G. had no idea what had woken him, what had brought him alert and fully awake to the bedroom window in his grandfather’s house in the middle of the night. The gibbous moon lit the garden a little from behind the drifting clouds and a summer breeze ruffled the hedgerow, but apart from that it was completely still and quiet. Now that he had moved to the window—quietly so as not to wake his brother—he felt wide awake and on this hot and stuffy night had no wish to return to his bed. He wondered what it was that he had heard. Had he heard something? He did not remember the sound but that seemed to be the thought in his mind as he found himself gazing out. He must have heard something or he would still be asleep—he didn’t usually wake up in the middle of the night. Despite the heat he shivered! Yesterday they had explored the farm again and he now felt that he knew every tree, gate, shed and path—particularly in the little garden that surrounded the cottage. A plan began to form in his mind and he looked out the window carefully examining every part of the garden he could see. Nothing moved. Carefully—very aware of the creaking stair—he crept out of the room, past his grandfather’s room with its open door, the door that would never close again because sometime years ago the old house had flexed its muscles before subsiding back to sleep and the door—or the frame—had warped. He remembered laughing when he had been told—Taid, houses don’t move—and his grandfather had just smiled that quiet smile of his. He reached the top of the stairs. Carefully, one step at a time, keeping his bare feet to the side of each step, he crept down, pushed open the stair door just as much as he had to and arrived in the kitchen. Despite the warm night the stone floor was cold and he tiptoed the few paces to the run of rush matting that led to the garden door. He was surprised at how rough it felt to his bare feet. Whatever had woken him, whatever the house felt now about stretching or yawning, everything was still and quiet. He opened the door quietly and slipped out.
So begins the first short story in my recent collection, When I Am Not Writing Poetry: Selected Short Stories. Just one story among 30 – some very short and some quite long… but like the others, I would suggest, (but then I would, wouldn’t I?) worth investigating, worth a further read! The book is available on Amazon.