not happy”.

 I went to work as usual, double shift today.  Lady was not improved at all when I came home.  I rang the vet at 9pm and drove the long miles into Belfast to the emergency on call service.  Sadly the vet confirmed Lady had gone blind. Both retinas had become detached from her corneas.  Lady’s blood pressure was sky high, her heart was struggling and she was dehydrated, despite the water she had drunk. Blood tests showed she was also in renal failure.  The vet mentioned anti-freeze poisoning, she had one chance, a twenty four hour fluid drip and pain relief.  I was devastated, Lady’s vital organs where closing down. 

Twenty four hours later it looked as if Lady may recover and we brought her home.  She continued to fail. Started being sick and had terrible diarrhoea.  She couldn't walk and wouldn't drink, so we took her to our local vet. One look from the vet told me what I already knew, Lady would never recover. The kindest thing would be to put her to sleep.

  “A lovely long sleep for Lady”, the vet said as she gave her the injection.  I held my beautiful Lady’s head and whispered in her ear “ I'm so sorry Lady, bye -bye sweet darling,I will always remember you”. Her heart slowly stopped beating and her head fell to one side in my arms.  As she drew her last two breaths I knew I had lost a very special friend.

I don’t know who I hold most responsible for Lady's death.  Myself for not watching her more closely, or the person who didn't clean up the antifreeze he had spilt.  Always have your pet insured. I now have a huge vet bill to pay and no Lady to share my life with.

 I have had Lady cremated and she will stay with me forever. RIP my beautiful baby Lady,thank you for all the happiness and unconditional love you gave me.  I will always love you.