Launch

On Sunday 2nd December the creative writing group I write with is presenting or first book of short stories. We are a mixed bunch from various backgrounds and countries.

The book is packed with a variety of different themes, stories and styles, and is well worth reading.

€1 from each book sale will go to the local childhood cancer charity, linked both to the place in which we are holding the launch – Montroig Cafe, Sitges – and the local hospital in Bellvitge.

If you’re local please come along and support us, if you’re not local I will be posting the internet link on the same day for you to be able to buy the book direct and have delivered to your home.

The price of the book on the launch day is €13.50.

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Behind the door

In a Facebook group that I recently joined the picture below was posted with the question ‘what’s behind the door?’ – It wasn’t meant as a creative writing prompt but my writer’s head immediately saw it as that and I came up with the story that follows…

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Emily had no idea what she was going to find behind the strange, but peculiarly enticing purple door.  Number one hundred and eighty-eight had always been a subject of discussion in the village, although Emily didn’t think she actually knew anyone that had been inside.

Standing on the small step Emily rapped hard on the frosted and decorated glass. She had looked for a bell but couldn’t see one. While she was waiting she was sorely tempted to look in the old fashioned letter box fixed to the wall beside the door, so put her hands back in her pockets to stop herself giving in to the temptation.

Her best girlfriend, Susie, was having a birthday party this coming weekend and Emily wanted to get her something super-special. Her mum had suggested she visit the strange old craft shop where she said Emily would find the perfect thing. Emily wasn’t sure if her mum had been serious or not, but decided she would do just that.

Susie was into crystals, pendulums, herbs, essences and all those kinds of things and Emily felt sure that there would be something in the strange old shop that would delight her. There was talk that the woman who owned the shop was a talented witch and that nobody who went into the shop came out the same, but Emily dismissed all that as stuff-a-nonsense. Unlike Susie her feet were firmly placed on the ground.

Emily took her hand out of her pocket and was just about to knock on the glass again, imagining that no one had heard her first raps, but as she lifted her hand the door opened a little of its own accord.

Emily pushed the door gently. “Hello?” she called almost reverentially.

There was no answer.

Emily pushed the door open a little more and stepped over the threshold into a virtual Aladdin’s cave.  Not only was it full to the rafters with a whole range of strange things the smell that assaulted Emily’s nostrils as she went in deeper was what she imagined a bazaar in the orient to smell like.

“Hello?” she called again, questioningly, looking around the room.

Suddenly the door behind her blew closed startling her somewhat. “Oh my,” she said as she turned to look back at the door.

“Hello, dearie,” a voice, now behind her, finally replied to her earlier calls.

Emily turned back round to see an oldish woman coming through a luminescent curtain. Had Emily had a fanciful mind she may have though that the curtain lead to magical realms in different realities, but Emily didn’t believe in such things.

“Oh, Hello there… Sorry .. I was …” Emily stuttered, which was most unlike her. She was never at a loss for words.

“Yes, dear, looking for a present for someone special are we?” the woman asked as she moved out from behind a tall chest of drawers that was adorned with what Emily guessed were supposedly magic symbols.

“Yes, I …” Emily began but then noticed a sign hanging on the dresser…

‘Everything in here has been touched…
But if you want to …. please ask”

For a moment she considered what the sign meant but realised she had started another sentence without finishing.

Before Emily could say anything the woman clarified the sign’s meaning, “Touched by magic, everything has been touched by magic, dear.”

” Er, OK, ” Emily replied then answered the woman’s previous question, “Yes, a special friend that’s into …” Emily wasn’t sure how to finish the sentence without causing offence so left it hanging.

“Righty-ho,” the woman said and glided across the floor to a glass cabinet. If Emily had been of a fanciful nature she would have said that the woman’s feet didn’t even touch the ground, but she dismissed that idea out-of-hand.

