Tuesday, 10 May 2016

A paragraph from "Flurr" Novella- MJB Saunders

Doug thought for a while. Amber said she didn't want to return, so she slowed down time wherever she came from. She was stabbed... He was hit by a bus. Both had traumatic outcomes. But she seemed like she previously came from a life of normality, a life of wealth perhaps. Would be getting medical attention. She said her body was waiting to die, but what if it survived, would she wake up? Or be a vegetable for the rest of her existence? No wonder she didn't want to go back. Come to think of it, did he really want to return to a life of homelessness, possibly now a life of disability and pain, with no medical attention or loved ones to care for him?

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Langenstein-Zwieberge German WW2 concentration camp revealed

On July 2nd 1998, remains of a German-Nazi aircraft were discovered by a group of treasure hunters at the bottom of the North Sea between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom with the coordinates 52°25'52.9"N 3°01'07.8"E. After several referrals to aircraft specialists in Germany and England, the aircraft was eventually identified as a ‘Messerschmitt Me 438’. This was especially unusual as German aircraft specialist Dr.Bernhard Lehrer informed that the Messerschmitt Me 438 was only a prototype and was never actually put into production by the nazi government. After removing the aircraft from the depths of the North Sea, the Messerschmitt Me 438 was seized by the US government and was not heard of again. The treasure hunters who discovered the aircraft as well as Dr. Lehrer all died of unsuspicious natural causes between 1999 and 2001.

On January 28th 2002, a cargo ship transporting auto-mobile parts was victim to extreme weather conditions whilst crossing the North Sea. The ship’s cargo failed to remain on the ship and half of the cargo was lost during transportation. News of the lost cargo spread quickly and opportunists travelled to the location to salvage the valuables left behind. The cargo was found just 0.6 miles away from where the Messerschmitt Me 438 was discovered. After two days, the opportunists had been moved on by the authorities and the remains of the ship’s cargo was obtained by officials to then be returned to the company it had been separated from. When the company received the goods, they did a report on their losses referring to the order form and matched their cargo with what they had originally ordered. Although most of the remaining stock had been damaged, the company was surprised to find that there was something extra in their inventory which had not been ordered. A weathered metal case in poor condition was also in their inventory, marked with a faded German Nazi flag on the surface. Deciding not to inform the authorities of their discovery, the chairman of the company Joseph Farwood hired a lock specialist to unlock the case to prevent any damage to the interior goods. After opening the case, Farwood discovered the contents and found several items. A damaged brass pocket watch, a standard issue British combat knife dating back to 1943, a deteriorated box of M1 garand rifle ammunition and finally a worn leather backed journal belonging to a british soldier in WW2. Farwood had these items sold to different museums depending on which one offered the highest price, but he kept the journal for his own interests.

On February 18th 2002, Joseph Farwood was found dead in his home with a fatal gunshot wound to his cranium. No items in his home had been damaged or stolen, but the journal he kept close to him according to his wife, was missing. Mrs Farwood was charged with murder and given a life-sentence in prison after authorities also uncovered her history of transporting illegal substances from Amsterdam to the UK. The location of the journal recovered from the North Sea remained unknown.

On September 2nd 2015, a man (name censored for protection) working as a researcher in the top secret Dulce base under Archuleta Mesa on the Colorado-New Mexico border; stole a top secret artefact and released the contents to an unknown source. The artefact was in fact a journal dating back to 1943. The contents of the journal held some disturbing information regarding the alleged truth of WW2.
On March 21st 1945, Private Lewis Walsh was assigned with a squadron of English soldiers to perform a clear-out of remaining nazi concentration camps within German territory. The squad were informed that they would be carrying out the operation of freeing prisoners from a total of 5 camps out of 11, while the remaining 6 camps were to be cleared by a separate squadron. The first squadron was simply named Alpha, whereas the other squadron had been named after their first successful concentration camp liberation in Poland 1943 and therefore naming themselves Belzec after the name of the extermination camp.

Leading Alpha squad was Captain Burt Samson, followed by Lieutenant Wilfred Angsten. The squad would depart from England and arrive in northern Germany, just 20 miles south of their first mission to clear Bergen-Belsen.
Leading Belzec squad was Captain Quentin Stanford, followed by Lieutenant Elroy Stanford. The squad would depart from America and arrive in northern Germany, roughly 21 miles east of Bernburg euthanasia centre to which Belztec squad had orders to neutralize.

On March 24th 1945, Alpha squad had taken over Bergen-Belsen and had freed over 6,000 inmates. Private Walsh wrote about his experience as “exhilarating” and “rewarding.”  Walsh also spoke of the success of Belzec squad’s liberation on the same day, however he claimed that their losses were high in number.

On April 16th 1945, Walsh wrote that Alpha squad had fulfilled their duties to take over all of the assigned concentration camps and had freed a total of over 80,000 inmates. He said “the plane journeys made me sick and I am scarred for life by what I have seen, but the outcome is worth my stairway to heaven.” He also wrote “Jane, my love. I will be home soon.”

