More to Me Than HIV

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More to Me Than HIV

First published in Gscene July 2020 For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library.For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library. For the project I spoke openly about my journey having being           Read more

More to Me Than HIV: GScene post Aug 2020

More to Me Than HIV is a project that aims to breakdown the stigma that has historically been attached to this virus.  When I saw my piece in last months Gscene to promote the More to Me Than HIV project, I was extremely proud, but a small part of me was filled with anxiety; but why should I feel this way? I have been on effective antiretroviral therapy since the Read more

More to Me Than HIV: first published in GScene July 2020

For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library. For the project I spoke openly about my journey having being             diagnosed HIV+ 32 years previous. Back then there was no treatment and a lot of fear and misinformation concerning how HIV was transmitted. As such stigma was rife, Read more

flash fiction

D is for Darkness

D is for Darkness

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The cupboard under the stairs had always been a dumping ground for stuff that might be of use, and so over the years it has become quite full. When he shone the torch past the clutter a shiver rippled throughout him, the beam seemed to go way beyond the wall at the back. The rational side of him told him to shut the door on the junk and get back to what he was doing, but the niggling voice at the very back of his skull said he really had no choice, he had to go.

And so he began to pull out all the rubbish and dumped it in the hall, with the promise to himself that he would sort through it later, but first he needed to explore the darkness. His mind was taken back to when his older brother would routinely throw his shoes to the back of the cupboard under the stairs and then dare him to venture into the bleakness, telling him it was where the bad things lived.

Taking a deep breath he began to venture further inwards, stumbling over long forgotten rubbish as he went. It was only when he looked back that he realised he had gone deeper then he had wanted too and yet there was further darkness ahead. The walls closed in as he crawled further onwards on his hands and knees. Turning every now and then, the door through which he had came was now a long, long way off: a pinhole of light. The boy he had been a long time ago would have hurried back, but he was a man now, a man who should no longer be afraid to face the darkness, and so he carried on.

The ceiling gradually lowered meaning that now he was now slithering along on his belly.
With great difficulty, he turned his head, but the light through which he came was now a long distant memory, darkness stretched behind him as it did in front with no end in sight and so he carried on crawling.
As he crawled, the light from the torch began to diminish. He knocked it against the side of the wall that now felt harder, solid like the inside of a cave. The light extinguished, forcing him to reach out in blindness as he carried on feeling his way. Gradually the space began to open up, higher and higher until he found he could stand. Searching his pocket he found some matchers, lit one illuminating the walls around him. Marks covered the walls, at first making no sense, as he was staring, the match burnt his fingers, making him let out a yelp, which echoed back, but in a long forgotten voice. Spooked, he tried to reach for his way back but each time he found a wall blocking his escape. Panic filled his head as he grabbed the matches, striking one, but it failed to light, as did the next and the next. Taking a deep breath, he took hold of a match, the last of three in the box. Slowly, carefully he pulled it across the side of the strike pad, the spark fizzed and lit, the bright light showing row upon row of tally score marks chalked into the black walls.
“What the fff…” Before he could finish his sentence, the match once again burnt his fingers, causing him to once again yelp, which was once again echoed, but in a strained, once familiar voice.
Tentatively he pulled out the second match, struck it a light and stared at the marks. Raising the match he saw the wall went up for eternity. He tried to spy for his way back home, only for the match to extinguish before he could make up his mind which way to turn. With just one more match left, he desperately tried again to find a way out. He waited and waited, hoping to wake from this very bad dream, until he gave in and lit the match. Looking down he spied a piece of chalk, “Oh” said a voice he now recognised all to well, as he struck the next tally mark on the wall.

