Saturday, 13 October 2018

Secret Lives

I've always wondered about actors and writers who become recluses - and thought Greta Garbo was one of the greats who did this; and I wondered why. This is one idea of why.


“Who are you?” her lilting voice asked over the intercom.
“Good afternoon, Ms Garbo, I’m from ‘Life’ Magazine. We talked yesterday morning regarding an interview.” I answered as the rain hammered onto the roof of my car.
“Aaah yes! Please come in.” There was a buzzing sound and the gates swung open from the middle and I eased the car between them and up the gravel drive, wound past the huge mansion and around the back where there was a line of garages all locked up except one – where there was a man waiting for me to show up.
He stood in front of my car as I pulled it into the garage, out of the dreadful weather, and he opened the car door for me, “Good afternoon, Miss Leary, the lady of the house is waiting for you in her studio.” He put out his hand for my keys, “I’ll take care of your car.”
“I’ll clean it off, check the oil and vacuum the inside, of course.” He smiled, “And your keys will be returned to you promptly.” He turned and there was a house-keeper, “Mrs Ackers will take you to the lady of the house.”
I grabbed my bag and stepped to one side, allowing the man into my car and walked over to Mrs Ackers, “Good afternoon, I’m...”
“Miss Leary, I know.” She smiled thinly and led me through a back door and along a hallway into the back of the house, where there were coats, hats and scarves hung up, “Leave your things here. You won’t need them in the house.”
I hung up my coat and scarf on a spare hook, wiped my shoes on the large mat and took up my bag again, “Okay, lead on.”
Mrs Ackers lead me through another door and into another hallway, filled with old photographs on the walls of Mrs. Garbo. They were amazing, and in black and white. I paused at one but Mrs Ackers turned at the stairs, “No stopping, you’ll see all of that soon enough.”
“Sorry.” I quickly caught up with her and followed her up two flights of stairs, along long, carpeted hallways and silent rooms with closed doors, until she came to a door at the end of the third hall, and rested her hand on the door knob, “She paints at this time of day. But she has allowed you to interview her, just this once. Ms Garbo doesn’t give interviews very often.”
“I understand this. But I’ve Googled and it says she’s dead.”
“Well, she expected you to do that.” She smiled thinly again, then knocked twice on the door.
“Yes, Mrs Ackers, do come in.” Her thickly accented voice called through the door.
She opened the door, “Ms Leary is here to see you, Ma’am.”
The woman turned from the easel, pallet in one hand, brush in the other, dressed in a paint-spattered white smock over some old black clothing, “Of course! Welcome, Ms Leary! Do make yourself at home.”
I walked over to the fainting couch and sat near the fire, “It’s cold outside.”
She watched me as she put down her art things and removed her smock and handing it to her house-keeper, “Indeed.”
“I shall return with tea and afternoon tea.” Mrs Ackers said hanging up the smock nearby.
“Yes, you do that.” Ms Garbo muttered as she sat next to gracefully and a silence engulfed us like none other. She watched me become more and more uncomfortable under her stare as we waited for her house keeper to return, and I feared she never would, “Why are you so nervous?”
“I Googled you and it says you died in 1990.”
She smirked, “It does.”
“But you’re here very much alive... and you can’t be one of your children, because you never had any.”
Pulling her feet up under her long dress, she smiled, “Oh you have done your research, my dear. And there is a good reason why I have hidden from life better than Elvis Presley ever has.”
The door opened and Mrs Ackers returned with a tea trolley filled with a silver tea service. The coffee table in front of us was moved closer and cleared off, and the tea was served up there, then she left the trolley and Mrs Garbo poured the tea for me and handed me my cup.
“Elvis is alive?”
“Well, yes, of course he is. But he does a dreadful job of hiding himself. He’s become – how does one say it – restless, in his old age.” She giggled, “Me on the other hand, I am quite accustomed to being alone. I didn’t give many interviews and almost no autographs. I hated being photographed with anyone.”
“Yes, I research says this too... but I’m here to find out why.” I said, looking down at my notebook. As I looked up, her eyes were fixed on mine, “And my last colleague didn’t return from here.”
“Oh yes he did, he got himself killed.” She took a sip from her cup, licked her lips and placed it back down on the tray on the coffee table, before leaning back and smiling at me, “Is your tea hot enough?”
I wrapped my hands around the cup, “Yes, thank you.”
“You haven’t drunk any.”
Looking down into it, I smiled, “I like the smell of tea, but not the taste. And I like the warmth it gives off... it’s a strange thing I’ve done since I was in my teens.” I glanced up to find her expression had faltered, “Is there something wrong?”
“I was hoping you’d drink the tea.”
“Well, William was good at one thing... communication. It was before you found the wire on him that he said something was in his tea.” I put the cup back on the tray, “And you did something to him.”
Ms Garbo suddenly stood, “The interview is over.”
I stood as quickly as she did, “We haven’t even started... you haven’t told me anything I don’t already know.”
She turned and was startled to see me on my feet, took a few steps back before muttering, “What do you want to know?”
“Well, for one thing, why don’t you look like somebody who is well over a century old and still look as though you’re in your forties? And exactly what was in that cup of tea?” I didn’t take my eyes off her as I pointed to the tray behind me.
Ms Garbo smiled knowingly, “Your dear friend William did teach you one or two things about me. Never take your eyes off me and don’t drink my tea.”
“Tell me about your secret life... and I’ll turn it into your true biography.” I offered.
“Nobody would ever believe it!” she sneered.
“Nobody has to but you and me.”
She sniffed, “When I was around forty or so, I was doing a film and in my off-time, I met a lovely man. He was so old-fashioned, and sweet and he... had a side to him I did not realise. He was a vampire, and he turned me.”
“Oh shit.”
She cast a sideways glance in my direction, “Well, yes, indeed. I was just taking off into the movies – the talkies – and I was turned into something which never ages me. I couldn’t have children and it forced me to live alone.”
“And so, you couldn’t do interviews because of the silver in the development in the photographs.”
“Okay, you’ve covered the things of why you have had no children, why you live alone and how you stayed so young and away from the public.” I said softly, “But what was in my tea?”
“Belladonna... but only enough to make you sleepy.”
“Where is your sire now?”
Looking down at her hands, she fiddled with her nails, “He lost his head a few years ago.” She looked over at me, “But, that doesn’t mean I can’t carry on his legacy.”
“I have to leave.”
“That’s what your William said, and he never did.”
“He’s been reported dead.”
She turned toward the back of the room, “Oh, William!”
From the shadows came my old colleague, lover and flatmate. I hadn’t seen him in over a year. He hadn’t changed at all – but there was something not right about him, “Sharon... what are you doing here?” he took my hands and kissed them.
“I had to take over your role at work.” I said, “And find another border at home.”
“Oh Sharon, what was the one thing I told you not to do while you were here?” he whispered into my face.
I looked at him, “Take my eyes off her.”