On April 19th 1945, Belzec squad had failed to liberate their final camp, Langenstein-Zwieberge. News reached Alpha squad and Private Lewis Walsh was assigned to a final task to rescue the remaining survivors of Belzec squad and to finally liberate Langenstein-Zwieberge or “Lang-Z” as Walsh called it.

On April 20th 1945, Walsh wrote “The camp is far larger than we had expected. Nazi’s plague the area like locusts and the majority of the inmates are guarded underground. Our army worked before, but now we are undermanned and underpowered against such numbers.”
The same day, Walsh had been assigned with a covert-ops mission. To infiltrate Lang-Z and to provide an ambush on signal once marked in position. He and 16 other soldiers were ordered to capture and free 16 prisoners undetected and take their clothing as a disguise.

On April 28th 1945, Walsh wrote “we are deep into the core of Lang-Z. I do not know how to put this place into words. My only comfort is knowing that I have buried my rifle and a few other necessities nearby.” Walsh also recorded that 8 of his comrades had been shot for failure to work under fatal conditions. He said “It was like they wanted to die.” Walsh later wrote “This place is hell on Earth.”

On April 29th 1945, Walsh recorded his final journal entry. “We are in position, but there are no signs of aid from alpha squad. We will die in here if we do not take things into our own hands. Jane if I do not make it home and if you somehow manage to read this, I love you more than all the angels in God’s kingdom of heaven.”
Langenstein-Zwieberge was a concentration camp holding over 5,000 inmates. The inmates were used as labourers to excavate tunnels and it was said that there were roughly two deaths every two metres of digging. The camp was home to Nazi Germany’s top aircraft and vehicles research and the tunnels excavated by the inmates were used to conceal the new technology.
Walsh’s last written words were “we have recovered information that will end the war. But not in the way that our country would like it. Adolf Hitler arrived here just now. He ordered all of my comrades executed as their cover was revealed by alpha squad who had been captured and likely tortured today. Why I am still alive, I have no idea. I plan to leave tonight.” Several pages in the journal were missing, but the last page read “There are two Hitler’s. They look and speak the same, both identical like twins. My German is poor, but Hitler plans to flee to Argentina with a scientist named Josef Mengele who according to an inmate- does fatal experiments on identical twins. The aircraft he is taking has been prepared in the hangar, and I’m going to see if I can make it my ticket home.”

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Shadowy Love- Short story- MJB Saunders

Ever since I first met her, she had this light inside of her that brought out all the emotions I never even knew existed and she left them floating in the air for her to breathe in. She guided me along a path of happiness. Without her everything around me was dark and lifeless. She was stronger than me in almost every way; she was like a lifeline to me. But here I am now. Sitting in my house of emptiness.

"Edahs?" my wife called over.
"What is it?" I answered, feeling interrupted by her presence.
"What's bothering you? You've barely touched your dinner. Is something wrong?" She asked me with concern.
"No darling. I'm just feeling a little bit ill. I think I may have the flu."
"Oh." She smiled subtly.
"You're nervous aren't you?"
"Nervous about what? I'm not nervous?"
"Ede. It's only human to be nervous about a job interview!"

I hate it when she calls me that. Ede. Like my real name isn't good enough. But I dare not reveal there is something wrong about it, oh no. Every time I have a problem, it suddenly gets manipulated into her problem and suddenly I am to blame.
"I suppose." I lied.
"I'm here for you. You know that. I'll always be here for you."

Those words kill me inside. Like knowing I will never be able to escape. She's here for me. She loves me. But I don't think I'll ever be able to love her back. Not now.

"Yes sweetie?"
"I'll be coming home late tonight. I'm supposed to be meeting Jim for a drink over at the Mary York after the interview."
"Oh okay. I just..." She looked down.
"I thought that maybe we could do something... You know, to celebrate?"
"I don't even know if I'll get the job." I said half heartedly. I know I'll get the job. I'm practically over-qualified in every aspect.
"Well forget it. Spend your night with another man then." She hissed and walked into the other room.
She was half right, I am having an affair.

Two hours had passed and I'm already sitting in an insufficiently padded chair being held hostage in front of a desk with two stern looking interviewers behind it.
"Basically I want this to be an informal, light hearted interview so we can really get to know you and see what kind of employee you'll be within our company. Remember there is no wrong answer. What was your name again, sorry?"
"Edahs." I smiled.
"Do you have any hobbies or interests Ede? Sorry do you mind if I call you Ede?"
"No not at all." I began to sweat. "And yes I have a few hobbies. But they're really not that interesting."
"No hobby is a boring hobby!"
"That's right." The other interviewer chimed in.

This is ridiculous. I just want to be with her. My one true love. I want to run away and be with her forever, with no ties or lies or wives. It would be perfect. Just me and her. Together.

