Inevitable Chapter 3

“You’re insane,” Felicia, said eventually.
Alex snorted. “Yeah, says little miss I’m going to throw myself off a bridge.”
“That was none of your business,” Felicia snarled. “I had perfectly good reasons. Also…”
She struggled to find the words.
“Yeah. Ennui, shit job and self pity. Get over it. ” Alex wiped his mouth with the back of
his hand. “Do you want some crisps?”
“No!” Felicia winced as most of the people in the pub turned to look at them. “Who the fuck are you?”
She whispered.
“I’m your guardian angel,” Alex said calmly. “You might want a bit more alcohol for this.”
Felicia debated about running. But what would be the point really? There were too many
questions unanswered.
“I’m agnostic.” She said eventually.
“Alright, well, good for you.” He lifted a hand and scrubbed it through his hair. “Must be nice having choices.”
“Don’t you?” Felicia countered.
“Not lately.” Felicia thought that she was quite good at reading people’s emotions, but she was having serious
trouble here.
“How do you know my mum?” She asked tentatively.
“Good question.” Alex got up and went to the bar. “Same again?”

Advertisements

Inevitable Chapter 2

She took his hand and stepped off the railing. He let her go when she pulled away and struggled to put her shoes back on.
She felt confused and not a little silly.
“How do I know that you aren’t some mad rapist?” Felicia said eventually.
“Dunno,” the man said, he’d ground out his cigarette under the heel of his boot. Felicia watched as the embers faded away. “It’s not like people come with post it notes attached to their foreheads telling everyone about their innermost thoughts.”
“That’s… really reassuring.” Felicia had an inward battle. On the one hand did she she want to be some sort of “Silence of the Lambs” sacrifice to this weirdo?, on the other hand she had just been about to throw herself into the river. This was a quandary. One that actually made herself more annoyed. Killing yourself should be all Ophelia and flowers, not this clusterfuck of talking to random strangers on bridges.
“Come on,” the strange man said. “I need a drink, but not as much as you I reckon. Pub’s this way.”
He didn’t turn back to look her.
Oh well why not. After all what was there to lose? Felicia gave a last regretful look at the river.
It didn’t take too long to get there.
“The Fighting Cats” wasn’t very busy. A few people that were obviously locals, were nursing their drinks and talking about things that were relevant thirty years ago. They looked at the interlopers with mild disinterest.
“What do you want?” The man asked after placing his own order.
“Gin and tonic.” Felicia accepted the drink from the obviously weary bartender and gave the man beside her a glance. She downed half of it in one gulp. The bar stool actually was more uncomfortable than the situation.
“Why?”
“It was the nearest pub,” the man said.
“That…” Felicia struggled to find the words. “That’s not what I meant, that’s not how things work. you can’t just talk someone off throwing themselves off a bridge, buy them a drink and not explain. I don’t even know your name.”
“It’s Alex. Your mum told me to keep an eye on you.” He went back to drinking his beer.
“Mum died twenty years ago.” Felicia wasn’t sure what she should be thinking, but outrage was a refreshing change from despair.
“Yeah, well the dead never do shut up.” Alex gave her a smile, downed the rest of his beer and smiled. “Nice knowing you Felicia”.

Inevitable

The day that Felicia tried to end her life was the day that she started her new one.
It wasn’t the lack of what was, it was the lack of hope for more.
The great big gap of what she thought she should be and what she was.
And it didn’t really come from much more than “I can’t do this anymore”.
Dead end job, waking up to nothing but the bleep of her alarm clock. That
morning she dropped her coffee mug. Her favourite one, (it had been
a gift from one of her old boyfriends and she thought far more fondly
of it than she did him).
something
inside her snapped.
Because why bother getting a new one?
Why bother with anything?
The bridge was the first thing that came to mind.
She’d been taken there as a toddler.
Taken there as a child,
and smoked stolen cigarettes as a teenager, and later with boys who kissed her and
tried to put their hands up her school blouse.
It was high enough to feel dangerous, and close enough to
what used to be home to feel safe.
So that was where she went.
It was solid, sturdy under her bare feet. (the low heels that she had been wearing
had been kicked off when she had balanced on the railing. A practicality that, in hindsight
was a little ridiculous given that she was going to chuck herself off it anyway).
But the river was as she remembered it.
Dim in the darkness, but with a faint rumble that made it sound sort of alive.
A bit like her. Sort of alive.
Balancing on the railing was hard, but letting go was a lot harder.
Even when Felicia shut her eyes it was hard to let go of the rusted
steel strut that she had her arm wrapped around.
“Wouldn’t do that, love, I’m not going to go all Titanic romance and dive in
after you.”
The words were said in a northern accent, the man who said them lounging against
the the railing a few metres away. He was tall and slim, and diddn’t seemed remotely peturbed by her
suicide mission. His eyes were dark in the glow of the streetlights, his hair some colour between
black and brown.
Felicia gave the stranger a slightly affronted glance.
If you were going to kill yourself then shouldn’t people at least pretend to care?
“If you don’t mind, I’d rather that you pissed off.” she said snippily. The cold of the iron beneath her
feet the wind plastering her hair, the whole absurdity of the si Continue reading

