Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Grandfather and the Story of Us

I’m used to Grandma’s cackle. The cackle and silvery white hair give her an eerie presence. Mum says she can’t recall grandma’s hair being a different colour. Every time I remember that, it unnerves me. That I’m apparently a reincarnation of my aunt does not help matters. I’d heard the story of ‘us’ like a thousand times. It’s worse than déjà vu. Familiarity took the prickliness of fear away from the back of my neck, which was always tense by the way. What remains is loneliness and yearning for a love that only comes alive in the dark. For Grandma that is.

I was only five when Grandma first told me our story. She had a nightmare on the eve of Halloween. Grandma’s three eldest children climbed out of the family car covered in blood. They waved to her, quietly mouthing ‘goodbye’ as they walked away. She saw a bloodied kitchen knife stuck into the passenger seat in the back like a trophy on display. Grandma was not in the car and her youngest was holding her hand. Grandfather was nowhere to be found. She opened her eyes on Halloween and forgot all about it, putting it down to penance for cheese indulgence the night before.

Later that morning, Grandfather wanted a few things from the new local store in town. The kids so eager to check it out, begged their father for a ride. “Please dad, we’ll be quiet so you can drive really safe, ple-ease!” Grandma sighed as she put the bib on little May. Those kids wrote the book on emotional blackmail. A few hurried goodbyes and they were gone.

An hour and a half later, grandma heard the sound of a car in the drive. She thought they were late because they had gone out of town. She looked up and came face to face with two policemen. Before she could find the words, one of them spoke up.“I'm sorry, Mrs Jackson…"

Grandma wailed. Mum said that was when Grandma’s hair turned white.

Halloween is great at our house. You can see Grandma doing the waltz with grandfather. There’s always a glass of wine for him. He splashes it on the white curtains to let us know he’s there. I bullied May when we were younger. Now she’s making up for lost time. I love you, mum. 

©Adura Ojo October 27, 2011
399 MPA

It's prose this week, folks! Written for the RFW challenge. This week's theme is Haunting! Come join us.


  1. Hi Adura! What a treat! You really had me mesmerised from start to finish.

    Took me awhile to adjust to the prose rather than your cutting-edge poetry, but you handle prose just as well.

    What a haunting story! Even though I knew something like that was going to happen, it still struck with horror.

    Great use of the theme!

    Happy Halloween!


  2. Dear Adura,
    What a story! You kept the suspense even though I was expecting something horrible to happen. Love the prophetic dream and the hair-turned-white-motif.
    Good use of the theme and its tried and true array of elements.
    Well done!
    Happy Halloween!
    Anna's RFWers' Challenge No. 25 - 'Haunting'

  3. Hi,

    This is a clever piece of prose. It leads off with sense of amused memory. The middle edges sinister, and then reality strikes a new note of despair, loss and longing. Yet at the end sense of peace and understanding prevails.

    Great writing! ;)


  4. Girl, I'm so jealous. You write prose as well as you write poetry. A trick I haven't mastered yet. *sighs*

    You had me captivated from the start. I was reading it thinking 'Oh no! What's going to happen next?' You've worked the theme really well. Well done.

  5. Dear Adura.
    I'm back reading your story a second time. And I like it even better.

    Thank you so much for your kind words about my little cat story.

    I am begining to think that I can't write stories about normal people - I must have characters who are either faeries or talking cats!

    Hope your holiday weekend will be fun. Take care.

    Anna's RFWers' Challenge No. 25 - 'Haunting'

  6. L'Aussie:
    Happy Halloween, Denise!
    What a story you've got there with Drack Kulah. Loved it!

    It being Hallowen, the old muse rattled my bones to do prose this week. It wasn't planned. When I started to write, I was as surprised as you to see prose coming out! Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Doing prose and keeping to the 400 word limit was quite a challenge. Don't know how you manage it week after week. Had to be ruthless while editing. With poetry it's a 'reverse' challenge. Making it to 300 is often tough. Definitely a great challenge either way:)

  7. Anna:
    Thanks, Anna. I loved your story too. You've definitely got a penchant for those 'other' worlds. I think you've got something special there.

    Wow! Thank you, Francine. It means a lot especially coming from you as I really admire your work.

  8. Kiru:
    Much appreciated, Kiru. I'm so glad that you guys like it. I had poetry in my head honestly but the old muse had other plans - she cackled much like Grandma in the story and told me to get on with it.

    Poetry comes more easily to me as it has less rules to adhere to. Your prose is captivating and you do it so well.

  9. Anna:
    Thank you for coming back to read again. I'm so glad you love my story.

    I love your talking cats and faeries. Honestly, I'm not a fan of the fantasy genre but the way you do it, it draws me in. So you've definitely got something special. I would focus on this gift you've got and harness it into doing more the way you do it.
    The beauty of your writing is that both adults and children can relate to it. The whole family can read together. Schools can plug in. And you're an experienced illustrator too. I would own that gift, get a good editor and put those books out fast:)

    But that's just me. I know you must do what feels right for you.

    Have a lovely Halloween weekend, Anna.

    I'll be reading my poetry at a literary festival tonight (Friday). So please wish me luck.

  10. Hello Adura.
    I came by expecting to be serenaded by your soulful poetry.

    The opening reminded me of my mom's house back in the day when we would all be settled in to listen to "old time talk". Nice flow throughout. Definitely has the scary element. Lovely ending.

    I'd say your prose is as soulful as your poetry (smile).
    Nicely done!

    Many thanks too for your kind words on my entry: This Unknown Spirit.

  11. Different; but totally engaging. sometimes, you gotta stretch this genre . ..


  12. Andy:
    Soulful poetry coming up again soon. The old Muse permitting...I'm at her mercy:)

    Old time talk kept us going as kids, didn't it? In a way I feel sorry for the internet kids. We had those tales by moonlight and they beat sitting at the computer any day. Thank you for your lovely comments...I enjoyed reading yours too.

  13. Donna:
    Thanks. The beauty in interpretation is we get to put our spin on the theme:)

  14. ...chills from head to toe...
    Great read!

  15. I love that Grandma and Grandpa waltz together. So tender, disastrous and endearing. Great read.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

  16. Adura, a terrific story in Prose, but how very sad for the Grandmother and Mother.... Eerie that Grandfather visits on Halloween! Great Story!

  17. eclipseofthemoon:
    Thanks, Eclipse.

    N.R. Williams:
    Thanks Nancy. Means a lot.

    Hey John, thank you! Hope you're having a great Halloween weekend. Thank I think grandfather and grandma enjoy that kinda 'eerie' love! *Insert evil cackle* ;)

  18. oh goodness...this made my blood turn cold..chilly story...happy halloween..!

  19. I love these lines: Halloween is great at our house. You can see Grandma doing the waltz with grandfather. There’s always a glass of wine for him. He splashes it on the white curtains to let us know he’s there.

  20. Oh that's a sad one! I love the ending, with the waltz and her grandfather splashing the wine.

  21. Came back for another read! And see you had a reading Friday night. Tell me, how did it go?


  22. So why don't I come back 4 times?

    Adura, just a reminder that you'll need to refollow us at our new RFWer site so you can keep in touch with out news!


    Denise <3

  23. Claudia:
    Happy Halloween! :)

    Thanks, Madeleine.
    I read those lines now with new eyes:)

    Deniz Bevan:
    Thanks for loving my poem and welcome to my blog.

  24. L'Aussie:
    You're always welcome, Denise:) Friday went really well. Couldn't imagine it any better. Already got good things coming out of it. I thank God.

    Thanks for the reminder to follow. I'm on to it.

  25. Transfer comment as left at Adura Ojo Presents

    L'Aussie said...

    Me again! Letting you know you're the Runner Up again! D

  26. My reply to Denise (L'Aussie):

    Thanks, Denise!
    I'm doing the electric boogie again:D

  27. Hi,

    Another Harlot badge...

    Adoration is mutual! Oh lordy, we must be careful our affection for words retains sense of propriety in all things mutual enjoyment. ;)


  28. Hello.
    Don't you just love the Harlot badge! Not sure where the name came from, but I think it might be Francine's work (lol). Anyway, congratulations!

    I like the new blog & title & of course I'm showing my support by following!

    All the best & see you soon!

  29. Francine:
    Hi Francine! Yes, another harlot badge. I'm loving it!

    Hey Andy! I'm just as curious about Francine's creative word for that badge, quite apt - looking at the badge, and funny too. Took me a while to decide on the new blog title, so it's nice to get that lovely feedback from you, Andy. Thanks for liking my new blog and following. 'Must get my follower shoes on. Popping round soon!