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Billybuc Fiction Writing Contest: Lost Memories

Updated on April 16, 2013
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Lost Memories

I remember the day we moved into the old blue Victorian house. I was young at the time, and when we first walked in, I thought it was someone else’s home. It already had furniture in it, and it smelled like a musty old person.

“Go upstairs and choose a room”, Mom told us.

Turning to my brother Jack, I asked, “Choose it for what?”

He shrugged, and I followed him to the first room. His eyes widened, but I didn’t see what the big deal was. All I saw was a large room full of junky furniture, and a winding staircase in the corner.

I coughed, and backed out of the room as Mom was coming up the stairs. She looked in the room, and said to Jack, “Not this room. This is the master bedroom.”

I walked to the next bedroom, and moments later he was behind me. I could hear him muttering.

“What is a master bedroom for?”, I asked him.

“I don’t know, I guess it’s for masters”, he said, chuckling.

“Does that mean we’re servants?”

His face lit up in a big grin before he started laughing uncontrollably.

“What?”, I asked.

He stopped laughing long enough to pat me on the back. I was irritated that he wouldn’t let me in on the joke, but it was nice to see him laugh. Ever since Dad died a few months earlier, he had been somber. Seeing him happy for a few moments brought back memories.

He never did tell me what was so funny, and for a while I thought we really were servants. My opinion was reinforced by Mom’s insistence that we help out around the house. It was terrible the first few weeks we were there, because the place was so dirty.

“It’s a big house, and I can’t do everything myself!”, she would say whenever we complained.

“Why don’t we get a smaller house”, Jack asked.

“Or a CLEANER house”, I added.

“Because houses are expensive, and this was given to us”, she answered.

“Who gave us this house?”, I asked.

“Your father”, she said, and gave us a dark look before we could ask any more questions.

We finished cleaning in silence.


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A month after we moved in, we went on a walk outside. I was happy to get out of the house. Whenever I was inside, I felt very spooked. I couldn’t place my finger on what the problem was, it just didn’t feel right. Walking away from the house, I looked at it. The blue color nearly matched the sky, and the details were delicate and pretty. It seemed like a friendly house from the driveway. As I looked away, I thought I saw a movement in the tower window. I stopped and looked again.

“Come on”, Mom urged, and I walked faster to catch up.

“Where are we going?”, Jack asked.

“I’m not sure. I want to go exploring”, she said, igniting my sense of adventure. We wandered through a field, and picked wild blueberries before we wound our way up a small hill and paused to look at the view below us. It looked like a quaint little New England town center, with storefronts lining the street, and a large parking lot filled with canopies and booths.

“It looks like a festival”, Mom said, as we walked down the hill.

We spent the evening browsing the little shops, eating Kettle corn, and checking out the t-shirts at a few of the booths in the parking lot. I saw quite a few kids my age, and wondered how many of them would be in my class next month.

Before long, it was time to go home.

Approaching the house, I saw a light out of the corner of my eye.

“Mom! The light is on”, I said. She started to object, but then noticed I was pointing away from the house.

“Sure enough”, she said.

When we got closer to the house, she told us to wait at the front door while she inched closer to the little garden shed in the side yard. With eyes wide open, she peered in the window before slowly opening the door.

Turning back, she said, “There’s no one in there. Maybe it’s…” and was cut off by a noise in the brush beside her. Spooked, she ran to us, and got out the key to unlock the door. I looked toward the shed, and saw the shadow of a man. Mom saw it, too, and ushered us inside. Jack came in last, looking over his shoulder one last time before the door was locked behind us.

That night cops came to our house. I didn’t hear what they were saying.

“Jack, who was that man? Are they going to arrest him?”

“I don’t think they will. I think he owns this place”, he whispered.

“But we live here”, I said, confused.


I don’t remember what else was said that night, but I remember the next day vividly. I recall the feeling of fear and puzzlement as Mom woke us up before the sun came up, and told us to pack our bags.

“We’re going on a trip”, she said.

We packed the car, and as we left I remember feeling relieved.

The trip was so long that I thought we were driving to another country. I didn’t know you couldn’t just drive to England or France from there.

At the end of the day, we arrived in a wooded wonderland surrounded by mountains and a long, winding river. We set up camp, and enjoyed a few weeks outdoors before we settled into our new cabin in the woods. It was small, but it felt like home. We lived there for the rest of my childhood, and no one ever told me what happened that last night at the spooky blue house.

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To learn more about the author, or read more of her works, click on http://kathrynstratford.hubpages.com

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wonderful job my friend. I enjoyed this story greatly. Thank you for mentioning Sha's winning entry.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Thanks!

      I would never have posted this without mentioning the winning story. Her story was beautiful, and I want anyone who sees my post to see hers, too.

      Thanks again for having such a fun contest! I got to stretch my "writer muscles". This year is the year I plan on getting back into writing seriously, and any exercise I can do will help my writing skills, and help me expand my imagination.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 4 years ago from South Africa

      Now I am curious! What could have happened? I hope the mother will one day tell her children the whole story.

      Good luck with your next story, Kathryn :)

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      You know what? When I started writing that, it was so hard to keep it within the 1,000 word limit, and I was thinking it would be fun to expand on it at some point. It would be an interesting story to "finish" writing!

      Thanks for reading my short story.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Sequel! Sequel! Lost Memories PartII!

      That was well written and I enjoyed it!

