J is for Janice

J is for Janice From the day she was born, Janice was given everything she wanted. She didn’t need to cry for too long before either her doting father or loving mother would be at her side, fussing over her with reassuring words of comfort and kisses on her forehead. From this moment on Janice knew that she was a very special person and because of that she could have Read more

I is for Impossible

I is for impossible. Having blown out her one hundred candles, with a slight relieve that her dentures didn’t come flying out covering the butter icing, Alice was quite exhausted and glad to be back in the solitary of her room, where she lit up a stogie and sat back in her chair. As much as everyone had made a great fuss over her centenary birthday, with just as many making Read more

H is for Hipster

H is for Hipster. The reason the new eatery stood out so much to Donald, was its choice of setting up shop in a part of town where the most exotic experience to be had was a mangey charity shop for a local cat charity. But that’s how these Hipster cafe’s start isn’t it, they move into a place with low rent and once they are established others move in. Read more

G is for Glenn

G is for Glenn. I’ve always loved horror stories. Skeletons have been at the forefront. I had a full size paper, glow in the dark skeleton and then a bit later the poster on the opposite side of my bed was of a skeleton on a motorbike, which I thought was great! I think i got it after seeing th esketon riding a motoabike in the Hammer Horror, Doctor, Terrors, Read more

F is for Fur

F is for Fur. Roger lay in bed, every time he opened his eyes the room span madly making him shut his eyes tight again. Downstairs he could hear the others getting on and knew that he too had to get up. Ever so gradually, Roger held both hands tight round his face as he lifted his head off the pillow. With his eyes still tightly shut he made the familiar Read more

Blanche Street

Blanche Street 19: Dead Famous

 

Art By Julie Peterson

Janice: By Julie Peterson

Way back in early 2012, QueenSpark books put a call out for writers to submit ideas for stories based on Brighton’s diverse history. The stories in turn were to be to a local artist to bring the stories alive. My original story was based on the Infamous Brighton Trunk Murders. Although this story won me a place in the project, during later meetings the group was asked who would like to write a story based on Brighton’s LGBT scene; I put my hand up and wrote a completely different script but reworked my trunk murder story: Dead Famous.

While writing Dead Famous I had the idea for the Blanche Street tale, Filth and began to write the two stories to complement each other and reveal the truth of what was attacking Netty in her tale and also connect this Brighton tale with my Blanche Street Tales.

I began to get the threads of my story together by first reading up on some of the grim deaths and murders of Brighton: there have been a fair few which has kept those men and women dressed up in Victorian clobber busy as they take people around Brighton and reveal the darker side of Brighton.
For me personally it was Brighton Trunk Murders that stayed with me as being the most shocking and soI decided to write an updated version of these tales while linking it to the past.
While writing the two tales, Filth and Dead Famous I played around with names for my protagonist, again I tried a few but it was when I introduced the other main characters, Janice and Nic that the Name Bryan popped into my head. I needed a device to give the reader an idea of age difference and so I had Janice do the work for me.

“Bryan with a Y”, replied Janice, “like Bryan Ferry. I guess you’re too young to remember him.”
I wanted to make further differences between these three characters, this was achieved through the use of costume; While Bryan wears an ill fitting overcoat, Janice and Nic are much more smartly dressed which intrigues and disturbs Bryan and hopefully the readers too.
Bryan dived round the corner and straight into the path of a woman in a full length mink fur coat.
This story is worth reading more then once as the reader gets to understand some of the more sinister moments that first time round seem quite innocent. A good example come in the scene when Janice cajoles Bryan to go to the pub for a drink.
Before he had a chance to answer, Janice linked her arm into Bryan’s and led him through the narrows lanes, until they came outside the Cricketers. Bryan tried to protest by saying he’d forgotten to bring his wallet, but Janice just laughed and pulled him into the warmth of the pub.
“Sit yourself down Bryan, I’m just going to powder my nose, while Nick gets us all a drink. What you having, lager?”

