I write under the pen name of Charlie Purple and was born in Woolwich England
on the 6th of September 1959. When the wind blows in a certain direction,
and if you are in possession of impeccable hearing, you can hear the sound
of Bow Bells from my birthplace. I entered the world on a Sunday and all
the nurses preyed for my soul. My father said that I looked like a spring
roll all wrapped in swaddling and was always screaming the place down.
My mother was Scottish, so we spent our summers there. I endeavoured to
read just about every classic book written by the time I was twelve in
Glasgow. I loved science fiction so I waded my way through H.G.Wells and
sir Arthur Conan Doyle but I also read works by lesser well known writers
such as Harry Harrison's "The Technicolor Time Machine" and fell in love
with the genre. I love the possibilities that science fiction offers and
when I grew up I progressed to fully appreciate the works of Kurt
Vonnegut Jnr, Philip K. Dick and Arthur C. Clarke and realized that good
science fiction can actually shape our future. Arthur C. Clarke famously
predicted the geostationary orbit for satellites for example and we all
know about George Orwell's visionary 1984.
I have always enjoyed writing and I embarked on my first 'novel' when I
was fourteen years of age. It was a blatant rip off of 'Lord of the Rings',
the main character was named, for some inexplicable reason, after trill
- a type of bird food. I am 'trilled' to inform you that it doesn't exist
now. I was fortunate for a working class boy, I received a good education
and was encouraged to learn at a young age. The English language was always
my Achilles heel however, at a secondary school I was within the top five
performers in most subjects, but last in English.
My English teacher was an austere Irishman named Paddy Wedlock, he detested
the cockney word 'aint' more than he detested other people smiling. He
vowed that my grades would suffer if i ever dared use it. In response,
I produced a series of stories which featured cockneys as the main characters
and dotted the dreaded 'a' word liberally throughout. He had no choice
other than to mark me as low as he had vowed and it kept me firmly firmly
at the bottom of the class, but I wasn't going to give in. I discovered
a dictionary with the unmentionable word contained within its formidable
bindings - when I presented a copy as a gift it invoked a purple reddish
hue to Paddy's complexion. He continued to handicap my work in the same
fierce and unforgiving manner.
Years later I wrote a series of comedy sketches and sent them to Channel
4. They caught the attention of British writer, producer and script editor
Paul Mayhew Archer, but it all went to my head as things tend to do at
a young age and I decided to 'stitch' them all together 'Monty Python'
style. Calculations concluded that the series would cost half the year's
entire comedy budget for the channel, so I messed that up royally. I was
then asked to write a half hour comedy, but that escalated into to a two
hour long production even after drastic editing. My chosen profession was
commanding long hours and I had bills to pay so I stopped writing, promising
a place in my older age for such capriciousness. My work is designed for
an adult audience so please note.
Shakespeare once wrote that ‘all the world’s a stage’, but if it included
active volcanoes then boy, was he dumb. The inhabitants of our present
day Earth are blissfully tolerant of other peoples religions, inequalities,
sexisms, racisms, sizes; even active volcanoes. We are indubitably-super-duper-
to one another and live in a blissful haze, thank god. Alternative universes
however are devoid of such loveliness and are brimming with isms - shocking
I grant you. There are just too few politically correct people and no telling
what’s going to happen next; the odd swear word here, the occasional wolf
whistle there... it’s mad I tell you!
Well, over there became over here for inventors of an alternative universe
crossing machine. They wanted to produce a live movie, saving money on
film production by incorporating backdrops and characters from alternative
worlds with calamitous results. They based their storyline upon seven heroes
battling to save a princess from a nasty witch (the witch is real and unaware
of her starring role).
The actors in this movie have serious issues of their own. If their combined
intelligence were to equate to the brightness of a lightbulb in a dark
room, you wouldn’t see the bulb unless you were viewing it through the
Hubble telescope (the right way around and in the same room of course,
any other way would be plain daft).
So why is this book called Basaclanca I hear you ask? That would be telling
now wouldn’t it? Don’t read this if you have ever been offended. ‘Oh taste
and see’ is my mantra, to quote someone much cleverer than I; and ‘if your
eye doth offend ye, spit it out’, to quote someone less so from our story.
This book is full of contradictions, clichés and random humour.
