Lost Dog

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“Lacie, come on, Lacie. Here girl, where are you?”
Norah shouted in vain, there was no sign or sound of her puppy. She took out her cell phone.
“No signal, Damn”
Then she heard something, a slight rustling in the bushes ahead. “Lacie?”
A whimper.
“I’m coming!”
Nora ran forward, grazing her legs as she almost tripped over a tree stump. Then she stopped and listened.
Silence.
“Lacie?”
The moonlight cast a shadow, a long thin shadow. Thats not my dog!
Norah was nervous and prepared to turn and run, but the owner of the shadow appeared from behind a three. It was a young boy, he was hugging a small white dog close to his chest.
“Is this what you’re looking for?”
She ran forward and took the limp white bundle of fur into her arms, tears running down her cheeks. “Lacie, what happened?”
She buried her face in the familiar fuzzy mop of fur that was her beloved dog and smothered her with kisses. Lacie whimpered weakly, but didn’t move.
“What happened?” she asked the boy. There was no answer. When she looked up she was alone in the darkness.
“Come on pup, let’s get you home.”
Nora checked her cell phone again. She had a signal now and hit speed dial. After several rings she almost hung up, then she heard her husband’s voice. He sounded distant, distracted. Was someone there with him? No time to worry about that now.
“John, I’ve found Lacie, but she’s hurt.”
No response.
“John, did you hear me?”
The line went dead!

 

 

 

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Eventually

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Monica stomped along the road in her expensive Italian boots. The evening hadn’t turned out as she planned.
“It’s New Years Eve and I was supposed to be enjoying myself with James. Dinner, Dancing and then…”
Things catch up with you eventually
She stopped and turned around “Who said that?”
Silence, nothing moved. “God I’m talking to myself AND hearing things. Someone is going to pay for this.”
Someone always pays eventually
“OK, not funny. I know you’re out there. Did James’s wife put you up to this? He was going to leave her anyway, nothing to do with me. He told me the marriage was over. He’d be with someone else if it wasn’t me.”

The frigid night air was still and silent. “Where the hell am I?” Nothing along the dark misty lane looked familiar.

Monica had been at the Royal Charles hotel, waiting in reception for James, her lover. A handsome and very rich business man who’d made his money in the fashion world, backing and funding new designers. She’d been seeing him for almost six months. Her goal was to entice away from his shrew of a wife and snotty nosed kids by the end of the year. It seemed to be working until tonight. Monica waited for him for over an hour. He wasn’t answering his phone so she decided to just check into the room and wait for him there.

“I’m sorry, but there must be some mistake, there isn’t a reservation under that name.”
“Alright, I’d like to reserve a room now please.” Monica said, trying not to be annoyed.
The receptionist didn’t even bother to check availability. She just shook her head. “We’ve been fully booked for months. New Years Eve is popular here. I’m sorry.”
“I’m in the middle of nowhere, what am I supposed to do?”
“If you drive down to the main road, and then head towards town, there’s a B&B on the right, just before the farm. It’s called the Charles Inn, sometimes people get the two places mixed up. Maybe your reservation is.”
“Seriously? A B&B? I highly doubt it. I didn’t drive, I took a taxi!”
The receptionist looked nervous, she didn’t want a scene on New Years Eve while dinner guests arrived. “Let me call you a taxi now.” She frowned as she dialed different cab firms.
“I can’t get anyone here until 8:30” She said apologetically.
Monica looked at her watch. “What, it’s only six o clock!”
“You could always sit in our lounge and enjoy a cocktail while you wait.”
“I don’t drink alone,” she snarled.

Monica picked up her Gucci overnight bag and headed out into the darkness. A five-minute brisk walk put her in on a narrow dark. The only thing that moved in the darkness was a damp luminous mist!

“I wish I’d had that drink now.” She said softly to herself. There was no sign of civilization along the dark country road, but Monica kept walking, what choice did she have. Taking her cell phone out of her pocket, she tried to call James again. “No signal, great!”
She saw headlights approaching and hoped it was him. No luck, the approaching car was battered red Nissan. James drove a silver Maserati. In the distance Monica saw lights, they were smudged by the mist, but she could make out a large dimly lit building. “At last, maybe this is the B&B, if it has a bar I’m going inside. To hell with everything, a drink or two would be wonderful.”

