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

All Fall Down

G is for Glenn

G is for Glenn.

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, House of Horrors, an all time favourite of my sister and mine.
I liked the skeletons that grew out of the monsters teeth in Jason and the Argonauts and seemed to always find those plastic skeletons either on a key ring or the like while on seaside holidays.

My sister had some great gothic children’s books, one was a collection of the original Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales, with great illustrations. My favourite was the Sea Witch from the little mermaid, she was the stuff of nightmares! The other book my sister had was about dwarfs and giants. The one story I liked my sister to read to me was about a group of dwarfs who kidnap a princess. The scene that will never leave my brain is when the princess complains that the carriage seat is too hard, the dwarf jumps out of the carriage, plucks out his eye, throws it in the air and sees a filed of wheat…poor princess!
From their I discovered the Pan Books of Horror. I loved the covers and the blurb on the back as much as I liked the stories themselves.
The very first horror story I wrote was at school and leant the first rule of horror is you need to build the tension, let the feeling of dread creep in. Of course once you have mastered this then you can experiment every which way.th

Over the next few years I wrote bits and pieces for myself, two of my favourites were a take on a Mills and Boom style story called The Quite Storm, the other was a typical slasher horror. I loved those 1980’s horror films that were based on a holiday or date: Halloween, Friday 13th, Happy Birthday to Me, Black Christmas, My Bloody Valentine, April Fools Day, Mother’s Day! So I wrote mine based on nursery rhymes, a sample of which can me found on here under, All Fall Down.th-1

A couple more years passed and I was looking for a project to learn something new when my husband Keir spotted a creative writing class at Brighton City College. My tutors, Ruth and Maria said, for your first project we don’t want you to write we would like you to draw a rough plan of the street you grew up in, followed by us naming who lived in each house. From there grew my collection of short horror stories called Blanche Street.
Blanche Street, where all the neighbours are a nightmare. My friend Andrew Nimmo Helped me upload my e-book onto Amazon, while my friend Linus created a brilliant webpage advertising the type of synopsise of my ten tales in the style of the ones I admire from PBH.
My late mother-in-law, Hazel Bottrill created some brilliant art work for the stories, The Fall of Derrick Houser, Dead Famous, and the book cover. My other talented friends also contributed some brilliant images to go with the Blanche Street Tales, Angus Stewart: Filth, and publicity photo for back cover, Davey Sutherland: Frank, Sarah Prades and Kristan Akerman and three new pieces from Darren Menezes: Sugar Almonds, The Nightmare and Some Mother’s Son.
Finally, I found online a great editor, Jenny Prince, who through fresh eyes and is at present getting the book in shape for its (self publishing) into paperback.
More information to follow.Book cover copy-25

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Somebodies Son.

Somebodies Son.

P1080145The moment I walk into the chemist and see her I know she is my mother. I wait and watch her in the security mirror. When she turns the corner I bump into her, knocking her handbag and its contents to the floor. Dropping to my knees I apologise, “I’m really sorry. Are you okay? Here’s your purse.”

She’s so grateful she doesn’t notice me slipping her notebook into my coat pocket. As she wanders off she leaves behind a scent that is unmistakably Mum.
Only when I’m safely back in the side street do I allow myself to look at her little notebook. The cover is black, crinkled like crocodile skin. I run my thumb over the gold lettering, M.a.r.g.a.r.e.t. A tingle ripples up my hand. Over the years I have thought of many names for my mother, but it makes perfect sense that she’s called Margaret. Margaret’s are strong, honest, and reliable… just like that Mrs Thatcher.
On the first page mum has written her name, Margaret J. Lawrence, 11 Blanche Street. Her handwriting is so neat, I wish she had been around to teach me.
She’ll be home soon, if I’m quick I can surprise her. How pleased she’ll be to see me waiting. I catch sight of my scruffy face in a shop window, I can’t remember when I last shaved or washed. Mum will help transform me back into her son. Perhaps we’ll even make it on the front page of the Ipswich Star, “Long Lost Son, Home at Last.”
When I eventually get to Blanche Street my heart sinks. Opposite the row of tatty run down terrace houses is a dirt track where a couple of burnt-out cars and a white van is parked. This was not what I had been expecting. In dreams I saw us together living in a country cottage with roses around the door or perhaps a detached house with a long gravelled driveway. I’m puzzled. What could have happened to my mother for her to end up living in this hellhole of a street.
The front door is locked and the curtains pulled tightly shut, a good sign, you never know who might be skulking around in an area like this.
I think of mum, she looks so much different to what I had imagined. She’s aged more than I expected, but that doesn’t matter as greying hair can easily be dyed back to blonde. When we are together I will help her with her makeup. Her lips will be rose pink for daywear and poppy red for when we go out on the town.
***
Want to read more? check out the full tales at blanchestreet.co.uk for link to buy the book.

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Writing Everyday in October: I Love Trish.

Ipswich 143 - Version 2
The taste of blood slid across Howard’s tongue as the Norwich to Ipswich train rattled along the track. For the last half hour he had nervously bitten his nails, all in the pursuit of the latest high. Howard’s best mate, Kes, (everyone called him Kes, because he was always high as a kite) had raved about the mind blowing time he’d had the other night at the Caribbean Club. Some bloke had offered Kes a new kind of high at the club toilet and he said he was off his head all night, “It’s called Trish. Think ecstasy, crossed with a trip and dib-dab of speed.”
Even before Kes had finished yabbering, Howard was hooked. Kes had said he was going to meet up with a guy called Chef and get some Trish for the weekend. That had been a couple of days ago. With no job worries, Kes will still be off his face on Trish, thought Howard.
As the train pulled into Ipswich’s train station, Howard pulled out the crumpled piece of paper from his jeans pocket on which Kes had scrawled.
9 Blanche Street, Ipswich. Ask for Chef. Say, “I love Trish.”

When the train finally pulled in to Ipswich, the seasoned travellers rushed from the platform and grabbed the waiting taxies. With no sign of a bus, Howard began walking towards what he hoped was the town centre. Half way he bumped into a young couple and asked if they knew where Blanche Street was. The woman shrugged her shoulders, as the bloke said, “You sure you want that part of town mate?”
Howard nodded while trying to ignore his growling stomach, all he wanted was to grab his stash of Trish and get back to his bedsit in Norwich.
Recognising the nervousness pouring out of Howard’s body, the man shrugged his shudders and said, “It’s no more than ten minutes away, just off Cemetery Road.”

Having followed the man’s directions, Howard turned into Blanche Street and instantly understood what the man had meant. The street was a row of pre-war dilapidated terraced houses. As he walked down the street, Howard’s stomach tightened; with most of the street lights broken it was difficult to make out the door numbers.

As he crept past one house he heard a man shout, “Madeline, Madeleine!” which caused Howard to quicken his step. Each house he passed seemed to be more decrepit than the last: that was until he reached number seven. The bottom half of the door had been boarded up. Bare wires hung where the doorbell had once been and the upstairs windows were smashed.

Again Howard felt his gut jolt, but there was no way he was going back home empty handed. Taking a deep breath he raised his hand to knock on the door, only for it to suddenly fly open. A dark silhouette of a very, very big man filled the door frame.
“Y,y,y,you Chef? Said Howard?

With no ready response, Howard tried to steady his voice without much success and said, “I,I,I,I,I love Trish.”
The man stepped back and nodded for Howard to enter the gloomy lit front room.

The first thing to hit him was the overwhelming stench of stale cigarette smoke, greasy takeaway food and something else, something rotten. While trying to manoeuvre passed the minefield of beer cans and overflowing ashtrays, Howard knocked a half-eaten takeaway box off the oversized leather armchair: spilling its contents onto the threadbare carpet. Dropping to his hands and knees, Howard went to clear up the partly chewed, greasy chicken bones only for Chef to yell, “Fucking leave it, get your arse in the back.”
Howard jumped to his feet, brushed the grease from his hands on to his jeans and then followed the man through the middle room, into the kitchen.
Hanging from the centre of the kitchen celling was a bare light bulb highlighting the cobwebs that strung from every corner, the floor felt sticky beneath his feet. Howard glanced round the near barren kitchen. The only other furniture was a tatty pine wooden table, either side sat two mismatched chairs and a bar stool. Chef nodded at Howard and grunted, “Sit.”

Like a well trained mongrel, Howard quickly obeyed, pulled out the chair and sat himself down.
Chef flung open the fridge door and said, “Beer?”

Howard stared at the man’s huge hands that gripped the rusting fridge door, his fingernails caked with black grime. A trickle of bile shot from Howard’s empty stomach into his throat causing him to nod as he tried his best to swallow his sick.

Grabbing two cans from the fridge, Chef slammed one can down in front of Howard, cracked open his own and drained the contents before Howard had even opened his.

“Get that down yah, it will stop you from being so fucking jumpy.”

Howard tried his best to stop his hands from shaking as he opened his can, only for the contents to spray all over his face.
Howard slurped at the frothing can as Chef laughed while he grabbed another two beers from the fridge. As he sat down at the table he said, “So, how’d you hear about me, was it London Tony?”

….. Wanna find out what happens to Howard and the other residence of Blanche Street? why not pop over to the homepage www.blanchestreet.co.uk and click on the doors and then hurry yourself over to the Amazon link  to and get stuck into ten terrifying tales: http://www.amazon.com/Blanche-Street-Where-neighbours-nightmare-ebook/dp/B00OWFK1SA

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Writing Everyday in October: The Tenner

Trace the journey of a ten pound note through the lives of five owners. What was exchanged during the transactions? How much (or how little) did the transaction mean to each of the people involved?

