Monday, 9 March 2015

Symptoms Like I Am Getting Cancer...




I write this in the hope someone with the medical knowledge can tell me how this is happening and hopefully how do i stop it proceeding to the previously suffered conclusion…

Last year i was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma of the parotid glands. My face swelled up either side and mumps was diagnosed which i got over in a week but the swelling remained.
I had a Lymhpnode removed at Bradford Royal Infirmary, tested, diagnosed and successfully treated with a course of Radiotherapy at St James in Leeds.

Freaking me out right now is all the symptoms that i suffered in the run up to the diagnoses have begun again. It really is groundhogs day. The only differences so far are that my acid stomach is being medicated and i don’t have mumps yet.

The Symptoms;

-Itching

-The water tastes like it has lemon juice in it. Yorkshire Water have tested it and found the water at first to have Cryptospiridium in it but say that it is now clear. Bottled water is ok.

-When i drink the tap water the skin around my mouth dries out,turns white and flaky.Even if i just brush my teeth in it i get a sore throat.I choke if i drink it.

-Numbness up my spine between my shoulder and down my limbs

-Headaches

-Sick in my stomach feeling like i have eaten something bad

-tiredness and exhaustion


Future Symptoms I am Expecting;

-A viral infection[ mumps again?}

-A lump somewhere in a lymph node

-A horrible body odour like ammonia but sweatier

-Permanent exhaustion,loss of appetite,getting no energy from food.

-Severe stabbing pain in my joints.Pain in my joints moving and walking

The Inexplicable;

-Every item of food and drink i buy is perfectly ok in taste and smell On The Day I Buy It. The day after it becomes lemony in flavour, particularly the milk.

-My mother Molly whom i live with can taste nothing in anything. Although she has a long standing prescription for the same antacid i was recently prescribed.

-I was once informed the security services would be doing this to me for reasons never fully explained or believed.I have never committed a criminal act or been interested in such things. Not even religious. Surely this would cost money? And achieve what end?

Friday, 11 April 2014

BlackFoot Castle;Mircea`s Story

Mircea stood quivering on top of the high stool too afraid to move.The riotous villagers surrounded her. So silent now she hoped if she closed her eyes tight enough she might imagine them not there. Someone rustled, moving and cursing under there breath. Mircea almost toppled over, fixing rigidly in terror as she realised to fall would only mean to be nearer the flames they would soon light.

It was a dark day, not just for Mircea. It had looked like heavy rain all day, an almost night time sky hung low and stifling in the muggy air. The stench of death seeped into everything, the closeness of it driving people insane.

Mircea had only tried to help but there had been too much death,grief and pain in the village. When panic broke out whatever was left of reason vanished and people sought  a target. So there she was, tied to the stake. Her curly black hair fell down her shoulders messily as if pointing to her enviably curvaceous shape, which did nothing for her cause amongst the women.

Mircea was not found guilty of anything. She was never accused. No one even need to know the envy that had started it. Fear held them all in it`s grasp. When the single white bolt of blistering hot lightning struck the ground behind her they stood mutely.

Rain poured over the village like the sky was tipping an ocean on them. Mircea sought to see through the water saw, each time the crowd was smaller and smaller. Struggling even to breath in the downpour she sobbed just once finally daring to look down. She was perched over fast flooding stream.

She heard a wooden door bang to her left. Still blinking away the rain she saw an elderly lady shuffle out of her small house carrying a stool .Putting the stool down beside her she climbed up and untied Mircea, shouting

"Its`God`s will"

At the remaining villagers. She led Mircea inside her small home,gave her food and told her urgently to "Go."

"Go and keep going and don`t stop till you get to a place where the people have got more sense."

Mircea fled. Hearing heavy hammering on the door of the house as she ran.

They say all the doctors she has seen agree it must have been the smoke from the flames that caused her illness but she cannot remember smelling any smoke or being burnt by any flames.

If there was any one moment when i knew i would like Vladimir Edessimun it was  when i heard Mircea`s story.On his was back from England he found her. Having noticed a group of noisy children throwing things into bushes and poking it with sticks Vladimir went to look, suspecting an injured animal. He found Mircea. The villagers there thought her a simpleton and were trying to move her on. From the moment she spoke  he knew it was not the case. She was someone who had been running so long she had become lost to herself.It did not occur to Vladimir that he couldn`t save her.So he did.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Short Horror Story Keep Walking By Part Two


  I try not to think back to what I saw the next morning but when I do I remember it as a bad dream. One of those waking nightmare type things or food poisoning. I certainly do not like to think it came out of my imagination.

It was such a bright warm day I woke up to. The sun shone on all the pretty peach and pink colours I had painted my room with a white light that ought to have been stark were the colours not all so sweet.

It happened so fast it was like my mind split in half instantly to deal with it.A sense of dread fear intruded upon me, even whilst my head was still on the pillow my whole body was overcome with the cold clamminess of it.I knew there was something horrific in the room. Something dreadfull.I found myself hoping it was a huge black spider on my wall next to the door at the end of my bed and I do not like spiders.

I sensed  where it was and was trying to force myself, still half awake to look.I had to look or I could be frozen with the fear of it.I felt it was something I couldn’t deal with.Something I had no hope of dealing with and it was going to paralyze me with terror .It was with a sense of hopelessness that I peered slowly over the edge of the duvet.It took my breath just to look at it and it appeared to be peering directly back. Only it`s eyes and the top of its head visible at the end of my bed.

It was a vision so horrible as to be almost unbelievable. All I recall thinking was “Why?” “Why me?Why here?”It was simply the most unnatural thing I hope I never really saw and yet I knew I was not imagining it,just because I could not have.

It was only a vaguely human shaped thing.The spiked hair and wrong eyes vaguely Craig.My brain was scrambling to explain the inexplicable. It was blacker that soot in a way that defied nature.It was a blackness that was more like a void than a colour.The light could not hit,it seemed  to absorb light.The eyes were bigger than human eyes are able to be,there seemed to be constant movement in the deep blackness within them.

Anything natural and human as in the previous Craig had utterly gone.What was left was this unspeakably gruesome thing that made no sound and had no recognisable expression.It appeared to be moving a little as if in a breeze of it`s own but with the only window right next to my head I knew there was no breeze and the door behind it was shut.I hid my head under the duvet repeatedly but it was still there when I looked again.It was too horrible a thing to know of it`s existence let alone acknowledge it`s appearance at the end of my bed.I kept on hiding and looking and eventually I looked and it had gone.


        The odd things that began happening around the house after that just seemed amusing at first.I would be in the Kitchen and putting  the lid on the sugar jar only to find it taken off again a second later.Lids,forks knives kept being moved.Milk I had put in the fridge moved to a cupboard.Things from cupboards moved to the fridge.It was just like we had an invisible idiot living with us and it didn`t especially bother us. My mother would shout “What on earth are you up to!” at me but I would be shouting it back just as often.

     At school Tracey and I ignored each other cautiously.I didn`t want to be the first one to say anything and I suppose neither did she.I had no evidence to accuse her with and it all seemed too silly at that point.
The annoyance grew however,moving all over the house until one day I came home from school to find my mother sat on the sofa,she was shaken up.She refused to explain what had happened but it was obvious something had. After that I could hear her from my bedroom shouting at something angrily ”Get lost!” was the most commonly heard part.When I went to find out who it was, there would be no one there. After a few days I noticed she was shouting at something all over the place but it turned to laughter on my approach.Ginger George caught some of the blame but he was  asleep so often he escaped most of it. George himself had developed a wary swagger when approaching the kitchen.

