So, like every other time in the past that my mind has run wild, I take a deep breath and try to bring under control the activity in my mind that is threatening to break through the defensive wall that I have constructed for my protection. I stare up at the ceiling of my very small home and concentrate on the sounds that surround me. Unconsciously, like all the other times in the past when I have concentrated on the night sounds, my mind takes me back to a better place, a safer place.
I hear the jingle of Lucky’s collar as he walks through my family’s home late one night, doing a family dog’s job of making sure that all this world’s dangers are kept out, when, in reality, I am hearing a ring of keys that are hanging from a guard’s belt, bumping against his leg as he patrols the corridors, keeping danger in, not out. I am comforted by the familiar sound of my father’s snoring coming from my parents’ room when, in reality, I am blocking out the sound of fifty different snores in order to focus on one. Fifty other’s snoring so loudly that it would seem impossible that they could sleep through their own noise. Speakers in their sleep, caught up in a nightmare continuing from the day before, are substituted with the innocent rambling of my brother who is sleeping fitfully in the bed right next to my own.
Richard rated it it was amazing
Brilliant and brutal!
This short story is written by a very special writer with the ability to transport the reader inside the lead character and I couldn't put it down.
I just wish it was longer; the best story I have read for many years. Everyone should read this.
ByJim Blackon October 1, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As someone whose former job it was to go into the prisons and county detention centers across my state, I've heard the "first day" and "first week" stories of the inmates. The character, Michael's sentiments expressed in the last few pages of the story are ones I've heard from inmates several times. This is a well-written story that gives good insight to one man's living, and surviving in prison. The message at the end rings true.
Bycdwolf3on March 1, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well written, touching, powerful story. It's insight into what happens to the soul when being locked up, so tragic. An intriguing story of a young man's transformation. This is a page turner.
ByKayla P Dugason September 17, 2016
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Such a powerful story. The author's words created such a clear picture, I could have been there. I didn't want it to end, and still don't. Please write a follow up story to this!
Other books in this genre:
One night Aaron Tyler has his world interrupted by a knock at his front door. He finds himself confronted by a broken and bloody girl unconscious on his doorstep; he makes the snap decision to help her, something that goes against his reclusive behaviour – a decision that will transform his life.
What ensues is an unlikely friendship between two people, but why is Sophie there? Over the course of several weeks Aaron’s life is reawakened by the seductive powers of Sophie. She realises early on that her hidden agenda could ruin everything, her family are manipulating her for their own gains, dysfunctional at best, violent and abusive at worst. She is torn between doing what they want and her new found loyalty to Aaron – and what roll does the mystery man play in the scheme.
At fifteen Sophie has no business living in the home of a forty year old man, but she convinces him that she has no family, nowhere to live and no other options. Aaron for his part only wants to help the poor girl.
Sophie brings out a side of Aaron that even those closest to him didn’t know existed. For twenty years he has not left his house, as he gets to know her he realises that he would do anything for her, even die for her. As her seduction progresses she uses his infatuation with her to entice him out of the house, baby steps at first before breaking his tether from Sotherby House.
Happy with her new found life, she decides to abandon her families plan for her. The plan was that after they placed her in the midst of Aaron’s universe she was supposed to manipulate him into sleeping with her which would then trigger their scheme of blackmail.
Before she undertook the task she had been warned that Aaron Tyler was a pervert who likes underage girls, what she discovered was the sweetest man she had ever met. For the first time in her life she feels like part of a family.
While she deviates from the plan the friction between her family increases. The pressure and strain on her parent’s relationship results in a violent split and her dad taking things into his own hands having realised they put their daughter in harm’s way. He decides that he will do anything to get her back and to punish anyone that gets in his way.
With her dad prepared to do anything, things get eventful at Aaron’s house when he turns up to retrieve his daughter, a man on a mission who will stop at nothing to protect his family.