Trace the journey of a ten pound note through the lives of five owners. What was exchanged during the transactions? How much (or how little) did the transaction mean to each of the people involved?

Saturday night at the hole in the wall and Jerry takes out an extra tenner, put it in the back of his wallet telling himself that no matter what else he spends tonight the tenner will be marked as taxi money only. There was no way he is going to end up dazed and soiled with his flatmate’s one night stand stepping over him the next day, taking an incriminating shot before leaving the flat and posting it on Facebook.

(click here) Six hours later…200

Pissed and hardly able to say his name, mainly because he had forgotten it, Jerry staggers into the kebab shop and screams as he shields his eyes to the bright fluorescent light. Although he can’t remember his name, he can remember to ask for extra chilli sauce of his shish kebab. Jerry knows that all he needs is some food inside him and then he’ll feel much better. It is only when he reaches for his wallet and finds it gone does he’s world start to tumble down. With no food to fuel his brain, Jerry loses all memories completely, from what club he’d been to, to where he lives. Jerry promises himself (again) that he’ll never, ever drink this much ever, ever, ever.

Meanwhile, outside The Ritzy…

Linda has had a horrible night. First she had a steaming row with her best mate, Gazza over a bloke who looked okay, but as soon as the cold air had hit it quickly transpired he was too pissed to remember his own name, let alone where he lived and had staggered off towards the local kebab shop, not realising that Linda had stayed back. Meanwhile Linda was hanging outside The Ritzy, hoping Gazza would come out too so they could go home and make up over a curry pot-noodle.

Ten minutes later…

After arguing with the bouncer that she was in fact not that drunk and promised she would not end up causing another scene in the club, Linda gave up and decided to go home alone. it was then she saw a wallet on the ground and picked it up to see it belonged to the drunk who had staggered off to the kebab shop. The good part of Linda thought about trying to find him, but when she saw the tenner folded neatly in the back of the wallet, she thought, Oh fuck it, took the tenner, dropped the wallet in the nearest bin and made her way to the taxi rank.

Outside the taxi rank…

Underneath the blanket was huddled Jamie and his dog, Wordsworth. Unbeknown to the ignoring crowds above, Jamie had a lot of interesting tales to tell, but no one had time to stop and listen. If he was lucky, he would get the occasional coin thrown, but what he really needed was a lucky break to get enough money for  and his dog Wordsworth to get the train back home to his mum and dads, but Lady Luck, The Good-fairy Godmother and his Guardian Angel had all been on an extnded holiday for what felt like years. However! Tonight Jamie’s luck changes when he watches a ten pound note fall to the ground as a pissed passer by precariously past him and plonks herself into a cab.

Then the drug dealer appeared…

Growing up, Jamie had been an avid fan of the kids TV show, Jamie and the Magic Torch and had eventually convinced himself he was the real life, Jamie. At first his parents had humoured him when he came home with a dog and said its name was Wordsworth, they even ignored his late night sessions spent under his bed shining his torch at the floor, but when it became apparent he had a serious problem with drugs, so they had kicked him out. Life on the streets was no picnic for Jamie, but his drug dealer was always popping past and doing cheeky deals with Jamie.

Jamie was delighted to have the tenner, but it was far too little for a train ticket home, so Jamie was greatly relived to see the drug dealer who who had the powder that enabled Jamie to travel once agin (Unfortunately without his magic torch as he’d pawned that a long while back) ’d pawned a long time ago) to better, kinder worlds beyond this realm.

With the deal done…

The drug dealer slipped off into the shadows and broke the one cardinal rule of drug dealing, don’t take the stuff yourself. With his newly acquired tenner, the drug dealer got out his bag of the latest street drug, Trish, rolled the tenner up and took a hearty snort of the powder and promptly collapsed. Gradually his fingers unraveled as Trish took hold and pulled him into a nightmare not that dissimilar to a short story called, I love Trish in a book, called, Blanche Street, you dear reader can downloaded from amazon.co.uk.

A gush of wind took the tenner out of the dealer’s hand and something very unusual happened in one of Glenn’s story, a happy ending! You see, the wind caught the tenner, took the rolled tube high into the air and as it unraveled, it floated down, landing in front of Jerry.

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Writing everyday in October: True Story

Writing everyday in October: True Story.

IMG_3734

Some childhood memories are still very clear to me, particularly the time I lived in Blanche Street. I was seven, my stepbrother was six and our dad decided to give us an opportunity to murder. It was the 1970’s and everything seemed more brutal back then and very much so in the house we all lived in Blanche Street, two adults, three children, one baby in a two bedroom terraced house with no bathroom and an outside toilet.

On this occasion my stepmother had seen a mouse dash under the electric airer; a tin, oblong, upright contraption with removable wooden slats which also double as her weapon of choice to cane us with.

My dad seemed to take great relish in his plan. First he blocked off the door of the lean-to kitchen and the yard outside. He then got a large wooden mallet and said to my stepbrother and I, “When I move the airer, who ever sees the mouse first, grab the mallet and smash it.”

My stepmother with my half sister in her arms and sister stood behind the barricade in the middle room while my dad slowly moved the airer. To be honest, I don’t think I really knew what was going to happen next but when the terrified mouse shot out, I screamed, my stepbrother screamed, my stepmother, sister and half sister also screamed. I tried jumping over the barricade as my dad grabbed the mallet and smashed the mouse into oblivion . Some images never leave you, particularly childhood horrors like that and they still have the power to make me cry.

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Homage to 1980’s slasher films: ALL Fall Down, Complete Story, (plain text).

In honour of Betsy Palmer, aka Mrs Voorhees, the murderous mother from the original Friday the 13th, who died earlier this week, I have decided to give a slasher horror story I wrote years ago a rewrite and an airing.

All Fall Down.
Prologue.

Coalville 1975.
Schooldays, the best days of your lives? Whoever said that had never been to Little-Feet, Big Steps Primary School.
Over the years there had been a constant rumour that the school had been built on top of an old Indian burial ground, but that was a ridiculous rumour spread by the folks of Coalville who sort to distract people from the real tragedy that had happened. The school had in fact been built on top of an old coal-mine that had been closed down in the late 1800s after the tragic loss of one hundred and fifty coalminers who had been gassed to death when someone had swapped the canary for a wooden one on April Fools’ Day.
Dear reader, I digress, from the real story I want to tell you, the one about poor Johnny Flynn who from the day he joined the other children at Little-Feet, Big steps he’s life was made a misery by the gang of children, Bella Donna, Rose Petal, May Flower, Cherry Blossom and the only boy in the group, Dan D’Lion who all thought it was such a horror to have someone as poor as Johnny who had no mother or father would be allowed to go to their school.

As a consequence, Little Johnny Flynn spoke to no one and no one spoke to him for fear that the posh kids would pick on them as well. The only thing that made things bearable for Johnny was that every now and then he would catch Cherry Blossom looking at him and they would secretly exchange a smile.
Although Johnny was poor and had been abandoned at birth and none of the nuns at the orphanage paid him much attention, he was in fact a bright lad who just needed somebody to give him a chance. That person could have been, should have been his school teacher, Miss Hickory, but being a bit of a snob herself, Miss Hickory paid little attention to Johnny, preferring to praise the posh kids as she hoped upon hope she would eventfully be allowed to move within the circles of their parents allowing her to move out of her tiny flat (which incidentally was in the same part of town as Johnny’s) to the posh part of Coalville. Yes reader, apparently there is a posh part of town in Coalville.

If ignoring Johnny wasn’t bad enough, when Miss Hickory was on playground duty at lunchtime, she would purposely turn a blind eye whenever she saw the posh kids pick on Johnny. A particular favourite game the posh kids liked to torment Johnny with was by singing, Ding dong bell, pussy in a well, who put her in? Evil cat killer Johnny Flynn.”

The children would then each gather hands, capturing Johnny inside their ring and call out, Johnny Flynn, Johnny Flynn, evil,evil cat killer” over and over again until eventually Johnny would breakdown and cry.

Unfortunately for Johnny, the bullying continued with even more venom when he and the other posh kids moved on to Big Feet, Wide Strides Junior school. Johnny had hoped upon hope that his new teacher would be a little more understanding and perhaps see a glimmer of his potential but was horrified to see that Miss Hickory and also been transferred to Big Feet as part of her training which in turn was helped along the way via the head of board of governors, Mrs.Hubbard, with whom Miss Hickory was having an illicit, lesbian affair with.
And so Johnny tormentors carried on their bullying, while Miss Hickory continued to turn a blind eye. Unbeknown to the posh kids and Miss Hickory, their individual actions on this particularly hot afternoon in June, would lead to the most terrible of tragedies.
With the sun scorching down hotter then ever, Johnny asked Miss Hickory if he could spend his time inside during lunchtime, as his skin so easily burned. Much to Johnny’s amazement, Miss Hickory, squatted down in front of Johnny, stroked the side of his cheek with the back of her hand and said, “Does the sun really effect you that much?”

Johnny nodded, and was about to say thank you, when Miss Hickory suddenly stood up, looked down her nose, over her glasses and said, “Sorry kid, I hear what you’re saying, but I’d have to stay in the class room with you and in all honesty I need a ciggy and some caffeine so you’re going to have to quickly scarper out there and shelter under a tree of something”.

With that Miss Hickory opened the door leading out on to the fields at the back of the school and mouthed out the words, ‘Goooo’. ‘Noooooow’, which made Johnny feel a bit spooked out and so he darted out into the heat of the sunshine towards the old oak tree on the other side of the field. As he was running, he suddenly heard his name being shouted out which made him stop dead in his tracks. With the sun glaring in to his eyes he put his hand up to his face and squinted only to see the posh kids standing by a bunch of bushes on the other side of the perimeter school fence. Fearing that they would push him in the spiky bushes, Johnny went to run off when he heard the distinctive bellow of Bella. Johnny looked back over at the crowd and saw that Bella had her hands on her hips and called out again, “Johnny Flynn come over here this instant.”

