Feedback – Ghost Written

So, I use two websites I use Shortbreadstories.  It is a wonderfully friendly place the members are always supportive, kind and generous.  I love it there.

I also use another site.  On that site the members can be brutal, they can be rude and offensive and they can be pretty obnoxious to be honest.  But, many of them are not, they are kind and supportive just as my friends on Shortbread are.

So, in the last week I have had – oh what shall I call it – an issue – yes, I have had an issue with a member on the other site.  She has for whatever reason declared war on me, she doesn’t like me and therefore of course she doesn’t like my work.  We writers are like that!!! (sometimes)

Anyway I had recently re-uploaded an old piece from here, Ghost Written and I was hoping for some feedback. Well, what actually happened was that this other lady decided to mark the piece down so that effectively it would be viewed as worthless and no-one would read it. She is of course entitled to her opinion.  It is possible that she did indeed, as she claims, read the book and hated it.  The actual on site rating that she gave me is quantified as “Awful – only good for pulping”  – Harsh I know but, well anyway.

Of course we had a bit of a to and fro and handbags and so on and then I thought oh this is just silly and left it but, it did me a sort of favour in that it made me go back and look at the work with a more critical eye – maybe I should indeed thank her.

I spent a couple of hours today re-reading it and well to be honest I just don’t know.  I like it, I know that it needs an edit and a bit of tidying up here and there, it was never offered as “finished” but I just wondered.  If any of you could be bothered.  What do you reckon.  Is this worth any effort.  I had thought that I might self publish it as a novella but if it is indeed “only fit for pulping” well perhaps that’s exactly what I should do.

Be Honest!

Ooops – hold on there is a glitch with the pdf.  – Give me a moment – thanks – Ashen – Course of Mirrors

ghost written cover

Okay I think that should be okay.

  Ghost Written

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Lissa’s Flight

This is a sequal to a dystopian (sort of) story I wrote some time ago.  (Lissa’s Moment)

This is also available on Shortbread Stories

Lissa’s Flight 

Lissa felt old.  Her bones were tired and her soul was weary. Mama and Papa had been gone a long time now and she had spent countless years alone in the dark, cramped place where they had all existed. 

The three brief occasions when she had gone “up top” were her dearest memories.  In the deep of the night when the gangs roamed outside the draughty windows and the spotlights from the Enforcer’s wagons slid across the walls, scaring the cockroaches and scorpions she would close her lids and take her thoughts to the sun-kissed meadow and the startling blue of the sky. 

A dream, a memory and a wish. 

She fought to hold back the bitterness.  It was right that the young should go.  If there was any chance to save humankind it must be breeders who were shepherded aboard the ship that was ferrying them to the new place in the mountains. 

She had heard about it.  In quiet mutterings at the feeding halls she had heard whispers of birds and flowers.  The pilots came back with little pots holding soil and tiny struggling plant life.  She had never had the money to buy one but she had seen them and smelled the perfume and one magic moment she had stroked the delicate, pale petal of a bloom.  Soft it was like the worn fabric of Mama’s wedding dress. 

She had stroked a feather once.  The pilot had taken his payment for the tiny gift in a damp and stinking alley and she had bled and the soreness lasted for days but the memory of the slick softness under her fingers and the echo of freedom that the tiny plume held made the pain worthwhile.  After all there was no other man to take her and it didn’t matter any way. 

If there had been a man.  If she had been chosen to breed then maybe her children would go now to the place where the air was pure and the water ran gurgling and splashing through untainted meadows.  But there was only her and she was to stay and die in the dark. 

The ship left every twenty seven days.  When it was time the night was filled with the rumble of people carriers in the street.  Times she felt brave enough she pulled the blind away from the window and peered out into the darkness to watch the lights as the great dome doors opened and the ship lifted, smooth and majestic towards the heavens.  What would it be like to sit on there and to know that the daylight and the sunshine and the birdsong were to be your everyday?  How would it feel to know that the starlit cupola of night could be viewed whenever the mood was upon you? 

Tears leaked from under her wrinkled lids.  Her heart cracked just a little more as she regretted yet again the dark sheen of her hair.  Hair that Mama insisted was beautiful.  How could it be when the shadowed softness was the very reason that she had not been chosen to breed.  If her curls had been golden then she would have been allocated a mate, then she would have seen tiny babies with pale skin and blue eyes running to her in the family sector and maybe she would have been chosen to go with them as a carer. 

