Nightmareland #Horror #Anthology

This book, and two more sit in ‘The Box Under The Bed.’

Waiting … if you dare to peek.

Where writers come together, to gather their tales.

The #spooktacular, the sad, and the creep.

Each delivers a different take on the weird,

Feel the mysteries unfold, and the havoc they reek.

Visit the ghool, the macabre, the wandering and the lost.

Do it now! you’ll find it all

In Nightmareland, the cost of which

Will be … your sleep.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07K2KV723?ref_=dbs_w_series&storeType=ebooks

Today you can hold it in your hand. Now available in paperback.

Was He Living A Dream?

Sheets tangled, tightened and stuck to the flesh of his flailing legs. It took, what felt like hours to realise the grating and rasping breath was his. Tom steadied himself and the race of his heart slowed, his eyes screwed and fists clenched as he said out loud “I woke up and realised it had all been a dream.” He voiced that statement, many times over during the coming hour, never making it true … but desperately wanting it to be.

Ping! his eyes opened, he was wired at the squeak a turn of the handle. Once more his chest pumped his legs violently kicked. Why couldn’t he free his legs? A screech of rusted hinge and rubbing wood made him still. Play dead, play dead, he mumbled to himself. Kate’s face pushed the door wider her hands holding a tray, her perfectly straight yellow teeth on show. “You are awake, well that’s good.” She nodded. Kate placed the tray on the dresser after swiping items on top to the floor. Tom watched as her palms pressed into the denim covering her thighs.

“Kate? What … (he stuttered) the Fuck is happening?” Slowly she lifted her eyes, they had held a gaze on the smeared denim encasing her thighs. In Toms mind, a little too long. “Happening? Happening … what, is, happening?” She approached the bed, wide eyed, smiling. Her mouth sour, her clothes grimy. “Tom, Tom, Tom. Think!” He flinched, snatched his head back and gulped at the stagnant air. Not wanting to make things worse he looked back; forced a smile in her direction, and asked. “I am a bit lost in this, my mind is confused. Why are we here?

“You passed out, on my Nan’s bed. She is not best pleased. In fact she was gonna call Gramps, until I arrived.” Think yer sen lucky I was about. Now lay still while I takes a closer look.” Kate tugged the damp sheet, untangled it from his calf’s. A sharp suck of air whistled, Tom lifted his head as his bare belly was exposed. “What a numpty, jeez this is worse than she said.” Tom heaved, the smell of burned flesh and hair filled his nostrils. That was when he caught sight of his abdomen. “N,n,n,n no tell me its not true.” He roared. Gramps bust through the door a face like thunder his fists as big as young Tom’s head. “Shut yer mouth, you good for nothing clown.” He threw Tom’s shoes and jeans st the white faced boy, picked up the empty whisky bottle as if to strike the boy. Kate took her Granddads arm and crooned gently in his ear. “S’okay Gramps, come, I will sort this … go sober Nan up.

Kate gave him a few minutes before going back in the room. Tom trembled, sat on the edge of the bed staring down. She put the tray next to him and began to clean the area and cover it the way Nan had shown her so many times before. “Your’e a fool Tom” she cleared the swabs and put the rest of the dressings back on the tray. Kate turned at the door “you’ll not live that down,” she nodded “there are reasons people retire and reasons you have to be over 18.” Tom clutched his Jeans covering his groin, tears threatened but never fell. Jeers from his pals followed him home. He carries the tattoo to this day, an exquisite snake, rising up to his belly button, fangs on show. Poor demented Josy had long since gone, and Tom … well, he wears her last tat.

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The story above is a writing exercise from the Dream Author Coaching Programme I am taking part in. To use the statement “I woke up and realised it had all been a dream” within the body of a story. Use it in a way that is refreshing, surprising and or interesting, to delight the reader and not disappoint.

Let me know in the comments if I succeeded or not. I am thick skinned be kind but honest.

Diamonds.

Her cheeks carry the imprint of diamonds,

Where she pushed her face to see.

What life would be like beyond that fence,

To be welcomed in the land of the free.

Dusty hands grip tight, a heart still full of hope,

Unshed tears make her chin wobble, but determination helps her cope.

She gazes at the fancy dresses the boats being used for fun …

Not to escape in … or for the winds to take their Mum.

People on the other side, oblivious to her watching, or the sadness that it brings.

Play happily in the sunshine, The only diamonds they know, are set in lovers rings.