"I like to fix light-bulbs." I half-smiled.
The interviewers seemed silently amused. I'm saying the wrong things. I can't not have this job.
"Ede, I know this is an interview, but honestly you don't have to pretend to do the job you're applying for in your spare time!" They both chuckled to each other as if I was the idiot.
"It's a real hobby of mine actually." I followed their amusement with a light chuckle. "I've studied it for twelve years now. All quantities of electronics and engineering actually, but light-bulbs are my favourite."
"Well, as long as you put that same enthusiasm into your work with us you'll be just fine!" The interviewer gave me a strange look. Almost a sarcastic look. My arm-pits are damp now. The interviewer asked me several more questions which were practically entirely irrelevant, so I just told him what he wanted to hear before he wrapped it up with his last question.

"So, like all interviews, I must ask! Why do you want to work for our company?"
Really? He's asking me why? As if my hobby doesn't explain it all.
"It's just something I'm good at I suppose. I've always enjoyed it and I'd like to be able to work for the community to keep the streets safer at night."
"Well I think that's given us plenty to think about. We'll let you know within a few days as to whether we'll make you part of the team." He stood and extended his hand. I wondered why the other interviewer was there. She barely did anything except agree with him and make me nervous. Maybe that was the plan.
I shook his hand, praying that he didn't notice how sweaty my palms were.

It's over. Now I can 'go and meet Jim at the Mary York for a drink'... My wife would kill me if she knew. Seriously, Lilly has had a terrible time with men before me and she truly believes I'm the love of her life. I'd love her if I could. But the love of my life is waiting for me on Sunny Avenue. I can't stop thinking about her. I love the way she dresses. So revealing, but delicate. Her curves show at the waist and I usually blush when I notice them. She is the light of my life. We're meant to be together. I feel connected to her, like she can tell me things without having to even speak.

I'm in the car. I'm almost there. The interview was timed perfectly. I originally thought that an interview so late in the day would be inconvenient, but it isn't. Not when I get to see my love at night. Everything comes alive in the dark. I get to appreciate her personality more than her looks which is so refreshing sometimes. If I stared at her for too long I would probably go blind with lust. She is usually always turned on and it makes me have miniature explosions.

I finally arrive after a journey that felt like eternity. I see her waiting for me on the pavement. She looks beautiful. I pull my car over next to her. She greets me with a bright smile and I exit the car to embrace her. Her skin is cold to touch and firm, yet it makes me feel warm and aroused. I look up to her dazzling light and rest my head against her cold metal frame.
"I love you." I sigh with content. She says nothing, but she doesn't have to. I know she feels the same.
"I'm getting a job!" I let out. "I'm doing it for you."
'What are you doing baby?' I feel her reply.
"I'm going to be doing lamp maintenance. So I can always keep your light shining."
I rest my hand on her curve and hold her until I'm shivering. She is still and loving, she is always there for me. I hold her until morning, then she falls asleep with exhaustion.

"Goodnight sweetheart." I kiss her cold neck which had collected condensation over night.
I hate leaving her like this. I see how the other lamps look at her. It makes me sick.

Monday, 15 June 2015

The Guns- Short story- MJB Saunders

It was damp in there. The wallpaper peeled at the edges and dark mould smothered the crevices. But it was the smartest place to be. The plastic clock on the table ticked on target and the dull light flickered from some electrical interference. The atmosphere was tense.

Three men stood in that room. All dressed in black, all holding masks and all sweating from their temples. The long hand on the clock reached 5.55pm. "Dammit where is he? He should be here by now." Remington panicked.
"Remington! Cool it! He'll be here!" Galil reassured himself as much as the other two. He rubbed the stubble on his shaved head, letting the moisture from his sweat spread out over his scalp. The long hand on the clock reached 5.58pm. "He is late." He admitted.

"That son of a bitch! Why'd you hire a guy like Thompson anyway? He's probably pussied out!" 
"I didn't hire a guy like Thompson." Galil frowned. "He's my brother."
"Brother or not Gal..." Colt intervened. "You two know each other, so you may have that kind of trust in him, but we don't." He looked down at the plastic clock. "We've got to do this without him."
"We're not doing it without him. It's possible, but it's foolish. If he's been caught re-adjusting the cameras, they'll have the entire building in their viewfinder. Yes we may be off schedule..." Galil lit a cigarette and puffed it. "But I prefer off schedule to prison."
Remington and Colt looked back down at the table. The clock had passed 6.01pm. They both shook their black jackets to let some air in at the same time, as if synchronized. Colt looked aimlessly around the room, wondering how such a simple job could become so stressful. A bead of sweat rolled off his nose and onto his black shoe. He sighed. "I want 30% of the cut. Not 25."
Galil laughed. "And I want 100% of the cut, not some guy wanting more of my own. But we've made this fair."
"Doesn't sound very fair to me." Remington stepped a little closer. "You two are brothers. Practically you're taking home 50% of the cut."
"We're individuals not Siamese fucking twins." He spat and flicked his cigarette butt away.