Johnny hesitated, then shouted back, “No, it’s okay, you’ll only want to say something horrible to me.”

Again, Johnny went to leave when Cherry suddenly piped up and said, “No we won’t Johnny, we just want to show you something.”

‘Well, Cherry wouldn’t tell a lie’ thought Johnny to himself, but unbeknown to Johnny, Dan D’Lion had pinched Cherry’s arm and made her call out to Johnny.

As Johnny walked towards his nemeses, the frightened voice in his head screamed at him to run in the opposite direction but then Dan pinched Cherry’s arm making her call out again, “Please come over Johnny.”

Although Johnny noticed the twang of anxiety in Cherry’s voice, he still ran over and crawled threw the hole in the fence as he looked up at the fixed smiles on the children’s faces. Bella spoke up first and said, “We’ve just seen the most amazing thing and wanted to show you too.”

The voice in Johnny’s head got louder, but instead of running he looked over the bushes and said, “What is it, what did you see?”

Rose and May both piped up in unison, “The white rabbit, the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland”.

Johnny’s eyes widened, “Where is it now?”

Dan then stepped to one side and pointed to a large hole behind the bushes and said, “He darted down the hole, but if you call down after him he’ll call back”.

By now the voice inside Johnny’s head was screaming itself horse, but the white rabbit was Johnny’s favourite story time character, and the thought that he’s prayers had been answered, that The White Rabbit had really come to take him to a place far from this cruel word was more then he had ever hoped for.

Johnny’s head was so full of wonder and delight that he didn’t even hear the children sniggering as he crept towards the old mine shaft, believing that he was about to speak to the White Rabbit.

As he walked closer to the open pit, he felt the earth shift slightly beneath him which caused Cherry to call out, “Be careful!”

Looking over his shoulder, Johnny nodded and fell to his hands and knees as he crept closer to the hole and peered down into the eternal darkness and called out, “Mr Rabbit, have you really come for me?”

The children all looked at each other and giggled some more, except for Cherry who so wanted to shout out for Johnny to step back, but Bella then said, “I think he’s a bit deaf, you’ll have to put your head right in the hole”.

The voice in Johnny’s head was now little more then white noise as he pushed his hands forward and peered down into the hole and once again called out, “Mrrrrr. RRRRRaaaaabbbbbbiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttt?”

When once again there was no reply, Johnny began to doubt that his friend The White Rabbit was there at all and went to stand up, only for the ground beneath him to shift, pulling him down into the hole. While everyone else stood still, Cherry dived forward and grabbed hold of Johnny’s hand but she too felt herself being pulled forward. Cherry looked at Johnny’s terrified face then back at her friends and called out for then to help. Bella, Rose and May all stood frozen to the spot as Dan dashed forward and gave Johnny’s hand an all mighty whack with a stick. Cherry let out a cry as Johnny fell backwards and disappeared into the dark, dank long abandoned coal pit.

The children all looked at each other unable to say a word when they all screamed when a voice from behind yelled out, “What on earth are you all doing over there? Get away from that pit, it’s dangerous!”

Terrified, the children dived through the hole in the fence, and grabbed hold of Miss Hickory’s dress as she tried to calm the children down. Eventually the cries became whimpers, as Miss Hickory looked at the children and said, “Thank goodness, you’re all here safe and sound,” which caused Cherry to let out a yell of despair. It was only then that Miss Hickory noticed that she had not seen Johnny Finn in the playground, She then stood up and looked over at the disused coal pit and said, “Ohhh, shit.”

Miss Hickory then sat the children down and said that it would be in all their best interest if they all kept their mouths shut about the accident, “I’ll tell the police that Johnny never turned up for class, with any luck one of the nuns can take the blame.”

Despite a high profile appeal in the Coalville Times, Johnny was never seen again. The parents of the posh kids were all to happy to except that Johnny had done a runner. The same parents were equally pleased when the orphanage Johnny had called home was closed down after it was said a Nun had gone crazy.

All Fall Down
Part Two
The School reunion

All the posh kids had done very well in their education and each went on to make their own mark in their chosen field all thanks to the ongoing dedication from their teacher, Miss Hickory who through her own promotional career allowed her to not only encourage and push but also keep an eye her murderous brood. Unfortunately for Miss Hickory, soon after the children had moved on, her illicit affair became public knowledge forcing her to move away from the school she loved and ended up resettling in Ipswich, where she struggled to find a job and any true meaningful relationship. Eventually Miss Hickory turned to booze and drugs and became a shadow of her former self.

One night while she was nursing a large scotch on the rocks and a joint, her doorbell rang. Miss Hickory tried to look at the clock and through her bleary eyes saw it was 12:55 a.m. Wondering who could be possibly calling on her at such a late hour, Miss Hickory pulled herself out of her chair and went to the front-door and peered through the spy hole. To her surprise, she saw a nun standing on her doorstep. Curiosity got the better of her and so she opened the door and slurred, “Do you know what time it is sister?”

With the street lights off and only a trickle of light creeping into the hallway from behind, Miss Hickory could not see the nun’s face. With her head bowed down, the Nun spoke very gently, “I’m so sorry Miss Hickory, I know it’s an unnatural time to be making such a call but I must speak to you, may I come in?”

***

Cherry Blossom came downstairs stretching and yawning, picked up her mail and toddled into the kitchen to make herself a much needed cup of coffee, having been up till late in the night editing a twelve page spread about new hot designer, Max Calender-Queen.

As she waited for the kettle to boil she flicked on the TV and went to scan through her mail when suddenly a face from her past filled the TV screen, making her stop in her tracks. Cherry then sat down with her hand over her mouth as the picture of Miss Hickory was replaced by a solemn looking news reader.

“Police are baffled at the seemingly motiveless murder of a Miss Hickory, who lived in Dickory Road, by Ipswich’s dock. According to neighbours it was their postman who made the grizzly discovery on his rounds this morning. Police have confirmed that Miss Hickory was killed with a single blow to the head by her own brass clock that had stopped at 1 a.m. precisely. As there was no sign of a break-in police are assuming that Miss Hickory knew her attacker and let them into her home.

As we speak, police have begun a house to house enquiry and are urging anyone who may have heard or seen anyone acting suspiciously within the Dickory Road area to get in touch”.

With her hear pounding hard in her chest, Cherry switched the television off and wondered who could have done such a thing to Miss Hickory, “She was so nice.” Thought Cherry to herself as she picked up the phone and told her assistant-editor that she would not be into day.

After a long hot shower, Cherry tried to control the feeling of unease that flowed through her body. As she dried herself of a long forgotten memory tried to break through the wall she had built inside her mind from many years ago with the same surname, Flynn, Flynn, Flynn tapping at her unconscious mind. If Cherry had allowed the wall in her mind to come down then maybe she would have remembered that terrible day by the mineshaft when poor little Johnny Flynn lost his life. However dear reader, Cherry’s guilt had buried that memory so very deep that it was unable to save her; if only she had not allowed herself to become so harden to life she might have been able to save herself from the horror to come by remembering what she and her friends had done many years back on that fateful day.

Eventually Cherry decided the surname that kept bugging her had something to do with Errol Flynn and so she got herself dressed and made her way back downstairs and started her day again by picking up her mail and seeing the usual invites: a fashion show in Paris, a celebrity lunch in Chelsea and a charity plea from some far off country that Cherry had never heard of.
Cherry was about to throw all the letters in the bin, when a handwritten envelop with the Coalville postcode caught her eye. Upon opening the letter a smile crept across Cherry’s face as happier memories flooded her mind.

Dear Cherry Blossom,

As you may have read on the World Wide Web the popularity of school reunions are now back in vogue big time. As someone who has always had their finger on the pulse of the next big thing we really hope you can join your, Big-Steps, Wide Strides class of 85. You will be delighted to know that many of your classmates have already excepted our invitation and are looking forward to getting together to reflect on the past and celebrate all that the future may bring.
The gathering is taking place this weekend at a beautiful house just on the outskirts of Coalville. All catering and entertainment have been taken care off; please find enclosed a map. We very much look forward to seeing you on the Friday night.

Yours most sincerely,

Schools’ reunited.

A much needed flood of warmth swept over Cherry, meeting up with her class mates was just the thing she needed, it would be good to know that they were all okay and to talk about poor Miss Hickory’s demise. She began to wonder if any of them would know why she could not stop thinking about Errol Flynn. Cherry made a quick call to her assistant-editor telling him that the magazine was ready to publish and that she would not be available until after the weekend.

***

Unbeknown to Cherry, her old class mates, Bella Donna, May Flower, Rose Petal and Dan De-Lion had all received the same letter on the same day. Unlike Cherry, the other’s were looking forward  to gloat at the lesser successful classmates who had been unable to escape from Coalville. What they didn’t know of course was that this was to be a very special, select reunion.

***

On the day of the arrival of her guests at the retreat in Coalville a woman in her late fifties, dressed in a black and white maids outfit walked into each of the guest bedrooms, checking that everything was in place. As she patted each of the single beds she found herself singing the nursery rhyme over and over again. “Ring a ring o’roses, a pocketful of posies, ah-tishoo,ah-tishoo, we all fall down.

A smile spread across her face as she heard a car drive with speed up the long gravel road leading to the house. As she made her way down the stairs, she wondered which of the troublesome brood would be the first to arrive. Stepping onto the porch, the woman shielded her eyes from the glowing sun and saw a tall slender woman dressed in a long flowing white dress and a wide brimmed white hat.

