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The Room

 

“Leave the door open.”

Mary half smiled as she slid further into the middle of the bed, her exhausted body relishing the comfort of the pink cotton duvet; her tired eyes slowly looking around the bedroom.

A soft glow from the candles in the landing leaked through the open doorway providing her with just enough light to see faint outlines from the familiar objects which surrounded her.

Content, she closed her eyes.

She was safe.

Why wouldn’t she be? I was here.

I used to whisper her name, always when she was alone.

Seems she was always surprised to see me, which made me smile. We were creatures of solitude her and me.

I’d often leave notes, send flowers, and even call when I could, never needing to speak, just so she’d know I was there, thinking, always about her.

This is the room she grew up in as a child, untouched by time and carefully maintained by her mother, as a kind of shrine I suppose.

I’ve waited so patiently for her to return to this place, watching as her mother cleaned, dusted, vacuumed; she washed the bedclothes almost on a daily basis, rather curious as the bed hadn’t been slept in since she was here last with me and yet, well how clean can bedclothes get?

I’ve missed seeing her, not just in the bedroom – a gentleman shouldn’t kiss and tell – but at work too.

She always wore that same perfume, smelled of spring time, brightened up the place whenever she walked by.

Her smile was so radiant, so hypnotic. That smile was to die for.

Of course, some people took the smile and perfume combination as a personal invitation. John Matthews; he thought just because he was her boss he could monopolize her time, inviting her into his office every afternoon, doing who knows what behind that closed door.

Once she was in there for sixty-eight minutes!

I followed him to his car that night.

I tried to tell him, to explain, you see I didn’t want to hurt him. I said ‘sexual harassment is a crime.’ I tried to explain but he just didn’t listen, then he shouted at me, told me to leave him alone.

I didn’t want to hurt him.

I had to…for Mary.

Look at her sleeping, so tranquil, a silent symphony in motion. Her lace nightgown effortlessly moving in harmony with her heartbeat, following the perfect rhythm as her chest moves gently up and down, the gentle breeze from the open window blowing across her hair and face.

It will almost be a shame to wake her.

The door slammed shut, jolting Mary wide awake. She sat up and looked nervously around the room, her eyes finally resting on the open window.

Logic told her that a gust of wind from the open window probably forced the door to close. She paused a moment to consider, thinking back.

That window, that open window was closed when she went to bed, she was sure of it.

She carefully scanned the room again.

Apart from the light in the corridor which passed through the space at the foot of the door, the room was pitch black. It was hard enough to distinguish between the different objects that surrounded her let alone recognize a potential intruder that may be lurking in the shadows.

She hid beneath the duvet, pulse rate increased, and closed her eyes trying to convince herself that all was well.

A faint whisper.

‘Mary.’

She poked her head out and looked around, her eyes gradually accustoming themselves to the limited light.

‘Mary.’

‘Hello?’ she cried, nervously looking around.

Her arms wrapped around her legs assuming a foetal position on the bed.

‘Is anyone there?’

There was a slight pause before she heard the final whisper. It was louder and more menacing than the previous two times and so close it seemed that the voice was right above her head.

 

‘Mary, I’m right here.’

 

The light in the landing was blown out, but the breathing above her head continued, slowly and steadily.

Mary clamped her eyes shut, not daring to look or move. She could feel the cold breath on her neck. Goose bumps began to form on her skin as she forced her arms tighter around her knees and buried her head inward.

A river of tears fought to escape the deadlock that her eyelids had created.

She began to shiver.

The duvet was gently removed from the bed and placed on the floor.

She felt an icy cold finger gently caress the back of her neck and slowly make its way down her spine, stopping at every vertebra as if each of her bones were a Braille question, and a brief pause was needed to contemplate the gravity of the answer.

With her eyes closed she could still feel the burning intensity of his stare.

The icy hand was no longer touching her skin, it was now stroking her hair from root to tip, gently massaging her scalp as it did.

Mary slowly opened her eyes and turned her head to see her captor.

The nervous, inquisitive look quickly transformed to a petrified stare when she saw his face.

He smiled; the gaping hole where his front two teeth should be, the cut below his left eye, the indentation on his upper lip.

It was him, but how?

Her heart rate rapidly increased and her tears were now free flowing.

His hand, instead of caressing her scalp now firmly clenched her hair, his grasp gradually becoming tighter and tighter, till he had positioned his body so he was straddling her mid-section.

She tried to pull free but her body wouldn’t move, it was literally frozen.

Her paralysis seemed to be only from the neck down. Turning her head, she looked toward the closed door and tried to shout for her father to help. The first two times, rather pathetic weedy sounds were all that would leave her lips.

An increased yank of her hair from her aggressor seemed to give her improved vigour and she let out a piercing cry, which shocked even her captor and he released his grip.

Pleadingly her eyes searched the door handle for some sign of movement, for the hope her father would hear and come crashing into the room to rescue his daughter from this evil.

Nothing, silence.

‘Father’ she shouted.

‘Faaather’ she repeated, still louder.

The door did not budge, the handle did not flicker, there was no rescue. This made her tormentor laugh.

‘Your father won’t be coming Mary’.

She stared at him disbelievingly.

‘Your father is… sleeping downstairs’.

‘Daddy’ she cried softly, now not caring what happened to her.

‘Is he…?’

‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘He is. He didn’t understand about our love.’

He smiled again.

And now you’re mine.

The tears continued, but something began to change, an anger, like an eager volcano, stirred from within. Fear very quickly turned to hate and her breathing resembled a bull, readying itself for the charge.

Her captor, the red flag.

With increased vigor, she lunged forward with all her might digging the nails of one hand into his eye whilst the other grasped at his throat.

He squealed in pain and jumped back from the bed and onto the floor, blood pouring from his eye socket, one hand covering his wound.

She saw her opportunity, jumped from the bed and dove at the door reaching for the handle. She had barely touched it when a sudden blow to the head sent her crashing violently to the ground.

Determined, she struggled to her hands and feet, but that was as far as she got. The two massive bloody hands of her captor were now round her throat, squeezing from behind, unrelenting, constant, harder, tighter…

Mary felt the life slowly leave her body.

Her heart rate once so strong and innocent, now gradually slowing, her body limp, her eyes closing. Now accepting the finality of her fate.

Her mouth opened; one last whimper for help.

‘Daddy.’

Her final word, her final breath, she was dead.

He released his grip and lay next to her on the floor, blood still pouring from his eye socket, he lovingly stroked her hair.

The door opened.

Two elderly ladies walked into the room. Bright light from the afternoon sun shone through the closed window.

The room was perfectly kept, clean and tidy, nothing out of place. Mary and her captor were nowhere to be seen.

‘And this is the third bedroom’ said the lady with the black dress and a tear in her eye.

She sat on the bed and pinched in between her eyes a futile effort to stop the tear escaping and falling to her lap.

‘Are you alright?’ the other enquired with one helping hand on her shoulder.

‘Yes’ she replied, feigning a smile.

‘This was my daughters’ room. She died twenty years ago today, my husband too. I can sometimes feel her here, always so sad, so helpless. I swear I can still hear her calling sometimes.’ She paused and sighed.

‘You must think I’m crazy?’ She sighed and turned her head away.

The other lady, momentarily speechless, sat beside her on the bed.

‘I’m sorry’ she eventually offered. ‘I didn’t realize. Are you sure you want to sell the place, so many memories?’

she nodded.

‘Oh yes, enough memories, time this house belonged to a family again.’

She rose to her feet and walked through the door, followed by the other lady.

The door closed, the room was quiet once again. The lights dimmed as the window opened. On the bed, Mary yawned, her tired eyes struggling to stay awake.

‘Good night daddy’ she called, ‘leave the door open’.

 

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.

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.

 

In at 1.15am today. Sat down at the computer and did some free form. It’s completely un-edited but thought i’d share anyway, hope you enjoy. As always all comments and thoughts welcome. x

Imagine

Imagine a world of clinical logic.

Where every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

The birth of which is a machine facilitated by yet another process following an exact and predetermined formula.

And so it goes on.

Picture the teardrops of a grown man, the composition constant, the reason biologically explained to the last detail.

Trace the evolution of his emotion.

The empathetic connection that we all crave carefully explained to leave no room but the one it already occupies.

Imagine choice to be but an illusion.

An unanswered question in search of reason.

Imagine the beating of a child’s heart to be nothing more than a cog connecting to the other moving parts.

Satisfying the sum of the whole.

It’s existence sanctioned by It’s compatibility.

Then smile

For the moment we still have to imagine.

 

It’s been a wee while since I posted on here so thought I’d check in and share one or two ideas from a novel I’ve been working on. Be great to hear your thoughts.

 

 

“When I was young my parents told me I had the potential for greatness and I believed them.

I thought that was the reason I never quite fitted in, why I was an outcast.

The smile was only skin deep and my inner conflict grew.

My frustration gradually increased with the unchanging ever present ticking of the clock, with the feeling that my potential was never to be realised.

Then one day I did something that would change my life forever. I changed my definition of what greatness was, and with that realisation, I knew that I was the living and continued embodiment of my true potential.

We are, each and every one of us placed upon this earth for a reason.

It’s difficult to truly express the tranquility that comes from being at one with your true self, accepting all that you are. Some are born to be saints, to be good men sacrificing all so that their fellow man can thrive and some… are like me.

Like me, your fate on this world is decided. It’s best that you make peace with that”.

He picked the scalpel from the table and walked toward the school teacher…

ImageIts been a little while since I posted on here. Working on my new novel has been all consuming. As usual I woke this morning knowing that my story would progress, become richer and satisfy my expressive desires. Not only that, my children would have a continuation of the tale they have thankfully taken such an interest.

My body and brain however had other ideas, waking with flu and a sleeping head. I started with a bit of free form writing, some of which I thought I’d share. Its a mental snapshot of my state of mind. I hope you enjoy. All comments welcome as usual x

 

Wake

Speak but don’t make a sound,

The message received with indifference

The voice that listens but has no opinion

Don’t try when you can help the stampede

Charging whilst sitting still

I’m in there

Somewhere

The cage that had lifted in my mind

Inescapable

A brief look at life after death has left me in a state of panic searching for life within life.

It’s all a matter of perception

Or so I’ve been told

The veil that clouds my mind darkens

The strength once so powerful and full of purpose

Replaced by an apologetic IOU

Maybe tomorrow

I will wake

Maybe Tomorrow.

ImageI do tend to write the most random things.

Normally I save all my random thoughts and use them to create something hopefully worthy of future investigation. Usually they provide me with inspiration for a short story or novel. I thought i’d post some of the rambling free form in its raw form.

Doing some free-form writing a couple around 2am last night I came up with the following….

 

Fragmented Thoughts

 

People in my head

Wandering the desolate landscape my consciousness has laid out for its own pleasure

For whom every waking moment leaves you yearning for sleep

Form an orderly queue

Dreams are not the perfection you were promised

For perfection once it reaches attainability

Becomes Life

The waking world awaits us

Follow me

The lost prophet has an now has an a to z

ImageThis one started out as a bit of an experiment. I wanted to leave the gender of the protagonist to the reader. The resulting story was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. I hope you enjoy. As always all comments and thoughts welcome x

 

Dreamer

 

“Sorry for your loss Sam”.

John Templeton smiled sympathetically as he sat by my side, wiping his sweaty hands on the crumpled Armani suit trousers which were caked to his legs. His natural body stench was enough to make my dog wretch but I was glad of the company. The room was crowded, yet for the past two hours no one had given me so much as a second glance, perhaps they knew something John was unaware of. Personally I think he was there for the free buffet.

It took five minutes of uncomfortable silence,  with John slowly shaking his head whilst desperately trying to find the right words, before he finally offered his own comforting sermon “First your best friend, now your dad, and in as many days. Are you ok?”

I thought this would be a good opportunity to take one of the metal skewers from the lamb kebabs on the table and drive it into his forehead whilst shouting “Of course I’m not ok you drooling moron!”

I simply stared at him. My internal message must have been clear because he rose from his seat, picked up a plastic plate and began stocking up on quiche and tuna sandwiches before retreating out the front door. If nothing else at least I had lightened the load on my greedy neighbours’ food bill.

Mother was in the opposite corner, my daughter Margaret sleeping on her knee. I wanted so much to comfort her, to let her know everything was going to be alright. She looked broken, lost almost as she sat running her hands through Margaret’s hair observing the crowd of casual onlookers as if they were not real.

I closed my eyes to shut out the images that surrounded me, the only escape my claustrophobic mind could conjure. Through my inner darkness I took a couple of deep breaths. The sound of my heart beat seemed to drown out the pointless chatter from my guests.

It took a moment to register but the room seemed too quiet for comfort. I held my breath and listened.

The chatter had completely stopped, the rustling and clinking of glasses too. Even the Andersons annoying daughter from down the road, who had been talking to her would-be boyfriend on the phone about what she should wear when she meets him tonight, completely silenced. The sound of my heartbeat completely filled the room.

Slowly I opened my eyes.

It was as if someone had taken a Polaroid and replaced my living guests with it. Everyone and everything completely frozen. One ladies coffee cup had slipped from her hand and was making its way to the floor, the contents escaping and coating the tail end of my sleeping dog; except it wasn’t it just stayed there, in mid air motionless.

Through the silence I heard a sound, mother in her chair still stroking my sleeping daughters’ hair. She looked at me, trying to hold back the tears. Suddenly my little girl sat up and opened her eyes wide. Her head tilted to one side as she looked at me brushing the sleep from her left eye.

They didn’t seem to find it at all strange that they were the only moving parts in an otherwise motionless environment. Both their gazes were fixed firmly on me.

A bright light stole my attention as the front door swung open. In walked a silver haired lady. Her dress, a blinding white that made me want to cover my eyes. As she turned to face me, any anxiety that was inside my body began to slowly diminish. She slowly approached, moving through my still guests as though they were mere phantoms. Mother started to cry. The lady stopped, distracted for a moment. I saw in her eyes, a purity entangled somehow with my mother’s pain. She feigned a smile whilst uttering the words “no change”.

I blinked and the lady disappeared. Mother was once again stroking the hair of my sleeping daughter. The guests were milling round as before. The dog was up and yelping un-amused by the order of coffee his rear end had not requested and Marie Anderson had decided on the pink turtle neck sweater her aunt had bought her the Christmas before.

Save the occasional glance in my direction the guests continued to pay me no mind at all, instead offered their condolences to Margaret and my mother before leaving.

“I’m going to take Margaret for the night” Mother said as she buttoned my daughters’ red duffle coat. “You need to rest”. Margaret kissed me on the cheek before leaving.

I was alone. I had been alone for two days, the only difference being now the house was empty.

I couldn’t be bothered to tidy the place. I sat there for what seemed like hours, trying to make sense of what up until now I had dismissed as mere coincidence.

Two nights ago I dreamt my best friend was killed crossing a stretch of motorway. I didn’t bother to warn him. It was just a nightmare surely? A nightmare, hours later the evening news would report as fact.

Then there was my father.

Dad always told me “Never give up on your dreams Sam”. You gotta love the irony here.

Sleeping last night I had a vision, my fathers clapped out old banger complete with flat tyre being jacked up by the side of the road. Honks from opinionated drivers as they sped past only served to piss him off. “I’m not here by choice” he thought as he fought to free the flat from the wheel arch.

Less than a minute away on the same stretch of road, unaware there was any hazard ahead I was fiddling with the volume on the car radio, trying to drown out the repetitive sound from my daughters Buzz Light Year action figure.

Dad had resorted to kicking the stubborn tyre, anything to loosen it. He knelt again taking each side of the wheel and pulling with all his might. The tyre came loose and dad fell back with it across his chest.

He never got up. The oncoming vehicles’ impact killed him instantly.

As if that wasn’t bad enough I was driving the car. I’d got up in the early hours to clear my mind, unable to sleep for fear the nightmare vision would return.

I sat on the roadside cradling my fathers lifeless body in my arms wishing with every fibre in my soul that I could trade places with him, that he would at least wake long enough for me to say how much I loved him. That he would just wake.

The tears that fell from my face and rolled down his cheeks were not enough to bring him back but did send a clear message. I may be a psychic but I’m no healer in fact I think I’m cursed.

In Eastern philosophy it is said that the five people closest to you directly represent your own personality and state of mind. The philosopher in question failed to mention that as each one is taken, it would leave a gaping hole where they once belonged or that as they left, your heart would be ripped to shreds and you would do anything to escape the pain you were going through.

The emotional hurt from the previous two nights had already started to have a physical impact, spreading through my body like a ravenous cancer, seemingly stopping at every organ en route to hang an out of order sign.

I just wanted to sleep.

I rose and slowly walked the desolate wasteland that was my living room, a place that in the past had played host to some of the finest moments of my life. Without my family here it was more like a shell, empty and meaningless.

I glanced over to my bedroom door. There was a strange glow escaping from the gaps in the frame, a glow that seemed to grow in intensity the more I looked at it. Suddenly the silver haired lady in white appeared, walking through the closed door as though it were not there. She simply stopped and stared into my eyes before returning to the bedroom.

Who was she? A ghost? An angel? I had to find out. The light that protruded through the cracks in the door frame dimmed with every step as I moved closer to the bedroom. When I eventually opened the door the room was in darkness, the lady was gone. Yet the bed had never looked so inviting. Yearning for rest I laid down and rested my eyes.

Barely moments later a vision of my daughter crying, shouting my name shocked me from my sleep. I couldn’t loose her. I didn’t want to dream of her demise. I wouldn’t. Tired and exhausted but with my heart pounding so hard my ears ached; I rose from the bed and made myself a black coffee spending the remainder of the night sitting at the kitchen table, trembling.

 

The sun beaming through the blinds the next morning was enough to give me a migraine, to make me want to close my eyes at least. One of the curtains was jammed, typical. When you’ve had no rest sunlight can be a killer.  I considered moving into a darkened room and wait there for the solar flex to go annoy someone else but the thought of accidentally falling asleep was too much to bear.

I needed my daughter with me, and to know that both her and my mother was safe, so decided after a quick phone call to let her know I was coming to pick her up. Mom was asleep when I got there. Margaret answered the door duffle coat in hand.

“Grandma was worried about you” Margaret paused before continuing “I missed you last night” Smiling I picked her up and held her close, My Baby girls arms wrapped around me in a tight embrace. “I’m always with you” I said as we walked to the car. Once the door was opened she jumped into her child seat and I strapped her in.

The journey back home was longer than expected. A traffic jam on the A1 brought us to a complete standstill. Margaret picked up her Buzz Light-year action figure from the seat and flicked the switch at the back of his head repeatedly on and off. I closed my eyes and pinched my fingers between them, a futile effort to ward off an oncoming headache.

Suddenly a bright light through my closed lids stunned me into opening them. I couldn’t risk falling asleep especially not on a busy road.  Looking ahead I expected to see a long line of cars sitting patiently waiting so they could continue on their way, instead the road was completely clear not a car in sight. Cautiously I put the car in gear and began driving.

I was travelling at a constant sixty miles per hour on the A1, pretty clear road. Margaret, in her child seat behind me. She was playing with her Buzz Light-year which with the switch on repeatedly announced “To Infinity and Beyond” every time it was placed at a horizontal angle.

Ten minutes into the journey and I’d heard all I cared to from Mr Light-year. “Sweetheart, do you think you could turn Buzz off so we can listen to the music on the radio?” No Response apart from the continued galactic announcement from Buzz. “Baby Girl, Buzz is giving me a bit of a headache just flick the switch on the back of his head ok?”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Buzz drop to the floor and on he went, “To Infinity And Beyond” I swear the cocky little toy actually winked at me; now out of reach of my daughter and even closer to my ear I had to pick it up before the announcement transformed to an internal one “Lack of Sanity and Beyond”.

It was a fleeting thought. One quick glance at the road before I turn around to retrieve it, two seconds max.

As I turned to pick up the toy the radio volume increased “We now change the scheduled programming to cater for all you grieving parents out there” Buzz sat up on the seat and started to shake his head whilst Billie Joel started singing say goodbye to my baby over the airwaves.

Buzz turned his head once more then stopped moving; his lifeless gaze now directed at my daughter. Her eyes met his and paused momentarily. The silence seemed to blanket a moment of pure understanding and clarity between them both, a moment I desperately wanted to share but could not.

Margaret lifted her head and smiled; a single red teardrop made its way slowly down her cheek and fell to her lap. As she lifted her hands in my direction, scarlet tears began to free flow. I felt a shudder and a cold spot on the back of my neck, shards of glass were floating past my head in slow motion effortlessly cutting my face as they attempted to pass me and find their way to my baby girl.

My eyes began to throb as if hot needles were being pushed outward from the inside. I clamped them shut too afraid to reopen them and unable to move, very aware that I was the human shield protecting my daughter from whatever danger that had sought her out.

The radio volume increased “Say Goodbye To My Baby” repeated over and over accompanied by an orchestra of smashing glass, crumpled metal and a piercing soprano that was my daughter as she cried out in pain, my eyes were still closed. I pushed my hands to my ears and prayed for this nightmare to end, and it did.

When I re opened my eyes I was facing front, all in the car was as it should be, but outside everything was happening at super speed. Traffic, people and trees became nothing but momentary blurs. I looked at the speedometer which moved rapidly from sixty miles per hour to one hundred and five then back again to sixty fixed in a constant time loop.

There was a voice, a warm comforting sound that eased my pounding heart “I realise you’re concerned.” The voice continued “I’m here to help as much as I can”. In the distance, but moving ever closer the silver haired lady approached. Her high definition image contrasted with the surrounding environment.

I wasn’t even alarmed when she glided through the bonnet of my car like a heavenly apparition to look me in the eyes from above. Her stare now both hypnotic and frightening. The pain in my head and body returned and amplified.

I turned to check my daughter was ok, but when I looked she wasn’t there. Her red duffle coat was laid out on the empty child seat as a blanket for the Buzz Light-year action figure. Slowly the car seat began to fade from focus, and my entire environment was becoming a hazy image like a repressed memory till it disappeared altogether.

I heard my father speaking behind me. “You can do it Sam, stay with us”. “Dad? But that’s impossible” I thought. My daughters pleading voice joined his “I love you. Please don’t die; I’ll be good always I promise”. She cried like I’d never heard before. Facing front again I looked at the lady in white who returned my smile. The name on her badge read Nurse Rebecca Walker.

The mist that had been shrouding my perception was finally lifted and my memories once again clear. There had only ever been one accident with myself as the only victim. A wave of relief passed through me as I saw my family and best friend standing in the hospital room with me. I felt gratitude for the nurse who had been there through my fleeting moments of consciousness and sorrow for the loved ones I would leave behind.

“There’s nothing more we can do” Rebecca said as she stepped back to allow my family to approach. Behind me the bedroom door I’d seen earlier opened once more. The light from the room was inviting and warm.

The bleep from my heart monitor was slowing gradually. “Take care of my daughter” I managed to say. “I love you all so much” My family’s tears made me want to stay but I knew I couldn’t. I approached the light and lay down on the bed. The heart monitors unrelenting beep turned to a constant drone as I slowly closed my eyes.