She paused for a moment when she reached the gate. There was nothing indicating this was a B&B. Music and laughter floated temptingly from the open door. Live jazz, lazy, lovely and full of promise. She was mesmerized!

“Sounds like a classy place, maybe I’ll spend the night.”
She took a compact from her purse and re-applied her lipstick. “This face needs a man to appreciate it, a man with deep pockets. I was bored with James anyway.”
Monica took a deep breath, puffed out her chest, opened her coat to show her perfect (implanted) breasts and walked to the front door.
The scene in front of her was warm, exciting, and full of promise.

The Engineer

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The Engineer lived just outside a small village in Lombardy, Northern Italy. He’d lived there all of his life. In fact, he’d lived there as long as anyone could remember. He never seemed to age.

“Dye’s his hair of course” my mum said.

“But he hasn’t aged, Phoebe, no wrinkles, no liver spots. He still looks the same as he did when I was a little girl”

Mum and Betsy sipped their tea silently. I was only seven and didn’t know the Engineer very well. He scared me a little bit. He was very nice enough, gave me sweets sometimes, but his eyes were dark and cold. His jet black hair and mustache showed no signs of grey. I guessed his height to be a little under six feet because he was a little shorter than my brother, and my brother was six foot two. Words weren’t his thing and he used them as little as possible. A tight smile was his only humorous expression, but the smile didn’t touch his eyes.

“Has he ever been married?” Betsy asked mum.

“Not that I know of, I think he dated once, for a year or so, but the she disappeared. Never saw her again.”

“Maybe its a good thing, not sure he’s make a good dad if kids came along. I wonder if he wears make-up. His eyebrows are perfect.”

“Could be gay! That would explain the marriage thing!”

A loud rapping on the door startled us all.

“Its him!” Mum said.

“Don’t be silly Phoebe. Why would he be knocking at your front door?”

“My boiler is playing up. Sometimes we have no hot water.”

“Did you call him” Betsy asked.

“No! I never call him, he just seems to know when something needs fixing.”

Mum’s voice was quiet, she sounded scared. Her hand shook slightly as she put her tea-cup down. “Betsy, come to the door with me.”

I watched as they opened the door. The engineer stood on the step, a tight-lipped smile on his face. He wore jeans, perfectly pressed with a crease down the front and a blue denim shirt. His fashionable shoes were highly polished. A draft blew in from behind him, or perhaps it came from him. I shivered.

“Good Morning Ladies, Phoebe I understand you have a faulty boiler.”

All about me!

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I’m the one in the middle. Always ready to laugh, always ready for fun. As a kid I was ALWAYS in trouble. I turn every situation into a story.

Other than my family, the important things in my life are writing and visiting Italy. I  finally realized my Italian dream and bought a house in the small village of Colledimezzo, which is in the Chieti province of Abruzzo. I’m just as pleased as punch. I have another dream to fulfill now, to make it as a writer.

I’m still working on my next book, “Ghosts on the Sand” and I have one last short story to write before it’s done. Each story is based on events in my past. “Guy at the Bar” is a tongue in cheek thriller based on a man who tried to hit on me back in the seventies while I was having a quiet drink in “The King Bill” which was a pub I frequented in Brompton-on-Swale, where I used to live. “Ghosts on the Sand” was written about five years ago and it is based on my tumultuous childhood. My dad (by blood) was a bully. Mean, lazy and extremely scary. He beat my mam regularly. I have no good memories of him. This story starts after we left him for good. It talks about a little girl who had premonitions. I do still have premonitions, very accurate ones.

There are also two very short stories in this book.They both just popped into my over active brain. “Camera” is total fiction and set in Brompton-on-Swale and Richmond, North Yorkshire. Its a short, fast paced thriller. My editor couldn’t stop reading it, which meant it was edited super fast. I think that’s a good thing. My final story “The Engineer” isn’t written yet, but it is set in Italy. Total fiction and a kind of black comedy.

Hoping to release this novel for public consumption before March. Can’t wait to hear what you all think.

