Thursday, 24 December 2015

Santa's Workshop

Merry Christmas! Thought to see this Silly Season through with a Santa and Krampus Flash Fiction ... right in time for the Big Guy in the Red Suit to show. Can't beat irony...


Ever get that feeling that the life you’re living now is just all made up to keep you in line? I have for about a year now.

But that’s not the reason why I hate Christmas.

That’s not the reason why I can’t stand the sight of all the Santa Claus’ at the shopping centres asking kiddies what they want for Christmas.

I hate this time of year because I’ve worked for the very man himself… 

I knew you’d start laughing.

I work in a huge place which stunk of sickly sweet sugary foods with hundreds – no, thousands – of other children he happily call his ‘little elves’ for a long time. It didn’t matter that some of us are beginning to wonder exactly why we are all working for some old, morbidly obese man who only work for one month a year – and yet he knows everything about every kid around.
And oh, yes, his cousin, Krampus, shows up with the ‘Naughty & Nice’ list in around October. I’m tellin’ ya, that dude is fugly, but don’t tell him that, he’d only gloat about it. Santa? Well, he tries not to be too hard on Krampus – not after last year when Krampus turned him into a version of himself… yuk! Scared the crap out of all the youngest elves around the township, I’m tellin’ ya!

But … oh hang on.

I had to put a candy cane in the swear jar. I forgot that we’re not allowed to swear. I’m technically not even allowed to be writing in this diary. I just hope he doesn’t find out I’m doing this.
But he will.
And anyone who ‘turns against’ him are usually demoted to the stables; which is never good, because those reindeer aren’t as cute and cuddly as you think. Comet kicks you when you least expect it. Blitzen bites. Donna is addicted to those stupid candy canes and the rest spit, throw up and poop everywhere but the stables.

But how I ended up here in the North Pole is a complete mystery to me. And why my folks haven’t come looking for is another. Is there a blind spot that this horrible man who dresses in the same dreadful, red, smelly suit every year casts a spell and my folks suddenly forget they have a second child?
This doesn’t mean I don’t know what work is. We all work seven hour split shifts with two one hour breaks. We get paid with free accommodation, free food, free clothes (when we need it), and if we get sick (which ironically, is almost never), we have free home care doctors. But none of us are allowed to leave this place. If we do, we either disappear forever, or we go back to our families with little to no memory of what we’ve been through here.
I’ve heard some of the ones let go from here don’t survive very long out in the real world either. They end up in institutions or they try to come back here and fail… and end up dead.

I have asked to go home, but the longer I’m here for, the less I remember of my family. I think it’s something in the food that makes us forget our family and the outside world. The more I eat and drink it, the less I remember my… um… siblings and I have a mother, I think. Damn! (another candy cane for the swear jar).
This is disturbing and depressing me, and yet I can’t tell anyone. I have tried to talk to the home doctor, but he just stands there looking at me with a questioning expression on his face with his bag in his hand. I can’t tell him how much I hate this place, because he will report it back to the Big Man and he will assess the situation and…

The sharp smell of disinfectant invades my nose and eyes snapping me awake. Restraints hold my arms in place as a doctor sits by my bedside reading through my green diary with a red and white spine.
Looking up, he smiles, “Hi. Do you know where you are?”
I shake my head, “He didn’t like what I wrote, so instead of sending me to the stables with Comet and Blitzen, he sent me…” I look around and see it’s not snowing outside, “He sent me home.”
“He? Who’s he?” the man places the clipboard with my diary on top of it on the table at the end of my bed.
Tears fill my eyes as I struggle to look at him, “I can’t tell you… he’ll know, I’ll be punished with coal in my stocking at Christmas.”
“You’ve been missing for over five years, Beth. You showed up at the local police station dressed like an elf.” He said, “We’ve been trying to convince you that you’re not one, but your ears. How did your ears get that way.”
I tried to cover them, but the restraints stopped me, and I blushed instead, “We all become elfish in the end, when we figure out what has happened to us.”
“You were kidnapped.” He said, “You were taken from your local park when you were only seven years old.”
“And I’m how old now?” I ask.
“And nobody found me?” I cast a stare straight at him, “Has is ever crossed your mind why that is? And why there’s so many children who have gone missing and have never returned… and yet, nobody has found them?”
“Well, you mention the North Pole in here.”  He picked up the book.
I looked at him. I knew he had been naughty all year. I knew why I had been sent home. It was punishment in a way… I still worked for Santa, but I also worked for Krampus. I could see this man was no doctor. He was impersonating one, “You’re not real.”
“Of course I am.”
“No… you don’t understand. You’re not a doctor.”
A laugh bubbled nervously from his mouth, “How can you prove that?”