A door opened around the corner, all three men looked in the direction with panicked expressions. Footsteps echoed towards them.
"About time!" Galil smirked. "Thompson, what happened?" He glanced at the clock. "You're nearly 15 minutes late."
"The calculations were right." Thompson caught his breath as he turned the corner to face them. "But we have some problems."
"Go on..."
"There is an armed guard stationed out of sight right near the jeweller. The shop had some minor shoplifting this morning, so they're being cautious. Probably some kids stealing a pair of sunglasses or something, but nonetheless, security is slightly more difficult."
"So... We just kill the guard? If the cameras are off the location it's easy come easy go?" Remington suggested.

"No." Galil sighed. "No, this isn't a kill and scavenge operation. I hired you two because you have experience, so that I can trust you. But this time there is no killing. If we take out the guard, that leaves a murder case. That leads the feds right up our shit creek but they'll be the only ones with a paddle." He sighed again. "Out of sight where?"
"In one of the buildings on the third floor. I tapped in to their communications, but that's all I could gather. They obviously do this regularly, otherwise they wouldn't know where to go by the orders given." Thompson suggested.
"That could be an advantage. If they are used to doing this, they may get slack. We may be able to sneak inside, gather what we need and only alert the guards when the alarms go off. Colt, what's the status on our getaway driver?"
"He's where he should be."
"Good. Are we ready to move on this?"
"Hang on." Thompson looked puzzled. "We've been planning to rob this place and now we're planning to sneak past armed guards... But we haven't thought about why they're there. Why would the feds have armed guards stationed near a jeweller? All they need is a radio to alert back-up. They don't need to be carrying M16's to keep a few kids out."
"Shit... M16's? They're seriously packing heat." Remington wiped his mouth.
"Well then that makes this robbery a little more special then doesn't it? Must be something a little more valuable than a few gemmed necklaces." Galil grinned.

"We're not doing this with M16 crosshairs on our legs. As soon as the masks are on and we're through the door, he could fire off a shot, bust through a knee-cap or two and compromise this entire operation." Remington added. "The guard has to go."
"Good point, but we've got to do it smart. No murder case. The guard gets held hostage."
"By who?" Colt asked, knowing he would be nominated for his precision in capturing hostages.
"Thompson." Galil declared.
"Him?" Colt squinted.
"I have no experience in combat or fighting or... taking people hostage? Have you really thought this through?"
"Yes." Galil entertained the idea. "You can tap into their communications, just tell him he's off duty."
"That's not taking them hostage." Thompson clarified.
"Not yet. You tell the guard he's off duty, but in the background, we'll be squabbling over cuts or something and one of us mentions that we are robbing an immigrants clothes store."
"Why a clothes store?"
"You'll see. Just do it."
"No hang on Gal" Colt protested "We need to be in on this, you can't just make secret plans and expect us to follow them."

"There are two clothes stores on Burgfield Street. One of them is owned by illegal immigrants, the other is owned by a former convict. You make a phone call to each store, tell the immigrants that an officer is coming with a warrant to arrest them for their illegal immigration. Tell them that the warrant expires in thirty minutes and if they are able to stall the officer, the officer will no longer be legally allowed to arrest them. That's not how warrants work but they don't know that. But this is where things get spicy.
Shortly after the guard arrives at the immigrant's clothes stores, tell the former convict that the immigrants are reporting him to the police for something. Ask him what that might be and he'll panic and do something rash. That gets us in the clear of the guards sights and gives us plenty of time to get in and out while he is being stalled by hectic confusion. So we're taking him hostage without him even knowing it. That way there is absolutely no trace."  
"Smart." Remington picked his teeth. "How'd you come up with that?"
"You think I'd rob one of the most expensive jewellery stores in the US and not think do a bit of research on my surroundings?" Galil said smugly. "Thompson get on it."
Thompson walked into the corner of the room and lifted a heavy box from the ground, placing it on the table. He opened it and revealed his radio equipment. He switched it on and tuned it to the right frequency.
"Don't fuck this up Thompson."

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Short Story Thriller Thursdays #7- Coma

Short Story Thriller Thursdays #7- Coma

Crumpling, spinning, smashing, fire. They were the last things the child remembered, but they were soon forgotten.

The child wandered aimlessly, looking down at his tiny white trainers. He briefly remembered something. Something really important and bad that had just happened, but it felt like nothing more than a faint memory where you couldn't tell if it had actually happened or not or whether it was some vivid dream a few weeks ago. He didn't bother looking up or around, he just shuffled along, judging his path by what was under his feet. He then arrived at some sort of hard ground. He didn't know the difference between tarmac or concrete yet, but the ground was soft, yet hard at the same time. A voice muffled nearby. The child looked up and saw someone staring right at him. His heart began to pound with worry. He suddenly remembered his Mommy and Daddy that should be there any minute to whisk him away from the strange person.
"Who are you?" the child asked. He was not much older than five, but he was smart enough to know that a stranger sitting on a bench, gazing at him could not be trusted. So he asked, politely as possible as he had been taught, but without releasing his full trust. He bit his lip.