Cherry had been to enough social events to not feel nervous, but for some reason as she walked towards the maid she had a real feeling of apprehension, but that quickly dissolved when the maid gave a welcoming smile and said, “Hello my dear, you’re the first to arrive, let me help with your baggage, we’ll soon have it unloaded.”

Cherry looked again at the maid and asked if she had been worked in London as she was sure they had met before.
The maid shook her head, “No my dear, I’ve only ever known Coalville as my home, so it must be someone else you are thinking off.”
Cherry wrinkled her nose as if a bad smell had wafted past her and said, “Oh you poor thing, I’m so lucky to have escaped Coalville. I now live a fabulous life in London, I’m chief editor of the nation top women’s magazine, Hi-Yah. You must have read it, I’m sure even in Coalville they would stock it.
As she carried Cherry’s cases the maid nodded towards the lift and said, “I’m sorry my dear, I can’t say I have.”

Cherry wrinkled her nose again, “Oh, how awful for you, don’t worry I have brought a few back copies in the boot of the car, you can collect them for me after you have shown me to my room”.

The maid smiled again and pressed the lift button to the second floor.
Cherry tried to hide her disappointment at the plainness of her room. The single bed had a simple white duvet with a bedside cabinet by the side. On the facing wall stood a chest of drawers, while in the corner was a small wardrobe.

The maid placed Cherry’s bag on the bed and said, “There’s a shower and W.C. adjacent to your room”.

Cherry was a little perturbed and the thought of having to share the bathroom, but before she could say anything the maid added, “We’ll be having Champagne at four, I’m sure the remaining guests will have all arrived by then”.
Cherry said, “Thank you,” as the maid left and closed the door. It was only then that Cherry noticed a tapestry, in a frame, screwed to the wall above her bed. As she took a closer look she saw it was the nursery rhyme, There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly. Below the rhyme the same artist had stitched a picture of a woman with a fly diving into her mouth.

“How weird is that!” Said Cherry out loud. “Bloody weird” came a reply from behind her. Cherry Spun round to see a tall elegant woman dressed all in black. Her face was pale, made all the more striking by her bright red lipstick. Cherry took a moment to register who it was and then said, “Bella! Is that you?”
Bella winked and said, “Yes Darling, don’t I look fabulous?” She then stepped forward and both women gave each other an air kiss on each cheek, knowing full well they had each taken much precision and care having their makeup done.
Bella then looked around the room and said, “Pity, your room is just as much of a dump as mine, if it had been better I would have got you to move”.

Cherry suddenly remembered just what a bully Bella had been, but she was an adult now, she could handle Bella. Sensing that she had successfully rattled Cherry with such ease, Bella continued, “Of course my room does have its own ensuite bathroom so I guess my room is better than yours”.

Cherry nearly chocked, “Ensuite! Really! Well, I’m going to have to get a room with one as well.”

Bella laughed out loud, “Oh darling, it’s so good to know you are as gullible as ever. Of course there’s no ensuite in this dump, I’m just hoping that there no one else in the rooms on my floor. I did ask that woman who took the bags if there was a penthouse suite on the floor above me but she said the two room above were crippled with damp and as such locked. Of course I pushed her further, well you know me darling and asked about the other rooms but she informed me that many of the rooms are being renovated and that our rooms are of the identical highest standards. Both women let out a little laugh as they looked round the plain room. Bella continued, “Well, I had to tell that servant woman that I disagreed on what she thought were high standards compared to the luxury I am used too, but then she mentioned a champagne gathering at four and so I thought I’ll stay for that, then go”.

Cherry took another look at the nursery rhyme on the wall and asked Bella if she had one in her room. Bella put her finger to he mouth and pretended to gag, “Ugh, yes darling, Little Miss Muffet would you believe, what is worse is there a picture of a huge spider in the corner of the bloody thing. Who ever done it has to be sick as they have stitched in a Brazilian Wandering Spider, just like the one that nearly killed my husband second husband on our honeymoon. I did try and unscrew it from the wall with my nail-file, but it’s stuck fast, so i’ve draped my Gucci scarf over it instead. Besides, I think after the champagne meet and greet I’ll just say my goodbyes and get out of this godforsaken town”.

Cherry wanted to ask which husband she was on to now when she noticed her watch said 3:30, “Come on let’s go downstairs and see who else has arrived”.
As they stepped out into the hall, they were greeted by the maid who told them that the rest of the guests had arrived and were waiting for them to join them. Cherry opened the lift door and went to step in when Bella pulled her back. Cherry let out a gasp as she looked down into the depths of the lift shaft. The maid let out a little chuckle and said, “I’m sorry my dear, this building is so very old and the lift can be very temperamental. For some reason the lift will always return to the ground floor so do be extra careful during your stay.”

With that the maid, pulled the lift door shut and pressed the call button which re-engaged the lift as its mechanism cranked and churned its way up.
As the three women stepped into the lift, Bella took a closer look at the maid and asked if they had met before. The maid smiled, and said, “I must have a familiar face, your friend was asking the same thing, but no I do not believe we have had the pleasure in being aquatinted”.
Bella looked at the maid again, and said, “Hmmm, What did you say your name was?”
As the lift clunked to the ground floor, the maid said, “Trisha Steers”, then pulled the lift door open and stepped out into the hall and saw their old school friends. May Flower was dressed in a smart, charcoal grey two piece suit, Rose Petal had multicoloured, hippy style frock on and to Cherry and Bella’s surprise, Dan De-lion looked quite buff in a pair of tight leather jeans and leather waste coat, with a tight white t-shirt underneath. Bell marched up to the table where the champagne was, grabbed herself a glass and went over to Dan and said, “I always knew you were a poof.”

Dan gave Bella a quick look up and down and replied, “Only a true fag-hag would have spotted the signs Darling.”
The pair clinked their champagne flutes, gave each other an air kiss and downed their drinks in one then spun round to talk to whoever was infant of them.
In no time the group of friends were chatting as if it was only yesterday, each secretly pleased that none of the other students from their school had made it to the reunion as they all cooed and arrhed at how well each of them had done since leaving Coalville.

Rose Petal had her own fashion company, Cherry Blossom was chief editor of Hi-Yah magazine, Bella Donna was now married to her forth a millionaire, May Flower bred and exported pedigree Shih Tzu’s to film stars for a living, and Dan De-lion had his own leather and rubber fetish company.
After the conversation had run the gauntlet of back-patting and to a small extent backstabbing, the gang eventually talked about the terrible demise of Miss Hickory.
“It was such a shock,” said Cherry, close to tears.

Bella then piped up, “What, that she was a dyke? I thought we all knew about that”.
May shook her head, “You don’t have to always be such a bitch all the time Bella, the poor woman was murdered. If it wasn’t for her, then maybe none of us would be as successful as we are now”.
Bella, puffed on her cigarette, and said, “I didn’t need that lezza to find me a rich old men with dodgy tickers to make my fortune. She then looked at her watch and  said, I think it will soon be time for husband number five”.
May was about to say something she would probably regret, when Cherry piped up again and said, “Please can we talk about something else?”
Much to Cherry’s relive, Rose stepped in and said, has anyone else got one of those dreadful nursery rhymes in their room? I’ve got Humpty Dumpty in mine”.
Unable to stop herself, Bella said, Well darling, by the size of your hips these days I’d say who ever put you in that room got it spot on!

Cherry, slapped Bella’s arm, “For goodness sake Bella, can you please stop being a bitch for just five minutes, Please!”
Everyone stopped and waited for Bella to slap Cherry back and were greatly relived when she just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Sure, I’ll give that ago.”
Dan, who was a little disappointed that there wasn’t going to be a big fight, said, “Well, that will be a challenge” only for Rose to give him a look that made him add, “I’ve got Doctor Foster, what about you Rose?”
“Orange and Lemons, I wonder why we should have then in all the rooms, it’s a little bit odd don’t you think.”

Everyone jumped when Trisha suddenly reappeared and said, “This place used to be an orphanage, the nursery rhymes were apparently very popular with the unwanted children who lived within these walls and so the management have decided to keep that little bit of history for this lovely housing retreat.

Bella, always ready to stir things up, said, “Well I for one think its stupid idea, as does this reunion, I only came to let you know that I’m still so much more fabulous then you lot will ever be.”

“Me too,” added Dan, “I was hoping that there would have been a few of those plebs from our year here too so we could have had some sport knocking them down like we used to do.”

Dan then turned to Trisha Steers and said, “Who exactly organised this god awful weekend, was it you?”
Trisha shook her head, “Oh no my dear, I’m just here hosting the event, now why don’t you all come through to the main room where dinner has been prepared.”
The party, who were all ready for some distraction made there way into the dinning room and were pleasantly surprised to see a lavish table complete with silver candelabra on the table and silverware, fine china plates and lining napkins. As they got closer they saw each had their names elegantly written on crisp white cards.

Dan walked over to the table and gave a long whistle as he picked up a bottle of vintage red wine, “Whoever set up this reunion, has very good taste”. He then looked over at Bella and said, “Come on Bella, let’s just chill a bit and enjoy the spoils we’ve had put out for us.”
Bella snorted at the very idea, turned on her heel sand made her way to the lift.
Cherry went to run after her, but May pulled her back, “Don’t get so upset about her, Cherry, it’s just what she is hoping you will do”.
Rose poured Cherry a glass of wine, pulled out a seat and said, “May’s right, let her stew it over, she won’t be able to bear sitting up in her room on her own”.

