Archive for June, 2014

Two parts of the same……

Posted: June 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

Two worlds collide

I conjure up sinister thoughts. A true dark side. Daily, I have to be quelled. Quietened. I have to be switched off to disguise myself from the outside world, in order for my host to speak civilly to people, to engage in conversation with family, friends, colleagues and Joe public, in order to get through a typical day without me showing up and displaying his true colours. I live in a world where bad things happen, where it’s grey and dire, where it’s always dark, where there’s always a menacing smirk across my face as I think up my next devious thought.

Fortunately, I have a dependable, although rather meek and timid alter ego. He’s my host. His name is Stephen Cresswell. I’ve never met him face to face. I don’t really want to because he makes me puke. His ‘nicely nicely’ approach to life warrants a slap. I’d do it if I could, yet I’m just his subconscious. No, not his subconscious. I’m his gut. I’m his inner being. I’m his inner devil. He’ll never show me to the outside world. He’ll never tell you anything about me. Oh, wait a minute…Yes he has. I’m his Jason Taylor. I’m his creation in word form. What I think deep in his DNA has finally been expressed in his debut novel ‘Checkmate’. I finally have made my views known. Christ, it only took 37 years.

Now…

What else can I do???  

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Todays prompt was to write from the Point of view of a 12-year-old. So, I cheated. Today’s post is an extract taken from my novel ‘Checkmate’. It, coincidentally, is from the POV of my main character – Jason – who in this chapter is 12. So, enjoy…

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Jason woke up thanks to his ever dependable body clock. It was dark outside. The darkness of his room enveloped him. He could hear footsteps padding around. Mum’s up, he thought. He couldn’t determine whether she was upstairs or down. Another one of his mum’s present problems was insomnia. The doctor had prescribed her with sleeping pills to try and get her into a routine pattern of sleep. They clearly didn’t work, or she wasn’t taking them properly. “Thick bitch can’t even take pills properly.” he briefly laughed through his nostrils.

He reached to the lamp on the table beside his bed, fumbled around for a second to find the switch, and the bulb burst into life, through the blue lamp shade. The initial shock of light made him squint and forced him to shield his eyes for a split second. He then opened his eyes fully to the lamp and overcame the challenge the light has posed. Satisfied at beating the light into submission, he looked at the wall across from him at the analogue clock ticking away. He liked this clock a lot as the second hand made a loud ticking noise on every step of its journey around its circumference. It lulled him to sleep at night and focussed his attention through the day when he needed some comfort and time to reflect. Maybe mum needs some help taking her pills. She needs to sleep. Mum needs help to sleep and I can help. Mum needs putting to sleep. Jason thought as he watched the seconds tick round and round. “Mum needs putting to sleep,” he whispered, “forever.”

The clock proudly displayed 6.23. He had planned out in his head, for the last seventeen minutes, what he was going to do. As the clock ticked around to 6.25, he quietly manoeuvred himself out of bed. He eased his feet into his open back, blue slippers and glided the four small strides to his door. Cautiously, without wanting to make a sound, he placed his right ear to the wood and listened. Hearing nothing, the door handle was turned and he pulled the door towards him. He shuffled backwards to accommodate the space the door would now take. He edged his head out of the gap he’d created and held his breath. Faint noises were coming from downstairs. Content that his mother was below, he allowed himself to relax a little and go about his morning ritual, albeit in a quiet fashion. Jason opened his door and stepped across the square void of the landing to the bathroom and closed the door till the latch caught in its natural groove of the door frame. He used the toilet but didn’t flush. He ran the tap and rinsed his hands. He reached up into the cabinet, pulled out his toothbrush and paste and brushed his teeth.

By 6.29 he was back in his room. He removed his slippers, took off his pyjamas and left them on his bed. He walked across the room to his wardrobe and pulled out fresh underwear and socks. He quickly slipped them on. He pulled out his school uniform and got dressed: white shirt, black trousers and black jumper with the white school insignia emblazoned on the fabric where his left pectoralis major muscle hid underneath.

With his feet back in his slippers, he set off on his journey downstairs via his mum’s room.

A short time later, in the living room, his mum was sat in the red arm chair, reading a magazine with her feet up on the matching red ottoman. The lamp, on the table beside the chair, was illuminating the far corner of the room. Jason walked to the mantel piece and picked up one of the two birthday cards he had received five days earlier. The card he picked up had a picture of a footballer on it shooting at a goal with a big number ‘12’ in the top right hand corner. He opened it and re-read the message he had read a number of times in the last few days:

To Jason

Happy Birthday

Love Joan

P.S don’t spend it all at once.

Jason smiled at the thought of the two £1 notes he found when he opened the envelope. He smiled because they went out of circulation in 1984, but he had asked a teacher, and he told Jason they could still be used up until June next year. Joan was an elderly neighbour. Jason did the odd job for her on occasion when he needed to get away from his mum’s abuse. Silly old boot, he thought, bless her. He afforded himself a little smirk at the thought of the old dear. The second and only other card he had received had a picture of a clown holding a balloon. A very babyish card, certainly not meant for a twelve year old. Inside it read:

To Jason

You’ll always be our baby boy

Love Mum and Dad

xx

Jason put his thumb over the word ‘Mum’ each time he had read the card and focussed on the word ‘Dad’. Clearly, his dad had no part to play in this card’s presence over the fireplace, yet Mum must’ve penned his moniker. How dare she! The thought came through as a private yell. He glared across at his mum, who still had her head in her magazine.

Jason snapped his middle finger lightly against his thumb on his right hand and uttered, “click.” The mask was on.

 

 

 

 

Checkmate

Posted: June 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

Checkmate

Part one of a planned three part trilogy – The ‘Divine Retribution’ trilogy

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Lost and Found

 

My name is John.

Up until two days ago, I was working in a hotel. The Maddison Hotel on the Brighton sea front, to be precise. I was the head porter, and I had worked there for twenty-nine years. Now, my duties consisted of, in the main, fetching and carrying luggage up and down the various floors for our guests. Not the most glam job in the world, but it paid the bills, and in the main the people I met were nice to me. I got a few tips here and there, which were always appreciated. It’s funny, the most generous guests were the ones who didn’t seem to have a great deal of cash, whereas the ones you’d expect a nice handshake concealing the crisp notes were always so miserly. But anyway, that’s not the point of this.

One of the perks of the job was dealing with the lost and found items. It used to make the days more interesting, trying to find out what item belonged to which guest. Steve (my colleague) and I ran a little competition with each other on a week by week basis to see who could reunite the most items to the most guests. The loser each week would have to buy the other a couple of pints in the bar before we clocked off on the Saturday night. It was a close run contest, with each of us probably neck and neck. We used to love seeing people reunited with their lost items. Sometimes, guests would come to our little office and claim the goods themselves. If this happened, whoever was on duty would simply treat it as one for their tally. We have reunited dolls and teddies to children, jewellery to grateful women, and watches to equally grateful men and women. Wallets, keys, clothes (including countless pieces of underwear) have all been on our hit list. Some more obscure items such as: a crocodile head, a canoe, a bicycle wheel, a police badge, a pet cat and three (yes three) wheelbarrows have all been reunited with their owners. Some people are exceptionally grateful that they offer us rewards. Well, it’d be rude not to take it!

Anyway, what I have omitted to tell you so far is that after six months, if we hadn’t found the owner, or if the owner of an object hadn’t claimed their property, then it was ours to keep. By law. Totally straight up. You can check it out if you want to. Totally legit. Sometimes the sign in register is fuelled with Mr and Mrs Smiths that it is hard to track people down! Anyway, Steve and I have already laid claim to many items. Normally, we just put them on Ebay or something and split the bounty, or if it’s something we like, we take it in turns to take it away with us.

Now, you may have noticed earlier I said I used to work at the hotel. This is because of the most recent unclaimed item. It had been in our care for one day shy of six months up until a few days ago. It was a briefcase – locked, with no distinguishable names or markings on. Just a run-of-the-mill case. We had asked hotel members, at the time of finding it, to see if it belonged to anyone. No takers. We couldn’t open it as it had a combination lock on both sides. We had shaken it, gauged its weight, but we had no idea what was in it. Now, as the time pushed on, it was officially going to be ours in a few short hours.

That was 2 days ago. Well, Steve and I decided to flip a coin for it, to see who would take it home with them. I won the toss.

As I got it home, I wasted no time opening it. I jimmied the lock open with my wife’s knives and my screwdrivers. It took a good twenty minutes. Well, when I got it open, it was a sight to behold.

Staring back at me was her Majesty the Queen. Many, many times. I was in awe of the hundreds and hundreds of fifty pound notes. I called the wife in from the front room. She screamed. I screamed. The kids came running downstairs in all the fracas. They screamed too. The four of us just looked at each other. Emma (my youngest) picked up a stack of notes in a bundle. She flicked through them. My son did the same. My wife joined them. I was too afraid to pick a bundle up. I walked into the living room and phoned Steve. I didn’t tell him over the phone what I’d found, but he was round within twenty minutes.

We set down to task and in no time at all, all five of us had counted a sum of cash. We totted up the total to be £240,000. We counted again. The second count confirmed our first count.

Steve and I had a serious talk about the cash. We were certain it was ours and we were the rightful and legal recipients.

Steve was unmarried, and he was happy when I offered him half the booty. Of course he was, but he thanked me and said he would happily take £80k. Fine by me. He thought it was a fair proportion.

Anyway, that brings us to now. Both Steve and I tendered our resignations the following day, and the five of us are here now, enjoying ourselves around the luxurious pool at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. I’m quite a frugal chap, and I know we can make this £160k last a good while.

Life throws you a lifeline every now and then. Look out for yours.

 

 

Writing 101 – Day 15

Posted: June 22, 2014 in Writing 101

Reader… I think officially I have lost the plot with this post.

Here is the stimulus (paraphrased) from writing 101 – day 15:

imagine an annual event you love so dearly is ceasing to exist. Write about how you’d feel.

Ok, straight forward, but I decided to turn myself into a bee, looking for a particular pollen producing plant. I need my head testing I think!!

Anyway.. It was a bit of fun…

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Woah woah woah, what the chuffin’ ‘ell is going on here?

Where the soddin’ ‘eck is it?

I’ve made a special trip for this, and it’s not here!

I’ve fetched my black and yellow ass from the other side of the county and it’s gone!

I’ve buzzed around all morning in hope… no, not in hope, in desperation for that bloody nectar and its gone!

Why does the world hate me?

Once a year… That’s all I want. Just once a year. My father, and my father’s father, and his father’s father before him have all made a bee line for the same bloody perovskia plant. And it’s not here!

I’m gonna start stinging someone in a minute. Where is it?

Wait. Am I in the right place? Yeah, of course I am. It was here last year. I came with Dad, and he showed me.

In fact, I’m in the right place for sure, but the whole garden looks different.

Mmmmm, that purple flower… I’ve gotta stop myself drooling here. I’m an embarrassment to myself. There are butterflies watching.

OK, so I’m not getting the nectar, but that’s ok. There’s plenty more in other flowers.

Oh. That man over there. He’s different. I wonder if the other people moved out and took the plant with them.

Yeah, that’ll be it. Maybe, just maybe, I can find it.

I’m a little tired from my flight over here, but if my wings are willing, then I’m ready.

Time to buzz off I guess. Hehehehe. Oh, great, no one around to hear my wit.

Right, perovskia… I’m coming to get ya!

 

 

Link to my debut novel – ‘Checkmate’

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So, its day two of my official life as an author.

Yesterday’s publication of ‘Checkmate’ on Kindle was a momentous occasion for me, and it became a very tiring day. I was busy on social media trying to promote my book, and I received lots of nice messages via public and private messages.

I need to think of a myriad of ways of getting my book out there. So, please excuse my same messages over and over again. I hope I don’t annoy too many of you with my continual reminders about my book.

It’s called Checkmate, by the way, just in case you’ve missed that along the line.

Its on Kindle, of course, but you can download a kindle app for free on your tablet or phone etc if you don’t have a Kindle.

I hope you enjoy reading my work as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I’m now hard at work on the second book in the trilogy – It’ll be called ‘Cat and Mouse’, and I am giving myself 8 months to write it.