More to Me Than HIV 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 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

nursery Crimes

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.

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”.

Posted on by admin in All Fall Down, Coalville, Gothic horror, Ipswich Leave a comment

Writing 101: (Day 1) Building a Blogging Habit

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

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

Day one, write for 20 mins about anything.

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

Here’s my 20 min scribbling. 

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

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

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


Janice with her chosen weapon of choice: laced whiskey.

Janice by Julie Peterson.

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

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

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

Posted on by admin in Brighton 19, writing 101 Leave a comment