Sunday, 27 July 2014

Good Girl

Ellie Smith was a bully’s dream, she didn’t wear the right clothes, she wasn’t the right height or build, her hair wasn’t perfect, she wasn’t good at any of her school subjects, her Mum was obese, her little brother had severe learning disabilities and was in a wheelchair, and her Dad was always working away, her family never seemed to have enough money, and she never went out. If people, meaning her classmates took time to really know her they’d find that she would be one of the kindest human beings they would ever have the pleasure to meet, she helped her Mum do the chores and looked after her brother the best she could, but when you are a certain age these things didn’t seem to matter. So Ellie, also known as Smelly Ellie or Elliephant, would sit at the back of any class, sports hall, canteen or field and tried her very best not to get noticed.
Which of course she always did.
It was in history Ellie decided that this was how her life was always going to be and decided there wasn’t anything she could do about it, well there was one thing she could do, but she didn’t know how her Mum or brother could cope without her, so she had to rule that idea out no matter how tempting it was. She lowered herself into her chair and didn’t bother to look up when Ms. Thomas came in.
“Right seeing today is October 31st I’ve decided to deviate from World War II for today and have some fun.” she said, this made her class sit up and listen and she smiled, “I’m going to tell you a bit of local history.” A small groan erupted from her pupils, “Now, now you might enjoy this, it happened in this very town, when it was just a small village has anyone heard of Mary Worth?” There were mutters of ‘no’ and ‘never heard of her’ “Well as they used to say on the radio. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.”
Long ago in the village of Harmony, Mary Worth who had only been married a year gave birth to her first child, though the poor little mite was born terribly deformed it was amazing that it was actually alive, (“sounds like your brother” someone whispered to Ellie) believing it was a demon the midwife snatched the baby from its Mother’s arms and left it in the woods to die. Mary didn't care what her baby looked like and spent night and day looking for her lost infant, going completely mad with grief. Months later a plague hit the village, crops failed to grow, children got sick and died, and cattle wasted away. The villagers believed witchcraft was involved but who could be a witch? Why the woman who gave birth to a demon the midwife had told everyone about what she had seen and Mary’s crying and searching had gotten a lot of attention. Poor Mary was beaten and burnt at the stake.
“And now,” Ms Thomas said, “If you stand in a darken room in front of a mirror, and say 'Mary I have your baby' three times, Mary will appear and when she discovers that you haven't got her child she becomes very, very angry, well if someone was taunting you about your lost baby what would you do?”
Silent tears fell down Ellie’s face as she found herself feeling sorry for Mary and her baby. Willow who was sitting nearby noticed and nudged her friend Melissa, who glanced back and sniggered. Ellie suppressed a moan; they were two girls who took great delight in making her life hell.
The school bell rang for the end of the lesson and break. Ellie looked out for Willow and Melissa but couldn’t see them; Ellie gritted her teeth together, if they were going to do something she really wished they’d hurry up and do it so she wouldn’t have to be on tender hooks all day. Her wish was granted as she past the girl’s toilets and was pounced on by Georgina, Willow and Melissa’s friend and was pushed through the door where the other two girls were waiting with two nasty smiles on their faces.
“Hi Ellie we’re going to do an experiment.” Melissa said, “And we needed a guinea pig.”
“And you’re closest to a pig that we could find.” Willow grinned, “You remember the story Ms. Thomas told? We want to see if it’s true, so you’re going to call to Mary.”
Ellie shook her head, and went to run for the bathroom door only to find Georgina, who was a lot taller than her standing in front of it, Georgina switched off the lights and then folded her arms daring Ellie to try and push past her.
“You either do it,” Melissa said, “or we stick your head down the loo, there are three of us and only one of you, you can’t fight us Elliephant.”
Ellie swallowed hard, it must have just been a story not real, because if it had been it would have been in the local history books Ellie liked to read when she went to the library. Ms Thomas must know some children would want to try calling to Mary just to see what would happen, and a teacher wouldn’t put children in danger would they. She took a deep breath and turned to face the mirror.
“Mary I have your baby.” she said, “Mary I have your baby. Mary I have your baby.”
Nothing happened. And the girls stuck Ellie’s head down the toilet anyway.
Once Ellie had helped her Mum wash, and get her brother to bed, she managed just to finish her homework before falling asleep. She found herself in wintery woodland, the snow was up to her knees, and every tree looked twisted and ugly. She looked around looking for a way out, when she heard a small pathetic wail, which sounded like an animal in pain. Ellie followed the sound to a small bush where she found a small creature which looked like a rabbit without fur or ears, it whimper and raised its…arms…it had arms with which had hands like bird’s feet, it was cold, and clearly frightened and Ellie didn’t care what it looked like, she scooped it up and held it to her trying to warm it by putting it down her pyjama top, she felt it nestle against her.
“It’s okay.” she whispered, “I’ll find us a way out I….”
A crunch of snow behind her made her turn round and found herself staring at young woman who looked like she hadn’t eaten or slept in months.
“My baby.” the woman said, “They took my baby, where is my baby?”
The creature under Ellie’s top made a soft cooing noise and the story Ms. Thomas had told that very afternoon came back to Ellie and she very carefully took it out and held it towards the woman.
“Hello Mary,” she said quietly “I have your baby.”
Mary Worth smiled and wrapped her baby up in a blanket she was carrying and held it close to her breast, giving it a well-deserved feed, she smiled at Ellie.
“Good girl.” Mary said, “Good girl. Big heart. Always remember that. Always be good.”
“Where am I?” Willow’s voice came through the trees.
“Willow?” Melissa called “Is that you?”
“What’s going on?” Georgina asked.
Mary looked towards where the voices were coming from and scowled “Bad girls.”
Melissa, Willow and Georgina found themselves in woodland clearing without knowing how they got there. It was cold, so very very cold, they huddled together and looked for a way out, which was when they saw her, Mary Worth, or rather Mary Worth’s charcoaled remains coming towards them, carrying the frost bitten corpse of her baby. They tried to run but the snow became like quick sand and they found themselves sinking unable to move. All they could do was scream as Mary Worth attacked.
News that Melissa, Willow and Georgina had burnt to death in their beds quickly went through the school that very morning, what had everyone wondering was why those three girls, and why was it only their beds that caught a light so quickly and not the rest of their houses.
Ellie ran to the bathroom where she had been trapped the day before and looked at the mirror where she had called to Mary. It was big, and took up the whole of the wall and the whole room could be seen in it, so when Ellie had stood in front of it, the three girls reflections had also been there. Ellie felt sick, those girls had been horrible to her, and made her school life a misery, but she didn’t want them dead, their parents didn’t deserve to lose them. She splashed cold water into her face, and looked up and let out a frightened scream. Mary was standing behind her in the mirror, she looked behind her, but she wasn’t there.
“Good girl,” Mary said, “Good girl. Big heart. Always remember that. Always be good.”
Mary Worth hadn’t taken Ellie because she was a good girl with a big heart, unlike the girls who had picked on her, like the villagers had picked on Mary.
Ellie Smith is a grown woman now, she’s a nurse, and does a lot of charity work. Her brother lives in a residential home and she visits him on her days off along with her Mum. Everyone always says how good she is and what a big heart she has. The only odd thing is she avoids mirrors whenever she can. Well, you can never be too careful can you?

