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

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Writing everyday in October: My Tattoo Obsession

 

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I have always had a fascination with tattoos. My dad, who had been in the Navy, sported a tattoo of a snake wrapped round a dagger whichIMG_3742 I really liked. My uncle Eric had a small heart on his wrist which he was able to cover up with his watch. But it was years later when I had moved to Norwich and had gone to a gym; while changing, a burly bloke was also getting undressed. It was only when he took his shirt off that I took much notice as he had a hunting scene covering the whole of his back. At the top were hunts men on horse back, in the middle hounds where chasing down towards his lower back. The tattoo was completed with a fox tail disappearing up his bum hole.

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A couple of years later, living in Brighton I was sat round a table at my mates Davey and Rob and we got talking about getting a tattoo. In that moment we all agreed we should have a sun tattoo each. I was very excited at the idea and went off and got one. Davey and Rob never did!
What many people who get a tattoo will tell you tat once you get one, you want another. Some people want lots more; I’m in the latter category.

After the sun, I thought i’d get a moon on the other arm to match, which I really liked. A few more months passed and on impulse I walked into a tattoo studio in Brighton, saw a Buddha style tattoo and decided that is what I wanted next.
This was when I learnt the lesson not to pop into a tattoo shop and get inked ad-hoc by a tattooists you have not really spoken to before. The Buddha looked very odd, particularly as it looked like he was wearing a sock half hanging off his foot.
My next two tattoos where done from a guy in Nottingham, My mate Wayne had a Celtic tattoo on the back of his head, while I got two men, conjoined on my arm (I’m not a Gemini, I just liked the design) and later a tribal looking design on the back of my neck, again just done because I liked the tattooist’s work.

IMG_3739 IMG_3740 IMG_3741 By this point I started to think back to the hunting scene. I hate blood sports but thought I should just go for it and get the whole of my back tattooed. Around this time a new tattooist shop had opened, called Angelic Hell. Back then it was a room just big enough for two people. The tattooist was a fierce, female biker called, Natasha. Together we decided a devil would be a great. The one thing I remember clearly about Natasha was her barking at me to keep still as she punched ink into my upper lefthand shoulder: the end result was great. After a couple of sessions the ink was complete and Natasha suggested I had a demonic looking Jesus bursting out of the middle of my back. I politely said no and said I’d be back when I had thought it through. When I did go back, Natasha had gone, deciding instead to go traveling on her motorbike and so I started looking around for a new tattooist and was told there where two guys, Wurze and Scrow, from Tattooing at Gunpoint in Hove who I should check out.

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I chatted to Wurze, a wise cracking, skull tattoo loving, brilliant tattoo artist. Very quickly it became apparent that Wurze had an idea of what style of tattoo I wanted and over the next few years has been my go to man to get inked. First he balanced my back with an ageing angel, which he followed up with a heaven and hell scene inspired by Gustave Dore’s illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The theme of my tattoo’s progressed with these elements of light and dark and were followed by similar interpretations of this theme with fire (dragon) and water (Koi Carp) which covered up my earlier tattoos.

I had a break for a good number of years, but as many people with tattoos will tell you there is always a pull to get another and decide that now my back was complete, what I really wanted was a tattoo sleeve. First came my latin/Vision-On inspired tattoo, Carpe Diem, reminding me to ‘Seize the Day’, followed by a collection of flowers (life) and skulls, (death) carrying on the dark and light theme.

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When I reached the milestone of 50, I had another latin/Vision-On tattoo, this time: ‘Memento Mori’, this time reminding me, “One day you will die” which prompts me to look at my Carpe Diem ‘Seize the Day’.

My most recent ink follows that theme in an abstract way with a Death Head Moth (Silence of the lambs) heading towards a screaming flower (inspired by Terry Gilligan’s art work).

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Tomorrow I get the screaming flower finished and that will be my sleeve complete….but i’m sure that will not be the end of my tattoo obsession.