The sun streamed through the windows when I woke on the floor a day later of that old mansion. The police had busted into the place and found me, their voices were muffled and wanted to move but they told me to not get up.
“I have to find them.” I said.
“Find who?” the ambulance woman asked, “This place has been abandoned for decades.”
“Who’s house is this?” I asked.
“Greta Garbo’s.” She replied, “It’s September 19th. Yesterday was her birthday. There’s a legend that she haunts this house one day a year and lures somebody in each year. Most of them don’t survive... looks like you will.”
“Where’s William? I saw him.”
The ambulance woman looked up at the cop standing nearby, “You didn’t. You’ve got Belladonna in your system. It’d make you see all kinds of things.”

But I knew I saw Greta Garbo... and I saw my William... I just have to find them. Looking out the barred window of my secure room of the psych hospital, I can’t do it from in here.

I have a year to get out of here before she does this again.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

War of the Worlds

I just obtained my parents' copy of 'War of the Worlds' on vinyl for my birthday... and I love it! It also gave me the best idea for a story.



The stylus landed softly on the vinyl as the turntable spun silently, the shine of the metal reflected off my overhead living room light and the start of ‘War of the Worlds’ vibrated out of my stereo speakers.
I lowered the tinted lid over the spinning vinyl gentle, soft, sweet... let go of it and stepped backwards, felt for my armchair and sank back into it, listening to the old-fashioned sounds of the 1970’s fill my senses.

This was how it this album was supposed to heard!

I had always loved this vinyl – right from the time my Dad had recorded it onto a couple of TDK cassette tapes and took them to the coast to play when it was late at night and there was nothing to do but down a few beers and stare at the stars overheard... and wonder if H.G. Wells was right.

Closing my eyes, I heard the narrative fill my world, my head and the outside world vanish into the ether. Now was the time this vinyl was happening... now was the time... yes... it... was...

I woke to silence.

I woke to darkness in my living room.

Did I fall asleep?

Did the power fail?

Had there been a short in my house?

