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PJ Greystoke Author, sleepTalker 2, The Room 2. Horror story, psychological thriller. Available now on Amazon

Actually in June. One of the stories ‘The Room’ in the original SleepTalker raised a lot of questions about the stalker. The sequel delves into his rather disturbing backstory. Here is a wee snippet:

The Room 2

Back When Sophie Was Alive

What is it about staring into another person’s eyes that makes them feel like you are a threat, like you – given the chance – would gladly reach into their chest, tear away the paper flesh, pull out their still beating heart and take a bite?

It would taste so good.

She’s scared. I can tell.

I feel the adrenaline rush whenever I’m near. Her pupils enlarge. Her smile, forced to hide the fear.

But I know.

I can tell.

It’s not as though she’s my real mother anyway.

My real mum died.

Dad used to take me hunting when I was younger.

My real dad that is.

We started with rabbits.

Dad had vegetables. Turnips and carrots and well, you know what vegetables are. He had turned our garden into a sort of allotment after mum died.  Got rid of the tree with the swing on it and dug up the whole thing.

He hated the rabbits though. They used to come in and eat what we grew. We stayed awake at night with dads pellet rifle poking through my open bedroom window just waiting for the ‘scruffy little bastards’ to show their stupid faces.

First, he taught me to shoot, then to go down when the gun didn’t finish the job. Twisting the neck was the fastest way.

I still remember the first one. Lying there, bleeding next to a half-eaten carrot. It was desperately trying to get up, frantically waving its front paws as I walked up the garden path toward it. I had a shovel in my hand. Dad told me that the kindest thing would be to cave its head in.

I stood over it and dropped the shovel.

There was something in her eyes. She had stopped struggling and just stared at me. There was a moment of pure understanding. She knew that her life was in my hands. I picked her up, placed my quivering hand around her tiny neck and very slowly started to squeeze. She didn’t even struggle.

It was almost as though she knew that her life’s destiny was to help me realize my own.

We ate her that night. I skinned her and chopped the body parts.

I felt like a God.

I kept the eyes.

***

Sophie was afraid of the dark.

Her father couldn’t bear to see his little angel cry so kept the light on in the hallway at night.

It was wrong. He knew it was wrong. His years of training told him it was wrong. The words ‘Classic Avoidance’ rang out in his mind every time he flicked the switch and kissed his daughter goodnight.

On the rare occasion that he did wake in the early hours, turn the light out and go back to bed he’d hear his daughters’ feet pitter patter across the hallway. The landing light would shine once again, through the crack at the bottom of his bedroom door.

It made him smile.

***

Do you think life has its own heartbeat?

I do.

Like a symphony.

All of the instruments meandering through their lives. Obliviously providing rhythms, melodies and counter melodies.  Some going fast, some slow. Some weak some strong. If you listen carefully enough you can hear a single over riding pulse – a heartbeat.

You probably can’t. It takes a special person to be able to hear that.

A conductor.

To keep the symphony going. To know when instruments should be allowed to sing and when others have reached their full potential and are permitted to die.

***

Sophie was a caring girl, perhaps too caring. She could see the good in anyone. She believed that a person’s natural state was one of peace and love and it was a harsh environment that changed people into the less than desirable creatures that brought destruction and pain upon others.

There’s a guy moved in next door. Same age as my daughter. He’s in some of her classes at school. He’s an orphan, I think. The rest of the kids think he’s some sort of freak but not my Sophie.

She’s made a beeline for him. Anything for the hard luck cases in life.

***

I remember when my mom – My real one – tried to stop me from seeing Dad. She got some sort of sick pleasure from torturing him. All he wanted was to see me, to take me for the weekend.

Dad was gutless. Wasn’t his fault. Just who he was. She said jump and he’d cry.

“You’ve done it now Pete.” She’d say. “You can kiss goodbye to seeing your son this weekend.”

Dad argued but whatever mom said went. And after a few choice words dad went right out the door.

The last time, after mom came back in from smoking a cigarette in the garden, she sat me down and told me what a waste of time Dad was and how he didn’t want to see me.

I was ten – Not stupid.

I smiled and made her a special hot chocolate which she gratefully drank.

I expected her to shout and violently thrash about but she just slept.

She never woke.

***

If you want to read the original story before SleepTalker 2 comes out, you can still buy SleepTalker on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/SleepTalker-P-J-Grey…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Coffee Shop Girl 2

Kay

“I put this… here?”

“Oh god!” He can’t be doing that. “Mr Snaggles, please put that table down.”

“Is ok, I help. You want it in shop?”

“No, no.” He’s not going to change his mind, is he? “Oh, yes thank you in shop would be fine.”

“Is good. I help Kay.”

Yea, you help Kay get fired if the boss sees you lifting that.

“That’s wonderful thank you.”

“You want I lift chairs inside too?”

“No! I mean no that’s fine I can manage. Goodbye Mr Snaggles.”

“I bid you the goodnight.”

“Thank you, I bid you the goodnight too.”

Right six o clock. Do the chairs, mop the floor, sort out the register and then I’m home. What’s that? Oh no, Cynthia has left her handbag; she does tend to focus all of her attention on her food when she sits down. You’d think I worked in a soup kitchen, the speed and enthusiasm with which she eats. I’ll just pop it in the back office and…

“Hello Kay dear.”

I spin around.

“Cynthia, hello. Come for this?”

I pick up the brown leather handbag and pass it to her. She embraces it. I don’t think her children live with her anymore, still all the same, that’s a little bit too much love for a bag.”

“You missed it then?”

“Got all the way to the bus stop I did. Then Bill, that’s the bus driver, lovely man – well he asks me for my pass and I …”

Silence.

What a strange place for her to stop talking. Should I wait for the old brain cells to reconnect or shall I finish the sentence for her?

Nope still nothing.

“…You looked down and found that you didn’t have your handbag?”

“Cynthia?”

She’s just staring at me, tilting her head to one side and grinning so much you’d think she’d slept with a hanger in her mouth.

“Cynthia, you’re freaking me out a bit luv.”

“Hello Kay.”

That’s not Cynthia’s voice.

“What are you doing inside Cynthia’s body?”

My heart is beating twenty to the dozen. It’s been a good six months since the Grim Reaper tried to take me. Six months since my dead brother rescued me from him, and now…

“Aren’t you scared?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Good.”

“Why?”

“You don’t sound as scared as the first time we met.”

That’s because I’m putting on a brave face and voice. Still, the Grim Reaper should know that, shouldn’t he? He can see inside me, or at least he could.

“Well I am scared. Your reputation is secure.”

Silence again. Don’t know how much of this I can handle. Well say something Captain Creepy!

“So what … what do you want with me?”

“Then I looked down and found, oh deary me, my bag. I’d left it in Kay’s coffee shop. That or the bank, but I hoped not, I mean the bank is closed now and…”

“Cynthia! You’re back!”

I throw my arms around her then let her go and step back.

“Sorry about that Cynthia. Are you ok?”

“Oh yes, I’m fine dear, now that I have my, you know.” She pats her bag then walks out of the shop and into the pouring rain.

The pouring rain.

I don’t have my umbrella. Maybe I die of a cold on the way home, maybe I step into a seemingly innocent puddle and the Loch Ness Monster is patiently waiting inside to announce to the world that he’s real and… hungry.

Maybe I have no idea what’s going on.

The only thing I’m sure of is that this isn’t the last I’ll see of him.

Ok, just hang in there Kay, clean the shop, do the tills, walk home… avoid puddles.

I’ll put the radio on, anything to take my mind off – him.

A bit radio four, some comedy that’s what I need, comedy.

Hello Kay, death here. Our conversation was cut a little short earlier.

“What, you’re on the radio now? I was looking for a comedy show.”

If I’d stayed in Cynthia any longer I would have had to perform my duty and take her to the land of the dearly departed.

“That’s not funny.”

Except I couldn’t if I wanted to.

“Ok, getting funnier.”

You see, I’m dying Kay. I have been here for an eternity and never in that time have I ever failed in my duty, that is until your brother stepped in and pulled you back from my side.  

“What was it you said to me last time? Not my problem!”

Consider it Kay. A world without death. Right now, in Western Australia a site foreman has just been decapitated. He should be dead, but no; his head is confused and dizzy and rolling down a hill – about to scare little five-year-old Suzie by joining her in the family paddling pool. Not quite the beach ball she’d asked for.

“Gross, and still not my problem!”

And his body is running around, wondering who turned the lights out.

“Yea not to mention his builder buddies who probably think they’ve woken up in sleepy hollow. Still not my problem Mr Reaper. Look, I don’t get you. Six months ago, you want me dead and now you’re dying and you come back and want what?”

Your life.

“What? No!”

Please Kay. If you don’t then…

I can’t believe it, the Grim sodding Reaper is asking me, asking me to willingly jump into his little boat and ride to the river sticks. Wait a minute, if he’s asking that means he can’t force me.

“If I don’t’ then there’s not a damn thing you can do about it is there?”

No

“Then go screw yourself. What exactly is my motivation here?”

You’re listening to radio four comedy hour, now for another thrilling instalment of The Archers.

 

Back Home

Kay

“Mummy!”

“Hi Munchkin. Have you been good for grandma?”

A hug from my little man. He can’t understand how welcome that is right now.

“I made poo.”

I’m so proud.

“That’s lovely.”

If not disturbing.

“Where’s grandma?”

“In the kitchen putting my poo on the fridge.”

God, I hope he’s not being literal.

“Hey Mum.”

The customary embrace and kiss on the cheek.

“Hello love. Seen what your son has been up to? He wanted it put up on the fridge so you could see it when you came in.”

Oh, Winnie the Pooh. That’s a relief.

“That looks lovely, though he has three ears.”

“Don’t get me started. He insists that he needs the third as a spare in case of a honey emergency. Are you ok love?”

Nope, the Grim Reaper is back and he’s after my blood.

“Yea I’m fine mum, just been a long day; ironic how people go to a coffee shop to relax and unwind, yet the people who spend the most time there, i.e. me, are the most stressed. I’ll be fine.”

I hope.

“Of course you will. Well, I’ll have to get going or your father will be getting the party poppers out, thinking I’ve been abducted by some man in a big black cloak and carrying a scythe.”

I glare at my mum.

“Don’t say that. Don’t ever say that!”

I practically run toward her and hold her in a tight embrace. I’m nearly crying. Pull yourself together Kay.

“Hey, I’m not going anywhere.”

She stops to think.

“Well I am, I’m going to your fathers but I’m not ready to push up the daisies just yet. Besides I’d miss this young man too much.”

She picks up Logan and he starts trying to draw glasses on her face with a crayon.

“Sorry about before.”

I fumble for an explanation.

“Just been a long day.”

Good explanation, non-committal, doesn’t need much in the way of clarity.

I watch from my upper flat window as she walks out the front door and toward the bus stop. Night is creeping in fast. A single street lamp flickers on giving just enough light for her to find her way home in the pouring rain. I worry, her traveling back on nights like…

Who’s that? I didn’t notice him before.

The man standing under the lamp.