The gong was sounding.  The golden couples and the blessed babies would be on board and soon the sky flaps would open and the great ship would leave again.   They called it an ark from some left over story from the “Other Times” an echo of a myth about escape and salvation – it had another name. Noah. Noah’s Ark.

 She dragged back the blind and pried open the creaking windows.  The shouts of the enforcers were instant but she paid them no heed.  She was old and tired and sad and she would go now when the Ark left, she would go to the mountains and the meadows and the bird song.  Her old joints complained as she clambered onto the ledge unused muscles quaking in the darkness.  Arms outstretched like the pictures of the birds Papa had shown her she waited for just the right moment.  As the engines fired and the magnificent ship lifted towards the heavens Lissa flew from the ledge into the darkness and found her sunshine. 

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Stumpy

No inspiration for a longer work at the moment but I have done a couple of bits but they are in silly little competitions here and there so I thought I’d post this. It’s a sad story – sorry.

Stumpy

They call him Stumpy. Not his mum, she calls him by his real name, Ryan, but the others call him Stumpy. Nobody remembers where the name came from. It’s not as if he’s particularly short and he has all his limbs intact. The name seems to have grown around him and there it is.

His limbs are intact but his mind, well his mind is a different thing. If the kids who teased him had possessed a modicum of intelligence it could have been that they realised his brain is stumped but that’s probably a bridge too far for them.

As a baby he seemed ordinary. Never pretty or charming and just a bit off, out of kilter somehow. His mum had been going to have an abortion and then virtually at the last minute she’d had a change of heart. A baby would get her a council flat and would get her out from under her dad’s thumb so “hey why not”. She didn’t let her condition curtail her drinking and she never thought that the other substances she came across could hurt the baby. It was safe inside her after all.

It was a while before anyone noticed that maybe he wasn’t quite as he should be. The health visitor had called just the allotted number of times. He was quiet and there were no bruises and she was busy. Tracy wasn’t one for spending time at the Well Baby Clinic when she could be up the shops or the betting place and the pub, with the pram in the entryway, and so he wasn’t monitored.

Tracy didn’t mix much with other mum’s and kids it wasn’t her scene. She was only seventeen and to be honest babies bored her. She kept him fairly clean and fed him enough to stop him howling and really that was about it.

The upshot of it all was that it wasn’t until he started at preschool that anyone realised there was something wrong. Tracy hadn’t spent time teaching him to count or read. She reckoned that’s what the government had teachers for. Well wasn’t it.

They tested him and they assessed him and they told his mum that he was educationally challenged and had learning difficulties. She though, had a new boyfriend and so other things to think about. As long as they let him go to school she was happy. He was out from under her feet all day and afterwards he just sat quietly staring at the television until bedtime.

There are teachers who are gifted and caring and even loving. They inspire their pupils to great things and even the less able blossom under their care. Ryan didn’t ever have one of those teachers. He sat in the back of classrooms. He was quiet and so he was let alone. He slipped through the gaping holes in the system, didn’t really learn to read. He could write his name in shaky scruffy letters and his numeracy stopped at simple subtraction.

He left school as soon as he could. He didn’t really graduate in any meaningful way he simply stopped going towards the end of his final year and really, nobody noticed.

He trailed the streets. Tracy had taken him to sign on for Job Seekers allowance. The staff there had made suggestions about other places that might offer him help but there was no-one to see it through and he couldn’t do it himself.

So there we have him Stumpy. The brighter kids picked on him, hyenas after the weakest of the herd. They made him do things that he didn’t want to, they took his money and they threw things at him. He wasn’t unhappy not really. To be unhappy he would have needed to have known happiness he simply existed in his lacklustre world, day to day.

Then he met Sally, she was small and bubbly and lively. She felt sorry for him, she was kind, she became his angel. Many long, wet days he would hang around in the cold outside her block on the off-chance that he would catch a glimpse of her. When he walked across the rec. and the other kids threw clods and called out she stopped them. She ran to his side and took his hand and made them leave him alone. Everyone liked Sally and they didn’t want to upset her. A lot of the older boys were simply biding their time, she was blooming, she was developing and they had plans for her future.

He followed her often. Sometimes she would see him and wait and walk with him, chatting and laughing and cheering his grey world and turning it into a brighter place.