I started to rise from my seat and froze when I spotted two bright red eyes staring at me from across the room, “Who’s there?” my voice sounded loud in the dead silence of the darkness surrounding me.
In a high pitched whine, from across the room, a voice replied, “Who’s there?” and the red eyes blinked momentarily and shifted as though it was hearing itself for the very first time. It was then I understood that it could see me, but it knew I couldn’t see it and it had gotten into my house somehow.
Leaning forward, I strained my eyes to see how big this thing was but couldn’t see anything, “What are you?”
It didn’t answer me, instead the intense red eyes move closer to me, looking me over closely – as though to inspect every part of me – and a clicking, wiring sound came from it, “What are you?”
“I am a Human Being.”
It stopped the inspection for a moment.
“I am a Homosapien – also known as a Human Being.” I said quiet, sitting still, “What’s with the lights?”
“Silence, Human.” It’s voice snapped.
“You’re in my house, so I ask the questions.” I retorted, “So what’s with the lights?”
“You called us.”
“No. I played ‘War of the Worlds’ on vinyl.”
“You called us.” The voice hissed in its high pitch.
I didn’t understand how I called them, so I sat there in silence trying to figure out how in the Hell I called them, “Can I make a phone call?”
“You may.”
I felt for my mobile and called Dad, who picked up immediately, “Dad, you know your vinyl of ‘War of the Worlds’, is it a signalling device?”
“Did you play it?” he asked.
“Well, yeah, what else would I do with it? I’m sitting in the dark over here with some weird alien thing inspecting me with red eyes.”
“Oh man... that vinyl was an original pressing from the UK.” He sighed over the phone, “I got it from Woking.”
“So, this is a vinyl with extra shit on it that none of the others have?” I asked.
“Well, you know I worked in that studio when they recorded that in the 70’s, right?”
“Yeah. Oh shit.”
“Well, extra sounds went into it – stuff we can’t hear but they can.” He said, “The reason why I never played it here at home, but I did when we went camping was because they’d show up at the camp site. You just don’t remember it.”
“But, Dad...”
“But they remember you.” He said, “You were their favourite.”
“I’m the youngest in the family.”
“That’s the reason why they liked you so much.”
“How do I ... get them to leave?”
“That’s the thing, son... you’re not at home anymore.”
I looked over at the red set of eyes, “Where am I?” The eyes blinked slow and moved backwards away from me. Then, I asked into the phone, “Dad, where am I?”
“Well, we’re in your living room... and you’re not here. So, you’re on the ship.”
“How do I get home?”
I heard Mum crying in the background as he sniffed, “This time you may not be able to.”
“Why not?”
“They destroyed the vinyl.”

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Lots of Lands...

I've built a literary-themed garden in recent months; and thought to base a story in the confines of this garden with some of the character in this garden. I thought 'Alice In Wonderland' and 'Hansel & Gretel' would go well.


“I think we’re lost.” She said looking around at the tall, dark columns surrounding them in the darkness, “We haven’t seen the path for a while.”
Her brother turned on her, “I don’t think so. Look!” he pointed and they both saw a house sitting in its own little space, “I think this is a great place. Doesn’t it look ... like home?”
She shrugged and her hair fell over her face, “I’m not sure. But my feet hurt and I’m hungry.”
He put his around his sister’s shoulders, “Well, come on, let’s knock on the door and see who lives there.”
“You do it... I’m not going near it. The last place was huge and hissed at us.” She cringed away from him and he sighed. She watched him as her brother walked over to the door and knocked on it. It opened and a kindly old woman stepped out with her knobbly old walking cane by her side and a raven on her shoulder. She didn’t look too bad; and she walked over to the house when her brother signalled her over.
“This is my sister. We’re kind of lost... we’re wondering if you could help us please?” he asked.
“Well, well... such a day to have such polite visitors as yourselves.” She smiled, bent over with age, “Please do come in and we will eat a meal together.”
She turned from the door, just before her brother led her inside, “Did you hear something?”
“It’s getting dark, let’s go. This is shelter and food.” He pointed, “And you’re hearing things?”
She glared at him, as she turned from the house, peering into the darkness, “I’m not hearing things. Somebody ‘psst’ed at me.” She backed away from the door, “And I really don’t feel safe about this place. I mean, who makes a house out of gingerbread – or what looks like it – anyway? What about cockroaches and ants? And doesn’t it get wet and soggy when it rains?”
“Sis, get inside!”
She turned from the house again, “There is goes again! I’m not going inside that house!”
The bent over old woman’s grin widened as she threw away the cane and grabbed her brother, “Fine, I’ll make do with just one of you!”
She picked up the cane, which landed next to her, and started beating the woman hard, “Let him go! He’s my brother!”
The woman reached for the cane, and as though it had a mind of its own, it flew over to the old woman and into her bony hand. She spun it around and whacked him over the head once with it and he collapsed. The old woman picked up the boy as though he weight almost nothing and dragged him inside where the door slammed shut; leaving the girl outside in the dark.

It began to rain.

She stood there, pulling her coat around her knowing she wanted to get her brother out of that house, but not having the slightest idea how.
“Well, if only you had turned around and taken two more steps into the darkness, you would have run into me.” A voice said to her right; and emerging from the darkness, was a lovely white rabbit in a dark blue waistcoat. He checked his fob watch and slid it back into the pocket on his waistcoat, “You don’t have much time to get him out of there. She eats children.”
“Well, how do I do this?” she asked, “And I’m talking to a rabbit...”
His ears twitched slightly, “Just think of it, I’m talking to a girl, both our worlds have collided and we have to work around them. But if we don’t work together, we’re going to be too late... like I am. I’m late for a very important date as it is; but do you see me panicking?”
“Well, not yet.” She smiled.
“So, what do we do?”