The nonsense of it all gradually became more destructive. The invisible idiot not remotely amusing. Missing things were broken when you found them. A lightbulb exploded over my head.I had bare feet and could not move until I realised there was a way of sliding myself onto the bannister and along it away from all the broken glass. The house was darker than it had ever been and it was not far enough into winter for that. Even on bright days the sun did not seem to come in through the windows as it used to. I found myself shouting at the dark shadows, telling whole empty rooms to “Go Away.” And laughing at my own insanity.


My Mother brought in a vicar who said blessings and prayers over things. I sat on the floor of my room listening to the murmured sounds below. A moment or two after the vicar had departed a barely noticeable tremor began to run through the house. It was just a silent vibration and I thought it would pass. It did not. It grew and grew, gradually and quite slowly till it seemed like a train was passing by the front door and the nearest railways lines at least three miles away

“What are you doing!”

My mother  shreiked at me

“It`s the house!”

I shrieked back .Ginger George looking at me as if I was mad

“It`s an earthquake !” I yelled.I don`t think either of us believed it.

As the tremors slowly began to subside for a brief moment they did a different thing. They juddered instead and the whole house throbbed with it. It felt for just a moment the house had laughed. A dark disturbing cynical laugh. It all faded silently away. A deep unnerving uneasiness refused to leave after that. It was as if the thing that was watching,hounding and pestering us had found a voice and all it had chosen to do with it was laugh.

My mother  did not believe it was Tracey “She hasn`t got the brains”She argued. She had been questioning all the neighbours for awhile and it was at this point that someone from across the street sent over “the family priest.” I came home from school to find him exiting the front door as I was about to enter.

I had really been hoping that it would all turn out to be some dumb trick Tracey was pulling and that maybe the neighbours were in on it. As much as I preferred to live in denial and not know what was happening even I had realised someone would have to be living very nearby to do the things they were doing. I wanted it all to turn out to be smoke and mirrors. For Tracey to have found someone who was very clever but with too much time on there hands and no common sense…
Facing this priest really pulled all my thoughts apart and I couldn`t look away…

As I stood in  the drive  listening whilst my mother thanked the Priest for coming I found myself transfixed to the light brown painted fence at the back garden end of the driveway. A shadow fell across the right side of it nearest to the house. It was as tall as the fence at around five foot. The unnaturalness of it grew in my mind very slowly and entirely unwillingly from the first suspicion that there was nothing at all casting the shadow and yet there was the shadow. As I continued to watch, it moved along and behind the fence with no natural light hitting or directing it. It moved behind the fence as slowly and deliberately as it had moved along the front.

The smiley priest laughed confidently informing her “It can`t get back in the house” as he slid still smiling back into his car…

When I looked back at the fence the shadow was still encircling the fence but had sped up its strange manouvers and was beginning to spin angrily around and around as if trying to consume it.
The thought occurred to me that Traceys hairbrained illusionist might be a genius but he was dangerously out of his mind too.He was going to menace the garden as he had menaced the house. Maybe Tracey was possessed now too or just crazy.To do all this and for what?! All the accusations I wanted to throw at her were drowned out that night.

A violent storm shook the whole house all night long without let up. Countless times the rain roared down on us with outrageous loudness shaking the house with the force of it`s blows. Trees that were not there whipped and tapped windows and walls all night long. Thunder hammered,lightning shook us. The manic wind  seemed set on a furious revenge that it could not find a way inside. Windows and doors all rattled, the house was shaken as if a box. It was all a bit biblical.

Answering the phone my mother found  the concerned neighbours from across the street on the crackly line. Our house looked like it had disappeared they said

“What do you mean ?”She asked;

“ what is it doing?”

 Adding “Your house looks under sea”

She attempted to lighten the moment shouting up the stairs to me

“Are we still here?”

“Yes”I replied.



     It was with a heavy sense of relief that I stepped out onto the dry grey driveway the next morning, not least just to find it still there.I decide to tell Tracey whatever she wanted to know.Not finding her I left a message with one of her friends.Whatever was going on had to end. I couldn`t stand to have any part in the darkness of it any longer. The unnaturalness of it repelled me.

    Tracey turned up at my house later that evening.Sat on the carpet she explained Ann Marie`s absence “She`s not having it anymore.” I couldn`t blame her.Before I could say anything Tracey sprang into a defence of Craig`s mother;

“She just wanted you to tell her everything”

“How are the family ?”I asked suprising myself by giving them grounds in reality.Tracey shrugged

“They are all acting strange anyway…grief maybe.The father not talking to the mother. The other three children think that their mother has lost the plot...”

Tracey sounded a bit bored with it all

“She just wanted to know what happened to her son though.That much always made sense didn`t it?”

“She knew what happened. Wasn`t it her that told us?The car crash?” I argued

“She knows that wasn`t all though Karen..what you saw...

I cut her off  “What I saw was not anyone Tracey. Was not anyone human anyway”

I tested her.

“What you saw was him and wasn`t him.His mother said he never smiled like that unless he was scared. His sister said he never smiled like that unless he was scared or about to screw somebody over. They faught over that. He was never scruffy, dirty and would not have known the first thing about plastering. They faught about that. His jacket would never have been battered. He never wore that jacket.They faught about that.They thought he was trying to return,some thought he should and some that he should not…

“Fight?” I asked.Tracey nodded,rolling her eyes

“Well if he was a bit of a trouble causer in life he certainly did not let up in death.”

I was going all in.Getting it over with one way or another. Tracey looked at me expectantly.I continued;

“The first time I saw him his eyes looked wrong,too dark to be real somehow.With an extra coloured ring around the brown.Tracey didn`t understand and gave me her `your`e talking greek` look

“Just a bit demonic”

“Oh god” She groaned breathlessly in reply

“I saw him staring at me as I was on the bus home. His eyes looked even worse. Dead. I thought it was a wind up. Please tell me it was a wind up...

Tracey was shaking her head slowly.I had been hoping to see a smile  a sneer a snicker.There was nothing.She looked down still shaking her head,surprised and trying to take it all in.It appeared she might be finally sensing the danger rather than just the opportunity for drama

“You should have told me!” Tracey spat out.Her mood spinning on a hairpin into anger

“I got bored with all that wind up stuff years ago and have not done it since.Oh God !You should have told me” She repeated shaking her head

“It`s been more of an evil entity than anyone`s son Tracey” I admonished

“It`s still flitting around out there in the garden.Waiting to scare the crap out of someone and the driveway is not safe either”

Tracey looked surprised. Asking if it was dangerous

“YES!” I almost shouted

A glimmer of what I hoped was guilt passed across her  face .But I didn’t care anymore.I would never forgive her for the way she so blindly dragged me into it all.I didn`t think I would or could really believe she had not been up to something. I think she meant it when she said she had given up pranking people but I often wonder if it was then that she gave it up.