On that Wednesday he had waited until she came out of college. It was a bad day for him, he was feeling edgy and awkward and so he didn’t call to her or show himself. He followed from a distance up the main road as she giggled and laughed with her mates. He waited in the cold while she sat in the café and drank coffee with Cheryl and Melanie. At last he had her to himself, she was crossing the rec. and he followed dogging her steps, faithfully worshipping.

Half way across the rec. Big Davy appeared from behind the skate board ramp. He was alone; she didn’t slow to talk to him. Big Davy wasn’t the sort of bloke girls stopped to pass the time with. He was rough and crude and a bully. She scurried past him and quickened her step, he kept pace. He grabbed at her scarf; she pulled it from his hand and pushed it into her shoulder bag. He put his hand on her shoulder, she shrugged him off but he clutched at her arm.

As she turned to face the bully Stumpy felt the anger rising, tears had sprung to his eyes, he was keening in despair. This was all wrong, he didn’t know why but he just knew it was wrong.

Big Davy grabbed at Sally’s coat she kicked him and started to yell. He threw his great arms around her and picked her bodily from the path. Ryan watched as his shining star was dragged behind the electricity sub-station where the shrubs grew thick and tangled. He could hear her shouting and he sensed the panic as the tone of her yells changed. He ran across the broken ground his lopsided lope carrying him to the rescue. By the time he made it to the dusty bank behind the little brick building Big Davy was inflamed and fired by his needs and his temper. He had dragged Sally’s stretchy pants down, he sat astride her and tore at her top. She twisted and coiled under his legs. She screamed and tore at his face with her nails but she was small and pinned to the ground by a powerful male with raging hormones.

Big Davy lashed out with his fist and connected with her face. Her head cracked to the side and she stopped struggling. The brute shook her, still she didn’t move. By now Ryan had reached them and he grabbed at the other boy who was starting to panic and push himself backwards from the inert little body with the torn clothes and the bloodied lips.

Ryan launched himself forwards with a wild cry, he grabbed Big Davy and dragged him back across the rocks and the rubble. Davy skewed himself round and clambered to his knees, using Ryan’s body as a hoist he drew himself upwards. With a glance at the body on the bank and the crying, snotty face of the idiot he ran. He ran to the high street and to the café where he made a big fuss of buying coke and a toastie and taking the sandwich back with a shouted complaint. He made sure everyone remembered him.

At the side of the recreation ground, behind the sub-station Ryan cradled the dead girl in his arms. His tears washed her bloodied face as her head flopped from side to side. His DNA rained down upon her skin and her blood smeared onto his top and pants.

They call him Stumpy in jail. Nobody knows why the name has just grown around him. He misses Sally and knows that he didn’t mean to hurt her but they told him he did, it must have been after Big Davy left. He didn’t tell them about Big Davy because he’s afraid of him now.

They don’t know what they will do with him but for the moment he’s not unhappy. To be unhappy he would have needed to have known happiness.

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The Homecoming – A piece of flash

I saw him coming, I watched. A dot, a stick, a shadow man and then he was there, real and whole and filling my eyes.

Before he reached the gate, long before, while he was still at the bottom of the road I had dropped the bunch of parsley I held and left it to wither on the grass. My feet took me forward first, just my feet and then my heart gave me wings and I flew to him. I sped through the gate, along past the field, startling the cows and sending up a swarm of flying things as I spread my arms to gather the joy of the moment.

Then, when he was but a short reach away the world stilled. His eyes flooded and his arms began to stretch to me. My hands wanted to touch him, to feel the silk of his hair, grown long while he was away, and the rough stubble on his chin. Still, though and still the depth of emotion stopped us and slowly now, slowly we trod.

One step, he was whole and perfect.

One step, there were tiny lines now around his eyes. Had they been there before?

One step, he had dropped his bag in the dirt at his feet.

One step, the scent of him now was in my nostrils, the green, fresh air, male taste of him.

One step, I touched his shirt, tentative, afraid, after all this time that I would break now that it was over.

One step, his arms lifted and wrapped me around and I was home – he was home.

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Poker Winner – a daft bit of fantasy – as you will see fantasy is not my strong point but it’s fun to read I reckon.