The woman opened the glass cabinet and took out a necklace. “This would match your friend’s green eyes, ” she said passing the necklace to Emily. “Green eyes are very special you know and hold a whole world of magic within them.”

Emily was confused. How did this woman know that Susie had green eyes? Then as she turned the necklace over she noticed that engraved on the back of one of the discs of silver were the initials S.D. Susie’s surname was Durrant. “It’s truly lovely, but how did you know that her eyes are green? And on the back here are her initials?”

“My dear that is what we call magic, real magic, not sleight of hand or anything like that, but the magic of  real wonder.” The woman smiled.

Emily guessed that the initials must simply be a coincidence, albeit an incredible one, and that the green eyes thing must have been a lucky guess.

“There are no coincidences,” the shop-owner told Emily as if she had read her mind.  “Close your eyes and really feel the life of the necklace you are holding.”

Feeling a little stupid Emily did as she was told. At first she felt nothing, then she had a sensation of falling and when that sensation ended she could see in her minds eye a whole different world. See was in a huge hall that was lavishly decorated with the brightest of colours and with portraits covering the walls. A huge picture window looked out over a landscape Emily could never have imagined.  As she looked around at the portraits she was sure she recognised some of the faces.  One of them was of Susie and as Emily stared at it Susie came down an elegant marble staircase toward her. She was the only thing unchanged in this imagining. She was in her usual jeans and sweatshirt with her long ginger hair loose and wild as always.  “You found it,” Susie said in her mind. “The one piece that makes up the set, with this I shall be ready.”

Emily opened her eyes again and was relieved to see that she was still standing in the shop. “Well that was odd,” she said.

“Not as odd as you might imagine,” the shopkeeper told her. “It is the perfect gift, isn’t it?  Something needed and something that will complete your friend’s, ahem… wardrobe.”

“Were you there?” Emily asked.

“Where, dear?” the woman  replied with a smile and obvious twinkle in her eyes.  “Yes, of course. We have all been there, but rarely remember or maybe simply forget.”

Emily didn’t understand what the woman meant and was afraid to ask so simply said, “I’ll take it, how much?”

When the woman told her the price Emily was more than surprised as she thought it was going to cost a lot more. “That’s a …” She began to say.  Why was it so hard to finish her sentences today she wondered.

“Bargain?” the old woman ended her sentence for her, but with a question. “Not at all. If someone is meant to have it I cannot charge more for that would be against everything. It is a nominal sum that is all, to confirm change of ownership”

“OK, ” Emily said not quite sure what the woman meant. She handed over the money as the necklace was boxed up and wrapped in delicate wrapping paper.

The woman handed the box over to Emily. “It was perfect that you came in today,” she told her.

“Wasn’t it just,” Emily replied. She took the box and headed for the door. “Thank, you I know Susie will love this.”

“Indeed,” the old woman simply said.

Opening the door Emily stepped back out into the fresh autumn day. As she closed it behind her she realised that she really couldn’t remember much of what was behind the door, but she was happy she had found such a lovely gift for her friend.

And, like everyone else who had ever entered through that door, Emily’s life was also forever changed.

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The girl in the window

Today I am pleased to showcase a new writer here on Writey-Ho.

Despite thinking she couldn’t write once I have her a prompt she went right ahead and produced this story.

Needless to say our new writer needs encouragement so if you like the story please leave us a ‘like, and what would be even better would be a comment.

And if you’d like to write something and have me publish it here simply comment or send me a message.

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The Girl in the Window.

The girl sitting in the window of the cafe had long blonde hair, she hadn’t always had hair this long.

When she was young she had hated her mum washing and brushing her hair. It was on Sunday evenings when this happened ready for a new week and there were always tears and tantrums, you could guarantee it.

One Saturday her mum took her shopping, well that’s what the girl thought they were going to do, but no, they ended up in the hairdresser’s. Her mum had made an appointment for her in the week while she was at school, so she had no idea. She was horrified and upset; she loved her long blonde hair even though she hated her mum washing and brushing it.