Poor Bryan genuinely thinks he has made some new friends when in fact the pair are putting the next part of their evil plan into action. For those who know the ending of the brilliant film, The Vanishing, will recognise the weapon Janice uses against Bryan.
The ending of the film, The Vanishing is one of the most deliciously disturbing films of that style of horror genre, non-gory but equally horrifying.
I wanted the ending of my story, Dead Famous to have a similar impact. Want to read it? then follow the link below to Inkitt and download it to read for free, in return please sign up to Inkitt (you won’t get bombard with spam) and rate my story.

Bryan become s dead famous.

Bryan become s dead famous.

Thank you.

The Brighton Writer.

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Writing 101, day 17. Fear.

Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page
Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

IMG_2714

I’m back!

I’m not alone with the fear of being buried alive, which can be thought of in many different ways. The recent earthquake in Nepal would have made many of us think of this horror. It is because of our fear that news reports show us of the one lucky survivor, pulled out of the rubble alive that allows us to concentrate on the hope that if it happened to us, we might just be lucky too.
In horror fiction this is not always the case. The first time I was made aware of my fear was when I was very young, watching the TV series, Armchair Thriller, in which a man drugged his wife and built a brick wall to encase her while whistling the song, Greensleeves. the combination between the horror of his action sand the gentleness of the song still makes me shudder.
Later on in life I discovered the works of Edgar Allen Poe where again I was confronted with my fear of being buried alive in his brilliant short story, The Black Cat and the Tell-Tale Heart

When I was studying for my MA in Creative Writing, I knew I wanted to use my fear of being buried alive in a short story and so I returned to Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories as well as the brilliant buried alive horror film, The Vanishing (1988) not the remake!

For the longest time I had trouble getting my protagonist into a trunk without the reader shouting “As if!”

In this version I had my protagonist called Dan, running away from a group of homophobes and hides in an abandoned house in Blanche Street.

A shout from the landing below, sends him running to the windowless room at the back. He trips, loses his shoe and stumbles onto the trunk, hidden in the shadows. With no time to think, he climbs inside,scraping the skin off his back as he pushes his body down. Holding the lid with one hand, dan peeps through the crack. He watches as the group pile into the room
“He couldn’t have jumped.”
Letting out a sigh of relief, he’s fingers give way, the lid slips down as the lid clicks and locks firmly in place.
Hidden 2010.

From here on in there were lots of flash backs which became quite weary to read and so I had to go back to the drawing board. The main problem was that I was trying to shoehorn a story into my Blanche Street tales, when what I really needed to do was to break free. It was around this time I was reminded of a story my tutor and mentor, Dave Swann told me. He had been on one of those haunted walks round Brighton, where the spooky host retells tales of Brighton’s murderous past, including the infamous trunk murders of 1831 and 1934. Dave mentioned a more recent Brighton murder but was told that those murders were not to be discussed on the tour. It was then an idea began to really take shape.

I started off by creating a character who was isolated from anyone who might care or miss him, as was the case with many of the victims of notorious serial killer, Dennis Nilsen. Being buried alive is one thing, knowing that no one is coming looking for you just rack up the terror all the more.

Next I gave form to the murderous couple, Janice and Nick.

To read the story, Please click the link via Inkitt on my Facebook page.

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Writing 101: (Day 2 ) A room with a view.

Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?

Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.

Giving your readers a clear sense of the space where your story unfolds will help them plunge deeper into your writing. Whether it’s a room, a house, a town, or something entirely different (a cave? a spaceship?), provide concrete details to set this place apart — and to create a more immersive reading experience. A room with a view.

I’m also using this prompt to write todays story:

Don’t think about how your characters sound, but how they see. Watch the world through their eyes — study the extraordinary and the mundane through their particular perspective. Walk around the block with them, stroll the rooms they live in, figure out what objects on the cluttered dining room table they would inevitably stare at the longest, and then learn why.”