Poker Winner

Dust motes sparkled and danced in the muted beams of sunlight spearing across the tiny room. The budgie hopped and chittered in his little blue cage as the fire crackled and muttered in the cast iron grate.

Bennie pushed through the front door and lowered his aging bulk onto the threadbare easy chair. Sighing with effort he bent to unlace heavy boots.

Something in the atmosphere tickled at the back of his senses, something in the air porcupined the hairs on the back of his neck. Without raising his head he swivelled his eyes upwards under the bushy brows. Something was off, something was here.

He had waited long for this day, he had always known it would come.

The door at the bottom of the tiny staircase moved, it creaked and began to swing slowly, slowly inwards. She was coming, she was here.

Breath suspended, heart thundering Bennie gave everything over to instinct, he needed his weapon. In the hearth the brass Knight in Armour glinted pinkly in the fire light, inside the flip top helmet was a pair of tongs, a tiny shovel and the poker. He needed the poker.

The staircase door and the vestibule beyond were closer to the fireplace than he was, the door gap was widening, the dark maw gaping wider, as he watched.

His fingers flexed, his legs tensed, he had to reach it before she did, there was no time, he must move now.

He straightened in the chair and at the same moment threw himself forward, arms grabbing for the mock military figure. The door was flung wide and the tall, gracile figure floated free of the stairway. It moved with incredible speed across the floor, seconds became years as Bennie fumbled in the hearth. The figure blocked his path, wavering and shimmering, an ominous wraith, unchanged since the last time he had seen it so many years past now.

It had slain his brother, it had slain his father, slain and shredded and left to bleed like so much human chiffonade on the bright green grass of the Highland meadow and now it was come for him, come to finish the job, to kill him the last of his line and the last bastion in defence of the globe.

NO! with a visceral scream he pushed forward, through the veil of being, through the evil cloud of existence. He knocked the brass ornament flat on the green tiles of the hearth, in a desperate flurry of arms, hands, fingers and unearthly cloying vapour battle was joined. To lose now was death not just for Bennie but for every creature on the planet. The brass of the little poker was the only thing chance of victory, the metal of the small rod the only thing that could destroy the being. For this reason and this alone the Knight at Arms had waited over the years in front of the spitting coals and crackling embers.

The air in his lungs was thickening, the blood in his veins cloying and congealing, the room spun as clouds fugged his brain. He felt the vapour sliding into his nostrils, once inside his body the destruction would be fast and total. His fingers touched the fire warmed handle he clawed and grabbed, with the last vestiges of strength and lucidity he took it.

Like a sword he wielded it, jabbing and sweeping and slicing. The screams were unearthly the fury unspeakable and evil filled the world. Still he jabbed and gouged, The battle joined seemed to last for eons, they twisted, rolled and wrestled on the old red carpet in the tiny ordinary room, Bennie fought for the world and the being fought for domination and then suddenly it was done.

He lay, spent and battered on the hearthrug, his breath was laboured, eyes streamed and blood dribbled from his damaged nostrils but he had won, he had beaten it again. His last sight of the creature was a wisp of smoke as it fled through the flames and into the chimney but he knew, he knew it would come back, stronger and more determined and he had to be ready because once he was defeated it would be free to roam the world. He righted the brass cavalier and slipped the fire irons back into the slots, such an innocent looking household appliance but the only thing between “The Thing” and total world domination.

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A fill in – The Beach House

With all the excitement on Authonomy and the uploading of books in the new format etc. plus glut of plums and the final spurt to finish our beautiful new patio I have had no time or brain space for writing.

I thought I would just post one of my own favourites to keep things popping. Hopefully now that things over at Authonomy are settling down – and I have to say I really do like the new site, maybe my muse will come back. I hope so.

    Beach House

I glanced up from the screen, resting my eyes and easing stiffened shoulder muscles. This job, editing copy for a company based in London is easy but tedious. It fits in though with the other things I like to do, the beach walks and gardening and most importantly going down to the nursing home. I am not keen on the job but I love my office.

I love my home actually, I am very lucky. It has been in my family for four generations now and after the horrible time over the last few years it has taken me back, wrapped its solid stone arms around me and held me safe.

The garden is old and shady with gnarly trees and herbs tucked into the few corners that catch the sun. There is a wooden gate set in the middle of the stone wall and it leads directly into the dunes. The front of the house is where the main gate and the parking and so on are but this little back garden and what the family always called the “beach gate” felt magical to me as a child and thrills me still.