  Several days later i had arrived home from school and was still in the hallway when i saw a young looking middle aged blonde lady in the centre of our dining room. I could hear my mother talking to her from the kitchen, saying how nice it was to have met her in a tone that suggested it was not at all nice, it was unnerving to have met such a crazy person.
There was nothing at all right looking about the blonde lady. I stood and watched her, knowing somehow that she couldn`t see me, although i was only around four feet from her and had pushed the door halfway open to look in. She had not looked at me at all,she stood staring forwards. It was a scene of overwhelming oddness and i had enough with oddness. Something snapped in me and i fled up to my room.

   The thing seemed to be over. Seemed really to have gone. Ginger George always took a swipe at the fence whenever he passed it. Otherwise the house became peaceful,lighter,calm.
My mother said the next day that the odd lady had been Craig`s mother but i did not want to hear anymore about it at that time and when i finally felt like asking she denied there had ever been any odd blonde lady.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Valeria Short Horror Story Shortened

 I`ve posted this story before but this is the shortest version of it at 5,151 words,left the bunnies out and assorted bits and bobs.Now can`t decide whether or not i prefer it shorter...



It was a toy box styled school but built by someone who only really knew how to build in Victorian gothic.An odd out of place building, not fit for purpose with it's scary staircase, dark interiors and playground that could turn to sheet ice in winter.

Surrounded by a high wall and built out of red and black brick there were two square buildings at either end full of classrooms, it was a spanner shaped building.

It Consisted of two school buildings on two levels with a similar styled primary school on the upper level, this school held the smallest children and the kitchens. The high narrow stone staircase that was the only way to the upper level felt like a high wire act, often reducing small children to tears. The black painted safety railing was no comfort at all, alarming just to get near it as you could see straight through,to the sheer drop beneath.

My friendship with Clemency was based on her easy laughter and my agreeing to go everywhere with her.Clem had a fear  of the school bathroom, which I found it hard to disagree with although I chose to ignore it myself. There was nothing to like about the bathroom. A dark, grey damp concrete box with all the Victorian built green painted wooden cubicle doors looking so out of place now as to be shed like. Teachers insisted it had been tiled,it was hard to believe and no one could get tiles to stick anymore.

 The school`s high tall windows made sense at least. By the time you were almost tall enough to see out you were big enough to be leaving.A consequence of the high windows was the unnecessary darkness. The dark green painted hallways were the darkest, the small of fresh paint ever present. The flickering lights ought to have added a creepy air but no one noticed the bad electrics after a while.

The dark wooden central hall with its ever-present smell of boiled cabbage had the largest windows, yet that too was dark.


Life seemed to be moving very fast age eight. I was always
 trying to take everything in but much of it didn`t mean anything to me yet anyway,i was so used to the unfamiliar. Life itself is unfamiliar.All the things you don`t know are coming up at you fast. Adults forget that. Only other children your own age know how easily it is to drop the ball. They understand but they are no less forgiving. No one gets a pass on dropping the ball

 "Do you all want to be equally stupid or equally clever?
A teacher might ask and add;

"It`s a hard world out there"

They remind you;
"You won`t have any time to catch up later on if you fall behind now"

Added to this the adult world does not always like to let you entirely trust your own thoughts;
Why does it always smell like cabbage?"
 we often asked and

"It`s your imagination "
was the reply.

 We could be our own worst enemies when it came to imagination. When you get too used to not knowing things the temptation is always there to fill it in, to make it up.

Imagination is what myself and Clemency most held out against when we first met new girl Valeria. Clem`s reaction to her was so strong  I worried about her imagination taking over.

"Sam!"
She shouted in hushed tones

"Sam, whose she?"

 I did not catch the urgency of it till I saw her myself. Valeria was odd looking. Much odder than anyone me or Clem knew.

I tried to ignore the fuss her presence had created and carried on gluing tissue paper petals to the gaudy flower in front of me. We always seemed to be gluing things. I made a joke about it but Clemency was not listening. There was something she could not get her head around about the new girl. She was not the only one.

I thought it would soon come to light why Valeria seemed different. Coming in during term time as she had  it was  likely I thought, someone would come along to introduce her and explain. “Best just wait" I said. So we kept waiting .In the meantime Valeria accounted for herself well enough chatting, laughing and making friends with everyone around her table.

Everyday Clemency and myself and  our entire table came up with explanations of how she was just different and difference is what you are supposed to expect from those who are different "There is something to like about everyone, even if it`s just one thing" Clemency`s mother had said and we all agreed.

"We`ll find it" I said to Clem.We knew we had to. Sooner or later our class would be mixed up as it often was for some activity involving groups or pairs or both "To get you away from the people you are comfortable with to make sure you can mix and get along with everybody “
My mother explained.

Valeria did not help. She had sensed our concerns and took it for unfriendliness and hostility she sat at the far side of her table staring hatefully at anybody on our table who caught her eye. Clemency seemed to catch the worst of these and was sometimes quite shaken up.

There was no point appealing to MS Halisted, the most disinterested teacher I ever remember. Everybody loved her of course. You could get away with so much so long as you were never too loud. Having learnt we  liked crafts it was all we really did anymore. MS Halisted sat behind her desk pretending to be busy, she was just daydreaming in action.

I tried to speak to Valeria at first. I approached her in my friendliest most convivial manner and was simply brushed past and ignored. Clemency was incensed. MS Halisted could never even find Valeria`s name when calling out  the register and after several weeks had still not added it.
Both Valeria`s set of friends and Clem`s and mine were soon edgy with each other. Uneasy and unsure how to end this thing that had not`t really started yet.

Valeria became quite comfortable at her table.Sometimes when we forgot ourselves she forget herself too. The more comfortable she became with the sound of her own voice and the odder and stranger that voice became.
Words she knew how to pronounce ordinarily became wrong. Mrs. Halisted seemed most taken with Valeria in these moments. It was always obvious she favoured her.

We wondered what they were not telling us about Valeria, was it for our own benefit and how? Was it a condition? Often Valeria`s only real struggle seemed to be within herself. Sometimes she wanted to scare us, her black looks lingered too long, then at other times her better side won out.
"But she shouldn`t be able to scare us so much..."Argued Clem
"But...But..."

When the inevitable group activities occurred it felt like a dark dreary day of doom had fallen on me. Separated from Clem who had been kicked in the back of the leg on several occasions. Although she never saw Valeria, she knew it was her. Clemency was ready for a showdown but I was still torn between thinking Valeria something horrible and hoping it was our imagination.

Everyone was tense. Group activities could really bring out the worst in people, they seemed to be meant to induce high drama although I did not know it back then I just knew to expect tears,tantrums,unfairness and drama.  I found myself being sat down next to Valeria. Well she will have to speak to me now I thought. Which of course she didn't.

 We have to get on! We have to mix! I told myself and took it upon myself to make it happen. It did not happen until Valeria was absolutely assured of my politeness and civility and when she was her sense of frustration only grew and grew. She knew I still did not like her and wanted to call me out as a liar for being so polite.

Valeria mocked something slight Clemency had done wrong in her group at the far side side of the classroom.Clem looked enraged but kept silent on my behalf.
I was never going to stoop so low as to fall for a bit of goading but Valeria seemed as fixated on impressing her followers with my humiliation as they were on seeing her succeed.

I still hoped to find that one thing I could like about her.

