Sewing Crafts (ReBlog)

I adore these dog draught excluders Sue Dreamwalker made!🙂

~Making My Own~ On Monday I sat in my home feeling the wind chill blow through the bottom of my door.. While my exterior doors are well insulated a draft was whirling through from the hall around m…

Source: Sewing Crafts

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Summer Safety Tips For Walking Your Dog (ReBlog)

Safe + sound advice for walking your canine friend🙂

allmycaninecompanions

maheat1 “Take my picture already.”

When I lived in Maryland, I would wake up early, around 6am, to walk my dogs every single day.  Once I moved to Massachusetts, I was able to walk my dog a bit later, around 8am, but even like that I always have to remember the following:

  1. I need to walk Abby early in the morning.  I will probably have to start waking up at 6am again because the weather is hitting 90 degrees as of late.
  2. I have to make sure to take water with me.
  3. I need to pay attention to Abby’s body language.  If she starts panting too much, I will stop the walk, find a shaded area, give her water, not cold water for this can shock her instead of helping her, and wet her chest and head.
  4. Once we come back, I always check her paws, brush her, and wipe her…

View original post 130 more words

Posted in life | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tired Twiglet

.

This is what happens to me every night – I get laid on, sat on, scratched, and my eyeballs licked. And, if I’m not really watching it, food disappears off my plate!

😉

Twiglet’s (Oscar’s son) cute, isn’t he?

I took these photos last night whilst John got homesick and slightly sloshed and wanted to watch Canadian Bacon.

sparklebone Have a lovely weekend!

Faith + Oscar Dandelion (+ co.!). xox  oscar_snowdrop_patio_190616_07

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160826_0002025_rewind

.

oscar_story_leaves_100

*

Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Tall House (Short Story)

the_tall_house_story_logo

(Horror, psychological – 16+)

.

“I expect you’ll be wanting a basement?” The architect asked.

“Not ‘a’ basement – a double basementand make it another four floors on top.” Mr Dier said.

“Six levels? Why that would be very expensive. And a good deal of work.”

Mr Dier slapped the chewing gum loudly in his open mouth. This was a habit that was seemingly worse than the cigarette smoking from before – or so his ex-wife number three had said. “Expensive? No, Mr Stein, not for me. Money is no object.”

“I’ll have some plans drawn up for you by next week then.”

“Don’t you mean tomorrow, Mr Stein?”

“I’m afraid that tomorrow wouldn’t give me enough time. I’ve appointments and work already booked…”

“Well, I’m afraid that I’ll have to go elsewhere, then.” Mr Dier slapped the gum loudly and turned for the door, his hand already reaching into his deep jacket pocket for his phone.

The architect couldn’t really afford to lose Mr Dier’s account. His business partner would not be happy – and he really did owe him. Also, it was pertinent to take it.

“Mr Dier.”

The billionaire had his hand resting on the door handle. One quick turn and he’d be gone.

Again: “Mr Dier!”

The businessman who owned half the city pushed down the door handle and the glass door opened a crack. “Mmmm.” He murmured, without turning.

“Mr Dier, please. Don’t change your mind about doing business with us. I will have your plans ready by tomorrow, at five.”

“Five, Mr Stein?” He didn’t turn. The phone snaked out of the pocket. He began dialling some numbers.

“Four, then?” Mr Stein was embarrassed to grovel this way, but he didn’t dare lose this important account.

“Midday, Mr Stein.”

The architect, standing perhaps six feet away, could hear the other phone ringing.

“Midday? I don’t…”

The ringing ceased. A voice, faint, was now speaking undecipherable words.

“No, it will have to be ten in the a.m.; I just remembered I have an appointment at twelve.”

The architect paled.

The billionaire finally turned to face him with his icy blue stare. “Do we have a deal, Mr Stein?”

.

“Jason, I don’t understand why you’re killing yourself for this client. Everyone needs their sleep, you can’t not sleep the entire night!” The architect’s wife, Ann, said.

Jason Stein shuffled the papers on his desk then leant back in his office chair for a moment. His eyes stung from staring at the computer for the past five hours. He was on his sixth mug of black coffee.

He sighed.

“Why?” Ann asked softly.

“Simon says that having this account won’t only break us even, it will see us out for the rest of the year. Having Dier’s account means a lot more business coming our way after this job. Yes, we might scrape by with the other jobs, especially the car showroom, but Dier is a very powerful man…”

Ann abruptly sat down in the chair the other side of the desk. “Jason, what are you telling me…’a very powerful man’?”

“Look, I’ve said too much. I don’t mean to alarm you. Only…”

“Yes?”

The architect silently shook his head. He felt half his hair going prematurely grey on the spot.

“Jason, tell me what you were going to say. We never keep things from one another, do we?” She stretched out her hand across the desk and laid it on his.