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C is for clown

Take a lette rof teh alpherbet and write flash horror fiction within half an hour

www.evilclowns.org

C is for clown

C is for clown.
Her name was Fiz, well her name was actually Caroline, but everyone called her Fiz on the account that she was so god damn physically fit! Not that you would recognise Fiz these days, she’s changed. No scratch that, she has transformed into something completely different, not through her own choosing mind.
No one has any idea who was behind the nightmare, but there must have been a world wide group involved because the pandemic spread within days. I think Fiz was the first victim. As much as I miss her, I’m glad it was her who answered the door and saw the package, I know, I know, selfish comment, but she is no longer aware of who she was. To be honest, I’m not sure I would be able to tell her in a line up, not that I would want to put myself through that.
I’m running away with myself now, I need to tell you about the package. I guess Fiz thought it was a gift to her, admirers were forever leaving things on the front step, flowers, chocolates, one guy even left her a teapot, I think it was his way of being romantic, “Let’s meet over tea” something like that. It was a lovely teapot, makes a great brew and the spout never drips.
Sorry, I’m transgressing again aren’t I, where was I? Oh yes the package, it was plain brown paper and string, Fiz might have thought that was quaint, you know plain flicker.comand simple, I don’t think Fiz ever had anything plain or simple in her life, ever. She loved to accessories, I know, I’m digressing, but it will help you get a better idea of who Fizz was. Do you know those, Sobranie cocktail cigarettes? Fiz would coordinate her clothes to match the coloured cocktail cigarettes. She would make me laugh, her funny ways. The ironic thing about the whole situation is that she was never particularly funny, never cracked a joke. Don’t get me wrong, she liked to laugh, more of a titter when she’s had a little bit to drink of fizz but never, never loud, not like that time.
I’m running ahead aren’t I. So, it was a Wednesday morning, I was still in bed, so were our flatmates, Posh-Sarah and King Albert, both have excellent breeding but absolutely hopeless in a crises. I heard Fiz shuffling about downstairs, making herself a cup of tea, no doubt she had a pink Sobranie on the go as she always wore pink pyjamas. I then heard her go to the front door and then there was a long silence, I think she was drinking her tea, bit of toast, cigarette. Then I heard this terrible scream. All three of us came running down to see Fiz sitting at the kitchen table, parcel opened in front of her with Fiz herself holding the side of her face; we all thought she had been slapped.
Fiz was more angry then upset, it took a lot to pull tears from her face. She then pointed a finger at the sprung snake and tin on the floor. It was King Albert who picked the tin up. It transpired to be a joke, one of those fake tins that when you shake it you think there’s something inside, Fiz thought it was jewellery or something, but when she opened it out sprung a fake snake, hitting Fiz on the side of the cheek.
None of us thought much more of it, I think privately we all chuckled to ourselves but that was it. It wasn’t until later in the day that I noticed a white streak across Fiz’s face. At first Fiz wouldn’t believe me, she refused to get out her hand mirror to look, (which belive me was a shock in itself!) It was only when I picked up a magazine,Majesty or Posh I think and pretended to read it that I noticed from the corner of my eye Fiz sneaking her mirror out and having a look. She didn’t say anything, she just got up and went to her room. She was in their for an age, I mean it felt like forever. Eventually I tapped on her door and asked if she was okay. Fiz mumbled something then opened the door a fraction. I was shocked at her red eyes, she had been crying. I don’t think she knew what to do, so she just opened the door a little more and showed me the side of her face. The small white mark had spread rapidly, completely covering the side of her face.
I think Fiz was hoping that I wasn’t seeing what she was seeing, but when she quickly realised I did she yelled, pulled me into her bedroom and slammed the door behind me.
I’d never been in Fiz’s bedroom before, It was a lot messier then I imagined, knickers on the floor, a plate with some unfinshed dinner by the foot of the bed and an ashtray filled with multi-coloured tips. Okay, okay, I’ll get on with the story at hand. Together we went through every lotion and potion Fiz had but nothing would remove the white. It was only while she was trying her Joan Malone face wipes that I noticed her lips getting redder. At first I thought it was because she had been rubbing her face so much or that she was having some kind of allergic reaction to all the stuff she had spread across her face.
Fiz must have seen my face because she started to panic, she ran over to her dressing table and tried to scream, but her face just kind of froze. I was watching her transformation from across the room, reflected in the mirror, it was all so surreal, like I was watching something on the television. The red smear grew into a wide grin, while the white covered her whole face, blue stars sprang up and bled across each eye and her perfect nose blew up big and bulbous. I went to take a step closer to Fiz, only for this chilling chuckle gurgled from her open mouth made me slowly creep out of her room, close the door and run.

