Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Meeting Place

Chuck has us working on photos from flickr.  This time I picked out a photo I couldn't download of a closed up ice cream stand called 'The Meeting Place' in Brighton in the USA... very pretty, and immediately I could hear the words of my story start up... so here it is.


I walked slowly there to the place, but there wasn’t anyone there. My feet were so sore after all that distance, even in these special shoes. And I was sure I had the right time.
Looking at ‘The Meeting Place’ I found it closed up for the day; the weekend. There was a sign on the front: ‘Closed over the weekend and Public Holiday Monday – sorry!’
Why must people put exclamation points and marks everywhere when they’re not really angry? I suppose they’re trying to make a point. Sighing, I look back where the cab was parked and found it gone.

I asked him to wait.

How was I supposed to get back home?

Sitting down, I put my handbag on my lap and start to cry.

Nobody knows I’m here, well my daughter does… kind of… she thinks I’m with the group out somewhere.
So, she won’t be worried for another four hours.
I wanted to meet my friend… my sweetheart… for an ice-cream one last time, before I …
Never mind.

It was starting to get cold when I saw another car pull up.
I hadn’t brought a cardigan with me…
The sun had gone away past those houses over the point – when were they built?
A woman was running towards me with a man, “Mum! Mum! Oh thank goodness we found you!” she’s crying.
I looked at her. This wasn’t my daughter. She had lovely long flowing blond hair. This woman had ash hair and was kind of podgy, “Who are you? And why are you calling me ‘Mum’?”
She dug around in her bag and found a photo of her from when she was around twenty, “It’s me, Elizabeth Crane. You’re my Mum.”
I looked at the photo and remember her immediately, “But you’ve …” I reach up and almost touch her hair, “Where did it all go?”
“I’m old Mum. And you’re old too. We have to get you back home.” She said standing, “Come on, on your feet.” She gently took my handbag off me and helped me to my feet and we began to walk back to the car, “How long have you been out here?”
“I don’t know. I came to meet a new man… his name is Theodore.” I loved his name, it just rolled off my tongue, “But he never showed up.”
“He sounds lovely, Mum.” She smiled as we approached the car and she opened the door for me and helped me into the car, “And I’ve seen him around, but it’s late, so let’s go and see him tomorrow.”
“Okay.” I’m thrilled my daughter knows of this wonderful man.

The next day, my daughter picked me up after breakfast with some friends and we drive off down the road from my unit complex. This time I’m in the front seat. She puts on the radio and a classic station is playing.
Elizabeth must have found this station especially for me to enjoy, “This is nice music.”
“Thank you… I’m happy you enjoy it. My orchestra did well this season.” She smiled, “I’m a conductor, remember?”
I don’t, but I nod anyway, “Oh, yes, that’s right.”
Her face falters slightly, but we’re in traffic and we drive past houses, schools, shopping centres and other places, “Do you know where we are going today?”
“Mum, I told you yesterday, I was going to take you to see Theodore Roberts. You must have been tired.” She said.
“Oh, right.” I said looking the window as we slowed down and Elizabeth pulled into the Mt Gravatt Cemetery, “What are we doing here?”
“I’d like to visit a friend of mine who passed away a few years ago.” She said, “I do it every few months.”
“That’s nice of you.” I smiled as she pulled up a tiny street and drove the car slowly along it, then stopped under a lovely oak, “Okay, we’re here.” She looked at me, “Would you like to come with me?”
“Is there a seat?”
“Yes, they ordered one to be nearby for people to sit on before they passed away.” She smiled.
“Okay, that sounds nice.”

We didn’t walk far until we arrived at a headstone with a park bench next to it.
On the bench, in a metal plate, it was scribed: ‘The Meeting Place: just for my dear love to sit and enjoy the sun’.
“There you go, Mum.” She sat me down, “A nice seat to sit on.” Turning, she walked to the headstone and placed a bunch of flowers she had been carrying – which I hadn’t noticed until now – and placed them next to the headstone, “I brought her this time. She keeps meeting you at the ice cream stand at Brighton… she’s forgetting you.”
“I’m forgetting who?” I asked looking around her.
Elizabeth turned and moved out of the way for me to see whose name was on the headstone, “Dad.” Tears welled in her eyes as she looked at me, “Mum, Dad was Theodore Roberts. He died about seven years ago, and you’ve begun to lose your memory to dementia… I’ve been making sure you have photos of everyone with you all the time – as you remember us – and current ones too, but it’s not working.”
“But my unit complex…”
“You live in a nursing home.” She pulled a tissue from her handbag, “I moved you there two years ago, and you don’t remember how much you hated me for doing that.”
“Oh… I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. You’re okay. But if you ever want to see Dad’s resting place, all you have to do is ask me and I’ll bring you to The Meeting Place… which is right here.” She held me, but I felt as though I was holding a stranger.