Deathless

Deathless

Philip Green died on the twenty second day of september in the year nineteen ninety seven.
It was an ignoble end to an unremarkable life. Falling off a stepladder trying to paint the
ceiling and cracking his head open.
For a while it seemed far too unlikely to have happened, even as he looked down upon
his body, sprawled face down on the kitchen floor, covered in blood and white paint.
He tried to touch his body, but his hand slipped through the torso as though he were
a ghost, which, he realised he must be.
He was too shocked to be truly afraid. Poking at the wall, he realised that he could
put his hand through that too.
“Weird,” he thought. And then reconsidered his response.”Wrong.” Shouldn’t he be in
Heaven, or someplace else. He didn’t want to consider Hell. There was that time he
accidentally crashed his dad’s car and the odd joint smoked at university, but he didn’t
think that warranted eternal damnation.
“Hello!” the cheery voice behind him made him jump. Turning, he saw a young woman
standing in the kitchen doorway.
She had bright blonde hair and a brighter smile and was carrying a clip-board.
“Who..” Philip’s voice trailed off in confusion.
“I’m Anna,” the woman said briskly. “And I’ve come to give you some very good news”.
Philip tried to process that information.
“I’ve just died,” he said eventually. “I’m not sure that anything could be considered good
news at this point.”
“But that is where you’re wrong,” she said rather smugly, in Philip’s opinion. “You’ve won
the annual Deathless Lottery.” She waited for his reply as though he should be ecstatic at
the news.
Philip gave her a baffled look. “Incase you haven’t noticed, I’m dead – no amount of money
isn’t really going to help me.”
“Oh what you’ve won is far more valuable than money,” Anna said. “It’s life, eternal life to
be exact. If you just sign this form,” she brandished the clip-board,”I’ll pop you back into
your body, good as new, and you’ll never grow old and never die.”
“Never?” Philip tried to wrap his head around the concept. “But how did I win a lottery that
I didn’t buy a ticket for?”
“Oh it’s some charity event between my boss and God.”
“Your boss?” Philip asked weakly.
“Well Death, obviously,” Anna said with a do-keep-up-idiot look at him. “Once every thousand years
a name gets picked out of the names of souls and someone gets eternal life as a gesture of goodwill
to humanity.”
“And that’s me,” Philip said in disbelief.
“Yup, lucky number eighty billion and one.” Anna offered him the clip-board. “You can opt out of course
and we’ll send you upstairs, entirely up to you.”
Philip thought about his life. His boring job at an insurance agency. His girlfriend who had dumped him
for a work colleague because “really Philip, no offence, but I’m looking for a bit more excitement in my
life” and the fact that while he kept meaning to go abroad one day he still holidayed in the same campsite,
often in the same caravan in Wales. He briefly considered what “upstairs” might consist of, but dismissed
the idea of it. Here was a second chance, and he was going to take it. Taking the pen that magically his
fingers could hold, he scrawled his name on the proffered form.
“Thank-you.” Anna beamed at him. “Have a nice eternal life.”
She said something he couldn’t understand and within moments he was swept back into his body.
Waking up afterwards, alone in his kitchen, Philip put the whole strange experience down to a
concussion, although he did find it strange that although there was a lot of blood he couldn’t find a wound on his
body. He went to the sink and washed his hands. There was a knife on the draining
board Inwardly laughing at himself, he picked it up and made the shallowest of cuts on his arm. The blood seeped
out and immediately was sucked back in as the skin closed around it. For the second time Philip found himself
on the kitchen floor, this time passed out in shock.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
The next day Philip put his flat on the market and handed in his notice. Once he had enough money he booked
a ticket to France. “start small and work up”, he reasoned. Over the next five hundred years he travelled all over
the world, doing odd jobs here and there to get to the next place. The money from the sale of his house in
a high interest account mostly covered his expenses, and he didn’t need much.
He learned languages and cultures, the beauty of the ever vanishing rainforests and the starkness of the Sahara. He loved and
left thirty two women when he realised that they wished for someone to grow old with.
When Mars became viable he watched the Earth from above and mourned for what it had become after the great war between
America and Japan.
In the biodome one day he sat amongst the virtual plants looking at the stars, holding an ancient copy of “The Hitchikers Guide
to The Galaxy.” One of the small collection of books he had kept safe when virtual libraries had made paper books entirely
obsolete.
“What’s that?” A voice beside Philip startled him. Looking down he saw a small boy looking at his book with bemusement.
“It’s called a book,” he said. “It tells a story.”
“Like a lit sim?”
“A bit like that but you can hold it and you have to read the words yourself.”
“Sounds old.” The boy wrinkled his nose up in disgust.
Philip smiled. “It is.”