The story highlights society’s stereotypical ideas about love and life, how a married couple with a fifteen year old child would appear to be the idyll. While a man living a lonely existence of exclusion from the world seems to be living a wasted life. At its heart ‘Hard Candy’ is a forbidden love story between Aaron and Sophie – a love that turns out to be pure, and the abusive marriage of her parents which on the surface is good and wholesome but below is toxic to the core.
Society’s need for material possessions is a driving factor for why Sophie’s family do what they do as well as the mystery man. Elements of jealousy and a sense of being owed by the world are also highlighted.
Gary sat alone in a cell. He could hear others shouting insults through the bars at each other, a mixture of Welsh and Cockney voices. The custody sergeant and one of the arresting officers had been swapping stories of how it had kicked off big time after the match, with fighting all the way from Upton Park to Paddington. Those arrested represented the tip of the iceberg.
Squeezed into a police van, Gary had been denied the return of his walking stick by the arresting officer, who just laughed. “So you can use it on me? Not likely mate, that’s an offensive weapon, that is.” At the station Gary was booked in by the custody sergeant, who made jibes about his “hardness” and asked him if he had anything to say. He was going to protest his innocence, but figured it would fall on deaf ears.
As time passed he sensed his situation was becoming more serious. Scenes of Crimes officers wandered around and he noticed one had his walking stick in a protective plastic covering. Bit late for that, he thought, remembering the way it had been manhandled from him by the cop at the scene. At one stage he heard a couple of thick Welsh accents shout a word that sent a chill through his bones. “Murderers!”
What could they mean? Had someone been killed? Who? Every week there were battles between warring fans but rarely were they fatal. Gary had always considering football rucks a laugh. You could end up with a few war wounds but they earned you extra kudos when you showed them off in the pub later. A life lost, though? A loved one not returning to their parents, wife or kids? That was going too far.
Finally a key rattled in the lock and two police officers came in, roughly hauled him up and dragged him, limping, to an interview room. A tall, stern-looking man with thick black hair was waiting, a tape recorder at his side. Gary was pushed down in the chair opposite and waited for the man to finish reading the papers in front of him. He felt edgy, as if he was being deliberately kept in the dark about something. He rubbed the troublesome knee, which had been throbbing constantly ever since the fight. The officer looked up. “You OK?”
“I’ve got a busted knee. It can be a bit painful.”
“Perhaps you shouldn’t be running around the streets of east London fighting Welshmen, then,” suggested his interrogator. Gary ignored the jibe. “My name’s Detective Inspector Ashley Wilburn. This initial interview is beginning at 8.30pm. Your name is?”
“Gary… uh, Gary Marshall. Do I need a solicitor?”
“We’ll get to that. This is just a preliminary chat. You’re one of the Boxer Boys?”
“Um, no. Not really.”
“You don’t seem sure. You live on the Boxers Estate though?”
“Well… yeah, but…”
“I think you qualify as a Boxer Boy then, don’t you? Care to tell me what happened after the match today, Gary?”
“Hammers won 2-0.”
“It was three actually, but I wouldn’t expect you to know that. Too busy looking for trouble…”
“That’s unfair,” said Gary. “I was heading home with my mates when we were attacked and chased by Cardiff fans. I can’t run because of the leg and they caught me and gave me a good kickin’. End of story.”
“Hmmm,” said Inspector Wilburn. He leafed again through the papers. “Wasn’t quite the end of the story though, was it?” he said, removing a picture and placing it in front of Gary. “Recognise him?”
The face was battered and bruised and splattered with blood, a nasty gash spreading across the forehead. The eyes were closed. Their owner could have been asleep, resting peacefully, though the pillow was tarmac and the blanket made of black plastic.
“No,” said Gary. “One of those Cardiff yobs I guess…”
“He’s dead, Mr Marshall,” interrupted the Inspector. From beneath the desk he lifted Gary’s walking stick, still enshrined in the plastic evidence bag. Gary’s heartbeat quickened, but he said nothing. “Your ‘crutch’, I do believe and, look here,” his finger pointed at the bottom where a dark smear was clearly visible. “That, Mr Marshall, is blood; this man’s blood,” he tapped the picture. “Now I’m no Cluedo expert but I believe I’ve found the body and the murder weapon. All I need to do now is find out who our Professor Scum is. That shouldn’t be a problem either because we’ve some pretty good CCTV footage from one of the local shops. They show a man in a West Ham shirt… come to think of it a shirt exactly like that one you’re wearing – a No 10 on the back – bashing this poor bloke over the head with this stick. Refresh your memory, Mr Marshall?”
