Category Archives: Long(er) fiction

“Sit wherever you like” she said, as if I actually wanted to be there.

“Thanks for coming today. Your opinions are…” her words faded with my concentration.

The painting on the wall morphed from a nondescript pattern into a sailboat into a small child reading a tattered book under a tree. Her hair was gently swaying under a spring breeze, her bare feet shifted softly through luscious green grass beside her now discarded shoes and the corner of her mouth subtly lifted to a smile.

“A or B?” she demanded more than asked.

“I’m sorry, the hour has passed.” I stood up quickly before picking up my bag. “Can I have my incentive now?”

Ignoring the shocked look on her face, I took the envelope and left the room. Focus groups have never excited me but the money is easy.

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Rising from her death bed

She steps into the water like she does the unknown – fearfully. Helen has craved this exact breed of solitude, a sunrise swim, for years but now it has arrived, she is second guessing her desire.
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The water flows over her toes and feet before passing her calves as thoughts of the sheet being pulled over her still body flood Helen’s mind. Her only encouragement,  are her hands dragging in the chilled ocean water reminding herself of life restored.

The water was murky and Helen couldn’t see what lay beneath but she’d emerged from the pits of death itself to be here and had vowed to never again be a spectator.

Eight years ago Helen was struck by a run away tyre at a race track, the medical staff declared her dead on the scene.  Today she walks into the water, free from the mind numbing beeps of monitoring equipment and proof that we cannot discount the fight within ourselves.

Helen watched helplessly as the curtains of life closed upon her, now she enters the water as a phoenix does from the ashes.

#realpeopleinfictionalstories

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Sudding alone

Part one

Doorway unkown The bag was removed from my head and I was lead through the house but such was my state, I struggled for details. Following one and being pushed by another, there could have been four or five people in the house, I couldn’t be sure.

I’d lost track of the time but it must have been a few hours since I’d been walking home now. 

I’d been returning from a night out and was only only meters from my home when I noticed a dark coloured car with its interior lights on. “Lost tourists?”, I remember thinking before they suddenly burst from their vehicle; knocking me to the ground before shoving a bag over my head and my body into the boot. It happened too quick to struggle. 

Now as they approached the doorway, my returning sense of awareness and will to survive combined. As if the door were to hell itself, I fought as hard as I could. 

It was no use, the more i fought the more clenched fists and boots struck my frantic body. It was over. 

My head thumped in the door on the way through as I stumbled into the room, collapsing on the cold tiles within. 

Part two

Rumbling fearLight slowly returned to my vision as I lifted my head from the cold brown tiles.

The memory of being kidnapped drowned out by the deafening, and near debilitating ringing in my ears. How long had I been here?

Light turned to dark and dark turned to light – another day had passed. Waking, the ringing had ceased but had been replaced by a terrible thirst.
I pulled myself to my feet for the first time since being thrown in this room come dungeon. Foreign machinery, four cupboard doors and a sink.

Turning the cold tap, the pipes rattled like the fear in my heart. A brown sludge dribbled slowly from the tap as I heard footsteps outside.

Part three

Foreign machinery The door flung open bright light filled a the small room. My eyes struggling eyes couldn’t adjust quick enough to see make out the figure but they made their presence felt.

Slapping my hands away from the sink they pushed me towards the machinery in the corner before slamming the door shut.

A voiced bellowed in the distance. “Get to work!” Ignoring both my fear and thirst, i opened the obvious hatch door in the first machine. I thought I’d better try and figure this out before they return.

Try as I might is was useless, the machinery was like none I’d ever seen. Straight lines formed its exterior and smooth round edges appeared inside. 

Then it hit me, “I’d heard that bellowing voice before”.

Part four

Blinded to realityDistracted from the task at hand, I stared through the cracks if the blinds. That voice?
It wasn’t so much the voice I recalled but the harshness of tone; demanding and disappointed with a touch of desperation.

“Get back to work!” The words echoed as I sifted through the mountain of rags like memories in my mind. I sorted colours from whites as I did good from bad before dropping to my knees, shaking my head in disbelief.

“Get back to work” I laughed, “cover the left flank, put in a bit of effort kids, are you serious ref!?” The footsteps outside the door grew louder with each phrase but I no longer feared their sound.

Two figures appeared at the door this time, both far less intimidating than the one that came before them.

“Mum, I was scared of Uncle Bob when he’d come to my football games and yell from the sidelines but are you serious? ” I questioned. “I know I never wash my own clothes but this is a little extreme isn’t it … even for you!?”

A four part instagram series inspired by images of my mother in-law’s laundry

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36 Claymorton St

This post is not in my usual 55 word style. This story was inspired by the work of SGood Images, I hope you enjoy my first attempt at a slightly longer thriller fiction.

Valerie Naughton hasn’t been since in three weeks. She was seen last by her family in the afternoon of Boxing Day 26 December. Anyone with any information should call crimestoppers on…

No one had been in the house since she had vanished. They couldn’t bring themselves to face the memories held by her home. Memories of the sunshine flood lounge room, the orange tree in the backyard or the afternoons littered with tea cups.