Her mum pushed her through the door of the hairdresser’s. A little bell rang as they shut the door behind them. Inside it was warm and smelt of shampoo and hairspray, quite a nice smell. The little girl was hiding behind her mum and buried her head in her mum’s coat which smelt of her perfume and lipstick; a comforting smell. Her mum pulled the girl away from her coat and pushed her towards a big black chair. Standing next to that chair was a woman; the hairdresser. She was wearing a blue nylon overall which had two pockets on the front for all the combs, scissors and clips.

The woman had a kind face and a lovely smile. She patted the chair and winked at the little girl with the long blonde hair and beckoned her over to sit up on that chair. Her mum gave her a little shove in the direction of the chair. The little girl turned and looked at her mum with sad pleading eyes praying and hoping her mum would change her mind and say, “oh no we can’t do this, let’s go home” but her mum just smiled and said, “it will be ok, don’t worry”.

The hairdresser took the little girl’s coat off for her and handed it to her mum. She helped the little girl up into the chair and put a pink spotty gown over her, popping it up at the back of her neck, then gently pulled her hair out from underneath it so she could brush and spray it down with warm water. As she sprayed the water on the little girl’s hair it slowly dripped down the back of her neck and made her shiver.

The little girl looked in the mirror and watched as the hairdresser took her scissors out of her pocket and started to cut the long blonde hair. As the first piece of hair fell to the floor one small tear fell from the little girl’s eyes and trickled down her cheeks. A piece of hair stuck to her damp cheek. At that moment she decided she didn’t want to see anymore so she closed her eyes up tight and let the hairdresser get on with her job. Her mum told the hairdresser she wanted her daughter’s hair cut short. The little girl closed her eyes even tighter and wished she could block her ears too, so she couldn’t hear what her mum was saying.

It felt like she had been sitting in that big black chair for hours when all of a sudden the hairdresser said, “right, all done, you can jump down now”.

The little girl with long blonde hair slowly opened her eyes and finally looked in the mirror and saw a little boy with very short hair staring right back at her. In fact he looked just like her, ‘oh my goodness,’ she realised it was her. She had the shortest blonde layered hair she had ever seen. She sighed, wiped away the hair and the tears off her face with the back of her hand, jumped off the chair and put her coat on. She zipped it right up to her sad chin and stuffed her hands deep into her pockets. Her mum thanked the hairdresser and said, “you have done a wonderful job. It looks lovely”. Then she turned to her daughter and told her to say thank you to the nice lady.

The little girl looked up at the hairdresser and very quietly said, “thank you”. She took her mum’s hand and they stepped out of the warm hairdressers on to the busy chilly Saturday afternoon street.

The sun was shining but there was a chill in the air and it blew around the little girl’s face, ears and around her neck. She was not used to this because before her long blonde hair would keep her warm. It made her feel really cold. She looked up to her mum with said eyes and said, “my ears are cold”.

Her mum just said, “never mind, pop your hood up that will warm you up”.
The little girl did but the hood was too big now and it flopped over eyes. She pushed it back, looked at her mum and said, “I want my long blonde hair back”. The tears started to flow down her cheeks again and her bottom lip started to tremble.

Her mum took a tissue out of her coat pocket and wiped away the tears and blew her daughter’s nose, gave her a hug and said, “never mind, you will get used to it. And you know what? You look lovely. You look like a little pixie.” Well the little girl that used to have long blonde hair did not want to look like a pixie. She was now very cross and sad.

Her mum grabbed her by the hand and said, “come on, if we are quick we can catch the next bus home”.
They ran to the corner of the street dodging all the people as they ran to the bus stop. They got there in the nick of time, the bus driver was just about to close the doors. Her mum shouted out to him to stop and he kindly opened the doors. The little girl and her mum jumped onto the warm bus, her mum told her to go and find a seat while she showed the bus driver the tickets.