He woke up tied to a chair.

“It’s about time you woke up. I didn’t want to run the risk of cooking you with your clothes on... have done that before. I was picking buttons out of my teeth for days afterwards.” She grumbled as she stood at the stove, tasted something and then turned from it, “Now, you’re not fat enough. I want you to eat something.”
His eyes widened: “What?”
“Eat. Now.”

The rabbit pulled a bottle from one of his pockets and it had a label on it: “Drink me.”
“Oh thank you, I’m so thirsty.”
“This is not for you.” He pulled the bottle away from her, “This is for your brother.” He pointed to the house, “Now you have to get inside there and feed it to him, and he’ll get big – really big! – and then when he gets big enough, there’ll be food for him to eat on top of that seat over there which will shrink him down to his normal size again.” He gave her the bottle.
“Only for him.”
“Why can’t you do it?”
“I’m a rabbit... she’s eats everything! And she’s been trying to catch me for a very long time.” He snorted.
“Okay.” She took the bottle and sneaked over to the house, walked down the side where her brother was sitting at a table eating a meal. Oh! It looked so good! But in the time she had stood outside talking to the rabbit, he had put on a lot of weight! Her eyes widened as he gorged himself on the food there. Then, she spotted the glass he had been drinking from; it was almost empty! She reached in through the window, grabbed it, filled it with the “Drink me” bottle contents and put it back, then waited for him to drink from the glass. The moment her brother did, she watched him stop eating, looked inside the empty glass and look out the window as he started to grow, and grow and grow!
Well, the moment his left foot smashed through the wall of the house, she was running out towards the rabbit who was hopping about whispering for her to hurry up! She made it out to him just in time to see her brother grow to the size of a giant!
“Oh my! You never told me he was going to get this big!” she slapped the rabbit on the shoulder.
“Well, you never asked.” He slapped her shoulder, “And stop slapping me.”
The house was destroyed completely and the old woman ran screaming away as her raven flew off into the night. It was then, the boy looked around and spotted the cake on the seat.  It was on a plate with a note next to it: “Eat Me.”
“Oh yummy.” His voice thundered from above them, “Cake!” he picked it up and took a huge bite from it; boulder-sized crumbs fell from above, tumbling to ground, nearly landing on his sister and the rabbit. Almost as soon as he had begun to eat the cake, he put it back down, as he started to feel strange – as though he was going to be sick and turned inside out at the same time. His whole body shrank right down to the size he was before, and he found himself standing next to the wreckage of the house he had been a prisoner of for a few hours.
“Hansel!” his sister’s voice called out from the night, “Oh you’re okay!”
He turned, “Gretel!” they embraced, “I’m so glad you didn’t go inside that house. The food was okay, but it was her... she was an awful witch.”
“I got you out – with the help of the strangest fellow.” She said turning only to find that the white rabbit had vanished, “He was a white rabbit. He got me to get that liquid to you; I have no idea how that cake got there.”
“I’m not going to worry. We better be going, though, that house will be noticed in the daylight.” He said, “I did notice something when I was bigger. We will find it better in the daylight though. So, let’s stay near here for now.”
Morning broke and the two siblings started off through the Green Forest to the white castle in the corner of the realm. Hansel assured his sister they’d be safe there for a long time.

Next to the house a huge door opened and a giant stepped outside to great the day. They looked down at the house they had put there only a week before to decorate their garden, “What the hell?” the whole little house had been destroyed by something – smashed up into pieces! She grabbed a nearby bucket, “Damned possums!”

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

The Experiment

I love writing vampire stories - have done since I was in my teens. And I'm a huge 'Buffy' fan too. So, why not revisit my fun-times with a high school vampire theme? Why not indeed.


My phone chimed again as I stood at my locker and the bell rang for class. It was Mum reminding me to not ‘dally on the way home from school.’
“Yeah, I know.” I muttered grabbing the books I needed and pushing my phone into my bag as I slammed the door and ran to my next class.
There weren’t that many kids in Mr. Clien’s English class today – less than last week – and he was starting look worried as I walked in, “Sorry I’m late.”
“No, it’s okay, sit anywhere, but closer to the front if you can.” He said offered up the empty seats there with his open arms but I hesitated as I noticed nobody else had taken them. He looked over at me, fear oozed from him; and for an adult to show it was bad, “I was told another four aren’t here today.”
“Crap.” I said without thinking, “Sorry... I didn’t mean to...”
“No... it was my reaction too. But come on, sit and we’ll get on with the class.”
I sat near Lisbeth – a chick who normally hated my guts – and she glanced over at me with a scared expression in her eyes, “Missy, are you okay?”
She asked me, “Have you seen Ben?” Ben Fencer was her boyfriend and the quarterback on the football team, “I haven’t seen him all morning.”
Shaking my head, “Normally I see him in home room, but he wasn’t in today.”
“Crap. I didn’t hear from him last night; we talk until late over homework on skype.” She said, “I have a bad feeling about him.”
Looking towards the front of the near-empty class, I sighed, “Same here.”