 

 

 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Girls and Boys Come out To Play

Jonathan Finks sat at his in workroom his round moon like face was creased in concentration as he carved the deep rich wood that he brought that morning. Rain was beating hard against the window as though it was trying to fight its way in.
“Rain, rain, go away,” Jonathan muttered turning up the radio next to his work bench, “Come back another day.”
If he had his way there would never be another day of rain, it lowered everyone’s mood, and made them miserable. That statement would have made his Mother tut, roll her eyes, and ruffle his hair.
“Jonny,” She would have said, “If we didn’t have rain then there would be nothing to make the flowers grow and then people would be even more miserable, where would we be if we didn’t have a bit of colour in our lives.”
Jonathan sighed, well she would have said when he was small, but when he became an adult, she never seemed quiet as pleased to see him.
 “You were such a sweet chubby little boy, my little cherub,” She’d complained, “Now look at you at the pub every afternoon, going out with those women with those skirts that should be belts, buying those magazines, don’t you think I don’t know what’s in those magazines mister, it’s disgraceful.”
“They’re just car magazines Mum,” Jonathan always reminded her, “And I only go to the pub after work, it helps me unwind.”
He didn’t know where the women with skirts that should be belts were, Jonathan was still chubby, but he didn’t look like a cherub anymore, more like Santa Claus after a shave and dodgy hair dye. Women didn’t really look at him, and when they did, they just saw someone to avoid because a thirty year old man who lived with his Mum and did wood work didn’t interest them.
Mrs Finks would always say “Some children should never grow up, they’d be happier for it, and so would their parents."
Jonathan would nod, she was right, he knew that, he was much happier when he was a little boy, he didn’t have to worry about paying bills, or pleasing that smug Mr Thomas who had been made a manager when he had only worked for the company for six months, whilst Jonathan had worked for sixteen years, and not even got a thank you for it. When he was a child, people would pat him on the head, and tell him what a nice polite young man he was, whilst now people would tell him to stop being a creep and go away.
One of Mrs Finks favourite hobbies was to,sit at the living room window and watch the children walk to and from school, sometimes a child would wave, and Mrs Finks would grin and wave back, from the outside looking in she looked like a sweet old plumb old lady, with white curly hair, rosy cheeks, and bright shiny eyes. It was a good job no one could hear what she was saying on the inside.
"Some people shouldn't be parents.Look at her,” she would say to Jonathan, “Just look at her, on her phone not paying any attention to her little one and he wants to show her his picture poor little might.” Or “Look at her cigarette hanging out of her mouth, tattoos, and dress leaving nothing to the imagination, bet she spends more on nights out instead of looking after that little princess.”
Again Jonathan would nod and wished he could do anything that would make her proud of him.
“Promise me Jonathan,” Mrs Finks said one day over tea, “Promise me, that you’ll find a way to help those poor little mites.”
Of course he promised he promised because whenever he did what his Mum asked him to it smile and gently pat his cheek and tell him what a good son he was, just as she had done when he was small, and it made a nice warm spot blossom in his chest. The only trouble was he could never think of a way to make that promise happen, and he knew that the day she died his Mum was disappointed in him.
It wasn’t until he walked past a stall at a craft fair that he got the idea. He often visited craft fairs, they were good places to get ideas for his wood carving hobby, he had past the usual stalls of handmade soaps, jewellery and dried flower display, and there in the corner was a display of little wooden dolls, that looks so life like, Jonathan had to do a double take. By the side of the stall was a sign HAVE A DOLL MADE TO LOOK LIKE YOUR CHILD. Jonathan stopped and thought. Those parents would have an image of their child forever, they wouldn’t grow up, they wouldn’t get old, and they wouldn’t suffer like the children his Mum would often point out from her chair by the window. It was that day Jonathan knew what he had to do.
He decided to save a child once a year, any more than that then people would start to notice a pattern. He’d watched a lot of detective programmes on television to know that. He choose the child carefully, he knew which ones he should pick, those whose parents obviously cared more about themselves then their children, the ones who shouted, or kept their eyes glued to their mobile phones instead of watching what their child was doing, oh yes, his Mum had taught him well on that subject. It was these parents who made it easy for him to save their children, who were quiet happy go with the happy fat man, who looked like his could be Father Christmas’s younger brother, who gave them sweets, cakes and drink, which would make them go into a deep, deep sleep, so they didn’t notice the nice warm bath he gently put them into to make sure that they would never wake up.