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Shadows on the wall

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Sam teased Dirk, but he didn’t seem to mind. He was distracted, excited and even a little giddy. Sam enjoyed seeing his old friend look so happy, but he was afraid it would end badly. The old witch had obviously drugged him and made him believe things. Could she really still be alive?

Sam sat alone in front of the fire in his little two up two down home. The home he’d lived in for fifty years. He’d bought it just after he and Sadie were married, raised the twins there. He didn’t want to be young again, not without his wife, life was lonely without her. Cancer had taken her ten years ago and now the only thing that kept him going was her memory. His heart ached when he thought about her, he was ready to leave this world and join her on the other side. Maybe then they’d both be young again and live in eternal bliss.

Sam, Sammie, wake up

“What? Who said that?”

Sam shivered, the fire had died and was nothing but glowing embers. It was dark. He was disoriented, sure he’d heard his wife’s voice, she was the only person who ever called him Sammie.

“You’ve had too much to drink old man.” he said to himself as he climbed the stairs to his bedroom, “and that old fool filled your head with witchcraft.”

He got into bed and pulled the blankets tightly around him, he was cold, deathly cold. Shadows danced on the wall. Shadows that looked like long bony fingers. Fingers that wanted to reach out and probe him, delve into his parchment thin skin.

Take a life, give a life! 

“What, who said that?”

Sammie, Sammie…

Sam closed his eyes and thought of Sadie, he missed her.

Witch in the Wood

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Sam and Dirk sat at a table by the window in the White Swan, or the Mucky Duck as they lovingly called it. Sam looked a Dirk’s face, his blue piercing eyes were full of excitement. He’d seen that look before, but not for a long time.

“You really believe the old hag is a Witch?” Sam asked.

“Old Hag? There’s nothing old about her, and she’s not a hag, she’s a vision of beauty?”

“I haven’t seen her since we were kids, I’m surprised she’s still alive.”

Dirk sat back in his chair. “I was mushrooming a couple of days ago. I wandered into the woods, better mushrooms in there, best I’ve ever seen. Didn’t realize how far I’d gone. Thats when I saw here. She was out gathering herbs.”

“How do you know it was her?”

“I didn’t think at first, she was a mere slip of a girl, long black hair. I was quiet as a mouse, watching her. I could see the old witches cottage in the distance, smoke coming from the chimney. I thought it was the old hag’s granddaughter. Don’t know how she knew I was there, she didn’t even turn around, just spoke.”

Hi Dirk, I haven’t seen you in I long time. 

Sam started laughing, “I think you were picking magic mushrooms, how many did you eat?”

Dirk continued,  “I took a step closer to her and she turned around and looked at me. She was a vision. If only I was 20 years younger?”

“That would make you fifty, still too old.”

Derek seemed not to hear Sam mocking him, “She looked me in the eye and I felt young, alive. She smiled at me.”

Not scared of me anymore? You used to run when I looked at you. 

“She took a step closer and I could feel her breath on my face. It smelled of the forest. She stroked my cheek and my skin tingled.

Dirk turned his face, “Look Sam, look at my cheek.”

Sam’s vision wasn’t what it used to be, so he took his spectacles out of his top pocket to take a closer look. Sam’s cheek appeared to have a scar on it, only it wasn’t a scar, it was a strip of perfectly soft, clear unwrinkled skin.

“Do you see it Sam, do you see what she did?”

Green Eyed Monster

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Sometimes, like the devil, jealousy whispers persistently in your ear.
The green-eyed monster, you have to fight him!

Celine and Cassie were best friends, and had been since Kindergarten. They shared everything, including head lice because their heads, full of bouncy curls, were always together. They went to the same college, shared an apartment, shared a car, but things came undone when they both fell in love with the same man.

He was tall with a mop of thick black hair. His eyes were the deepest blue. He as French and from the moment he opened his mouth, they were both smitten.

“Lets just stay away from him,” Cassie said, “that way nothing can happen, he won’t date either of us and we can continue living our lives just as we always have. He probably doesn’t like us anyway, so we shouldn’t worry.”

She knew different though. She already had a second date with him, they’d already kissed. She told Pierre not to mention it to Celine, she didn’t want her to know. He agreed. As she saw more of him, Celine grew suspicious.