***

Back in her room, Bella shut the door and rummaged through the back of her suitcase and pulled out a silver flask and a small velvet purse. After taking a swing of brandy from the flask she then opened up the purple purse and took out the silver bullet shape case and mirror. As she tapped out two lines of coke on the mirror she felt herself relax. “After a little stardust, I’m going to get out of this shit hole and go back home.”

Bella then rolled up a crisp fifty pound note and snorted the white dust that gave each nostril a very satisfying sting. “”Fan-fucking-tatsic”, said Bella. She went to put the purse away, but decided she deserved another hit and so tapped out another two lines and snorted those, quickly followed by another swing of brandy.
It was only after the second dose that Bella’s head felt foggy and her legs buckled beneath her. Luckily she was able to manoeuvre herself away from the bedside cabinet and flopped down on the bed. As she lay their she looked up at the picture on the wall. “What twisted fuck thought that was okay for a children’s orphanage?”
Bela then tried to sit up, but all she could do was raise her head from the pillow, the rest of her body was completely paralysed. It was only then that Bella realised that what she had snorted was not her brand of coke, but that made no sense, she’d had a toot earlier before creeping up on that old sap, Cherry.
Again Bella tried to lift herself off the bed, but found it impossible to do so. With all her might she tried a third time lifted her neck and shoulders up. It was then she saw a nun standing in the door way with her head bent downwards. Bella tried to speak, to tell Dan that his sick joke just wasn’t that funny when the nun slowly lifted her head, to reveal a grinning skulls face.

Bella’s head and shoulders became too heavy and she felt her self flop back down on the bed. Unable to move or close her mouth, Bella watch on in horror as the skull faced nun came up to her bed, reached into the bedside cabinet and pulled out a small packet and showed it to Bella. through her bleary eyes Bella could just make out the words on the package, Rohypnol. With her tongue as disabled as the rest of her body, Bella found that not only could she not move but she could not even drum up a scream.

Panic filled Bella body as she watched the nun bend down, reach under he bed and pull out a large wooden box. The skull faced nun then shook the box, causing whatever was inside it to scratch around angrily. For the first time in her life Bella tried to shut her eyes and pray for someone to burst into the room and stop this madness, but even her eyelids refused to obey her. With no choice, Bella watched on in horror as the skull faced nun flicked the latch on the box, lifted the lid and emptied a three Brazilian Wandering Spiders  onto Bella’s chest.  Bella was well aware of just how venomous these spiders were, having used one to bump off husband now two. The scream was loud and clear inside Bella’s head, but no noise escaped from her mouth as the spiders scurried up towards her open mouth.
The nun watched on in fascination as Bella’s bowels let out a gush of piss down her leg as the fear raged hard throughout her body. As the spiders hairy feet explored Bella’s face and their collection eyes started down at her terrified face, Bella felt her heart pounding hard against her ribs. The nun moved closer, looked down at Bella and removed the mask. With her eyes wide, she took in her killer’s face who took great delight in pushing her boney fingers past Bella’s lips and widening Bella’s mouth allowing enough room for one of the spiders to explore the inside of her cheeks. Bella then felt a mix of horror and relive as the spider pulled itself back then plunged its   fangs into the soft side of her cheeks; the poison  seeped into Bella’s blood stream and raged through he body. Bella the pain was agonising as she felt her whole body tense and one by one her organs began to shut down causing amore pain then she thought any human could possibly take. Gradually she felt her throat close up and darkness fill the room as the nun stood patiently waiting for Bella to take her final breath.

Part three
The Carnage continues….

Back downstairs the rest of the group greedily fed their faces and drank more wine then perhaps was good for them, but this group had never really been told when to stop had they?
Each as self obsessed as the other, they talked about themselves, who they had slept with, married or divorced and how wonderful it was to live life to the full at the top. Cherry had all but forgotten about why she had kept thinking of Flynn and so between them there were able to keep the darkest secret of all buried deep.
By midnight, May Flower said that she was tired and left the others as they continued to talk about their favourite subject, themselves.

As May Flower reached the bottom of the stairs, she knew there was no way she would make it to the third floor and so pressed the button and called the lift.

When the lift reached her floor, May staggered out and realised that she really had drank more then she should have done, but that didn’t matter, in the morning she could lay in; as would the rest of her old school mates.

When she got to her bedroom, she opened the door to see someone slumped on her bed, in the glow of the bedside lamp she realised it was Bella.

“Bella you stupid cow, your in the wrong room”.

May waited for Bella to sit up and give her some abuse; when she didn’t she went over to the chest of drawers, grabbed her wash bag and went off to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Before she left she turned back to Bella and said, “If you think you’re staying in this room you’ve got another thing coming you spiteful bitch, I still haven’t forgiven you mentioning my weight, comparing me to Humpty Dumpty! You know I’ve always been sensitive about that”.

Much to May’s surprise, Bella didn’t move or say shoot some evil comment back. May stood for a moment longer, looking at Bella and said, “Just how pissed are you Bella?”

With no reply, May shrugged her shoulders and staggered off to the bathroom. After splashing some water on her face she felt a little more alert, she then started to brush her teeth in earnest, and said, “Oh my God, Little Johnny Flynn! Now I know were I know that face from”.

Spitting out the tooth paste, May ran out of the bathroom, back into her room and switched on the main light, but found the bulb had blown. She nearly lost her footing as she lurched at Bella on the bed, grabbed hold of Bella’s arm and shook her hard, “Bella, Bella, wake up!”

With no response May pulled Bella upright only, for Bella to slump back down on the bed with a thud. Suddenly May felt as if she being watched; quickly spinning round the only thing she saw was the glow from hall. Her instincts told her to run but she turned back to Bella, grabbed her by the shoulders and screamed, “Bella you stupid bitch, wake up.” It was then she saw the mirror on the bedside table and the last remanence of white powder on the mirror with a fifty pound note rolled up by the side. Disgusted, May slapped Bella hard across the face, causing Bella’s mouth to fly wide open and still Bella didn’t flinch. It was only then that May realised that something was very wrong. In the dim light of the room, May peered closer at Bella’s open mouth to see if she was breathing when out from Bella’s mouth crawled a large spider, it’s spindly, hairy legs bristling along Bella’s lips as it pulled itself free.

May slapped her hand over her mouth as she stifled her scream and slowly backed out of the room. She had to get to the others before the murderer stuck again, but as she slipped out of her bedroom she saw nun standing in the shadows by the top of the stairwell. Between May and the nun was the lift. The nun pulled out a long silver blade from beneath its habit and slowly walked towards May. May in turn ran towards the lift and hauled back the door, pushed open the lift gate and stepped forward and plunged down on to the lift room down on the first floor. With a sickening thud. May groaned as she tried to fill her lungs with air, as the lift began to crank upwards. May groaned in agony as her broken body was dragged back onto the top. she looked on helplessly as the nun dragged her broken body back onto the landing, as the lift cranked and groaned back to the ground floor.  Through her blur, May looked up at the nun, who in turn looked down at her and pulled the mask free. May nodded, “I knew I had seen your face before”.
May reached her hand up towards the unmasked nun, who simply cocked its head to one side, then pushed May back into the depths of the lift shaft with a sicking thud.
***

Having finished all the bottles and with Trisha Steers nowhere to be seen, the group left the dining room in search of more booze. Unaware of the horror that was going on around them, Dan, Rose and Cherry found the kitchen and searched the cupboards only to find them all completely bare of any food.

“Old Mother Hubbard.” said Dan absentmindedly.

Rose then called the others to a large dustbin by the backdoor, “Look at this lot.” Cherry and Dan went to see what she was looking at to find the bin full of empty take-away cartons.

“So what?” said Dan

Cherry looked at one of the lids, “Oh, Jamie Heston’s deluxe take away service, we’ve used him before”.

Rose looked at the others and said, “Yes, I know who it is, but don’t you think it strange that there’s no more food in this place?”

Cherry glanced at Dan, then said, “Well maybe Trisha Steers has another delivery in the morning, it’s not like we’ll be going for a jog in the morning is it?”

Rose was about to speak, when all the lights went out, causing all three of the x-classmates to scream, with Dan making the highest pitched noise out of the three.

“Oh my god” quivered Dan, “What’s going on?”

“Nothing!” snapped Rose, “it’s just a power cut, get a grip Dan.”

Rose then turned to Cherry and said, “I don’t suppose you know where the fusebox would be do you?”

Cherry let out a nervous laugh, “I’m guessing it’s in the basement, or maybe on the top floor?”

“Okay Cherry, you and Dan have a look in the basement, i’ll see if there’s anything fuse boxed shaped upstairs.”

Dan looked like he was about to burst into tears, when Rose punched his arm, “Christ sake Dan, you may dress all macho, but you’re nothing but a bloody wimp: man-up!”

As Dan and Cherry made there way down into the cellar, Rose tried the lift but found it out of order so took to the stairs. As she got closer to the top floor she could here someone one singing, “Orange and lemons said the bells of St Clements, you owe me five farthings send the bells of St Martins”

“Hello,” Said Rose, “Bella? May? Is that you?

As she climbed the stairs she heard more clearly what they were singing

“When will you pay me said the bells of Old Bailey, when I grow rich, said the bells of Shoreditch.”

Rose paused on the stair, “Who’s there?”

Ignoring Rose’s request, singing continued, “When will that be said the bells of Stepney

Rose became agitated, “Bella, stop being an idiot,” but also a little frightened and wished she had gabbed herself a weapon, if only to freak Bella out. She then turned on to the top stair and on to the landing and saw a glow of a candle at the very end of the hall, but couldn’t quite make out who it was holding it. She was about to call out again when the lights all came back on.