Jonathan knew what happened when something died, when he was eight, he thought he had made a terrible mistake when he buried his hamster  in the garden, what if Cracker hadn’t been dead, when he had dug him up just to make sure he realised he had made an even worse mistake. His Mum had come running out and carried him back into the house, she had then returned to the garden with a pair of scissors and gently place a small bit of Cracker’s fur, what had been left of it, into Jonathan’s hand, and told him that even though a living thing’s body goes the hair always remains, because the hair was part of the soul, and that never dies.
So before he got rid of the empty shell that used to be the child, he would carefully cut off their hair.
That’s when he would use his woodwork skills he would carve the child’s face out of wood, and attach the hair to it, that way there would be a part of them here in the land of the living that would be forever young and innocent, and saved, and he had the perfect place to keep these happy little faces, his Mum had a mirror, a tall, long ancient thing, Jonathan stood in front of it, he could see all of himself. It had a bare wooden frame, perfect to put the little faces around, so when he looked into the mirror he would always be surrounded by the children he saved.
The music on the radio stopped and the news was announced. Police were still on the search for little Tammy Spears, who had gone missing whilst shopping with her Mum. As the reporter was giving her description Jonathan gently stroked the face he had just finished.
He remembered little Tammy’s Mum, her jeans were too tight, and she had tattoos going all up her arms, she had been more interested in the shop window than little Tammy balancing on the wall close by.
“You’re better off where you are sweetheart,” he whispered, “bet your Mummy never tucked you in at night.”
Tammy had been different from the other children who had gone the small house he had found in the wood, he wasn’t going to take him back to his house, that would be silly, the neighbours would notice children coming and not going, and the woods was a good place to bury their shells, and it was miles, and miles away from where he had led them away. Jonathan sighed. He wished his Mum was alive to see how well he was doing. That he was keeping his promise.
Tammy had gone very quiet the further they got from town, and she didn’t sing along to the songs he sung like the other children did. When he had pulled up outside the house she said ever so quietly.“I think I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to have a party, I want to go back to my Mummy.”
“But I’ve got cakes, buns and sweeties.” Jonathan had said cheerfully, “And we can play hide and seek in the woods after.”
The little girl nibbled her bottom lip, her big blue eyes filled with tears “Please, I need to get back to my Mummy she’d be ever so cross because I forgot to ask.”
“Would Mummy shout?”
“Only because she loves me,” was Tammy’s answer, “one time I hid and she couldn’t find me, and when I jumped out she shouted at me, then she said she was sorry she had shouted because she had been so worried because she had thought she had lost me.” She looked down at her feet, “I’d forgotten about that.”
“She was probably cross because she wasn’t good at finding you and was being a poor looser.” Jonathan had offered but Tammy hadn’t looked convinced.
Jonathan couldn’t take her back, she had seen what he looked like, and had seen the house, she would tell her Mum where she had been, and questions would be asked, and Jonathan knew what would happened when he did or didn’t answer them. He had told Tammy that he had a phone inside the house and she could phone her Mummy and invite her to the party. There wasn’t one of course, but Jonathan had been sure once she saw all the nice sweet things she could eat she would forget about being worried and enjoy herself. But when Tammy had gotten inside she asked about the phone, and Jonathan had offered her a cake, still she asked about the phone, he offered her some lemonade, and that’s when Tammy looked frightened, and tried to run.
She had run to the front door, which Jonathan had shut behind them, and even he had trouble opening sometimes, so it was impossible for Tammy to open, and that’s when she had to cried and scream, she turned and faced Jonathan because there had been nowhere else to go.
“Please, I want my Mummy!”
Jonathan grabbed her and covered her mouth, but she had bit and kicked him like frightened animal, and he there was only one thing he could have done.
“I got to you just in time.” Jonathan said as he fixed the little wooden face, complete with Tammy’s beautiful red hair onto the mirror’s frame, “You were growing up to be just like your Mummy weren’t you, biting and screaming like that.”
His ears pricked up when he heard the DJ on the radio announced that it was time for the news. The serious voice of the newsreader told listeners how the search for little Tammy Brown was still going on. Neighbours, friends and family were helping to look and if anyone knew where she was they were to tell the police.
“Tammy’s Mother Gillian made a heartfelt plea this afternoon.” said the reporter on the radio.
“Tammy is a kind and loving girl who is the light of my life.” came a hoarse, tearful voice, “I love her with all of my heart, please just bring her back to me, please.”
“If you had been paying attention to her she wouldn’t have come away with me.” Jonathan said stepping back and smiling at himself in the mirror.
“If you’ve done anything to harm her I curse you.” the tears were gone and Gillian’s voice was full of rage, “I curse you, you hear me? You’ll pay for what you have done.”