 

 

The photograph (with permission, on loan from Diane Hartnell)

On attending one of the fabulous workshops at the Theatre Royal Bury Saint Edmunds. We were challenged to use pictures as a starting point, to twist the scene and produce a piece of performance for a show called ‘The Other ends.’

The poem above ‘Diamonds,’ is my response. Performed at the Bury arts festival on 19th June. Our group will be on stage between 11am and 12 noon, where we will be accompanied by two choirs and when all the ‘Other Ends’ will be showcased.

I would love to know “have you pushed the boundaries of comfort and put yourself on the stage, if so how did it go?” Leave a comment I just love to chat.

THREE CHAIRS AT A TABLE.

 

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Stan, my friend with the sad eyes and scarred hands walked in the park. His daughter beside him. She twirled around holding out her tiny arm which hooked her wicker basket. She danced until the flowers inside bobbed. If I had been closer I know I would have heard her giggle, seen her cheeks flush and eyes shine. I watched them from my window. He put out a protective arm to slow her while he mouthed words that I was never to hear. My fingers stroked the pretty net curtains as I watched the scene below; they flapped softly in the breeze as if to wave hello.

In preparation, I set the table with my most attractive linen smoothed the fabric with my hands and placed the crockery precisely. I stacked nibbles, dainty cakes and treats in the centre on a three-tiered stand. I remember being pleased with the appearance of my peony-filled jug.

Going back to the window I noticed the traffic, it was particularly heavy as it buzzed to and fro beneath me. I glanced in the direction of the park in time to see them. Dad stretching his torso as he stood up, he ran his ragged fingers through his hair, tugged at his tie and put a hand towards the child. Still swinging the basket she held on to his fingers and craned her neck; high enough to catch his eye. He stooped to speak, she nodded and though I couldn’t quite see … I am certain she smiled. Together hand in hand they walked towards the gate; it was a touching scene; one I won’t forget.

I recall a smile played about my lips and a delicate fluttering sat in my stomach as I made the last-minute checks. I placed a beaker of milk and two china cups and saucers on the table. The kitchen like the rest of my second-floor apartment; was neat and pretty. Since a child, I have favoured keeping everything … spick and span.

The breakfast table that I’d dressed in a gingham cloth, now had three chairs tucked tidily underneath. The staging gave the room a welcoming feel as if it had always had room for two more. I gave the room an involuntary nod of approval.

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It was then, as I was satisfied that my best was done. Right at that moment, I remember hearing a dull thud from outside. I had a hesitant thought making me stop for a second, but I rushed on to the bathroom to re-apply my lipstick. I turned my hand, glanced at my watch and thought … they should be here by now.

Agitated by both the tardiness of my visitors and the noise from the road I returned to the living room. My hand reached out and stroked the baby doll with trembling fingers. I was pleased with my choice; such a perfect gift. Looking down on confusion below … through the freshly cleaned glass. There were people and vehicles everywhere, shouting and crying. The squeal of a siren, a distant whining of an ambulance assaulted my ears. I backed away slowly dropping the doll to the floor, then turned to look at the table. A jagged sound was coming from my windpipe. I flinched as it startled me. The sound made my heart race and my stomach clench. Through lashes clouded with unshed tears, I thought … how nice three chairs at a table can look.

 

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This should be a link to me reading it … fingers crossed that it works.

P.S. the written word is a revisited story, one which has been tweaked, so it slightly differs from the audio.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7WJ-42kvYrWQ2RzRHgxUVFnRjNoOUlCNEE0TUlBTUZyWUVn/view?usp=drivesdk

If you are reading it or listening; I am very interested in your views. Which version did you prefer? leave me a comment as I simply love to talk, and will answer quick smart.

Acknowledgements:

peony photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash,

window Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash Roses photos by ORNELLA BINNI on Unsplash

Overheard At A Festival.

They sat Cross-legged on a black bin bag outside a wigwam tent. One, who was blonde, twisted the others hair, the recipient, a redhead, with her neck arched back and eyes closed, swayed gently and softly moaned. A ray of sun caught them in its early morning glow, last nights downpour glistened like glass beads all around them. I watched from a seat under our Motor home’s awning. They talked about blokes and bands, but still kept the tone smooth, hushed and gentle; perfect for the time of day. I surmised, they had been childhood friends by the way they were together.

Musicians warmed up on the distant stage, ‘one two one two click, click, click.’ Across the airwaves. Waking late-night revellers from their stupor bought on by excess.