Down in the basement, Cherry and Dan let out a cry of delight, but Rose screamed out loud as she saw that the figure was neither Bella or May, but a nun, with a skull for a face, holding up a huge axe.

Terrified, Rose began to walk backwards as the nun continued to stride towards her, finishing off the rest of the rhyme, “Here comes the candle to light you to bed, here comes the chopper to chop off your head.”

***

As they made there way back to the ground floor, Cherry and Dan called out to Rose, but got no reply.

They were about to call out again when they heard a muffled cry coming from inside a cupboard. Cherry pulled the door and were shocked to see Trisha Steers, gagged with her hands tied behind her back come tumbling out of the cupboard.

Dan and Cherry quickly untied Trisha who seemed in a terrible state.

“Who did this to you?” cried Cherry.

As Trisha pulled herself up, she pulled the gag from her mouth and said, “I have no idea, I thought it was you or one of your friends playing a joke on me.”

Dan ran off and came back with a large carving knife. Cherry and Trisha both looked on with alarm and said in unison, “What are you doing?”

Dan, who had a crazed look in his eyes and said, I know who exactly did this, Johnny Bloody Flynn.”

All memories of that fateful day came flooding back into Cherry’s head as she called out for Dan to come back, but he had already taken to the stairs, two at a time.

Cherry helped Trisha into the lounge and said, “Do you have any brandy?”

Trisha smiled weakly, “Thank you my dear, but I don’t drink, never have, never will.”

Cherry shook her head, “You may not, but I really need a stiff drink, right now.”

Trisha nodded, searched inside her dress pocket and pulled out a small silver key and nodded to a cabinet in the corner of the room.

Taking the key, Cherry’s hand trembled as she slipped the key in the lock and opened the cabinet door. Inside was a single decanter and a single crystal cut glass.

Cherry sniffed the decanter, “Good, brandy, just what I need”.

She then poured herself a large measure and took three hearty swigs as she tried to get rid of the image of Johnny’s Flynn’s frighted face looking back at her in her minds eye.

As she took a fourth swig her lip tasted a bitterness, which she chose to ignore as she drained the glasses contents.

***

Searching each room, floor by floor, Dan found each room empty. By the time he reached the top floor, he’s heart was beating fast with fury. He had hated Johnny Flynn as a child and so much more as an adult. Over the years he had played the moment when he had finally got rid of that snotty nosed kid, the one his parents had complained so much about that he had hoped if he could get rid of Johnny, then maybe his parents would notice him and give him the love he had craved. Of course his parents never changed, which only made Dan all the more convinced that Johnny Flynn had survived; now was his time to get rid of him once and for all.

***

Although Cherry didn’t feel quite right, she put it down to the horror of her memories crashing in over and over her mind with Johnny Flynn’s petrified face looming ever closer and so she took a direct swig from the bottle and enjoyed the burning sensation as the brandy coated her insides.

She then noticed that Trisha seemed to have recovered from her ordeal quite quickly and was changing from her maids outfit into a long black gown. Cherry asked what she was doing, to which Trisha replied, “Just preparing myself for the climax of this very special reunion my dear”.

Cherry was about to ask what Trisha meant, when the brandy bottle slipped from her hand and crashed to the floor, next she felt her legs buckle beneath her as she fell back on a chair behind her.

Trisha turned and continued to fix the nun’s habit in place.

***

With all the rooms on the top floor empty, Dan turned to the small stair case leading to the attic room. “Your mine now Johnny Flynn,” growled Dan as his hand tightly gripped the knife and he slowly made his may to the top of the stairs.Turning the doorknob, Dan threw the door opened and yelled out, “Ha!” only to find the room empty, bar a mattress in the corner and a desk in the middle of the room. As he walked to the centre of the room he lit the candle on the side of the desk and saw a scrap book set out on the middle of the desk. Turning the first page he saw a headline from the Coalville Times: “LOCAL BOY MISSING.” Below that was a picture of Johnny Flynn. Dan turned the next page and saw the next headline: “LOCAL COALVILLE BOY STILL MISSING, FEARED DEAD”.
Below this was a later news clipping in smaller letters: Missing Coalville Boy Suspected of Running Away, Search Suspended.

Dan couldn’t help but let out a chuckle, but then he turned to the next page and let out a gasp as the face of Trisha Steers stared back at him, dressed as a nun with the headline: NUN SO LUCKY! Sister Theresa: Jackpot winner!

Dan looked at the picture, then the headline, then back at the picture again, “Oh my God, it’s an anagram! Trisha Steers is Sister Theresa!”

Turning the next page he saw Sister Theresa outside the house he was in now, in the back ground a ‘Sold sign’ and read the rest of the story. “Sister Theresa makes vow to bring old orphanage back to it former glory.”

Grabbing the scrapbook, Dan was about to go downstairs and find the other when he heard a noise from the other side of the room, holding up the candle he spotted a door on the far side.

Oh dear reader what a silly mistake Dan made, for you see as soon as he stepped into the back room of the attic, he fell through a hole, right up to his middle.

Within that moment, Dan thought of the nurse rhyme in his room, Doctor Foster. As he tried to move, he felt himself being gripped hard by the waist as someone tied restraints into place. In any other circumstances, Dan would have been quite pleased, but right here, right now, he was furious and thrashed against his restraints, with no success. Then from behind him he heard the door open again he tried to turn but found he could only catch glimpses of a figure behind him, each time getting a better idea who it was. Slowly the figure walked past him, carrying a candle and setting it down on a table in front of him, which lit up the fall horror in front of him.

***

By now the disabling drug in the brandy had taken full effect. Although Cherry could move, she was fully aware of her surroundings as she watched Trisha Steers lit candles all around the room.

“What have you done with my friends?” slurred Cherry
Trisha continued to light the candles in the room and said, “Friends my dear? Can you really call those sewer dwelling scum your friends? But then have you ever really had any friends? I know you’re work has been your soul interest, never really been able to make a meaning connection with anyone since that fateful day at Big Steps wide strides have you Cherry?”
There was a long pause as Cherry tried to say that wasn’t true, but dear reader she knew that Trisha had hit the nail on head, if only that was the simple plan of revenge Trisha had lined up for Cherry, but she had something much more punishing for the girl who could have helped.

“I tried,” slurred Cherry, but Trisha wasn’t listening as she spoke more to herself then Cherry, “I should blame myself, but I did all I could to look after my baby”

Cherry pulled her head up and took another good look at Trisha, of course she now knew where she had seen the face before, as Trisha continued, “A good Catholic girl like me wasn’t allowed to make a small mistake; if the Mother Superior had ever discovered that I was pregnant then I would have been banished by the order.”

Trisha then turned back to Cherry, “I could only watch from afar as the other nuns cared for my boy, I knew I could not get involved as my secret would surely have been discovered, I even came to the school on occasion to see him and even then I found I could not stop his life being made a misery.”

Cherry, looked up “Sister Theresa!” I remember you now.”

***

Dan stared at his old classmates all sitting in front of him and screamed. Bella sat on a chair, a fine mist of a spiders web covered her bitchy features, while the spider itself feasted on her eyes. May lay with her body flopped backwards, her intestines oozing from a gash in her gut and then there was Rose, sitting so sweetly in her chair, with her head placed neatly in her lap. Dan watched as the skull faced nun walked over to the far corner of the room and picked up a rusty watering can. Dan tried to struggle free from his restraints, but it was impossible, he was stuck fast. He looked up just as the nun tipped the watering-can’s contents. The shower of acid, rained down on Dan, burning his skin, dissolving his vicious tongue and murderous eyes for evermore.

***

Sister Theresa, smiled and squeezed Cherry’s face. “I have waited so long to get you all together. I wanted you to have something precious in your life, be it wealth, recognition or even love, not that I think any of you spiteful lot had ever felt that.”
She then looked up as the door opened. “Good, you’re here, come in.”
The nun came into the centre of the room and stood in front of Cherry.

“Take your mask of Johnny,” said Sister Theresa. Johnny pulled off his mask and Cherry gasped. Although a fully grown adult, Johnny Flynn still had the same innocent baby face.

Cherry looked at Sister Theresa and pleaded to be let go but Sister Teresa slowly shook her head, I’m sorry my dear, but that is not going to happen. It was my fault that I lost my baby once, but it was you and your friends who destroyed him and for that reason, like your friends you will have to suffer.
Cherry pleaded for Sister Theresa to stop what she was doing, but Sister Theresa ignored her cries as she to pulled on a skull mask and fixed her veil back in place while Johnny passively looked on.

Sister Theresa opened her bag and took out a gold-gilded box and a rusty funnel.

“What was your nursery rhyme again my dear? Oh yes, there was an old woman who swallowed a fly.”

“Please stop” said Cherry “what ever you’re thinking of doing you can just stop now and leave. I won’t tell anyone what happened, you’re right, I have no loyalty to the others who made Johnny’s life such a misery.”
Cherry’s turned her gaze to Johnny and pleaded with him, “Johnny, I tried to save you, you remember that don’t you?”

Johnny looked on at Cherry, giving her some hope, but then he pulled his skull mask back into place.

Sister Theresa chuckled to herself as she walked over to Cherry, lifted the lid of the gold gilded box and showed Cherry its contents. Cherry’s eyes widened as she looked down at the hundreds of maggots crawling around the inside of the box.
Taking the opportunity, Sister Theresa grabbed hold of Cherry’s hair and yanked her head back, she then pushed the metal funnel down her throat, scrapping the metal tube along Cherry’s teeth. Cherry gagged, but was unable to move a muscle as Sister Theresa tipped the maggots down the funnel until the box was empty, she then pulled the funnel out of Cherry’s throat, tapping out the remaining maggots onto Cherry tongue.