Mr Stein rubbed his stinging eyes. Finally, he said:”If Dier doesn’t get what he wants, bad things happen.”

.

Jason Stein did work through the night and being the excellent architect he was, had completed the prints for the ‘tall house’, as he liked to call it. There wasn’t enough time for even a five-minute shower so he just splashed his face and stinging eyes with cold water from the sink at his office. Then brushed his teeth. Bad breath was never good business.

At 10.20 he buzzed through to his secretary for the third time. “Isn’t he here yet?”

“No. Sorry Jason.”

At 10.55 Mr Dier’s phone call was put through. “Mr Stein! My apologies! It was unavoidable, I got caught up in something else. You can expect me in the next few minutes.”

The architect replaced the telephone receiver then swallowed another couple of paracetamol tablets with his cold coffee. He wished his head would stop its thumping pain. He needed to look bright for when the billionaire arrived.

“I can’t stay long.” Mr Dier announced, walking into the office. He looked well rested unlike the architect and wore a wide grin reminiscent of a crocodile. The icy blue eyes flashed. “Hurry up Mr Stein, we don’t have all day! What do you have for me?”

.

“So, he did approve the plans for the ‘tall house’?” Ann asked later that day when Jason had half an hour to spare between appointments.

“Apparently, they were a hit. I don’t know why he wants two basements though.”

“I’ve been reading about him online, all morning. From the stories circulating about him, I wouldn’t want to delve too deeply into that man’s activities. He makes me shudder.”

The architect bit into the apple Ann had brought him. “Be careful love.” He warned. “Let’s just keep this between us.”

.

Six months later, the tall house was completely built. It stood between the luxury hotel and the offices of the best doctors in the city. Both buildings belonged to Mr Dier, of course.

The walls were built with stone and marble shipped from Italy, the windows were engineered in Germany then brought to the English city to be fitted by the same specialists. The roof had solar panels and a swimming pool. Danish craftspeople fitted the bespoke interior cupboards, shelving, doors, walls and kitchen. Everything was fitted to top spec. The house was perfect.

The champagne was cracked open. Mr Dier flashed his wide crocodile grin and icy blue eyes – the ruthless billionaire couldn’t be happier.

When the party was over and the press people had left, the architect handed him a key.

Mr Dier was astonished – as he should be. “Why a key?” He thought it a joke at first. He stared at the ornate swirls and gargoyle face set in the metal. “Mr Stein, everything operates automatically: the doors open and shut when I tell them to, the front and back doors operate with a chip, why would I need a key?”

“Exactly, Mr Dier. I thought the key would appeal to you, as it signifies just how far you’ve come. The key is the past. A reminder of what you’ve achieved.”

Mr Dier’s eyes sparkled. He clearly appreciated the strange yet positive gesture, which encompassed his greatness. Perhaps, after all, he would keep giving his business to this firm of architects.

“Come with me, Mr Dier, if you will. The key actually unlocks the very bottom basement.”

The man who owned half the city – and had the most influential people in his deep pockets – followed the architect, his curiosity overflowing. They stopped in the kitchen, beside a locked door.

“As you are aware, from the plans, this door leads downstairs to the first basement, thereafter, the steps lead down to the lower, second basement. The door to the first basement opens as all the other doors do, with your voice; but, the door to the other basement only opens with this key.”

Mr Dier nodded eagerly. The architect could tell that the man was trying to contain his excitement – and the need to be alone.

“You better be off then, Mr Stein.” Mr Dier said. The ornate key moist in his sweaty hand.

Mr Stein hovered. He fiddled with his car keys in his jacket pocket. For the first time he felt empowered concerning this man; having the knowledge that he knew something Mr Dier didn’t.

“Mr Stein.” Mr Dier snapped the words. His crocodile smile no more. “Goodnight Mr Stein.”

“Oh, is that the time already? I better get going! Goodnight Mr Dier.” The architect walked to the entrance of the beautiful Danish kitchen. Without turning, he said: “The lower basement is the best bit of the tall house. It will certainly surprise you!”

What arrogance! thought the billionaire when the architect had finally left. The little minion was beginning to get too big for his boots. Perhaps, after all, he wouldn’t use that firm of architects again. He shoved a stick of gum in his mouth and slapped loudly.

The ornate key dropped from his slippery sweaty hand to the tiled floor with a loud clatter. The clatter seemed to urge him: The lower basement! He had to have a look now!

He told the door to open to the stairwell. Down the curling steps, he went – much more than he thought were on the plans – eventually reaching the door to the first basement. He told the door to open. He told the lights to go on. Just inside the entrance, he eyed the extensive empty space before him. He hadn’t installed any furniture or anything yet because he wasn’t quite sure how to decorate this particular room. He switched off the lights, closed the door, then proceeded into the bowels of the tall house. Down the winding steps, on and on, as if forever – again sure that these many steps were not indicated on the plans.