Jonathan frowned and switched off the radio, what an odd thing to say, what did she think she was a witch? It was a good thing he had gotten Tammy away from her; she would have probably ended up as some kind of sacrifice. He yawned and looked at each of the wooden happy faces he had created, and smiled back at them.
“Goodnight my little angels,” he whispered as he stepped out of the room and switched off the light.
Jonathan opened his eyes to find his bedroom bathed in pale moonlight, he wasn’t sure what it was that had woken him up.
“Girls and boys come out to play; the moon does shine as bright as day;”
Jonathan blinked and looked up, his workshop was in the attic room above him, it was where he had found the mirror, and it had been too big for him to move from there, and anyway there was no way he could have it on display anywhere else in the house for obvious reasons.
He had been sure he had switched the radio off when he left the room.
“Leave your supper and leave your sleep, and join your playfellows in the street.”
And what radio station plays children’s nursery rhymes at this time of night? One that would keep him awake for the rest of the night that’s what. Sighing he got up, put on his slippers and made his way to his workroom.
“Come with a whoop and come with a call.”
Jonathan put his hand on the door knob.
“Joooonnnnathan.”
Jonathan froze, he wasn’t sure if it was his name that he had just heard being called or the wind. The sound of a clock chiming twelve could be heard making its way up the stairs which led to the room. Midnight the witching hour. The thought made him shudder.
The sound of children giggling from behind the door made him let go of the door knob as thought of it had just scared him.
“Up the ladder and down the wall, a halfpenny roll will serve us all.”
More childish laughter.
“Come play with us Jonathan.”
Jonathan swallowed. This couldn’t be happening could it? He was dreaming surely.
“You find the milk and I’ll find the flour and we’ll have pudding in half an hour.”
“Joooonnnnathan.”
“Come play with us Jonathan.”
“There’s cakes and buns and sweet things to eat Jonathan.”
“Come on Jonathan we’re waiting for you.”
Jonathan blinked if this was happening why was he frightened? They were children calling him. And the only children that were there behind that door were the little wooden images of those he had saved. And they wanted to play.
Jonathan opened the door and stepped inside. The mirror was standing in patch of moonlight. The faces were just how he had carved them, hair framing their smiling faces.
“Hello?” he called stepping closer to the mirror, “Hello did you want to play? Hello?”
“Poor child sits a-weeping, a-weeping, a-weeping, poor child sits a-weeping on a fine summer's day, and why are they a-weeping, a-weeping, a-weeping, and why are they a-weeping on a fine summer's day?”
Jonathan stepped closer to the mirror, and saw that the faces were no longer smiling; in fact they were damp with tears.
“I’m a-weeping because I’d have grown up to be a doctor, a doctor, a doctor; I’m a-weeping because I’d have grown up to be a doctor on fine summer’s day.”
“I’m a-weeping because I’d have grown up to be a teacher, a teacher, a teacher; I’m a-weeping because I’d have grown up to be a teacher on a fine summer’s day.”
“I’m a-weeping because I’d have grown up to be a dancer, a dancer, a dancer; I’m a-weeping because I’d have grown up to be a dancer on a fine summer’s day.”
“I’m a-weeping because I’d have grown up to be a Mummy, a Mummy, a Mummy; I’m a-weeping because I’d have grown up to be a Mummy on a fine summer’s day.”
“No,” Jonathan said, “No, you’re wrong, I saved you, your parents didn’t love you, you would have grown up angry and sad, you wouldn’t have been able to become those things.”
He tried to move but his feet seemed to be held in place by something, he looked down and saw nothing, and then he caught sight of his reflection in the mirror, there seemed to be more shadows in there, shadows that looked like tiny hands holding his feet in place.
“You only saw a minute in our lives and saw what you wanted to see.” the children said, “You think you saved us? Look at what you really are.” Jonathan saw his reflection and his hands were covered in blood, “You’re a killer Jonathan, you took us away from people who loved us, you took us away from what we were going to be.”
“No.” Jonathan started to cry, “No, you don’t understand…Please.”
“We don’t want to play with you anymore Jonathan.” the wooden faces were no longer crying they were frowning, “You’re not a very nice person. And you hurt us.”
“Let me go.” Jonathan sobbed, “Please.”
“Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head.”
The mirror began to rock back and forth.
“Please I just wanted to keep my promise.” Jonathan cried struggling to get away.
“Chop! Chop! The last’s man’s dead!”
The only reason Jonathan Finks was found was because his neighbours had started to complain about the smell that was coming from the house. When they had broken down the door they searched and found him crushed to death under an antique mirror, his death was probably made quicker by the smashed glass that had pieced his flesh, driven in by the weight of the mirror. Seeing such a large object coming towards him and knowing he wouldn’t be quick enough to move it was little wonder why there was a look of horror on his face, frozen there by death. Of course what they possibly know that the reason for his fear was because the last thing he saw was the angry little face of Tammy Spears coming towards him as the mirror fell and saying.
“I’d have been a witch just like my mummy.”