Sister Theresa laughed as Cherry’s eyes darted around the room, “Don’t worry my dear, you’ll still be able to breathe through your nose, giving the maggots plenty of time to feast on your innards, my guessing is by the time they hatch into bluebottle the majority will escape through your nose, but the backlog will definitely try and eat through your eyes”.

The crazed nun then sealed Cherry’s mouth with some masking tape and turned to her son, only to see that he had picked up the gold-gilded box.

“Put that down Johnny, it’s an heirloom from the church.”

But Johnny ignored his mother, pulled off the skull mask and looked at Cherry, before turning back to his mother and crashed the gold box into the side of her head, knocking her to the ground.

Johnny then ripped off the masking tape and pushed Cherry forward, allowing her to throw up the crawling maggots. He then pulled Cherry out of the lounge, not noticing that that one of the candles and tipped over towards the curtains.

Dragging Cherry outside, Cherry gulped in deep breaths. It was only then that Johnny noticed the building was on fire. Cherry tried to call after him to stop, but Johnny ran back in to save his only living relative.

***

Cherry looked up to find flashing light and with police, ambulance and the fire brigade rushing around. As she was put in the ambulance, she managed to say, “I think my friends are all dead, but there’s two other inside alive”.

***

Later in the hospital, a two policewomen sat by Cherry’s bedside and asked her if there was anyone she wanted them to call, but Cherry shook her head and said there was no one. She asked after her friends, and was told that their remains had been found at the top of the house.

“What about Sister Theresa and Johnny Green? They were in the lounge.”
Both policewomen looked at each other and said, “I’m sorry Ms Blossom, but there were no other bodies found.”

Cherry Looked at both women and said, “Then they are still out there….waiting”.

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Writing 101, day 13: Found

Day Thirteen: Serially Found

On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today’s Prompt: write about finding something.

Tell us about the time you retrieved your favorite t-shirt from your ex. Or when you accidentally stumbled upon your fifth-grade journal in your parents’ attic. Or how about the moment you found out the truth about a person whose history or real nature you thought you’d figured out. Interpret this theme of “finding something” however you see fit.

Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.

You could pick up the action where you stopped, or jump backward or forward in time. You might write about the same topic, but use a different style, or use the same style to tackle a neighboring topic.

Not sure how to approach continuity? Here’s a time-tested tip: pick a favorite book or two. Read the last page of chapter one, then the first page of chapter two. How did the author choose to connect these two separate-but-connected narrative units?

We’d like to stress, though, that the idea behind today’s assignment isn’t necessarily to write “chapter two” of a neat, predetermined sequence — though you could do that, too, of course — but to think more intently about the idea of continuity and designing long-term writing projects.

 

Okay, so it is a bit of a cheat adding another Blanche Street Tale, but it fits the brief. I’ll get back to new writing tomorrow.

Somebodies Son.

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The moment I walk into the chemist and see her I know she is my mother. I wait and watch her in the security mirror. When she turns the corner I bump into her, knocking her handbag and its contents to the floor. Dropping to my knees I apologise, “I’m really sorry. Are you okay? Here’s your purse.”
She’s so grateful she doesn’t notice me slipping her notebook into my coat pocket. As she wanders off she leaves behind a scent that is unmistakably Mum.
Only when I’m safely back in the side street do I allow myself to look at her little notebook. The cover is black, crinkled like crocodile skin. I run my thumb over the gold lettering, M.a.r.g.a.r.e.t. A tingle ripples up my hand. Over the years I have thought of many names for my mother, but it makes perfect sense that she’s called Margaret. Margaret’s are strong, honest, and reliable… just like that Mrs Thatcher.
On the first page mum has written her name, Margaret J. Lawrence, 11 Blanche Street. Her handwriting is so neat, I wish she had been around to teach me.
She’ll be home soon, if I’m quick I can surprise her. How pleased she’ll be to see me waiting. I catch sight of my scruffy face in a shop window, I can’t remember when I last shaved or washed. Mum will help transform me back into her son. Perhaps we’ll even make it on the front page of the Ipswich Star, “Long Lost Son, Home at Last.”
When I eventually get to Blanche Street my heart sinks. Opposite the row of tatty run down terrace houses is a dirt track where a couple of burnt-out cars and a white van is parked. This was not what I had been expecting. In dreams I saw us together living in a country cottage with roses around the door or perhaps a detached house with a long gravelled driveway. I’m puzzled. What could have happened to my mother for her to end up living in this hellhole of a street.
The front door is locked and the curtains pulled tightly shut, a good sign, you never know who might be skulking around in an area like this.
I think of mum, she looks so much different to what I had imagined. She’s aged more than I expected, but that doesn’t matter as greying hair can easily be dyed back to blonde. When we are together I will help her with her makeup. Her lips will be rose pink for daywear and poppy red for when we go out on the town.
***
Down the road a door flies open and out storms one of those skinhead types. I try not to watch as he bad mouths someone inside his house, then he stomps over to the white van. I hear a woman crying and think I should help, but the last thing I need is a fight, so I scurry towards the side alley.
A high brick wall guards the back of the houses. I get to mum’s backyard only to find the gate locked. With no time to waste I scramble up the wall. My legs flail about as I scrape my gut before falling flat on the bare concrete below.
I lay still, but no one comes out, nobody cares. Picking myself up I nip to the backdoor and cup my hands to the window, inside is a tiny kitchen. The door handle clicks as I push it down, I scold my mum for not keeping it locked. When we’re together I’ll make sure she will always be protected.
Safely inside the kitchen the first thing I spot is her little cup on the draining-board. I carefully lift the rim to my lips and imagine mum’s lips on mine…giving me a good night kiss.
The cupboards are jam packed with loads of outdated tinned stuff and not much else. The fridge is empty, apart from a half bottle of milk and some mouldy cheese. I make a promise on the spot that I will learn to cook. My mum will have tasty meals every day. I’ll give her shepherd’s pie, toad in the hole, liver, bacon and creamy mashed potatoes with really thick onion gravy. On Sundays we’ll always have a roast and none of the vegetables will come from a tin.
I turn to face the door leading to the rest of the house. My stomach tightens. This must be how proper kids feel on Christmas morning. I throw open the door only to be faced with the same old disappointment. The room is dark and drab. Flicking on the light only makes things worse. The room is bare except for an empty birdcage hanging from a stand in the far corner. There is a thick layer of bird shit around the floorboards; for once something smells worse than me.
The front room isn’t much better. There’s a single chair, Mum’s throne and a little side table next to it. I run my hand over the grease spot at the top of her chair and pocket the few hairs I find. The ticking clock on the wall reminds me I have little time to explore. In the table’s side drawer there’s only money off coupons and a stash of useless Green Shield Stamps.
The clock on the wall begins to strike, pushing me on. Back in the middle room I notice the staircase; I take the steps two at a time. I reach the small landing and step into the front bedroom to find It’s empty: ready for me to move in. I quickly step into the back bedroom and admire mum’s single bed. Throwing back the blankets I grab her pillow close to my face, filling my nostrils with her distinctive smell.
Outside I can hear the world outside, reminding me to move on. There will be plenty of time soon to be close to my mum.
The only other furniture in the room is a chest of drawers. I’m about to pull open the top drawer when I hear the front door open; Mum’s back! I frantically empty each drawer on to the bed. The first has nothing but slips, knickers and bras. The second is jammed full of the same grey coloured tights, there must be fifty shades of grey all bundled up. The third is full of neatly folded cardigans. I rummage through her belongings, then stop. I can hear her moving around downstairs.
I tug at the bottom drawer. A stack of used wrapping paper, all ironed, spring out. Under that is a mound of yellowing documents. A quick scan shows they are of little interest to me. Then at the very bottom, I find the treasure I’ve been looking for: our photographs.
I tip the photos out on the floor and spread them out. All the faces seem to follow me, making my head really ache.
I cock my head and listen. I think mum is in the kitchen, my head throbs so much it’s hard to tell. I look down at the photos and just like a puzzle everything falls into place. In front of me is her life. There’s mum on a beach with friends, laughing. Other photos show’s mum in the park, a woman by her side. Another shows mum out for dinner, dressed up to the nines with the same woman. I look closer, trying to see my features. I know for sure that I definitely take after mum. I can’t see any pictures of my dad. I wonder what happened to him: I hope he is dead.
Now as I look down at the photos all I can see is the same two grinning, taunting faces, but what has she done with the pictures of me? I dig deeper into the pile and wonder where all the baby pictures are; what had I done that she would want to get rid of all memories of me? That woman is going to have to work really hard for me to forgive her. I pick up a picture frame with her silly grinning face looking back. I’m beginning to feel differently about my mum, I’m starting to feel really angry and throw the frame down. The glass smashes. I hear a creak on the stairs. I try and clear up the mess before she gets to the top of the stairs. I cut my hand, blood spills all over the pictures. Shit! It wasn’t meant to be like this. I stumble to my feet, smooth down my shirt, now it’s covered in blood. I try and slick my hair into place as I hear her pause on the stair. This at least gives me a moment to pull on my best smile. The top stair creaks, I reach my arms out to welcome my…..shit…a miserable policeman steps into the doorway, slowly shaking his head.
He slaps on some handcuffs, they dig tight around my wrist. He pushes me down the stairs, out of the house and into the back of the police car.
Most of the street has come out to gawp. A policewoman has her arm around Margaret. Now that I look at her properly, I can see she could never have been my mum. My mum is strong, upstanding, reliable…not some sad lonely lesbian.
Eventually everyone goes back indoors, the police get back in the car, the driver looks at me in his rear view mirror and sneers, but I don’t react. We drive away in silence. We turn onto Cemetery Road, I let out a heavy sigh of relief. There! I see my mum, a fine upstanding blonde haired woman, dressed in a red coat, matching shoes and handbag… I wonder where she lives?