It is bursting with artificial intelligence gadgetry too, nudging you politely
whenever you miss superior humour. Not laughing at all delivers approximately
40000 volts to your rectum (untried on humans as yet but for a fully grown
white Rhino it’s 38904 volts*). We can still use the word rectum can’t
we? I do hope so. If that isn’t proof of artificial intelligence then I
don’t know what is.
where the expression ‘political correctness’ hasn’t squirted out of anybody
yet – but they are trying.
read the review at Book Viral.
Danny Rainbow tossed a fifty pence piece up into the air, some of his biggest
decisions resorted to chance.
“Heads it’s a Chinese meal, tails it’s a curry.”
Remarkably it was neither so he stared at the coin standing on its edge
vertically in awe. He smiled wryly and tucked the fifty pence coin delicately
into a partition in his leather wallet. “That’s my lucky coin from now
on, what are the odds of that? I’ll have a burger instead.” He grabbed
his coat and headed towards the nearest burger bar.
“A couple of quarter pounders please,” he said, smiling warmly, the girl
behind the counter returned his smile.
“When you said a couple, did you mean two?” she replied cynically exaggerating
a vacant stare. Danny thought an ungracious thought about the girl and
sighed, nodding reluctantly. “I will need some ID.,” she added, deadpan.
Danny’s head turned abruptly searching her eyes suspiciously. “Chef accidently
spilt booze into the patty mix so you’ll have to be over eighteen.” She
“I heard that!” the chef protested his innocence.
“You don’t remember me do you? We went to different schools together.”
He studied her face.
“The same school and I do remember you, hello Mary.” He breathed a huge
sigh of relief.
“He’s a bit tipsy but he didn’t spill the alcohol, that was me,” she said
The queue accumulating behind him were unappreciative of their banter.
“We can’t talk now, but you want something from me don’t you?” Danny’s
mind flashed back to a time when he had seen more of Mary May’s anatomy
during a P.E. lesson than her modesty would normally allow.
“My phone number.” She scribbled it down hurriedly.
“I’ll…” he walked backwards towards the exit nodding, waving the slip of
paper aloft with her number on it then slipping it into his pocket.
“You better,” she warned.
A few weeks later, they were inseparable until Mary’s wicked sense of humour
Danny Rainbow loved his surname, but occasionally somebody referenced it
to a U.K. children’s television program and that enraged him.
“You are impersonating someone aren’t you?” Danny pulled a face as if he
“That’s right, from the show.”
“Oh yes it’s, hold on a second.”
Walking away never to return in an effort to exacerbate the impersonator
as much as its recipient.
Reflecting on a portrait of Einstein illuminated the extraordinary intelligence
of the man but exploring Danny’s face yielded no clues as to the sharp
and expansive mind that lurked within. His mind bombarded him with one
exciting original thought after another, like gigantic imagination waves
crashing onto a cerebral shoreline.
“Too many fingers in too many pies. The trouble with you son, is that you
have no direction in life,” Danny's father declared, reversing his hatchback
down his driveway returning moments later for his sat-nav.
“Must have got that from you,” he replied sarcastically. “I’ll show you
Dad, I am going to build a time machine.”
“Like a watch for instance?” his father replied.
“An actual time machine, and when I do, I am going back in time to swap
you for a nice dad.” Danny bared his teeth with an equally sarcastic smile.
“I hope you do son, not make me nice that is but invent a time machine,
I bet you can as well.” Receiving rare praise left him breathless but it
was all the impetus required to begin his deliberate meddling with the
fabric of space and time.
The four years that followed left him twenty-five years old and with more
than his fair share of curly grey hairs. Dying them would make him feel
artificial however and he enjoyed looking more mature. Reading ‘The Time
Machine’ by H.G.Wells as a boy fuelled his furtive imagination. If anyone
could construct a working time machine privately, without military or governmental
funding, Danny was that man, assisted in part by an eccentric Englishman
called Joseph Wilkinson.
A particular moment in space and time introduced Joseph to a premiership
football star with a bloodstream packed with illegal substances. They collided
at unimaginable speeds bringing them both to a standstill. It took four
hours to cut him from his crumpled vehicle whilst the football star walked
away from his phallic symbol with a bloody nose screaming that he had scored
Joseph was oblivious
to the passing of a fortnight as he lay comatose in a hospital bed. A nurse
studied his face intensely during her late evening round and released the
“Mister Wilkinson, welcome to the land of the living. I know a certain
doctor who will be very pleased to meet you.” She disappeared returning
with the doctor moments later. He shone a torch into his eyes.
“How do you feel Mister Wilkinson?” he enquired excitedly.