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A is for Arachnophobia

A to Z of horror. Write flash fiction based on that letter.

A is for Arachnophobia

lots of spiders

In all it took him an hour to take his final breath, made all the worse by the paralysis  and the harrowing side effects.
We’d been working the graveyard shift at the supermarket warehouse, unloading crates of bananas. It wasn’t until it was too late that I realised just what had happened. A huge spider sprang out of no where, it was Mick who spotted it, and stamped on it. Neither of us were to know the damn thing was pregnant… it really was like something from a horror film, a hundred baby spiders sprang out of their mother’s wound and covered the floor.

In a flash they were crawling up every surface, including us. Together we were like a pair of flamingo dancers, stamping the floor. It was only when Mick screamed a really high pitch scream that I realised one of the bastard had got on his skin and bitten him; the two tiny pinpricks were only visible by the two tiny drips of blood that appeared on the side of his neck. It was while I was looking at the tiny wounds that I got bitten on the leg. I grabbed some twine and wrapped it round my leg, I think it is that that is keeping the worst of the side effects at bay.

Soon after getting bitten, Mick said he felt really dizzy, that the room was spinning; he then fell back on to a crate. His eyes rolled back and he kept swiping the air in front of him before attacking his own skin. That’s when he really stated to scream the place down; I was kind of hoping someone would hear him and come running in, so joined in, I yelled and yelled, then suddenly Mick went dead quiet.

…I’m not one for faith, but I’m praying right now to any ‘God’ willing to listen. Hell if the Devil is tuned in, then please come and end this misery; my soul is for the taking.

I went to yell of us when the air changed with a smell I instantely recognised. Back in my youth I had worked at an abattoir, the same stench that came from the animals poured back into my head, mixed in with the fresh green scent of bananas. Mick jolted which made me jump up, only to instantely crumple back down, sensing his demise the spiders marched in. I scambled at the twines, pulling them tighter, begging to stop or at least delay the inevitable.

https://youtu.be/XnGt77u9ncU

 

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Writing Everyday in October. Hate: Part 2

Photo from: pppics.com

Photo from: pppics.com

Writing Everyday in October: Hate Part 2.
Writing everyday in October, Hate.
Part two.
The very next day Ronny was surprised to hear someone shuffling around the flat below him. With his ear pressed against a glass which in turn was pressed against his threadbare carpet, Ronny tried his best to make out who it could be. After a while Ronny guessed it must have been the last tenants mum. He made this assumption as the television was on day and night with the favourites programs being reruns of Miss Marple and Columbo, games show’s, Pointless, Only Connect and fifteen to One. In-between these programs the person was an avid fan of the news channels, with a particular interest in news programs about war and any other other destructive topic.
At first Ronny thought that his new neighbour sounded like a kindred spirit, but he quickly put such niceties to one side as he reminded himself just how much he had enjoyed destroying the previous tenants life. With his mind made up, Ronny began his insult of hate by phoning up a whole host of companies, from funeral directors, to double glaze sales men and asked them to visit him; each occasion he gave the address of the person living below.
Ronny then waited for the appointed time he had made his arrangements, watched each tradesperson go through the front door and then got on his hands and knees, with the glass once again press against the floor. Much to Ronny’s annoyance, the new tenant welcomed each of the visitors in, chatted with them for a while, sometimes making them a cup of tea and each occasion the person left without any fuss.
Ronny tried his next trick which was to turn his television and radio up to the highest level while stopping about in his boots but this became more of an annoyance to himself then to the tenant below. Ronny decided that they must be deaf and so gave up on that idea.
After some thinking, Ronny started on his next idea. First he got a bucket, squatted over it and forced the insides of stomach. As his diet mainly consisted tinned food and beer, the smell was rank, making even Ronny gag. He looked in the bucket and quickly realised what he needed to do was to make himself go more, much more.
For the first time in weeks, Ronny left his flat, crept down the stair well and made his way outside. His first stop was the local Pharmacy where he bought six packs of Lax-u-go: super strength. The assistant had told him that one capsule should help any problems, but Ronny just grunted, paid for his goods and left. His next stop was the local fishmongers where he bought some king size prawns and was delighted to hear that needed to be eaten that day. His last stop of point was the ironmongers where he bought a funnel and a length of pipe.
Once he was back at his flat, Ronny placed the prawns on the windowsill; next he went into his kitchen and opened up an array of tinned luncheon meats, tinned potatoes, tapioca, and mushy peas. Ronny then plonked everything in a big bowl and settled himself in front of the telly. At times Ronny had to stop himself from throwing up as he forced the food into his mouth, taking great gulps of beer to wash the fuel for his next prank down.
With just about every scarp of tinned spam and tapioca consumed, Ronny felt he could not move but manged to stumble over to the windowsil and grabbed the plate of prawns. Logic told him he should at least cook them, but Ronny’s plan to traumtise the old woman below had consumed him to the point of no return and so he chomped down on the raw prawns, eating the shell, head and tails. Finally he felt he had reached his limit and fell back into his chair, and stored at the blaring television.
At three in the morning, Ronny was woken up by incredible stomach cramps. Although the pain was crippling, Ronny managed to force a smile as he thought how horrified his neighbour would be when they saw the gift he had made himself was poured through their letter box.
But first Ronny needed to get his gut into action. Each step made him wince as his insides gave a sharp poke, but Ronny knew it was all going to be worth it.
To be continued…