“Because, I know why I’ve been sent away from the Workshop.” Looking down, I order the restraints to let me go. As if the leather heard me, it unbuckled. Sitting forward, I pick up my diary, “I’m here to find out who’s Naughty and Nice. I don’t work for Santa anymore; I work for Krampus. And you, ‘doctor’ haven’t been nice to anyone this year.”

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Gates

NaNoWriMo... aaahhh... well, I'm not doing so hot at it right now - but I'm attempting to get my book working. Yes, I'm still plugging away at it after my car was broken into, after suffering from horrible heat stroke on Friday from a stinking hot heatwave; and yes, even when my mother landed in hospital with her heart problems (they still don't know what's going on - which is a worry). But here's the 1,000 words of 'The Angel Wars' - a continuation from 'Angel Love'... yep, I found a darker side to them wingnuts up there. 


He didn’t know what he hated more, the fact that he was stuck on Earth with the stinking mob of Humans or the that he knew someone was behind those gates.
He looked at the large padlock with Enochian engraved into it, and knew deep down that only one being could put that there: God.
“You’re gutless.” He whispered and the gates moved slightly, as though where had been a breeze where there never was one. Stepping back, Michael looked up at them as they rose up and disappeared into the cloud above him, “You’re too scared to come out here and talk to me, Father! To tell me the truth of why you threw your warriors to the wolves, without warning and without their consent, their Graces being ripped out as their wings burned painfully from their bodies! This caused such an upheaval on Earth that you brought forward an Apocalypse forward by thirty generations!”

The padlock snapped opened.

The chains rattled off and fell to the ground.

The gates opened for the Archangel to step through.

Heaven was a wasteland. He moved through the Time-Keeper’s Quarter and peered through the massive door to find The Great Hall empty of souls.  Looking up at the large Chrystaline-Opal Timepiece, Michael noticed its face was shattered stilling its hands at 5:15pm – the time of The Fall.
Tears filled his eyes as he realised that it had all been planned… the question that bothered him now was: how long did God know?
“I knew from the very beginning of placing Humans on this Earth that this was to happen, Michael.”
He turned to see him, his Father, everyone’s Father, standing behind him. It was the first time, he had met him in his long existence, and Michael wasn’t pleased nor impressed with this little, ordinary-looking man: “So, you’re him.”
“I am so sorry, my son…”
“Don’t call me that!” he snapped, “I stopped being your son when you slammed the gates of my home on my arse – and my brothers and sisters arse’s as well – and shattered the Chystaline-Opal Timepiece!”
“I wanted to be alone with my thoughts.” The older man said, “Is that such a crime?”
“You’re our creator.” The Angel growled, “Whatever happened to nurturing your Paradise?”
“Paradise?” the man’s eyes widened, “You call that war torn craphole down there a Paradise?”
“No, but they were trying. They prayed to you and us, and what did we do? Nothing. You ordered us to do nothing but listen and just be there for them! What use is that?” Michael spat. His anger began to turn the surrounding clouds dark as lightning spattered around them and thunder quickly followed. The first diamond raindrop plinked against the glass of the small room.
“So, I was supposed to just fix everything just because they complained and bitched to me about their pain and they blew each other up?” God asked, “And what of Gadreel? His crime was…”
“You saw what he did. You could have fixed it, but you didn’t!” the Angel fixed a glare on his Father who turned away from him, not wanting to know – wanting to ‘be alone’.

Michael knew it… his Father was ashamed of everything he’d ever done. It still posed the question: why?


This place was once a place of wonder, of beauty, of creatures which were just starting out.

It was his Paradise on a brand new planet.

His best work yet!

It was how he created Earth in the first place that was great. He didn’t plan this world – unlike the others – instead, just making sure he was in the right place at the right time. He was around when this planet was just settling in to the right spot as it was born, as it was cooling down, while it was still smouldering and had that brand new smell about it… he loved that smell about a new planet.

Then, he did the stupid thing and put them on it.

Them = Humans

He thought it was a good idea at the time, and they did well for a few thousand years. Then the serpent was let into the Garden by Gadreel because they wanted to know everything – and he was young, inexperienced and stupid too – and they went and overdosed on the evil and serpent seduced them with.

First it was Eve and that damned tree!