“Ma bonce dunnuf throbery!” Joseph’s eyelids shot open, slamming his hand
over his mouth in amazement. “What’s dis stuffa escaping outta of me gob
“Jew know whad I'm sedding.” Joseph thought that the doctor was playing
a game with him.
“Jew, are you of a Jewish extraction?”
“Yeah, dats it, someboderies circumciserised me talk-box.” The doctor braved
a sideways glance at the nurse supressing his laughter.
“Brain scans reveal trauma to... a small region connected with your…dialect.”
The doctor spurted out the words pausing occasionally to stop himself from
“Can henny-buddy 'elp it?” Joseph enquired in the most contrived and comical
Italian sounding voice.
“I've just got to...” The nurse pointed her thumb at the door leaving mid-sentence
failing to keep a straight face, she disappeared down the corridor crying
“This part of the brain seldom recovers but speech therapy should retrain
your brain to rediscover new connectivity. Try saying this for me, ‘Around
the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran,’” the doctor prompted, recording
the conversation on his mobile phone.
“Round de ruggered rockle, de rabid rucksack runded.”
“Dass whaddi sed, rabid! What’s de madder whit jew?”
“Gotta no respect-.” The doctor added almost singing the next few words
to a Joe Dolce song, improvising.
“Donna take de pissery or I’ll tump yer on de chemoreceptor.” Joseph made
a fist, “Whatta amma gonna do-ish? I'm a professor in quanticle mechanicals,
who’s gonna lister to me lecture whenna I speaky likea some jokey Italian
impregnator?” Once in a while Joseph choose the right word, surviving the
thinking process only to be lost on the general public like using the word
'chemoreceptor' instead of nose.
“It’s not so bad-” the doctor said continuing dangerously to add lines
from the same song.
“Jew are inna de wrong gyme.”
“Jes, pukkin gyme!” Joseph clenched his fists in anger. “Jew shud be a
For ten months Joseph visited his speech therapist daily, regaining his
true natural accent was his paramount desire. Every day he worked on the
pronunciation until he had mastered those eight little words.
“Around the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran.” Joseph rattled off perfectly.
“Bloodery crapage more likes, hin ten munts aller I say perfectory is ‘Around
the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran.’” Joseph threw his arms into the
air shaking them with despair.
“I agree, speech therapy is not your solution.” The therapist sighed.
“I cod spitter hime dat lipid.” Joseph’s face displayed a mixture of hopelessness
“Livid,” the therapist corrected.
Joseph abandoned any explanation as to how a pure blooded Englishman's
dialect had transformed into gibberish and when he mentioned which particular
famous footballer he had collided with, all interest diverted to whether
he got his autograph or not. He changed his name to Joseppi Varque which
he pronounced ‘fucker’ and pretended to hail from a small Italian village
situated on the outskirts of Turin, Shiddetti pronounced ‘shit head’ with
an 'I' on the end.
Danny disliked the way that Joseppi twisted his beautiful native tongue
into something that made him feel murderous. They first met at a party
at university but Danny’s understandling became more complete when he sat
coincidently next to him during a special film society showing of 'Casablanca'
with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
“Dat wassa brillyipt,” Joseppi declared, “dey donner make flims like dis
anymore, jew got a hanker-snot?” Danny looked into his eyes, which were
streaming with tears.
“Rememy sweetbreads, we wilt alleyways have Basaclanca. I means Parrist,
where did dat cum frum? A rare slip off de tongue.” Joseppi openly laughed
at the faux pas then blubbered even more.
They ended up on in
the same physics course, whilst their classmates stuck religiously to the
curriculum, Danny and Joseppi built exploding things and a rocket that
flew high enough to penetrate lower Earth’s orbit, initiating a knock on
the door from concerned security services.
Danny's university days flew by quickly, producing a first class honours
degree and a Ph.D. He converted his basement into a laboratory and for
two years endured unexpected explosions; complaints from neighbours, digested
Joseppi’s life threatening cooking and faced his own mortality monthly.
He wiped his blackened face clean and emerged triumphant into his kitchen.
“Behold, my very own time machine!” he announced to an empty room. “Every
component part manufactured in China but assembled here in good old blighty!”
he declared swigging on a can of fizzy drink. “Let’s choose a random day
from the past.”
He grabbed a torch, noting the original settings on his device as reference
for Joseppi’s ongoing experiments. He put his half-eaten cheese sandwich
down and twisted the dials on its small dashboard. Its design deliberately
resembled the interface used in the film ‘The time machine’ as a tribute.