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writing Everyday in October. Hate (part 1)

Writing Everyday in October: Hate. (part 1)

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Ronny hated everybody and everybody who had ever had the misfortune of meeting him hated him back.
The thing with Ronny was he had the knack in spotting someone’s weak spot and digging in deep with some nasty comment. No one was except from Ronny’s vile tongue. He would ridicule someone if they had a lisp, by exaggerating their speech and spit all over them. If a mother’s chid had a visible birthmark, he would pretend he had some dark ages faith and say they their child had the mark of the devil and should have been drowned at birth. One of his neighbours who had a mild tick had become one of Ronny’s favourite victims; whenever Ronny saw the neighbour, he would mention the tick and go on and on about how about how prominent it was which in turn made the tick so much worse. Ronny who had taken great delight in turning the tick into a trauma until eventually the neighbour had a complete break down and tried to burn down his flat. Ronny was even waiting outside the block of flats when the neighbour was taken away. Ronny took great delight in pointing and shouting, “He’s a fucking nut case that one, someone should give him a ticking off!”

As time went by, Ronny spent less time going out and more time staying in but this didn’t stop the hate. He would take great delight in phoning people up at random and telling them that they were being watched and to be very afraid. On one occasion a new neighbour had moved in below Ronny. Once Ronny knew they worked night shifts and needed to sleep during the day, he made sure he played his television and radio on full blast off and on throughout the day. Each time the neighbour complained, Ronny would have the music off and say it must be coming from somewhere else. When he saw he was getting such a stressed out reaction, he kept upping the hate campaign. As well as the noise, he would make appointments for double glazing men, loan sharks and unwanted pizza deliveries to be made when he was sure his neighbour was in a deep sleep. Things came to ahead when he pretended to be his neighbour called up the gas company and fire brigade saying he could smell gas coming from his downstairs neighbour’s flat. On that occasion the fire brigade had to kick down the door. A week after that he heard neighbour had taken his own life. After that the flat stayed empty for some time. Ronny in turn decided that he too would have a break and wait for a new tenant to move. Being able to witness just how powerful his hate could have an effect without having to leave his flat was something Ronny wanted to do again and again and again.

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Writing everyday in October: Waiting

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I remember quite clearly, well nearly. I’d had this huge argument with a neighbour. What the argument was about now I am not so sure. It could have been over my apple tree hanging over her side of the garden. I just don’t think her taking apples is right, do you?…Hang on, I’ve just looked, I don’t even have an apple tree! No, what was it? Was it she who came round and complained about my washing machine being on at an unsociable hour, is 3 p.m. unsociable? or did she say i had the full spin on at 3 a.m …oh I remember now it was…no hang on, it’s gone. You see, the main problem I’ve been having is lack of sleep, which all started when I had an argument with my neighbour about…no, it’s gone again.