Then, Kane killed Able – he’d never known anything so dreadful in all his life! It was the very first murder – cold-blooded, calculated and mindful in all its ways – and yet, it was over the one brother who was talking to Lucifer, while the other made a deal with that Angel himself to save Able’s soul so it would come to Heaven.
Personally, that was the worse deal to make.
Kane still walked the Earth – but he was in hiding; not even God himself could find him. And the weapon forged to kill anyone or be used on his children.
He sat in The Great Library as the fires burned low. It was quiet here now there was nobody around to bother him about anything… too quiet… but he’d gone and done the one thing he’d promise himself to never do.

He thought throwing everyone out of the Garden was a good idea. But they cried and pleaded for his help. They killed each other in cold blood. They created false idols and built things to worship instead of him because he decided it was a good idea to leave them alone.
Now, he thought it was a good idea to throw his Angels out of the only home they’ve ever known and make them lose their Grace – what in all Hell was he thinking?
“Father?” Michael had followed him to The Great Library, “Do you need help with this?”
He looked up from the large, overstuffed chair, “Michael, it’s been so long since I walked amongst my children on Earth.” Tears blurred his vision as he gestured to the chair across from him for his dearest son to sit, “How to make this right?”
“Let me help you.”
The old man nodded, “I thought…”
“I know.” He reached out and touched his hand, “We could bring them all home together and make Earth better again.”
“So, what now?”
“You have to let the Angels come home – that’s the first thing.” He said.
The man looked up at the domed roof of where the diamond rain fell overhead, “But they all lost their Grace.”
“You can work with that – you created us.” Michael stood, pulling on his hand gently.
His Father cringed, “You don’t understand, son, I haven’t been on Earth since Jesus was born.”
The Angel let go of his hand, “Oh I see. Okay, if you come with me, I’ll make sure you’re safe.”
“I’m your son, it’s my duty to make sure you’re safe.” Michael replied, “I’m not leaving this place without you.”
The old man shot him a filthy look, “You’re not giving me a choice?”
“No. Your children need you. Your warriors need you. That’s all there is to it.” He said, “Come, don’t come, see if I care.” Michael walked to the door of The Great Library, opened the door and turned back to him, “But if you stay here, and they find out you didn’t come, you will be labeled a coward. Nobody will want to come home, nobody will believe in Heaven or Hell – or you.” He turned to leave, when he felt a hand on his arm.

“When do we leave?”

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Don't Fear The Reaper

Song titles are great to write to. This week, Chuck has us writing to them - but we must go with the theme of the song... mine? 'Don't Fear The Reaper' - a great 1970's song!


My eyes opened to rain on my face.

How did I come to be on the side of the road – in a ditch to be precise – amongst the dirt, mud and long grass?

Sitting up, I looked around quickly and found my car was on its roof! The beautiful metallic red had been scraped off its side by some monster and most of the windows shattered!
I wanted to be sick – my sweet ride had been totaled by somebody. Walking up to the passenger side door, I bent down to look inside as the emergency services showed up and started putting down foam and sawdust to take up the petrol and oil.
“Hey, when do I need to go to hospital? I woke up over there…” I asked one of the medics, but he turned his back on me and talked to a cop. I waited to see if he’d turn back and speak to me, but he didn’t, instead, he ran up to the ambulance shaking his head, “Call the coroner, think she’s gone.”
“Hi Amy.” A voice said behind me and I turned to see a well-dressed young woman standing next to my car, “You’ve had a really bad night, haven’t you?”
“How come nobody will talk to me, but you will.” I asked.
She put her head to one side, “You don’t know…oh no… it happened too quick for you to register.”
“Register what?” 
She shook her head, “I can’t tell you unless you admit it to yourself; and you have to remember what happened tonight as well.”
“I got dumped, that’s what happened. He proposed to me, then a week before the wedding, he fuckin’ got cold feet and made off with one of the sluts better known as a Bridesmaid.” I snapped.
“You were on your way home from his place, right?”
“His parent’s house.” I corrected her.
“That’s right. Then?”
“Then what? I woke up over … there.” I pointed to the ditch I found myself in, “But how did I get there?” I turned to find she was gone, “And who were you?”
I had to remember what happened tonight and what happened to my sweet car. 

I started to cry.