As we took a tally of the eye colour of everyone sat around our table I noticed none of Valeria`s group had been split up. I had one friend sat to the left of me, a girl called Paula

"Her eyes are black"
I said to be noted down on the tally

"Your eyes are black too"
I said to Valeria as cheerfully as I could. Valeria fixed me a delighted look;

 "People`s eyes are either blue, green or brown"
 she said and waited for everyone to laugh at me but no one was yet sure who was right. Valeria stared at them expectantly. I looked over to Paula and she rolled her eyes. Valeria was still trying to sound in the right so I cut her off saying
"Her eyes are as black a dark brown as human eyes are supposed to get"

     The tension cracked like a body following a foot through a frozen lake. Valeria refused to look at or acknowledge me but she also did not know where to take the argument. She appeared to be appealing to her followers. Someone shouted

"She is human!"

 It was a humiliating defence. I heard her sigh and her friends then all jumped up with the two arms to legs, eyes and nose argument. Valeria looked sad. I realised then that I liked her for her sadness. Everyone wanting her to be something on her behalf.It might have opened up a new way forward but at that point MS Halisted`s presence made a rare appearance and was felt. It was home time.

We packed up in silence. Clemency`s table had been packed up and ready to leave the whole time attention was on us.Clemency flew from the room with the parting shot

"You`re dead and you better get used to it!"

In the awkward silence that followed Valeria made a quiet comment to her friends about it not being a very nice thing to say but the mass crush was on to get out.There was much shouting about Valeria as everyone piled down the long hallway toward the doors;
"Whose she?"

" What`s it all about?"
and the occasional

"WHO!?"
There was a lot of explaining in general and defence specifically from her friends. As we jostled and shoved closer to the doors someone yelled

"What about them she friends with?"
 amidst all the confusion I knew what this meant and shouted back

"They think she`s foreign!"
 To some laughter. Her friends tried to get in a defence but it was too late the doors swung open and the bright winter light freed us.
We peeled out and the tone changed, arguments past and some awful thought almost lost just caught me.Every voice but hers. Could it be she was not leaving? No one was there waiting for her?

I did not really want to believe it.I imagined she trotted off smugly with a mother or brother later.I wanted to turn up tomorrow and have everything explained.
My feelings about Valeria were forever mixed after that, coloured by sadness. Though I still found i never wanted to be alone with her.

The most immediate reaction to our fall out was from the boys whose en mass response was to goad us incessantly into more arguing. It amused Valeria and me brief that the response to that from us both was identical silent stonewalling. It didn`t amuse Clem one bit.

MS Halisted was watching Clem,myself and everyone on our table closely so we tried to use this sudden alertness to find out more about Valeria. It didn`t work. She really was not even on the register.

The next day however MS Halisted expressed great surprise at not finding Valeria on the register and made a great noise of going off to find out why. It seemed like a set up for a showdown that was not coming. It didn`t. When she returned she seemed in very good humour,apologising to Valeria over some or other Mix up. She was of course on  the register, adding slightly accusingly

"Why wouldn`t she be?"
 It struck me through with horror.
On the way up to dinner that day I felt someone kick  me in the back of the shin but I didn`t say anything. For all her cleverness there was something not very new about Valeria. Clemency spotted me rolling my eyes ,she came over and commiserated

"You can`t get into a fight with a ghost"

 We looked around for Valeria knowing she was not there. That was the first time we said what we thought in seriousness. We didn`t really know if we believed it ourselves though.If we were wrong we would be wrong together at least, failure of too much imagination or not.

 After our moment of matching silence at the boys I had noticed Valeria seemed to be looking at me occasionally with less intense furious hatred and it occurred to me  she might even be going to talk to me,it was a scary thought I tried to dismiss. Not least due to the sheer height a girl like Valeria would presume to be talking down to you from.

It was just when Clem`s fear of the dungeon like bathroom had begun to rub off on me and I decide I didn`t want to go alone that Valeria decided to confront me in it.A face to face with Valeria was always going to be a high noon moment. She simply stood there in front of a grey concrete wall waiting for me to go and stand in front of her. The first thing she said

"Why do you hate me?"

"I don`t"
 I began not thinking she would believe me.The fact that I only said it once appeared to confirm to her that it was a lie. She didn`t want to believe it.Thinking that a lost cause I went on

"I don`t think you like me or Clem.You don`t even like your`e own,your friends."

She shot me a venomous look
"They aren`t my own!"

They appeared to like her quite a lot but I didn`t know what to say. Didn`t really want to say anything. I just wanted to get away but she was still talking

'You are all so stupid. I picked the best at being stupid at least'

I thought I saw someone behind her then. Valeria was studying me for a reaction. I was waiting for her to explain what was going on. The fear and the cold froze me and what actually happened then is all a bit of a blur due to the passage of time the confusion of the moment and the blow to the back of my head. I have thought most often that I received the blow on the way out but given what I think I saw I`m not so sure. Maybe Valeria knew more about the power of suggestion than she ever let on. The other children behind her appeared to be fading in and out of view. Seven or eight of them. It was dimly lit single bare bulb bathroom but the bulb was never known to move at least. The children seemed to be fading in and out of view as if under a bulb swinging back and forth. Someone was beside me too.

After Valeria had laughed awhile at my paralysed state she became sad and sorry for herself, I managed to unfreeze enough to make a dash for the door and that was when  something hit the back of my head

"you are so stupid"

 I just heard her say quietly, sadly.

I was so dizzy and light headed leaving the bathroom i knew i was fainting. The whole world kept sliding sideways and shutting down. I only made it back to my classroom with the help of Paula who saw me as she was coming down from the cloakroom. She held me up and steered me.I could feel and hear but not see for a while.

Back in my chair my vision returning i saw the children from the bathroom,clearer and more solid looking now,were amongst us. Everything was extremely wrong. I shut my eyes and hoped not to see them again. It was vision of hell.

The children peeled off their own flesh, burnt, bloody and black, they threw it at each other. A child walked backwards unwinding the intestines of another. Others were wrapping themselves in intestine like christmas tinsel. I buried my head in my arm it was too much to look at. It felt like the end of the world.

Amongst my own classmates there was at first blissful ignorance.Clem couldn`t see. Not at first and then eventually everybody could.

Across the room from me a blonde boy with a neat bowl haircut was one of the only all right looking of the other children. He was stood quietly so I looked at him instead of everything else until he came into sharper focus. The blackened burnt looking girl stood next to him was blowing gently in his ear with a straw clasped in blackened fingers. Out of the blonde boys other ear oozed dark blood and brain. The blonde boy widened his eyes in mock horror at the boy in front of him, only meaning to complain she was not blowing hard enough. The laughing boy was shaking and shrieking with laughter and at blonde boys insistence took over the straw. Steadying his laughter for one huge blow laughing boy then caused an explosion of blood and brain matter to burst all over the wall. Blonde boys eyeball popped out of its socket onto his cheek. Laughing boy and the girl double up in hysterics .It was now the most gruesome scene in the room .There was no escape.

I don`t remember the rest of that day. Someone shrieking at me to tell them what was going on, a teacher… I couldn`t speak. The school was closed for a week after that day. Due to an outbreak of a nasty bug according to my mother. She said the nightmares were a symptom and everybody was having them. She insisted I had it because I had the nightmares but after all week convincing her I was fine she I finally wore her down to
"well you had a bit of it."
 I couldn`t get hold of Clemency, her parents said she was not`t well enough to come to the phone which seemed impossible. My mother was so calm and laid back about it, sure it would soon clear up.