I turned out the light that night in my tiny room, rolled over in my bed to find my dear sweet Theodore sitting in the Easy Chair next to it.
He was smiling at me as he reached out and touched my hand: “My dear sweet Camile, it’s time to come to our Meeting Place.”
“I tried, but it didn’t work.” I said.

Leaning forward, he kissed the back of my hand, “Just close your eyes and don’t let go of my hand and we’ll go there together this time.”

Friday, 15 May 2015


Car chases are fun... there's so many in movies and there's are cool ones I can think of (like there's one in a movie called 'Drive' which I love) and there's a few great movies that are out now with car chases in them.  Well, Chuck has us here writing a car chase... 2000 words of a car chase. 


Life is funny.

Seriously it is.

But you only see the humour in it when you’re dying – taking your last breaths – at how dumb your most recent decisions have been.

Like for example, what I did in the last half hour…

The party was in full swing when I decided to leave. My girlfriend was drunk, and she was about to make a horrible decision and head home with a guy I knew wasn’t right for her… you know the type:  a player.  So, I suggested we got in the car and headed off home; and me being the designated driver, she was safe with me.

Well, so she thought.

I strapped her into the seat after I got her to throw up (no way in hell was I going to have somebody puke in my nice clean car!), got into the driver’s seat, started the car and drove off into the night to take Angela home. By the time we hit the main road, three minutes later, she was out like a light.
It was then I noticed the car behind me. It didn’t look like anything unusual; it was just another set of headlights in the night of driving on our roads.
Another party-goer heading off home.

Another cop car following me to see if I’d speed.

Another person finding their way around our city.

I never thought I’d end up driving for my life in my Astra… or putting my little car through its paces. 
As the light turned green, the car behind me didn’t give me a chance to take off properly. The driver rolled up behind me and nudged my car forwards.
I planted the foot harder than needed to get going.

He kept pace easily.

I reached down and pressed the Sports Drive button the gear stick and pushed the pedal to the floor.

The car took off.

I felt my heart pound as I felt my car pull away quickly and take off down the road!

The lights behind me retreated as my speed surprised the driver – I could see it on his open-mouthed face in my side mirror! It was hilarious! But I didn’t let up on my concentration.
I knew he’d pick up the pace… he was in a sports car.
You can really shit on those things – take them through the crapper and they’ll perform so well! – and still they’ll do whatever you want them to do.

I know.

I used to own one.

I drove my sports car into the ground.

But then, they’re designed to be driven until they fall apart.

But I drive an Opel… a German-made Holden. It’s a sweet little machine and will do exactly what you tell it.
My sweet little car has boogie… and people who can’t pick one, don’t understand how much I love my car.

I took off the Sports Drive (as it guzzles the fuel) and took over the driving properly, keeping an eye out for the sports car. It wasn’t far behind me on the empty stretch of road.
And I knew who it was too… it was that damned player who was after Angela.
Man, if he’d just let us alone, and go after some other poor drunk woman to screw, and let me take care of my friend, we’d be good.

But he wasn’t leaving me alone.

I came to a sign advising me the way to the freeway and took it.

The sports car took it too.

He was right on my tail and not backing off.

I wasn’t beginning to panic too much; as he didn’t nudge me again… just stayed behind me the whole time.
The highway was empty – after all it was around 3am, so really, who would be on it besides truck drivers and people going home from parties like us? – and so I floored it.

The sports car kept up.
Angela slept on in the seat next to me… boy she really can sleep through anything.

It was time to not go home.
I didn’t want this arsehole to know where I lived. You know how it works: you get followed home by a dickhead and they end up killing you because they know where you live, where you work and all the rest, all because you went straight home!
So, I decided to drive around and shake him.
I’ve done that before with the boys I work with – lost them in a minute.  I call it ‘being James Bond’… I’d duck down a side street, turn off my lights and park the car quietly and wait for him to vanish into the night.  He’d wonder where I am, and give up after a while… problem solved.

But I was on a highway.

There’s no side streets here.

So, I had to think more laterally to get myself out of this shit.
I checked how much fuel I had – three quarters of a tank – plenty to get me around just about anywhere I needed and back home by dawn if I had to.
I looked in the rear vision mirror and the guy was still there, but he had a worried look on his face.
Now, I was worried… why was he so concerned about me when I took away his plaything?

Was there something wrong with the car?

Was there something hanging off the car that was wrong?

Did I have fire coming out of my tailpipe (that’s a really bad thing if that happens)?

Was there something he could see in my car that I couldn’t?

My gut cooled on that last one… I hoped I wasn’t driving with more than just two passengers in this vehicle; I really hoped we were okay.
He moved his car into the lane next to me and started making hand gestures to pull over.

He had something in his hand.

That something was black and shiny.

I tried not to panic as I realised that he had a gun!
“Shit! You’re gonna kill me!” I shouted.
He dropped his weapon and pulled out a badge. At the next overhead light flying over us, I noticed it was either a cop badge or an FBI badge – I couldn’t tell which – and I started to sweat.
“Fuck… oh fuck… oh fuck!” I had to find a place to pull over and make sure it was legal; make sure I could get away if I had to… make sure he wasn’t going to kill me.
Then a hand clasped my shoulder, “You pull over and I’ll kill you.” His voice gritted in my ear.
I let out a panicked shriek, “Shit!”
“Keep on driving.” He said, “If you pull over, he’ll get me, and I’ll kill you and your pretty drunk friend.”
“How did you get into my car?”
“Through your boot… it wasn’t locked when you unlocked your car… you really should lock it.” He leaned against the back seat like he owned it fingering his knife; its blade shining dully in the alternating light of the street lights outside.
“I’ll do that in future.”
“That is if you have a future.” He said.
I looked outside and saw the sports car next to me. The cop was staying with me.
He was still worried, but he knew I was trying to think of how to get out of this shit.

The first siren sounded a few minutes later and my backseat passenger panicked.
“What the fuck!”
“I didn’t do anything! I’m driving just like you said.” Tears pricked my eyes and blurred my vision as I peed myself in panic a little (hey, my car, I can pee in it if I want… wouldn’t you piss yourself too if you had some guy car jack you? Sure you would!).
He started dodging around the backseat like a deranged puppy who’d never been outside before chanting, “Make it stop!” as he waved his huge knife around.
“Okay.” I sniffed, “No problems.”
He stopped jumping around and looked at me through my rear vision mirror, “Just what does that mean?”
“I’ll make it stop.”
My foot planted to the floor and I drove the Astra like it had never been driven.  Now, I’ve driven European cars; and they perform really well under stressful conditions. And this something I was looking forward to all night.
4am was coming up and I really tired, wanting to go home, needing to sleep and didn’t really give two flying shits if the arsehole in the back seat ended up knifing himself in the end.

But I did what I had to do to get him out of the car.

It all seemed to happen in slow motion…

The car was traveling at over 100kph…

I made sure Angela was properly buckled in…

… without warning…

…almost without a thought…

I grabbed the handbrake and pulled it up hard!

Spun the wheel around!

Braced myself for an accident…

For the air bag to go off…

The guy in the back seat was thrown around like a sack of potatoes from one side of the car to the other!

He hit one of the windows so hard it broke and blood splattered all over it. I heard a definite collection of snaps and cracks which sounded like his skull and his neck.
But just to make sure, I unbuckled from my seat and got out as the collection of police cars pulled up.
They had their guns pulled as they approached me and one of them took my arm, “Now, just sit down and be calm, miss.”
“I’m fine.” I said stumbling a little.
“No… you’re not.” She caught me as my legs gave out from under me, “He got you as soon as you pulled the brake… and you’re bleeding out.”
Like I said… life is funny… I started to laugh as they pulled him out of the car to find it was the player who was after Angela at the party, “He was after Angela at the party.”
“Yes, we know.” She said, “Now, the medics are here … just stay calm.”
“You know him?” I was stunned and groggy as darkness enclosed my world.

A heart monitor woke me from the longest sleep.
I was tired as hell and felt as though I had died.
Angela was by my side holding my hand. She looked fine, and yet scared, that was until she looked up at me, “Oh, god… you’re awake!”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” I whispered.
“Because you died out on that freeway. You lost so much blood.” She started to cry, “And what you did was wonderful. You protected me from a killer.”
“I did?”
“Yes.” She leaned down and kissed my forehead, “He’s called ‘The Player’… he plays with his victims when he catches them. If he can’t have what he wants, he stalks them until he can… and that night, he was going to kill me. But you took me away from him; so he was going to kill you instead.”
“Where is he?”
“You killed him with your driving.”
“Will I be okay?”
“Yes… and the police have let your car back home.” She smiled.

A few weeks after I returned home, I sat in my car; inspecting it, wondering when I could drive it again. However, I caught a cold feeling as I sat in the driver’s seat… looking up into the rear vision mirror, I could have sworn I saw the silhouette of somebody in the backseat with a knife in their hands…and then I hear it…

…I heard his gritty voice in my head: “Keep on driving.” 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Other Me

“Hey, wake up.” A hand shakes my shoulder in the darkness of my bedroom.
“Unnn… go away…sleeping.” I mumble pulling the duvet up over my head.
“Wake up, Annie.. it’s me … um, you… um me… Annie.”
At the sound of what she just said, I slowly pull the duvet down enough to see a dark figure standing by the bed.
My hand reaches out to the bedside lamp, switches it on and then…
“Oh my god!” I scramble up against my bedhead yanking the covers up with me, squashing the pillows out of shape.
“Keep your voice down.” She says.
I can’t stop looking at her. She’s me… I’m her… it’s a me…
Crap, “Who are you?”
“That’s going to be hard to explain.” She replies grabbing my pink dressing gown and putting it on.
It fits perfectly.
“Where are you from?”
“That’s another answer I can’t give you properly”
“I’m from your mirror.”
“You’re fucked up. I’m calling the police!” I grab my mobile, slide the code on the screen and start dialing in triple 0.  At the second zero, I look up as she sits down on the glory box at the end of my bed. It’s then I realise: exactly what are they going to do? Who are they going to arrest? Both of us are going to end up in loony bin being examined by the men in white coats. I cancel the call and put the phone down, “So, what the hell?”
She looks at me, “You should have called the police.”
My gut turns cool, “You’re a criminal.”
Smiling, she nods, “In my world, yes. But you’re not.”
“Exactly how do you do that?”
“Be the goody-two-shoes without breaking a sweat?” she asked, “Because Princess, we’re two of a kind. We have the same mind, the same thoughts and feelings and wants, needs and sometimes… just sometimes, we really want to kill that reject out there.” She looked down at her bitten fingernails, inspecting them, “Only thing is that I actually go through with those feelings… whereas you don’t.”
“I have a conscience.” I said, “You don’t care.”
She looked over at me, “I have a conscience, and I do care, but really who is stopping you?”
“Nobody, but really I want to do something with my life that means something.” I said.
She snorted, “So living in a dung-heap like this is doing something with your life?”
“It depends what you do with the dung-heap.”
“Gutless wonder.”
“I’m wondering how you got to be here… I mean, how you got to be in my world? Isn’t there a paradox thing we’re breaking – or something?” I asked.
“Oh… pussy-cat is smarter than I give her credit for.”
“Fuck you.”
She put her hand to her mouth, mocking me, “Ooohh, did little Annie Kiss-Ass say a naughty word?” she starts to laugh as I look away out the window into the darkness of the night, “You want to hit me, but your goody-goody conscience won’t let you.”
“It’s not that… I don’t want to.” I reply, “Simply because you’re not worth the broken hand. And you haven’t answered my question.”
“Yeah there’s a paradox that’s being broken … and I broke it.”
“That means it’s an intergalactic crime you’ve committed, as well as a parallel universal crime.” I tell her.
“Way to go!  You’ve been reading your Douglas Adams!” she put her hand up for a high five. But when I didn’t reach out and reciprocate, she drops her hand onto her lap, “How long have you had the police on the line?”
I smile, “The whole time.”
“How long have I got?”
“You haven’t.”
“I ought to…”
“What? Kill me? You do that, you die to, bitch. Now, take off that dressing gown nice and slow."
“What’s so special about it?”
“It’s mine.” I say as the police from her world emerge from the mirror with their uniforms on backwards, wording backwards and they order her to remove the clothing she had pick up.
The Sergeant turn to me, “She didn’t touch you did she?”
“No… she shook me awake, but only touched the duvet to do that.” I say.
“Good. We still have to make sure we are taking the right one.” He indicates for my hand. As my right hand is shown, he spots my medical bracelet, “No test needed boys, we have the right one. The criminal wouldn’t put herself through renal shutdown to avoid us.”
Struggling with the other cop, she snaps, “Don’t be so sure!”
“Believe me, you wouldn’t do it… it’s painful and you wouldn’t be worth the trouble saving.” He says.  He looks at me, “And keeping you safe is the main job here. She cannot be here again.”
“How did she get here in the first place?” I ask.
“She escaped from her cell and used the guard’s key to travel through the mirrored porthole.” He said, “If Annie there had another in a parallel universe, she would be transported directly to them; and you are hers.”
“Yin and yang.”
“Yes… but instead of male and female… it’s good and bad.”
“She’ll be in higher security, won’t she?”
He nodded, “Just to keep you and other parallel universes safe.” He waited until she was escorted through the mirror, then turned to me, “I still have to do that test.”
I put my hand out where he ran a laser over the palm, read the screen and nodded, “Okay, we have the violent one. You’re safe.”
“Thank you.”

He pointed to my Aunt Ethel’s dressing gown, “Just keep that pink invisibility cloak in the wardrobe next time. We were flat out tracking her.”

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Search History

Chuck has us doing some great imaginative work again.  This time, it's about Search Histories.  You know the type on Google?  Yep, that kind.  We have to make it up - or go on Google and type on in and see what happens.  Me?  I made one up.  
Exactly how did moving house become so complex... so much like... murder? Or is it?
Search History:
Moving house?
Real estate agents
Removal van hire
Insurance companies search
Change of address for post office
House history and how to find previous tenants
Is my house haunted?
The haunted history of my house.
Police reports of domestic disturbance
CNN and FOX news reports strange murder within house
Moving house?