Gary looked back into the earnest, unblinking eyes. “Can I have a solicitor now?” he asked.
When Cassie bursts through the stratosphere in her incubation pod, she cannot make sense of why she is descending from space in the man-made vessel. Soon, she is trapped on the newfangled, apocalyptic Earth, fleeing from a bizarre alien race. Now, in a desperate search for answers and allies, Cassie turns to the remnants of past human cultures, who have become the monsters of legends.
Ocean views. Exquisite beaches. Phenomenal food. Jubilant vacationers. Grisly murder. Welcome to Stone Harbor.
Calvin and Sophie have been married for over a decade. Residing in the idyllic beachfront town of Stone Harbor, the couple live a charmed, pleasant, and quiet life.That is until, one carefree morning, a S.W.A.T team bombards their home and arrests Calvin — for Sophie’s murder.
Sophie is alive, but an identical body on the beach causes chaos for a seasoned detective on the case, a diligent reporter looking to reignite her career, and a couple facing a crossroads they could never have imagined.
Over the next twenty-four hours, the upscale town deals with the ramifications of this incident. All the while, uncertainty and menace lurks around every corner for the residents of Stone Harbor, as they discover the brutality hidden within themselves.
AFRICA. Where corruption often rules and human life can be the most worthless commodity. Read the story of Sierra Leone and its people in this bloody, harrowing, and heart breaking suspense thriller.
This is a work of fiction, except for the parts that really happened.
Vast deposits of diamonds and oil are found in land overlapping both Sierra Leone and Liberia. A scramble ensues to secure the mining and drilling rights of both commodities. Leading the race is the Mining Earth & Ocean Corp. (MEO).
To amass and control this wealth, the creation of an illegal state called Salonga is proposed. The nominated ruler, backed and supported by the MEO, is a former RUF commander - General Icechi Walker, known as 'Body Chop' - a suspected mass murderer involved in countless atrocities.
As the battle for control of the land unravels, stories spread of horrific bloody massacres and mutilations in towns and villages, many of them by child soldiers. The capital, Freetown, is threatened by a full-blown mindless rebellion led by the RUF.
To secure power, Body Chop, with the help of the MEO, engages the protection of a private mercenary army. But control will not be handed to him so easily.
Disgraced, virtually bankrupt, ex-Sgt. Alex Dalloway, is a major part of the mercenary brigade. He has a personal quest to locate the Army officer who tortured him and killed his men years ago in the jungles of Sierra Leone. He begins to suspect the former RUF commander's involvement.
His personal life in shambles, Dalloway and his troop goes against Body Chop and his supporters, to avenge the death of his men and all the innocent lives lost at the hands of the RUF.
Later, after the day’s discussions had given the other part of my brain a chance to think more rationally about events, I drove home in a calmer manner than in the morning. Cloud cover had begun to creep across the sky at about midday, gradually reducing the sun from a bright ghost behind a translucent screen to an unobtrusive and dimmer source of light. The ceiling dropped lower and lower as I drove and it was obvious that a stormy night was in store. By the time I was home, dark rolls of cloud were tumbling over and over in the rising wind, and the slab sided Defender rocked to every gust.
I put my key to the lock, but stopped short. My heart accelerated, thumping. My mouth went dry. I had locked the front door when I left, now it was almost closed. Almost, just half an inch of the jamb was showing. It open slowly and quietly to a gentle push. No sound could be heard over the storm and the odd creak from the old house. Precious little light entered through the small windows from that darkening sky; it was impossible to make out any detail in the room. I stood motionless until my eyes adjusted, the door pulled to behind me, listening for the slightest odd sound amidst the patter of the rain on the tiles and the rumble of the weather rolling in.