"Come here." the stranger beckoned. He wore a long coat. It came down further than his knees and it was made of something strange. The child looked around frantically, looking for someone he knew. But there was no Mommy or Daddy in sight. In fact, there wasn't much in sight. He stood in the middle of a great field (or that was how it seemed) where nothing could be determined as to where or why he was there. Giving up on looking for help, the child nervously shuffled over to the stranger.
"I'm lost." the child edged nearer, worry still deep in his mind. He felt the ache of terrible loss at the back of his throat and he couldn't quite figure out what it was there for. The stranger stood up. He looked like Mommy's Dad from the pictures, but smaller. He looked taller when he was sat down, but when he stood up his coat was all funny and he looked smaller afterwards.
"Me too." the stranger replied. "I've been wondering when you would turn up. But I didn't expect so soon. Do you recognise me?"
"No." the child mumbled.
"I didn't think so. You were just a baby when your eyes first fell on me. It's a shame we parted so soon."
The stranger held out his hand which was covered by a thin leather glove. "Time is a terrible thing." his voice said with a frail tone, like he was holding back very strong emotion.

The boy walked with the stranger. He even held his hand. The field was a very odd looking place. There were mounds of grass that were there one minute, but gone the next. The sky was bluer than blue. It was a colour that the child had never really seen before. "We're going to have a good time. I'll take care of you until Daddy arrives." the stranger smiled softly.
"When is he coming?" the child asked excitedly.
"Sometime soon I'll expect."
They kept strolling through the plain landscape. The stranger wiped his eye.
"Where are w-"
"Honey? Baby? He's waking up!" the sweet voice of his mother echoed through the field, interrupting him. "Don't let them wake you." the stranger pleaded softly. "Don't listen to them."
"Mommy?" the child called up to the sky, terrified. Was she in heaven? Where was she?
"I'm here baby, it's okay, you can wake up now." his mothers voice called with tearful joy.
His eyes didn't open as such, they faded from one image to the next. One moment he was looking at... Someone... The next moment, he could only see through one eye. But he saw his mother's face, and that was a comforting sight. He opened his mouth to speak, but his words didn't seem to fit together.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

'Marking'- A short story by MJB Saunders


Mrs Pale eventually exited the classroom after a long day. The final bell had rung and all that remained were bits of paper and forgotten homework assignments on ink-stained tables. She hurriedly paced over to the staff room where she had left her marking schemes. Her heels echoed along the corridor which was a plain warning sign to all co-workers and students that she was in a hurry.

Although she already knew how to mark the work, things were different there than her previous employers. Things changed very rapidly. She never knew why she moved so much. It was never by force, it was her own will. Maybe it was the kids. They were different at every school she went to. Some were too smart, even for her. Some were too cocky, some were too rude, some were nice but too difficult to explain to. It didn't matter after all. As long as it looked like she was doing a good job well. (Which wasn't going so well as over half the students in her classes had forgotten their homework. It wasn't even that hard.)

So much marking to do. I just want to relax. I'm stuck here now. There's nowhere else to go. Sure I could go and work in a cafe or restaurant, but I couldn't live like that knowing I've got all the qualifications she thought to herself as she retrieved her marking scheme from her pigeon hole. Oh shhhugar. This is from the last unit. She stressed. The last unit had taken ages with the last marking scheme. She was still growing comfortable with it, but by then, the next unit had crept in. To her, all English classes should be the same. No stupid marking schemes, no different rules or exceptions to students faking anger issues, no slack registrations. Registrations were the worst. Other teachers just simply didn't bother with it. That meant students could skip classes as much as they pleased and the attendance office wouldn't bat an eyelid.

Mrs Pale was good with the registers. She was good with names too, that gave her the advantage when a student pretended they were there after all. She often wished for a built-in lie detector. Sometimes the excuses for missing homework were just too extraordinary to be lies, but she had to judge them as if she were in the students shoes. She remembered being young though. One time her younger brother dropped catnip on her homework and the cat carried it to the roof. Then it rained and the homework was destroyed. That was true, but she got double detention for not only failing to hand in work, but for 'making up something so bizarre.'

"Miss?" a young girl's voice called into the staff room as Mrs Pale was about to screw up the old marking scheme and do something awful with it.
"Yes?" she stepped out with a forced-sweet smile.
"My bus hasn't arrived yet. I think I missed the last one. Do you know where I can get hold of a phone?" the girl asked.
"Don't you have one? I think the office is closed..."
"Mr Price confiscated mine today and he left early." the girl sighed.
Mrs Pale thought briefly about giving the poor girl a lift home. Would that be violating some rule? She thought to herself briefly. Then she decided she would only do so if the girl asked.
"I have a phone, hold on..." Mrs Pale rummaged around her rucksack for her old beat-up brick. She took her time searching. She almost didn't want to find it. It was an embarrassing piece of technology. "Here it is." she held it out. The girl gave a dry, teenage stare at it. "I can type in the number if you want?" Mrs Pale asked.
"No, no. It's cool." the girl shook her head with the lack of trust in a teacher students have. Her fingers tapped away at the phone and then it started calling.