He removed his lucky fifty pence piece and kissed it before replacing it
reverently back into his wallet.
“The fourteenth of February, nineteen sixty-four. Dad’s birthdate,” he
declared then tugged on a lever. Knowing that there would be no music accompanying
this journey he closed his eyes and imagined it all; the dramatic orchestral
music; the sun rising and falling in the blinking of an eye, the seasons
changing, the world reverting to a much less technological way of life.
On this non-portable version of his device, a rail of equally distanced
yellow fissure like fireworks dripped down from above as he passed through.
In reality, the machine made a few barely audible blips and splutters,
followed by one last slightly louder noise heralding the beginning of time
travel on planet Earth.
“To think that two hundred million generations ago we were all just fish,
surely this is the single most significant discovery ever! History lessons
are going to rock from now on, who’s going to need history teachers when
you can see what happened for yourself?” he declared.
The lights had fused in the basement so Danny made his way carefully upstairs
to the kitchen, his suspicions were aroused however, when almost everything
looked the same back in nineteen sixty-four. The fuse box was mounted on
a different wall. He flicked the switch.
There were subtle differences; the shed in his back garden was a different
colour; the post-it notes on the fridge door were about things he had no
recollection. Danny grabbed his newspaper, its headlines had altered too.
‘Our president Mr. Clint Eastwood retires to star in another Linguine Western.’
More curiously, his half-eaten cheese sandwich had miraculously transformed
into a more interesting and healthier tuna and cucumber wrap.
He had travelled back in time but unfortunately for Danny an 80,000,000th
of a second was not going to impress anybody. Some other phenomena had
taken place as the present had altered, and Danny would have to sift through
the data to discover why.
“How can time travel transform my lunch?” he mused.
The world had changed. Even the maddening dog that always barked two houses
down was not barking anymore.
A state of panic ensued,
he ran downstairs again pressing the button returning him to his own ‘time.’
A few sad blips later and the sandwich was entirely ‘cheese and bread’
again. He sat on his long settee, turning on the TV and gazed at the screen
mulling over this paradox. He munched on his sandwich without realising
that the program he was staring at was also a massive clue.
“‘Sliders’, that’s about alternative universes, isn’t it?” He thought for
a moment. “That’s bonkers! Where the hell is Joseppi?” he said, accessing
the friends list on his mobile. The call went straight through to voicemail.
“Greeticks follicks, can-eye ‘elp it?” A pause followed.
“No, dis is voicemail, so hi mighta be out summary where created a time
machinery or shopperin' or sumfit.”
“Donna leave a messerage cos I never listerol to it anyways. Speaky hafter
de pips iffy jew wanna me to ignore ya.”
“What are you like?”
“Na notta dat beepa... dissa beepa.”
“You prick! It’s not a time machine, it does something better. Don’t use
it until you have spoken to me first,” he warned, ending the call. “As
if your speaking voice isn’t maddening enough man!”
Collaborating with an Englishmen that sounded as though he was perpetually
mocking Italians accents all of the time was a risky matter. They were
often confronted in a pub together by Italians or individuals concerned
about Joseppi’s apparent rudeness.
“If you are Italian, where do you come from?”
“No such place, you think that you are being clever but I know that you
are insulting me!” Fists flew and Danny always carried proof of the resulting
brawl with the occasional broken nose or loose tooth. Joseppi, being a
boxing champion for his county survived unscathed.
Joseppi’s genius, particularly pertaining to the portable version of his
device was visionary but them ever becoming friends was as unlikely as
the England football team winning anything. The very first words exchanged
were as follows during a campus party.
“Rainibow? A televisially program? I nunno whoer dis Bungly guy heven is.
I lovely jaw name Dunly, rainibow is my favriterist colour!” Joseppi declared
as his eyes rolled back, crashing to the floor, his brain succumbing to
the effects of too much alcohol. Joseppi did not remember a moment of that
night and Danny wondered if he had experienced some waking nightmare.
Joseppi, worked through the nights, giving Danny a break from his 'vocabulary'
and it was on one of those nights he completed a working version of the
portable device first.
Without knowledge that some part of the prototype had to remain with the
user to maintain connection to the original world, he passed through the
portal as it closed permanently behind him. The instant that happened,
Joseppi and his ridiculous rendition of the English language was exiled
to that place. He expected dinosaurs so he had grabbed a large wooden kitchen
spoon, as his chosen weapon of defence.