Most of all they couldn’t bare to be faced with the uncertainty of her fate.

Oblivious to this we entered the ‘abandoned’ home, to our left a hall table; to our right a open suitcase full of old books. Turning right past the dust covered books, they entered the front lounge room. Pulling back the dark green curtain, light filled the room, highlighting just how much dust there was.

Dusty books

The tea cup and saucer on the coffee table and an open TV guide on the floor; we suddenly began to think the house was no longer abandoned.

Damien said we should go, but I was too far in now to turnaround. Fearfully he pleaded with me. You surely aren’t scared of a little dust?

The sounds of pots clambered in the kitchen.

Gripping his hand tightly, it was quite clear he wasn’t the only one who was scared.

Slowly we traced our steps backwards out of the room. With each step our heart rates dropped. Then just when we thought we were clear we fell backwards into the hallway, turning to see our feet entangled in the suitcase of old books like insects in a venus fly trap.

Then we saw him.

His fiercly wild eyes burning holes through us, racing across the hall like a angry spider to his prey. His skin was old and weathered, his clothing; filthy, torn and soiled.

Frantically we scrambled to our feet before racing down the hall.

‘Get out of my house, she wouldn’t want you here!’, the last words we heard before busting through the backdoor and into the yard.

‘Was that real’ Damien’s fear had transcended into something more.

‘Let’s go’ I said, not wanting to even entertain the thought of how pursuer. ‘We’ll jump the fence’

The grass was long, not thin like wheat fields but thick, like tentacles gripping at our legs. A few meters from the fence, we heard the door fly open. He was now carrying a large rusty kitchen knife, his face full of rage.

Then I saw her.

Her face was pale, in stark contrast to the dark green grass around her face and her eyes vacant, devoid of all emotion and life. In the middle of yard, her hands by her side; lying … alone.

I was caught but her gaze, I stopped and lifted her lifeless body to mine.

‘That’s not yours’ he said, all rage seemingly vanished from his voice, the knife falling from his hand. ‘That doll you’re holding was Valerie’s, I need it. It’s the last memory I have of her’.

Doll image in grass

Tears now running down his cheeks, he fell to his knees.  I looked at the doll then back at the man collapsed helplessly on the lawn.

‘Come on. What are you doing?’ Damien’s voice came from over the fence.

I didn’t answer, I walked towards him with the doll outstretched in my arms like an offering. As I got closer, I could see his details. Mangey matted hair, his heavy beard and and overgrown yellow nails. His appearance disgusted me, but his love for ‘Valerie’ drew me in.

Taking the doll gently in his arms he drew it slowly in against his chest, wrapping his tweed jacket around it like a mother would her baby. Rocking back and forth he started to sing.

Hush little baby don’t you cry

Daddy’s going to sing you a lullaby…

My own eyes welling with tears, it was obvious whoever Valerie was, he loved her dear.

Hush little baby don’t you cry

I’m going to kill and tell you way…

I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly until he turned on his feet, the rusted blade in his hands once again. I tried to flee but it was too late, he had a handful of my hair and was leading me towards a door.

‘Help’ I screamed, ‘Damien!’

Hush little baby don’t you cream

Valerie is gone, having an eternal dream…

The fear took hold of me, had he killed Valerie? I could no longer speak, let alone scream.

Throwing me to the floor in the corner of a dark aluminium shed I struggled to look around. All I saw was his silhouetted figure at the door, the doll in one hand, his blade in the other.

Hush little baby I’ll make this quick

A slash across the throat will do the trick

Closing my eyes, I prayed for the first time in fifteen years.

Looking back now, it was stupid to enter a house just to snoop around in what we thought was an abandoned house. I know physically in was Damien who called the police and who climbed back over the fence but still to this day, I refuse to underestimate the power of prayer.

Arthur Long was sentenced to life imprisonment today for the Murder of Valerie Naughton. Mr Long had been bunkered in the victim’s home  since initial police investigations had moved on. Mr Long nearly claimed his second victim when two teenagers stumbled across him while exploring what they thought was an abandoned home.

36 Claymorton St was written in reposnse to the images of SGoode Images. Find them here, on facebook

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This is how the real world goes

Brutally blinding light appeared as her warmth left, suddenly and without warning.  The light’s heat, welcome relief for her instantly cold skin but all she saw was white, pure void.   Shivering and blind, the room spun adding vertigo to her state.

Fearfully alone, closing her eyes the only means of escape. Is this the world?

It was only then, in the utter darkness that she had become accustomed to, she could hear the voice. Not quite comprehensive but entirely familiar.

A sense of security washes over her small frame and her tiny fingers relax from their fists. Expecting a different reality, she opens her eyes.

Despite the calling and the resulting expectations, the light remains and screams escape her lips. Once again, her eyes snap shut; now desperate for the voice.

Where had it gone?

Her fear worsens, realising the only company she now had was the darkness and her cries.

They’ve spoke of this place for months now, this cannot be how the real world goes.