 
 

 

 
 

 
 
 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Something Missing by Hazel Robinson


LITTLE BIRD PUBLISHING HOUSE



 
 
 
TITLE: SOMETHING MISSING (BOOK ONE OF THE TRUE LOVE SERIES)
 




 
AUTHOR: HAZEL ROBINSON
 
RELEASE DATE: MAY 1st 2014
 
AUDIENCE: ADULT
 
THEME: ROMANCE, LIFE, COMING OF AGE
 
 
SYNOPSIS: When Susan is left orphaned, she begins a harrowing journey through the care system. Left with both mental and physical scars, Susan approaches adulthood with a self-destructive impulse. However, there is hope in the figure of her childhood friend, Max; the first boy she ever  kissed.
 
Now a grown woman, Susan returns to her childhood home of Winchelsea, where she hopes she will find the answer to the gap in her heart that she’s carried with her since she left. With Max by her side, she attempts to find the path her life should have taken, to build a home, to heal old wounds, and to finally create a family that will stop the terrible feeling of something missing.
But Max has a secret, one that risks destroying all hope of a happy ever after, unless they can find a way to heal one another.
 
 
AVAILABLE FORMATS: e-Book on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com and Paperback available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. (It will be available for other retailers after December 2014)
 
REVIEW COPIES: We are delighted to offer free PDF review copies or paperback review copies under certain circumstances littlebirdpublishinghouse@Yahoo.com
 
INTERVIEWS and BLOG APPEARANCES: Hazel is delighted to participate in interviews, spotlights and giveaways. Please contact the author directly at Helen Robinson h.f.robinsonbooks@gmail.com
 
 
BIOGRAPHY: I've always had a passion for reading but over the last several years it has become an obsession, a few months ago I decided to put fingers to keys to keyboard (or pen to paper!) and write "Something Missing" a story I’ve had hidden away in the back of my mind for a long time.
 
Hazel lives in the small town of Rishton in Lancashire. England, with her husband, three children, two cats, dog, rabbit and lizard. She fills her days dashing between school runs, pets and housework and at night she comes to life either writing or watching her favorite program ‘Supernatural’ (yes she is Supernatural obsessed)
Her road to writing started with a love for paranormal romance novels, and after finding a passion for tragic romance she set out on the mission to share her own story. After long nights writing and a lot of ‘Supernatural’ episodes she is finally ready to share ‘Something Missing’. Hazel loves nothing better than sitting with a cup of tea, a chocolate biscuit and a good book.
 
EXCERPTS:  (1) Susan breathed in deeply; even now the emotions were raw.
“A long time ago he was my best friend; we were inseparable. From the age of like, two, we never went anywhere without each other. When my grandmother died he protected me from the pain. But after the funeral they came to take me away. Max wanted me to run away with him but I said no. We were just children.”
 
*
 
(2) Instead of heading back to the house she went to the beach. She’d spent a lot of time wishing to walk on it again; it held so many happy memories for her. As she walked along the shore, she watched the sun setting in the distance. She thought back to the night she had discovered she had to leave. The memory was painful and she felt a tear slip down her cheek. No one could have imagined what would happen to her when she left, and no one could have stopped it. Not really. Feeling in need of that drink, she turned in the direction of home. That’s when she saw him. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach as the tall, dark-haired man walk towards her.
Max had seen Susan a few times over the weekend, and he had desperately wanted to go over and say something to her, but he hadn’t known what to say. When she’d walked past the garage earlier, he almost plucked up enough courage, but something had stopped him. She looked amazing, way out of his league, but he plucked up the courage now there really was no way of avoiding her.
 “Hello!” he said, smiling awkwardly, and stuffing his hands deep into his pockets.  
 