At first I ignored it. Not the neighbour, the not sleeping bit. I was so sure my neighbour was spying on me after that incident that I can’t quite remember that I decided the best thing to do was to keep an eye on her. Where my bedroom window is, I can see right in to her garden. I’ve now got the dressing table mirror set up so I can nearly see her back door. I can almost watch her come out, which gives me enough time to duck out of the way. She hasn’t been out yet, or at least I don’t think so, but when she does I’ll be ready for her.

It was only when my back started to ache that I realised that I had gone three whole days without sleeping a wink!

If only I could remember what it was she had done in the first place that had started this whole thing…oh, it’s right on the tip of my tongue, but it keeps slipping away again. Now, you must understand, I’m not paranoid, I just know that if I stop watching then she will take her chance and come out and….Damn If I could just remember what it was she had done.… I had stepped into my garden, she then said…no, it’s gone again.

I feel really pleased with myself, you know I’ve stayed awake now for twelve days.
In the beginning I found it difficult, but in the beginning I took an hour off from looking while I had my dog, Ginger, stand by the window while I gathered a few supplies, food, water and a bucket to you know what in. I knew that if my neighbour even glanced up at my house, then Ginger would have barked, but she was quiet, that is I mean, Ginger, not my neighbour who did that thing that I can’t quite remember. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen Ginger in days, I would go and check but who would keep guard of the window? Oh I’m sure she’s fine. She’s very clever, if I had the time i would teach her to do those tricks that woman who cheated on Britain’s Got Talent got her dog to do. Ginger is a good dog, a clever dog; she would have got into her food cupboard by now, that I’m sure off.

Yesterday I suddenly became aware of a terrible smell. At first I thought it was the bucket but was really surprised to find out it was me! I think that’s why Ginger stays out of the bedroom.
Ginger?! Ginger?! No, she’s having one of her moods, I can well imagine she’s curled up on the rug downstairs.

It’s funny the things you get use to, the routine of looking, the smells getting ever more pungent, not just from me but from downstairs too, I think it’s the bin, it has to be the bin, what else could it be? My hair is quite matted, I should have grab a brush at the same time as my other supplies, but it’s not essential, not when I have this important task at hand.
Nothing is more important to me then catching my neighbour, if only I could remember what it was she had done, perhaps when she come out into her garden I can ask her.

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Writing everyday in October: Don’t Scream!

After all that screaming, the quiet seems deafening. Looking around, nothing is normal. That stain over there will it ever come out. Strange the things you think of as important but on the grand scheme of things that stain that has a life of its own is the least of my worries, and yet I do worry, always have. Worried what my mother thinks, worried what the neighbours think, worried what my more successful sister thinks, worried what people at work think, Blimey, I even worried what the cat thinks!

I wonder if it’s the same rule as red wine? What was it my mother swore by, salt on the stain or was it white wine that has some kind of magical power. I would give her a call but she’ll only ask why its so quiet. I could look it up on the computer, but that is stain splattered too! Such a messy screaming match!

Seriously though, bleach is the only thing that’s going to shift it, I’m so pleased I managed to get out of the house yesterday and got the weekly shop done… there will be a fresh bottle under the sink…and some clean cloths, but that is such a waste. I’ll get the rag bag out from under the sink and use them.

Now as I sit here I feel so calm, something that has been missing for months! The neighbours will be pleased. I almost want to pop round and tell them, knock on every door and say that  all those months of shouting has now come to an end, but they will find out soon enough.

Maybe it will be best if I just leave things as they are, I wonder if it will be like on the television detective shows when they have those all in one white paper suits.

Oh my! I’ve just seen myself in the mirror, I’ve still got the hammer in my hand, I thought I was feeling quite relaxed now that the shouting is over, but I can’t loosen the grip, thankfully it isn’t that heavy. Not much more then a toffee hammer, but it has done the trick, shut him up once and for all. All that screaming, all that shouting; looking at him you wouldn’t think he would have said boo to a goose, but behind closed doors…

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