The little girl found a seat for her and her mum at the back of the bus. She climbed onto the seat and made herself comfy for the short ride back home. They lived in a little village just outside of town. The little girl sat next to the window and looked out into the street watching all the happy shoppers, then she caught a glimpse of her refection and it made her sad. It was like looking at a stranger. She didn’t know who she was any more.
Her mum came and sat next to her as the bus pulled away to take them on their journey home. They didn’t talk very much to each other on the bus; the little girl didn’t feel like talking to her mum. Her mum was chatting to another woman she knew from the village. The other woman said the little girl’s hair looked very nice. The little girl didn’t really care what the lady thought of her hair, she hated it and that was that.

They finally got to their stop at the top of the lane that led to their house. After that it was about a half mile walk home. The little girl dragged her feet and kicked the stones that lay along the bumpy track. She walked behind her mum who kept telling her to hurry up as she had got things to do when they got home. The little girl didn’t care. She really didn’t want to get home because she was worried about what her dad and older brother would think of her short hair that now made her look like a boy, oh and a pixie. My goodness, what would her friends think of her hair when she went to school on Monday? The little girl with the short blonde hair decided she wasn’t going to school on Monday and that was that, in fact she was not going back to school until her hair had grown back.

Her mum got to the gate first and opened it and the little girl wandered in behind with her head hanging down and a sad look still on her face.
Her brother came running down the path to meet them shouting, “did you get me any sweets”

“No,” said their mum, “we got your sister’s hair cut”

“What? Let me see” her brother said running past their mum so he could see his sister. He pulled his sister’s hood back that she had quickly put over her head so he couldn’t see her hair. He pushed it right back to reveal all her head. He saw her sad face and said with a smile, “well at least it won’t get caught up on brambles and trees when we are down the woods building camps, and me having to pull your hair out of them which I really hate doing ‘cause it hurts you. Come on let’s go test out your new haircut in the woods” He grabbed the little girl with the short blonde hair by the sleeve of her coat and pulled her along the garden path around the corner to the back garden. There the little girl with the short blond her and her brother looked at each other and ran off into the woods laughing. He always knew how to cheer up his little sister.

As they disappeared into the woods they could hear their mum shouting from the back door, “don’t forget to be home for tea”.

The young girl with the very short hair.

BY Jane Tullett.

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Just Married

Sunday, September 16, 2007

“Alone at last.  Everyone has gone.  Back to just us, and siesta time.”

“Nice isn’t it?”

“Yes.”  “Are you happy?”

“More than I have words to tell you. Are you?”

“What do you think?”

“I’m guessing that’s a yes.”

“Of course it is.”

“Good.”

“Are you glad we did it?”

“I think I was the one who proposed in the first place.  Of course I’m glad.”

“That’s good, because if you’re happy,  I’m happy.”

“Wanna fuck?”

“Nah, you?”

“Nah.”

“BJ?”

“Stop it.”

“Just teasing.  Hold my hand.”  “I love you, you know?”

“Yes.”

“The correct reply to that is ‘I love you too’.”

“You know I do, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Cuddle up.”

“I do love you.”

“I know.  And I love you more than anything.  Happy now?”

“Very.”

 

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Peace Shattered … 9

For the previous chapters click these links.

Peace Shattered…1
Peace Shattered…2
Peace Shattered…3
Peace Shattered…4
Peace Shattered …5
Peace Shattered … 6
Peace Shattered … 7
Peace Shattered … 8

And if you don’t want to read the previous chapters…

The story so far…

One afternoon our main character, Saul, had an unexpected and unexplained visitor. Over the coming weeks Saul was visited more times by this mystery man who claimed his name was also Saul. So far Saul has no knowledge of who this stranger with his name is. Then while Saul was sleeping when the other left him a note. During a trip into town Saul was sure he had seen his visitor but when he gave chase it was fruitless. Later when he was on the phone the other Saul was sitting on the sofa when he came back into the living room. Finally he has started to explain, but an ominous knock at the door interrupted. It was the police who wanted to ask Saul about the person he had been looking for the previous Saturday. Saul hadn’t felt he could tell them the truth, but the police were well aware that he wasn’t being completely honest with them.