— Dinaw Mengestu

As part of my university course I wrote a poem called: I Married a Werewolf. Every now and then I think about turning that poem into a story, so for todays challenge I am going to go to the flat where the werewolf lived.
I’m giving myself 2 x 30mins to get this first draft down.

Image taken from: holy-groundpage.blogspot.comNo one really believed her story. Yes, of course great care was made to calm and care for the victim as she told her tale of abuse; however, the part about her husband being a werewolf? Well, of course that wasn’t true. Over the years we have had many people coming in claiming to be all kinds of people or legendary creatures, particularly on Halloween night.

Just the other day we had two Jesus’s a vampire and one bloke who was convinced his elderly aunt had been attacked by dust. Those type of cases are all in a days work, but this one needed much more care. You get to know the different levels of fear and this one was off the scale.
While two of my colleagues helped the victim, it was up to me and P.C. Colin Bridges to investigate the victims story further.
The place was situated a few blocks away from the seafront, up the road from The Hospitality Inn Hotel. From the outside the house was just like many of the other dingy flat conversions around here that have started to rot. The thing is, when a building starts to rot so do the people inside.

The first thing we noticed was that the hall lights didn’t work properly, just flickering off an on as we made our way up the dark dank stairwell. Someone with incontinence was also adding to the smell. As we made our way to the top of the building the smell changed, a damp smell but not human, something much more earthy that neither I, nor Bridges could immediately put our finger on.
As we made our way to the top flat entrance, the pungent smell engulfed us. Bridges turned to me and said, “Wet dog”.
As soon as he said it, the smell hardened itself in my brain.
A few years back we had investigated a place where this couple were experimenting on a pack of dogs in their house in Portslade. with that image fixed, my hand automatically reached for my truncheon. The Portslade job had been messy, the dogs filled with a mix of fear and anger while their owners were just as aggressive.

Bridges had the owner’s key in hand and so very gently slipped the key in the lock. The only sound was that of a TV playing in the distance and our controlled breathing. Bridges looked at me and nodded and he turned the key in the lock then quickly pushed the door open.
The rush of hot stale air hit us both, Bridges nearly gagged. With our hands over our mouths we stepped into the hallway. Layers of ripped wallpaper laid exposed, it looked like someone had made numerous starts at decorating but had given up. The hall carpet was equally warn; it was impossible to say what colour or patten had originally beneath our feet.

With his truncheon raised, Bridges pushed open the first door to the left, it was the bathroom. Compared to the hall it was immaculate. The white tiles, bath, toilet and sink all shone. A strong smell of bleach filled the air; the sterile room felt eerily out of place. My mind went back to the victim who had come into the police station, I had really hadn’t thought too much about it, but her whole body oozed of chloroform.
As I reached for the door handle, Bridges flicked on the hall light which made me stop. Claw marks covered the door, not something made by a cat scratching, but something much bigger. I stood back, nearly knocking into Bridges and nodded at the door. It was then we both noticed the claw marks reached right to the top of the door frame. My first instinct was to call for backup. I’ve seen some weird stuff over the years: an old woman found weeks later in her flat in Hove, swallowed whole by a Boa constrictor, a couple who apparently spontaneously combusted, leaving just their slippered feet behind, that was another smell you never forget, like sweet pork; and now there’s this.

I cocked my head to one side and listened but there was no sound coming from behind that door. Looking back at Bridges, he nodded for me to open the door. As I did so, I was instantly knocked back by the over powering stench of death, it’s a smell that never leaves you. I’ve known Police officers who have left the force and years later they can still recall the smell by just mentioning a particular case.