The smell of bacon wafted across the camp. A clanking of pans, loud yawning and noisy stretches broke the quiet. It wasn’t long until groups of pyjama clad girlie’s in Wellington boots linked arms giggling as they picked their way to the bank of smelly toilets; still full from yesterday. Towel draped couples made their way to showers and dogs cocked legs against tent poles and wheels.

I felt the mood alter slightly between the two, my people watching mode is sensitive to the slightest change. Now beaded and braided the red-head snatched and shook the plaits, that made the beads tap, she giggled and thanked her friend. The blonde girl plucked two cereal bars from the pocket of a coat and offered it up for breakfast. On taking the bar she swigged water and wiped the bottle with her palm. As she passed it across she said in a clear voice. “I sell my poo on the dark web.” Blondie paused, (one of those audible teeth sucking pauses) tilted her head to stare in the others face. Taken aback, I craned my neck, strained so as not to miss a thing. “Did you hear me?” she said flicking out with her hand. “I sell my poo on the dark web.” I wanted to tell you ages ago … “It pays for medicinal cannabis and henna … just once in a while.” Blondie nodded as she listened, then jerked, her hands froze mid-roll, tobacco fluttered across her Bedouin birthing pants, she swiped angrily with her palm at the debris. Standing up, jangled her ankle bracelets as she kicked her bare feet. “For fuck sake Mia, is that what’s in the cool-box? You’re sick.” Both walked in the direction of the music. I watched until flamboyant hand gestures were all that was left to see.

The Husband burped from the bedroom a morning greeting. Somehow my watching was more disturbed by that … than the notes I penned in my notebook. ‘Overheard at a festival.’ reading it back, I wonder if someone nearby could be writing about me; earwiging, and The Husband’s morning greeting …

The blue-haired lady is how I imagine myself being, all modern, slim, elegant and carefree (dreaming). All photos are by way of Pixabay and from WordPress’s free photo library.

Was it only me who knew or knows nothing of `The dark web?’ What is the most random thing you have overheard? Answers in the comments, please. I can’t wait to read. 😆😅

I popped this on Esme’s senior salon press HERE to share your post or read others

I’m Only Human After All

This is a revisited story one that deserves a second glance … or that is what I think. I hope you feel the same. 😇

I called out, but his name lodged below my voice box; like a bubble, it floated until it popped. Slowly I turned back the bed, cotton sheets held at arms length, the smell of stale lovemaking sweat and perfume. Bare feet kissed the wooden floors leaving a mist; an impression of where I walked. Across the room down to the utility with my arms full. Once the wash was loaded, I glanced down, my nose twitched at the stench, my mouth sticky, I dry retched and memories flooded back. I peeled my dishevelled stained nightshirt from my aching self and it joined the sheets. My mind was busy trying not to think as I scrubbed and soothed my flesh, steam covered the pointless tracks on my cheeks as Rag n Bone man’s lyrics pounded over the sound of the shower. ‘I’m only human after all.’ I dropped a pill, swigged stale coffee left on the drainer and sat wrapped up in a towel. The dusk alerted the back of my mind it Snook in to disturb my … nothing, my emptiness.

This was ridiculous I am a grown woman Out loud I said ‘pull yourself together’. For the next week or so I worked on auto, walking to work, doing my admin, answering when I had no choice, until Friday night. Backpack on ready for home I felt him watching. A damp trickle formed between my breasts as I scanned left to right, I knew he was there somewhere. Head down, my shoes slapped against the damp tarmac, three, four, slap, slap, counting, walking determined not to be startled. ‘Hi toots, I thought it was you, fancy a drink?’ His voice hit my eardrums, but I was ready. A smile touched my lips for a second. ‘No thanks, busy busy’ I strode on. He was almost jogging alongside me, breathlessly he stopped me with a ‘Hey hey what’s the hurry, he stooped in front of me. Come on, we can continue where we left off.’ He twisted a strand of hair by my cheek, he bent further to peer into my face. ‘I said, I am busy, now please just,’ I snatched my shoulder from his grasp and carried on. I didn’t look back, slow down or think about him, I just allowed my feet to pound the pavement slap, slap, slap. Ashamed that’s what I was, ashamed and regretful and I couldn’t accept what it was I had done.

Weeks had passed since he met me from work, I still felt uneasy, he hadn’t called or text or poked me on Facebook, but, I was wary. Maybe he didn’t know my name either, I couldn’t remember him using it.