This morning the winter sun is sparkling on the rippling ocean and lighting the tips of the beach grasses as they sway back and forth in the breeze. The gulls are spiralling and drifting their grey wings bending and tilting in the air movement. This beach, not really mine except in my mind and my heart, never gets too busy. The holiday people prefer the bigger beach round the edge of the headland where in the summer there is ice cream and boats for hire and laughter and kites but this little place is quiet and calm nearly all the time. Occasionally more adventurous picnic parties will make their way up here and set down amongst the dunes and I watch them and feel benevolent and gracious as I allow them into my fiefdom. In the winter it is rare to see anyone and so I was intrigued when I saw the figure down near the water.

My eye was captured by the man. He was quite slight and graceful and dressed in trousers, maybe jeans too indistinct in this light to really tell and a loose top. He looked familiar and stirred something deep in me but I couldn’t say what. He walked slowly hands thrust into his pockets and his head lowered. He didn’t seem to be taking in his surroundings or enjoying the play of light on the water and the dance of the gulls but just moving in the landscape like a piece of flotsam on the tide. His feet splashed in the lying water and occasionally he changed his direction to avoid a patch of weed or some other small obstacle but as I watched it struck me that he could have been anywhere he seemed so untouched by his surroundings.

The computer chimed and I flicked my eyes down briefly to see the email indicator flashing, a quick glance nothing more and then back up to the window. The figure had gone, I turned my head back and forth and standing on my toes peered towards the garden wall wondering if he had come up to the house but there was no sign of him. I was puzzled but the computer chimed again and the clock in the hall told me it was time to get back to work if I was to finish today’s schedule before I went off to the home. Sometimes when the visit is particularly difficult I can’t face the computer afterwards so it’s best to have it all done by the time I leave.

Today as soon as I walked into the room I knew it had been a bad day the curtains were closed and Geoff was in bed the covers over his head. They only let him hide in his bed if they have had to increase his medication to the maximum. It knocks him for six then and its no good trying to keep him awake. His nurse said that he had been disturbed earlier and started with the ranting and throwing things and they had needed to sedate him. They couldn’t say what might have started it but he had been calling my name over and over and they had been on the verge of telephoning when he had suddenly calmed down and then crawled into his bed and slept wrapped deep in the covers hiding from his demons. My lovely husband, my darling Geoff so spoilt and broken by whatever horror had taken possession of his brilliant mind to hold him in thrall for what was it now, six years. All our dreams shattered, our plans destroyed. This married widowhood was not how I had seen our “golden years” after all the time we had spent planning our return to the house. We were to walk together on the sand and sit in the dunes watching the diamonds on the water. Before we had a chance to enjoy any of it something had invaded his brain and taken his senses and no-one could say when and if he would come back.

I sat with him for a while but he didn’t even stir and so I came home early. I felt particularly lonely, mostly I have learned to cope with it all and if I have been able to hold his hand, make him smile perhaps and feel that we have connected it’s okay and I cling to the hope that one day he’ll be with me and we will sit together on our little balcony outside the dining room and watch the sun as it blesses the water with crimson beauty but today it felt hopeless and endless and I cried a little.

He was there again today, the figure on the water’s edge progressing in his oblivion through the sandy ripples his head lowered and his hands deep in his pockets. I watched him as he made his way nearly all the way along the beach and then I turned to check the time and when I looked back he was gone again. I went out through the beach gate and down to the edge of the waves. There was no sign of him anywhere in the dunes or up on the headland. He must have been nearer to the edge of the water than it appeared because his footprints had already been obliterated.

Geoff was no better, they said that he had been very disturbed again at about the same time in the afternoon and so again I could only sit and look at the hump of him under the covers in the darkened room. The doctors think that this is a worrying sign but they will change his pills, try something new keep on hoping. They smile and pat my shoulder but we all know that we have so little control over this thing and so we simply keep on keeping on and pretend to each other that it will all come out right in the end.