The first day back was unusually terrifying for different reasons. My mother walked me up to the school doors as usual and then to my horror kept on walking with me through the doors and up the hallway!
That dark winters day the school was a shock for my mother. The hallways looked like midnight. My mother commented she didn`t know how we put up with it to my bewilderment. The lights began flickering as always and the end of the corridor disappeared in black gloom. she fussed nervously with a piece of  paper

”This should be her”

 It was Mrs. Goldgren the head mistress`s office. She looked stricken to meet us but said the opposite. I wondered if it wasn`t just being found at all realising now Mrs. Goldgren made a point of telling everybody in the upper school her office was in the lower and everybody in the lower that it was in the upper.

My mother sat down on a dark grey plastic office chair in front of Mrs. Goldgren`s desk me beside her. Mrs. Goldgren proceeded to rattle off a long apology that sounded well-rehearsed.She looked in a position she didn`t want to be in, alarmed to see us.I noticed Valeria sat crossed legged the other side of my mother watching Mrs. Goldgren  carefully. In the dark gloom under a small high window a group of Valeria`s friends milled about.Seemingly in a light of their own turning slowly off and on.Mrs Goldgren and my mother saw nothing.

"Mrs. Halisted had been removed from her position"
 I suddenly heard

 "Following complaints from parents"

"I should think so"

Replied my mother.I looked over at Valeria wondering if she had any explanation,she turned her face to me, the whole right side of her face was black. The longer I stared at her the more her burnt skin shrank back till her eyeball bulged and her teeth grinned horribly. The face might have been devastatingly gruesome had I not detected the briefest flash of a mischievous smirk across the still ok side of her face. I had to look away.

When I could I looked over at the group under the window to see what they were doing. Their flesh boiled and blistered red like lava and then blackened like charcoal. I stuck my head to my mother`s shoulder, catching a glimpse of disbelieving sneer from Mrs. Goldgren

"Can you see them Samantha?"
She asked me somewhat sarcastically

"What are they doing?"

Mrs.Golgren stiffened herself and sat upright,putting on her friendly face she addressed me in the manner of someone dealing with someone deranged

"we have the plaque up for the lost children now Samantha.We know this is what they wished.Or what you all believed they wished.All the children who caught the bug had the same nightmares you see?Take a look"

She waved an arm in the direction of a bronze plaque on a wall next to a filing cabinet in a humouring a lunatic style
I gasped;

"How many names?"

Mrs Goldgren surprised to hear me speak replied instantly "Eighty six"

She then comforted herself with some more formal apologising on behalf on the school this time to Clemency and myself whom she felt had been particularly affected by the "outbreak" which was somehow connected to the "hysteria" My head buried in my mother`s shoulder she said to her
"You have my sincerest apologies"

"But is it over?"

Asked my mother. I looked up to catch Mrs. Goldgren shrugging in the direction of the plaque and then looking at me as if to indicate I was involved.My mother and i looked at each other questioningly. I Felt sure she was about to mention the bang in the back of the head I had received but the next sound we heard was the sound of the plaque on the wall being dropped to the floor. It very obviously did not fall.The disturbing sound we heard was of it moving through the air at an unnatural speed, thrown to the ground.Swoosh.Clank.

Mrs. Goldgren span round her chair to stare at it mystified she turned again to eye me suspiciously.My mother cutting her off with an accusatory

"Maybe the screws were loose"

 The lights were flickering. The door burst open and a woman stopped herself in her tracks realising she had not knocked

"Yes Heather?"

 asked Mrs. Goldgren

"The stage curtains are all down again."She informed her.

 Heather noticed the plaque on the floor and in a confused state went straight over to it.As she picked it up all the other pictures on the walls made a similarly speedy descent to the ground.Heather looked at me accusingly

"The screws are all missing"

Seeing my mother had just about had enough Mrs. Goldgren stepped in saying

"It was not Samantha Heather"
Mrs Goldgren tried to gather herself  to smooth things over sensing all her time spent apologising was about to be lost. As we looked to her all the things on her desk began to slide slowly forward and onto the floor. No one could ignore that.

"They don`t think it`s enough!"

I squeaked nervously.Thinking it obvious. Heather who had been frozen to the spot suddenly moved again, we all thought she was about to accuse me again but she became distracted by something in the air. There had been something of a mist, dismissed as the steam that you get when you come into a warm room from cold wet weather, but it was not wet out and this mist was becoming blacker, more like smoke. Looking around we saw the walls seemed blacker too. The tension was too much for anyone to stand .I thought we all had the same idea at that point to Get Out Now .Mrs. Goldgren did not, laying out her hands in a sudden display of unearthly calm Mrs. Goldgren stopped us.She told Heather to sit down.

Speaking slowly and quietly it became clear Mrs. Goldgren`s  greater fear was to lose control of her school "
If we make two more plaques one for one entrance and one for the hall, will that be enough"? She was addressing me for some reason. I looked up at my mother for help. Then I saw Valeria was sat on the floor again and looked to her, she shrugged. I was scared I would become too frightened to move and just wanted to get out, I clung to my mother urging her toward the door. Valeria was stood under the window now with the others

"We want to be remembered" They murmured deep in unison. It was terrifying sonorous sound the like of which i had not heard before or since.Everyone else had a reaction too although they appeared not to have actually heard what was said
"They want to be remembered?"

Shouted Mrs. Goldgren trying to remain calm I nodded

"WHAT did they say!?"

But I could not speak.A sound like the rest of the school roof caving in was heard.it was almost a relief just to hear external sound the tension in the room was so thick. Then the thought came to me, the remembered dream that may as well have been what I heard.

The eighty six children were all in the hall when the fire started. Sat together in front of the stage taking a boring lecture on a play that they were to stage, they were disinterested but well behaved. The smoke that first started appearing through the stage curtains was not much at first, it was being held back by all the damp material. They had substances they took for granted that were unknown to them very dangerous.When the fire took hold in the storeroom at the back of the stage it was with a an unnatural ferocity.

The children were told to sit  and wait when the teacher first saw the smoke, she walked away  unawares of the impending disaster. The children were soon overcome by the smoke. Valeria was the last to be overcome.She made it to a window.

Why didn`t you go for the door Valeria!? I wanted to know desperately.I dare not ask.Mrs. Goldgren was still appealing for answers. The room was turning blacker. The crashing sound came again. I couldn`t speak and there was no negotiating with Valeria and i could not have explained that! Heather shot up and was desperately rattling the big brass door handle by the time we were all behind her. She let go only when Mrs. Goldgren attempted  it briefly. Then went back to panicked rattling.Mrs Goldgren reappeared as suddenly has she had disappeared with a fire hydrant which without wasting a second she put straight through the doors glass pane. We were out.

I thought I had better recount as much detail as I possibly could in order to help you better deal with your current situation. I have no idea what will be helpful and what will not so I am just including everything!

After that meeting in Mrs. Goldgren office things did quiet down at the school.The school inside seemed ever darker all over.Blacker. In need of repainting. Clemency made a completely startling about turn. Her parents seemed to have brainwashed her.She would not be budged from the  belief that it had all been her imagination. It was all very odd. Luckily with we were all familiar with odd by then.