“Tyrannosaurus rexius, Joseppi iza comin’ to unfossilise jew, no funny
busina-rossanessesness or I’ll poker yer eyepits outer wit’ dis.” He entered
the portal waving his hand in one swift movement above him as though he
was unzipping a tent.
Joseppi, being Joseppi, had nicknamed it the ‘amber shower’ during its
development and the name had sickeningly stuck.
Strictly speaking, Joseppi was this world's first alternative world traveller,
but his part in history might only ever be known to himself and the mysterious
alternative universe he had just ingressed.
Unlike Danny, he instantly realised that it was a different reality. As
he strolled into the nearest town, a bunch of curious people followed from
a safe distance as though connected to him by an unwound ball of rubbery
The wooden bungalows lining the street were all painted white and were
reminiscent of a fifties American town with post boxes lining the newly
made roads. Joseppi walked up to a sign and read it out aloud.
“If jew iz new ina towna, press dis shiny buttock,” he said, meaning button.
Joseppi’s superior intelligence evaporated however, especially when buttons
were concerned, he pressed it and immediately the crowd surrounded him
with a dramatic fanfare. Someone waived a banner declaring that he was
the millionth visitor and that his prize was anything that he wanted. Even
the naughty stuff.
Sartorius the policemen read the suicide note with astonishment. Unfolding
events in the village of Pelosci are enough to make even the most grounded
of souls question reality, let alone the diverse collection who have congregated
there following the Second World War. How can anybody maintain their sanity,
when visiting nomad Annato Mars roams the dusty streets? Where even the
scent of a flower is stolen from our senses. This is an eerie place where
questions go unanswered – how did the bakery mysteriously burn to the ground,
and how did a man survive beneath the lake water for three days when he
could not swim? It is a tale of miracles, wonder and of course love. Love
spins the world, steals your heart and in this case resurrects crumbling
Weather wise, nineteen fifty was a most unsettled year, none of the seasons
had yet established themselves despite entering their third quarter. It
was as though four children fought over the same globe and now winter had
its hands upon the toy. The wind reared up as swirling rain set in, scattering
wildlife to their respective shelters.
One man laboured through the storm at great speed; his body tossed around
like a buoy in a turbulent sea followed by a number of irate pursuers.
back here you stupid hat!” Annato grabbed at the airborne fedora, infuriatingly
glancing the rim as it ascended into the pale purple sky. Its trajectory
ensured that only a miracle could reunite them.
A stone that had lain undisturbed since a Roman soldier had thrown it half-heartedly
at a peasant two millennium previous found itself within a clenched hand
then striking the skull of the pursuant.
“Ouch, I loved that hat!” Annato protested foremost at his loss, three
cheers followed as the blow felled him, but moments later, he resumed his
flight away from the masses. Most sensible folk had battened down all that
required such preparation and tucked themselves away somewhere safe, but
Annato sought refuge from the shadowing throng. Suddenly all manner of
other undisturbed objects transformed into improvised armaments. However
weakly the projectile was tossed towards their prey it somehow gained sufficient
momentum as to thump him painfully somewhere on his body such was the nature
of a curse that pervaded him.
Minutes turned into hours; only his speed protected him from an angry mob
that diminished in number as the miles travelled from the comfort of their
“I’ll get you one day,” the sole surviving pack member yelled, resting
his hands on his knees panting.
“When you are much fitter perhaps?” Annato replied unaware of the slight.
His pursuer noticed a palm-sized stone in the dust and hurled it towards
him; it glanced his cranium persuading consciousness to elude him. His
body collapsed mimicking the shape of an ‘X’ as he lay there, oblivious
to the skillset that had floored him. His pursuer weighed up the dangers
of more exposure to the storm then concluded this final shot was ample
justice, so he reversed direction.
“Let that be a lesson to you!”
Annato regained consciousness, yanking his beige woollen cape around him.
He tugged instinctively on his now departed hat then followed a path leading
up the mountainside at a more leisurely speed. As he entered a protective
rock formation, curiously the wind ceased.
Silver gossamer-like candy floss strands hovered stationary in the air
then followed him in his wake as though they were dolphins alongside a
boat. He wondered if this was like biblical 'manna' from heaven, that miraculously
fed the Israelites whilst lost in the dessert but soon spat it out.