Protection

PROTECTION:
It’s easy for me. After all I have nothing left to lose.
The lamplight casts sodium yellow on the black asphalt.
It rained earlier, perhaps it will rain again soon, for there
are no stars and the air is heavy with the promise of a sudden
downpour.
I’ve been chasing him a while now.
He’s frightened, out of breath and confused.
In the dark I hear his breath, can almost feel his heart beating.
Such fragile things hearts.
My sister Alice used to say that there was a reason other than anatomy as to
why they were called rib-cages.
Little birds fluttering in our chests trying to get out.
Sometimes they get to fly free, sometimes they are smothered.
And sometimes they are destroyed.
Dumped in a river and left to rot, the only thing left a spirit neither living
nor dead.
But I don’t forget and I don’t abandon those that I love.
Alice is safe.
The man that tried to attack her is not.

The Trio

The Trio

See no evil.
Lecrutia was ten when she found the books.
She wasn’t supposed to go in her father’s study – she’d mess up the papers that lay on his
big walnut desk. Or spill ink on the floor, her mother said. little girls are clumsy and
should keep to the playroom where the childish things were kept.
But one, cold, crisp winter’s afternoon, Lucretia was bored. Bored of being cooped up,
bored of playing with her dolls. Her governess was away, and usually that would be a
cause for celebration as tuesdays were the dreaded day of learning mathematics. A subject
she had neither interest nor aptitude for.
Mother was entertaining that vile Mrs Pimmins who smelled of violets and insisted on calling her “my dear”.
Father was out and not expected until tommorow.
And really, what was the harm in having a bit of an explore?
She’d just be really careful not to disturb anything.
Of course good intentions when it comes to children are often brushed along the wayside as soon as anything
diverting comes along.
Lucretia stroked the silky feathers of the stuffed owl that glared sightless from its perch, and ran her
fingers over the wooden boxes and figurines that her father had collected from his travels all over the world.
The bookcase was of the most interest however. She liked to read, although the choices of literature her
governess deemed appropriate for her were often boring. Sometimes she snuck a book from the collection
in the library and read about adventures and mystery and other things that her mother took from her when
she was inevitably discovered.
How much more interesting must the books be in her father’s library if they were hidden away so?
Lucretia ran her hand over the leather spines and tried to decipher the titles. Some of them were in
foreign languages, some were so worn that she couldn’t make out the words. But one tome caught her
eye.
“The Book Of The Dead.”
Quietly Lucrecia slid it from the shelf, sat down and began to read.