I had no work today but as the time came near when I had seen him the last two days I was drawn to the office window. I stood with my jacket pulled tightly around me and watched. He wouldn’t come today, it was raining. Sharp driving rain blown by an unkind wind that was stirring up the graphite ocean and flinging the spume into the air in temper. I watched for a few moments but of course he wouldn’t come not in this weather. I bent to turn on the computer, check my mail and when I stood again there he was. His clothes looked the same no jacket had been added or hat and he walked at the same unhurried pace. His head was bent a little lower against the wind but that was the only surrender to the elements. He paced half way along the beach and then turned, I was mesmerised by now. What was he doing there in the awful weather and where was he going. He raised his head and stared at the house and then his arm lifted and stretched towards the window where I stood breath stilled skin crawling with goosebumps. As he pointed at the house I recognised him – Geoff.

I flew from the room took the stairs unheeding and flung out of the back door. How could this be, what had happened? How could my poor deranged husband have escaped from the home, how could he have travelled here it was fifteen minutes by car and in this weather. I grabbed a blanket on my way through the sun room, he would be frozen and sodden.

“Geoff, Geoff.”

I became aware that I was calling out his name as I ran. I flung through the garden my fingers already slick argued with the latch on the gate but then I was out in the dunes and running for the beach.

“Geoff.”

He had gone. I ran forward head spinning back and forth my eyes squinting in the driving rain but there was no sign of him. I staggered along the waters edge searching the dunes and the headland path he was here somewhere I had seen him moments before. I searched for long, long minutes calling his name running back and forth uselessly up and down the dunes and the steps back to the gate which was slamming in the increasing wind. I had to find him quickly he was underdressed and in his fragile state he couldn’t take this assault on his body.

He just wasn’t there.

I dashed back in to the house snatched up the phone.

“Woodlands Nursing Home. How may I help you?”

“This is Mrs Blakely, I need to speak to Doctor Jones, now quickly now.”

“Just one moment I will try and put you through to his secretary”

“No, no this is urgent I need to speak to the doctor right now, quickly. Now for goodness sake.”

“Hold on Mrs Blakely.”

“Hello Mrs Blakely, Doctor Jones here what can we do for you.”

“Geoff he’s here, out in the wind, in the rain on the beach. What is going on, how can he be here?”

“Mrs Blakely try to keep calm. Geoff is here, he is in his room.”

“I’ve just seen him, how could you let this happen, he’s here out in the cold in the rain, get the police we need to find him.”

“Mrs Blakely he is here, he is in his room I have just been with him.”

“When, when did you see him?”
“Less than five minutes ago. He has had another bad afternoon I’m afraid we have had to sedate him again. He was very disturbed he was calling for you again. Look I think the best thing that we can do here is for you to come down. Are you fit to drive you sound very agitated.”

“I’m fine; I’m coming down there now.”

He was there, in his room. Well, the bump in his bed was there, the light was dimmed and the curtains closed but they assured me that it was Geoff and I lifted the edge of the covers to glimpse his dark head the little flecks of grey and his dear hand cushioning his cheek.

What a fool, I saw a man in the rain on the beach and ran about like an idiot ended up soaked through and shouting at the doctor on the ‘phone.

The night was wild with wind and raucous with the driving rain. The old house shuddered under the onslaught. The loose window rattled and the doors creaked as the draughts sneaked under and around the old wood. Tossing and turning under the duvet my mind unsettled by the happenings of the afternoon I couldn’t sleep. In the end I gave up and decided to try and do some work and get ahead of my schedule so that tomorrow I could maybe go into town for lunch and try to lighten my mood.

I switched on the small desk lamp and opened the wooden shutters on the inside of the windows to let in the windswept moonlight. I could see down there beyond the stone wall that the sea was churning and roiling the white horses gleaming bone white under the cloud streaked sky. I shivered. My beach was unfriendly tonight, the wet sand glowing darkly. There he was. He walked head down along the water line the moonlight picked out his dim shape and then the scudding clouds wrapped him in darkness. I didn’t stop to think, the next moment I was out there on the beach running towards him, it was my Geoff.

As I came within a few feet of him my breathing was suspended. Geoff, he was whole and strong before me his arms reached to me and he smiled his teeth white in the dimness of the moon. I went into his embrace and he held me, oh how I remembered this, the feel of his lips on my hair his hands on my back his body strong and hard against me. Geoff.