The bus lurched and I woke from sleeping.
The last thing I remember was walking outside to the car park where my car was to find it wasn’t there anymore. I pulled out my phone and headed back to the building to go inside... then...
“Dammit... what then?” I whispered looking down at my hands to find I was cuffed to the back of the seat in front of me. It was dark outside, and looking out the window, I had no idea where we were going.
“Missy?” a voice hissed from behind me; and I recognised it as Lisbeth’s hoarse voice, “Where are we?” I almost turned around, “Don’t turn around, they’ll notice and you’ll get beaten.”
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I looked out the window again, “I wish I knew. How’d they get you?”
“I was at cheerleader practice... they got the whole team.” She sniffed, “You?”
“I walked out to my car to find it gone. I was going to call my Mum from inside the building.”
A man in black walked up the aisle from the front of the bus, his voice deep and dark reached our ears, “No talking!”
“Yessir.” I mumbled.

We arrived to a large building in the middle of nowhere just as dawn was breaking and colouring the skies. I gazed toward the eastern horizon and wondered if my Mum knew where I was. Did she know what was going on? Was she freaking out? Did she call the police, or where they in on this whole thing?
I’d never know.
Lisbeth stood next to me in her shackles, “Makes me wonder if this will be our last sunrise.”
“Yeah, I was thinking the exact same thing.”
Once the busload of us were all lined up in twos, we were led off through the security fence and down a long path towards the building, where we were put into cells with the person next to us and left there for a day – or was a week?

We never saw sunlight again.

Lisbeth sat on her bed across from mine crying one ‘day’ when the locks on our door clanged open and the guard stood outside, “Lisbeth Henry and Missy Torrents?”
Lisbeth just sat there looking at the floor, so I answered, “Yep, that’s us.”
“Stand up. Time to move out.”
“Can I ask where we are or what is going on?” I asked.
The guard looked up from his clipboard and stepped inside the cell as I was fitted with shackles, but Lisbeth still sat there crying, “Well, your school was picked for a little experiment Missy. Goodlord who picked your name?”
“My full name is Missouri – Missy is a nickname.” I said.
“Nice. You’re parents were dumb enough to name you after a state.”
“It’s a family name.”
He blinked, blushing a little, “Oh, I see. And well, the grade point average isn’t great, neither is the football team... and well, nobody’s going to miss you all.”
“Well, the population of your school are undergoing a few little government experiments. If it works out, well, we’ll move onto the next crappy school and do it too.” He smirked.
I didn’t know what to say, and Lisbeth cried harder as they moved onto her, but she didn’t move to get to her feet, “She’s been like this since we arrived... I tried talking to her, but Lisbeth isn’t like most kids.”
The guard nodded, “Okay... spoiled.” He pulled out his service pistol, checked the clip and readied it.
“No. She lost her boyfriend.”
“Yeah, to us.” He pointed his gun at her head.
“Lisbeth, get up or they’re going to kill you.” I snapped.
Her puffy eyes moved to me, and slowly she stood, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
I turned away, thinking he was going to shoot her, but when I didn’t hear anything, I turned back to find he had put his gun back in its holster, and she was next to me, “Don’t do that again.” The moment we stepped out the door, we were given injections into our arms and darkness engulfed us.

I woke in another cell.
This one was bigger and there was a camera watching me.
Looking across the cell was another person – it was Lisbeth, but not her. It’s safe to say that this thing wasn’t human and I had every intention to get away as fast as I could. Lunging toward the glass screen, I felt a high voltage run through me and I was thrown across the room and hit the wall.
The creature just watched with fascination at my reaction towards it. Then it rose from its sitting position and moved towards me, lifted one of its long fingernailed hands towards me and looked into my face with such care I wondered if I was really in danger.
It was then I really looked into the creature’s eyes to find I was looking at ... “Lisbeth?”
“Oh my god, I’m not dreaming am I?”
“What happened? Did you come over all demon-y when you woke up?”
She snapped me a glare, “Well, in actual fact I did.”
“Oh shit. And what happens now? I’m your first meal?”
“No, I’m supposed to turn you into what I am.” She looked down at her hands, “They’re normal – kind of. But I saw a mirror when I was drowsy and waking up from whatever they did to me... and...” she began to cry again.
“Oh jeez, you have to stop crying like this.”
“Missouri, you don’t understand.”
“I cast no reflection.” She looked me up and down, “And you smell so good right now.”

Saturday, 25 August 2018

First Prize

I've been thinking of Men In Black - the last viewing of when the Earth turns in to a marble and gets tossed into a sack filled with other marbles... well, I've thought to turn that idea into something similar.


I couldn’t sleep, so I stepped outside into the crisp night air to look up at the huge scattering of diamonds of the Milky Way Constellation – and what a great display Mother Nature had put on this night!
It was then I noticed something really weird.
Off in the distance, I saw a bright light glowing on the horizon I hadn’t noticed before. It wasn’t there when I headed in for the night, but it was there now. Checking my watch, I saw it was around 1am and so dawn wasn’t near.
“What the hell is that?” I mumbled, my breathing turning white as I spoke. Thinking it was my imagination, I shook my head and went back inside my caravan and tried to sleep again.

The morning was brilliant and bright, and I had almost forgotten about the glowing weird light on the horizon. But I looked over there again as I sipped my coffee and found it wasn’t there – well of course it wasn’t there. How could it be? I was out in the middle of Central Queensland on a photo shoot for the next three weeks.
Tossing out the remains of the coffee, I kick dirt over my camp fire and start packing up. It’s time to move onto my next port of call to photograph.

Detle Pffed watched his experiment carefully. The Human looked like he was throwing out the brown liquid he had been drinking and packing up his travelling machine. He frowned, “Why doesn’t he fly? Doesn’t he know how to?”
“Detle! It’s time to go!” His mother’s voice screeched from the screen on the wall.
“Of course!” he put down his computerised clipboard, switching it off as it touched the table and picked up his satchel for school. As he opened the door, his father stood there, “Sorry I’m late, my experiment for the Science Fair had me up all night.”
“Aaah of course, how is it going?” he put a suckered arm around his son’s shoulders as they walked out of the room and door closed.
“Well, the Human was up last night... he couldn’t sleep. He was looking at the Milky Way Constellation I had installed on the ceiling of my bedroom.” He smiled, “Thanks for suggesting that, I think that’s what happened to the last one – he freaked out and lost his mind.”
“It’s just as well we got a moving one so this one doesn’t know the difference.” His father’s eyes swung up on their stalks as his gills flared, “Oh we’re running late!”
Detle didn’t mention what his science fair project was about to anyone at school. He entered into the Science Fair, paid the ten scroners – which was a month’s pocket money – and promised his teachers a good project.
When he arrived home, he found his project hadn’t travelled as far as he first thought he would. But he figured it was the machine he was using that held the Human back. He sat down and started his homework as his mother walked into the room, gazed disdainfully at the project sitting at the window and frowned, “I really don’t like it that you have a Human in your bedroom.” He put down a tray of afternoon snacks for her son nearby.
“He won’t be here for long, Mother.” Detle said glancing over at the large tank holding the Human, “I’ll take him back to Earth. He thinks he’s on a photographic holiday for three weeks. I’ll get graded and then return him home – he won’t know the difference.”
Peering into the tank, she swung her stalked eyes toward her son, “Does he know we’re here?”
“I don’t think so. He saw my night light on last night, but he didn’t look into it. I won’t make that mistake again.” He mumbled.
“Night light? You’re still using that?”
“I did for the time being to be able to find my way around the room to watch him at night. I forgot to turn it off after watching him for a while. I think I woke him up.” He sighed, “That could have gone really wrong, but I think he’s okay.”
She stood and smiled, “Okay, well I hope you go well at the Science Fair. There’s your snack.”

A week passed by and Detle worked hard on his project – day and night. He gave up his weekend and watched his Human doing what he did for that week. Then, came the day the Human was to be taken to Detle’s school for the Science Fair; and Mr Pffed offered to take both his son and the experiment there for the whole day. Mr Pffed was a scientist and he believed that his son was onto something with the Humans from Earth – that they had changed in some way. It had been over fifty years since Mr Pffed had been to Earth with his father to conduct this very same experiment on a Human and he had offered up his notes to his son to compare the times fifty years ago compared to now.

But had they changed really?

There had been a gas leak somewhere.
I woke and found myself being peered in on by some of the most butt-ugliest things I’ve ever laid eyes on!
Where was I?
Was I hallucinating? Did something happen to me?

“Detle! The switch, you bumped it, he can see us!” Mr Pffed pointed to the tank.
“Oh no!” he turned a little red lever and the walls of the tank ghosted over again, “I hope he’s okay.” He peered inside the tank.