Posted on by admin in blogging, Brighton East Sussex, Tattoo, Writing everyday in October Leave a comment

Writing Every day in October. Filthy Weather, Part 2

Writing everyday in October.
Filthy Weather, Part 2

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The next day despite it being even hotter then the day before, Barry lay feverishly in bed, with the blankets pulled up around him. Genie walked in to the bedroom with a glass of water which only made Barry wretch. He then calmed himself enough to say that he literally could not stomach anything.
To make matters worse, Barry was a hopeless patient; by midday Gina had enough of Barry’s moaning, made all the worse as she was unable to do anything to alleviate his symptoms beyond damping his brow with a damp cloth and wiping a way the gunk that kept building up in the corners of his eyes.
When Barry started to dry heave again, Gina apologised as she rushed out of the bedroom saying she needed to get some air. Gina was pleased to find none of the other neighbours were out on the patch of grass at the back of the flats. As Gina settled into the deckchair she notice the neighbours on the ground floor had the windows shut and curtains pulled tight which suited her just fine. The last thing she wanted was small talk with the strange mother and son combo who lived there.

Sitting back, Gina felt her body relax. High above from one of the flat windows, Gina heard a radio DJ, giving the usual cheesy chat.
“Well, I hope whatever you’re doing you’re making the most of the weather as we have reports that rain is soon on its way, next up is a tune for all you lad-ies. Here are those, Weather Girls and It’s Raining Men.”
Genie had her eyes closed as she sang along to the music, it was then she suddenly became aware of the unaccustomed sound of seagulls. Just as she looked up she saw the sky turn grey as hundreds of seagulls flew high up over the roofs. As the birds passed it looked like they were pulling behind them a glimmering golden carpet. It was in fact an unusual cloud formation; it looked to Genie as if it was chasing the birds out of the sky. As the massive cloud eclipsed the blue heaven, sun rays pierced the cloud causing it to sparkle.

“What is it?”

Genie turned to one of her other neighbours and her two children who had popped out on hearing the increasing row the seagulls were making overhead.
Gina stood open mouthed, unable to give any answer that would have made sense as the sight in the sky was beyond any comprehension she could think off. It was then Genie heard Barry’s dry cough rattling out of the window from above. Normally her instincts would have been to go to his aid, but she found herself transfixed by the gold sheet that was now covering most of the sky above.

“It’s beautiful” shouted the little girl standing next to her mother. Genie could only stand and nod in agreement; the intolerable hot weather had all been worth it.
Genie suddenly became aware that all the neighbours, except Barry had come outside, standing in their small back yards as they marvelled at nature’s gift to them. The birds had all but been chased away and the skies had turned truly heavenly.
Not a sound could be heard as people got out of their cars and marvelled at the magnificent sky that continued to sparkle a deeper hue of gold.
From down the street someone started to clap, which was followed by someone else then an another and then another until it seemed that everyone standing in their backyards where applauding the magical gift in the sky.
What happened took everybody by complete surprise, it was as if the sound of the had reached high up and touched the gold cloud which in turn broke up and showered everyone below with its gold. At first everyone threw their arms and faces up, welcoming the refreshing downpour, relived to be soaked after the amazing heat wave. However, the pleasure soon turned to horror, the rain slid down the skin leaving an oily film; but worse, so much worse was its unexpected reaction. Within seconds of making contact with its worshippers, what was gold upon the touch quickly dissolved into a brown acid burning sludge. Where only moments ago a sense of joy had filled the street was replaced with the sounds of agonising screams.
Genie ran into the bathroom, stripped off her clothes and jumped in the shower frantically scrubbing herself. At first the relief of having the clean water rush over her gave Genie much relief but she suddenly became aware that the waters consistence had changed and the same gold/brown globs of liquid where now chugging out of the shower head. Distraught, Genie jumped out of the shower, ran into the kitchen and emptied what water was left in the kettle and water jug in the fridge over her. Hearing the commotion, Barry had pulled himself out of bed and started at Genie as she grabbed at the tae-towels, pulling the mess from her skin. Although exhausted himself, Barry grabbed another tea-towel and helped Genie get clean while the filthy weather continued to hammer against the side of the flat.

