Coming Soon: Ghost Post.

Standard

In the UK, if you die you must use your accumulated wealth to pay off your creditors.  All that is left after repayment goes to the parties named in the will.  Some families get nothing, but this is preferable to inheriting whatever debt may still remain after the creditors have claimed everything.

Yaine Goddard is 79 and on her way to the ‘other side’.  Problem is, she’s one of many pensioners who have recently discvered this loop-holeand after the sale of her estate and posessions, she still owes the government £252,176.53.  Unfortunately for her, the scientific community has recently confirmed ‘life’ after death, and she’s going nowhere until she pays off her debt.  As a postman.  And there are no human rights when you aren’t human anymore.

Genre: Comedy.

Format: Radio play.

Length: 2 hrs (4 x 30mins).

Themes: Existentialism, Anarchism, Law, special powers, money, punk, responsibility, ghost cliches, horror/suspense cliches.

Questions: What is humanity’s ultimate goal?

Extra comment:  There is another possible story in this topic: if you share a redit card with someone and they die, you also share their debt: it is your responsibility to pay it back, no matter how much remains.

Just a NaNo… 28th November: Finale

Standard

Thoughts on ‘Pagan Story':

This is the final chapter.  There is a lot I need to do to this story before it is paperback publishable: I need to add more Rhiannon scenes to make her humour stand out even more, I need to give a reason why the prologue exists: Tony is not just paranoid about security: it’s the marked moment in his life that ended up making him a pagan.  Flora needs more time to indulge in her fantasies too, or Loki stands out too much as the star.

With the amount of dialogue in this story, I have often wondered if it would be better off as a radio play, but Rhiannon’s comedy would probably turn away producers.

I find even today that Paganism across the world is still a touchy subject, within and without of the community.  One of the reasons I wrote ‘Pagan Story’ is because there is a lack of fiction out there depicting pagans as people who have their own little nuances, loves and regrets.  Most of the fiction I have seen is to do with magick, ritual, tarot cards, etc. and this element – this ‘specialness’ – detracts away from the people as people.  To not reduce this story into the mundane, the comedy was applied.  More jokes are required in some places, more subtlety in others: all of this will come in the edits.  It has occurred to me that some may find my writing depicting paganism in a bad light.  These individual dramas are not to be confused with the community and the great joy and connections that are formed at each event, each year.  It is not my intention to deride such a community: the world is a better place because of it.

Today’s wordcount: 2,000

Current Total: 49,000 (Rounding up/down has lost me more than 1,000 words: I will need to go back and check my word count again in all of my previous posts.)

Pagan Story (Chapter 11)

 

The journey back was done in complete silence, save for the sound of the radio.  Even Thomas screamed less on the way home and they only had to stop off at services twice.  Rhiannon’s mp3 player had lost its battery power during the night and so she was forced to listen to the imposed silence.  Bridgit sat in the front with Flora and Thomas. Alex sat in the back with all his gear and with Tony for company. Rhiannon an Loki-Joe made up the great divide.  It was a mercy that they didn’t have any plans to visit any more relations on the way home: the journey time was cut in half an would have been shorter but for the morning motorway traffic.  Loki watched a kite hunting above farmers’ fields.  A ragged scarecrow bowed in the wind; his face dropped to one side and looked away.

Read the rest of this entry

Just a NaNo… 28th November

Standard

Although I have taken part in pagan community events, I have not been to a Lughnasadh event.  This camp and the characters herein are entirely fictional, hence no organisation names or place names.  This piece of fiction is a first draft and is subject to change.

Hereafter, the story contains gaps because I worked on the scenes that stood out to me the most before the November 30th deadline.

Today’s wordcount: 2,300

Current Total: 47,000

Pagan Story (Chapter 10 cont.d)

 

Lughnasadh had come.  By six o’clock the hall was filled with families and individuals whom had dressed up in their very best, be it a leather dress, ceremonial dress or a costume of John Barleycorn or The Green Man gone golden brown.  Moving distances of more than an inch a minute was only an option if you were small, in which case one navigated and dived through a forest of legs, occasionally causing a ‘trunk’ or two to fall.

 

“Ooouurgh! I think I landed on me Ogham sticks!”

 