Hear No Evil
From that point on Lucrecia became bolder. She knew how to sneak into her fathers study without
being noticed by the maids, and was careful to do so when her parents were otherwise occupied.
The book, her special book as she now called it in her mind had opened up a door inside her that
she hadn’t known was there. A lot of it she didn’t understand, and some of it was in different languages,
but the symbols and pictures were fascinating, as were the stories that she could understand, written
on bits of paper placed between the picture runes, obviously translations into English.
The Coffin Texts were her favourite, perhaps because they were accompanied by a symbol that she was
familiar with. It was embossed on father’s robe, the one that he wore when he had his friends to visit in
the night and she was told to go to bed early.
Now she wondered exactly what those dark robed men spoke of.
And so it was that the next time she was sent to her room before the moon was up and her mother had
retired early, Lucretia slipped along the corridor on quiet bare feet and padded down the staircase the
maids used. The candles were already lit in the big room where her father entertained his guests, but he himself
was up in his chambers. Carefully Lucrecia tucked herself under a corner table and concealed herself behind
the heavy brocade tablecloth.
She heard the first of the carriages arrive just as she was about to doze off, but it wasn’t long before the heavy
door to the meeting room was opened and several pairs of footsteps echoed on the polished wood floor. If she
peeked, carefully she could see boots and the edges of cloaks as the men, and one woman settled on the
chairs around the table.
Lucretia listened and she learned of Gods and plots and spells of power. She learnt of resurrection that was
certainly not the same as it was in the Bible. She discovered that what they talked of could not be found
out by anyone else. They had a secret, and now she did too.

Speak No Evil
With her new information Lucretia’s special book began to reveal more secrets, although the pull of it had started
to make her more reckless. Once she had to hide in a cupboard when a maid came in to clean, and on one
terrifying day hide behind the couch when her father unexpectedly returned because he had forgotten his
coat.
But these secrets, and this knowledge had taken root in her mind, and as she pondered the ancients and
their magics, the power in simply speaking out load a certain combination a plan took hold.
Tommy. Or Thomas Mapleton the fifth as it was inscribed on his gravestone in the family plot behind
their little chapel. Tommy, silly, bright eyed Tommy who didn’t mind playing tea party with her dolls when
she was little and he several years older. Tommy who gave her her first pony ride even though they both
knew mother would tan his hide if she caught them. Tommy who had suddenly withered away like a plant
deprived water and was buried while their mother wept, her father stood stoicly and she herself stood by
bewildered as to why any of this had happened.
If the special book contained spells that could ressurect kings then surely a fifteen year old boy would
be easier for the magic?
It took two days to plan. Sneaking out the piece of paper from the book with the english pronounciation
of the spell and hiding it under her mattress, and finding an opportunity when everyone was asleep,
including the servents. But the time came when the house was utterly silent. slipping through the hallway,
Lucrecia carefully unlocked the kitchen door and stepped into the night.
The moon was a slender silver sickle but shone enough light that she could see well enough, and anyway she
the way by heart.
The damp grass brushed her bare feet as she moved towards the gravestones, milky grey in the darkness,
a soft contrast to the dark whispering trees.
Pausing infront of Tommy’s stone, she gave the cool stone a fond brush with her fingers befoer reciting the
words that she had learned from heart.
Her heart beating fast, she waited for something to happen. Her mouth dry, the bodice of her nightgown
suddenly feeling too tight.
For a moment all was still.
It hadden’t worked, Lucrecia thought with dissapointment. She must have said it wrong or..
A sudden shifting of the earth beneath her made her jump back with a squeak of surprise. The grass
that covered the coffin was splitting apart, the earth pushing upwards.
She’d done it! Lucrecia stifled a shout of joy. Several noises behind her made her turn in surprise.
Of the twenty three graves that made up the family plot, all were breaking open. She caught a
glimpse of a yellow boned hand reaching upwards and what looked like the top of a skull trying
to push through the earth.
Suddenly Lucrecia didn’t think that this had been a very good idea after all….

The Trouble With Painting

Art group field trip on friday.
Freshwater Bay.
An ice-cream scoop out of the cliffs.
Shimmmering , jingling shingle.
The mainland peeking shyly from behind the clouds.
In the hotel’s studio we set up our desks.
Murray, our avuncular teacher tells us to draw what we see,
And that’s when the sea mist comes in.
Snuggling over the hills and blanketing the waves.
White, impenetrable and certainly not drawable.
After rubbing out more than I’ve drawn I give Murray a blank sheet of paper.
“That’s what I see.”
He concurs.
We retreat to the restaurant.
No-one painted anything but if you are around those parts the Dandelion Cafe makes awesome cake.