At the back of the cupboard

I would like to wish you all a very Happy Easter. In typical British fashion it’s been pouring with rain non-stop here, which reminded me of the things you tend to do when you’re stuck indoors. 

There’s lots happening on the publishing front at the moment. For me, writing is the easy bit; it’s everything that goes with it which takes up the time. Hopefully you’ll see some results of the endeavours over the next few months.  I’ll keep you informed as matters progress; meanwhile, thanks for stopping by. 

ring fire-1073217_1280 30.3.18

Easter. Typical. A few days off from work and it was pouring non-stop. So much for all my “out and about plans.”  In spring a young girl’s fancy turns to.. Spring cleaning!

For months I had been intending to clear out the cupboard in the spare room, but had always found better things to do. Today there was no excuse and I was determined to get to grips with it; everything else could wait. Wearing the old but serviceable top and skirt usually reserved for decorating, I hoped no-one would decide to pay me an unexpected visit.

Sod’s law. No sooner had I regaled myself in the “wouldn’t be seen dead in” outfit than there was a knock at the door. Thankfully it was only the postman. I signed for the registered letter, then left it on the table before collecting all the necessary paraphernalia to complete my self-appointed task. Black bin bags, duster, polish, bleach, bucket, water, sponges; all present and correct. The first priority was to turf out the junk so I could actually reach the years of accumulated grime hidden at the back.

That should have been the easy part, but unearthing long forgotten treasures I found myself distracted by the knick-knacks bringing back so many memories. The little shell box had been a gift from a junior school pal for my 10th birthday, the broken amethyst bracelet was a 21st birthday present from someone who used to be my best friend. I wonder where she is now?

Then the photo albums; had I really looked that young and happy? Maybe it was something to do with the gorgeous man standing by my side, gone now for many years but still in my thoughts. More photos, more boys I had known in my youth, now probably fathers or even grandfathers. I smiled as I put names to faces, and remembered each romance as if it was yesterday. Storing pictures on a computer was not the same as browsing through the shiny pieces of paper reflecting my life.

Realising time was passing I resumed emptying the cupboard. Finally, like Old Mother Hubbard’s, the cupboard was bare and I was able to tackle the built-up dirt. Two hours later the woodwork was gleaming, but the room looked like a bomb site with mementos strewn everywhere. I needed to be harsh and throw everything away, but somehow each trinket and album never made it to the rubbish bag.

I spent the rest of the afternoon putting it all back, but at least this time it was clean and in some semblance of order. I’d nearly finished when I came across something I’d never seen before. It was shaped like a ring, but made of very heavy metal with a twisted, unusual design. Overall it was about two inches across, making the circle look much too big for my long, slim fingers.

It fitted perfectly. Trying to remove it I noticed the inner prongs, which were now digging into my skin and holding the ring fast. Despite twisting and turning until my hand was scarred and bloody, it wouldn’t budge. Looking for some cream to slide it off, I discovered a bottle of black hair dye someone had given me as a joke. They had challenged me to prove my hair was naturally blonde by colouring it black, and seeing which shade grew back.

I never accepted the dare but now had an overwhelming compulsion to try a new look. Shampooing it into my hair I left it on for twice as long as the instructions recommended. When it dried the mirror reflected a different person. The old pastel pink top and skirt I was wearing looked out of place, and somehow fluffy and childish. Rummaging through the bottom of the wardrobe I discovered a black corset and fishnet stockings, worn once to a Vicars and Tarts party, and more suitable for the new me. The vintage black velvet and lace dress had been intended as material for a handicrafts course, but never used.

Slipping on the dress I found it was a perfect fit. At the back of my shoe store a pair of impossibly high stiletto heels I had never worn caught my attention. They had been one of those “Seemed a good idea at the time” purchases, particularly as they had been preceded by a very long, liquid, girlie lunch. My usual pale eyeliner was cast aside in favour of thick black eye shadow, finished off with layer upon layer of inky mascara. A knotted, Celtic silver bracelet hooked over my arm and I was ready to face the world. The sweet innocent young thing of my past was nowhere to be seen.

The letter I had received that morning was lying on the hall table, and although tempted to ignore it, curiosity got the better of me. I ripped it open with my talon-like nails, and immediately my hand stung as if it had been burned. The thick padded envelope contained a small crucifix, and a white card adorned with a picture of an Angel reaching out.

The gold embossed lettering read;
‘I am sending this to keep you from danger and protect you against evil. Beware! Something you find in the back of a cupboard will change your life forever. Do not let it touch your bare skin. Wrap the charm in cloth, and take it to your nearest church to be drowned in Holy water. Signed: Your Guardian Angel.’

Pulling out my lighter I set the envelope and contents on fire, then watched as they disintegrated into ashes and twisted metal. Leaving Miss Goody two-shoes behind, I stepped out into the murky night, ready to embrace my new, dark life.

© Voinks November 2017

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