“Where have you been?” Celine asked on night when Cassie got in late.

“I’ve been working out.”

It made sense, she did smell a little, her hair was a mess and her make-up smudged. It started to happen a lot though. Cassie began to follow her. One night Cassie didn’t come home at all. She was gone the following day too. When she finally turned up late in the evening, her eyes shone and she was flushed.

“What have you been up to?” Celine said, her eyes narrowing.

“I’ve met a boy.” Cassie said, “I didn’t want to tell you, but I do now. I think I’m in love.”

“Why did you keep it a secret? Why didn’t you let me meet him?”

Cassie hung her head, “Because you know him. It’s Pierre.”

“You goddamn lying bitch, we agreed to stay away from him. You know I like him.”

Cassie walked across the room. Celine met her half way.

“I’ve been following you. I’ve seen what you’ve been doing. I watched you together you slut! He only wants you for sex.”

“Cassie held out her hand, a diamond sparkled from her engagement finger.”

“He loves me, look, we’re engaged.”

Celine looked odd, he right eye twitched. Her face contorted in anger. She trembled. The room seemed to go a shade darker. She grabbed Cassie by the throat with superhuman strength and pushed her backwards towards the wall, banging her had violently. Blood ran down the yellow paint.

“Celine stop, you’re hurting me.”

“Not nearly enough.” Cassie reached behind her and grabbed a meat cleaver. She’d placed it on the table earlier. Her first intention was to scare Cassie with it. Now she wanted to kill her.

Celine’s eyes looked green, scary and she smiled a deranged terrifying smile as she dragged Cassie towards open window and sank the knife into the top of her head. She didn’t look so happy now.

Below Pierre waited  for Cassie to call him. He knew she was going to tell Celine they were an item. The were engaged and Celine would be the first to know. She’d make a beautiful bridesmaid. Shame she was a closet lesbian. He’d been attracted to her first, until Cassie told him he was wasting his time, she preferred women.

He saw two shapes in the window of their 4th floor apartment. Getting out of the car, he locked the door. It was time to go up and celebrate.

He crossed the road and stood beneath the window, looking up, waiting for one of them to wave at him. Cassie’s face appeared, she opened her mouth to shout at him. He smiled!

Cassie was dead before she fell. The meat cleaver had taken off the top of her head. It was still lodged in her brain when she fell on top of Pierre, it hit him between the eyes. He died instantly.

Their blood mingled and surrounded them on the sidewalk.

Celine looked down at them before stabbing herself in the shoulder.

“Help, HELP!” she yelled from the open window, “I’ve been attacked. He killed my friend, won’t somebody call an ambulance. HELP!”

Camera!

She’d just gotten to the other side of the road when she heard him call.

“Hey, you left your camera in the car.”

“What? That’s not mine.”

“It must be yours. I haven’t picked anyone else up today.” He shoved it into her hand and walked away. The leather strap felt slick, slimy, but worst of all, it felt alive. Lucy shuddered and almost dropped it.

Camera is a bonus short story in my upcoming book “Ghosts on the Sand”. Watch out for it it’s COMING SOON!

Ghosts on the Sand

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Ghosts on the Sand  (Art by Kara Boulden)Strangers emerged from thin air, running toward the fire, shouting to one another in a language I didn’t understand. The watery inferno illuminated their fear-stricken faces. Shadowy figures floated slowly toward the shore, bobbing up and down grotesquely in the shallow water.

Trembling, I closed my eyes and prayed. Was this a nightmare?

Kara Boulden is an exceptional artist and she has agreed to produce a fabulous book cover for me. This is where we are so far. What do you think? I LOVE it.

Juggling work, home, chores and life with my next book release is tough, but I can do it.

Ghosts on the Sand (and other chilling tales) will be released late 2017 or early 2018. It will be a compilation of three or four short stories at the bargain price of $99 for the eBook.

I’m excited for you to read my next venture, and encourage feedback (good or bad), its how I become a better writer. As I head down the road to retirement I realize I’ll never truly retire, so writing will be my new and very pleasurable job.

Toodles, pop back soon!