Small cow bells, unprotected by this magical enclave rang softly, giving
the place a feeling of sanctuary and enchantment. Annato sat down where
some gifted craftsman had carefully chiselled a chair from the rock face
in a seemingly futile gesture, offering no grand vista to delight the mind,
just a column of sedimentary blandness to stare at. Annato wondered if
a fine picture had once hung there. He produced chalk from a pocket and
drew himself on it as though he was made of matchsticks sitting on the
chair staring at the blank space.
The mountains stretched up vertically towards the heavens then stopped
suddenly like someone had taken a giant scythe to them. Overhead, the storm
raged, and the clouds raced across the skyline.
“I like this place, no wind,” he smiled weakly. His spine tingled as some
of the warmth stolen by the weather returned to his body. He reminisced
on the day’s events; the shaking fists, the anger and revulsion of the
previous town’s inhabitants, the desperation deflecting their violence
- all manifestations of his cruel curse. The seat was hard and cold; his
posterior soon froze so he sat down crossed legged on the sandy ground
instead, examining the cuts on his face so gently with his calloused fingers,
releasing such sweetly melodic protestations.
Removing a concertina from his aged rucksack, he played a tune befitting
his mood. As he did so, precipitation fell gently around him, so slowly
that it was barely noticeable in a small cylinder of which he was its epicentre.
“How can a man be lonely, with you as his travelling companion?” Annato
mused. Upon playing the last note the precipitation crashed to the floor,
and shortly afterwards, the storm subsided too.
After resting here for a while, he prepared to resume his journey.
Annato Mars was aptly named. Mars is a planet and planet means wanderer.
Annato had been wandering far longer than his tarnished leather boots ever
could. Everything he possessed had been passed down to him in some unintentional
act of charity, to a vagabond possessing teeth that looked like a row of
His belongings were invariably shabby and frayed, except for a pocket watch
found whilst appeasing his thirst from a well dedicated to Saint Christopher.
Annato often stared into its dignified face despite the positioning of
its hands being beyond his understanding. It ticked so perfectly, and its
periodicity aided sleep. Finding it was a miracle, small things were to
a man who knew little kindness. He replaced the accordion adjusting his
rucksack where it tore into his flesh if it wasn’t placed just so. He stood;
reluctantly continuing his journey then cupped his hands as the next village
appeared over the ridge.
“Dear God I'm starving,” he said staring at the heavens, “please feed me
and let these villagers be more tolerant towards me than in the last town.”
Palosci was the kind of village that was discovered rather than intentionally
visited. It was similar to many villages in the province but built on the
side of three steep hills that converged where a lake had formed. The mountains
poked up around it like gaolers’ walls, preventing easy access from the
outside world because of this and the lack of enthusiasm of locals visiting
the run down place, a road leading to it was never cleared of continually
falling landslides, it consumed too much of the villagers time.
The mayor of the town was a haughty man, likely to disappear up his own
self-importance any day soon. He insisted on a vehicle befitting his own
vision of superiority, so they bought an open backed car that Mussolini
had cherished cheaply. The village boasted one stretch of road robust enough
for such a grand vehicle. It would be driven ceremoniously over that sacred
patch of navigable road and reversed accordingly at the other end. He had
the car disassembled into smaller parts that could be manhandled through
the cutting Annato had just discovered, and then reconstructed in the village
surrounded a large church on the only side of the village that wasn't steeply
inclined. A half-finished dusty road crept towards the village square,
where a clump of neglected war damaged shops plied for business. The village
had survived earthquakes and war, only a handful of buildings had been
restored in the certainty that some other disaster would befall them. Homes
transformed to less robust structures higher up the mountain. From the
sky, the village must have looked like a giant horseshoe. It seemed at
peace with itself and ready to jump into the lake in the event of a calamity.
He did so like the feel of the place. Mars may well be a wanderer, but
more significantly, Mars too was the bringer of war.
George gazed out of the window of his ramshackle building and was relieved
to discover that the wind had finally died down, so he braved a journey
into the village.
He had the kind of forty-five-year-old body that only the poor-sighted
could admire. He had exiled himself to moral turpitude longer than he'd
cared to mention and, as if proving the point, sought the village whore.
After descending into the village he climbed upwards again, struggling
up the limestone steps, meandering around the hillside like someone had
tied his shoelaces together; even the most placid of movements recently
had exhausted him. Chantel, the whore, watched him through her window,
concealed behind a curtain laughing hysterically at his comical groans
and expressions stifled by the thought that he might hear her. He summoned
up all of his energy and knocked on the faded varnished wooden door.