Finally, he reached the locked door of the lower basement. The only door in the tall house that opened with an old fashioned key.

The swirls. The grinning gargoyle face. Perfect!

He decided then he would call this room the Gargoyle Room. Unlike the lack of ideas for the other basement, his rich, sadistic imagination had so many plans for this space. This was to be his place, where the housekeeper had no access, and where the select few who visited would never leave. He would keep his toys in here. The toys that would wait for him to play with them when the right times came.

He unlocked the door with the key that rotated smoothly in the lock. The door sprang open and he called the light on. But it failed to come on. He reached inside the door for an old fashioned light switch – and located nothing. He stepped into the room, to slide his hand along the walls either side of the door.

At last he could feel a switch with the outstretched tips of his fingers. He pushed it.

And, the door shut.

He wasn’t easily frightened, he went back to the door, feeling his way, feeling the wood for its internal handle. Finding none.

Confused, he shouted for the lights to switch on. (They didn’t).

He shouted for the door to open. (It didn’t).

He scrabbled for the lock of the door. Though there wasn’t a handle, there wasn’t a lock. The door might very well have been the lid of a coffin.

Mr Dier laughed.

His killing room hadn’t been meant for him!

 

💜

#TheTallHouse

💛

~ Please let me know if you enjoyed this story. ~

💚

Words: 1,843 (almost double the length of my usual short stories!)

Writing prompt: N/A

Writing inspiration: A conversation about an unusual house with a very deep basement!

What’s a Chi Tale?: N/A

.

oscar_story_leaves_100

*

Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in short story, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Oscar: I may be small, but my heart is big

IMG_20160713_1700079_rewind

IMG_20160713_1700011_rewind

It’s really true, you know, that dogs teach us to be better humans.

.

oscar_story_leaves_100

*

Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in life | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

Family Photographs

st_family_august1979_b

My grandad took this photo back in August 1979. It shows my grandmother (at the back, 2nd from left); my two cousins (1st from left; 4th from right), my brother and sister (1st from right; in my mo…

My page: Family Photographs

*

oscar_story_leaves_100

*

Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in life, New Page | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

The Hotel Unicus (Part 16) – A Short Story Series

old_wall_motif_030516_b

~ PART SIXTEEN ~

Our experience at the hotel wasn’t what we’d imagined it to be.

Have you read Part Fifteen? You can catch up *here*.

Part Fourteen

Part Thirteen

Part Twelve

Part Eleven

Part Ten

Part Nine

Part Eight

Part Seven

Part Six

Part Five

Part Four

Part Three

Part Two

Part One

.

“Stay put.” George said as he climbed up onto the wide ledge of the kitchen window sill.

I was horrified. “George!”

“Maggie darling, I won’t be able to live with myself if someone else dies, when I could have done something to save him.”

“I can keep you from harm here. If you venture onto the marshes it will surely be your downfall.” Mary said.

My husband, ignoring her wise words, was now half-way through the open window.

I grabbed one of his feet, by the heel of a shoe. “Please, George.” I pleaded. “Don’t go.”

A blown kiss through the window, and he was gone. The next thing I knew, Pendleton was up and away, following his trail.

 


 

And, so, I found myself alone – except for the disembodied voice of Mary. I can honestly say it wasn’t the oddest moment I’d yet experienced at the Hotel Unicus.

“Mary, why are you now invisible? You don’t have to explain the ghost part, we’ve all figured that out.”

I went to the kitchen table, my walking stick offering inadequate support. I was exhausted, my pain levels rocketing. Mary thoughtfully pulled out a chair for me.

“Thank you.”

I heard her clear her throat. “I’m not as strong as the Tall Man, but I’ve powers of my own. Protecting you this evening has depleted my energy. By not being present for you in the ordinary seeing way permits me to replenish it sooner.”

“I understand.”

The electric light dimmed in the kitchen.

“Why has it gone darker?” I was worried. I knew I wouldn’t be up to physically getting away from the evil now.

“Don’t worry, Mrs Chester. I’m only feeding off that energy.”

“I have to get to Elizabeth. Obviously,” I made a gesture towards my body, “I can’t make it now, I need to rest first.”

“You and I require rest.” Mary said gently.

I slumped in the chair, my head in my arms on the table. And slept.

.

Much, much later, George explained what had happened to him from the moment he left me.

“I never thought I could get through that tiny window – but I did! – but caught myself on the sharp windowsill, shredding my trousers to bits. I looked like some wild beast had savaged me, though it was only the windowsill!