He looks like an elderly auditionee for the phantom of the opera. He’s tightly clutching onto a long cane. I can imagine, if it were removed that he would tumble over and drift away on the tide of rainwater that leads down the street and into the gutter.

My heart rate increases as I try to look at his face, which is shadowed under the cover of darkness. I now know exactly who it is, and want to go out and remove the bloody stick! Instead I close the curtains and go into the sitting room to be with my son.

“Hello baby, did you have a good time with Grandma?”

“Baby?”

Asleep on the couch, perfect; If that’s not quality I time, then I don’t know what is. Well, I don’t have the energy to make any food.

T.V. then fall asleep next to him I think.

Brad and Angelina in a car crash and being rushed to hospital. The dude on the telly doesn’t sound too hopeful that they are going to pull through. I thought they split anyway. Still a shame I loved those two.

One news story is interrupted and replaced by more breaking news. The image on the screen is a little blurred and the reporters voice is fading into non-existence. I’m too tired. Just close my eyes for thirty minutes then put Logan to bed.

 

Good Morning

Kay

I wake to the sound of a ringing telephone. My answer machine flashes that I have 27 messages waiting. I am a popular girl.

“Hello.

Dad, Calm down. What’s wrong?”

He’s frantic.

“Mum? No, she left when I got home. Didn’t even stay long enough for a cuppa. Well, have you tried her mobile?”

Mum didn’t come home last night and with all the riots and everything, dad is worried that… Wait a minute. Riots in South Shields? Over what, the price of fish?

“Don’t worry dad I’m sure she’s fine. I’ll go look for her.”

I pull the curtains open and daylight floods the flat. The street is empty, though Mr Reaper is still across the road and staring directly at me, looking worse for wear. I don’t have time to concern myself with that right now. Logan is asleep in my room. He must have woke in the middle of the night and… Ok, get Logan dressed and get out. I press the button on the answer machine.

Hi Love, Dad here. Tell your mum to stop with the digestives and come back home will you?

Beep

Dad again. As much as I love the single life, please tell your mum to come back home.

Beep

Kay, It’s your Dad. This is getting beyond a joke. No one is answering their phone and I’m getting worried now. Call me!

Beep

Hello love, it’s your mum. I’m really sorry…

She’s crying. Mum? What’s going on?

… It was when I got off the bus, some boys with knives and..

They attacked me;

                tried to steal my purse and when I said no they –

Then I woke up. I must have blacked out.

I don’t remember.

I’m by the Mardsen Inn. I’m injured, I think.

I’m so sorry love.

Beep.

Shit! Mum I’m coming. I dial for a cab but no one is answering. Are you frikking kidding me here? The Police! I’ll call the Police. I get to the second 9 on the dial screen and there’s a – I won’t even call it a knock, a kind of feeble scraping at the door, like the end scene from Lassie Come Home. I run down and yank it open.

“Oh, my God mum, look at you!”

I take off my cardigan, wrap it around her shoulders then guide her in and upstairs.

“What the hell happened to you?”

My mum just shakes her head and glances over to an empty teapot on the table. Unbelievably British – Brutally mugged, bruised, bloody and she still thinks a cup of tea will make everything alright. I pick up the phone and dial dads number whilst I put the kettle on.

“Dads on his way over mum.”

I hand her the mug of steaming tea and gently cup my hands around hers as she lifts it to her mouth. Her hands are ice cold, her face as white as a sheet, her hair damp, in tatters and smelling of seaweed. There’s a dark bloody patch on her torn blouse and around her lower abdomen.

“What happened here?”

She grimaces as the tea goes down.

“One of the boys, he had a knife and”

“I’m just going to have a look.”

Mum nods and places the mug down on the table.

When I move the bottom part of her top to one side I see three stab wounds, almost side by side. I don’t understand why there’s no blood coming out from her body but there’s plenty over her blouse. I look up at her and try my best not to burst into tears.

“These look bad, I have to call someone mum, an ambulance.”

“I’m sorry love.”

Will you stop saying that?

“You’ve nothing to be sorry for. You have your tea. I won’t be a minute.”

I consider calling dad first but I don’t want him to have an accident driving over, besides he’ll be here when the ambulance arrives.

It takes forever to get an answer on 999 but I eventually do. They’ll be there as soon as they can; they think forty-five minutes. Since when did the emergency services share the same time frame as a pizza delivery shop?   What the hell is going on with the world today?

“Right mum, they won’t be long” I shout through from the kitchen and into the sitting room.

No response.

I pop my head around the corner, just in time to see mums half-filled mug of tea fall from her hands and onto the carpet. In my mind’s eye, it almost happens in slow motion.

“Mum!”

I run in. Her eyes are closed and her head is bowed down. Am I too late?

“Mum!” I shout.

Reluctantly, I feel her ice-cold neck for a pulse, for some sign of life.

Nothing.

I break down and burst into floods of tears on her lifeless lap.

“No, you said you wouldn’t go, you said…”

“I’m sorry dear. I must have dropped off.”

I snatch my head up to see her smiling face looking down on me.

Her eyes are open but glazed over.

I’m confused, relieved but scared.

“Told you I’m not quite ready to push up the daisies just yet love.”

She places her cold hand on my head; a failed attempt at a comforting gesture.

“But your pulse, you have no… how are you..?

“She’s dead Kay, except she isn’t. She can’t. Nobody can. Not anymore.”

He’s behind me. I can hear him, feel him and if I turn around I’ll be able to see him.

“Why me?” I yell.

“What the fuck have I done? Nothing that’s what! Can you save her?”

“No. It was my job to take her. You know what I need?”

“I don’t.” I snap sarcastically. “But I’m really interested, why don’t you stay and tell me about it when I’m not here? The ambulance should arrive soon.”

“You think that wise? She’s dead and still breathing, still walking, like countless millions all over the world right now. She’ll be their science project to begin with and eventually taken from you as she becomes societies burden, like so many others.”

“Who are you talking to dear?”

“Nobody mum.

Nobody.”

 

Death Row

Craig Johnson

“Kidnapper, murderer, child killer, The Innocent Reaper. The last one makes me laugh. You’re far from innocent!”

The warden stands a few feet from me in the Death Watch area, clenching his fist. I smile at the satisfaction he would get from beating me to a pulp right here and now.

“The press get it.” I answer. “The idea is that I murder the innocent, well nobody is innocent, are they? In a sense, I am saving them.

He tenses his fist even tighter and his face turns a lovely shade of beetroot red.

“You wanna be careful, you’ll die of a heart attack before you get the chance to see my execution. Third time lucky.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”

The phone on the wall rings and he answers it.

“Right. We’re bringing him through now.”

I smile.

“Ready, are we? Handed out the popcorn for the eager spectators? Is my useless pleb of an attorney watching?”

“I notice you declined your last meal and chaplain again.”

“Watching my weight.”

“We had to fight off the press. This was nearly the first truly public execution in over one hundred years. To be honest, I didn’t object too much, but unlike some others I don’t break the law, however much I want to when I look at scum like you. Shall we get going?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Stand up Johnson.”

He walks me to another, smaller room and two guards strap me to a gurney while he watches.

“Wrists and ankles warden?”

“That’s right.”

“Kinky. Brings back some happy memories. Would you like a box of tissues?”

He smiles, thinking that this is some pathetic act of bravado and I’ll break down like Jimmy Cagney in that old movie with the Dead End Kids in it. He can go fuck himself.

“Who’s behind the curtain?”

“You’ll find out soon enough. It’s mostly press. Some of your victim’s parents have showed just to make sure we do the job properly.”

It was a smaller room than the last. The window in front looks almost like a bay window, and with the curtains drawn could almost pass for my own living room first thing in the morning; except for the prison guards, warden, doctor and four other guys with hoods over their heads, lining the wall behind me like sacrificial monks.

“Them the ones that’s gonna be doing it?”

“That’s right. We have a lovely cocktail prepared for you.”

He instructs the doctor to put an IV drip into each arm. I’ve never been a fan of needles but I suppose I won’t have long to ponder it.

I feel something cool enter my body and shudder.

“Doesn’t feel so bad.”

“That’s saline solution.”

I don’t know what that means but I guess it’s like the comedian that comes on before the main show at a concert – not the reason everybody came but a delicate reminder that something bigger and better is on the way, and soon.

The phone on the wall rings and we all look over toward it. The Warden sniggers before picking it up.

“You don’t honestly think you’re going to be pardoned, do you? This is for me.”

“Didn’t think it was. Just if it was the pizza place I wanted to get an order in there too.”

He grunts, shakes his head and picks up the phone.

“Yes, all checked. Open the curtains.”

They are pulled open and I see a load of people sitting staring. Most of them I don’t know. My dick of an attorney is there. How I’d like to get my hands on him, Bart Simpson could have mounted a better defence. Look at their faces, I feel like a star attraction at an aquarium.

The warden does his best to hide his inner smile then reads the charges and the sentence.

“Craig Johnson, do you have a final statement you would like to make at this time?”

“Can I read War and Peace?”

Silence

“Just get on with it Warden.”

He gives the command and the sacrificial monks come forward and each inject something into the IV.

“I don’t feel sleepy” I say, slightly panicked. “Aren’t I supposed to feel sleepy?”

No response.

It’s like they have injected fire into my veins. It hurts. I grit my teeth and shake my head. I won’t give those bastards the satisfaction!

The monks step back and I shout at them.

“Is that the best you’ve got!? Come on!”

The Warden looks worried, and a little scared. Good! He tells them to do it again and increase the dosage to 5,000 milligrams. I don’t know how much that is but I’m guessing it’s enough to floor an elephant.

The obedient hooded clergy oblige and the fucking pain! I can’t help but to scream. I expect it to end at some point and for me to fuck off and die but it keeps going, on and on till… it stops.

I’m still alive.

Look at everyone, they don’t know what to do with themselves. This is bloody hilarious!

The Warden orders the curtain closed and I’m wheeled out of the execution room.

I close my eyes and a vision of a girl explodes in my head.

“Who’s Kay?”

 

The connection

Kay

My head is spinning, I almost lean on the Grim Reaper to steady myself, then think better of it. Physical contact may be all he needs to get his power back and suck me into oblivion.

“What was that?” I gasp. “I’ve just seen an execution!”

“Are you sure?”

“Wel,l I thought I saw something. It felt like an execution.”

I’m out of breath.

“Execution, the very nature of execution implies a death does it not?”

“He survived.”

The realisation is hitting me. In a twisted way, this is all my fault.

“Yes, he survived and will soon be set free to continue the fine work he started before he was imprisoned.”

I shake my head.

“Fine work?”

“Well he certainly kept me busy for a while.”

“How long?”

I don’t even want to hear this.

“Seven years and thirty-five documented victims; all young girls, all suffered in petrified agony and confusion before he eventually slit their throats and buried them.”

“Oh, how dreadful.”

I’m crying but trying not to. Why do I feel so fucking guilty about this? I didn’t kill them!

“Documented victims?”

“Yes.”

“There were more?”

“Thirty-seven. They missed his first, when he got a real taste for it.”

“How is it that I…”

“You are connected now, and will remain that way till one of you leave this mortal coil”

I look at my mother ‘asleep’ on the chair and contemplate.

The Curse Of 2016

The Year of The Scythe

 

I died last year.

Dangerous time to be a musician, or a celebrity of any kind really!

I remember thinking:

If I can just last a little longer – see 2017 in then I’ll be fine; the curse will be lifted, I’ll be immune.

Fat chance!

If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking “I wonder which one he or she is.”

Bit heartless and unsympathetic but probably true.

I’ll give you a clue – I’m not Carrie Fisher, or her mom.

Oh good, you might say. That only leaves One hundred and seventy-two, that’s if you are only counting the ‘A’ listers.

I loved Carrie Fisher, she really was the anti-Darth. Came through so much in her life, only to be swallowed up by the curse of 2016.

The traditional depiction of the Grim Reaper, long black cloak and scythe is all wrong; it’s four numbers, 2016 – An all-encompassing death cloud!

Does that make anyone who survived it immortal?

Safe to say I hate that year.

You know, David Bowie released an album, all new songs before he bit the bullet. Shows he wanted to go on tour and enjoy the fruits of his labour. Shows he wasn’t prepared for… or was he?

His last two songs were called ‘Killing A Little Time’ and ‘No Plan.’

It’s a brave man who will write that sort of stuff in the ‘Year of the Scythe’ (My not so affectionate name for it).

He was tempting fate somewhat I think, but I still miss him.

I recon 2016 is the year that the Death Eaters actually came out on top. If you don’t believe me then ask my old friend Severus Snape, or as his other family members knew him, Alan Rickman.

Bruce Willis (Kudos for surviving) was good in that Die Hard movie but for me, Alan Rickman made it.

And what about me?

I know it’s a little self-involved but I died that year too!

The Death Eaters came here too.

Where do they find the time?

I miss me.

It wasn’t even my time, was it?

Harper Lee – you know, the guy who wrote ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ he died then too. He was 89 though.

Again, and I’m seeing a bit of a pattern here, the word ‘kill’ kinda stands out in his most famous work. Maybe the Year of The Scythe only rained down on those who had written about or been in movies where death plays a title role.

Maybe death was pissed off, not being in the credits.

I started to think of 2016 as the year real talent died. Justin Bieber is still alive.

I mean, let’s compare here! Sir George Martin also died in 2016. George martin!

What do you mean, who’s he?

The Beatles producer, the fifth Beatle, the…

Cut me up when he departed. Ok, he was quite old too but the Beatles were the greatest rock band in history, and he ups and drifts off leaving Paul and Ringo to carry the torch.

Maybe me being dead is not such a bad thing; If you’re hosting a house party and all your friends leave the room to have a smoke, do you stay and make the most of your desolate domicile or do you walk out and join them?

Well, we all know what I did.

No offence to the non-existent people left in the room – as that famous comedian once said:

I never speak behind other people’s backs. If I’ve anything nasty to say, I pop it on a postcard.

This is my postcard.

Who said that?

Victoria Wood… wait a minute, did she?

… Yes, she did. 2016 engulfed and spat out her comic genius too!

How old is the Queen?

No idea, but she’s still kicking. I have nothing against the Queen, in fact I quite like her, but it just shows Royalty have a free pass at this life lark. Look how long the Queens mother lasted!

Nope I’m wrong.

Royalty is not safe.

Prince is no more.

Not Prince Phillip (he’s still here), but Purple Rain Prince!

Multi-talented and brilliant but it didn’t stop life handing him his p45 either.

His demise was so unexpected that the cash grabbing capitalists in the record stores didn’t have a chance to put a compilation album together to serve to his grieving fans with their pre-prepared tear soup.

Even Muhammad Ali couldn’t fight his way out of 2016.

I cried when he died, George Michael too.

As for my own death, I didn’t shed a … all that is left is a feeling of numbness.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – my heart still beats of a fashion. More out of habit from than any great desire to go on sampling the delicacies of the here and now.

But all my friends are gone. The ones I grew up with, the ones with whom I shared the beauty of life, my constant companions throughout the years.

All gone.

They died in 2016 and took me with them.

 

 

Supply Teacher

By P.J. Greystoke

 

Extract from the Highfield School prospectus January 2016 and used in evidence in November of the same year:

 

 

“… Celebrating its third successive ‘Good’ from Ofsted and a 48% GCSE average A – C grade increase; Highfield High is so much more than a school. Our dedicated staff stimulate and encourage personal development as well as academic growth. Every child matters, and as the assistant head I see to it that their every need is catered for.”   

Prof John Gorman – Assistant Head Teacher.

Dave

 

“You gonna help me put up the displays in the back office then?”

Carolyn sat in the open dining area, playfully spinning on her little round seat, till she was facing the new supply teacher.

Dave shrugged. “Yea if you want me to; but aren’t I supposed to be teaching year 11 science now?”

Carolyn laughed. “You are new aren’t you?”

To Dave’s utter astonishment she reached out and touched his knee, caressing it slowly in small concentric circles. For a moment, he was transfixed by her hand, almost as though it had some sort of hypnotic power over him.

“Guess I’m kinda new myself.” She giggled.

He didn’t remove the hand, instead slowly looked up till their eyes met. A wry smile had already formed on her face; her bright red lipstick reflected perfectly the dumbfounded expression on his own face.

“We help each other out here, y’ know?” She whispered, then raised an eyebrow, stood up and sauntered slowly and seductively into the back office, leaving the door open behind her.

A queue of ill-tempered teenagers had already begun to line up outside his science room. His gaze darted back and forth frantically, from the office door to the classroom.

How much do I need this job? He thought, and what of his wife?

He was a married man, had been for fourteen years, but for all the sex he got, he may as well have taken a vow of celibacy alongside his wedding vows. He stood up, briefly checked to make sure his apparent arousal was not evident then marched directly to the office entrance, confidently taking a deep breath and walking inside.

Sheila Lonsdale a 65-year-old battle axe of a secretary stopped typing and glared at him. Her stare was unnerving, almost like she was looking right through him. Shocked, he took a sudden step back, knocking a pile of unopened exam papers to the floor.

“I’m sorry” he stammered “I was looking for…”

He glanced around the small room. Carolyn was not there. Aside from the entrance he’d just used there was only one other door and that was directly behind the ogre he had unintentionally disturbed. Her chair was practically pressed up against it.

“Did you see anyone…? I’m sorry, I have a class. I’ll just go.”

The secretary said nothing; instead, she turned her attention to the fallen papers. Dave apologized once more then slowly backed out of the room, leaving the door open behind him.

 

Period 1

 

Year eleven science, though only timetabled to last an hour seemed to go on forever. His meandering thoughts of his encounter with the teaching assistant seemed to block out the usual Neanderthalic comments from his budding students:

“Do we have to work?”

“Can’t we just watch a movie instead?”

And

“Don’t see the point in science I’m gonna be a drug dealer when I leave school.”

“Have you never seen Breaking Bad, stupid!?”

The bell sounded and the students didn’t wait for his permission to leave before walking out of the classroom.

Dave simply shrugged it off. He was only there until the end of the week and certainly wasn’t going to burst a blood vessel trying to keep kids in line that he was unlikely to ever see again.

He sat down and read the notes that had been left sellotaped to the desk for his next lesson, year 10 GSCE revision group. Should be quiet at least he thought.

“I missed you in the office. Thought you were going to come.”

His head shot up almost as fast as his heart rate.

The sweet voice came from the open entrance to his classroom. Carolyn propped herself up on the frame.

“I did come,” he said, resisting the temptation to make a pun on the double meaning of the word; he didn’t know her that well just yet. “But you weren’t Instead,I was greeted by the wicked witch of the west.”

She smiled, then walked away and down the hall.

Almost as soon as she was out of sight Dave dove out of his seat, banged his knee on the desk and ran to the entrance, looking up and down the corridor for Carolyn, whilst rubbing his sore knee. Gonna be a bruise there later, he thought.

Yet again she was nowhere to be seen. He felt sure that even if she were running at top speed he would surely have noticed her dart off and down the corridor. It is conceivable, he thought that she could have walked into one of the nearby rooms, but he wasn’t about to walk in and announce that he was looking for a sexy teaching assistant, and had anyone seen her.

There wasn’t time anyway, a pimple faced year 10 boy pushed past him and into the classroom, picking his nose and wiping the contents onto his blazer, which looked more like an open cloth casket for disregarded nasal mucus than the smart jacket that students were expended to proudly brandish.

 

Period 2

 

Dave took his seat and the class quietly got on with their work. Ten minutes into the lesson John Gorman, the assistant head popped his head around the corner.

Michelle Henderson, an attractive year ten student noticed him at once and stood up, brushing her hair seductively to one side of her face. There were plenty of boys her own age, who would have dated her given the chance -which may not be saying much, a few of them would also go out with the aging secretary if they thought she’d go for it- but Michelle’s desires were firmly fixed on John Gorman.

“Hello sir” she whispered in a mock Marylyn Monroe voice, “Are you looking for me?”

John smiled, and his obvious show of embarrassment was met with taunting cheers from the rest of the class.

“No Michelle I’m not. Do Sit down, and don’t forget your detention tonight.”

“Yes sir.”

He tried not to, but did glance at Michelle’s legs as she slowly returned to her seat.

Dave caught the direction of Johns gaze and shook his head.

The assistant head’s a perv!

“I’m actually looking for Carolyn, the new teaching assistant, anyone seen her?”

You and me both, Dave thought. Though judging by your apparent interest in that year 10 student, probably not for the same reason.

Dave did a quick circle of the room – may as well make it look like I’m working, and impress the pervy boss –  John didn’t even notice him, just took a quick glance around at the students chatting, made some comment about it being cold and walked off.

Michelle watched, starry eyed, as the teacher disappeared from sight.

“Detention again?” scolded Carly, one of Michelle’s closest friends, who was a little deflated at the prospect of walking home alone.

“What for this time?”

Michelle smiled. “Not wearing uniform.” She answered.

“Or much of anything else” laughed one of her classmates.

“Immature”, she said and tugged at the hem of her skirt till it was level with her knee.

 

Lunch

 

“Guessing you’re not hungry?”

Dave looked up from his book. He’d had a copy of Stephen Kings Gunslingers tucked in his jacket pocket for the past few days; there’s a time in everybody’s life when they have to do the dark tower series, and this was his. Besides it was a good way of remaining solitary.

Carolyn was perched on his desk. He didn’t see her jump up there, but he did see the way she sat was making her skirt slowly ride up her smooth legs.  It was near impossible to hide his feelings of arousal and furthermore, his desire to have the skirt removed altogether.

“Where did you go before?” He half choked trying to retain a little composure.  “I chased after you, knocked my knee on the desk. Gonna be a bruise there later.”

“It’s all in the mind you know, physical pain, internal desires… me.”

She pushed her skirt up an inch further with her index finger.

“Can be hard to distinguish between what is real, and what you really want.”

Her signals to him were as clear as though they had been etched in big neon letters across her body.

Come and get it baby!

Putting the book down on the desk, he chanced a bold move with his hand toward her bare thigh. She took his hand in hers before it could make contact and slid down from the desk.

“Come with me.”

She led him to the dimly lit walk in book closet which was attached to the classroom and pulled the door so that it was nearly closed, leaving a tiny crack where the door met the frame so they could keep watch for unwelcome intruders.

This is it, he thought, all my birthdays and Christmas’s coming at once, soon to be quite literally.

Carolyn wasted no time; pushing him up against the wall and moving in so close so that their lips were barely touching. He reached down and grasped at her top, wanting to rip the thin blouse from her body, wanting to tear every scrap of clothes from…

“Hello.”

They froze.

Carolyn smiled and signaled for Dave to peer in through the crack, which he dutifully did and recognized the girl at once.

“Yes I’m alone. Ok hang on.”

Michelle Henderson, the scantily dressed student from period one closed the classroom door, then pushed a chair up against it, preventing unwelcome entry. She paused and carefully scanned the empty classroom. Satisfied she was alone she sat, virtually facing the closet.

Dave was afraid to move a muscle, though he found the role reversal rather exciting; two teachers hiding from the discovery of a student.

Carolyn simply sat on a pile of books, unhooked a button from her blouse and started pretending to read the first book her searching hands could find. Dave smiled and shook his head.

“Ok I’m back. Are we still meeting later baby, and maybe a little extra ‘detention’ on Saturday too?”

Detention? Dave thought.

Michelle laughed.

“Ooh John. Sorry Mr. Gorman.” She repeated in the same Marilyn Monroe mock voice that he liked so much.

Dave glared, dumfounded at Carolyn, who simply nodded as though it was old news. He returned his spying eye to Michelle.

“What did you tell your wife this time?

Carolyn? But I haven’t seen her.

The police?

How does she know?

Big deal. She’s just jealous. Besides all the kids know she’s got a thing with that supply teacher who was here yesterday; she probably ran off with him.”

Dave shot another look at Carolyn, who placed the book down on the floor, fixed the top button of her blouse and moved closer to the door. He didn’t know what to react to first; the fact that A student was having an intimate relationship with a senior member of staff, or that Carolyn seemingly knew all about it already.

He made to run out from the closet and confront her but was stopped by Carolyn, who grasped his arm and reverently shook her head. Michelle continued:

“I love you. Do you love me?

Well say it then.”

She laughed, hung up the phone and walked out of the class.

Barely a second later Dave burst out from the closet, silent rage building within.

“Ok” he shouted. “What the hell’s going on?”

“You still don’t remember?” Came the sorrowful voice from within the closet.

“Remember what?”

“You will. Meet me 6 o clock tonight in Mr. Gorman’s office.” she answered, then started to cry. “And I’m sorry.”

“Sorry for what?”

There was no response.

“Come on Carolyn, you can’t hide in there forever!”

He stormed over to the closet, swung the door open and…

Carolyn was gone.

What the hell??

The classroom door was open. Michelle had left it that way, but Carolyn hadn’t used it, he would have seen. Surely?

He sat at the desk and buried his head in his hands, convinced that he must be going mad.

That is the only explanation. He thought.

He was a scientist after all –  He needed an explanation; to logically work out what the…

He was going mad.

The only logical explanation.

 

Period 5?

 

The bell sounded and more students poured into the room, followed by Miss Pervis the biology teacher who settled the class rather quickly. She stood at the front and glanced down to the notes sellotaped to Dave’s desk.

“Right you lot. Open your books to page forty-three, plant and animal cells. Read the chapter, answer the questions and don’t talk. These walls are paper thin, my class is next door, so if you make any noise I will know. I have a nice bunch of detention slips which I’m dying to use, that includes you Sonia. Your parents have already asked me to call at the end of the day to give them an update on your behavior!”

“Yes miss”

Dave shrugged. Was his presence even more superfluous than normal?

“Thank you Miss Pervis.” He added “But I think I can handle this.”

“Any questions?” Miss Pervis asked, looking around the bored faces staring blankly back at her.

Sonia raised her hand.

“What happened to that supply teacher miss? If our normal teacher isn’t here and when the hired help doesn’t turn up… well that’s not good for our education is it?”

The rest of the class laughed.

“And we all want a good education” another student added before joining in with the laughter of the room.

“Quiet!” Miss Pervis yelled “Shall I just hand out those detentions now?”

That seemed to kill any feelings of levity that the students might be experiencing.

“Mr Jenkins…”

“He said we could call him Dave.”

“Well you can’t. Mr. Jenkins called in sick this morning, left a message with Mr. Gorman, so if any of you want to go discuss it with him, please be my guest.”

She extended her arm toward the open door as an invitation.

No one moved.

“I thought not. Right on with your work.”

Miss Purvis walked from the room, closing the door behind her.

The ignorance of some teachers, Dave thought. And I never called in sick. I’m right here!

“Miss Purvis.”  He called after her.

She didn’t respond and none of the kids so much as glanced in his direction.

Disgruntled, he walked to the door and made to turn the handle, but his hand just floated right through. He stepped back in astonishment before slowly reaching his hand out and trying again. The result was the same. He clasped his hands together. They both felt solid to him. But the door…

Nervously, he turned to face the class.

“This door, has anyone been tampering with it?”

No one answered.

The ridiculousness of the question was apparent to him. What could they have possibly done?

Maybe he was going mad.

First Carolyn, he thought, then Miss Purvis; maybe she wasn’t ignoring, maybe she couldn’t hear, or see me?

Can anyone?

Am I… dead?

I can’t be!

“Right everyone in the class.” He shouted at the top of his voice. “I need you to listen to me. I am a monkey.”

No laughter. Nothing.

“Free money for the first person to put their hand up.”

The students continued with their quiet chatter whilst being blissfully unaware of both his presence, and of course, the chapter they were meant to be reading.

“Please, somebody talk to me!”

Suddenly and without warning, a very slow heartbeat sounded in his ears. Quiet at first but gradually getting louder with every strike. The eventual noise was so deafening that he had to press his hands against his ears, a futile effort to keep the noise out, as the sound seemed to be coming from within.

He clamped his eyes shut, his head still pounding and stumbled forward wincing in pain, gasping helplessly for breath.

With great effort he opened his eyes. Five or six students were sitting around him having a conversation, but none were paying him any attention.

He looked down to see that he was standing in the middle of a perfectly solid table. Students either side, with him as the petrified centerpiece. Sonia flung a text book at another student across the table and it passed right through him.

This is impossible. He thought.

His mind, as well as enduring the most dreadful pain, was lost, swimming, drowning in a sea of unanswered questions. He tried to focus, to swim. Praying for a brief moment of clarity:

“Carolyn!” he said aloud.

“She can see me, hear me She can even touch me. I must find her!”

Almost as if it had a mind of its own, and was waiting for the science teacher to reach this realization, the door opened on its own.

A couple of students looked toward it.

“Oooh we have ghosts.”

“Just the wind stupid.”

“The ghost of a penguin, it’s freezing in here.”

Dave walked through the table, right through a couple of students, and straight through the open door, which slammed shut behind him, nearly shattering the glass and making the students in the classroom jump.

“I can’t be dead.” he tried to convince himself. “I mean I live the most boring life, never take any risks. But that doesn’t mean I don’t… I still have dreams, ambitions.”

He thought of his wife, strangely without remorse. He always assumed that he must love her, I mean they shared a house, a mortgage. Went on one holiday a year and slept in separate beds. He’d even forgiven her infidelity on more than two occasions. If that wasn’t love, then…

“Hello!” He called out, half afraid and half hoping to attract the attention of whatever entity caused the door to open.

There was no answer.

 

Period 6

 

The end of period bell sounded for lesson changeover. Students left the classes and filled the corridors, almost doddering, in no apparent hurry to continue with their valued education. Pensioners, Zombies and secondary school students all share a common walk, Dave thought.

He glanced up at the clock on the wall.

Ten past two and fifteen seconds, sixteen seconds, seventeen. Back to fifteen and repeat.

Wait, what?

The clock is broken?

No. He looked around.

Everyone in the hall was doing the same, caught in a perpetual loop – walking a few steps, asking half a question, taking half a bite of a sandwich, tripping over and falling halfway to the ground, surrounding student’s half preparing for the explosion of laughter that was to follow. – then rewind and back again, over and over.

Dave walked and passed freely through objects and people alike, and if it weren’t for the ever present heartbeat pounding like a persistent drum in his head, or for the fact that he was inexplicably ethereal, he could have almost enjoyed this.

He found that the closer he moved toward the school office the more painful and intense the drumming was. Something told him that the answer to this mystery lay behind that door, but every fibre of his being, or whatever was left of it, wanted to move as far away from that place as possible.

He quickly resolved that knowledge was power and that the unbearable head pain was but a necessary evil, so took several strides closer till he stood outside the office door.

If I am a ghost, he thought, then it will be pointless trying the handle. I should just walk through the door the same way I have been with everyone and everything else.

He walked, full force, with absolute certainty, slap bang into, but sadly for him not through the door. He hit his nose so hard that he thought it may be pushed into the other side of his face. It put him in mind of a previous student remarking a few years ago, how Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series probably walked into the wrong train platform and lost his nose.

Dazed and confused, he turned around to hear a mechanical whirring. The clock on the wall was moving forward again, this time faster. The minutes were moving as fast as seconds and with it, the movement in the hall continued too, only at super speed.

In next to no time, all the children and teachers raced by and left. The cleaners came in too; did the briefest day’s work they had ever done then departed leaving him finally alone and in complete darkness, save for that one clock which shone brightly.

 

6 pm.

 

Carolyn was in the assistant heads office. In a land of uncertainty, this was one thing he was sure of; perhaps the only thing he was sure of.

He ascended the stairs that led to the carpeted area leading to the offices of the senior management team, never once doubting that he was doing the right thing. A flickering light at the end of the corridor told him that this was probably Mr. Gorman’s office.

If he had been in any doubt however, then that was soon to be alleviated when the spirit of Carolyn floated through the open door and turned to face him.

“Come with me”, she said and extended her hand for him to hold, which he did.

They both walked through the locked door and into John Gorman’s plush, executive office.

John was sitting at his desk, fists clenched, a face like stone; the stereotypical image of complete power and dominance. He was staring at the year 10 student who was drowning in floods of tears on the couch opposite.

“Are you with me or not?”

She shook her head.

“I can’t.”

“Ok. Have you told anyone else? Well, aside from Carolyn, but she won’t be saying anything now.”

She shook her head again.

Carolyn squeezed Dave’s hand.

“In fifteen minutes John Gorman is going to come to the inescapable conclusion that it’s far too risky to have Michelle’s mouth roaming free. He’s going to sit over there on the couch, pretend to comfort her, tell her everything is going to be alright, then fix his murderous hands round her throat and squeeze every last breath from her body.”

“What? But she didn’t… She’s just a kid.”

“Yes, being done for rape is a pretty big incentive.”

Dave nodded.

“And since he already has one murder to his name.”

“Murder? But he hasn’t killed her yet. Surely we could…”

“Come with me to the closet.”

Dave was confused but followed.

Once through yet another locked door, Carolyn pointed at the bloody corpse sprawled on the floor. Dave tried not to look; the battered body of the former teaching assistant was barely recognizable as the lady he’d been lusting after, been fantasizing about ever since they first met. He almost cried.

“Oh Carolyn, I’m so sorry.”

A single teardrop dripped from her ethereal eye.

“He can’t get away with this. You have to stop him.”

“How did he? I mean why you?”

“Take both my hands and close your eyes.” She said softly, closing her own eyes.

He moved in close, interlocked his fingers with hers and closed his eyes, breathing slow and steady.

He could hear a clock ticking, shortly followed by the morning school bell and the rush of bodies as teachers and staff milled around the front entrance to the school. Through the darkness, he saw himself walking up to the front entrance.

An image, a memory from the past.

“This is when I first arrived at the school earlier this week”, he said.

He watched as his former self rang the bell on the desk and straightened his name badge

Dave Jenkins, Education Network UK.

“Hi I’m Dave from the agency. Filling in for science this week.”

“Well, hello Dave from the agency.” The smiling and, he couldn’t help but notice, attractive receptionist answered.

“I’m Carolyn. I’m a TA, not normally on reception. But I’d be happy to show you around and get you your timetable. Do you have your DBS forms?”

The image froze and was quickly displaced by another.

Dave and Carolyn were standing in the staffroom alone, laughing and joking as he poured her a coffee.

“…A boyfriend?” she said “No, why? Are you asking?”

He slipped off his wedding band and placed it deep in his pocket.

“Yes, well a drink at least. Tonight after work?”

“Well I have to put some notices up in the back room.” She signaled over to the adjoining room.

“It’s been closed and locked up because of the water damage a few weeks ago. But now that it’s all sorted, the head is going to open it up as a sixth form common area. They even get their own phone. Posh eh? Here take this key, wait for me there after school. If you help me with the posters and stuff, we can go out after if you like?”

The image froze again as another memory took its place, this time not his, but Carolyn’s.

She was yelling at John Gorman, in his office.

“The poor girl came to me. She is so confused, claiming that you and she have been having a sexual relationship for the past few months. Please John tell me this isn’t true!”

John was the picture of calm and tranquility.

“I didn’t realize we were on first name terms Miss Stephenson. That’s a serious allegation.”

He sat on the corner or the desk and started fiddling with a paper weight that had been lying there.

“Tell me, why did she come to you?”

“I’m a friend of the family, that and she said she’s missed a period. She hasn’t done a pregnancy test. She’s too afraid of what it might say, of what you might say!”

He grasped the paperweight in his right hand

“Please tell me it’s not true John.”

First names again, he thought, tut tut.

“Of course it’s not true. Have you mentioned this to anybody?”

“No, hell no. I wanted to talk to you first. But there are channels. We have to tell someone. And if she is pregnant…”

“Yes that does complicate things rather.” He calmly replied as he crashed the paperweight down on Carolyn’s head the moment she turned away from him.

She slumped down to the floor and after a moment of silent shock, screamed repeatedly, trying desperately to crawl over to the exit and down the corridor. Johns massive body weight prevented her escape, and the constant blows to her head that followed rendered her unconscious.

The school was quite empty, John made sure it would be when Carolyn telephoned him after lunch following her conversation with Michelle and requesting a meeting.

Just to be on the safe side though, he decided to take a look around. He stepped outside his office and saw Dave running up the corridor toward him, obviously alerted by Carolyn’s screams for help.

“What’s going on? I heard yelling!”

“It’s Carolyn.” John replied defensively “Some sort of attack or fit or something. She’s in my office.”

Dave pushed past the assistant head and into the office.

He stood, stunned and looking at the lifeless body at his feet. He knelt down to feel for a pulse.

There was none.

Before he had time to react, or challenge John Gorman, he felt a sharp pain at the back of his head and was sent crashing to the floor next to her. The last image he saw before he blacked out was the shocked and helpless eyes of Carolyn, wide open and forever locked in a perpetual cry for help.

The image froze again then slowly faded away. John was once again standing in the closet with Carolyn’s spirit.

“That’s when I came to you”, Carolyn said.

“I have the only key for that sixth form room, the one I gave to you. You weren’t dead, merely unconscious. I caused a distraction, made a noise elsewhere in the school, far enough for John to hear yet close enough for him to go and investigate. I then helped you to the common room and had you lock the door; from there you were supposed to call for the police, but you blacked out. And that’s where you are still, unconscious in the common room.

All the images you’ve seen today; most have been real and others, the ones with me, the sexual ones have been mixed up, made up from your thoughts and feelings of me; confused and dizzy, mixing for the most part, fact and desire.  I tried to lead you to the common room this morning, to make you discover your body and wake up, but you didn’t make it.

Michelle’s life is in danger Dave. You have to wake up now, please before it’s too late.”

 

6.10pm

 

The repeating heartbeat sounded once again in his mind, stronger than ever and that familiar pain caused him to once again close his eyes.

The drumbeat instantly stopped when he opened his eyes. He stumbled across the floor, onto a chair and picked up the telephone.

 

From the Highfield Gazette June 21st 2016:

John Gorman, the former assistant head of Highfield High school was today charged with the statutory rape and attempted murder of Michelle Henderson, the brutal murder of Carolyn Stephenson and attempted murder of science teacher Dave Jenkins. He has been ordered to serve three consecutive life sentences.

Judge George Wiseman commented: “John is a selfish, evil and vicious, man without conscience or a single shred of regret for his victims. It is disturbing that he was ever placed in a position of trust among the vulnerable in our society.”

Dave smiled, folded the paper and placed it on the last of his packing boxes. He picked it up and put it in the passenger seat of his car.

Before driving off he took one last look at the house he had shared with his wife these past seventeen years.

Today was a new day.

A new life.

Good evening, unless you are not reading this in the wee small hours in which it was written, in which case helooo!

I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and what it is that makes a human being do the things that he / she does. Into The Mind of a Murderer is a short story that does just that and I include a mini snippet of the story for you to see here. I hope you enjoy.

As usual all thought and comments welcome x


Into The Mind of a Murderer

He had closed his mind to the infrequent sufferings of his conscience many years ago. Time had withered what little compassion he had left, empathy and love existing only as faded memories, regarded as pointless fiction upon the rare occasions when his thoughts were permitted to wander to such things.

He picked up the scalpel and walked over to the bed. The nurse would be awake soon and these were the moments he savoured more than most. Moonlight shone in though the skylight and reflected his perfectly sharp razor like grin on the surface of the surgical instrument.

The irony that this implement, designed to preserve life, was perhaps the most efficient tool he had ever used to torture and eventually kill was not lost on him, in fact he considered it often during his quieter moments.

Her eyelids flickered, slowly at first, before her own memories of the past few hours, like a burst damn flooded her thoughts and they snapped open.

Unable to move due to the leather restraints that bound her hands and ankles, she looked frantically left and right as though her eyes were trying to make a frenzied escape of their own. Even though he’d seen it before, this amused him somewhat, giving rise to a low guttural chuckle.

She followed the sinister sneer, slowly and reluctantly till eventually her gaze met his. There was no emotion, apart from an ill concealed show of excitement from him as he studied her shocked and fearful expression.

An icy breath of air from the howling winds outside forced its way into the room and brushed over her body, forcing her to shudder. She had been stripped naked, apart from her feeble undergarments, though modesty was now the least of her concerns.

She knew that this monster in human form was the last person her living eyes would ever see.

intense meIn case you’ve been wondering… I haven’t died or fallen off the flat surface of the Earth in a vain attempt to prove that it’s round. I’ve been taking a break from the short stories to finish my novel which is now complete and being edited.

I thought you may like a sneak peek at the novel so please do have a gander. There will no doubt be more to come out as I try to chop out as much as I can bear to loose.

As always all thoughts and comments welcome…

 

Professor Fidget And The Trouble With Time Travel

P.J. Greystoke

‘Don’t you dare…!’
Her eyes were red; worn from the river of tears that had passed though them. Her words lacked all authority and the little hope she had clung to was diluted by her unanswered cries.
He sat in the machine. The two infants were asleep in the seat next to his.
She took a tentative step closer. As though on cue, he moved his hand to the glowing green button on the dash board. She stopped her advance and he relaxed his hand.
“Please just let them go…”
She started to cry again. “Please Jhonas. You used to be our friend. It’s not too late”
Jhonas Spletka sighed. “I’m sorry Professor. It wasn’t supposed to go like this.” He shook his head wiping the sweat from his brow. “You have your sanctimonious father to thank for this.”
The Professor’s next plea for him to release the children faded quickly into the background as Jhonas pushed the green button. The machine started to vibrate and the Professor dove forward and grasped at the bar at the back of the machine.
A blinding white light flashed around them making the room disappear from sight. The temperature outside the machine dramatically fell and the air was so close it felt like she was both freezing and drowning at the same time, like being trapped treading water just beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.
She had to get inside the machine and quick. The extreme cold came close to rendering the Professor unconscious. A single thought, an image, of those two children kept her awake and allowed her to delve into whatever energy stores she had stored within to climb into the machine behind Jhonas.
His attention was focussed on the panel in front. He did not notice the Professor sneak up behind. He did become more aware however that he was not alone in the machine when an arm wrapped itself around his neck from behind.
His eyes, on instinct, turned jet black. If he could just catch a glimpse of the intruder, if he could lock eyes with her she would be powerless to do anything but follow commands. She knew this and tightened the grasp around his neck whenever he attempted to turn and face her.
She used her remaining free hand to place a green luminous strip on his forehead. Jhonas stopped struggling almost immediately and the lids of his eyes came down, submissive and restful.
“Now” said the Professor, “Stand up” Jhonas compliantly did as he was told.
“Step outside the machine.” He walked to the edge and stopped, his hands trembling.
Deep down he knew that to step outside a machine in flight was suicide and he was fighting it.
The veins in his forehead began to pop as he tried to battle the overwhelming will of the Professor and the obedience strip on his forehead.
“Jhonas step outside”
“It’s safe. Do not worry”
“Jhonas you cannot resist. Step outside”
“Step outside now!!”
The obedience strip had never been used to force someone to end their own life. The humans survival instinct is just too strong and Jhonas Spletkas’ will was stronger than most.
He was using all his strength to defy Professor Fidget. She watched in amazement as his arm, tensed as though thousands of volts of electricity was running freely through his veins, made its way up so he was within grasping distance of the obedience strip. Acting as quickly as she could she charged into Jhonas Spletkas midriff just as he pulled the strip free of his head.
He was sent flying backward and out of the machine. There was a moments quiet. The Professor leaned over to see out of the machine. A kind of white mist surrounded it, it looked almost heavenly.
Suddenly and without warning a hand appeared from beneath the cloud locking itself on her wrist pulling her half out of the machine. She tried to free herself but the grasp was too strong. Jhonas’ head emerged from the cloud, his eyes jet black. He stared directly into the Professors eyes. She tried to look away but could not.
A sound echoed in her brain.
Pull me up
Pull me up now Professor
The Professor was perhaps one of the most intelligent and equally strong willed women of her time and bewitching her was not going to be as simple as Jhonas had hoped.
She fought for all she was worth before exhaustion took its toll and the Professor momentarily lost consciousness. With no fight to keep her inside Jonas pulled her clear of the machine. The instrument panel hissed. Tiny sparks on the dashboard facilitated larger explosions till the whole panel burst into flames. A huge flash of light preceded total darkness and finally quiet.
The laboratory faded gradually into focus as the Professor slowly opened her eyes. The housekeeper stood over her exhausted and limp body.
“Sleep in your clothes again last night Professor?”
The Professor thought for a moment before answering.
“Who am I?”

Chapter 1
Arran and Molly

Mrs Anderson was not the sort of lady to put up with any nonsense, a wannabe head teacher whose recent appointment to become head of science, served only to give her an overly inflated view of her own superiority. She had disheveled red hair and wore red horn rimmed glasses which balanced quite remarkably on top of her thin pointy nose. She looked so old she may well have invented the famous cliché, ‘The bell, is a signal for me not for you.’
Mrs Anderson was by far the worst tempered teacher in the school and derived far too much pleasure when administering her famous long, uncompromising stare; a stare so intimidating that children often referred to it as the death stare and it was enough, usually, to drive even the most disruptive student to tears.
The classroom fell silent, all eyes yet again were on Molly and the teacher. Molly was sometimes known as the class clown. She was small for her age, something she more than made up for in her attitude, never afraid to voice her opinion and very good at persuading others that her point of view was always right too.
“Step forward girl” the teacher quietly commanded. Molly’s twin brother Arran was sitting third row from the left. He shook his head and sighed. “This isn’t the first time is it?” Mrs Anderson asked. Though it was a question, the teacher clearly was not expecting an answer. Molly took a step forward. “No!” she retorted; her reply seemed all the more defiant when she stopped looking submissively at her own feet and began to stare directly into Mrs Andersons eyes. “Your beloved Professor is gone” said Mrs Anderson “And you can’t just pick fights with anyone who dares to question her sanity.”
Professor Rebecca Fidget to whom Mrs Anderson referred was brilliant, some might say a genius, but as far as Arran and Molly were concerned she was ‘The cleverest person in the whole wide world, even cleverer than the lady who daddy liked to watch on Countdown.’
Mrs Anderson never liked Professor Fidget; she was always a little too eccentric for her conservative sensibilities.

The Professor was also eight years old, well in a manner of speaking: Although she was nearing the ripe old age of thirty two an accident eight years ago left her with almost complete memory loss. Only fragments of her past remained. Though her intelligence and memories of all things scientific were intact doctors held out little hope that her past would one day return to her.
Her memory wasn’t the only loss that fateful day. Her father, with whom she shared the house, also disappeared. Unexplained. Never to be seen again.
The Professor had been working on a rather unique invention practically every night following the accident. Recently her experiments had taken an unexpected turn for the better. This prompted her to leave her post as head of science at the school; she simply couldn’t be distracted by meaningless pursuits such as employment.
“Please miss…” Arran raised his hand. “Never one without the other is there?” muttered Mrs Anderson without altering the direction of her gaze, which was firmly focused on Molly “I really don’t think you can help your sister out of this one Arran.” “Molly didn’t start it” said Arran earnestly. “It was…” “She knows” interrupted Molly, “She was there. She was there and did nothing!” “I’m not sure I like your tone Molly” bellowed the teacher. “Oh like I care!” shouted Molly. The rest of the class, including Mrs Anderson was stunned by Molly’s temper. No one had ever dared to speak to the teacher like that let alone not be frightened by her ‘death stare.’
It only took a moment for the gnome like expression of shock to leave Mrs Anderson’s face. This was unchartered territory, none of the children knew what she was going to do next; the metamorphosis which took place was quite remarkable though: Her nostrils began to flare, her breathing slowed and was much more deliberate. Her face, like an eager volcano, began to grow a deep shade of red. Rage was slowly building from within. She slowly clenched her fists and raised one arm.
The class was dumbfounded. Arran quickly arose from his seat and stood in-between his sister and the teacher. “Leave her alone!” He paused, remembering that confrontation was not his strongest quality. “…Please miss.” He turned his face away. He wasn’t about to let his sister be hit but certainly did not want to see it coming if the purple faced rage monster decided to attack.
The shocking red lipstick that was caked to the teachers wafer thin lips formed itself into a seditious smile. This was indeed a day for firsts, Arran and Molly had never seen her smile before and both wondered if the sudden shock to her face would cause it to crack. A few children in the class covered their eyes, too afraid to witness what was to follow.
“Well” Mrs Anderson finally said with all the calmness of a child psychologist “You want to share in your sisters punishment do you Arran?”
“Yes miss?”
“Very well.”
She handed them each a pink slip of paper from her desk. The papers already had Arran and Molly’s name scribbled on them.
“One weeks suspension to begin immediately. Now leave. You are no longer welcome in this classroom.”
Relieved, Molly shrugged and turned to walk out of the classroom followed by her brother.
“Oh and children.”
They both stopped without turning around.
“I’ll be calling your father to see what he makes of all this!”
Molly turned. “Oh please miss don’t. I’m sorry I…”
“Goodbye children.”
Mrs Anderson waited till they left before she continued with the days lesson as if nothing had happened.

Chapter 2
Professor Fidget

The phone rang again. Professor Fidget hardly flinched, scribbling away in her note book; a continuation of the journal her father had efficiently maintained till his sudden disappearance. The persistent and unrelenting ringing forced the Professor to look up from her book and stare at the telephone. “Batsy” the Professor shouted. The ringing noise continued. Much more impatient now the Professor looked toward the stairs that led out of the basement and slammed her pen down on the desk. “Batsy!!” she yelled again “will you please, for the love of my sanity and your own self preservation move down these stairs and answer this confounded telephone.”
Barely a moment later the telephone ringing was accompanied by an equally distasteful sound to the Professors ears, a rather out of tune rendition of the Annie show song ‘The sun will come out tomorrow’, was being hummed by Batsy the Professors ever joyful housekeeper, which grew noisier and more irritating as she moved her ample plump and bouncy frame toward the telephone. Of course by the time she got there the phone stopped ringing. The Professor was not amused.
“Do you know who that was?” The Professor quizzed Batsy. The housekeeper thought for a moment before answering “Was it…” she paused “the school offering you your job back?” the Professor buried her head in her hands, “No no obviously not” she continued, “was it Arran? Molly? The Queen? No not the Queen how silly.” The Professor looked up and glared at her. “I don’t know do I. It was rhetorical.”
Batsy looked up and concentrated hard as though she were trying to recall a distant memory deep in the cobwebbed and vacant lot of her mind. “Don’t think we know anyone called terrorical Professor.”
“No Rhetorical. It means… Never mind. It was probably Uncle John.” The Professor thought for a moment, “calling to see if I had changed my mind regarding the sale of my father’s house.”
“Call him back and say thanks for the offer but tell him the answer is still no, I can’t leave.” not now I am so close to finishing she thought.
She stood up and walked toward the old dust sheet in the centre of the room; the unassuming stretch of army green material covered possibly the greatest invention of all time, something, for personal more than academic reasons she was now dedicated to complete herself.
“Are you not selling this house then Professor?” asked Batsy. The Professor turned to face her, “Not that it’s any of your concern”, answered Fidget, “but” she smiled, “no, for a few reasons, the least of them being that if I do you will become an unemployed homeless lady selling lucky clovers on street corners faster than you can click your fingers.”
The housecleaner then bemused Fidget as she, for the next two minutes proceeded to try unsuccessfully to click her fingers. Her unrelenting focus was disturbed only when the Professor gently put her hand over hers and said calmly “can you call Uncle John, today, and if possible, before one of us dies of old age?” The house cleaner did as she was told.
John was not actually the Professors birth uncle but a close friend of the family, and more importantly friend to her father since she was a child. This meant that he was now the closest family and link to her father she had. He also had two children whom Fidget absolutely adored.

“You always do this” said Arran, as he and Molly ambled slowly out of the school gate and down the country lane that led to Fidgets house. “What?” said Molly. “Miss Andersons not all that.” She laughed as she recalled her earlier defiance in front of possibly the meanest teacher in the school. “Well she certainly won this one” Arran pointed out “We’re now suspended from school. Dad will kill us.” “Who cares?” replied Molly. “Besides, we’re not going to dads are we?”
They both smiled as they approached the Professors front door. After three knocks the door slowly opened and out popped Batsy’s smiling face. “Children, come in” said the house keeper as she stepped aside to allow them passage into the house. One after the other the children jumped in through the front doorway. “Hi Batsy” said Arran, “Is the Professor downstairs?” “Shouldn’t you both be at school?” came a familiar inquisitive and friendly voice from the basement. The house keeper closed the front door as the two children rushed downstairs to see Fidget.

 

Chapter 3
John Pentka

The solicitor, Jeffrey Peabody pushed the papers across the desk toward John Pentka. “It’s her house. If she doesn’t want to sell it, then she doesn’t have to. Her father’s instructions were quite specific, and it basically gives her power of attorney over the whole estate and everything contained within it.” “Why now?” asked John “And after all this time…”

He took the papers pressed them into the open briefcase on the desk, slammed it shut, picked it up and walked out of the office without saying goodbye.
The solicitor, rather used to his behavior thought nothing of it and proceeded to scribble into his note book.
“Is it finished yet Professor?” Molly asked Fidget. “Yea can we see?” continued Arran as they made their way toward the hidden object in the centre of the room. “Stop right there” Fidget quietly directed. “You can see it” she paused for thought “soon” she said.
Very soon, she thought.
Batsy popped her head round the corner. “Professor” she said; the Professor looked up. “That was John on the phone he’s coming over to see you; something about the house.” The Professor sighed as her eyes rolled toward the heavens. “I know he means well” suggested the Professor to the children, “But that father of yours can become a bit too embroiled into the affairs of other people.” “What does em-boiled mean Professor?” asked Molly. “It means she should tell dad to mind his own business” laughed Arran. “We’ll have none of that sort of talk about your father” instructed the Professor as she sent them upstairs with Batsy to sample some of the new double chocolate cookie ice cream Fidget had picked up for them when she went out to do her weekly shop, well, her weekly shop which was, as usual five weeks too late.
Once the children were out of sight, Fidget moved toward the centre of the room and in one swift movement yanked the sheet from the mysterious machine. A cloud of dust filled the air and settled onto the object that lay underneath. She marvelled momentarily at it in the time it took for the dust to settle.
The object was housed by a reinforced aluminium cage. Four red satin covered seats as you would expect to find in an old fashioned carriage, both front and rear, faced the front panel which comprised two silver dials, a series of buttons, a screen, a lever and a hollowed out square panel originally built by her father and later more recently amended and completed by his daughter, Rebecca Fidget.
She sat in, if it was a car what would be described as the driver’s seat and ran her fingers proudly across the front panel , glancing momentarily toward the front lever; she smiled and her heart rate increased as she slowly moved her hand so she was touching it. Just one push and the Professor would be sent hurtling through the fourth dimension; traveling through time.
The temptation was so great; there had been so many occasions over the past two weeks, since she completed her father’s machine that she had dared herself to push that lever.
She was only completely sure the machine finally worked when Muffy the housekeeper’s pet hamster re appeared after the Professor had sent him hurtling a few days into the future equipped with a mini electronic time piece and calendar all inside a miniaturized version of the time machine.

Fidget took a sentimental glance round her laboratory: her desk, her father’s journal, her father’s old camera; it was originally her father’s laboratory. The time machine was his project, and in truth the main reason Rebecca finished it was in the hope that one day her father and she would once again somehow be reunited.
Ok, it’s time she thought. The hollowed out panel was blank, she placed her fingers firmly in the middle of it and pushed, the panel began to glow a very bright white, she removed her hands from the platform, as she did so the light in the panel began to gradually dim, as it did the whole room around the Professor began to glow that same bright light, so bright in fact that Fidget had to momentarily cover her eyes, a few seconds later the room looked as it had done before.
Fidgets eyes were now firmly fixed on the panel, which was still a dull glow, she clenched one of her fists in eager anticipation “Come on, please work” she said to herself. All of a sudden the dull white expressionless glow from the panel began to change and an image slowly appeared in its place, gradually coming into focus like a developing photograph in a dark room.
The Professor afforded herself a huge grin and a triumphant punch into the air with her still clenched fist, the image of the room that surrounded her was now in firm focus in the panel in front of her.
“Ok, we’ll store that image” she said as she pushed a button to the right of the panel “And now for…” Her train of thought was interrupted by the sound of somebody walking down the stairs to the basement, calling her name.
“Rebecca, Rebecca are you down there?” John was close to the door but not yet in sight. The Professor had just enough time to get out and cover the machine over with the dust sheet then quickly sit behind her desk, pick up a book and pretend to be studiously reading.
The door opened.
“Working again I see.” He paused recalling the usual and unnecessary pleasantries that needed to be said before getting down the order of business. “How are you?” he enquired in his usual uncaring businesslike manner as he made his way from the door entrance to the Professors desk, carrying a briefcase under his arm.
He slammed the case on her desk, prompting Rebecca Fidget to slowly put her book down and look up toward him. “I’m fine thank you uncle” she answered sounding slightly irritated. She looked at the briefcase then back at John. “To what do I owe this ‘unexpected’ visit?”
Before John could answer, the temperature in the room suddenly fell quite dramatically; the Professor shivered and rubbed the sides of her arms in a futile effort to keep warm. “I see you brought the weather with you John.”
John seemed inexplicably distracted by this temperature change as he started to sniff the air and walk slowly with outstretched arms towards the centre of the room. Each step towards the centre resulted in a slight temperature drop. “John, for pity’s sake what are you doing?” the Professor asked. As John turned his head to look at the Professor the room temperature returned to normal. He lowered his hands and reluctantly walked back towards the Professor and his briefcase.
“What was that all about John?” Fidget asked. He looked accusingly at Fidget, studying her gaze before relaxing. “Nothing” he said, “to business.”John released the catch to unlock his case, took out a small selection of papers and handed them to the Professor. Before she could start reading he pushed a pen toward her and raised one eyebrow. “Come on Rebecca” he insisted. “Sign the papers; what do you want with this old house anyway?” “Oh uncle not again” she snapped back as she pushed the papers back across the desk toward him. “I’ve told you, many many times. This was my father’s house. I’m not selling it, not now not ever. What do you want with it anyway?” Johns face started to glow that familiar red which meant he was about to loose his temper and begin shouting.
Their conversation was abruptly interrupted by Molly and Arran running down the stairs. “Professor, Professor” Molly shouted, “Batsy said fathers on his…” Her sentence came to a sudden halt when she came face to face with John. “… way.” She finished her sentence without the same bravado she had displayed earlier in front of Mrs Anderson. “Hello Father” she said very politely. “Molly, Arran” John acknowledged without paying them much attention. “Hello father” said Arran “we’ve been suspended from school; you see Molly and the teacher…’
John only half listening interrupted, “you two are going to have to stay with the Professor tonight. I’m going away on business.” Trying hard to control their inner smiles the children nodded their heads in agreement. “I assume that’s fine with you Rebecca” he said to the Professor. “We’ll continue this discussion when I return.”
Once John had left, the Professor ushered the children out of the basement and up the stairs, followed closely by the Professor herself, turning to take one last look at the object covered by the dust sheet and affording herself a cheeky smile as she did so.

 

Chapter Four
Just One Look

“What do you think the Professor is working on?” Molly quietly asked Arran later that night, whilst sitting up in her bed and looking toward him as he lay in the bunk across the room. There was no response, of course there wouldn’t be, it was two am and both kids were supposed to be fast asleep. Molly whispered again hoping to wake her brother. There was still no answer apart from an outward sleepy snort sounding remarkably like a frog had just escaped from his mouth. He followed it by a rubbing of his eyes as he turned to continue his slumber.
Looking rather like she had given up on waking her brother she resorted to speaking with Lancelot her favourite teddy bear instead. “What do you think the Professor is working on?” she asked the teddy as she looked intently into his plastic eyes. She raised the teddy bears arms into a shrugging pose and in a deeper voice than her own natural tone mimicked Lancelot answering her back. “I don’t know, but she’s being very secretive about it.” “Do you think Arran would know?” she continued in her natural tone. She then made another shrugging movement with Lancelot’s shoulders before smiling and throwing him with all her might at Arran’s head causing him to roll over and off the bed onto the floor “Oh I’m sorry, said Molly very innocently, did I wake you?”
Arran got up from the floor rubbing his head with one hand and carrying Lancelot in the other “Either that or your stupid teddy learned how to fly and fancied a chat!”
“Oh there he is; I’ve been looking for him” Molly lied as she held out her hands indicating her desire to have her teddy bear safely returned to its owner.
Arran handed Lancelot to Molly. “So what did you, em I mean Lancelot want to talk about?” Arran asked as he sat back on the bottom corner of his bed rubbing his sore head to check for bruises.
“The Professor” Molly replied. “She spends every day in that basement, every night till way after we have gone go to bed and the only thing we’re not allowed to see, the only thing that’s kept secret is under that green sheet.”
Arran nodded in agreement then shrugged his shoulders. He was not quite as inquisitive as his sister.
“Remember the time the Professor threw her shoe at Batsy’s head for trying to clean it?” Arran asked. “Yea” Molly chuckled. “Was quite impressive; she didn’t even look up from her notebook. Kept writing with one hand whilst slipping off her shoe and bopping Batsy on the head with the other.”
“Fancy a look?” Molly asked her brother with a raised eyebrow. “The Professor would kill us” said Arran. “She can’t tell us off for what she doesn’t know” said Molly “besides I just want to see.”She walked out of the room and crept down the hallway towards the stairs reluctantly followed by her brother.
The big old house looked rather different at night. Looming shadows from aging pieces of furniture appeared much more menacing than in daylight. Invisible echoes amplified every movement the children made, the sound of creaking floorboards and the wind rattling through the pipes masked only by the ticking of the old grandfather clock outside the Professors study. “Why is it when you’re trying to keep quiet every footstep makes the house creak more?” Arran whispered as he carefully made his way down the stairs that led to the basement “Shhh” replied Molly as she turned round with her finger pressed against her lip.
Molly turned the handle and opened the basement door. Once inside she ushered Arran to follow. He cautiously did so reaching for the light switch on the wall, and with one flick illuminated the whole room. “I’m not sure about this” said Arran with one foot out of the door. “I might go to bed.” “Go to bed then!” snapped Molly. “You’ll never find out what’s under that sheet, cos I won’t tell you.”She folded her arms and turned so she was facing away from Arran.
Arran thought for a moment, he was after all curious as to what was under the sheet, not only that, walking on his own back through the dark stairs and corridors back to bed was not his idea of fun, so he resigned himself to stay. “Ok one look and we go back to bed” he said to Molly who was already advancing toward the hidden object. “Yes just one look” she replied as she yanked off the cover and threw it over to the corner of the room.

 

Chapter Five
The First Flight

The time machine now visible by both children lay before them “Cool” they both said in amazement. “What is it?” Arran asked. Molly shrugged her shoulders, “I dunno.” She circled the time machine, studying the front panel and red satin seats. “It’s like an old fashioned car without wheels” Arran said. “Of course!” Molly finally concluded. “It’s a hovercraft.” Arran was unconvinced. “I don’t think so.” “It is!” she said. “Look I’ll drive, get in.” With that she hopped into the driver’s seat. Arran stayed put. “Are you getting in or not?” asked Molly. Arran shook his head. Molly was a little deflated by her brothers lack of enthusiasm. “I promise I won’t touch anything.”

He cautiously walked around the machine and sat in the passenger seat. “Good day sir.” Molly playfully said in her poshest voice as Arran sat down. “I am your chauffer for the day. Would you care to go to the palace?” Arran smiled and joined the role play “Why yes Jeeves. Go through the park first; you know how I love the park.
Arran looked at the dashboard, then at the front panel. “Hey Molly, look” he said pointing at the image in front of him, “it’s a picture of this room.” “Oh yea” replied his sister. “It’s probably a safety thing” she continued as if she was very knowledgeable as to how hi tech hovercrafts work. “It makes sure we don’t bump into anything or hit the ceiling.” “How do you know?”He asked. “This is your first hovercraft too.” If that’s even what this is he thought.

Molly shook her head and using her usual jump first and think later philosophy by which she had lived her life so far stretched out her hand and pressed the image in front of her.
The image began to glow and she pulled her hand back as fast as she could; both children’s heart rates increased. “What did you do that for?” shouted her brother. “I didn’t do anything” she replied defensively. “But look at that” she pointed to a green button which had started flashing to the right of the image. She glanced at Arran who, like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car, was too afraid to move anywhere, but was clearly not fond of the situation he was now placed. “I think I should press It.” she said with a slight chuckle and before Arran could voice any objection she quickly pushed the button and held it there till the green stopped flashing.
For a moment nothing happened. Arran breathed a huge sigh of relief whilst Molly, rather disappointed, grunted “Fat lot of good that is, it doesn’t even…” She didn’t get to finish her sentence as the time machine started vibrating; this was soon accompanied by a low pitched hum as the room around them began to fade and drift out of focus. It gave Molly a slight headache looking out; it was as if she was putting on a pair of glasses that were far too strong for her.
Arran didn’t have the same feeling at all, he was too busy closing his eyes as tight as he could whilst pressing his hands against his ears.

Normally Molly would have laughed at her brother behaving in this manner, but for the moment she was just as scared. Suddenly there was a huge explosive flash of bright light outside the machine. As quick as it had arrived, the light faded and the children found themselves looking outside into the laboratory again, everything as it had been before.
But wait, something was different. The Professor was sitting at her desk reading a book. “We’re in trouble now” said Arran. “Sorry Professor” he said, “It was Molly’s fault. I told her I wanted to go to bed but then she hit me with a teddy and so I switched on the light and now we’re in your hovercraft.”
The Professor didn’t even look up from her book. “See what you’ve done?” said Arran. “The Professor can’t even look at us. I’ve never seen her this angry.” The basement door opened and in walked John, their father. “Dad’s here” said Molly. “Shh” said Arran. “Wait a minute, he’s ignoring us too.”
John Pentka was wearing the same boring suit he had on earlier that day and was carrying the same briefcase. He also had the same un-empathetic look on his face, though the children were used to that. Arran wondered what he was doing there in the middle of the night.
John walked across the room without so much as a glance toward the children and slammed his briefcase down on the Professors desk; she put her book down and began speaking with their father.
“He can’t have not noticed us” said Arran. “He’ll notice if we stand right between them.” snapped Molly who didn’t like spending too long in any situation she didn’t understand. With that she turned round and attempted to get out of the time machine. “Ouch!” she yelled as she banged her head. There was an invisible wall surrounding the whole machine, soundproof and inescapable. “I can’t get out.” Molly shouted.

Arran wasn’t paying any attention he was much more concerned now with what was in the machine itself.
“Molly look” he said, pointing at the dashboard. Directly under the picture of the room was a digital display it read:
Destination 8 hours: 32 minutes into the past. Hover mode engaged.
“Oh my goodness” said Arran “It’s a time machine. Professor Fidget has invented a time machine!” Molly turned to look at the display in disbelief; she then turned to face her brother. “I mean I’d have preferred a blue police box that was bigger on the inside, but still, a time machine. This must be earlier today when father was here.”
Materialization in 20 seconds.
“Twenty seconds?” shouted Arran “It’s counting down.”
19,18,
“What do we do?” Molly’s attention was firmly fixed on her father who was now looking right at her from the other side of the room. “Dads stretching out his arms. He’s walking this way. Arran he knows we’re here!” Arran was still looking at the display.
13, 12
“Molly do something.” “Oh yea. I’m quite the time traveller; I know exactly how this thing works.” Molly shouted sarcastically as her father drew closer.
6, 5,
“Molly now!” Shouted Arran. “Press anything!!”Molly began randomly pressing a series of buttons.
4, 3,
“If we end up landing in Jurassic Park you’re getting eaten before me!” snapped Molly as she finally came to press the same green button that had transported them there in the first place. The display changed:
Flight mode.
The time machine began to vibrate and the laboratory disappeared from view. Almost immediately they found themselves back in the same place they started from.
Both children sat back in their seats and breathed a huge sigh of relief. “That was close” observed Molly. “Do you think?” shouted Arran in the most sarcastic tone he could find. “I suggest we get out of here, put the sheet over this thing and hope the Professor doesn’t…” “Oh no” Molly interrupted, “look over there. We’re right back in time again.”

Both children looked across the laboratory to see the Professor sitting behind her desk reading her book as she had done a minute or so before. “What are we going to do?” asked Arran. There was a pause, Molly shrugged.

Hello all…

My book (The Trouble With Time Travel) is still going well and ever closer to the finish line.

Whilst writing, as a wee warm-up exercise i tend to do a little free form to drum up ideas for future projects and I think I’ve hit on something here.

Its not complete (Just an idea at this stage) and i am interested to see if this turns into a novel or a short story.

See what you you think, hope you like it ….

As always all comments and thoughts welcome x

 

Little Ruthy

“Drink, but slowly. It’ll feel a little strange as it goes down but…”

He stopped to consider his choice of words before continuing.

“That’s what you paid for.”

He finally muttered something under his breath before turning away from his pleading image in the mirror and downed the blue liquid contents in the blue cup.

He finally chanted something under his breath.

It only took a few seconds for the paralysis to kick in; one hand grasping to the sink, the other clawing at his chest, instinctively trying to stop his blood from freezing over.

The time had long since passed for second thoughts.

The last image his eyes were to capture, as his lay on the bathroom floor gasping out his last, was the little girl in the red dress.

Stepping forward out of the shadows, she smiled sweetly before blowing him a kiss and walking out of the room.

Daddy was her first.

Father Mcdaniel mopped his brow with a handkerchief that looked as though it had serviced his nose several times before tending to his sweaty head. He refilled his tumbler and drained the contents in one smooth movement. He may have lost his faith many years ago but as an alcoholic, he had a real future.

The dreams had not stopped, and this one troubled him more than most. He looked at the telephone on his desk waiting patiently for it to ring.

‘Riiiinnngggg’

To his ears, the sound was piercing, like several broken finger nails skating circles on a blackboard. He slowly picked the receiver and placed it to his ear, knowing with absolute certainty that Mrs Jennifer Collins would be hanging on the other end still trying to comprehend the apparent suicide of her loving husband.

“Hello Jennifer dear, are you alright? Slow down dear… Have you called for an ambulance?”

A friend and I have been experimenting a bit. He’s a musician and a jolly good one at that, and I thought wouldn’t it be interesting to try to have a conversation!!!

…. And they said it couldn’t be done!!

A conversation with a difference. A conversation where we communicate using only our respective art forms….

Soo he wrote a short piece of music – which if you use the magic power of… finger and press play above, you can hear – and I responded with the first thing that came to my mind…

It’s quite abstract, but what random thoughts aren’t?

Now he must read this and get composing…

I hope you enjoy. As always all comments and thoughts welcome

TTFN x

 

Breathe

 

“Grit” He looked at her and laughed

“Come on bitch you can do it.”

She snarled at him and took more air in her lungs than he thought was available in the room.

“Selfish cow, I paid for that” he joked. “Lucky for you you’re breathing for two.”

She sat on the dining table, brown beads of sweat falling from every pore and orifice, sticking what little nightgown she was wearing close to her body.

He leered at her, perverted, as her breathing deepened and became more laboured.

“You stink luv” he said “Open your legs then, I’ve got a buyer waiting if you can push this out in time”

Taking a hold of her knees he used what little strength the dissipating air in the room allowed him and prized her legs open.

Her scream was piercing, the loudest yet by his reckoning.

“Oh baby, do that again I might not be able to wait if you do.

She shook her head rapidly and took in a big consignment of air.

“Steady on luv, there’s not enough oxygen to…” He fell to his knees struggling to remain conscious.

His eyes turned a pretty beetroot red.

She wasn’t far behind, taking what remaining air there was in the room she pushed whilst outstretching her hand for him to hold.

He reached up and grabbed her arm, just one more push and it would be over.

That night a baby cried on the dinner table.

… Then it died.

Heloooo  and Happy 2015 to you…

I had an idea for a short story today which I thought I’d share with you.

The story isn’t yet complete, there are a few directions it could go  in but i would welcome any comments and suggestions you may have.

Till next time x

Outside

“Let me in!!!”

Ten minutes of banging on the door, the fifteen or twenty times he’d yelled at the upstairs bathroom window that was slightly ajar and the countless missed calls to her mobile had prevailed nothing but an ear piercing silence.

Jack Grundy was too tired even to cry. He turned and slid down to the front step, exhausted. Looking across the street he could see that he wasn’t completely invisible, only to those he wanted to reach it seemed, neighbors curtains twitched, the odd face popped out to see what all the commotion was about before retreating into the comfortable camouflage that their darkened rooms provided.

Dorothy Evans, the street busybody made the excuse of coming out to check her car was locked. Maybe she was hoping Jack would spill his guts and tell her everything complete with spell check and grammar correction so she could relate it to the rest of the neighborhood the following day; this hot off the press Jack says “Fuck off Dot; it’s none of your goddam business!”

She simply smiled sympathetically, paused for a second as though she was trying to find the right words then walked back into her home.

It was 2am and the welcome doormat he’d purchased two years ago, the one upon which he now rested had become somewhat of an ironic note to self.

A patrol car slowly approached, lighting up the houses and the previously hidden neighbors gaping faces as it drew near.

John Hobbs the local PC got out spoke into his radio before clipping it to his belt and taking out a flashlight. He shone it on the house first surveying the area, probably checking for signs of physical disturbance before shining it in Jacks face, forcing him to raise his elbow in front of his eyes to stop him from going blind.

“Can I ask what you are doing here sir?”

Jacks mind processed a multitude of possible responses everything from “Yes I appear to have lost my key” to “Sod off PC Plodd it’s none of your goddam business either.”

In the end he felt honesty was the best answer.

“I live here officer. My wife and I had a kinda disagreement and I guess she’s not feeling like the forgiving type tonight.” He shrugged his shoulders.

“Have you been drinking tonight sir?”

Jack looked almost offended “No, why?”

“This house hasn’t been lived in for over two years” he shone the torch on the house “look.”

Jack turned slowly to follow the direction the beam was facing. The door he’d been banging on only moments ago was covered by a huge wooden board, as were most of the windows in the house too. He stepped back not believing the evidence his own eyes presented. “It can’t be… I was just…”

He looked pleadingly at the officer who gently ushered him into the back of his patrol car. Jack offered no resistance.

A pair of sad eyes watched from the upstairs window as the car pulled away.

 

How long has it been???  Not wanting to get too personal here I’ll say a while… ages…. too long… probably.

I write this post on the 4th December at my home in sunny south shields. It’s taken a while to adapt to my new writing environment but getting back on track.

The Trouble With Time Travel novel is going well and I am expecting the first draft to be complete this side of Christmas, then again I’m also expecting my Christmas shopping to be carried out by well-meaning pixies, so let us see how that pans out; my hopes are high.

In the meantime, I still start out every writing session with a bit of free form (Sit down and write the first thing that comes into my head, mistakes welcome…) and I thought I’d share today’s little adventure. I think it could be the beginning of something interesting??

As always your thoughts and opinions are welcome TTFN x

Out In A Minute

“Wake up Daisy”
Nothing
No movement.
The usual flaring of her nostrils every time she took in enough oxygen to starve a forest fire… Absent.
“We need you, Daisy please”
No flicker in her eyes.
The stains from the tears that ran through the damns of mascara caked to her face made her look more like an ancient porcelain artifact than a recently deceased mother of four.
“What do we do?”
This question was not directed at Daisy, but more about her.
The question was answered by the other gentleman in the room.
“Well she can’t stay here”
“Oh good, I’ll just ask her to move!”
“You know what I mean”
The other gentleman moved slightly closer and crouched over the body.
“You sure she’s dead?”
The question was met with a sarcastic snigger.
“I could ask her, and while I’m at it, ask if her cup was the one with the poison in. If she answers we’ve got a result!”
The other man nodded standing upright and straightening his tie and the name badge on his lapel:
John Plonkett – Happy to Help
“How long before she’s missed?”
Stanley the junior office assistant stood up shaking his head “Not long John. Let’s see, her four children and two sisters are on the shop floor waiting to pick her up. I’d say five minutes, three with bad behavior.”

The shop Tannoy kicked into action “Daisy Rutherford please report to the customer service desk”.

“I stand corrected, about two minutes”

To be continued…………………………