The stall holders had rotated their stock and some tables looked as full as they had done on the first day.  The lapis lazuli necklace and matching bracelet that Tony had seen for a friend’s birthday was no longer there (sold out) and the unusual silver and garnet circlets had been replaced with combs and hair clips.  Shopping here ha always felt strange to Tony: there were some things that were difficult to get anywhere else – even on the internet – such as the place mats made of beech wood and scorched with Celtic knots.  Some of the jewellery made nice presents, and the thrift railings were good for budget shoppers; he had sorted out his next year’s wardrobe in one hour’s visit.  Just about everything else though was either over-priced or complete scrap.  He watched a love story unfold earlier as a couple caught sight of a painted plastic tree with a nineteen-twenties cartoon face and manufactured green ‘gemstones’ for eyes.  It had become so necessary to their happiness that they could not return home without it.  One person’s tat was another’s treasure,Tony reasoned: he wondered what would be made of the collection of Tremar money boxes in the lounge window back home.  There wasn’t much here that he thought would suit Flora: she had all that she needed already.  What could she want?  His head turned to the book stall and he had to force it back to the plants in front of him.  Flora could kill anything.  She was banned from going too near Rhiannon’s border plants, the pond was his territory (which she was all too happy to let others clean), and Loki had once chased her away from his oak tree hammock with a garden rake.  For a pagan named ‘Flora’, the woman had a definite lack of ‘the green touch’, yet she tried.  She loved cheese plants.  Tony picked out the sacrifice that would become the dining room resident’s successor should it survive, handed over the cash, then paused to consider how it was going to journey home with seven people, seven people’s worth of luggage, and a professional sound system to compete for space with.  His mind began making calculations and visualisations: if he opened up the roof hatch, propped it upright and didn’t make any sudden brakes… Bridgit was approaching: he could tell because his ears had become tuned to the pitch of Thomas’s horrendous wail.  Tony was going to make his way over to the musical instruments but instead tripped and fell on a girl in a long  blue dress whom had been playing hide and seek in the leg forest.  He grabbed the tablecloth as he went down, early bringing the miniature cacti onto his legs.  Some of them were not so miniature.

 

“Hello Tony.”

 

“Oh, Alex: I thought it was- never mind.  How are things looking backstage?”

 

“The usual mess and tangle of wires, which we’re trying to sort out now. Duct tape: all that stands between modern civilisation and the forces of chaos, I tell you.  Reese is of course complaining about why we had to bring the gear; more like why I – you – had to bring my gear.  You remember the sound system two years back?  I remember the sound system two years back.  Oh dear, oh, dear. This little one won’t stop crying, will you?  Where’s your mummy, eh?  Where’s your mummy?  Where is Bridgit?  Have you seen her? I’m going to go on in half an hour: can’t take the little one up there with me.”

 

Alex struggled with Thomas.  Tony realised something, and it felt like a warm blunt object had settled next to his heart.  It was a stone. All the time that Alex, Bridgit and Thomas had been in their family’ company, how many times had he held his own son?  The stone felt dirty.

 

“Listen, mate: after this is all over, how about we meet up next weekend and have a chat? Away from the family, you know?  It’s been a while.”

 

“Well I can’t this next weekend: got to go north for a while.  Talk later, yeah?”  Before Tony could reply Alex was enfolded into the crowd. The only marker for his location was Thomas’s howling lungs.

 

Loki watched and noticed, lurking in the corridor outside the spare spare cloak room.  Bridgit had met up with Wynn, and Thomas wasn’t with her.

 

“Where’s Alex?”

 

“Looking for me, no doubt.  I told him that I’d be at the back of the hall, shopping.”

 

“You sly vixen, you!”  He laughed until he coughed.  “We’re going to get caught if we do it like this, you know.  Loki’s gonna grass on us: he’s too much of a prissy goodie goodie not to.  Little shit.” Loki’s head filled with burning coals.  His fingers pressed into the packet of chalks still in his pocket.  Some carefully placed words, and it would all be over.

 

“He’s only a year younger than you,” Bridgit snorted.  “But yeah, you’re right.  He’s probably told his dad already, but luckily I know Tony: nothing’ll come of it.”

 

“Nothing?”

 

Nothing.

 

“Wait, what?  Why nothing?  His father – your husbands best friend, am I right? – knows about us, and he won’t say a word?”

 

“Tony leaves things too long, then finds them not worth mentioning.  That, or he won’t get the message across clear enough; Alex can be so dense sometimes,” her tone was part remorse, part fondness.  “Got time for a quickie?”

 

“What? Fuck no!”  Wynn giggled.  “When’s the old man getting up and doing his thing?  Can’t you wait?”  Bridgit didn’t answer.

 

Wynn groaned.  The door didn’t do much to dampen the noise and the effervescent crowd seemed to be bottled in the great hall.  The smacks, slurps and rustles reverberated.  Loki couldn’t bring himself to be embarrassed from listening to those two.  He had known that his father wouldn’t do anything – Bridget had known that his father wouldn’t do anything!  These doors, he noticed, didn’t have keyholes. No doubt they didn’t have bolt locks, either.  All he had to do was to open the door and run away.  It wouldn’t be much of a revenge, but it would be the beginning.  His ginger hand went towards the knob.  His fingers wrapped around the bulb.  Touching it sent the vein in his arm throbbing.  Loki was choking.  Then, footfalls were coming his way.  It was the first and the very last person he wanted to be with him right now.

 

I’ve got him to sleep!‘  He mouthed.  ‘I’ve got him to sleep!‘ His shoes padded with care along the carpet, coming closer and closer to Loki and the terrible door.  Loki’s hand slid from the hand grip and it spun. Its warning went unheeded and the bodies on the other side continued to heave.  All he had to do was shout ‘Alex!  Hi’ and all would be saved:  He might even be redeemed in Bridgit’s eyes, though he held out faint hope for Wynn’s.  All he had to do was speak.  Move.  Make sound.  Instead his ribcage pulled in to constrict his lungs and crush his faltering heart. 