We were told repeatedly we had a very nasty infection, a contagious fever, causing terrible nightmares and an out of control imagination. That was the strangest bug I ever heard of let alone caught! I have certainly never heard of anything like it since. Malaria maybe? In West Leeds?

I remember after everything realising we only had few months left before we moved to a bigger modern middle school further down the road.I walked the distance everyday wondering nervously if it was far enough away.
Walking past the weird old primary every day I still sort of remembered it as a scary place but had forgotten why in the intervening years.I must have had a recurrence of it whatever it was because I recall seeing Valeria one last time when I left the middle school for high school.

We stood under the trees that edged the middles school playing fields at the end of the driveway saying goodbyes.

 When almost everyone had gone I felt someone kick me in the back of the shin. I span round ,knowing I would see someone I knew but not who and there she was about three feet beneath me. I knew her instantly . The height difference now shook us both so much we staggered back. Valeria`s face filled with a raging inferno of hatred .She could not even stand to look up at me, she simply turned her rage away and disappeared in fury back to her school. She couldn`t let me forget but facing me was like facing what she had lost all over again. If she had opened the door instead of going to the window she would have survived.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

A Short Horror Story,Keep Walking by,Part One

I was in my early teens at the time that late summer. I remember feeling ten tons lighter for not being in my all girls High School during that holiday. I was roaming around Leeds City Centre still enjoying my freedom. I had just passed a street sign ;”Swinegate” and recalled that school and all its  hateful teachers were fast rearing back into view.
The bright sun had streams of little clouds rushing across as if frantically trying to block tithe effect was dizzying, like driving past a row of trees fast with the sunlight coming through.
Leeds was not that busy a place back then. There were quite a lot of people passing me by as I made my way up New Market Street. I was about to pass the entrance to the Victoria Quarter but I don`t recall anyone in particular and I would certainly have forgot him.

My bus stop was at the lower end of the Headrow,which always struck me as aptly named, it being head of all the rows of streets. A landmarked sized longboat of a road, all the streets full of shops it`s oars. It goes from one side of Leeds to the other. Slowly mind you.

I was a shy but not immature teen. Living with my mother only a mile outside the city centre. I minded my own business and kept my head bowed when anyone passed unless there was some reason to look.

There was in the first instance I saw him more reasons than I wanted to know about to look at him. Something was not right about him I was not in any doubt even though I didn`t immediately spot what it was. His age group alone as a scruffy young man inclined me toward distrust. Yet he didn`t quite disturb me in the loud loutish way that type of ruffian disturbs everyone. Something about his eyes was actually wrong though I smiled and nodded politely at his odd grin i was relieved when he had passed.

“KAAAAAREN!”
“KAAAAAAAAAAAaarRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEENN!”
“KkkkkKKKKAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!”

It was Loud Tracey from school. She was stood outside the entrance to Kirkgate Market being absurdly loud and disregarding of innocent passers by
“KKKAAAAAAAAARRREEEEEEEEEEENNNNN!”
Loud burst of teenage girl shouting moanilly loud. Then angry and short
“KAREN!”
Then drawn out and loud again
“KKKKKKKKKAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEN!”
I did giggle a bit at first. Everyone facing going back to our oppressive School with it`s barely sane teachers would be looking for something to take their mind off it but I didn`t want to  be Loud Tracey`s diversion. I hoped there was another Karen about who would soon answer. I couldn`t look in her direction anyway, without being blinded by the sunlight.
Loud Tracey, frustrated with shrieking rushed across the road with her friend Ann Marie, both still shouting and breathlessly yelling

“There was no one there Karen!”
“KAREN!”Hollered Ann Marie right in my ear
“There was no one there!”
They kept repeating
“You just said Hello to no one Karen “Insisted Tracey
“I never said Hello to anyone “I confirmed
YOU GREETED SOMEONE”
“You know what I mean. No one was there “Ann Marie said
I was a bit confused
“He looked there to me”
“He was obviously there or I wouldn`t have seen him “They shook their heads at me and recovered their breath.
“You didn`t see him, you mean? “I argued to deaf ears
“He was there but you couldn`t see him”
Tracey went looking for back up and tried to get a couple of disinterested looking men stood outside a pub drinking beer in the sun involved. Starting to sense a wind up was underway I began to walk away.
Loud Tracey lept in front of me insisting I describe who I saw. The man I now suspected she was pulling the prank with.
I played along taking a credulous tone to get the thing over with. Describing the man I had seen;
“He was in his late teens probably early twenties. Messy light brown and blonde spiky hair. He had dark ringed brown eyes. Toothy smile.Scruffy.Washed out pale blue t-shirt,battered light brown or tan leather jacket. Light blue or grey trousers. He was covered in some kind of white ish dust or powder. Maybe he was  a plasterer. His workmanlike boots were the sort that are usually black but his looked light grey I think”
Tracey listened carefully considered this and announced
“I don`t know him”
Ann Marie nodded her head ,then shook it in agreement. Tracey disappeared back into the pub.Ann Marie followed me as I made off for my bus stop again,asking
“are you sure you saw him?”
“What are you winding me up for?” I didn‘t  really have to ask it was just something to do.
As I reached the corner onto the Headrow Tracey reappeared
“It‘s CRAIG!”She announced.Suprised at her own triumph
“That’s exactly what he wore and this is where he drank.It`s` him. They knew him”She took a breath;
“He`s dead.Died a few weeks back in a stock car racing accident. He wasn`t a plasterer  he was an economics student at University. They said if his mother believes you saw him she will want to speak to you Karen.”
Tracey said my name with admonishing seriousness. It was weird  set up for a fall
“He didn’t look dead to me so it can`t have been him” I argued. I would do almost anything to avoid thinking about school but this didn`t look like fun.
“THERE WAS NO ONE THERE!”
Screamed Ann Marie at me in frustration.
“THERE WAS !My BUS is due!” I fled. Leaving them both shouting “THERE WASN`T! “ at my back

Sat upstairs alone at the front of the bus was the best seat for some of my favourite sites of Leeds. I was as relieved to be going home as I was happy at the sunny sights before me.As the bus lumbered slowly up the Headrow there would be rows and rows of streets full of busy shoppers to watch. I loved people watching and to be sailing above it all in full view was never dull.
No sooner had we set off than the bus stalled at a crossing, a welcome pause between New Market Street on the left and Vicar Lane on the right. My attention was drawn into a crowd stood in front of an orange and black signposted newsagents, as people waited to cross the road a sensation of unease began to overcome me.I felt  a cold dread even before I saw him. He was stood in the centre of the crowd. Not just still ,somehow immobile. Looking as real as anybody in a 3d sense but neither light nor wind seemed to be hitting him. His eyes were so wrong now I could barely look at them and he stared right at me unmovingly fixed on me.The blackness of his eyes was a different kind of black,a flat empty void of no feeling .The pupils and irises were much larger than was possible and there was no sign of light or life in them. If he had blinked  it might not have been so horrifying but nothing about him moved at all he was not even perceptibly breathing.
I was so fixed in a moment of fear I did not notice the people around him moving away. When I did I took that moment to snap my head in the other direction,swearing at myself
“Oh my god.I mustn’t fall for this crap!”
I looked searchingly up Vicar Lane to see if I could spot where Tracey and AnnMarie were hiding.I would have laughed out loud with the relief if I had seen Tracey and Ann Marie bent double with hysterics.I didn`t see them.
Looking away the realisation of just how unnatural and unpleasant a s sight he was sank deeper and deeper within me.I found I could no longer look left.I felt physically frozen. The thought he might still not have moved threatened to fill me up with a horrifying terror
Where on earth did she find him!?And WHY? I asked myself.it was an awful nightmare of a joke I thought to myself bitterly.
The bus eventually lurched forward. I was nervous to look anywhere. The further away from where he had been the more anxious I was not to see him again. I thought I saw what may have been  him several times from the side in the crowd and from the back but I felt happier passing it off as temporary insanity and looked away immediately so as not to confirm anything. He couldn`t run that fast could he? I asked myself ,as the bus rolled pass the Town Hall suspecting he probably could. Ann Marie and Tracey wouldn`t want to though so there was no point I reassured myself.