“Oh it’s you, come in George. There was a time when you used to leap up
those stairs like they were hardly there,” she said quite rudely.
there was a time when that red basque of yours fitted you.” he retorted,
struggling for breath. It was two sizes too small for her now, but there
was a time when it was a size too large.
Over the years, her stiletto heels had punched holes in the varnished softwood
flooring giving it the appearance of a surrealist painting. Chantel’s hairpiece
was red and too short for George’s tastes, but it would be any colour that
her customers expressed a preference to. Her freckly gaunt skin pinched
in places and rounded up like a stoat in a sack. There were signs of bruising
that she never spoke about with George, despite his concerns and no amount
of deftly applied makeup could disguise the fact that she was getting old.
She sat in a chair, hurriedly restoring the makeup that her previous customer
had unintentionally soiled.
“Bloody hell Chantel, you look like s*** today,” George said undiplomatically.
She barely flinched, overloading her cheeks with more blusher. “Better
“A little,” he replied with no conviction.
She sighed and lay back on the bed, encouraging him to join her, but George
“What's the matter?”
“You don’t have to do this you know.” His eyes pleaded with hers.
“Oh really, what else does the village whore do, George?”
George grasped her hands, forcing eye contact. “Come live with me in my
old mountain shack; I'll take care of you there. You're getting old, soon
even the least discerning amongst us will look for someone new, younger
perhaps. Younger flesh for farmers and judges alike, or for a virgin male
to get his first taste of a woman like Francine.”
content with satisfying men, women, and other things too so I’ve heard...”
She pointed off angrily, but nowhere in particular. “Horses heads turn
as she cavorts down the street.”
“Of course they turn, for anyone who regularly feeds them, besides they
may have an eye for beauty too.”
“Maybe they can smell their stable companions…”
“Nonsense girl, absolute nonsense! She is younger Chantel, that’s all,
and youthfulness is something older men pine for. Just because we look
old, we still feel young inside, and Francine will reignite those fading
memories. Don’t be harsh with her.” George pleaded unaware of how indelicate
he was being. She too pined for her youth, a time when George could have
saved her from this lifestyle. “I want to talk to you about something.
I was talking to Shulman the other day; he gave me a kitten and a bottle
of red wine for replacing some tiles on his rickety old roof. I wanted
cash, but he said, 'Zer kitten will make you feel less lonely in your twilight
years, and zer vine will varm your heart'.” George impersonated Shulman
poorly because in truth his accent was barely noticeable.
"Well, did it?”
“The wine made me drunk like it always makes me drunk, and the kitten s**ts
everywhere and eats my dinner when I'm not looking,” he complained. She
laughed heartily. “He is a peculiar fellow.”
Plucky though, moving here so quickly after the war, kind too, donating
all that money to restore the village school.”
“The same property his fellow countrymen demolished in the first place.”
“You cannot tar all people with the very same brush. I do not think of
him as a German soldier; I think of him as one of us now. That is the exceptional
wonder of this place; there are so many people from other countries living
here in peace, it was as though all the broken people that don’t fit in
were destined to live out their lives here.”.......
is my first published story, thanks to Kellan Publishing.
the existence of an afterlife I have never understood why the dead do not
explore new ways to communicate with us as the world adapts and technology
advances. This is a possible modern way for them to achieve this, it is
my first published work..
about four childhood friends. One of them (Hadrian) claims to be psychic
and drops the bombshell that the dead have invented a new way to communicate
with the living. The others dismiss his ramblings until one of them (David)
is forced to confront Hadrian's bizarre ethereal connection to the afterlife.
On assignment in war ravaged Iraq, he witnesses an inexplicable event and
has no choice other than to accept Hadrian's absurd hypothesis. The four
friends are launched on a voyage of discovery, opening doors to hidden
realms existing in parallel to our own. Unquestioningly they follow the
unfolding events to their natural conclusion as a group of powerful and
evil people gain knowledge of Hadrian's new gift and want to own him.
on recent scientific research that suggests we have some knowledge of being
observed even when we don't make eye contact, (have you ever been in a
restaurant and felt that someone is watching you and when you turn around,
they are?) I constructed a basic language around this observed phenomenon.
It's a story about the paranormal, pitted with comedy and a hint of horror
is my author's page at Kellan Publishing and a link to buying my novella.
David looked at the old beach house and the sand that on particularly blustery
days had swept itself around the foundations of it. Memories both good
and bad flooded back. As a child, David spent most of his summer holidays
here, cocooned from the outside world and the controversy which followed
his mother around like a Damocles sword.
She came here to think, but she came here to drink also, as the two events
were intertwined. It was here that she was at her most creative and here
where she wrote her bestseller. 'It could do with a lick of paint,' he
said to himself, observing just how old and unloved it looked now.
sun shone and a deceptively powerful wind occasionally reared up causing
sand to fly through the air along the beach. His hat flew off so he chased
it over the dunes with his small suitcase still in hand.
"Come back here you wretched thing!" Upon hearing David talking to his
hat, a figure appeared at one of the windows. She wore dark glasses and
held a vermouth glass in her left hand.
"F***ing hell, if you don't come back right now I shall leave you here
amidst the dunes to perish," he said as if it would somehow be the catalyst
to reunite them.
giggled loudly like a schoolgirl, when she knew she should not have laughed
at all. Realising that there was no time to change clothing, she wrapped
an off white shawl around her and walked out onto the veranda. David suddenly
realised that he had an audience and decided that was his cue to abandon
"'If you love something, let it free, if it comes back it yours, if it
doesn't it never was,'" she offered, quoting Johnathan Livingstone's Seagull
as he climbed the three stairs leading to the veranda. David wondered whether
it was the hat she was referring to, or himself.
"Hello Mother"; Wind chimes tossed in the breeze.
"Give me a hug my darling!" She embraced him warmly, which was not like
her, perhaps watching her son failing brought out the mothering instinct
in her. It surprised him and deep down, despite finding her intimacy suspicious,
he liked the gesture anyway and reciprocated. 'Perhaps she has run out
of booze,' he thought.
"Not a good day to go fishing for hats,” she said and wrapped
her arm around his. They withdraw to her writing room and she nestled down
onto a gigantic white rattan chair. The whole room had a seaside feel to
it with fisherman’s nets and coloured glass balls, sea shells
and bare floorboards painted white. She had an old wooden ships steering
wheel which flanked one entire whitewashed wall. The sun shone through
the thin venetian blinds, lighting up both the airborne particles in the
room and its clutter.
sat on a couch made by the same manufacturer as the chair, but it had more
modest proportions. The cushions were frayed and threadbare where a long
departed cat had sharpened its claws. She had been listening to an old
gramophone and the needle still span around the old 78 long after the music
"It's been a while darling," she said, topping her glass up from a near
full cocktail shaker.
"No gentlemen to accompany you here mum?"
"No, I've literally had my fill of men right now. She smiled at the irony
of her words and David knew exactly what she meant. She was being crude
again, with the sole aim of shocking her son.
"I've got an assignment."
"I know! I mean I knew there was something different about my hatless prodigy,"
"You knew, didn't you?"
"I may have been instrumental in the offer being made, but nothing more
than 'a word in your shell like.'" A cockney expression for a word whispered
in the ear.
had travelled the world and every little town or place had somehow enhanced
her accent, transforming it into a hybrid of them all. Some people collect
mementos, she collected accents. Accurately predicting her country of origin
because of this was impossible. Her accent would acclimate to the person
she was in communication with, so if it was an American, her words took
on an American drawl.
always thought that she came from somewhere else no matter what country
she found herself in and therein laid the truth, she never felt truly at
home anywhere, even in Canada, where she was born, or England, where she
had sent her son to boarding school and lived for the past twelve years.
"But mother, I told you that I wanted a real challenge, without your help."
"And that's why I chose Iraq. You can visit your sweet two timing step
papa whilst over there dodging the bullets."
latest book involves a twist on evolution. Brian Cox, the British physicist
suggested in one of his informative television programmes that if intelligent
life existed anywhere other than on this planet, that it would make self-replicating
machines, colonise planets and populate the universe. As this hasn't happened,
the chances of intelligent life existing are slim.
a civilisation was capable of such technology, there would be rules just
as there will be rules for artificial intelligence when it arrives. A smarter
way to populate the universe would be with devices that would seek out
pre-biotics on a planet and possess the knowledge to bring them together
in a way that would encourage intelligent life to take hold, no matter
story is called 'The Penultimate Ghost' and it will take advantage of science
to explain itself and evolution. My stories are just possibilities, they
are not designed to upset or provoke religious groups. I just look at things
from a different perspective and try to offer another way of understanding
feel free to contact me on Facebook; Twitter or email.