The room was in complete darkness, but even then I knew there was a body in the room that had been dead a good while; the air was sickly sweet with an under current of excrement.
With one hand covering my nose and mouth, I reached for my torch and swept it across the bare floorboards and stopped when the torch beam found a naked man, flat on his back. On closer inspection the light glistened on what looked like a silver cake slice sticking out of his chest.
Further inspection showed the room was a carnage of broken furniture. It quickly became apparent that someone had tried to barricade themselves in here with little success. Looking over towards the window I saw blackout blinds keeping all light out of the room. As I went to open them my thoughts went back to the woman who said she had killed a werewolf, the claw marks on the door, the silver cake slice and the blackout blinds to keep not sunlight, but moonlight out of the room.
Pulling the blind up, the full force of the moonlight flooded in giving a grizzly spotlight light on the corpse. His body was coved in deep claw marks: this was not the perpetrator.
Without saying a word I gestured for Bridges to take a step back and to keep walking. Calling through to the station my worst fears were realised as the sound of static poured from my radio.

 

 

Here is my original poem which has a very different tone to the story that has just flowed today.

I married a werewolf.

(shape poem)

Yes, I married a werewolf
He said I was his to own
He told me he could not wait
For us to be all alone

The wedding was at midnight
My husbands such a loon
He said he had to see me
By the fullness of the moon

The wedding was just perfect
He said I looked divine
Blinded by his sweet nature
I just did not see the signs

That night his anger roused
As he put me in my place
He used me as his punch-bag
Careful to avoid my face

His mood would change in a flash
He said I was all to blame
With each clenched blow came the scream
“You women are all the same!”

The next morning filled with guilt
He promised me he would change
Begging for my forgiveness
Again, again, and again

One dark night I found new strength
By the waxing of the moon
I found the fire deep inside
I would make him change his tune

My werewolf husband came home drunk
And crawled into our bed
I coldly pushed knife to heart
Now it was I seeing red

No one really understood
The thing I had to do
But if you were there
If you were me
You would have
Killed him
Too

 

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Writing 101: (Day 1) Building a Blogging Habit

I’ve signed up to “Writing 101: Building a Blogging Habit.” which will give me daily prompts to write everyday to get me back in the habit of daily blogging/writing.

Today I was told: To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write, and don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.  

Day one, write for 20 mins about anything.

And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.

Here’s my 20 min scribbling. 

Brighton 19: horror comes to the seaside, is the working title of my 2nd collection of Urban Gothic stories Brighton 19 follows on from, Blanche Street: where all the neighbours are a nightmare.

I have about three or four stories that have been waiting in the wings ready to be discovered by me again and whipped into shape.
This time the tales are set in 1980’s Brighton, (the last collection was set in late 1970’s Blanche Street). This time, instead of a street, the tales all take place in a large house that has been turned into flats.

The final story of Blanche Street was set in Brighton with the door number 19, hence the title: Brighton 19.

 

Janice with her chosen weapon of choice: laced whiskey.

Janice by Julie Peterson.

I really liked my character, Janice, which my friend, Julie brought to life with her drawing.I have a feeling that Janice will be making a return visit in this collection.

As part of my creative writing course I undertook in 2003 at Brighton City College, I wrote a story called Nursery Crimes, it was also called, All Fall Down, because Geneses have an album of the same name. The story, Nursery Crimes was inspired by the slasher films of the early 1980’s. The film, Friday the 13th is a strong influence, as well as Agatha Christie’s story, Ten Little Indians.
In this story, a group of friends are reunited at 19 Brighton, (before it was transformed into flats), in each room is a different nursery rhyme. As the friends backstory unfolds it transpires that they, along with their teacher, Miss Hickory, who lived down Dickery Road, by The Dock were responsible for another pupils death.
Someone is lurking in the darkness, extracting their revenge in the shape of nursery rhymes. Fear for the person who’s nursery rhyme is, There was an old woman who swallowed a fly, that’s a grim end!
Other tales so far are and eco tale about a filthy rain storm, a man who is so hated that even death has turned his back on him and then there’s an old man, recalling a childhood horror that only now he can talk about as he and his mother wait for the blackbirds to sing.

With the 101 project daily prompts I am really looking forward to getting this project on the road.

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