"Dad? It's me... Charlotte... Can you give me a lift? Never mind why... I'll tell you later... Outside school... Yeah, sure you too... Bye." the girl hung up. "He's picking me up in a bit. Thank you." the girl dismissed her and turned away.
"Charlotte? Are there any other members of staff around?" Mrs Pale asked.
"What? Teachers? Nope."

Great. I've got to be the one that waits to make sure she gets picked up. I'm going to be late for... She paused her thinking. I'm not going to be late for anything. She realised as she had felt hurried since the last bell had rung. Mrs Pale slowly exhaled into her usual self. She was Sarah again. But then Mrs Pale came storming back as she remembered I've got so much marking to do.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Short Story Thriller Thursdays #6 - An extract from RABID, the yet-to-be-released novel.

Short Story Thriller Thursdays #6 - An extract from RABID, my current novel in progress.

The two of them tiptoed over to room fifteen. The banging on the door behind them was an incredibly frightening sound. The loud 'BANG' followed by an echo through the hospital and then another 'BANG, BANG, THUD' and finally the screaming 'WOEAAAAAAEHHH!' Craig was trying his hardest not to wimp out and leave. He was scared, but a nineteen year old boy was calmer than him. He knew he would never hear the end of it if he wimped out. Besides, the noise makers were locked in after all.
"This one?" Craig asked.
"Look up." Joe snorted.
"Fifteen I'm guessing. It could easily be mistaken for a five."
"Look up." he mocked. Joe looked up with his torch at the number above the door. Blood was stained all over the white numbers.
"How did they get blood all the way up there?" he chuckled.
"You got a really sick sense of humour, you know that?" Craig shook his head.
"Are we going in or what?"
Craig opened the door carefully. He shone his torch through the gap between the door and the frame and sighed with relief that it was empty. Vaccines were stocked heavily all over the shelving. There were so many vaccines that Craig actually burst out laughing and raised his arms to hug the boy, who stood there confused. Joe strolled in and shut the door behind him.
"What?" he asked.
"Joe, m'boy. We just hit the jackpot!"
"I found it." he mumbled.
"Wait..." Craig cupped his hand to his ear.
"Whatcha hear?" Joe frowned. Craig immediately put his finger to his lips as if to say shh and crouched down, waving Joe to do the same. Joe crouched. He looked at the panicked man for an answer on his face. Craig pointed towards the door and gestured a walking movement with his fingers. Joe reached into his pocket and pulled out another screwdriver. Craig looked at it and wanted to laugh at the fact that Joe had stolen another one from his tool kit, but his mouth remained a thin line. He looked down at his torch, and silently switched it off. He pointed to Joe to do the same, which he did, and they stayed crouched in the darkness. Joe finally heard the panting outside the door which Craig had noticed far earlier. He was grateful for his carefulness. He certainly wouldn't have noticed.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Short Story Thriller Thursdays- #5 Happiness

Short Story Thriller Thursdays- #5 Happiness

Sun shone bright through the trees, but you couldn't see it much. The leaves absorbed most of the light before the sun could warm the damp earthy ground, riddled with roots and scattered with old leaves. The day was warm though. The Birds were happy, and there was even the occasional insomniac Owl that made a twit and a twoo every now and again.

Most trees were recovering from a recent storm. Especially the Beech trees, with their huge trunks and branches, without much keeping them together when the wind caught them off guard. Some of the branches were merely attached by light, milky colored needles of broken wood. Others stayed strong. The Oak trees were always strong, but the leaves seemed to have a mind to travel, as they were still floating around in the light breeze.

Above the woods, on a hill with a wild field, was an old Elm tree. It was the oldest tree of them all. Struck by lightening twice, it was now no longer a tree of rarity, it was a tree of memories, where the farmers' mothers and fathers used to spend their time having picnics beneath it and listening to the sound the branches made when the wind passed through them. Occasionally the children would try to climb the tree, but it usually resulted in tears and a sore elbow. It was those children who later owned the entire woods. But you would never see a No trespassing sign or a Private no entry sign nailed into a tree.

Back in the woods, a Deer grazed on an old antler, gnawing at the tips and edges for calcium. It was surprisingly peaceful, considering the recent storm. But the Birds were peacefully loud and the Owls were wide awake, what reason did the Deer have to be nervous when the day was so beautiful? The wind picked up slightly. It wasn't enough to be an uncomfortable wind that blew your hair onto your face uncontrollably, but it was enough to part the branches briefly and allow the sunlight to fall onto the Deer, making it look very vulnerable.

The Deer eventually scampered away. Something had disturbed it, but it was a peaceful flee, not the type where she was truly threatened, but the type where it didn't want to be seen eating an antler. A child emerged from the overgrown pathway, skipping and humming. Short moments later, two proud parents emerged behind her, smiling to each other. The Dad held a blanket and the child's coat. The mother held a picnic basket and a doll with strange features.