He pulled back, his lips met mine warm and gentle. I raised my gaze to his, I didn’t question this reality he was here in my arms he was real and solid and mine. His eyes were shining with tears that now flowed down his cheeks as he released me and stepped back. His arms stretched towards me now his hands clasping mine. I couldn’t speak. He stepped beyond my reach and back and back. The water was now up to his knees. I stood on the sand wracked with sobs, possessed entirely by grief my face sodden with rain, spray and endless, pointless tears. Back and back he went to his waist, to mid chest and by now the waves were reaching his head his hair was a shining helmet now the sea streaming over his body and then the waves covered him, they receded once, just one more glimpse of his face and then he was gone. The sea roared on as my screams were snatched away by the wind.

I don’t know how long I stood on the wet sand, whipped by the elements shivering and soaked and stricken with grief. Eventually I returned to some sort of sense and turned away from the ocean. Reaching the house I heard the ‘phone in the hallway.

“Mrs Blakely. This is Doctor Jones. I am sorry Mrs Blakely I’m afraid I have sad news for you. We have lost Geoff, a few minutes ago. It was so unexpected. It was peaceful and he didn’t seem to be in any distress. I need to talk to you but don’t come now. If you are up to it come in tomorrow early. Are you alright? Can I do anything? Is there someone I can call for you?”

“It’s fine doctor. I’m fine. I’ll see you tomorrow about eight if that’s okay. It’s all okay now. Everything is fine now. Thank you.”

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passion flower

We took our coffee outside and there was a Passion Flower bud about to open.

In the time it took to have our drinks it went from bud to fully opened. It was amazing

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Bikes on Water

So Le Tour went to Perigueux and they did this.  It’s so cool.  Of course there were bikes all over the place on traffic islands and up on building etc but I just had to share this.

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Filed under thought for the day (or the week or maybe even the year)

Just for Love

“So, shall I just sit here?”

“Yes, that’s fine Jane, just settle down. This shouldn’t take long. You do understand don’t you, why we have asked you to come in early today.”

“Yes, yes, I was glad to get started to be honest, I was getting quite nervous thinking about it.”

“We need to make sure that you fully understand what is happening here and then, if you are still happy you need to sign some forms.”

“Okay, though I have had some stuff, you know brochures and leaflets. Some of em were a bit, well you know near the knuckle, enough to put me off. Though they didn’t – I need you to know that, really I was joking.”

“Yes, we are obliged to make sure you are fully aware of what you are about to do.”

“Yep, yep – ‘course.”

“So, I think maybe the best thing would be for you to ask me any questions that you might have. If you have read the literature then that’s probably the way to go.”

“Well, okay. I suppose the only thing I want to ask is whether or not it will hurt much. That’s the thing that’s been on my mind. I’m not, well you know I’m not very brave or anything.”

“There will be some pain, not during the procedure but afterwards, you will be sore for a while and you will need to take things easy. You won’t be able to go back to work for a couple of weeks. Will that present you with a problem?”

“No, I’ve taken unpaid leave. I thought it was best, they were good at work – about the time off and so on but they need to cover my position so it’ll cost them. Anyway, that’s fine.”

“Do you want me to go into detail about the procedure; you are supposed to understand exactly what will happen.”

“D’ya know what I would rather not know to be honest, I know I’ll be asleep and that when I wake up it’ll be over – that’s good enough for me.”

“Well, if you’re happy we can get you signed in and then in a couple of hours we will be ready for you. Is there anything else?”

“Yeah, well I wonder if you can tell the little boy, Tommy isn’t it.”

“Yes, Tommy.”

“Well, just tell him I hope my bone marrow makes him better. Can you do that.”

“Yes, we can do that. Do you want to meet him, and his family?”

“No, no I’d be a bit embarrassed to be honest, no it’s fine, just tell ‘em I was glad to help and I hope he gets better.”

“I will. Thankyou.”

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Filed under Serials, Shorts and Stuff

WW1 anniversary. A sonnet

The Glorious Dead

The poppies bloomed in Flanders fields that day
As blood red mud besmirched the sullen ground.
Now all too late to hope or wish or pray
cacophony of death the only sound.
And so to find our friends and brothers each
We left the dreadful hole in which we slept
From trench to pit to wire and then to breach
To serve the solemn oath that must be kept.
Our hands made slick on gore and gut and spew
Our ears turned deaf to desperation’s cries
We fought to save the men that once we knew
Or at the last to close their dying eyes.
And when the silvered moon rose overhead
It did not seem so glorious to be dead.

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Filed under Poetry