The landscape returned to the parched desert of the sunset I’d been photographing just outside Alice Springs. I stayed on the ground for a few more moments before getting up and picking up my camera and checking it to see if I’d taken any photos of what I had seen, “Oh crap, what in the hell is that?” I stared at the screen to find I had taken a photo of some huge stalked eyed creatures which were peering across the horizon at me. After three shots, the blue sky took over.
I put this down to ... well, I dunno.
Packing up my shit and cameras, I returned to my caravan for the day and chilled out.

“What does this lever do?” Mr Eealie asked.
“That keeps my experiment in a state of calm. He can’t see us right now, as the tank is ghosted. If he does, he’ll freak out and well, my last Human died.” He blushed, “He saw me and... it didn’t end well.”
Mr Pffed nodded, “I was there, Mr Eealie, we really did try to calm him down, but our speech isn’t the same as theirs; and we had to return him home to Earth... which is what we will do with this one.”
“Good. We don’t wish to be cruel to Humans, just study them.” He looked at Detle’s notes, compared to his father’s notes and smiled, “Very impressive that you both studied a Human and that you, Detle, has impressed me.

Today was cooler than yesterday – thank god! – and so I thought it would be good to photograph things. But after seeing ... those things... I’m not so sure anymore.
I tossed another chunk of wood on the fire and waited for it to heat up more. Rabbit stew was on the menu tonight. Sitting back in my chair, I looked out at the wavering horizon, “Yeah, this is the life – without those creepy things I saw – I could live like this forever.”

“Hey Detle, your project is on fire. There’s smoke coming out of it.” One of his friends said, “Is this okay? Is that supposed to happen?”
He turned and saw that smoke was filtering from the top corner of the tank, “Yes. I’m studying a Human out in the field. He doesn’t know he’s being studied. The smoke from his camp fire has to go somewhere.”
Mr Eealie came back from looking at all the other projects and handed Detle the large blue ribbon, “First prize, Detle. But on one condition.”
“I return the Human back to Earth unharmed.” He nodded.

Night fell and the rabbit stew was delicious! I drank a few cans of redi-mixed bourbon and cola and crashed early. When I woke to the songs of the kookaburras nearby, I realised I hadn’t heard one in a long time – over two weeks actually.
Walking out into the early morning, I saw the trees moving, heard the sound of a flock of cockatoos screeching and flying nearby. I felt as though I had been in a vacuum for the past few weeks... but I knew it was time to go home. After taking photos of some really weird things lately, I had to.

Detle and his Dad arrived home from the long intergalactic round flight late. They ordered in some food and went through the photographs the Human had taken and found that he had also taken some of them. His Dad was good enough to delete those off the Human’s camera before they left him on Earth, just outside Alice Springs, where they found him.

Besides, who would believe him?

Saturday, 18 August 2018

The Door To...

I've been gardening in the past few months; as it's Winter here in Australia. And I'm at the last bit of it where I want to add artwork to it. Well, being a writer, I thought it would be fun to make my garden a book-themed garden. Right now, I'm looking for doors... this triggered a cool story about the magical doors writers use in their works. 


We had phoned her place for the past few days and left messages on her mobile and home phone.


She hadn’t returned our phone calls.

She hadn’t been on Facebook – like she is every day.
Even her friends had been looking around for her on there and messaging her there.
But it seemed as though Therese had simply vanished from the face of the earth.  

So, here we were at her place.