The clouds gathered their rain, and traveled through the sky, bringing a daunting shadow over the woods. The Birds fell silent, and the Owl fell asleep.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Short Story Thriller Thursdays #4-The Chinese Pear

Short Story Thriller Thursdays #4- The Chinese Pear

"Go on, try it, it's like an apple that tastes like a pear, you won't make a dent in the sales" she smiled. The girl picked up the strange white fruit and took a bite. It made a crunching sound followed by the juicy leaking sound you expect to hear from ripe fruit.
"You're right, it is like an apple." she agreed with her mouthful. Her boss smiled and continued to pack them into punnets. There was silence for a while. Not the silence you would hear where there is no noise at all, but the silence you find yourself hearing when you want to say something but can't exactly figure out what to say, so you say nothing at all. The noise of crumpling plastic and strange foamy padding filled half of the shop. The sound of slow, impatient customers filled the other half, behind the boards that separated the 'back people' from the 'front people'.

The silence was broken. "I literally just put a pear in that punnet, and now it's gone. Did you take it?" The girl asked concerned. Not concerned by the missing pear, but by the accusation she had directed towards her boss.
"Nope, wasn't me." her boss shrugged. And there was silence once more. The girl listened behind her for pure amusement as she heard someone say "Do you sell potatoes here?" in an elderly voice.
"Yes, just by the door as you come in." She heard the lady at the till answer in a slightly patronizing tone. The potatoes really weren't hard to miss, and this made the girl chuckle to herself.
"What?" asked her boss curiously.
"Nothing, it's just the..." she paused. She looked around her work table and down at the floor. "Another pear has gone missing."
"Honestly, this is going to get expensive soon if you keep losing pears like this. They don't grow on trees you know." she mocked the girl, and then realized what she had said and started a subtle giggle to herself. The girl looked puzzled and shook her head in mild disbelief, then she smiled.

A busy looking man rushed his way into the walk-in refrigerator. His face was bright red with either happiness, or exhaustion. It was really quite hard to tell which. He then rushed back out with two large plastic bags of carrots and dumped them on his work table. He tore the bag open and grabbed handfuls of carrots, placing them into smaller plastic bags to go on sale. He had one of those faces. The type of gentle faces, where you can't tell if they are angry, sad or maybe happy or amused. The type of face where you don't know if it belongs to a man of his age, or whether it was stolen from a calm child. Nonetheless, he didn't look like the type of person to steal any pears, but the girl asked anyway.
"John, have you seen my pears?"
"I lost two of these Chinese pears, they were in punnets and now they're gone."
"Hmm, very strange. Perhaps they teleported back to China. I hear the Chinese can do things like that." he grinned.
"I'm serious!" she laughed.
"So am I. I heard that a select few Chinese pears have strange properties in them that lets them teleport when they are touched."
 "Is anyone else coming in today?" the girl asked, changing the subject, ignoring John.
"The other kid was meant to turn up today. He's either very very late, or he's in china with a bunch of pears." Her boss joked.
The three of them mocked the pears and came up with strange stories of what might have happened to them for a while, but each story was only funny as long as it was their own.

Meanwhile a lazy teenager woke up with a pear on his pillow. He looked at it with confusion and wondered why the hell there was a white pear on his pillow. He ate it anyway. He got hungry in the mornings. He then fell back to sleep with a strange feeling that he was supposed to be somewhere that morning. After a few peculiar dreams about pears, he opened his eyes again. Only this time, he wasn't in his bed. He was on the edge of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Short Story Thriller Thursdays #3- The black book

Short Story Thriller Thursdays #3- The black book-

"No. No. Start again." demanded the old man.
"Where did I go wrong?" the boy asked.
"You are moving too sharply towards the middle. Smooth movements. Fast as you are already, but smoother." he gestured with on open arm towards the end of the training room. "Start again."
"Yes sir." the boy sighed. His instructor put his hand to his mouth with slight frustration, but decided against saying anything as the boy already had his back towards him. When the boy reached the end of the room, he turned sloppily and then stood straight like a pencil.
"Now walk." his instructor called. So the boy walked. As slowly and smoothly as he could, knowing that after a few more steps he would have to do the same, but faster. When you are being watched and judged, to actually walk differently to the way you are used to is far harder than you might expect.

When the boy reached the first marker on the stone floor, the instructor called "Stop."
"What?" the boy exclaimed.
"Nothing, just wait there until I say so. Stay still. If you move, there will be double the exercise training tomorrow." The boy said nothing and remained still. He was half way through a small stride, so to stay still was difficult for him. He could feel his thighs ache and strain. The old man walked towards him. "Stay still. Do not move. You are a statue. Now, when I return, you will be in the exact same place as you are now. Trust me, I will know if you move." he said. And at that, he turned his back on the straining boy and walked with pride over to a large wooden door. He opened it, not to its fullest, but enough to enter without revealing the contents of the room the door concealed.

The boy was nearly shaking with pain. He could feel his toes crunching in uncomfortable places and his knees were on the verge of wobbling. He let in a deep breath and held his position, looking at only one small object to focus on more than his pain. He tried to think of what the object was. It was like a black box with no handles or hinges. It was more like a cube than a box, but there was a strange discretion about it. It was on the other side of the room. There was no point trying to focus on it too hard. His eyesight was strained.