 
CONTACT:
Please contact either
 
Hazel Robinson at h.f.robinsonbooks@gmail.com
 
or
 
Kitty Rackham at
 
 
 



 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Win a Glow bookmark

Competition time
Tell me your real life spooky stories. Write them onto my face book page https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Helen-Whapshott/736578773053444  and those that chill me to the bone will win a signed Glow bookmark.
 
 


 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The first two chapters of The Glow by Helen Whapshott

What’s a Ghost?


What would you do if you saw a ghost? Would you ignore it hoping it would just fade

away? Would you go up to it and see if it needed your help? Would you even know you were

actually seeing a ghost? Because not all ghosts walk around moaning and groaning, wearing

old-fashioned clothes, carrying their head tucked underneath their arm, you know. Mostly

ghosts think that is a rather out-of-date thing to do, and those few who still do it, only do

because it’s become a kind of ironic trademark: a silent self-amusement.

Most people don’t know exactly what a ghost is, and if you’re one of them don’t worry;

it’s not the sort of thing they teach in schools, nor is it the kind of thing parents usually sit

their children down and talk about. People don’t like to think too much about it. It kind of

creeps them out. Not me. I know a lot about ghosts. Let me fill you in.

When the human body dies, the soul leaves it. How does it do this? Well I’m not entirely

sure but there are several theories; maybe it comes out of the nose or mouth, or perhaps it

seeps out of the skin though the skin pores like sweat – it’s not really important; it’s just

important that you know that it gets out. When it’s out it then travels to the other side, which

has lots of different names, (none of them wrong). They exist like the countries of this world.

Sometimes however, a soul is reluctant to travel into that strange and wondrous world of the

afterlife and instead it stays here, in the world of the living, and these are the poor souls we

call ghosts.

And I see them. Everywhere.

Yeah, I bet you’re thinking I’m a bit crazy and all that – but it’s true, it really is. It’s just

the way that I was made, so to me it’s a little bit crazy that you don’t see ghosts. Let me tell

you a little more and then maybe you’ll understand.

You see, a soul is made up of energy, and it looks exactly like the person when they’re

alive. Sometimes you can see through them, which can be a little bit creepy, but this is just

because their energy is low and they can’t show themselves properly. A soul will never fade

away completely, they’re like a pulsing star, shining strong and bright at times and then pale

and wisp-like at others, or if that isn’t clear enough, imagine that a ghost is a radio station

(now bear with me on this one) Imagine a radio station emitting signals into the world. You

can only hear the music clearly if you’re tuned in rightly.

There are people who will catch glimpses, blurry figures that are seen just out of the

corner of the eye, and then there are those who see ghosts and spirits all the time. These

people give off a light, like a candle in a dimly lit room. Ghosts, spirits, and others who

belong to the supernatural and paranormal world can see this and they call it The Glow.

2

Megan


If people were asked to describe Megan Webb, they would say that she didn’t look very

special, which was a surprise being that her parents were both very attractive, special looking

people. Her dad, Dr. Theodore Webb, a medical doctor, was a tall and incredibly handsome

man, with black grey-streaked hair and a face that looked more at home on the cover of a

fashion magazine than a hospital ward specialising in general medicine; even if it was at the

best hospital in London. Her Mum, Cheryl Webb was also very beautiful. She looked very

much how you’d imagine a fairy-tale princess to look, and if this wasn’t glamorous enough

she had also once owned her own shop where she sold dresses that she had designed herself;

that was until her youngest child was born and she gave up work to look after him.

Megan was tall and thin, with chestnut hair that had the habit of sticking up all over the

place, no matter how many times she brushed it. Megan always looked pale and drawn. On a

good day you could say she was a plain child.

It wasn’t until she was thirteen years old that her life as she knew it changed forever.

She’d always sort of known that everyone had something special about them; maybe

something big that the whole world could see or something so small that only their family

and friends could see it. Megan believed the thing that made her special was her art. Whether

she was using paint or clay, she was pretty good – maybe even good enough that her work

would go into a gallery one day. She had no idea that she was special in ways she hadn’t even

thought of.

The day Megan’s life began to change hadn’t been a particularly good one.

It had started that morning when she’d discovered (only after she’d poured it all over her

cereal) that the milk had gone off. Her alternative breakfast plan of toast had failed when it

burned and set off the fire alarm. It was at this point she conceded defeat against the clock,

because she’d already overslept due to pulling a late-nighter doing the homework she’d

forgotten was due in the morning (on pain of death). All of this meant that she wasn’t in the

best of moods when she got into school. She found it almost impossible to concentrate on her

English work, couldn’t make any sense of Maths, and got smacked in the face in P.E. with a

football (All before the lunch bell had even sounded) The day was finished off beautifully by

Mathew Den throwing her schoolbag up onto the school roof. Who would have thought that

the boy had such an amazing throw? He could make a serious career of being a shot-putter;

he was certainly built like one. Megan had to wait almost an hour for the school caretaker, Mr

Brown, (a man who clearly didn’t like children) to get her bag down for her. He spent the

whole time moaning at her as if it had been her that had made the decision to just go ahead

and throw her bag onto the roof.

Megan was glad when she got through the front door of her house so that she could kick

off her shoes and take a breather. She smiled at the sound of muffled voices coming from the

kitchen and the warm, welcoming smell of home-cooking. She walked through the hall and

pushed the kitchen door open. Tyler, her baby brother, beamed as soon as he saw her and

opened his arms wide. He looked so much smaller than other two-year-olds she had seen; he

had the face of a cherub, with big blue eyes far too big for his face, and blonde curly hair. She

kissed him gently on the cheek, and then looked at her Mum who was taking some cakes out

of the oven. Hearing her daughter, she turned and smiled. Megan noted how every kitchen

surface was covered in cakes, biscuits and buns, and she felt her heart sink. Whenever Mum

was really worried about something, she would bake – a lot. The last time there had been so

much baking, Mum had been building up to tell her that her cat Whiskers had to go and live

with Nan and Granddad because his fur wasn’t good for Tyler’s asthma.

Megan remembered all too clearly what it looked like when Tyler had had his last

asthma attack. His lips and fingernails had gone blue, he’d wheezed and coughed, and

couldn’t catch his breath; his inhaler seemed to take an age to work. Megan had felt like the

entire world was ending. She couldn’t stop crying and as her Mum screamed down the phone

to tell the ambulance to hurry up or her son would die, she felt as if she were about to throw

up.

Megan loved Whiskers but she loved her brother more; she never wanted to see Tyler

suffer like that again so she made no fuss when Whiskers left. Three weeks after the

rehoming he was ran over and killed. Megan couldn’t help thinking he’d been trying to make

his way home to her.

“Hello darling,” Cheryl said, breaking Megan’s thoughts. “Had a good day?”

Megan knew it was best to tackle what was bothering her Mum head-on and get it out of

the way – like a plaster covering a scraped knee it was better to rip it off quickly than peel it

off slowly. She took a deep breath and asked, “What’s up Mum?”

Cheryl carefully placed the cakes onto a cooling rack before giving Megan her full

attention. “I’ve got sad news about Great Aunt Betty,” she said.

Great Aunt Betty was her paternal grandmother’s sister, who wasn’t anything like

Megan’s quietly spoken grandmother. Like clockwork, Great Aunt Betty visited at Christmas

and birthdays inevitably bringing garish hand-knitted socks or gloves for presents. She was a

stout woman, with a face like a bull dog; her grey hair scraped back into a tight ponytail that

made Megan’s head hurt just by looking at it. She smelt of cigarettes and coffee and always

laughed loudly at her own jokes. The last time Megan had seen her was at Granny’s eightieth

birthday party. She had poked her fingers (which had long garishly coloured nails) hard into

Megan’s ribs and exclaimed, “Bloomin' heck! Look at the state of you! All we have to do is

put you in the corner, bung a lampshade on your head, and no one would know you were in

the room.”

She’d then thrown her head back and roared with laughter. The word ‘bitch’ sprang into

Megan’s mind and she had to bite down on her tongue to stop it springing out. She grimaced

at the pain in her ribs and the wicked old woman rolled her eyes, muttering something about

how Megan didn’t have a sense of humour.

That’s when Megan’s Dad stepped in and said that Megan had a wonderful sense of

humour and there wasn’t anything wrong with his daughter’s physical shape. Great Aunt

Betty sulked for the rest of the party.

“She died,” Cheryl said as casually as possible, still fiddling with the cakes.

“Oh,” Megan said flatly. She didn’t know quite what else to say. She knew that normally

when a member of your family died you were meant to feel sad, but she didn’t; she really

hoped that didn’t mean she was a bad person. She turned her attention to the relatives that she

did have affection for. “Are Dad and Granny okay?”

“Of course Gran’s upset,” Cheryl replied, “after all, Betty was her sister; she’s bound to

feel the loss.”

Megan often wondered why when someone died people called it “a loss.” Surely, when

you lost something you didn’t know where it was. Most of the time when someone died you

knew where they were – unless they’d died in a war, like Sarah’s soldier-brother, Peter. Sarah

was Megan’s best friend, and Peter was MIA. Sarah had factually informed her that MIA

meant, “Missing In Action, which meant dead but that they couldn’t find the body.” Sarah

had punctuated the statement with a string of silent tears. Megan hadn’t known what to say,

so she had simply held her friend until their shared tears had stopped. Megan listened

patiently. Their form tutor Mrs Priest, had reassured Megan that was all she could really do.

“Dad is upset because your Gran is upset,” Cheryl continued. Megan wondered if her

Dad hadn’t particularly liked Great Aunt Betty either. Cheryl picked up a brochure that was

covered in icing and cake-mix and held it out to Megan. “Your Dad has inherited her hotel.”

“Great Aunt Betty had a hotel?” Megan blinked in surprise.

Cheryl nodded. “Yes, it turns out she was a very rich lady.”

She hadn’t looked like a very rich lady – rich ladies, Megan was sure, looked like the

queen, with nice clothes and pearls, not shabby jumpers, jeans, and basketball hoop earrings.

Megan took the brochure from her Mum and looked at it. The hotel looked horrible, it

was a mass of turrets, keeps, imposing walls, and gargoyles. Made from a strange looking

black stone, it was covered in ivy. It was the perfect home for a vampire, or a hideout of a

mad-monster-making scientist. The brochure informed her that it stood just outside of the

Hampshire town, Threshold in the county town of Samhain (pronounced Sowain). Megan

glanced over the tourist blurb learning that the ‘charming, historic hotel’ could be found

nestled in a nook of hills surrounded by ancient heath and woodland. ‘Threshold’, the

brochure went on, ‘is distinctive in its historic status. The whole town is under a National

Trust order, ensuring no new buildings look modern, and could only look like they were from

the Tudor, Stuart, Georgian, or Victorian era. The series of glossy photos showed a town full

of interesting and old- fashioned shops, museums and galleries (most dedicated to the rich

local folklore) that brought in the coach-loads of tourists all year round.

Cheryl reached over Meagan’s shoulder and poked the image of the gloomy looking

hotel. “Great Aunt Betty lived in that tower there, so that’s where will be going to live.”

Megan blinked – had she just missed part of a conversation? Did her Mum just announce

that they were going to move into what must be the ugliest part of the ugliest building?

“What?”

“Dad and I have talked it over and we think it’s the best thing to do,” Cheryl replied.

“The air will be better for Tyler and…”

“Better for Tyler!” Megan pointed to the part of the brochure which went on and on

about how lovely the heathland looked, and how wonderfully mysterious and magic the

ancient woodland was. “It’s the countryside Mum, it will be full of pollen and animal fur!

It’ll make his asthma worse.” Megan’s head was reeling. She looked at the grim hotel with an

impending sense of doom.

Cheryl shook her head and said matter of fact, “Actually pollen has never been a

problem.”

Megan sighed. “That’s because we’ve never been anywhere where there’s a lot of it. And

what about me?” Megan protested, “I’m your kid too! What about what’s best for me?”

“Megan!” Cheryl looked at her daughter in surprise.

“I gave up my bedroom so Tyler could be nearer to you and Dad,” Megan said feeling a

hard lump growing in her throat. “I didn’t even complain when you gave away my cat.” She

paused momentarily, feeling a previously unfelt resentment rising. “I didn’t even blame you

when he was ran over!”

Cheryl flinched at Megan’s unexpected anger but Megan wasn’t finished. She knew that

if she didn’t get it all out now then the decision would set like concrete and there would be no

chance to change things.

“I’ve lived in London all my life and now you’re telling me that I’ve got to leave all my

friends behind to go and live in a place I’ve never heard of – to go to school where

everyone’s probably known each other since they were babies, and to top it all, we’ve got to

go and live in some run-down, Gothic monstrosity that’s probably haunted! ”

“You’ll make new friends,” Cheryl said gently.

“I don’t want new friends!” Megan snapped. “I like the ones I’ve got!” She had known

most of her friends from their time in nursery. She couldn’t believe Mum thought she could

leave them just like that. They weren’t like shoes that you outgrow; they were like her family.

“I can live with Gran and Granddad and come and see you all during the school

holidays,” Megan said desperately.

“No!” Cheryl shook her head. “We’re a family and we’re not going to be separated.”

“Doesn’t matter if one of us is unhappy,” Megan muttered as she picked up her school

bag. “I’ve got homework to do.” She hoped that her dramatic exit offered a final comment on

the situation.

Once in the sanctuary of her room, Megan threw herself onto her bed, buried her face in

the pillows and cried. It wasn’t fair. Ever since Tyler had been born, the whole world had

revolved around him.

‘Maybe they love him more because he’s really theirs and I’m… I’m adopted,’ she

thought. She twisted her mouth in irritation. She knew that she
wasn’t adopted – well as

much as anyone ever knows – it just felt like somehow she was the odd one out of the neat

little family triangle. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was exactly that made her feel so

different, but there was definitely something. She shook her head, no, that wasn’t true, she’d

always had a very strong imagination she reminded herself, just as right now she was

imagining Whiskers sitting on her feet, which was what he always did when she was upset.

Megan didn’t look up, she knew he wasn’t there, but just for a little while, she decided to

pretend he was. After a short time, she started to wonder how strong her imagination actually

was because she was certain she could hear Whiskers purring.

Enjoy it? The Glow is my first ever novel and is on sale on Amazon
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