Ange and Jack had been arranged for months, dinner with friends, that would get some normality back. I tousled my hair and dressed casual but nice, I pouted in the mirror checking my lippy, I was the most relaxed I had been for a month or more. After fajitas, we had tequila and chilli chocolate buns with mallow topping; her food amazing as always. Ange and I laughed and reminisced about school, Jack cleared up and Ange and I began to talk freely. ‘What’s doing girly? You have been somewhere else for a while, I thought we trusted each other. I tell you every grizzly detail; like we always have.’ She nudged me, her head shook in disbelief, her eyes clouded over and she bit her lip. Just then Jack called through, he was walking to the pub, leaving us to our stuff, as he called it, while he indulged in a lary game of pool. Ange followed for a kiss. I saw them in the mirror’s reflection. She grinned and mouthed thanks, she closed the door. ‘Well … I’m listening’. She did that thing, that glaring eye staring, folding arm thing that she does when she’s mad. ‘Nothing to say really, I just, well … I was stupid, a slut and I, I’m ashamed. After Todd and I finished I felt lost, God that is so cliché, but I didn’t feel attractive or wanted.’ I dropped my head in my hands, roughly rubbed my cropped hair and grunted. Ange plopped on the edge of the chair with me, rubbed my shoulders. I released a howl so guttural I startled myself. ‘C’mon you’ll feel better, I won’t judge you-you know me better than that.’

I scrubbed my face with my palms and wiped them down my jeans. ‘I went to that club, the one on the corner, the one with the tattooed bouncer, the cute gay guy. I had some Jeager bombs and I began to dance, winding myself round guys legs, rubbing up behind them. They didn’t know me; nor me them.’ I leapt up and paced the floor. ‘It was sort of freedom, a liberating, sexy … I know, a slutty thing to do. The bouncer Jason, pulled some guy off me for stuffing his hand up my skirt. He tried to call a cab but I wasn’t having any of that. In my head, I was showing Todd, even though he wasn’t there, couldn’t see. My heart was racing as I dropped into the seat again. ‘Next thing I knew is I kissed this guy. He mouthed a wafer under my tongue … don’t get me wrong I wanted, … I was reckless. I’ve been having flashes come back to me of the stuff we did, the table, the kitchen, outside the front door for god’s sake.’ That’s not all. He met me from work one night, a week or so later, it freaked me out. How could I be so stupid?’ Ange’s eyes grew as she listened with her lips clenched tight. ‘Don’t worry,’ I patted her hand. ‘it was fine, he just wanted more. He hasn’t been back.’ After a minute, I looked at her holding both her hands. ‘I’ve been petrified Ange, I took him to my home! The things we did.’ I shook my head, looked at Ange’s horrified face. ‘ Don’t say anything, I can’t cope with your disgust too.’ We sat for a while with a box of tissues between us, Ange crying for and with me. Me crying out of self-pity and shame. ‘I went to the clinic on Duke Street and had tests, well you just don’t know, do you. I find out in a fortnight … so far, several are back and I’m clean, just waiting on Hepatitis and HIV. I wouldn’t hold it against you if you never spoke to me again.’

We cleared the dinner debris and emptied the dishwasher, although together, we completed the chore in silence. When the coffee was made Jack burst through the front door, pink-cheeked, smiling, relaxed. He looked from one to another, pulled a face, pouted his bottom lip and said ‘I’m going up, night then’ and gently closed the door.

Red-eyed and nervous I said ‘I can’t cope without your friendship, please don’t hate me.’ I held both her hands, looked into her face. ‘For the last time I will not ever, hate you, but I am hurt, hurt because I was too busy to see the effect Todd’s affair had on you and because you felt you couldn’t come to me. I let you down and you put yourself at risk.’ We hugged hard I stroked her hair said. ‘Sometimes, we do stupid things, sometimes, it is no one’s fault but our own and sometimes we are lucky enough to walk away unscathed. I Jane Masters, head of finance, single thirtysomething female, should have known better! but I won’t get it wrong twice. As the song says … ‘I’m only human after all.’

Flower photo borrowed /thieved temporarily from Geoff LePard I thank you, Geoff. Press here to visit the master🔜 here🔚

A new venture into a different genre yet again inspired by the magnificent Rag n Bone man song I hope you enjoyed both the song and the story I look forward to your comments *waves*.