The old man had already found what he was after in the secret room and was watching the boy in stillness and in silence for longer than the boy would have been happy with if he had known. When the instructor caught a glimpse of a tremble in his knees, he strolled over to him. "Don't turn your head. Don't speak. Don't move." he revealed a book from his robes. It was black with a creased leather cover and looked like it was very old. The pages were emerging from it, as if they were loose. There was no title on the cover or any writing on it either. All there was to be seen was a thin golden stripe down the spine. It shone slightly bronze with age. The boy's eyes gazed upon it and he felt a small sense of nausea welling up inside him.

"You wanted to learn our way. So you will. But you cannot learn our way without learning. And nobody can teach you how to learn." the instructor said. The boy raised his eye level to meet the old man's dark eyes. They glistened with wisdom. "Don't talk!" he snapped. The boy remained still. "Now, this book, written by Allufius Anuchuis himself can teach you to learn." He opened the book and gazed upon tattered pages of symbols and words of the ancient. He smiled, like a middle aged person would smile at finding their favourite childhood toy, then focused his attention. "You will read this." he paused with thought. "Today" he decided. "and you will not move. Not an inch. You cannot hold the book. Neither can you turn a page yourself. I will do all of that for you when you look at me as a signal."

The boy trembled. Pain surged through his legs, frozen stiff, begging for movement. His shoulders were aching as well. But not as badly. He wished he had chosen a better position. Have you ever tried to stand still, or stand in the same place without changing the pressure you put into your muscles to ease the aching? It was harder for the boy especially as he had previously ran four circuits of the entire woods. His legs ached a pain similar to cramp. The instructor had entered the same room he had entered earlier, being very secretive, and returned with a tripod. The same tripod you would use to read music while playing an instrument. Only this tripod was made of solid elm with leather bindings to hold it in its pyramid-like shape. The boy looked at it with curiosity, then realised the ease he felt in his neck and panicked, knowing he had turned his head. He felt a warm feeling of adrenaline surge through him, then it was gone. Nausea visited again, and he fainted from exhaustion.

When he opened his eyes, he realised he had actually been sleeping. Normally when he fainted, he would open his eyes instantly and wonder what had happened. But this time he felt rested and he had woken with a smile. Partly because he was happy to not have injured himself from the fall, but mostly because he knew he wasn't being forced to stand still in pain. He was tucked nicely into a warm bed. It wasn't his own either. He had so many questions to ask his instructor. He wanted to ask about the book, and the tripod and the strange black cube in the training room. "Are you ready now?" he heard the familiar voice of the old man calling through the door. How did he know he was awake?
"Yes" he called back with slight embarrassment, remembering briefly he had done something stupid. He was still fully clothed, which he was grateful for, that would be twice the embarrassment otherwise.

He opened the door and found himself back in the training room. The tripod was set up with the black book resting on the holder. The boy felt a sinking feeling of disappointment as he knew he would be standing again. "Ah, there you are." said the old man.
"How long was I asleep?" the boy asked.
"About four minutes. My bed has healing powers." he said matter-of-factly. The boy couldn't work out whether he was being serious or not, and instead of asking, he squinted with confusion. "It gives your body a full nights sleep in about a minute after you fade into unconsciousness. You were already asleep, so I thought it would be beneficial to you." he stated, trying to avoid revealing his proudness. The boy nodded with gratitude.
"I have a few questions." the boy said.
"Oh yes?"
"Firstly-" he paused. He tried to remember what he was asking. "I-" his mind went blank.
"You can't remember." the old man smiled. His wrinkles became crevices. Then his smile went back to the solemn thin line of grey. "The book has that effect on some people." he sighed. "I was really hoping it wouldn't with you. Basically, by tomorrow, everything you have ever known, will be forgotten. You aren't nearly ready for what is now coming to you. To regain your memory, you will have to go through training far more advanced than what you are going through now." the old man opened the book so that both pages rested on the back of the tripod. He flicked through a few pages and then stopped on the page he was looking for. "Just in case there is more to this, what does this word say?" he pointed to a word written in bold central to the page. The boy stepped over and peered into the book.

"Friend" the boy said simply. The old man gave him a look of astonishment. "It say's friend" he repeated. The old man's hands began to shake. He flicked through more pages and pointed to another word.
"A- a- and this?" he stuttered.
"Enemy" the boy read out. The old man looked puzzled. "No wait" he said calmly but with the same puzzled expression as his instructor. "It says unwelcome. The word before it said enemy." he said proudly. His face looked pale and empty. "Where are we?" He asked sounding incredibly surprised.
"You, my boy, can read an ancient language without translation. You didn't read the symbols to translate. You knew it already. You must be blood related to Allufius Anuchuis himself which means great, great things." he nearly continued, then sighed with realisation. "But with no memory, you are going to have to read this book thoroughly to get it back. It's just the way it works. And it would benefit you if you stood still. You'll find it easier to focus. Trust me."