*

After a fitful night sleep, Barry turned to the alarm clock, the time said seven a.m. and yet it was still dark outside as the rain continued to pour down.
“Genie, you awake?” Croaked Barry. Genie groaned an unconvincing “yes” before turning her back and pulling the covers with her. Barry got out of bed and cupped his hands against the windowpane but could not see beyond the greasy sheen on the other side. Although Barry had swallowed the sea water, he had managed to get rid of most of it over the last twenty-four hours and felt a little better, but Genie had been really effected by the downpour, although she had managed to get the slime of her skin pretty quickly, Barry knew she was still feeling the phycological effects that were much harder to wash off.
Without thinking, Barry said, “Genie do you want a drink of wate…?”

Genie’s hand shot up before Barry had a chance to finish saying anything more which in turn made Barry feel just as bad.
As he made his way down the stairs, Barry became aware of a strong smell, as he reached the bottom of the stairs he gingerly opened the door onto the communal hallway then quickly slammed his hand over mouth and gasped. During the night the rain had seeped into the entrance hall, covering the floor with an oily brown shimmer that stank of nothing on this earth, but within the slime was movement. Barry didn’t want to look too closely, but the creatures looked a like large silverfish thrashing around across what had once been the hall carpet.
Barry ran back into the flat, unable to control his tears, to Barry it really felt like it was the end of the world. As he stood outside the bedroom, he managed to compose himself enough to walk back into the bedroom and was surprised to see Genie sitting up in bed. Genie looked terrible, but Barry pulled on his best smile and said, feeling a bit better love, you look a bit better”.
Of course, Genie and barry both knew the lie that hung between them, but to admit the truth was to much to bare and so Genie nodded and said that she did feel a little bit better.

Barry, continued to lie and said, once it stops raining we can all get the neighbours together and give the whole place a clear up.
Again, Genie nodded knowing full well that that was not going to happen. in the last five years of living here the only neighbours they had any contact with was that vile neighbour Ronny on the top floor and a brief conversation with that woman and her kids yesterday in the backyard before the sky had fallen in.
Genie managed to pull herself out of bed and went over to the window and cupped her hands against the pane. In truth, Genie could not see anything, but the cool glass against her head gave her some relief. As she stared into the nothing a bolt of lightning lit up the outside world, making Genie scream.
Turning to Barry, Genie looked ghostly white. Barry tried to askj her if she was okay and ran over to the window to see what had spooked Genie so much, it couldn’t have been just the lightning but when he cupped his hands over the window all he could see was the same brown/gold sludge pulling itself down the window.

Barry continued to stare at the window without turning said, what is it babe? What did you see?”
Barry then turned to see that Genie was no longer in the bedroom. Thinking that she must have gone to the bathroom or kitchen, Barry returned to the window, hoping the lightning would strike again. After a couple of minutes of looking at the same nothingness, Barry went to the bathroom to see if Genie was okay but she wasn’t in the bathroom or the kitchen of the lounge.
It was then that Barry saw the front door was ajar. Barry threw the door open and saw the receding footprints of Genie bare feet disappearing in the hall way sludge.

Glenn Stevens’s photo.

Posted on by admin in Brighton East Sussex, Flash Blogs, Flash fiction, Gothic, Gothic horror, Horror, sci-fi, short, short story, urban gothic, Writing everyday in October Leave a comment

writing everyday in October: Filthy Weather

Filthy Weather
www.eo.ucar.edu

“The ongoing stand off between the waste collection service and the recently elected government has now spread up from the South Coast and as far as Nottingham. The dispute started when the Brighton council increased working hours and cut holiday pay. The situation has been exacerbated by the increasingly hot weather. Many of the local beauty spots have seen a dramatic increase in fly tipping. A local woman said that she no longer allows her children to play in the local parks after her daughter came home holding a used syringe. Councillor Richard T Summers said talks where on going with the union and he hoped this issue will be…”

The television suddenly went dead, Barry turned round to see Genie in her nurses outfit. “Oi, I was watching that!”
Gina rolled her eyes as she dumped her bag on the chair and said, “Oh, hello love hard day at work? Well, yeah it was actually.
Sensing Gina had once again been run ragged, Barry jumped out of his chair and gave Genie a hug, “Sorry hun, you want a cuppa?”
Gina flopped herself down on the sofa, “We got any of that wine left?”
Barry looked out of the window, the mid morning sun was already unbearably hot, then back at Gina, but before he could say anything, Gina spoke up, “Yes I know its mid morning Barry, but after the night shift I’ve had a cup of tea just won’t cut it.”
Knowing better, Barry scurried off into the kitchen and poured out the last of the white wine. As he returned to the lounge he saw Genie sitting in her chair with her eyes shut.
“Busy night then hun?” said Barry as he passed Genie the glass”. With one eye half open Genie took the glass and nodded, “More people coming down with that stomach bug. Why didn’t I choose to be a pole dancer, or a bank clerk, at least then I could just pretend to care”.
Barry flung himself onto the sofa, which nearly caused the wine to go flying, Gina was about to shout, when Barry threw his arm around her gave her a big kiss and said, “You wouldn’t be any good in those jobs, it’s in your nature to look out for others, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Gina wanted to protest, to say she had great legs for a pole dancer but she knew that Barry was right. She had wanted to be a nurse for as long as she could remember. Growing up she was forever bandaging up her toys and on occasions her baby brother.
Gina drained her glass as the sun shifted and poured into the room.
Holding his hand up to his face, Barry squinted, “You’re off tomorrow aren’t you? If its like this we could go on the beach. Find a nice quite spot, away from the crowds”.
When Gina didn’t jump at the chance, Barry added, “I’ll make us a picnic, what do you say?”
Gina snuggled up to Barry and nodded before falling asleep.

*
The next morning Barry was up bright and early, putting together a picnic, by ten o clock Genie and Barry were driving along the seafront.
As they whizzed past the main tourist’s beach and passed the Marina, Gina piped up and said, “Barry! We are not having a picnic at that end of the beach, that’s where they pump out all the sewage.
As he pulled the car into park, Barry said, “Look, it’s nice and quite and at least this end it’s not all pebbles; besides, the sewerage is pumped out miles into the sea, it’s the law.”
Not happy, Gina let out a long sigh as they grabbed their beach gear and made their way down the long stairwell. Once settled on the rare bit of sand Brighton had to offer, Gina had to admit that it was a lovely spot, a great sun trap and best of all their were no tourists!
*
By midday there was not a single cloud in the sky as the sun beat down at its fiercest.
Genie fanned herself with her book and was about to say that if they had gone to the other end of the beach, they could have popped into a bar and had a nice cool drink, when Barry suddenly jumped up, “Come on let’s have a dip, cool off.”
Genie looked over her sunglasses at the sea and shook her head, “The water’s not clean Barry, let’s jump in the car and find a bar, get a nice long cool drink.” Barry wiggled in his trunks and winked, but Gina was having none of it, “No I don’t fancy it, Barry no matter how much you think a wiggle and a grin will help, but if you want to, you go ahead.”
“Chicken” said Barry as he ran to the waters edge, waded in up to his trunks and dive din head first. No sooner had he disappeared under the water then he was up again. Genie couldn’t help but laugh as Barry staggered back up the beach; arms reaching out like a horror film zombie.
He tried to speak but his words were not forthcoming. Eventually he managed to say “Orange, orange” while stabbing his finger towards the cooler bag.
Genie passed him the carton, which Barry gratefully gulped down. Once he got settled back on this towel Barry turned to Genie, “You can’t see it, but there’s something nasty in the water, yuk, I can still taste it.”
“That will be the sh..”
Barry held up his hand, “Don’t even say it.”
Even though he had drank all the liquids from the cool bag, Barry was unable to get rid of the taste from the back of his throat. He then tried his best to lay still but each time he laid flat he started coughing and his eyes were streaming. Gina looked at Barry and said, “Come on, let’s get you home”.
*
That night Genie spent most of the night lying awake in the darkened bedroom listening to Barry in the bathroom throwing up. It had got to that horrible stage where there was nothing left but stomach lining to bring up; Gina pulled her pillow around her ears as she was convinced Barry’s stomach was actually going to make a very unwelcome appearance.

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