Every drawer and cupboard door was open, the contents strewn over the floor. Chair cushions had been ripped open and tossed to the side, one chair was on its back, the TV was on the floor, but intact. The kitchen did not look as if it had been touched. All this I took in at a glance. Was he still here? That was vital. Anger tried to surface. I forced it down; emotion could wait. I quietly crossed the room to my office. It was trashed. Files were ripped open and paper lay everywhere. Sellotape, scissors, paper clips and pens were strewn across the floor. The bookshelf had been tipped over, and my laptop had been given a stomping.
Lighting flashed, illuminating the room for a second, the devastation stark. An immediate crack of thunder showed how close the strike had been. The shock was distracting, but a little noise behind me wasn’t right. A rustle of clothes, a breath close by, I don’t know, but it shouldn’t have been there. I ducked and turned. Something clipped my ear and glanced off my left shoulder dropping me to the floor. A broad, dark, hooded figure stood over me, a jemmy high above his head, the curved end silhouetted by the window. It swept down again, seemingly in slow motion. I rolled away just in time. It thudded into the floor. It went up above his head for the next blow. He wasn’t going to miss again. Hooking my left foot behind his to jam it, I stabbed at the front of his knee with my right one. He grunted in pain and fell over backwards. I tried to get up, but my shoulder wouldn’t support the move. I rolled over to use the other side, but he had already clambered to his feet and run out, limping heavily.
He half ran and half hopped down the drive, disappearing in the rain before he reached the gate. He was in no state to continue the fight, thank goodness; I certainly wasn’t. The whole episode had probably lasted no more than ten seconds, less, but it felt an age. Talking of age, I poured an twelve year old malt down my throat and then added a touch of water to the next one.
They say once a junkie, always a junkie, but this is ridiculous. I haven’t been dead more than a few hours and I already need a fix. It doesn’t make sense; my blood isn’t even circulating, but it’s the process I crave—copping, cooking, tying off, finding a vein, the slow, steady pressure of thumb on plunger, and now it’s my first order of business.
One of the advantages of being dead is that people don’t expect you to get up and walk away. I don’t imagine it happens often at the morgue, anyway, or they would take precautions against it. Not that I think I’m the first to remain awake through the entire process of dying, or even of one’s own murder, perfectly aware of the bullet smacking into my skull, tunneling through my brain, bouncing off bone, and ricocheting around like a bee in a bottle.
I must have blacked out for a bit after it happened. There was a roaring sound, like a hurricane, that drowned out anything from the outside and made thinking impossible.
When the roaring subsided, I woke up disoriented before I realized where I was: disembodied and looking down at the mess that was once me, lying naked on a gurney. I roamed around the room, light as a whisper, fast as a thought, and then returned to the body. When I got close enough, it pulled me in like an inhalation, and suddenly I felt the heaviness of physical being again. It took me a while to figure out that I could move my fingers, stretch, sit up, and even see through my own eyes. Running the body was cumbersome, like wearing a gorilla suit.
The clock on the wall says it’s four. I assume it’s at night since the joint is so dead.
As an experiment, I disengage from the body again. This time, I roam the entire place to check for anyone working the late shift, but no one is around except for a technician in a bathroom stall. I re-enter the body, get off the gurney, and shuffle over to a stainless steel tub with a hose hanging above it. I climb in and turn the water on. Some real shampoo would be nice, but at least there’s a dispenser with disinfectant soap. Eventually, I get all the blood out of my hair. The hole in my head is weird and I want to poke around in it, but I have stuff to do so I climb out, dry off with a lab apron, and go looking for a stiff my size that has some clothes I can put on.
So here I am in Doc Martens boots, black Levis, and a white tee shirt. The only six-foot-two male body I could find was a goddamned skinhead with a big Aryan Nations tattoo and huge muscles. I hope he doesn’t get up and start walking around.
There’s a clipboard at the end of my gurney. It has a report on it that says “Unidentified male, COD gunshot wound to head.”
I need a plan. I’m jonesing pretty bad, so, bail out of the morgue, score some dope to tide me over, and then on to the next order of business: finding out who killed me. The easiest way to do that, I figure, is to visit everyone I know and see who looks surprised.
It’s time to split.
When Dragon woke, he felt weak and puny, diminished in body and strength. He struggled to his feet and stared down at the naked human form he inhabited. The cozy cavern that had been his home looked immense and his body felt tiny.
He remembered the witch’s curse and groaned in abject misery. “What has the blasted witch done to me?” he shouted. The sound of his human voice echoed through the cavern, sounding like a person jeering at him. “I speak with a human voice?” He grasped his neck with spindly fingers and turned to search the cavern with weak human eyes. “Where is that blasted witch, Bellatrix?” He found her body slumped onto the floor. Bellatrix lay in a pool of blood, clutching the golden knife she’d plunged into her own heart.
With human hands, Dragon extracted the knife from the witch’s corpse. The weapon sparkled with jewels that most dragons would covet, but the metal felt hot and vibrated with supernatural power. Fear shot through his chest. Dragon quickly sheathed the bloody knife in a scabbard that lay next to the witch’s body.
“What am I to do?” he asked, pacing the length of the cavern, vacillating between anger and sorrow. He stopped and considered everything the witch had told him about her vile curse. Feeling resigned to the situation, he said, “I must find that young sorceress and get her to remove this dreadful curse.”
A cold breeze licked his naked skin, raising goose bumps across the frail flesh. He shivered and raised the puny arm to look at the appendage. “I’d better cover this pathetic body with human clothing.”
Dragon remembered the body of a human knight, one who recently tried to kill him, lying in a nearby cavern. That human wore clothing that might suffice for my purpose. He trudged through tunnels littered with bones, crying in pain as his bare feet stepped on the sharp objects. He limped forward until he found the knight’s body next to a pool of crystal clear water.
Dragon stared down at the body of the knight. He was a large man by human standards with dark hair and runes drawn down one side of his face. Humans often tried to use magical runes to protect themselves when they confronted a fierce dragon. It never worked. He touched the human face he now wore and wondered what it looked like. Turning to the still pool of water, he gazed into a familiar-looking face. Strange. Dragon pushed human fingers through the unruly mop of hair and peered down at the dead knight lying at his feet.
He gasped, “I look just like this knight. Did the witch copy the form of this human when she changed me into a knight?”
Why read 7 short stories?
7 is a special number for people all over the world. There are 7 days in a week; 7 deadly sins, 7 virtues; 7 colours of the rainbow; 7 Wonders of the Ancient World – and, of course, the 7 year itch!
These 7 stories are special, like the number itself.
Why an extra ½?
We all like a little extra and this extra comes with a bonus.
You get to decide how the last story ends. ‘The Night Before Christmas’ leaves Emily with a choice – and it’s not an easy one! Read her story and go for what you want to happen. Wonder what you’ll decide.
Grimly he shuffled forward a decisive five centimetres. Nothing was ever going to change the world or his place in it. Just one second of courage,then it would be over. He would be over, on his way to the pavement and certain death.
Chat with Authors
I have a very active imagination and I always read a lot. I would always be looking around bookstores and libraries for stories similar to...
My inspiration came from a laboratory accident. My daytime job is as a chemist working for a small company. In November of 2012, I mishandled...
I have been writing since I was a young teenager. I have always enjoyed expressing myself through written words. The writing assignments in high school...
I was amazed at the experiences of T.E. Lawrence, more famously known as Lawrence of Arabia. I couldn't believe how someone was able to become...
I started writing on a dare from a friend. A NANOWRIMO supporter who challenged me to write a novel. When I went to the first...
Hop on Lenka's List Bandwagon
Nesie's Place Want to increase followers/traffic on your Facebook page? Authors and bloggers are bringing a spooky good time to Facebook for Halloween! JOIN US!
Relic Tech (Crax War Chronicles) by Terry W. Ervin II Narrator: James Conlan Series: Crax War Chronicles #1 Published by Gryphonwood Press on 03-03-14 Genres: