To Young to Die!

swale-at-sunset

“Someone help him, it’s Michael. He’s drowning.”

Without hesitation two cops rushed forward and jumped into the river. Lindsay tried to stand, ready to jump in the water herself, but Barbara pulled her back.

“Look, they’ve got him, what could you do?”

“Is he alive? He has to be alive.”

In a matter of minutes Michael was pulled onto the riverbank. The nurse went to work on him immediately, “Give us some space.” She yelled. “Back off.”

The crowd stood back giving Lindsay a clear view. She watched in fear praying Michael would open his eyes.  Did his eyelids flicker? Lindsay held her breath willing him to live. The crowd watched silently and when the nurse finally gave up, tears in her eyes. She looked back at Lindsay defeated.

“I’m sorry, there’s nothing else I can do. It’s too late.”

The sound of distant sirens broke the heavy silence; people drifted away, nothing more to see. Lindsay shuffled weakly across to where Michael lay and looked down at his lifeless body, tears dripping from her chin.

“No, this can’t be. Everyone around me is dying.” She laid her head on his chest and cried. No one spoke. No one moved. The sirens grew closer, but they were too late. Barbara put her hand gently on Lindsay’s back.

“Come on, leave him, you can’t do anything now.”

Lindsay didn’t move. “I should be dead, why am I still alive?”

“Hey! Stop where you are!”

Lindsay looked up when she heard Barbara shout sternly at someone. She couldn’t see who approached, but the other policemen ran towards him urgently. When Barbara stood aside she recognized the grief-stricken face.

“John, I’m so sorry.” She began to cry again.

John fell on his knees by his brother’s body.

“No, no! Dear God NO!”

Lindsay put her arms around him and they cried together, tears mingling.

John spoke, maybe to his brother, maybe to Lindsay, maybe to God. “It’s all my fault, I brought him to to bloody country. I should have left him in Ireland with the kids. I shouldn’t have tried to interfere with Patrick. It did no good. Now your friends are dead. It cost me my brother. ”

Lindsay held him tight. “You know Patrick was planning to kill again, who knows how many this time. Michael’s dead, but who knows how many people he saved. It could have been hundreds. How many more bombs was Patrick going to make?”

They clung to each other a little longer before Barbara helped Lindsay to her feet. A couple of paramedics approached. “Come on, let’s make sure you’re okay,” she said as she guided Lindsay to them.

“John had nothing to do with this. He was trying to stop Patrick.”

“We still need to talk to him, but not now.”

As she walked away Lindsay looked back over her shoulder and saw Barbara kneeling on the ground next to John, her arm around him soothing him. Oh dear God why Michael? 

She take no more, her legs gave way and she sunk to the ground.

Yes, another short story almost over, sorry its so sad. Life doesn’t always have a happy ending so make the most of every day. If you enjoy my writing, check out my first Dead of July on Amazon http://amzn.to/1aXh4Md.

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

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Amazon UK

A 99 and a lime-split please

Girl on the Beach (UK)

My e-book ‘Girl on the Beach’ has been selling fairly well in the US, but I would really like some feed back from the UK.

This book can be downloaded for Kindle, iPad, iPod etc., from Amazon UK for $3.62, so give it a try.

This short story is set in Blackpool in 1964. It starts on Blackpool beach, in all of its glory with donkey rides and ice cream vans, but turns into something a little more scary as a seven-year old girl has a premonition.

Come on UK readers, give me some feedback! Paperback to follow soon!

Click on Girl on the Beach (UK) to buy your copy now!

 

Scary Cat! Chapter 15 – German Ghost Story

 

Purrrfect photo!

 

Wow, its 2011 already. So much happening. You need to check my Facebook page to keep up with my writing career, its hard for me to keep up myself. Below is another installment of my German Ghost Story. Hopefully I will get this finished soon. Enjoy!

Chapter 15

I lay in bed, not feeling the least bit like sleeping. I was the world’s WORST sleeper. It fascinated me that people could lie down in bed, shut their eyes and go straight to sleep.  How did that happen? The longer I lay there, the less I felt like sleeping. It was like having several televisions in my head, all on a different channel. I lay there for a while with different images flashing though my head. One image kept coming back to haunt me, it was the bruise around the eye of the girl I met in the park.  I had not had much chance to think about Anna since yesterday because I had been preoccupied with work, rushing home to watch football and getting dinner ready for our guests, but now as I lay awake, I wondered if she was OK. I also wondered if the stranger that kept appearing in the shadows was the same man who had been yelling at her in the park. I hadn’t had a good look at him a he was always just beyond my field of vision. He somehow had a threatening aura around him, or was it my over active imagination making him seem that way? Maybe I was imagining the whole thing. Maybe it was one of the visitors I occasionally had. Who knew?

BANG!

I heard a noise that sounded like it came from outside our door.  I looked across at Les, who was fast asleep of course.  I got out of bed and put on my dressing gown.  I groped around in the dark for my can of hairspray and picked it up.  I didn’t put any lights on and crept quietly to the door.  I looked out of the little peep-hole, but could see nothing. It was silent again. Well not quite, I could hear something that might have been someone breathing heavily.  I put the chain on the door, and opened it a crack. I could see nothing, but something was definitely out there.  OK, be brave!

I opened the door, and as something brushed against me I screamed and tossed the can of hairspray as hard as I could (this hairspray was a weapon which should have been sprayed in and assailant’s eyes, not thrown at them). Of course the can hit the stairs about one floor down and bounced noisily all the way to the bottom.  Now Les did wake up and the light went on in the bedroom. What happened next was funny, it was really funny.  It was a cat that had brushed past my legs and into the bedroom, where it stood on the end of our bed, claws extended, fur standing on end, hissing at Les, who had backed (naked) against the wall with a pillow protecting his unmentionables.  He really didn’t see the funny side of it, and didn’t understand how a cat had found its way into our apartment in the first place.  The cat, seeing the door still open, fled.  Les just glared at me and got back into bed.  I have to admit, I was still laughing (quietly inside) when I got back into bed.

I did manage to get to sleep after this, and with a big smile on my face!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Three days left for the ‘Old’ Guy at the Bar

I am counting down the time for ‘Guy at the Bar’ to remain on Amazon in its current format. I feel quite sad to be taking it down, but it really does need to be edited.

It served its purpose and got my writing career started.

If you are brave enough to read the unedited version, you have three days left to buy it for two dollars. After Friday, it will be gone, but not forgotten. If you want to read it when it had been edited to make it more readable (especially for the American reader) it will be back up in March or April.

Watch out for my next Novella, ‘Girl on the Beach’ it will be on Amazon very soon and I think you will enjoy it.

Thank you and Goodnight!

 

 

German Ghost Story – Walk in the Park – Chapter 13

Paulo Rossi 1982 Italian HeroPlease enjoy chapter 13 of my German Ghost Story. The eighties were good times and I am glad I was around to enjoy them.

 

We sat back and allowed ourselves to be infected with World Cup Fever. Italy scored first in this Game, Paulo Rossi supplying the goal, and I cheered my little heart out.  Socrates scored for Brazil soon after, and then Paulo Rossi scored again.  With two goals safely under Italy’s belt, I felt I could comfortably go and check the food that was starting to smell good in the oven.  Julie helped me.  She enjoyed football, but wasn’t as wrapped up in it as me.  No more goals were scored before half time, so when we sat down to eat, Italy had the lead, and I was happy. Everyone was pretty happy actually, how could you not be when players with names like Socrates, and Paulo Rossi were scoring magnificent goals.  Good Times, no Great Times.

It was hard not to have fun when you were in your early twenties, living in a Foreign Country, enjoying new and different things.  We danced to Michael Jackson, Kool and the Gang, Terrence Trent Derby, Prince, Earth Wind and Fire along with others. They were exciting times, times that should not be lost or forgotten. It didn’t seem right that at the same time, men were getting killed in a war thousands of miles away from their home in the Falkland Islands, but it made everyone want to enjoy every minute of being alive.

We ate dinner at half time, with the television turned down a little so we could hear the noise outside.  As I mentioned earlier, we lived in an Italian community, more by accident than by design. The hot weather meant that people had their windows and doors open, not only in their homes, but in the surrounding restaurants and bars.  There was a buzz, lots of Italian accents shouting and singing.  It was intoxicating.  Even though I may have been the only one in our little group supporting Italy, the atmosphere affected everyone.  The food was good, I loved cooking, Graham of course ate until he was fit to burst, and then as the players came back out for the second half of this game, which was being played in the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona, we went and sat down in front of the television again.  I had made cake and custard too, but we forgot about it in the excitement of the moment. We were all drinking German wine of course, which in my opinion was the best in the world, and obviously very cheap to buy.

The game continued and Falcao scored for Brazil, making the scores an even two all, nail-biting stuff. Did this mean there would be extra time and penalties, I hoped not, that was just too much to handle. I couldn’t look when they took those penalty shots. No need to worry about penalties because five or six minutes after Brazil’s second goal.  Paulo Rossi scored a hat trick! I jumped in the air, wine slopping everywhere, but I didn’t care because I was lost in the moment. As long as I can remember I loved everything Italian, the people, the language, the cars, the clothes, the ice cream. Most of all though, I loved watching them play their temperamental football game!

 


 

Chicken, Rice & Peas….and of course FOOTBALL!

Curry chicken, rice & peas and football

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2009/01/07/jamaican_curried_chicken_with_rice_and_peas/

Looks good doesn’t it. If you want to give it a try, click on the link above and follow the recipe.

A WALK IN THE PARK

Its been a while since I updated you on my antics in Germany, so today the story continues.

My premonitions had given me a break since we moved to Germany. I thought maybe the powers that sent them to me hadn’t been able to cross the English Channel and it had actually been a bit of a relief.  I only got these dreams/visitations/premonitions once or twice a year, but they could be both alarming and exhausting.  I wasn’t in control of how things turned out when they happened and that scared me.  These events had started when I was very young, but they still alarmed me. During the next couple of years, whilst in Germany, it seemed like my premonitions went on ‘overdrive’, but I had only been there a couple of months at this point, and my psychic had been quiet.

The rest of the day was pretty normal! I was really looking forward to getting home and watching the football, Italy v. Brazil.  This would be interesting, Les and Graham would be cheering for Brazil, I was sure of it.  Julie didn’t really care as long as there was wine to be drunk and I would of course, be cheering for Italy, which I always felt was my home team.  I was hoping Les’s mood had improved, I was sure it would, football always made him happy, especially World Cup Football.  I worked in the gift shop for the rest of the afternoon, which was pretty quiet, making the day go slowly.  Eventually four o clock came and I left work, I was expecting to have to take the tram home, but when I walked off camp, Les was there waiting for me.

I got in the car and could tell immediately he was in a better mood. Les was extremely temperamental and it affected his moods and made life difficult for me at times.  I was an open book, never stopped talking, gave information without been asked, exactly the opposite of my quiet husband.  Opposites attract, I know, but sometimes for someone as open as me, it is really hard to keep quiet, which I often had to be. The tires on our little Datsun almost squealed as we pulled away, it was just after four o clock and we had a football match to watch at five fifteen.  It was about a half hours drive home from work, and hopefully we would make it just before the rush hour hit.  Les had told Graham and Julie to come around at around five o clock, just in time to settle down and watch the game.  I was getting excited already.  We hit a little traffic, but not enough to make us late. Our guests had actually pulled up just before us and were getting out of their car bearing gifts of wine and beer.  When we got upstairs, Les took care of making sure everyone had a drink, and I put the oven on.  I had prepared chicken, rice and peas already so, so all I needed to do was put the chicken in the oven to cook, and warm up the rice.  I quickly put a salad together, and set the table, before joining everyone in front of the television. Let the game begin!

The Naafi Wagon – Chapter Eleven

The clip above was not the van Sheila drove. Sheila’s van was yellow, but you get the picture! She would drive onto selected British Army Camps in Dortmund, and she would sell tea, coffee, etc. to the soldiers.  They depended on her, set their clock by her.  If she wasn’t there it ruined their day.   Enjoy the next chapter of Sheila’s exploits in Germany!

Chapter Eleven

There was a long line of people at my last stop, and they pretty much cleaned me out of food and drinks.  My little van had ‘top shelf’ magazines too, like Mayfair, Playboy etc.  It always made me laugh when the guys asked me for them.  They were always a little embarrassed about it, and I made it worse by asking to look at their hands, to make sure they were clean before I handed them out.  Sometimes they looked without buying, so I wanted to make sure the magazines were kept in good condition for the person who actually purchased them.  There was a funny incident once, with the ‘Readers Wives’ section of one of those magazines. One of the local Soldiers was actually married to the ‘Readers Wife’.  Everyone wanted to look at that particular magazine, so I charged each of them a small fee to look and then put the money in a charity jar.  At least some good came out of it.  The photo was awful, a young wife actually posing on an army coffee table.  The worst thing was her young husband was proud of it and didn’t mind the fact that all of his friends were ogling his almost naked wife.  It took all sorts to make a world, and during my time in Germany I felt like I saw  ‘Allsorts’.

            My American friend didn’t asking for his usual ‘fat pill’ that day, just a cup of coffee.  “I am on a diet” he told me “getting harder and harder to get around the assault course these days so I need to lose about twenty pounds”. I felt sorry for him because I had been on a diet too and had just lost around twenty pounds.  It wasn’t easy and I would imagine it was even harder for a man. This was the very first time he had not asked for a Jelly doughnut or fat pill in the last six weeks or so, which was the length of time I had been doing that job. I served everyone quickly and soon the crowd was gone. I was cleaning the counter and getting ready to close the hatch, something caught my eye.  There was a man lurking at the corner of the parking lot. He was partially concealed by a big skip so I couldn’t see him clearly. He had a very disturbing and menacing aura around him. I am not sure how I knew this because he was so far away, but I just felt it.  He stepped out of view between my closing the hatch and getting into the driver’s seat. Instead of driving my usual way out of the army camp, I did a D Tour past where I had seen the man lurking (locking my door first of course). He was nowhere to be seen, I saw someone I knew and stopped beside him. “Hey Eggy, did you see the strange looking guy standing here a moment ago?” I asked.  “No, was it a squaddie?” he  replied.  “I don’t think so” I said, he was very dark looking, not your sort of dark (Eggy was black), but Turkish or something”.  Eggy laughed “ I haven’t seen any Turks on this camp love, no workmen fitting that description, maybe you were seeing things” he said and we both laughed as I drove away.  I definitely had seen someone, but whoever I had seen wasn’t there now.  I drove off the camp, and back to the YM, where after unloading and cleaning my van, I sat with a couple of the other girls, and had my break. I was a little distracted though, and kept thinking about the guy I saw on camp, who looked so much like the guy I saw looking up at my window the night before.  Couldn’t be!  How could he be in both places? I started to wonder if I was having one of my premonitions again…..they really worried me sometimes, but usually came in the form of dreams, not people lurking in the shadows.

Sheila’s Story – The Brick!

 

Hanging out the washing

This is just another snippet of a memory. Sheila was still about four years old (give or take a couple of months).

In the late fifties, early sixties, the only source of heating was the coal fire, which was usually lit in one room. Sheila was asleep on the sofa, probably because it was too cold to go to bed. She had on a long thick nightie which came right down to her toes. It had a belt around the waist which Sheila like to tie in knots, I think it was her version of worry beads. She worried about her mam all of the time.

Sheila’s mam sat on the end of the sofa, by Sheila’s feet, keeping them warm. Sheila’s dad was sitting in the arm-chair. Sheila’s brothers weren’t home often, but this cold November, Bobby was home. He had been out for the night with friends and Sheila woke up as the back door closed, and Bobby entered the room.  Sheila opened her eyes and smiled. She loved it when her brother was home. She couldn’t have foreseen what was about to happen.

As Bobby entered the room, Sheila’s dad catapulted out of the chair and started yelling at him like a crazy man. Sheila didn’t move, she felt her mam’s hands on her feet. Her mam probably didn’t even realize she was clutching Sheila’s feet, but she was. Bobby looked stunned, and asked what he had done. “You woke your sister, she was sleeping, you woke her”.

Sheila had made no indication to her dad that she was awake, and she was happy to be awake. He mam didn’t move, but hissed “Bobby, go to bed”. Bobby started to walk up the stairs and his dad stood at the bottom yelling at him. “Leave me alone” Bobby shouted, but it didn’t do any good, just made his dad more angry.  Bobby was nineteen and a tall young man. If he had wanted to, he could have turned around and knocked his dad to the floor, but he wasn’t violent and he just wanted to go to bed. Sheila’s mam was crying.

What happened next will be stamped in Sheila’s mind forever. He dad went out into the cold dark back yard and picked up a brick.  For a while he threw it from hand to hand, goading Bobby to come outside. Doors open from neighboring houses, but no one dared to come and tackle the angry (and probably drunk) man. After about five minutes there was a loud bang, and the yelling and goading stopped. Sheila’s dad came back inside, grabbed his coat from the hallway and left. He was probably going to the ‘Workingmans club’ to top up the alcohol in his bloodstream.

Bobby came downstairs to make sure we were OK and then everyone went to bed and if they weren’t asleep when the drunken man returned, they pretended to be.

The next morning Sheila’s mam was hanging out washing in the back yard. Sheila was watching out of the window, and she saw her mam drop the washing basket on the floor and go over to something on the ground, although Sheila has tried to block it out of her mind, she saw what her mam found. Sheila’s brother went outside, he was going to the corner shop, but instead he knelt down by his mam. They were out there for a little while. When they came back in they looked very sad and told Sheila what she already knew, that her kitten was dead, they said a ladder had fallen on top of it while it was playing in the yard.

Sheila knew different. The stepladder was in the shed and her mam had found the fluffy mangled bundle on the ground in the corner of the back yard, with a brick on top of it.  She knew because she had been watching out of the window.

Sheila stopped loving her dad for good!

Sheila’s Story – A Birthday Party

There was no furniture in the sitting room of the little terraced house where Sheila lived.  Times were hard and the furniture had been either re-possessed or sold. The empty sitting room was perfect for a birthday party though, and on January 17th 1961 it was full of balloons. It was exciting!

Balloons for Sheila's fourth birthday

For her birthday, Sheila got her first bike, with little training wheels on the back. It wasn’t new, but bought at a second-hand store. Sheila didn’t know that, and if she had she wouldn’t have cared. She rode her little bike round and round the back yard of the little terraced house, happy as can be, until her mam called her in to have a bath before her party.  The house didn’t have a proper bathroom, the bath (believe it or not) was in the kitchen, which was a little extension at the back of the house.  There was no door to shut the kitchen off from the dining room, just a curtain.  The dining room (called the back room) had a coal fire in it, with a sofa and chairs in front of the fire.  There was a dining table set by the back wall, and a big sideboard on the other wall.  It was a small cosy room, and the room a family would gather.

The house would have looked something like this, but with a garden at the front.  

Our House

After bathing, Sheila was dressed in a beautiful yellow dress, with a big bow at the back.  All of her clothes were made by her very clever mammy. As Sheila’s story unfolds, I am falling back into the local dialect, and Sheila did not say mum back then, it was mammy or mam. 
On the dining room table was a beautiful pink birthday cake with roses in the middle of it.  Sheila could not take her eyes off it. She had never seen such a pretty cake.  Her mam had ordered it from the cake shop down the road, and was paying sixpence a week for it.  You got everything on ‘never never’ back then.  

My Birthday Cake

The back gate opened and Stella, who live about three houses up, appeared with her brood of kids, she didn’t knock, just came in.  The kids were an unruly, untidy trio aged from about four to seven.  Sheila ran off with them into the empty sitting room and opened the gifts they gave her.  A couple more kids arrived and the party games began ‘pass the parcel’ and ‘musical chairs’ being the favorites. Sheila’s man laughed and re-invented ‘musical chairs’ calling it ‘musical flop’ (they had no chairs, so the kids had to flop on the floor when the music stopped, it was hysterical). Sheila’s mam and Stella watched the kids play, whilst enjoying a glass of sherry, and giggling (Sherry did this to ladies). 
Everyone sang happy birthday and the Cake was cut. The pretty roses in the middle were a bit of a disappointment to Sheila, they didn’t taste good at all and were so hard they were almost impossible to bite, but they had looked pretty. Everyone was having a grand time……until the back door slammed. 

Sheila’s mam and Stella looked at each other, but didn’t speak. The kids (who were now playing giants) all froze. Then the lights went off.

Timing is sometimes strange, the lights went off just after the door slammed, but the two things weren’t related, it just happened that way.  All the kids screamed! The sitting room door opened and a menacing figure stood there in the dark.  If it hadn’t been for the door slamming, and the lights going off, this figure may not have been menacing, but it was.
Russel (one of Stella’s brood) started crying.
The menacing figure in the doorway was Sheila’s dad, who was drunk as usual.  “Who forgot to feed the bloody electric meter?” he yelled.  Now Sheila started crying.
 
The party was over, Stella took all of  the kids home, they all lived on the same street so it was easy. Sheila’s mam fumbled in her purse to find money for the meter, her hands shaking, wondering when and where the first blow was going to land. 
Sheila sat in the dark and played with her toys, scared to say anything.  Phoebe (Sheila’s mam) had no luck finding money to feed the meter in her purse and in a shaky scared voice, told Sheila’s dad, who violently knocked the purse out of her hand and left through the front door, slamming it so hard that the house shook.
 
Used to this, Phoebe composed herself and groped around in the darkness to find candles, which she lit and then placed around the livingroom. 

Cozy by the coal fire

There was also the light from the coal fire, so it was cosy.  She sat on the sofa, with Sheila snuggled up beside her, and talked about her childhood, and happier times (wishing she could escape from the life she had now). It wasn’t long before Sheila fell asleep. Her mam put her to bed, and then sat in the candle light, dreading the return of her husband.