“She died on impact.” The voice echoed through the morgue. This place was creepy on television shows; you have no idea what it’s like to actually see one up close and personal – especially when they’re carving up your own body and you’re watching on.
“Oh, dear, an Engagement ring.” A Medical Examiner pulled that rock off my finger and placed it in an envelope, “I bet it all went south and … no we can’t assume about people’s lives. Was there alcohol involved?”
Her assistant looked at the chart and read the results, “No. She hadn’t been drinking; but the other driver was way over the limit; and they’re in theatre right now.”
“What a shitty way to go.”
“Amy, are you ready to go?” the young well-dressed woman was back.
“Where did you go?”
“I had … other things… to take care of first.” She looked at the two Medical Examiners, “I see they’re doing their best with your body.”
“Yes.” I replied in a small voice.
“Don’t worry, you’ll look good at your service.”
“Where is she?” Matthew’s voice screamed from the hallway, “Oh my God! Don’t tell me that Amy’s dead… she can’t be!” he barged into the room and stopped. His face was contorted with grief, disbelief and horror as he caught a glimpse at what they were doing, “No! No! Not my sweetheart!” he fell to his knees sobbing.
“He really did love me.” I watched him wishing I could hold him again, wishing I could kiss his lips and take in his scent. But all I could do was stand next to him feeling useless and stale. I turned to the woman, “Get me out of here.”

The cemetery wasn’t where I wanted to be; but my family was standing around watching a casket being lowered into the ground as the sun touched the trees in the early morning.
“It was a closed casket because your head injuries were too severe.” She whispered in my ear.
“Oh…I see.” I muttered, “I didn’t want to be here.”
“We all attend our funerals; it’s a type of closure.”
“Who are you?” I asked looking at her.
“You don’t know?”
I shook my head.
“I’m surprised you haven’t figure me out yet… you’re a smart person, Amy.”
“I don’t understand why you can see me and nobody else can, are you my guide?”
“Oh, sweetheart, I’m not your guide. You meet them after you’ve been through me.” She smiled, “But I do notice that you’re scared of me.”
“What are you?”

“I’m here for you, Amy… I’m your Reaper.” 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Emmett's Little Secret

This time around, Chuck has us writing X meets Y of Horror meets Not-So-Horror... this should be fun - in more ways than one!


My neighbour has a secret.

I’ve noticed him as he’s come home every night from work, called out to his wife – Astrid – had dinner, then retired to his garage until around midnight.
I know he did this because the light from his garage shone through my bedroom window well after I turned out my light and went to bed.
On Friday nights, while I studied further into the night, I’d take breaks out on the roof and watch, listening as he worked away in that dark green garage; and noticed one thing: the two cars were never kept inside it.

The doors were always closed.

The two family cars were always parked outside on the driveway.

I watched him for about three months before we got our first decent thunderstorm and he eagerly arrived home, clambered up on the roof of the garage as the wind picked up and made sure the tall shining wires were connected right.
He was drenched by the time he climbed down – as he’d neglected to put on a raincoat – and he stood out there in the pouring rain and wind grinning up at those wires as though he had invented them. Within a few seconds, he’d run inside the garage and fiddle with something and I knew he was waiting.
For what I wasn’t sure, but I waited in my room watching on as the lightning came closer and closer.
But storm passed over and the closest the lightning came was the footpath outside. It left a large, black stain on the concrete about three feet across, which faded over the next three months to a light grey and kids played marbles on it.
He was disappointed about where it had made landfall; and just seemed to stare at the black stain on the concrete as I checked the letterbox the next afternoon.
Then, he looked over at me, “Hi there.” His voice was kind husky and loud for somebody so young; as though he was a little deaf and had to shout to make up for it, “How are you?”
I looked around to see if he was talking to me, then back at him, “I’m good.”
“I’ve noticed you’ve been watching me… would you like to see what I’ve been making in my garage?”
I hesitated, “Um… I don’t know you.”
Slapping his forehead as he burst out laughing, he stepped across the road hurriedly, thrusting his hand out, “I’m Emmett.”
“Hi… Amy.”
Glancing at the letterbox, he spotted our last name, “Pond.”
“Indeed.” I smiled, but couldn’t keep it as he rushed across the road to his house, then turned, “Well, Amy, are you coming or not?”

Stepping inside the garage, I found the place crowded with instruments, a couple of large tables, a huge telescope (which protruded through the roof here – and yet it didn’t show on the outside) and then there was a blue police box in the middle with its doors open and wiring feeding from inside it.
Curiosity got the better of me as I stepped toward it and looked inside where my eyes followed the wiring to a huge circular desk which seemed to be the epicenter of this thing… and yet, the box was bigger on the inside than the outside… and yet the garage had the same perimeters.
“Impressive, isn’t it?” Emmett mused as he proudly looked around his garage.
“Which one? Your garage or the box?” I asked.
“Both, Amy, both!” he answered as he seemed to remember something and rushed across to the bookcase, scanned the books, muttered, “Ah-ha!” and pulled a book down from the shelves and came back to me, “I assume this is yours?”
I took the book from him and looked at its red cover. It was a book I had lost years ago at school – somebody had stolen it from my locker in high school, “Where did you get this?”
“From the kid who stole it off you.” He said, “Did you know he had a crush on you and wanted to own something of yours?”
“Oh… no. But I love this book.” I still wondered how he got it, “How did you get it off the kid at the exact time he was stealing it?”
“That, my dear, is hard to explain.” He grinned that same grin I saw when the storm was on – he was nuts on toast.
“Thank you.” Turning, I started toward the door, “I better go home, I have to study and give Mum the mail.”
“We have another storm in a few days.” He said, “I hear you’re good at science.” He walked me home.
“Yes, I’m okay at it I guess.”
“Well, how would you like to be part of an experiment – a witness if you will?” Emmett’s eyes glowed with hope, “I just need an assistant.”
“It’s for the next storm, isn’t it?”
“Yes… I need somebody to help me with my secret.”

The storm didn’t strike when we had hoped; it went around our suburb instead. Emmett was disappointed. But then I was too – I loved storms as they’re great entertainment.
This gave Mum and Dad time to meet Emmett and get to know him as a neighbour, as well as his wife, Astrid. They came over for dinner, where we found out they were from all over, traveling for work and wherever they wished to live. Dad thought it must have been a great joy to be able to pick up sticks and move at a moment’s notice, and Emmett smiled and said it was. They seemed happy and wonderful and lovely. Both sets of adults talked well into the night, but I had to head off to bed – being seventeen sucked. I was part adult, part child; and yet still had to do what my folks told me to.

Soon, the Summer storms arrived along with the heat. It was great to be able to feel the storms coming, predicting them with such accuracy that Emmett and I were ready for the lightning when we needed to record it.

Well, that’s what he told me I was doing.

Then, Astrid went missing.

The police searched everywhere for her. Emmett was beside himself as the neighbourhood rallied around him in support to help him find his beloved wife, soulmate and companion. They were such a wonderful pair; so old-fashioned and retro-looking and yet so cool that everyone loved them from the start. Eventually, Emmett went back to work on his secret in his garage.
“I can’t see why you can… Astrid was such a big part of your life.” I said at the door as he begged me to come back.
“I need to keep working in her name… please I need you there.” He said, “My work will keep me sane.”

The next day – around midday – a storm struck.

It was massively wonderful!

Day turned to night.

Thunder rolled as though the world was engulfed in a drum solo in the darkened, broiling clouds overhead.

Emmett was in his element as the readings came through – and the strikes came closer and closer.
All my study at school was really beginning to pay off as we looked up at the glass ceiling at the flashing, darkened sky and he threw the switches and the wires entering the blue box in the garage started to hum.
“Now, be careful… they’re all live, okay, Amy?” he shouted above the thunderclaps.
Next, the box began to glow from within… a soft green, then it turned blue and it made a sound as though it was going to feedback on itself before it vibrated and a sound of woman’s voice came from the box. It wasn’t before long when I recognized that voice: it was Astrid’s!
He turned grinning, “What?”
“Astrid’s inside the box.”
He looked over and nodded, “I know. I put her there.”
“You what?”
His huge grin told me everything I needed to know – Emmett had lost his marbles in the biggest possible way, “I put her there… and then called the police and told them she was missing. I mean, it didn’t take much to put my wife into the machine – I mean she’s dead anyway. It’s just a matter of juicing up the machine and getting her going again.”
My gut did a backflip, “Dead?”
He walked across toward me, reaching over the top towards a shelf and grabbing a pair of heavy-duty gloves and pulled them onto his hands, “Why yes… I needed a freshie to get things going.”
I stared at him: “Freshie? How come you’re using that word as though you’ve done this before?”
“Oh, come now, this can’t be your first rodeo… can it?”
“The worse thing I’ve done is dissect a frog; and I was just about the only person in the class who didn’t regurgitate their lunch.”
Emmett hesitated, “Oh, I see… so you’ve never seen a dead body before – a real one. I can show you her if you want.”
“No… I’d rather remember her the way she was… please.”
“I thought you had more guts than this.” Looking me up and down, a smile carved its way across his cheek, “Actually, we can find out if you do…”
Outside the storm had doubled in fury and I just wanted to get home; but knew I couldn’t leave just yet – it was too dangerous to run across the street.

But his house was close enough.

I raced out the garage door – just dodging out of his grasp – and into the howling storm outside, getting drenched in a few seconds. I knew where the door of the house was and raced toward it; totally surprised that it was open.
Once inside, I stood there dripping wet for moment, leaving the two monsters behind me – one human, one Mother Nature – before I took a step into the kitchen and could smell it: decay. This filtered into the back of my nose and I couldn’t get rid of it as I gagged into my hands and looked around trying to figure out where that stench was coming from. And it wasn’t long before I found it: there were three people sitting in the living room propped up as though they were watching television; but yet it wasn’t switched on.

It was the Parkinson’s.

They hadn’t been seen in about three months.

Emmett and Astrid told everyone they had moved away.

But I don’t remember them moving anywhere… they would have told everyone.
“Oh my God… he killed you all.”
“That’s right, I did, Amy.” Emmett’s voice came from the kitchen behind me as the door closed out the other monster outside. His snide grin was still on his face, “And now, the blue box is alive… Astrid survived the experiment and is part of it. She’s its soul power source. But there is one little problem.”
I hated to ask: “And that is?”
He slowly picked up a meat cleaver, “You’ve now seen far too much.”

Monday, 12 October 2015

The Trilogy

Okay… I was hoping to write ‘Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter’ as a series of short stories – say 5 or so per book – and keep the reader hunting and waiting for more. But with the public mind the way it is, it’s best if I puked up the whole lot of chapters into 15 – 20 chapter books and see where it all took me. I didn’t plan these books – as when I do plan things they never work out, or I get blocked something rotten in my writing. So, my writing is often something that just flows out of me and is very unplanned and so lends to being as flexible as possible.

The Trilogy

Fry Nelson is a man who’s just woken from a 5 year induced coma. He works for ‘The Company’ and the year is around 2050… Brisbane, Queensland, Australia is a very different place as it travels into the 21st Century.

Fry’s life hasn’t been easy. But he doesn’t remember the past five years as he recovers from his long sleep in the deepest basements of ‘The Company Private Hospital’ where the doctors and the best of the best programmers, Paul Andrews, has been working him day and night to get his mind working again.
Sitting by Paul’s side is Angelina Harrison – the CEO of ‘The Company’. She is a tough as balls woman whose age can’t be judged by anyone and yet is the best person to have by your side when the shit hits the fan. Angelina built ‘The Company’ from the ground up with her own money, her own business sense and without pulling in any Government assistance – not that she needed any.
She’s been working with Paul to make sure Fry is working well… better than well… working exceptionally. She wants him back out into the world doing what he does best – the crap nobody else wants to do, because he’s good at it.

However, not everything goes to plan.

As Fry arrives back home, his programming nearly kills him… people who he doesn’t know – doesn’t remember – from his old life are out to kill him and anyone he becomes close to, and as he does start remembering aspects of his old life, he finds out things he wishes he could bury forever; but the more he tries to ignore these things, the more important they become to him finding out about exactly who he is, where he’s from and where his life is going to end up – and why does Angelina Harrison take such a massive interest in his life when an employer normally doesn’t?

This is just book one... books two and three become more exciting and delve deeper into the characters, secondary characters and bring them all together in such a way that not even I saw what was coming in the end...  

Saturday, 3 October 2015

London Calling

This week, Chuck has us talking about what has happened to us in the past. We have to tell a story about something that's happened in our lives. I considered a violent one - but then remembered a good one from when I was traveling on my own in 1997 at the tender age of 23...


“Are you sure you don’t have another shirt in your bag?” Melvin’s voice echoed in my head from twenty minutes ago as I stood at the elaborate counter of The Forum Hotel in South Kensington, London. The young lady across from me was tapping away at the keyboard while she glared at my William Wallace t-shirt I had bought in Scotland; and I proudly wore – tourist or not – as I’m Scottish decent and loved the huge word spread across the top: ‘FREEDOM!’
She sniffed at me as I approached the counter. I had lost my paperwork and told her that my room had been paid for before I had come into the country – before and after my seventeen-day tour of the UK, Scotland and Wales (and what a tour it had been!).
“I’m sorry, this computer just cr- isn’t working… one moment.” She forced a smile, picked up her notebook and walked away to the other side of the desk area.
I checked my watch, timing her. I do this when I’m traveling because it’s all in the timing of hotels and in the hospitality industry… the faster they get you into your room, the happier you are as a customer.

Two minutes had passed… going onto three.

Something was wrong.

A portly, important-looking man walked past and I noticed his suit was an Armani, the same type my boss wore to big business meetings, “Excuse, me sir!” I called out and he turned smiling (this was a genuine  smile of ‘Yes? How can I help you?’ his eyes sparkled too, very nice!), I paused, “That is a lovely tie, I must say… Armani suit?”
He flushed with importance, his smile spreading as he straightened his tie and pressed it to his chest self-consciously, “Yes, it is, how did you know?” his lovely accent was from around Liverpool, same place my Grandfather was born.
“Oh, my boss wears those lovely suits, and the cut is obvious.” I say.. well, okay, the last bit was fib, but how was he to know? “I need to ask you a question about my room, please.”
“Of course.” He looked at the computer, “Is this your name here?” and he read out my name to me, with me confirming it as I rummaged around in my money belt and found my papers to my reservation – finally! As I looked at him, I found he was frowning.
“Is there a problem?”
“Well, yes… your room has been canceled, which is impossible seeing you have paid for it – in cash – in Australia. We are not allowed to cancel prepaid rooms.” He looked at me, “Who served you?” I pointed out the young lady who was now flirting with some Greek God at the other side of the desk area and totally ignoring me, hoping I’d go away and he called her over, “What is the meaning of this? You can’t cancel her room!”
“Well,” she pouted, “Just look at what she’s wearing!”
“I don’t care what she’s wearing.. it’s a cotton t-shirt with a transfer on it of William Wallace on it!” he thundered at her, “And if you cared to look at her hair and complexion, you’d figure out that she’s Scottish decent!”
“But, sir…”
“No… now, I have fix this… as for you? You’re services are no longer required here at The Forum Hotel.” He put his palm out, “Name tag please.” She started to cry as she unclipped it from her dress, “And have the uniform dry-cleaned before sunrise tomorrow morning. You will not have a reference from here… there is no room for racism in the hospitality industry.” He turned his back on her and she walked away.
I was stunned, so I didn’t say anything. Turning around, I saw Melvin sitting across the foyer gawping at what just happened – the bus driver was next to him with a similar expression.
I turned back as the manager regained his composure and tried to get my room back, but shook his head, “I’m sorry, Ms. Parker, I’m unable to get your room back. Your entire floor has been booked out by a politician and his entourage… the man himself is staying in your room.”
I blinked slowly, “Well, it’s a nice room… has adjoining doors and a lovely view of the park.”
He smiled, “It does.” He kept working on the computer, “Okay, I found you a room… you don’t mind heights?”

The door opened on the seventeenth floor. It was a nice room, I guess. I had a Queen-sized bed with a lovely bathroom with extra towels. The bell-hop took my backpack and suitcase into my room and opened my window for me. I tipped him ten pounds (I’m lousy at maths, so gave him what I thought was good).
“Wow! Thank you, Ms Parker. If you need me again, here’s my card.” He handed me his card, “Have a good evening.”
“I will. Thank you.”
He handed me my door card and walked away grinning as I closed the door.

First thing’s first: a hot shower!

I joined in the dinner line, only to have somebody come along with a clipboard and pull me out and take me to my own table where I had my own menu, my own food and my own waiter (he just stood there waiting for me to burp or cough or … do something he could clean up, it felt weird). Friends I had made on the tour came over and asked if I was going okay, I told them what happened that afternoon and they invited me over to their table. I asked my waiter to move my meal to my friends’ table and it took three waiters to do just that – and then I asked if my friends could have desserts on whatever’s going on with me (which I was still wondering about).

The answer was: Yes!

When I talked to the head waiter, I asked what was going on, he said I was getting ‘The Rock Star Treatment’. Mints on my pillows, extra towels, my own waiters at mealtimes and I didn’t have to pay for my meals for my last night there… best of all… late check out! And even better: this hotel has promised me a discount the next time I visit there. This happened in 1997, and even though the place changed its name, this still rings true. Amazing how far 6-star hotels go to keep their customers happy.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

I Am Not Alice

Last Week, Chuck got us to make up a title each... and we posted it on his site in the comments section. This week, we get to pick out somebody else's title and use it. I had my pick of three I really liked...but I loved Tabitha Beth's title. The first few lines started up in my head and the story just led me along from there!


They keep on calling me that name.


But that’s not who I am.

I woke up in this cell this morning looking around not knowing how I got here, or why, and now some people came and bailed me out.
They were so disappointed in me, wondering what the hell had gotten into me to make me do what I did.

The problem is: I don’t know what I did either.

So, I’ve kept quiet. Stayed this way until they took me home – and what a home it is!
A mansion set back from a quiet street with a long winding driveway. A lot of land surrounds it and it seems that Alice is from a privileged background.
Looking down at my hands, I see I’m dressed in Chanel and my shoes are Prada – only brands I had wished I could afford – and I start trying to remember what happened the night before.
‘Alice! We’re talking to you!’
It’s dinner time, and the mealtime talk has been boring so I’ve taken a great interest in what we’re eating – lobster. For some reason, I know I can’t eat this as I’m allergic to it, so I pick at it.
‘Oh, um… sorry.’
‘Aren’t you hungry?’ my Mother asks.
‘Yes, but I’m allergic to lobster.’ I answer honestly.
‘No you’re not.’ Dad says, ‘Eat.’
I take a bite and almost immediately I can feel the hives start up all over. Just before I pass out, I hear them screaming for an ambulance.

‘I’m not sure what happened.’ The doctor’s muffled voice says from the corner of the room, ‘Alice seems like your daughter, but for some reason, she’s also not your daughter.’
‘She’s been acting strange since we picked her up from the police station two days ago.’ Dad says, ‘She’s been wandering around the house as though she’s never been there before.’
‘There is a scam going around at the clubs lately; and it’s not pretty.’ The doctor’s voice fades as I fall asleep again.
I wake up again to a nurse by my bed. She notices me and smiled, ‘Hi. What’s your name?’
‘They call me Alice.’ I say, ‘But I am not Alice.’
‘Okay… what’s the name you know yourself by?’ she asks.
I feel a smile creep onto my face, ‘I go by many names… you can pick one if you want.’
She shuffled in her seat, ‘Okay… I don’t know what you’re talking about, but give me a name to call you by.’
I look straight into her eyes and see her depression, feel it eating away at her being masked by anti-depressants. Leaning over, I take her hand gently, ‘I am the dragon you’ve locked out of your mind.’
Her demeanor falters and she rises quickly, leaving the room. I hear a sob escape her throat just before the door closes.

That felt good… I make myself comfortable as the door opens and the doctor walks in. I spot behind him the nurse on the floor with blood pooling at her feet and a pencil protruding from her neck as people scream… the door closes… shutting out the sound.
He looks at me, wondering who the hell I am, ‘What is your name?’
‘They call me Alice.’
‘You caused my best nurse to kill herself by just talking to her.’ He said, ‘What is your name?’
‘I have no one given name…’ I said, ‘And I didn’t cause her to do anything she wasn’t going to do in a week or two. I just got her to cut to the chase. You do know she was popping anti-depressants, right?’
Frowning, he takes a seat by my bed where the nurse sat, ‘No I don’t.’
‘She was right on the edge… so she prescribed herself…’
‘We’re talking about you, not her.’
I smile, ‘Right, because you want to know all about me.’
Like the nurse, he shuffles in the seat, feeling uncomfortable in my presence, ‘Who are you?’
‘I am the dragon, the keeper…’
‘…of souls.’ He finished.
‘You are not a doctor.’ I grin, ‘I shoulda smelled you right away.’
He stood, removed the lab coat that told me he was playing the doctor’s roll and revealed who he was, ‘Now, we can help you.’
‘There’s more than just you I have to kill?’ I slide off the other side of the bed, pulling out the IV’s as I go, ‘I’m happy in this body, she strong, she won’t die easy – not like the other one.’
‘Other one?’ he asks.
‘Why do you think I jumped bodies?’
‘Oh man, she was dying.’
‘Stupid Hunters. All you think of is killing things… you don’t think we want to live on.’
‘But she’s got a family.’
‘Yeah, and they’re loaded… wait until my family hears; and they’ll be jumping bodies just to inherit their fortunes.’ I smile at him, ‘That’s how we survive.’
‘But I’m not a Hunter.’ He says.
‘Says you.’
‘I’m not.’ He walks towards me, ‘I’m your cousin, a Firedrake.’  He quickly reaches out to me and I hear and feel the difference between a Human and my Dragon family, ‘Now, I can get you out of here, but it’s going to be hard with your family standing by, Alice.’
‘My name isn’t Alice.’
‘Well, you’ll just have to play her for a while.’ He says, ‘And stay away from the seafood.’
‘I tried to, they made me eat it.’
‘Trust me, I’ll get your true family working with this one… you’ll all be together again.’ He says.

It’s been three weeks and one by one, the Human family I chose have all be switched into my Dragon kin. It didn’t take much; just a night out here and there and my family slowly showed up in the mansion.

First it was my brother, Daniel, who was swapped over. I first noticed him at breakfast one morning. He looked up over the pile of croissants in between us and smiled at me. It was so good to see him again! It wasn’t until afterwards that we met up at the stables and talked.
‘How long until the rest of the family join us?’ I ask.
‘Another week or two.’ He says, ‘Our cousin at the hospital is working on it.’

‘Good.’ I smiled, ‘Soon our kin will take over all the rich Human families throughout the world, turning them into Dragon-kind. We will live again.’