High School was an ever increasingly grotty and dilapidated oppressive 1950s building with bright classrooms and dark warrens of corridors. It was painted a grim shade of green inside and out. The teachers were a bizarre vindictively inclined set of characters whose behaviour never veered toward normal or even  explicable. I tried to pass the incident off as one of Loud Tracey’s wind up’s. Her friends insisted it wasn`t but that was to be expected.
Tracey had a long history of trouble making, a vast and wide variety of trouble  over many years, which she was forever just running into.
Ann Marie I remembered from primary school as a sort of limpet of a girl who trouble never stuck to. Her ever present thin blonde bob was now made fashionable by one single accessory at a time. It felt like she was finding life so easy she had decided to seek out difficulty just to see what it was like in teaming up with Tracey.
Tracey`s wild barely controlled brown hair was as often as wilfully out of place as her. She had always been as tuned up as Ann Marie was tuned down. Tracey could look animated and loud just sat thinking. She had a cruel streak too.

If Tracey was trying out some new line in annoying pranks then Ann Marie, who could look, like butter wouldn`t melt when she wanted to was the perfect ally.

The teachers at my High School For some reason never divulged really had it in for me.I hoped that the story Craig had been at University might bring out the snob in them and keep them out of it.If they were going to accuse anyone of insanity it would be me, regardless of what the story was. I tried to head off any future grief by accusing anyone talking to me about it of going crazy
I knew I had to make the thing go away as fast as possible so I just dismissed it.Began to treat it as if it was already over.Tracey and Ann Marie were persistent.Tracey insisting I was going to become a medium.I laughed and said not if I could help it
“Who wanted to see his like again?”
I asked,hoping this might upset his ego enough to get her to back off.Ann Marie was telling anyone who would listen;”Karen saw someone no one else could see. She described Craig exactly”
Almost inevitably someone turned out to have known Craig. I was shrieked at from a classroom further down the hallway one day that Craig was a great bloke and I was a bitch if I didn`t help his mother. I hung anxiously in the doorway of my classroom listening intently for laughter, Tracey or Ann Marie`s voice ,any evidence of the hoax but it was inconclusive.

I didn`t really need this drama at all. A few years earlier my father had died suddenly. The little house my mother and I shared though light and sunny still had an emptiness to it.

“BUT WAS HE HAPPY KAREN!?”
Loud Tracey kept asking me

“HOW DID HE SEEM IN HIMSELF?”
Always a frustrating question

“SHE WANTS TO KNOW KAREN.SHE.IS.HIS.MOTHER!”
I was in a rush packing up pens and books from the lesson just ended. Trying not to be late for the next one
A frustrated Tracey had cornered me exactly at that moment to see if I would crack under pressure. I might get something not much short of a death sentence passed on me by the teachers for lateness. It was her prank I felt she knew very well what I had seen. Were both frustrated at this point

“No he didn`t look happy Tracey!”
I snapped at her. Most of my own class had gone now and  the new one was starting to come in

“You can`t tell her that though can you “I stated
 “That would be really horrible of you. Really mean Tracey”
Tracey looked shocked by the suggestion that she could do any wrong
“His mother is grieving …”I explained. Even if I didn`t believe in them I could still do right by these fictionally suffering fictional  people “…she is in mourning for her son and he aught o be R.I.P”
“WHAT!?” Tracey cut me off mid sentence
“…He ought to be RESTING IN PEACE.Not wandering about Leeds appearing to schoolgirls.It`s not what the grief stricken mother need hear about her son is it?” I inquired quite honestly .Tracey began speaking to someone else about something else as I rushed off down the corridor.
     Later that evening,sat on the carpet in my bedroom at home long shadows were starting to fall across the ceiling.The cold was creeping bitterly up my shoulders but I persisted in pestering my little kitten Ginger George. Whenever I looked away I could see out of the corner of my eye one large sharp green eye pop open to see what I was doing. Snapping shut when I turned back.
He pretended to sleep curled up on his furry matt and I dangled a little feather on elastic around his whiskers and paws .His eyes were just open the slightest bit. Someone knocked on our front door .I heard my mother Harmony let someone in, shut the door and shriek “TRACEY!” up the stairs, she didn`t know AnnMarie,Footsteps came thundering up,they burst into my room.I switched on a lamp as they sat on the floor backs to my wardrobe  on the floor opposite where I sat back against my bed. It appeared it was all deadly serious now.
“The whole  family are UP IN ARMS Now Karen.”
Tracey announced the moment she was sat. In a tone that informed me it was all my fault.
“Craig`s father has gone to stay with his brother”
Said Tracey to confirm her accusation, cut off by Ann Marie backing her up but not backing her up with
“but he wasn`t getting on with his wife anyway…”
“They haven`t got on in years”
Confirmed Tracey seeming more in the know briefly. Continuing with the accusational tone;
“Craig`s two sisters and brother HATE YOUR GUTS NOW KAREN”Tracey just carried on not aware that might have any impact  “His mother wants to meet you. She wants you to tell her everything “She paused for breath
“YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY GOT TO TELL HER EVERYTHING!”
It was a serious sounding loud statement as possible. Tracey rolled her eyes at me, looking toward Ann Marie for help
“Every Single Detail. Even if you don`t think it is anything “added Ann Marie
“YOU HAVE GOT TO TELL HER EVERYTHING “Loud Tracey confirmed
“EVERY SINGLE DETAIL”
She added especially loudly. Repeating it twice with Ann Marie saying it simultaneously the second time around. Both nodding;
“She won’t` be happy and she won`t even try to get over it till you do”
Ginger George had risen and was now stood with his back to my pale pink bedroom door. His tail totally upright and all the fur along his spine on end. He made no sound and was staring unmoving toward the window
“What`s wrong with him?”
I was startled. Ginger George seemed to me to be asleep as a rule. Tracey outright yelled at me
“YOU HAVE GOT TO TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY!”
Before I could ask why Ann Marie added
“Look at what you’ve done to this family Karen!”
They both tutted exasperated. What I had done was be entirely straight with everyone and anyone fictional or otherwise. I rolled my eyes at them. I was committed to helping  Craig`s possibly real mother by letting her get on with the grieving process and not letting whatever I had seen get in the way.
There were still no traces of laughter on Ann Marie or Tracey. Not a smirk. I understood grief better though and felt you didn`t need all this drama and nonsense from strangers
“Just tell us everything and we will tell her”
Began Ann Marie reasonably as she twisted her arm to open the wardrobe behind her and tugged on a cardigan questioningly. I nodded and she pulled it down and slipped it on. Tracey and I stared at each other fixedly whilst Ann Marie had the wardrobe door open there was too deep a black void in there to look. We didn`t acknowledge it.It was an unnatural darkness that had a presence of its own you just did not want to know about.
The uneasiness turned quickly into a cold hard glaringly unpleasant atmosphere. It seemed like someone else was in the room. I opened the door to let Ginger George out and to see if there was someone in the hallway. There wasn`t and George wouldn`t   move. I  wondered if they had brought someone with them and left him downstairs, Craig maybe. They said it was just the two of them.
Sitting back down I saw Annemarie shudder. There was an urgency in Tracey`s mood too. I felt a sudden pain in my chest, like someone had just punched all the air out of media gasped at them they looked back questioningly.
I knew I could get away with saying nothing now. Ann Marie and Tracey clearly wanted to leave. I just had to wait them out. The room seemed darker and oprressive,shrinking somehow.I started to explain that I felt it was wrong to offer false hope to the family,to interfere with the grieving process.I had to keep looking around the room it had changed so much. They were both fixedly struggling not to look at the window. Ann Marie could barely look away from the door.
I couldn`t escape the feeling someone else was watching me and almost jumped out of my skin when I thought I felt someone tap me on the shoulder
“The grieving father…” I continued. Ann Marie and Tracey looked glued together at the shoulder as they stared wide in horror at George. He started to hiss, trembling all over. I called my mother who came halfway up the stairs stopping  halfway to complain about the cold.Taking a towel from the bathroom  I covered George up completely and plucked him off the carpet passing him to my mother explaining something had spooked him.
Back in my room the fear was really getting to Ann Marie and Tracey. AnnMarie looked like she had just announced she was leaving got up and been pulled down and talked out of it by Tracey. I darted over to the window to tear the curtains shut.It looked so pitch black outside it appeared more like the window  had been painted black.I shuddered and sat down shakily everything so dark my spot on the carpet obscured.
“The grieving siblings…”I carried on. Ann Marie`s head shot forward with such force she almost hit the floor with her forehead. It looked like she had been punched square in the back. She just got up and bolted. Flung my cardigan over the bannister and ran down the stairs and out without a word.
The atmosphere was beyond weird now ,claustrophobic,dark.The cold almost immobilizing but to my surprise and dismay Tracey spoke with  a sense she was in control
“Karen..”She began solemnly. It was odd to see her so quite. She knew it was and didn`t like to show it
“Craig`s brothers and sisters have been a bit odd about it really. They could just  be upset though…”She was becoming distracted
“Is your room always like this?”
I Felt what she ought to be doing was freaking out and the fact that she wasn`t freaked me out. What did she know? This whole joke was so far removed from anything vaguely comic. Was she trying to set herself up as some kind of prankster mastermind…
I had enough and explained curtly that I didn`t want to believe I had seen someone dead. Didn`t want to believe it, know it, accept it or think about it. She left telling me I ought to think about his mother.