      Chris

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Oh, this is a well-written story. It definitely needs a sequel. I'm sitting on edge wondering what happened back at the shed behind the old blue house and how the mother came to discover the cabin that the children lived in throughout their childhood. You simply must write that story. I would definitely read it. This one is awesome. Your next one will be awesome too.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Thankyou, CMeritt! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I am definitely thinking about writing a part 2.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      MarleneB, thankyou for your kind words. The story is still percolating in my head, so I think I will do a part 2 in the future.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      I think this is a very good story. I enjoyed in very much.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was a fun story to write.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Just wanted to congratulate you on your entry, Kathryn. A good learning experience for us fiction writers, no doubt. An interesting tale using the photo prompts provided.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      It was a great experience, wasn't it?! I love stretching my writing muscles, and using an exercise someone else makes adds to the novelty. Thank you, Randy.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      Lovely story, full of intrigue. It was a great experience to be inspired by the photos and I enjoyed the challenge too, especially trying to limit the words as my first draft was way over! I think it's got hubbers to try something a little out of their comfort zone or something shorter than usual. Voted up etc.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I agree. It certainly got me out of my comfort zone. And when I first sat down to write (three different times), my mind wouldn't give me any ideas. But once I set it aside and started again, it came to me as I wrote.

      Thank you very much for your comment, Annart!

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      kathryn, this is a very creative story. I want to know what happened, so you have to write a sequel. I enjoyed your story very much.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Thank you, Cam. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm so glad that Bill had that contest for us Hubbers, because it was so much fun participating, and so many good stories came out of it.

      Sometime I will sit down and write the sequel. It was an intriguing story to write.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Really enjoyed reading your version here! The suspense was building and building, and I actually like that you left a lot up to our imaginations. I always love happy endings. Very well-written and creative piece.

      I know it was fun for you to write, as I know I enjoyed writing a fiction piece.

      Have a lovely Sunday, Faith Reaper

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Thanks, I am glad you enjoyed it! It's fun to imagine what happened. I'm sure everyone would come up with a different explanation.

      It was fun! I'm glad that you took part in it, too. Yours was incredibly sweet.

      Have a lovely Sunday, as well. I am enjoying the sun's prolonged stay. Here in Boston it doesn't set until after 5, and it seems like not long ago it set by 4:30.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      What a story. You took the photos and ran with it! You really packed it full from beginning to end, keeping us wanted to read and learn more.

      Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Thanks, Tillsontitan, I appreciate your comment, and that you took the time to read it. I'm glad you liked it. I think it was awesome of Bill to create that contest. It was a lesson in creativity, and I like how everyone's story was so different.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Enjoyed your story and will be wondering why they left the big house. I love big old houses I wouldn't want to leave. Voted up and more.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Thanks for reading my story, Moonlake.

      I wouldn't have wanted to leave the house, either. Most times in my life I have lived in apartments, but the one time my family had a house during my teenage years, I adored it. It was an old Victorian house, and my dad spent quite a bit of time fixing it up and restoring its beauty. The day we left it was one of the saddest days of that period of my life.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I loved this spooky story. A very compelling read. Voted up and beautiful.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Thank you, Rajan, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It spooked me as I was writing it!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Kathryn

      A great story you wrote! So enjoyed it. I was hoping to enter but time was my enemy. What a great story line you came up with really kept the reader enthralled. Love to know what happens next, there is definitely a follow up in you on this!! Look forward to more fiction from you! Voted up, awesome, interesting, shared!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Thanks, Suzie! I love writing fiction, although that is the first short story I have done since I was a kid.

      I almost didn't get to it, so I know how it is to run out of time.

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my story, Suzie.

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      What a great story teller you are! I was hooked from the first line. I kept trying to figure out the end, but wasn't even close :) Voted up and awesome, sister!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Insightful Tiger, thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I didn't really know what the ending was going to be until I got to the end of writing it. It just came to me as I was writing.

      Thank you so much :)

      Have a great weekend!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 3 years ago

      So sorry my dear Kathryn of Kool for missing this one the first time around but I would love to see you do more of this - I think your creative writing rocks big time and you just seem to be a natural at this genre of short story writing so I will post and link your fine words and story here to my FB page for all to see and read.

      I wonder if you can send/forward that link you were talking about on my page to my email at epigramman@yahoo.com - I would be interested to see what it looks like.

      The air is quite a bit cooler here today but oddly enough the water when you're in it is warmer. The past few mornings have even felt like an early September morning although the heat wave is gone and the sun is back but with a fresher cooler air.

      I hope sincerely all is well with you right now and we are sending to you 3 big Canadian hugs at lake erie time ontario canada 6:30pm

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image
      Author

      Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Colin, I sent an e-mail to you with the e-mail from Amazon copied and pasted into it, so you can see what it looks like.

      I was thinking of doing a sequel to this story. I love writing stories, although I haven't done as much lately as I used to. It is the type of writing I have grown up doing, and I really enjoy it. Thank you so much for complimenting me on this. Since this comes from my mind and heart, rather than from research or less creative ways, it means more to me that you like it, and think I'm a natural at it.

      I like swimming in warm water when it is cool out. That must be relaxing.

      Here is has cooled down, but it's still humid. I would take that weather any day over the hot weather we had last week!

      Thanks, Colin. All is well, and I give you and your furry kitties big American hugs! Have a good night.

      ~ Kathryn

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