Archive for October, 2011

Short Story 9: Halloween special

[Happy Halloween everyone! I thought I should put up an aptly themed story today. People have suggested alternative endings to me but I’m sticking to the original here. It’s slightly longer than most of my stories so I hope you read on till the end. Hope you like it.]

“You seem…different.”

She’d never looked at him like that before. Like she could actually see him; like he wasn’t just another one of the many creatures placed on this earth to make her existence less difficult. Despite her middleclass background, she was cursed with an air of superiority which she had found impossible to shake even after spending most of her adult life mingling with the sort of people who were supposed to make her seem less of a snub.

Peter leaned back in his chair and smiled. “Maybe I am different. It’s been a while since we last met.”

She spared him another quizzing look then rolled her eyes. She was not in the mood for games today. “So how have things been with you? You’re still not seeing that Alicia girl, are you? The Stepford wife in the making.” She chuckled at her joke and was pleased to see that Peter smiled back. He hadn’t reacted that way the last time she had let him know her views on his girlfriend.

“No, you were right this time. I think she’s now seeing someone better suited to her financial aspirations.”

At least she had the good grace to look a little sympathetic but he knew she wasn’t sorry at all that his thing with Alicia had ended. That relationship had probably had something to do with the recent hiatus in their friendship. After numerous attempts to meet up with her and an equal amount of carefully worded excuses, he had been surprised when she agreed to meet him for lunch today, albeit a brief one as she had said something about having somewhere else to go afterwards. Which meant he didn’t have time for anymore chitchat.

“I have something to ask you.” As he spoke, he pulled out a small glass vial from his pocket which was filled with a clear liquid. He placed it on the table and watched her face for a reaction.

“What’s this? I don’t understand. Is this…”

“It’s nothing illegal, I promise. It’s just something I need for you to…take.”

A half smile touched her lips. It wasn’t an amused smile. “You want me to drink it. And you’re not going to tell me what it is?”

“I’ve known you for twenty three years Beth and you know I would never ask you to do anything that would hurt you. I can’t tell you what it is but you need to trust me on this, you need to drink it.”

“You’re crazy.”

“Beth…”

“No, you’re high, that’s what it is. You’re high on whatever this is and you want me to join you. Is this why Alicia really left you? There is no other rich guy, is there? There’s only this. I can’t believe this is happening, to you of all people. You were always so sensible.”

“Which is why you know I would never give you something illegal in such a public place. Look, I could easily have slipped this in your drink at some point but I didn’t. What I need is for you to trust me.”

She looked down at the vial, almost as if she was contemplating what he was asking but then she shook her head. “I can’t Peter. You know I can’t.” Continue reading

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Can you top my 6?

A follow up to my Can you top my 28? post from September. I thought I did okay having read just over 1 in 4 of the books on that list so when the official list for World Book Night 2012 was released earlier this week, I was excited about the prospects of my ratio going up.

http://www.worldbooknight.org/about-world-book-night/wbn-2012/the-books

And yes, I was happy to note I have read 6 out of 25. Yay! Not quite 1 in 4 but close.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (loved it but then I love almost all Austen books)

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho (overrated but not a bad book)

A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens (sad sad book but a good read)

The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella (infuriating protagonist but I’ve read all the books in the series bar one so that’s saying something)

The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffeneger (very dark but good story, don’t watch the movie, read the book!)

Good Omens – Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman (probably my favourite on the list, really funny, dark and strangely thought provoking)

I think I have read Rebecca but can’t quite remember it so I haven’t added it to my list. Also I’m a huge Steven King fan so I’ve watched Misery but, again, can’t remember if I read it so I’ve taken it off my list.

Can anyone top my 6?

[If the list includes movies adaptations I’ve watched, my count goes up to 10]

Joyride


As a 21st century adult, I used to consider myself fairly desensitized. Between the sensational and horrific scenes shown on the evening news in the name of informing us of current affairs (did anyone really need to see Gaddafi’s battered and bloodied face) and the even more graphic violent scenes thrown into movies these days, I was pretty sure my brain had shrunk so far into itself that there was nowhere else to go. I still had the good grace to flinch when unpleasant images where presented to me but deep down inside, I thought I had reached a stage where I could handle most things. But, you might have guessed by now, I’ve just realised how wrong I was.

I used to hate driving. Outside of the mortal fear that I would crash into a tree or run someone over in my first few years behind the wheel, I did not enjoy the process of driving at all. When people talked about going out for a drive just for the fun of it, I thought they were a little bit nutty. But when I started to take weekly joyrides on the less busy roads of Central London to ensure that my engine didn’t die a slow death from underuse I found myself enjoying weaving in and out of the narrowest roads and shouting abuse at other drivers. Soon I was even venturing further away from home in my quest to discover other interesting back streets. The occasional scrape and bump no longer scare me as much as they did in the early days.

So today when I decided to take the car out for a spin to kill some time as my flat reeked of fresh paint, I wasn’t expecting anything unusual to happen. When a white van driver nearly crashed into me, I honked and mumbled angrily to myself but that was not unusual. When a cyclist decided to own the road despite moving much slower than me, I worked my way around him and shook my head but that was not unusual. A few pedestrians risking death by running across the road as cars dashed towards them, again nothing unusual. I was halfway through the route I had mapped out for myself when I saw it. Continue reading

Short Story 8: The Middle

[After a much needed holiday, I’m back. Yay! I can’t believe how much I missed not being able to blog. I think I’m finally getting into it.  As I gather my thoughts for future posts, I figured I should bridge the gap with yet another short story – I told you I had plenty stowed away. This one is very different from the others I’ve posted here in the past and was written very quickly for a writing group session. I’m curious as to what people will think of this new angle…]

The Middle

The water that divided the village had only been there for seven years. It started off as a puddle in the middle of the land dividing the Ofor and Udeze families.  Ownership of the land had been disputed for years and the arguments were becoming more vicious by the day. One family swore that the boundary line was a few metres into the plot the other family claimed to own and neither was willing to stand down. It didn’t help that they had no legal papers for the land. Their families had lived side by side for generations and there was no doubt that one of the two owned the patch, but which?

The puddle appeared one morning in the driest month of the year but nobody noticed it for days. It grew by about an inch in diameter everyday until someone finally pointed it out to Nnabueze, the head of the Ofor family. He circled the water in silence, brows creased and arms folded. It was an oddity, but it was only a puddle. There had to be a rational explanation for its presence. The head of the Udeze family, Anayo, was subsequently alerted but he did not bother to grace the puddle with a visit. His logic was the same as Nnabueze’s. It was strange but it would dry up with time.

The sky remained clear and the land remained brittle except for the patch in dispute. What land? You would have been forgiven for asking the question by the second week for where there had once been dusty untilled soil, there was now a stretch of muddy water which spanned about six feet and ran ten times that figure lengthwise. Anayo was finally persuaded to visit the site. Continue reading