We had asked her neighbours if they’d seen her lately and most of them hadn’t. The lady across the street said that she hadn’t seen the lights come on in the house for almost a week and was about to call the police, and then we showed up.
“Jeez, Mum, should we call the cops in and see what’s going on?” Eli asked.
“Yeah, good idea.” I pulled out my phone and called Policelink and chatted with them. Before long, a cruiser showed up and the police were door-knocking around taking statements and asking around about the last anyone saw my sister.
“Do you have a house key?” one of the cops asked me.
I rummaged around in my bag and pulled out a spare set of keys, “She gave them to me in case I really needed to get into her house.” glancing over to her overgrown garden and house, I mumbled, “I never thought I’d need them now.”
“Here, show me which key will open the door and I’ll do it – in case there’s something in there you may not want to see.” He offered.
I pulled out a blue tinted key, “This one opens the screen, deadbolt and front door.”
“Easy for her and you to remember.” He nodded and he walked up to the house and opened the doors, looked inside as he turned on the lights and called out her name, but he came out only moments later, “The house is empty.”
I rushed up to the door with my son, Eli by my side, looking into the house, and sure enough, her all her things were there, but she wasn’t, “Where could she be?”
“Is there something weird about her leaving?”
I turned, “She’s got a medical condition. She must take her medication every day. It’s been almost a week!”
“Mum, what about the garden... we could check in the garden. She could have had an episode.” Eli touched my shoulder, and my gut turned cool with panic.
“Oh crap.” I turned, rushing towards the back door, opened it and found the garden in its lovely and complete order – just the way she had finished it.
You see, my sister was an artist and loved having artworks in her garden every few years. And every few years, she changed them up. She didn’t throw out the last ones, she stored them away for her famous parties every now and then. But this year, she turned her garden into a book-themed one – one with all the old classics you’d have read in your youth. From Narnia to The Secret Garden, it was all there. She even had ‘The Storm Boy’ and ‘Old MacDonald’s Farm’ as well as ‘The Folk of the Faraway Tree’ ... it was all there in the garden; and it took her over a year to get it all pulled together, as some of the items were hand-made and others were difficult to find.
I turned and looked at the cop who was giving the garden a strange look, “She’s an artist and loves doing this to her garden.”
“Hey, I’ve seen worse.” He smiled, “It could have been a crappy garden filled with car bodies... now, that’d be something bad. But this? This is fantastic.”
Eli whispered in my ear, “Mum, the garden is overgrown, it doesn’t look like it’s been cared for.”
“I know.” I walked down the steps into the garden and a strange feeling overcame me – that I wasn’t alone; that I... I looked over at the side gate where Therese had installed her ‘Narnia’ gate. Looking up at the cop and Eli, I smiled, “We’ve come through the wrong door.” Before they could say anything, I rushed up the back steps, through the house and around the side of the house and found the tall dark timber of the Narnia wardrobe door.
I had no idea where she got this wardrobe door – but it took her years to find it. This piece was the last piece to be installed in this garden; and she told me it was an ‘original piece of the wardrobe from the book!’ I turned to find Eli and cop behind me, “I know what happened. But I need to get into her garage first.”
They let me past and I unlocked her garage, pulled opened the door and looked to the back, beyond the Kombi she owned and found it: the tall, dark ornate wardrobe she had bought online.
“Oh my god. That’s it.” I walked up to the enormous piece and looked at the replacement door on the front. It looked the same, but it wasn’t. Opening it with a new key, I looked inside to find it was empty – no fur coats hanging up, no mothball smell tickling my nose. Leaning forwards, I felt to the back and found the back of the wardrobe – good and solid – and knocked on it. Stepping back, I turned and Eli was next to me, frowning, as I said, “She did it. She’s used something magical to turn her garden into something really... magical.”
The cop snorted, “Magic doesn’t exist.”
Closing the door and relocking it, I turned, “You don’t understand what the mind of the writer does to items like this. Once they’ve been turned into something of magicks, and generations of readers believe in them, they turn into something of legend. This wardrobe is legendary. And Therese used its magicks to make a gateway into another universe in her garden.” I walked past the cop and my son out to the side of the house again and pulled out from the mass of key an old key to the original lock of the wardrobe, “If this works, we are going to see some wonderful shit.”
The cop started giggling nervously, “And if it doesn’t.”
“Well, we’ll still be looking for her.” I pushed key into the lock, turned it and pushed the gate open to reveal the most gorgeously made up garden I had ever seen in my life!
All the statues we had seen from the house steps before came to life and greeted us. Birds flew and the sun shone through the trees. The grass was a lush green as the sky was a vivid blue. I stepped through the gate with Eli and the cop close behind me.
“Mum, what’s going on?” my son grabbed my arm.
“C.S Lewis created a wondrous universe called Narnia; it took place when the children went through a wardrobe into that universe. However it wasn’t the wardrobe that did that – it was the door.” I looked around at my sister’s brilliant work, “Doors are brilliant things to writers.”
The cop watched as an elf raced out the gate and within feet of it, he became a statue again, “So, anything which ventures outside of this garden becomes what it was before?”
“Yes.” I looked at him, smiling, “So many writers have used doors to enter and get out of their universes... I mean, Oz is a place which had a huge variety of ways to get through to it and out of. The Secret Garden is another universe too, which uses a door to get into and out of.”
The cop walked past me as he pointed to the back fence, spotting something of interest, “Say, there’s another door – a blue gate – it’s been left ajar.”
“No! Stay close by! That...” I shouted.
He turned and smiled, “Your sister could be in there.” As he touched it, the door opened wider and a hand grabbed his, pulling him through and slamming shut.
“... could be a door to anywhere.” I mumbled turning to Eli, “Let’s get out of here.”
“But Aunt Therese, we have to find her.”
“Where? There’s the blue door to The Secret Garden. And then, there’s a mirror over there to Oz, and then there’s any number of gateways which she’s created simply because she put up that wardrobe door.” I turned and walked back to the side gate, “I’m going home, Eli, and if you know what’s good for you, you’d follow me.” I turned, hoping to see him right by my side. But as I looked around, I found my son had vanished – to where? I’m not sure, “Oh jeez, Therese, why did you do this?”

I locked the gate and pocketed the keys.

Turning around, there was another cop, “Where’s my partner?”

What was I supposed to say?