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

hell

Bystander: a horror story.

Bystander: A Horror Story.

Spilt milk
As Megan opened the back door, her mother’s voice boomed out from the lounge, “Don’t blame me, blame the cat.”

Negotiating the minefield of saucers of souring milk, Megan mumbled to herself that the damn cat had been dead for years. Stepping into the back room, she looked around at the fading floral wallpaper, marked out with bright squares where pictures had once made the place a home. Back then Lilly had been very keen to present to the world a well maintained home, with everything in its place. However, that was a long time ago, now the house was practically an empty shell. The front room was the only place in the house that was barely hanging on to its former memories.

Megan had had the room converted into a bed-sit after her mother had suffered a small stroke and could no longer manage the stairs. That day had been a test of everyone’s patience; with her younger sister, Gloria complaining that she had little time to spare, as she still hadn’t found the perfect outfit for Charle’s and Di’s wedding. The fact that she would be sitting at home watching the event on the television did not seem absurd to her at all. In the end, Gloria got her husband Nigel to help shift the furniture around downstairs to accommodate a single bed. Lilly had wanted her double bed, but even she had to agree it would leave little room for her wing-backed armchair and precious sideboard. In the end the single bed was wedged against the front door, allowing Lilly to see through the middle room and the kitchen at the back. Her armchair was placed by the window while the sideboard took pride of place against the far wall.

In the centre of the sideboard stood a faded black and white snapshot of Lilly and her husband Joe on their wedding day, to the left, a photo of Gloria, aged fifteen wearing a light pink sash declaring her, ‘Little Miss Brighton, Seaside Queen 1969’. A year later Gloria had married Nigel, a man seven years her senior. Their collection of brightly coloured nuptials dominated the other side of the sideboard alongside a stash of memorabilia from Gloria and Nigel’s various holidays abroad, including: a conk shell from the Maldives, a ship in the bottle from the Caribbean and a Micky Mouse letter rack declaring Florida, ‘The Sunshine State’. Megan had thought her sister had married too young, but now she saw that her sister had been more than canny in getting away with caring for their mother.

The only photo Lilly had of Megan had been tucked behind the other memories. It had been taken the year before she had left school. She hated the face that stared from the frame, all teeth and hair; harking back to the time when she was openly known as the ugly sister; a label Megan had never quite been able to let go off. On numerous occasions Megan had asked her mother to get rid of it, only for Lilly to snap back, “If you’d got someone to marry you, or done something important with your life, then I would have had that framed instead.”

With a deep breath, Megan stepped into the front room and once again the stale smell of her mother and the state of the room reminded her that things could not carry on like this for much longer.

“Is that you Meg?” boomed Lilly.

“Yes Mum, replied Megan, “you’ve lost your teeth again?”
* * *

Like to read more? pop on over to blanchestreet.co.uk for info on all ten tales and how to get your hands on the e-book

 

Posted on by admin in Brighton, creative writing, fiction, Horror, short story Leave a comment

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

Posted on by admin in Blanche Street, fiction, Fiction & Books, Horror, Ipswich, short, short story, Suffolk, urban gothic, Writing everyday in October Leave a comment

writing everyday in October. Anna Nicole Smith, Love After Death

From our Afterlife showbiz reporter: Kelly Ross.

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Dressed in a figure hugging, pink satin dress, fabulous fake fur stole, diamond drenched chocker, perfected platinum blond hair and flawless makeup, Anna Nicole Smith made her debut into the afterlife with the usual style, panache and a touch of car-crash that had made her the most talked about woman (after Princess Diana) in the National Enquirer.
Standing at the top of the stairs, Ms.Smith raised her hands above her head, went to speak but instead slurred, “Do you Like my Body? It’s all down to Trimspa you hear?”

When the only response was a whispered, “Is she drunk?” Ms. Smith threw down her hands, pushed out her bottom lip and sulked. Thankfully a lone female voice shouted, “I love you Nicole”, which was just the thing Ms. Smith needed to get her back in her stride as she switched from grumpy brat, to the sultry, sexy, siren Ms. Anna Nicol Smith we are more attuned to.
Assured she had the audience’s complete attention, Ms. Smith thrusted her ample assets forward and swished down the stairs; gyrating her hips in a fashion that one could almost have assumed Ms. Smith was in fact spinning an invisible hula-hooping all the way down to the bottom step.
As was Ms. Smith’s want while alive, she was greeted by the maître d’ with a substantial serving of deep fried gizzard wings, large fries and a diet coke. Ms. Smith squealed with delight, chowed down with a ravenous appetite, which is not unheard of for those who have made the journey into the afterlife, burped loudly and said in her distinctive Southern drawl, “Well this sure is heaven, thank you all, I’s was famished.”
Next came the main part of the afterlife floor show that as always is the main draw for these shows. A ripple of an applause filled the auditorium as the wardrobe mistress pulled a cloths rail with a single dress, hidden under a very pretty, pink silk protection cover.

Ms. Smith squealed with delight and announced she was so glad to be changing her outfit as she was already bored to tears with her present attire.
Next, Ms. Smith was taken behind a changing screen, blindfolded and asked to strip. Not wishing to miss an opportunity, Ms.Smith shouted, “Queue music!”.
The band instinctively began to play, “You Can Leave Your Hat On”.
Unbeknown to Ms. Smith, a back light shone onto the screen allowing the full effect of the striptease to be observed. Such was the performance, one had to wonder if Ms.Smith wasn’t a little aware of the playful prank being played on her.
As the band reached its crescendo, a pink silk camisole and matching knickers came flying over the screen, just as the auditorium was plunged into complete darkness.