Friday, 29 November 2013

The Three Little Bears








With or without Goldilocks these three little soft toy bears in pretty shades of pastel green,pink and blue would make a great Christmas gift.Available on Etsy

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Valeria A Short Horror Story Part Two

...I tried to speak to Valeria at first possibly on more than one occasion but the only time that I recall I approached her in my friendliest most convivial manner and was simply brushed past and ignored. Clemency was incensed. MS Halisted could never even find Valeria`s name when calling out  the register and after several weeks had still not added it.

Both Valeria`s set of friends and Clem`s and mine where soon edgy with each other. Uneasy and unsure how to end this thing that hadn`t really started yet.

If we had been hoping for a distraction we were in luck. Our whole year was filed one wet and wild morning up to the primary school hall we usually only visited at dinnertime. The assembly was held by the not often sighted head teacher Mrs. Goldgren. Always struggling to tone down her naturally imperious style she reminded us at great length in her most authoritative public speaking tone as we all sat crossed legged on the heavily varnished hall floor, trying not to feel the wet in our clothes that we which already knew. Stay away from the upper level railings.

 You stayed away from the upper level railings because they overlooked the sheer drop down to the school below, everyone said they were not safe and because the view through them whilst oddly thrilling could be equally terrifying and got you screamed at by teachers and friends alike.

At even greater length Mrs. Goldgren went on about the space behind the lower school, the mere mention of which sent more than a few shivers up spines. It was a dim,grey,airless,colourless space with an unusual emptiness. Nothing grew there not even the weeds despite the absence of many feet  to trample on them. You didn’t go there because it creeped you out of your skin and the view upwards was as unnerving as the view from above. The impossibly high wall loomed over you oppressively, the railings at the top barely visible.

With a powerfully commanding tone confident of unquestioning certainty Mrs. Goldgren then informed us that there were no rabbits living in the high wall. None Whatsover.It would be an entirely unsuitable and inhospitable environment for such a species, domesticated or wild. There was not now nor had there ever been...

I stared blankly at Clem and she stared back in equal disbelief.

Apparently there was a "Mass Delusion" of rabbits going on that we knew nothing of. If people had been too embarrassed to talk about it openly then how was it a mass delusion we wondered. As we walked to the stairs on the way back a boy in front of us who had been staring at his feet began to stamp down each footstep getting heavier and heavier and louder

"What are you doing!?"

Yelped the boy next to him giving him a shove to stop it

"Do my feet look real!?"

Shouted back the stomping boy

"The rabbits looked as real as my feet"


Which had everybody in a mood of utter puzzlement looking down to study their own feet.

People had been keeping quiet about rabbits for fear of being accused of "imagination”. The silence broken about rabbits meant of course great excitement about rabbits. Everybody who wanted to see them went en masse to the back of the school where primary children had been seeing them from above too. The teachers then spent for ever herding everyone away.

Clemency and myself were glad everything was not about Valeria for a while, but  it was  then Valeria let us see or developed  the habit of appearing to feel  superior to her friends. She told them they were imaging rabbits. It was "the power of suggestion" she said smugly. She laughed at them and our dislike deepened. Nevertheless her friends defended her

"You can`t pick on people cos` there foreign!"

They would throw at us

"When did we?"

We would throw back. Valeria never said anything herself. Never said she was foreign. We would be glad if she had. It would explain those strange times when Valeria who had become quite comfortable at her table would sometimes when we had forgotten ourselves forget herself too .She liked to talk. The more comfortable she became with the sound of her own voice and the odder and stranger that voice became.

Words she knew how to pronounce ordinarily became wrong, although still seeming to sound right to her. Mrs. Halisted seemed most taken with Valeria in these moments. It was always obvious she favoured her. She would study her totally absorbed.

We all wondered what they were not telling us about Valeria, was it for our own benefit and how? Was it a condition? Often Valeria`s only real struggle seemed to be within herself. Sometimes she wanted to scare us, her black looks lingered too long, then at other times her better side won out. “But she should`t be able to scare us so much..."Argued Clem
"But...But..."


VALERIA available to purchase for Kindle here

Part One is HERE