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Writing 101: Day 12. Dark Clouds on the (virtual) Horizon

Day Twelve: Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon

Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.

We don’t write in a bubble — we write in the world, and what we say is influenced by our experiences. Today, take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction.

Take time to listen — to what you hear around you, or what your memories stir up.

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

– Ernest Hemingway

Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

At its most basic, foreshadowing gives readers a roadmap to what will happen later in your post — a subtle detail planted in the back of a reader’s mind, like a telling piece of dialogue or a strategic mention of an object that hints at what’s to come. When an author tells us there are dark clouds on the horizon, we know something negative will happen soon.

This doesn’t mean your post has to have a Shocking! Twist! à la The Usual Suspects or Shirley Jackson’s classic short story, “The Lottery.” It just means you’ll give readers some clues as you go — a sense of what will happen next, information that might be important later, or a detail that you’ll explain in your conclusion.

We’re ready to go wherever you want to lead us.

Okay, so this a bit of a cheat, using a story from my Blanche Street Tales, but it fits in with the theme and went down a storm at The Brighton Festival last year as part of Tin Can Stories. So here it is:

Sugar Almonds: Based on true events.

“Come on”, said Juliet, tugging at Robert’s arm, “this looks fun!”
The pair grinned with delight at the sight in front of them. Unlike the modern funfairs that ran on the outskirts of town the rides here were more traditional: a carousel, ghost-train and ferris-wheel reaching up high above the trees.
Wandering around the various ‘try your luck stalls,’ Juliet thought that the evening could not get any better, even though Robert had failed to win her a goldfish.
After having a wonderful ride on the carousel the two walked to the far end of the funfair and saw a tent standing all on its own. On closer inspection they saw the tent belonged to, “Romany Rose Lee: Fortune-Teller to the Stars.”
Juliet peered through the beaded curtains covering the doorway and saw an old woman sitting behind a large round table, covered with a green cloth.
Juliet grabbed hold of Robert’s hand as the old woman gestured for them to enter her tent.
With her red headscarf tied tightly across her head, four inch, gold loop earrings and a face full of tramlines, ‘The old woman was really getting into her role,’ thought Robert.
“Cross my palm with silver,” said the old woman, her bony hand reaching across the table. Robert in turn dug into his pocket for change only for the old woman to cough and add, “Or a five pound note will do.”
Tucking the money in her bra-strap the old woman handed Juliet a set of tarot cards to shuffle. She then stroked Juliet’s hand as she took the cards back from her, smiled, then began to place them out in front of her and said, “You’re in love, you’ll have children, one, two, three, four!”
Juliet smiled at Robert, but then turned to see a look of true gravity on the old woman’s face as she continued, “Alas my dear before the night is finished you will experience a horror like never before.”
Juliet fled the tent with the old woman’s cackling laugh sharp in her ears.
Robert ran after his true love and whispered, “I love you.”
As they made their way back through the fair, Juliet saw just how rusty and unstable the ferris-wheel seats looked. The yells from the ghost-train made her quicken her step until they were back in the safety of the brightly lit food stalls.
Still a little shaken, Juliet turned to Robert and said, “What did she mean, I’ll experience a horror like never before?”
Looking at the rolling hot dogs, Robert smiled, “It’s all part of her act, they all say that.” Squeezing her hand, Robert added, “Come on, let’s get something to eat.”
Robert ordered a hotdog with onions, while Juliet settled for a candy-floss. Still a little shaken, Juliet asked if they could go home. Robert smiled, “Of course we can”
Not wanting the night to end too soon, Robert led Juliet through a tunnel of trees that gradually blocked out the moonlight. A shiver ran down Juliet’s spine, as the words of the old gypsy ran through her head, “Alas my dear before the night is finished you’ll experience a horror like never before.”
Her mind then added a long cackling laugh, “hahahahhaha” for extra effect.
Glancing up at the branches, Juliet saw claws ready to pull her up into their clutches away from her love, never to be seen again. She wanted to tell Robert, but deep down she knew she was just being silly. Robert was right, it was just part of the old woman’s act.
Taking a bite of her candy-floss, Juliet even allowed herself to giggle at how childish she had been to believe such nonsense. Rolling the sugar clump around her mouth, she bit down hard and mumbled, “That’s odd.”
Robert was too busy munching on his hotdog to hear what she’d said, and so she carried on. Juliet bit down on the crispy shells entwined within the sugar strands and savoured the bitter almond taste that squirted across her lips and tongue.
Having finished his snack, Robert stuck his mustard slicked tongue in Juliet’s ear and whispered, “I fancy something sweet.”
Pulling away, Juliet squealed, “This is far too nice, I’m keeping it all for myself.”
With that she scooped up a huge wad of floss and pressed it into her mouth, biting down on the crispy shell, savouring the bitter almond taste.
As she did so the branches of the trees parted and the glimmers of moonlight shone down.
Powerless to move, Juliet opened her mouth and released a long, silent, scream.
Unable to help himself, Robert let out a roar of laughter as he stared at what Juliet had thought had been crispy almond shells. For there cocooned amongst the sugary strands where bugs of all sizes, desperately wiggling but unable to get free. Tears rolled down Robert’s face when he spotted a half bitten carcass, its bitter yellow innards dribbling through the pink sugar strands.
As for Juliet? Her screams echoed into the night as the words of the old gypsy woman’s rang in her ears, “Alas my dear before the night is finished you’ll experience a horror like never before.”

Sugar Almonds

Sugar Almonds

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Writing 101: (Day 4) Loss, Part 2.

Loss (part 2)
15 min free writing.

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Things I have lost.

My mother at 18 months old through a divorce, my cat Sooty through either Sooty getting fed up of being dressed up in dolls cloths or he died. Loss of animals, budgies, rabbits, gold fish. Nearly losing the school tortoises who was penned in with the homemade rabbit run (chicken wire and canes, but found a hole and could move at some speed for at tortoise. Losing the fights against a group of bullies at school, which only came to an end when I left school, losing out to jobs and not knowing where to go next. Went back to College to stud catering. Lost my inhibitions on the dance floor when I move Norwich (to study at Norwich Hotel School). Lost my Ipswich accent when I moved to Brighton. Lost any longing to move back to my home town when I realised Brighton was the place I was meant to live. Lost the need to work at The Bedford Hotel when The Grand Hotel reopened after massive refit following the Brighton bombing, lost the need to work at The Grand when I got a job as a steward on the newly revitalised QE2. Lost more inhibitions when I teamed up with my mate Mark on the QE2 and formed a cabaret style show for the crew, which was so successful we were asked to perform regular shows for the passengers too. Lost in time and missed the QE2 in New York, stranded, but got home safely. Lost the number of times I have laughed till it hurts with my mates. Lost the urge to work in catering, started working and retrained with adults with severe learning difficulties. Lost the urge to work with adults with learning difficulties, retrained as a reflexologist. never really lost the urge to give help with reflexology, but moved on to retrain to be a writer.

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Writing 101: (Day 4) Loss, Part 1

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Day Four: Serially Lost

Today’s Prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.This doesn’t need to be a depressing exercise; you can write about that time you lost the three-legged race at a picnic. What’s important is reflecting on this experience and what it meant for you — how it felt, why it happened, and what changed because of it.

Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

Our blogs are often made of standalone posts, but using them to take readers on longer journeys is an immersive experience for them — and you. It allows you to think bigger and go deeper into an idea, while using a hook that keeps readers coming back.

 

15 min writing exercise.
Loss.

It is said that children learn about loss through the life cycle of keeping an animal. I have some very clear memories of experiencing loss through these situctions when I was very young. When my mum and dad split, my dad, sister and I moved in with my nana (my dad’s mum). During that time we had several animals. My first memory is very vague about a black cat called, Sooty. My sister and I used to dress him up in her dolls clothes and push him a round in her pram…I think he ran away, but after I recently asked my sister about this, we are now not too sure if the truth was that Sotty had passed away.

One day my dad brought back a load of goldfish, by the next morning all but one of the goldfish had died. We were told that the last goldfish left had killed off all the other fish, so we called him Tarzan! Tarzan lived for years, on one occasion he had jumped out of bowl, but we popped him back in and he carried on living. I think he lived for a good 8 or 10 years.

My Nana also kept budgerigars. One morning (when I was still very young) I came down to find the budgie (I think it was called Kimi, come to think of it, I think all of my nana’s budgies were called Kimi) laying on the bottom of the cage. I ran upstairs and told my nana and sister that the budgie was asleep on the floor of its cage and wouldn’t wake up. That was to be my first clear memory of loss.

A much more gruesome memory of loss come from another memory around the same time. I think my dad had bought two rabbits, one male one female ands built a single hunch for them both. In no time the pair were mating like…rabbits!
Not long after a whole batch of baby rabbits were born. To this day I don’t understand why a hole was in the floor of the hutch my dad had made (lazy dad!) was left with a hole was small enough for one of the baby rabbits to full through, but not bigger enough for its head. Remember that famous bunny boiling moment in the film Fatal Attraction when there’s lots of screaming and dramatic music? That’s how I the scene plays out in my head when I ran down to see my rabbits only to find one of the bunnies hung to death.

My Nana (who had lived through two World Wars and already bought up her two children on her own, wasn’t s fazed by the sight and just dug a hole and told me to bung the dead rabbit in the hole! I’m not sure if my memory has expanded on that situation, but I’m sure that scene happened more then once!

So, that’s my first blog on loss. It’s no wonder my favourite writing genre is horror!

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