A cough and shuffle of anticipation rippled through the darkness as the sound of the wardrobe mistress slipping the dress over Ms. Smith’s head was followed by Nicole letting out a huge belch,
“That should give this pretty dress some room”, giggled Nicole as the wardrobe mistress pulled and buttoned Ms. Smith into her new frock.
A cymbal simmered from the percussion section of the band, as a single light pierced through the darkness.The other percussion instruments gradually joined in while the spotlight expanded until a perfect silhouette of Ms. Smith was once again in full view. Then came the big reveal as the screen spectacularly fragmented into ninety white doves, causing the audience to gasp at just how stunning Ms. Smith looked.
Still blindfolded, Ms. Smith’s voice cracked slightly as she tried to reach out to her adoring fans and asked, “Do I look pret-ty?”
A collective “Ahhh” and clapping of hands, quickly brought back Ms. Smith’s smile.

Once the applause had died down, the Grim Reaper slowly made her dignified entrance, scythe in hand. Again there was a murmuring of anticipation from the audience, which in turn made Ms. Smith let out a giggle and a very faint fart.
Unable to hold back her excitement any longer, Ms. Smith pulled in a deep breath, which in turn put considerable strain on the upper part of her dress and cried out, “Is this when I get my sur-prise? Is this when I fin-ally get the thing I’ve always dreamed off, tell me now, is now the time I fin-ally  get what I tru-ly de-serve?!”
The Grim Reaper in turn, whispered sweetly, “Yes Nicole”.
Stamping her feet in quick succession, Ms. Smith enquired, “Does it begin with ‘M’?”
To which the Grim Reaper again whispered very softly, “Yes Nicole”.

IMG_3732
Unable to control herself, Ms. Smith span round and round, shouting, “I’ve got it, i’ve got it, I beat E. Pierce Marshall, I’m rich, I’m rich at last I’m rich.”
The Grim Reaper waited for Ms. Smith to stop spinning and with a quick flick of her Scythe, snipped Ms. Smith’s blindfold in two. As it fell to the floor, Ms. Smith looked down and saw she was wearing a massive white, meringue inspired wedding dress.

Slightly dumbfounded and rather confused, Ms. Smith turned to the Grim Reaper and asked, “Am I ma-rry-ing the mon-ey?”
The Grim Reaper solemnly shook her skull, clicked her boney finger and thumb in the band’s direction, who again hit their stride at once as they played, Mendelssohn’s, Wedding March’.

Meanwhile, the distinctive sound of a wheelchair creaked out from within the darkness.

Nicole had a terrifying moment of clarity as she realised just what the ‘M’ stood for as the creaking wheelchair pulled itself out of the shadows, a musty Howard Marshall, dragged his dusty tongue across flaking lips, smiled a toothless grin and croaked, “I love you Nicole, I’ve been waiting for you baby and the really good thing honey, I’ve got viagra! And best of all sweetheart, sugar-pie, we have all of eternity to consummate our marriage over and over and over again.

th

 

 

Posted on by admin in creative writing, Flash fiction, Gothic horror, short, short story, Writing everyday in October Leave a comment

Welcome to the Dark World of Dualism (Vol 1)

The Dualism photography book (Vol 1) has not been created for those who like to leave out heavy tombs on their coffee tables, expressing their love for all things interior design or the latest high fashion. This book is for those who think left of field, for those who like to open forbidden doors and then pray that the world they are viewing doesn’t exist.

The space created by the artist behind The Dualism Book conjures up a place that is frightening, fascinating, disturbing and beautiful. To some it will have echoing influencers from both Robert Mapplethorpe and Terry Richardson, photographers who also push the boundaries of art.

The Artist behind The Dualism, has taken the title of the book to create his vision, of unravelling sheets of love and hate, stripped of empathy, but never quite indifferent – wandering through Caravaggio’s shadows and the crisp suburbs of hell.” 

Indeed, many of the darker works (both literally and figuratively) have echos of Caravaggio where the viewer is dragged into the nightmare and just like Caravaggio’s work they find themselves deeply disturbed, but unable to look away. This is particularly true for the artist’s work where muted colours and scratched surfaces give a feel that the viewer has stumbled across a forgotten place of purgatory.

Just as Mapplethorpe and Richards toyed with various taboo subjects, the artist behind Dualism also devlves into the dark where love and anger, fun and fear, the grotesque and beautiful are blended into each other, creating the strange hybrid of Vol 1.

With each turn of the page the viewer is taken into a different landscape, where gender is questioned,  nightmares explored and even when the reader comes across the classically beautiful portraits, they only help to emphasise the darkness that seeps from the artist’s imagination within his other work. 

With Volume one drumming up much interest worldwide, the artist is constantly on the lookout for subjects to become part of the next collection. Plans are also afoot for a gallery space to show a variety of work by the Artist from Dualism, along with other creative artists who share the same vision. For more information on the philosophy behind the work and how to get your own copy of the book please visit, thedualism.com.

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Fiction & Books, Gothic horror, Leisure Leave a comment