REFLECTIONS.

I have been privileged to contribute to two Evocation events this year, where original stories and guitar music, evoked by a painting or photograph , are performed to an audience. 

Evocation Leeds Art Gallery

Reading my fictional story of the boys in the 1895 painting ‘The drums of the Fore and Aft. (Edward Matthew Hale 1852-1924) at Leeds Art Gallery June 2018.

 

 

 

In September 2018 I was involved in a micro commission by Ilkley Literature festival featuring, again original writing by members of Writing on the Wharfe, music by Samuel Moore and Photography by Robert Hamilton.

This is my four minute story inspired by the reversed reflection photograph of Ilkley Tarn.

Evocation Ilk lit

 

 

 

 

Nell had loved visiting the tarn since she was a little girl, enchanted by the magic within its Winter waters. Her brother, Tom, laughed at her ‘imaginings’ as he called them; never keeping still for long enough to see what she saw.
The first time it happened Nell was gazing across the water. Tom at the other side, pulling faces. To make him laugh she turned around, bent over to look at him upside down, through her legs but was mesmerised by the radiating reflections.
Upside down it became a different world.
In the stillness, Nell caught sight of a shifting shadow, then another. Keeping still she concentrated on the shapes moving closer.
There were so many, whirling darkly under the surface. Nell couldn’t make out any features but was certain they were people.
Feeling dizzy after being upside-down for so long she stumbled closer to the water’s edge, closer to the under-water figures who, having noticed her stopped moving; all except one.
A sudden splash sent ripples across the water’s surface.
Tom’s stone had broken the stillness and the bright upturned underwater face had gone.
Nell told Tom of the underwater people and how to see them. He flipped himself upside-down and took a brief look but saw nothing.
‘Sometimes, Tommy, you just need to believe.’ She said.
But Tom didn’t want to believe. He wanted his tea.
As Nell turned to follow Tom she saw a man crouched by the water’s edge. He held out his hands and arrows of reflected low sun pointed from the water towards him. Nell shielded her eyes as the light became bright; she squinted but couldn’t see the man.
As the light faded, she saw he was gone. In his place, two boys, launching a small wooden boat into the tarn, dragging it through the water on string.
Tom returned, interrupting her confusion.
‘Come on Nell, I’ll get in trouble if I go home without you. Let’s race.’
Tom set off along the path and Nell began to chase him, head down she didn’t notice the approaching man until they collided causing him to drop something.
A small, wet photograph fell to Nell’s feet. She returned it, noticing it was quite old. A picture of two boys at this tarn with a toy boat.
‘That’s me with my brother’ the man said.
‘I come here on his birthday to recall the fun we had. A special place for special memories.’
Remembering not to talk to strangers Nell ran, catching Tom quickly.
                                                                 *****************

 

As Nell aged the figures she sought in the tarn appeared only as formless shadows. Perhaps it was ‘imaginings’ after all, although she never stopped looking.
                                                                ******************
Decades later; on the first anniversary of her brother Tom’s death, Nell woke before first light, heavy with sadness. Her mind replayed words she heard many years ago.
‘A special place for special memories.’
In the early morning light Nell stood at the tarn’s edge. Skeletal trees cast shadows on the water, whispering.
Feeling slightly foolish, she turned her back to the water, bent over and looked through her legs as she had done as a child.
As the shadows within the water moved towards her, she overbalanced and found herself sat at the water’s edge arms outstretched. The face from years ago looked out at Nell, opened its mouth allowing bright water to rise and hover.
Nell stood to find she was a child again.
‘Come on Nell, let’s race’ she heard.
Reflected in shimmering light she saw the cheeky boyhood face of her brother Tom and began to chase him.
As clouds gathered to cover the sun the enchantment ended. Nell became aware of the cold path beneath her and hastily got to her feet.
‘Imaginings’ she muttered and turned to go just as a stone broke the water’s surface.

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grayscale cathedral photograph

I was delighted the wonderful Horror tree online magazine published a short/flash fiction piece of mine on 03 June 2018.

The inspiration for ‘ Catch me came from a ghost walk I went on in the city of York.

You can read the story at http://www.horrortree.com in the trembling with fear section.

 

A slice of life.

 

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The day I killed my brother, I knew things had to change.
Manor Clinic didn’t specify addiction type and I wasn’t about to declare mine.
The hard part was sitting in a circle of strangers, knowing when the meeting ended, each patient would leave alone and could easily be picked off one by one.
I went to ten meetings in total. Never laid a finger on any of them.
It wasn’t a ‘cure.’ I don’t believe addiction can be cured anyway-just boxed up by some Shrink and stored in a special place in the brain, waiting for that rainy day.
I was, however, now able to admire my retired collection of weaponry, take the pieces out, clean them, without the need to put them into use.
That was when I got to thinking. It was my brother who first introduced me to knives, starting with a hunting blade. He was always into that stuff. He had guns too, but they weren’t my style, I preferred the rip and tear of animal flesh. Watch them shudder and bleed, rather than a swift clean shot.
He joined up when I was still a kid. Never heard of him again, ‘presumed dead.’
The night I discovered he wasn’t dead, but AWOL, was a cold one.

I had been prowling the City Park, but the derelicts had found somewhere warmer to go or were huddled together in groups so I turned for home, pretty pissed off.
Then I saw one, headed for the park entrance. Hood up, shuffly. Never saw me comin’.

I sliced his head clean open and watched his skull split. He remained upright for a few seconds before slamming into the gravel face first.
Eagerly, I turned my prey over.
Older than I recalled, but unmistakably my brother. My thirtieth victim and, for me, the only one with a face.
I’ve done so well in therapy that I counsel troubled teens now. You know the kind, no real home, family or friends. Outsiders.

Like I say, addiction can’t be cured just stored away. A fresh market always has the power to unpack the box and I can hear the rain.

 

First blog post

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Well, here goes. This is my first blog and no doubt something I will look back on in the future and cringe with embarrassment about. However it’s where I am at the moment.

I have been immensely lucky to have had a couple of pieces  accepted by The Horror Tree – Trembling with Fear recently. This has introduced me to the world of online fiction writing and the need to have an online presence to link to. My WordPress blog now being it. 

In the blog to begin with, I will be posting  links to my stories and some previously unpublished drabbles and flash fiction. Initially this might be in bursts rather than a regular weekly or monthly posting. 

I am also keen to post reviews of books, blogs etc. I read and anything writing related which I have found useful or fascinating.

I just need to run a couple of edits then I’ll be back with a dark little tale or two for you.