“I was standing in a square courtyard, filled with potted plants and a bench, which then led to that swimming pool area. It was obviously still light outside, it being summertime, but I was stumped as to which direction to take: should I turn right, towards the front of the hotel?; or left, to go inside the walled garden? Had Fred taken off on the marshes, or run down the road, or hid amongst the roses? I was standing there, very aware of the passing of time and the ever narrowing chance to find him, when I heard the click of the door – shutting – to the garden.

“It had to be Fred, I thought. I was hoping to God it was. I didn’t fancy meeting any more strange spirits!

“I even called out his name. I wasn’t expecting a reply, but it was worth a gamble. Then, to my surprise, he answered back!

“>George! I’m in the walled garden!<

“I was hoping it was really Fred. It certainly sounded like him.

Please God, let it be Fred!

“Dear, don’t look so worried, you know we’re safe now because I’m relaying this story. I will continue: Yes, I was terrified, but I was more frightened should something awful happen to Fred. I knew you were safe with Mary’s protection, and that I would sooner, rather than later, return to you – and, well, if I didn’t, I knew in my heart, that Mary would ensure your safety.

“I hurried past the tables with the parasols and the chairs, and around the swimming pool to the door that’s in the wall. For a moment, I leant up against it, to see if I could hear anything from inside, but there was silence. I threw the door wide open and went inside. There wasn’t a wind that night, but the door slammed shut behind me. I was thinking, I’m being watched, ‘they’ wish to unsettle me. I was frightened, and, at the same time, also energised and alert; bloody determined to find poor Fred. And, I wanted to get back to you as soon as possible.

“In the back of my mind was that hedge creature. I was hoping that none of them were going to come out and play today!

“Of course, I had to venture through that winding path, that is like a kind of maze – with the roses obliterating your view and those hedge creatures looming over you – but I stopped a moment, I suppose to gather courage! Then, Fred called to me again; it was more of a whisper this time:

“>George. George? Is that really you?<

“This time, he didn’t sound quite right. But, I put it down to the harrowing situation we found ourselves in…

“>Yes, Fred. It’s me and no other!< I called out. Trying to soften the tension with some humour.

“He didn’t answer me for a long while, after that. There was only one way forward, and that was the path. Forwards, I went. With one eye on the hedge creatures. I had no inkling where the man was; from where he had called out, the voice just seemed to come from anywhere in the garden.

“Maggie, of course – we know that now – it wasn’t really Fred’s voice. Please stop trying to interrupt me.

“Well, I managed to get to the sundial at the centre of the path, with nothing bad happening. I glanced at the time it showed and realised it was all wrong again: It showed a few hours later. I didn’t know what the real time was, except I knew it wasn’t past twelve! The sky did its strange thing again, not so much with clouds – there weren’t many – but involving the moon and the light. I actually saw the moon travel across the sky as if time had speeded up, and at the same time, it had darkened so much that it was hard to see. Under other circumstances, I would have been in awe.

“>Fre-e-e-e-e-d!< I called out. I needed to have some idea where the man was. Was I now nearer or further away from him?

“That was when I heard one of the hedges shaking – except it sounded like old bones rattling rather than twigs and leaves moving about. It sent a shiver down my spine, it did.

“>Fred!< I called out in desperation, >Where the hell are you?<

“I heard soft pattering steps running up the path but each time I looked I saw no one. The steps on the flagstones became louder, the nearer they got. They were like the running sounds of a child. I didn’t remember the hedge rabbit making such noises, so I doubted it was one of those leaf creatures. Anyway, whatever it was, I couldn’t just stand there and wait for it to find me!

“I ran out of the maze in the other direction, towards the end of the walled garden. And, almost into the arms of another living hedge creature! It was some kind of a starfish of all things, and it tried snatching me up in its outstretched arms. It belched and I smelt the sea – albeit a darker version of the sea – the saltiness, and the sweet sickly decaying of its dead beings. Grains of sand – of a thousand years – poured out of its body with every rippling movement; sea water gushed out of its mouth. And, its eyes, they were black and shiny like pools of shadowed water.

“Yes, I screamed, I screamed with the insanity of it all. This evil place, Hotel Unicus.

“Then, arms of another kind, from someone good and kind, hugged my legs. Instantly, the starfish creature vanished.

.

 

old_wall_motif_growl_030516_c

 

“I looked down at my saviour, and saw it was Pendleton.”

.

 

 

to_be_continued_foot_cobblestones_stick_030516_m

.

~ To be continued! ~

 

.

 

Photographs and digital manipulation by me, 3rd May 2016, Great Yarmouth Row Houses.

💜

My day out at the Great Yarmouth Row Houses.

💛

Gideon Falls

💚

Words: 1,238

Writing prompt: Our experience at the hotel wasn’t what we’d imagined it to be.

Writing inspiration: A strange dream. And a little Hotel California.

What’s a Short Story Series?: A short story written over several parts, around 1,000 words for each part.

oscar_story_leaves_100

*

Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in Short Story Series | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments