Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Mind Boggler by Tamsyn Naylor

This story lives up to it's title. It's another beautifully weird and wonderful creation, which seems to be Tammy's trademark!

The Mind Boggler
Tamsyn Naylor

The windows were smoky; I held my hand against the light to peer in through the glass. In the gloom there was an array of untidiness, cases and boxes stacked around in a disorderly way, the glint of brass from a well rubbed handle around a heavy mahogany counter. I could see a figure, waistcoated with a small chain hanging from a pocket. A bell tinkled as I lifted the catch and pushed open the heavy door, the words FrancisFickleworth’s etched into the opaque glass. A familiar honey type smell greeted me as I entered.

‘Hello there, not seen you for a while,’ he said as I approached the counter across the well rubbed parquet floor.
‘Yes, I haven’t been in for some time now,’ I laughed, thinking back to the times I had regularly called in during my teenage years.
‘What can we do for you?’

There was a lady standing with her back towards me, tall and thin, her hair combed close to her head. She was surveying the small hand written labels on the boxes stacked along the wall. Each box held a roll of parchment, tied with a ribbon inside, the writing on which could only be read by someone in need of its contents. The dilemmas it contained could be a variety of things, some just trivial, some quite purposeful but each needed thought and contemplation to solve, perfect for people who had simple uncomplicated lives, in which nothing in particular ever happened.

Along the side wall of the shop were rows of glass bottles, all different colours and sizes, all glinting in the candlelight. The quandaries were fun, the liquid could change to a smoky colour when touched, if it wanted to be chosen, but if you drank it down while still clear, it tasted bitter and made you burp all day.

I remembered back to one I had chosen some time ago. What do you do if your aunt is coming to stay, the one who knitted you a perfectly silly Christmas jumper in the most daring of colours, which you had let the dog sleep on for some time now? Of course I spent an hour trying to pull the hairs off with sellotape; I was bound to be discovered.

I looked intently at the gentle green eyes of the man behind the counter. ‘I have come to change my mind.’
‘Ah, of course,’ he said, ‘let me see.’

He reached down to a large bunch of keys hanging from his belt. The dim light reflected the thin shiny brown stripes of his trousers, as he chose a key and unlocked the panelled door behind him. He ushered me through into a long narrow passageway. There were doorways on each side, the one on my right opened as we approached and a lady came out, with a jaunty greeting to us both. Under her arm she had several travel brochures, all of which looked well thumbed. That room was the ponder room. There were no furnishings, just plain walls, a warm fire and a big comfortable armchair, a quiet place where you could gather your thoughts.

The next room along I had not been in but it was the deliberating room. The door was ajar and I could see mirrors around the walls, lots of different seats and a set of scales on a large table. This was a place for weighing up the odds, somewhere to see all sides of a situation. But it was more than this that I needed fromFickleworth’s today, I needed help.

The gentleman came to another door. This was the inconceivable room he stopped and opened the door, letting me pass inside. There was a huge sofa in the middle of the floor, the seat was just high enough for me to put my hand on, but there was no way I could sit down on it. The floor seemed plastic, not sound under me but not still either I leaned with my back against the sofa side and closed my eyes. My insecurities came flooding back, pressing down on my shoulders and quickening my breathing. I must not look backward, I whispered; just think about a good memory, something from my childhood.

There was a seed, a day when something unexpected came. I remember my brother running in, excited and panting to say that he had seen a gianormous lady, with flowing skirts, a soothing, velvet voice and dancing eyes, hanging a poster on a tree. He was waving a flyer; it depicted a huge red and yellow striped tent, with flags flying from the pinnacle and the words ‘Grayson’s Amazing Illusions’ printed across the front. He dropped a small wooden box on the table where my mother was peeling potatoes. She opened it so find frogs hopping out and all over the kitchen!

I giggled in recollection and opened my eyes to wipe a tear from them. The light in the room had softened and changed. One or two pictures of smiling acrobats and prancing horses were hanging on the wall and there was sand beneath my feet. The sofa was still there behind me, the seat up to my chest height, so I climbed onto it and stretched out.

There was a pack of cards on the cushion. I shuffled them several times and lay them down, splayed. I did not want to tempt fate so I swirled them round in a clockwise direction one, two, three, four, twelve, twenty or so times, until suddenly one fell from my fingers and landed on the floor. Cautiously I peeked over the side and looked at the card. There was simply a bird on it, but it was a fantastic bird, with purple and gold feathers and the most amazing curved tail. As I looked up the ceiling was filled with tiny birds, blue, darting, mischievous birds, flashing and whirring about. A warm breeze stroked my cheek and palm trees rustled above my head. I felt such an immeasurable glow of pleasure as I stirred from the far reaches of my mind. I knew I could be settled and happy, if I only changed my mind to it. It was clear I could bumble on doing what I always had done, feeling in my safe zone, comfortable. Or I could try, try something inconceivable. I reached into my bag and pulled out the folded letter.

Application to attend the ‘Flights of Fancy’ trapeze school. .

Why not, I was tall enough, didn’t weigh over the odds and, as I glanced into my compact mirror, had dancing eyes. Why not give it a try? I got up from the sofa and looked back at the room, a busy cluttered room, the walls festooned with pictures.

I opened the door and stepped out again into the passageway. There was a man there, dressed in a businesslike suit with a briefcase in one hand. He was fumbling with his free hand along the wall opposite me.
‘Are you alright?’ I said as I saw him struggling.
‘I am looking for the handle,’ he muttered sharply.

I gently ran my fingers along the wall until they closed around the knob and turned it. I pushed it open and he stood blinking in the pure white light that issued forth. The in fathomable room was one I had never entered before; I pitied the poor man as he looked down the never-ending length of the room, stretching on almost as far as he could see. I left him and retraced my steps into the dusty shop.

‘Thank you,’ I said as I stood in front of the counter. ‘I do not know what I would do if you were to retire.’
‘Not much chance of that,’ he said, his eye winking at me as the bell rang again.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Hitman by Antony Wootten

Okay, I've been bullying members of the writers' group into giving me stories for the blog, so I suppose I should step up to the plate too!  It's been a struggle to find a story I've written which isn't completely dark and/or gory, and I'm afraid I've failed! Dark and slightly gory it is, but I hope you'll enjoy the twists in the tale.
Antony Wootten

I pressed the accelerator and felt the Volvo surge forwards, the windscreen wipers slashing their way through sheets of rain like a Machete through dense undergrowth.  I realised I was sweating.  This was insane!  I never lost my head like this, not when I was in the forces and not in my... more recent work.  I had to get a grip.  The narrow road curved beneath a crag and I felt the car twitch as the tyres skittered slightly on the wet tarmac.  I glanced at the clock as the car straightened, and I opened up the power again, pressing forwards towards the town.  I had less than eight minutes.
On the passenger seat, the knife lay, still wrapped in the blood-soaked cloth.  In the darkness, I couldn’t even tell whether or not it had stained the seat, but, seeing a straight stretch of road before me, I grabbed the bundle and stuffed it into the glove compartment.  I’d have to clear up any mess later on.  There was no time right now.  Close-up hits always took it out of me; it was much simpler to kill from a distance, with a gun.  But my last hit, just ten minutes ago, had become unexpectedly complicated.  I’d had to get right up close, and open his throat.  I hadn’t had chance to prepare for the mess.  Normally, I’d have had a fresh set of clothes in the car, but not today.  That was clumsy, especially given where I had to go next.  If there was blood on my clothes, it would give me away.
I had just four minutes now, and my heart was actually thundering.  I had to clear my head or I’d mess the whole thing up.  There was so much riding on it; I’d already let the boss down more than once recently.  I had to get this one right.
Around me now, the town streaked by.  A red light; I ran it.  A horn; I gave them the finger and threw the car round a corner.  A lorry; I hit the brake hard, bracing my back against the seat as the ABS kicked in and I guided the car between lorry and bus...  Several more frantic manoeuvres as I hurtled deeper into the town’s sprawl.  At last, the tower block.  But as I slowed, I saw the familiar black hatchback pulling into the block’s private car park ahead of me.  It was him.  Slipping lower in my seat, I sped past the entrance and round the next corner.  Christ, what was I going to do now?  I had to get up to the flat before him.  That was the plan.  It had all been worked out so carefully.

The tyres squealed as I turned another corner, and brought the car to a halt behind the flats.  Double yellows; it didn’t matter.

I almost dropped the key as I switched off the ignition and flung open the door.  I had to compose myself.  This was ridiculous!  I was practically panicking.  I grabbed the package from the back seat, and the crow bar, and hurried towards the tall building, the package tucked under my jacket to keep it out of the rain.  I knew I couldn’t use the front door; I’d blow the whole thing if I was spotted now.  So I scaled the wire fence and hurried round the side of the tower block.

With a few frantic jerks on the crowbar, I forced open the fire exit and hurried inside.  I flung the crowbar into the dark space beneath the stairs and I could still hear the ringing of metal on concrete when I reached the second floor.  I paused for breath, remembering a time when I’d have climbed a tower block stairwell without breaking a sweat.  Thank God I was only heading for the fourth floor.

When at last I arrived, I was gasping for air, but I didn’t have time to recover.  I eased open the fire-door and peered into the space beyond, where the two heavily graffitied lift doors stood side by side.  I heard the soft chime which told me one lift was arriving, and without any further hesitation I slipped past and round the corner.  Behind me, the lift wheezed open, and voices spilled out.  I ran the length of the corridor, fumbling in my pocket for the key the boss had given me yesterday along with the words, “Let me down again and I’ll fucking kill you.”  I managed to slip it in the lock, glancing behind me at the corner I’d just come round.  The corridor was still empty, but would only be so for another second or two.

I suddenly remembered to give the four-beat knock, just in case; then, I pushed the door open and slipped into the darkness of the flat, clicking it shut behind me.
“It’s me,” I hissed into the darkness.  “Stay down.”

“Bloody ‘ell, Mike,” came a voice.  I couldn’t see him but I knew it was Tim, my oldest friend.  We’d served in the Middle East together, seen plenty of action there.  “Cuttin’ it a bit fine aren’t you?  We saw ‘em pull up!”
“Shut up,” I said.  “They’re right behind me.”

I made straight for the pale glow of the kitchen area, slamming my shin into the unseen corner of a coffee table and sending something flying.
I limped round the end of the counter which partially divided the lounge from the kitchen, and dropped to the floor, desperately trying to control my breathing.  There was someone else nearby, but I couldn’t see who.  I heard a few quiet voices and a snigger.  I shushed them crossly.

I heard the door open.  I removed the package from inside my jacket and put it on the floor beside me.  The light came on and I heard his voice, his high, rippling giggle.
And this was the moment I’d come for.  It seemed to happen so slowly: I stood, revealing my presence, and gazed at my little boy.  He was looking down at the photos I’d knocked off the coffee table, but his mother’s hard, brown eyes were pointing straight at me.  And then the room was full of people, appearing from behind the sofa, from the curtains, the bathroom, the kitchen.

“Surprise!” They cacophonied.
David was stunned into silence for a moment, then his gorgeous smile sprang into life as his aunts, uncles, cousins and friends laughed and clapped and all spoke at once.

And he saw me.
“Dad!”  I laughed and moved towards him with my arms wide, and everyone seemed to part for us.  He threw himself into my embrace and I whirled him round with delighted enthusiasm.  I kissed him and cried out, “Happy birthday, son!”  I sat him on the counter top and handed him his present.  I hadn’t even had time to get wrapping paper for it; it was still in the packaging it had arrived in.  “Here you go,” I said.  “Sorry I haven’t wrapped  it.”  He smiled and tore into it.  I looked past him at his mother.  She was standing there, arms folded, giving me that ‘I hate you’ look, and now the room was full of excited people who didn’t quite know whether or not it was alright to speak.

“Hello, Boss,” I said.  I'd always called her that, even back when things were good between us.

“Don’t call me that, Mike,” she warned.
David pulled his new football top from the package.  ”Thanks, Dad,” he said.

"That’s alright, son,” I grinned.  “Tell you what,” I said, as I took off my jacket and loosened my tie, “work’s been going pretty well recently.”  That was as much for his mother’s ears as his.  And, if I’m to be honest, everyone else’s too.  “I’ll take you shopping tomorrow, maybe get you that bike you wanted.”  Behind David, the boss sighed and shook her head.  Nothing was ever good enough for her.
“Dad,” David said, but I was busy out glaring the boss, and enjoying the spell we had cast over the rest of the people in the room.  “Dad,” David said again, but I had just noticed the way Tim had moved across next to her, and she’d given him that warm, welcoming look she used to give me, and everyone seemed to be staring at me.  “Dad.”

“What?” I said, instantly regretting the note of anger in my voice, but everyone was staring at me and I was starting to feel paranoid, defensive.
“Why’s your shirt got that red hand print on it?”

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Can't Buy Me Love by Josephine Esterling

Last week, we welcomed a new member to the group: Jo Esterling.  A quiet and unassuming character, she made a huge impact when she wowed us with this powerful short story. 
Can't Buy Me Love
Josephine Esterling
Five year old Jenny put her arms around her mother. " I love you mummy" she said innocently. One of the woman's arms slowly encircled the child and lay limp about her waist.  Somewhere inside her the child begged the woman to look at her. To hold her tight and return the love that she gave so freely. But the woman never looked up from her book.
"I love you" Jenny said again. This time with a note of urgency in her voice. The woman's arm tightened around the childs waist in response, as though acting love for her daughter. To Jenny it was cold, uncareing and false. She could not understand why her mother did not love her. Why she had to continually act out a scene of false sincerity. But to Jenny, any form of love, even this cold love, was better than nothing.
At night Jenny lay unmoving in her bed. Sometimes she would watch the reflected lights of passing cars on the bedroom wall. But mainly she listened.
From the rooms below muffled voices of her mother and father wafted through the floor. Sometimes they were loud and she could hear every word clearly. That is when the pain in her chest would come. It would be slight at first, like a tiny butterfly battering its delicate wings against her insides. Then it would grow stronger with the voices of her parents. Untill it stabbed at her heart in sharp thin strokes, making her curl up with pain. But Jenny never cried out. Instead she covered her ears with her small hands and cried silent tears into her pillow. All the time wishing her mother and father would stop shouting at each other and love her.
Seven year old Jenny stood on the concrete grey path. Her eyes shut, arms wide. Her finger tips stretching out to the exhilarating void she had spun herself into. Untill it faded and reality returned. Again she stepped round and round, one foot following the other. Untill she was once again dizzy, her body trying to defy gravity as it wobbled and wavered to keep upright. Her mind whirling out into space and back again. It felt good, it felt safe. It was wonderful. the more Jenny spun the better she felt. She wondered if that was how it felt to be loved.
The child stoped.Her mother called again.
Suddenly Jenny felt sick. Her mothers voice had a note of anger to it. Jenny's heart missed a beat. What had she done or not done? She could not remember. She felt sick. She was going to be sick.
The mother found the child on the front path with the remains of orange sick dripping down her cotton dress. The rest lay in a pool at the childs feet.
Jenny stood stiff and dumb, watching her mother storm up the path. a tear ran slowly down her face. She braced herself for the blow that would surely come.
Later, Jenny nursed her swollen cheek as she lay in her bed listening. She wanted very much to sleep and to be loved.
Twenty year old Jenny watched the child in the garden, spinning round and round. She smiled. "You'ii be sick" she thought, and put the tea towel down on the drainer and stepped out into the garden. Laughing, Jenny scooped her daughter up into her arms. Together they spun round and round until they were both quite dizzy, and fell onto the grass in a happy, loving, dizzy heap.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Woodland Healer by Tamsyn Naylor

Ever watched a squirrel try to steal the fat-balls from your bird table?  Ever wondered what they do with them if they are successful in their thieving?  Well, here’s the truth about what goes on out of sight in the world beneath our hedgerows...

Woodland Healer
Tamsyn Naylor

There was a flurry of noise as the flock of sparrows rose up, like the sound of a sheet being shaken out of an upstairs window. One quick hop and I was atop of the garden fence. A quick shuffle of the back legs and I sprung across onto the bird table.

 A face looked up from a newspaper, a face in the room behind the garden bench. The owner had caught a glimpse of me out of the corner of his eye. My instinct, when young, was to scurry away when detected. So many times people have shouted and hissed when they see me, but now I knew I had to carry out my task, my fear was gone, time was of the essence. This was the first time I had my chance to help, the first to be put out now the frosts had come.

I flicked my tail in defiance before lowering the top of my body over the edge, gripping to the wood with my back claws. As I dangled, my front paws were free to work at my prize. I quickly lifted and tugged at the close knit net until the spherical trophy came away. I jerked it up, steadied myself and deftly regained my perch before making my way back into the safety of the hedge.

Once through the hedge, I followed it for some distance until the voices and sounds of the big ones faded away, reaching a bramble covered bank side. The man with the newspaper had come out of his house in pursuit of me, but was looking over the hedge still, I was long gone. Pushing on through the paper like leaves made me breathless, I paused at the rise of the hill, before rolling my prize down the slope. I gathered it up again and made for a small patch of hawthorn scrub. 

I startled her as I entered the thicket, her sharp whiskered nose wrinkled as she blinked in the light from behind me. “Aahhh, at last,” she said, as I lowered the ball within her reach, “We have waited a long time for this.” I chewed into the side of the net, which then came apart easily and the bundle lay exposed. “Let’s start a fire,” she said.

As the flames sparked into life around the ball, it lit up the thicket, sparks dancing against the slender silver twigs. Around me I could see the items of the hodgehegs craft – small bundles of dried woodland fruits and seeds, strands of grass neatly tying up the parcel within beech leaves. Oils and juices from nuts and fruits glistened in the conker bowls, as the fire gave light to the hovel. “We will now be able to help others,” she said, “It has been a long wait.”
“I gave them the slip okay, shouldn’t be too much of a problem keeping the stocks up for a while,” I said.

As the fire established, the fat from the ball started to soften. The apocatharist scuffed at the soil with her claws, forming a channel to collect the fat. Some of it would go straight to the sick, who nestled in their weakened state within the hollow base of the protecting oak tree. The rest was to be bound with life giving moss and kept as a compound for any other illness that would befall the forest.

The many seeds that came out of the soft pulp, as it was rendered down, were collected and put onto a woven nettle rope rack, to dry by the fire. All of these seeds were life giving, but one, a small oval black one, were the richest of all. These were planted in vast, warm underground caverns by moles, to provide a harvest of ground sorrel - the most prized of all health giving plants.

The hodgeheg was pleased as she quickly went about her business. Her friend, the squirrel, was an invaluable ally to her carrying out her healing powers. Without the prolific collection of the ingredients for her remedies, the woodland dwellers would have no protection against sickness. She had heard of places where the squirrels had mysteriously not returned to the hodgehegs, not returned with their precious stores. For every time this was the case, the heg herself would be forced to forage herself in dangerous places, where the slowness in their limbs would count against them in getting away from the big ones, many never returned.

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Awakening by Ray

At last!  A second offering from the Grosmont Writers!  This one is courtesy of Ray.  It's mysterious and more than a little sinister, and we hope it's the beginning of something much longer.  Ray, you'd better be at home slaving away over the next installment or there'll be trouble!

Don't forget to add a comment and/or click on Like, Tweet or Google+ it!  Thank you.
The Awakening

His eyes opened. The white ceiling looked back at him… Where was he? …Who was he? …He had been walking… walking... yes but to where? He had been on his way to work… No… he had been on his way back home... Home... to whom…? From where? The work had been dirty. He remembered that much… He lifted his hands… but they were clean.

  How long had he been lying here? He heard voices outside… distant mumbling voices that did not sound familiar… voices… who had said the fond farewells to him as he went to work that morning... It was that morning that he had gone to work… wasn’t it...?

  He closed his eyes and the darkness enabled him to see more clearly. He was walking along the old waggonway. It was all so familiar. He felt tired…. well you would do after a twelve hour shift at the Dolly… The Dolly… That’s where he had spent his last twelve hours… hewing coal and swallowing coal dust. He heard a whistle from the other side of the hedge as the coal wagons from his efforts were hauled towards the town by a panting black engine. Hannah would have his tea ready when he returned. The bairns would be playing outside the front door. It was much better in the summer when there were still a few hours of daylight when he returned from work… How different in the winter when he left home early in the morning in the darkness, worked for twelve hours in the darkness and then returned home in the darkness. The darkness… oppressive…

  He opened his eyes to rid himself of the darkness… He looked again at the ceiling… He turned his head slowly to survey his situation and his neck ached. It must have been a heavy shift. He usually didn’t suffer from aches and pains. How old was he…? He was still a young man. Closing his eyes he remembered that the Dolly had been his second pit. He had started as a putter at the Peggy when he was fourteen. He had worked at that for about four years, building up his stamina and insensitivity to the pain before he progressed to the coal face as a hewer. He had met Hannah about the same time on a Sunday outing organised by the Chapel… They had started walking out and it was not long before they were being married in the same chapel... and only seven months later that young Tom was being christened. It wouldn’t be long before Tom would be going along with him on his first shift. His life was mapped out for him but his sister Margaret’s was yet an open book. The teacher at the village school had told them that she was clever, but as a miner’s daughter what doors would be opened for her?

  He heard a voice… He thought that the voice was talking about him… He opened his eyes again and saw a man he did not know. He was young, tall and he wore a white coat. He was talking to a nurse… He thought it was a nurse but the white clad figure was wearing trousers… He looked at the figure and yes, the shape was that of a woman. They were saying that he was stable and the police would be coming soon to talk to him.

  He wondered why the police would want to talk to him... He had never crossed the boundaries of the law… apart from the odd poached rabbit.

  He closed his eyes again to greet familiarity. He thought about popping into the Three Horseshoes for a quick pint before his tea but walked on realising that one pint would lead to three. It was a fine night and he contemplated an hour on the allotment after his tea. He had a fine crop of taties and carrots this year, and Hannah would soon be making good use of them in the kitchen. He began to ache again and he opened his eyes. The room was stark and clinical. The voices continued a little way off and he was alone. A sudden thirst came over him. Looking around the room he saw a tap over a sink and he moved to fill the empty glass that was beside his bed with some water. He slipped out from beneath the sheet and taking the class he moved unsteadily towards the sink. Filling the glass he raised it to his lips and looking into the mirror he saw a man he did not know.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

You Reap What You Sow by Tamsyn Naylor

Here is the first of what we hope willbe many great stories, poems and other pieces from various genres, posted herefor your delectation!  Thanks Tammy foryour bravery in being the first of us to put themselves forward!  Readers beware – this is a creepy one.  Please let us know your thoughts by adding acomment or clicking 'like'.

You Reap What You Sow
Tamsyn Naylor

I miss my life……I miss looking out of the window, sittingby the fire, pottering about humming to myself as I went about my ordinarylife. But that is far from ordinary now…
            Itall started quite subtly, just a feeling something was different, not quiteright. I would look out of the window as I dressed and glimpse, in the formingdewy mist creeping along the field, a slight movement, a shape merging into ashadow. The light was dim and shifting. Could it be a deer? It didn’t move nimblyor gracefully, didn’t really appear to be there at all.
            Afew days later, as I climbed the track behind my house, the sun beat down ontomy shoulders, the ground smelt warm from the late summer rays penetratingthrough the trees. As I walked on, following the path of a hover fly flittingbetween dandelion flowers, I heard a rustle, deep in the hedge. I know therewas something there, the faint cloud of its breath lit up against the dampvegetation. But I was alone...
            Thisuncertain feeling continued in my mind on several occasions after that.
            Theyear was turning; the mornings were more crisp and clear. I was pulling seedheads out in the garden one day, when the pig lumbered into view. It wassnuffling through the fallen leaves, looking for worms. That’s strange, Ithought, my neighbour would normally have told me if she was getting morelivestock. It was not alone, there were four or five, all different sizes butall intent on their grubbing. Two more appeared in the following week, gentlecreatures. I didn’t see my neighbour, didn’t get the chance to ask her aboutthe additions.
            Ispent a precious hour in the garden – tidying up before winter. As I pushed thebarrow of deads through the gate to the compost corner, I was startled to seethe rough turned over, exposed ground. Holes had appeared. In my pause I didnot hear them coming. I jolted as the gate smashed against the back of my legs,powered by the combined force of several large pigs gambolling into the field.I fell onto the bare sticky earth, cracking my skull on the corner of my barrowas I went, and lay motionless and limp. I sank into a motionless sleep.
            Thepigs carried on scurrying and romping, pulling at my clothes. As they scuffedunder my arms and sides, the soil started to slip and move, swallowing me intothe damp, leafy loam.

Winter came and the last of theleaves fluttered from the trees. I consciously felt the first frost and knew Ineeded to fill my belly with something. Moving over to the hedge, I slumpeddown onto the ground with tiredness and waited, waited for a morsel to pass meand quench my hunger. After quite some time had passed and a watery sun hadsunk below the level of the hill, a creature approached. As it passed thehedge, I clearly saw it carried something in its mouth. I couldn’t make it out– was it meat, a limp lifeless body? No it was stiff and pearlescent, a furlessmorsel.
            Asthe dog stopped, it carefully dropped its prey and began to dig. I recognisedthe dog as my own, my faithful happy friend who loved me beyond all else. Themany times, whilst out shopping, I recollected her smiling loyal eyes and wasreminded to bring her home her favourite – a pigs ear. But when, I thought, hadyou ever seen her eat them? Take them yes and relish them, laying in the hall withthe treat placed between her paws, coveting them.
            AsI watched the horror of the realisation dawned on me. They were my treats; theywere my pigs, planted by my own dog. My breath was panicky, I could not shout.I fell to the ground, my snout steadying me where I lay and I watched in horroras my dog covered over the ear, planting the seed of my destiny and trottedback up the field and into the comfort of my old home...


Thursday, 22 November 2012

First thoughts...

I can't believe how well the group is going! We had our first gathering on 12th September, and have met up 6 times so far. The Crossing Club is a great venue for us - we have adopted a cosy corner where we can lose ourselves in great writing, supplemented with interesting ales.  It’s still early days, but we’ve got a hard-core of regulars already, some of whom have been writing for years, and some are newer to it but have become incredibly enthusiastic and prolific!

 I love the variety of themes and styles we have each week.  We’ve had interesting and comical autobiographies; we’ve had local history; we’ve had murder, romance, domestic violence, witches, wizards and, this week, a lesson in friendship and some mysterious pigs!

iPhone users, if you download Opuss from the app store, you can read Caroline’s excellent romantic serialised mini-epic, as well her quirky and often hilarious musings on life and death.  (Search for ‘the_rop’.)  You can also read my dark tales with surprising twists.  (Search for ‘antony’.)

New members are always welcome!  Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 5th December at 8:30 in the Crossing Club at Grosmont.