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Saul grabbed his phone and clicked the answer button. The number was unknown to him. “Hello?” he said, the obvious question in his voice.

No-one spoke. Saul held his breath, sure he could hear breathing at the other end of the line. “Hello,” he said again. “Who is this?” He added.

There was still no answer, seconds later the line went dead.

He hoped it was just a wrong number but with everything else that was happening he couldn’t convince himself.

He picked up the wine glasses and headed into the kitchen to put them in the dishwasher.

He turned the kitchen light on, as dusk was settling quickly, and almost screamed. The other Saul was lurking in the far corner. Saul was about to ask him what he was doing there when he put his finger to his lips telling Saul to be quiet.

Saul shrugged and mouthed why? He had a sense of deja vu. This was a similar scenario to one of the first times they had met, although he couldn’t quite remember when.

‘Bugged,’ the other Saul mouthed back.

Saul couldn’t believe it but kept his silence and followed the other Saul outside.

At the top of the garden the other Saul stopped and whispered, “We’ll be okay here, but it doesn’t hurt to exercise caution.”

Saul was about to wade in with the barrage of questions that were filling his head when the other held up his hand to silence him.

Mouth half open Saul sat on the garden bench and let the other talk.

“Your home has been bugged. Those people were not police, well at least not in the sense that you understand. The questions about seeing me at the pub were just a cover so they could plant their devices.

I’m so sorry but I am going to have to go in a moment and confirm that the project is still safe enough to continue.

Unfortunately I have brought this danger to your door, but on some level it was inevitable that they would find out about you. Others were found and have had to be extricated to keep them out of harm. I don’t want to do that with you yet, but it is still an option. Of course it would be done after providing you with full knowledge to agree to that decision.”

Saul still had a mountain of questions but it was clear they weren’t going to be answered yet. He really had no idea what he was in the middle of, and it scared him.

Breaking his flow the other Saul took something out of his pocket and listened to it. Saul assumed it was a mobile phone. It wasn’t. As he listened he nodded and then looked directly at Saul.

“I’m going now. You have been added to our security list and someone will be keeping an eye on you for your own safety, although you will never see them. Try not to worry and take this.”

Saul held his hand out and took what the other Saul offered him. He had no idea what it was, nor what it was supposed to do.

“Keep this on your person at all times,” the other Saul told him. “It will alert your security team if there’s any problem and they, or I, will be beside you in seconds to help.”

“But what is it, and why should I trust you?” Saul turned the device over in his hand.

“I can’t explain now as I really must go. As to why you can trust me you have my word. I hope that is enough. And now I must go.”

Saul looked at the device in his hand. It was warm and felt almost sentient. When he looked back up the other Saul had gone, without making another sound.

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Filed under Contemporary

Music

Some days it’s a tv programme, an advert, a memory or something I see. Today it was the music.

Music is so damned emotive. Today again it broke me. A song that sings my words has such power.

Today I heard and listened. I didn’t want to. It hurt. I tried to escape into my mind. To shut down. My breath slowed. My heart cracked a little more. I mentally left the room, then took myself away to cry and reconfigure the mask. It hurt.

All because of one song.

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Filed under Contemporary

Peace Shattered…8

For the previous chapters click these links.

Peace Shattered…1
Peace Shattered…2
Peace Shattered…3
Peace Shattered…4
Peace Shattered …5
Peace Shattered … 6
Peace Shattered … 7

And if you don’t want to read the previous chapters…

The story so far…

One afternoon our main character, Saul, had an unexpected and unexplained visitor. Over the coming weeks Saul was visited more times by this mystery man who claimed his name was also Saul. So far Saul has no knowledge of who this stranger with his name is.  Then while Saul was sleeping when the other left him a note. During a trip into town Saul was sure he had seen his visitor but when he gave chase it was fruitless. Later when he was on the phone the other Saul was sitting on the sofa when he came back into the living room. Finally he has started to explain, but an ominous knock at the door interrupts…

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As Saul went down the hallway to answer the door he was muttering to himself about the other Saul disappearing so quickly again and wondering what experiment they had been an unwitting part of.