Welcome, my dear child; this is, how the real world goes.Then, as suddenly as it left, her warmth returns, it surrounds and lifts her up. Shivers subdue as her cries reduce to a whimper.

With this peaceful warmth, the voice came back.

Welcome, my dear child; this is how the real world goes.

baby55new

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Beloved mountain

Enveloped in blue skies, memories of the cup of tea that started this journey flooded back.

The tea cups rattled as nervously traversing the kitchen. I’d been handling the same cups for years, but never seemed totally at ease.

I still don’t quite understand, why we don’t use mugs I thought to myself as I stumbled out in to the lounge.

The cups are over 60 years old. A gold trim, now a worn around the edges; white with a blue floral pattern on the outside. Using fine china, a practice of years gone by. A time before dishwashers and caffeine hits, when afternoon tea, was much more. Passing through the lounge my eyes moved from the trodden red carpet to her legs, rocking back and forth, now visible on the deck.

“I want to go back Ben.”

“Where?” I ask, handing Gran her tea.

Gran didn’t answer immediately. Instead, staring vaguely off into the distance, giving me time to appreciate her face and how the fading sunlight highlighted the lines in her aged face. Everything about her exuded peace, yet her lack of response hung heavily in my mind.

“Ben!” Gran gasped. “This is it isn’t it?”

“Yes Gran it is” I said, taking her hand in mine, helplessly trying to hold back my smile.
The lift swung around to the right as I lifted Gran from her seat.

I knew she’d lost weight but when taking her full weight; I was surprised just how light she was.
Five years ago, Gran got pretty sick. Her four month hospital visit, together with the medications and her profound dislike for hospital food resulted in drastic weight loss.

There were times I had thought, she wouldn’t make it through. But whether by medical aid or the fighting country spirit of her youth, she survived.

Survived, in that she was still breathing but not without scars.

I sat down on the great big cane chair beside Gran. The chairs always seemed comically large as a child but with my head now well above the backrest and my thighs touching the sides, I realise how times change. I am no longer a boy, and my Gran is much older than I appreciate.

Thanks to her condition, these silences were not uncommon during my weekly afternoon tea visits. Gran struggles to maintain concentration and rarely remembers what you actually say.
But something was different about today. Typically her stares are blank, but today there was something there. It could’ve easily been the sun reflecting off her hazel eyes, but as I studied every line on her face a small yet sure smile cracked her weathered face.

“I want to go back to the mountain” she said as her smile grew. “The ledge where I…”
She failed to finish the sentence instead, giving in to a sudden flow of tears. I knew exactly where she meant.

The chair squeaked as I sat down, the doctor’s gentle laugh a welcome, yet momentary relief.

Dr McConnor had been Gran’s doctor for over 35 years now. Apart from my late grandfather, it was him, who knew her best.

“I must ask” Dr McConnor spoke as he sat, “To what do I owe the pleasure of this unexpected visit?”

His relaxed, yet somewhat arrogant demeanour made me nervous and unsure of today’s meeting. He sat back in his reclined chair; I shuffled nervously on the edge on the consultation room’s vinyl chair. I couldn’t help but feel like a boy in a man’s world.
“I want to take Gran on a trip” I blurted out.

“Your Gran isn’t up to trips” he replied, without even asking where we were going.
I was mad, I wanted to storm out of the room. This man has grown from a textbook, what would he know of love?

Instead, I sighed. “I want to take Gran to the mountain.”

“No, definitely not” his raised arm stopped me mid sentence.

“But…”

“But nothing Ben. I cannot allow this to happen.”

The phone rang again and again, I knew better than to hang up. On the twelfth ring, she answered.

“Gran, I’ve got some bad news” I said trying to explain who exactly was calling.

“I know, it’s ok” she quickly replied. “The doctor called me earlier and told me of your plans”

“My plans?” I questioned. Sometimes I feel like she is feigning her vagueness.

“I said, you’d be acting strangely, suggesting we go on trips. I said you must have been on drugs” appearing the most lucid I’d seen in months.

“Kids these days” I said as we both laughed, my mind flashed back to childhood.

Days on end spent at Gran’s. She’d run around playing games, with newspaper swords stuck down the back of our shirts, paint wherever we could and laugh until our sides hurt. She appeared crazy to some, but to me, simply awesome.

“Gran, are you ok?” I asked amongst more laughter.

“Great, never been better” she replied, I could tell she was smiling from the way she abruptly spoke her words. “So good in fact, that I rung the travel agent after I spoke with the doc”

We stood Side by side on that mountain, for what felt like years before speaking. But I knew all too well, what she was thinking.

“This is where we met” Gran said. “Your grandfather and I came here once a year, and do just this. Watch and listen”

I had no words that could match the power of the ones she shared.

“And Ben, I want to thank you for bringing me back to where it’ll end” she calmly mouthed the words taking hold of my hands.

“Gran?” was all I could manage.

“I want you to listen and watch as I speak” suddenly Gran was serious. “I have little to give Ben, and the world, little to give me”

Tears ran ice cold down my cheeks, as I watched the woman I loved so much fall down her beloved mountain.

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