He opened the door.  On the doorstep were a policeman and a policewoman. They were both holding up their official identification that said they were DC Brown and DC Robinson. Saul quickly scrutinised the IDs. As he did so he realised that he would have no idea if the badges were real or false.

“Mr Saul Murray?” Asked the male police officer, DC Robinson, before Saul had any chance to say anything.

“What’s this about?” Saul asked.

“Are you Saul Murray?” Robinson repeated.

“I am. Now can you tell me what this is about?” Saul asked.

“Maybe we could come inside and have a chat?” the female officer, DC Brown, asked.

“Maybe you could tell me what this is about and I can decide if it warrants entry to my home.” Saul told them. He could hardly believe how assertive he was being. He guessed the interruption of his encounter with the other Saul had annoyed him and that was how he had got his courage up.

“We believe that you may have been a witness to a crime in the vicinity of the Hog’s Back in town last Saturday.” Brown told him.

Saul thought back and realised that was the day he thought he had seen the other Saul in the pub. “OK, come in.” he told them, thinking he would have nothing to lose by talking to them.

Back in the living room the police sat one one sofa while Saul perched on the armchair’s arm. One of the cats wandered in and sniffed around the police officers’ shoes.

“Buttons, behave.” Saul told the cat as it started to roll on its back against the woman’s shoes.

“It’s OK Mr Murray, I have a cat at home. He can probably smell her.”  Brown said, getting a critical glance from Robinson.

“Can you tell us of anything that you saw at the Hog’s Back last Saturday that may have been out of the ordinary?” Robinson asked.

“I wasn’t there long really,” Saul replied. “And I can’t remember there being anything out of the ordinary at all.” Saul had already decided he wasn’t going to mention the other Saul.

“From our scrutiny of the CCTV it looked like you were pursuing someone. Would that be right? Would you like to tell us who that may have been.” asked Robinson.

“Oh yes. I thought I saw an old friend, but she’d disappeared before I could find her or perhaps I just mistook someone else.” Saul slipped down in to the armchair.

“She?” Brown asked.

“Yes, Susanna Breakespeare,” he lied.

“Could you describe her to us please,” she took out her notebook ready to take notes.

“Blonde, about five feet eight, not skinny but not overweight either. The woman I thought I saw was wearing jeans and a blue t-shirt with a dark navy puffa jacket over it.” Saul sat back realising he was finding lying to the police all too easy.

“Anything else you could tell us? And where do you know er… Susanna from ?” Brown fixed him with her gaze.

“Not really. We worked together about eight to ten years ago.” Saul told them, now back in the realms of truth.

“Thank you, Mr Murray.” Robinson stood up. The interview was clearly over. “If we need anything else we’ll be back in contact.”

Saul showed them out and shutting the door behind him,  leaned against it and sighed with relief. From outside he was sure he heard DC Brown say that she didn’t believe a word he had said.

“Well Buttons, the mystery deepens. Why would the police be interested in the two Sauls,” he absently asked the cat as he went back to the living room, and on seeing the other Saul’s still untouched glass of wine picked it up and took  gulp.

“Twins?” he said as he sat down. “Twins, but how? And how could mum and dad not have known? And what on earth was this experiment? It all sounds too far-fetched to me. I’m still thinking there’s some kind of scam going on, which would explain why the police are interested. And yes Buttons I do realise I’m talking to myself.”

As Saul took another mouthful of the wine his phone rang. “And who on earth is that now'” he wondered as he leaned over and picked it up.twins

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