 

Alex stopped short of his personal space.  ‘Where’s Bridgit?‘  Alex froze.  He could hear the noises on the other side of the door.  His lips twitched.  They turned into a smile.  He hasn’t realised – he hasn’t!  He thought.  As long as Bridgit didn’t speak…  Lead him away.  Lead him away before it’s too late, his inner voice said.  Loki had never felt more rooted than he did in this moment. Alex was starting to scrutinize him.  His face was giving it all away, and then he made his biggest mistake: he looked at the door. Bridgit moaned.  Alex put his palm on the door and twisted the knob. The barrier slid open and now Loki and Alex could see Aereyst-Wynn – Michael – had his mouth wrapped around Bridgit’s.  Her hands were up his dishevelled shirt.  His hands were kneading what was at the back of her trousers, but not through the fabric.

 

What they had seen was like an after image – a moment caught longer than it should have been from staring too long at the sun.  Already they were standing three feet apart and waiting.  As soon as the door swung open, it swung back on is safety hinge.  Alex forced it open. He was the star now: all eyes were on him.  Loki couldn’t move from the doorway.  The door would shut again soon.  He made no move to keep it open.  Michael and Bridgit looked at Alex, who had stopped an arm’s reach away.  Loki couldn’t see Alex’s face.  The other two only watched, as if silence would make all proof go away and speech had the power to make it appear.

 

“I am going to go on stage in fifteen minutes,” he said, slow and deliberate.  The other two were perfect mannequins.  Alex screamed. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”  Thomas woke.  The fight continued under his screams, unknown to the rest of the happy holidaymakers.

 

“What do you mean? We weren-”

 

“Don’t fucking give me that shit, I saw you!  I heard you from the other side of the fucking door!”  He paced.  Thomas was as frantic as his father.  Alex rounded on Michael.  “How old are you?  Can’t fuck anyone your own age, despite all the drugs and alcohol in the world? Or you just got a thing for other men’s wives?!”  The door closed. The latch clicked in the lock.

 

“You never help me any more!”  Bridgit wailed.  “I feel – so – alone – with – our baby!”

 

“Thomas! His name is Thomas!  You picked the name, so use it!  I never liked it!”  Bridgit’s words were disappearing under emotions and tears.  Loki wanted to go.  He still couldn’t go.  His lunch was working its way back up to his throat: what would happen to Thomas? Alex was still shouting.  Michael hadn’t said a word: he had nothing to lose but his health.  Bridgit would come out the worse.  Thomas drowned the words but not the meaning.  The door wrenched open and Loki jumped.  Wood splintered and pattered onto the carpet.  One part of the handle was in Alex’s grip, the other was spinning like a roulette table on the stone section of the floor.

 

Alex was mauve.  White spots marked his face.  He looked at Loki. This was the one time that Loki-Joseph couldn’t look away.  Alex knew then, that Loki had known, and not just an instant before he had arrived. Guilt burned on his face.  Alex walked away, the brass door knob till gripped in his hand.  He went to sing ‘The Worship of Trees‘.

 

Loki’s legs became unstuck.  The bathroom had never seemed so far away.  The world had never sprinted by so fast.  Everything and everyone moved like a trail of phantoms on a sleepless night.  Loki ran into a cubicle and slammed the door behind.  His palms pressed into either wall while he held his mouth open over the toilet bowl.  Nothing would emerge.  The sickly heat in his body wouldn’t go away.  Nothing would make himself feel better.  Even the inner voice was muted.  The crowd cheered: the opening bars to ‘The Worship of Trees‘ was being played by Alex’s band.  Loki forced his back into the door and slid down against it.  He pressed his lungs into his knees.

 

Now he realised what Rhiannon had meant, that night they had talked beside the ruins.  He had known before but now he realised, and the difference was a chasm.

 

Now it was done as he had wished.  Now it was out of his hands.

 

 

Just a NaNo… 27th November

Standard

Although I have taken part in pagan community events, I have not been to a Lughnasadh event.  This camp and the characters herein are entirely fictional, hence no organisation names or place names.  This piece of fiction is a first draft and is subject to change.

Hereafter, the story contains gaps because I worked on the scenes that stood out to me the most before the November 30th deadline.

I also wrote a foreword/afterword, but have not included it in this snippet because it sounds too much like a patronising rant on society.  These things come out during NaNoWriMo, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be posted.

Today’s wordcount: 1,300

Current Total: 44,700

Pagan Story (Chapter 9)

 

The presenter came on to introduce the next act. Rhiannon already knew who it was.

 

“Ohh! Shhh! You’ll love this next act: it’s Lily Sawyer!” Rhiannon didn’t notice Tam folding his arms and raising his eyebrows to the stage.

 

“Now we have a special guest with us tonight: she’s touring the country and is about to go on to Wales to tour Cardiff, Swansea.. where else?”

 

“Bethesda on Anglesey, Llanfairfechan…Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch…” the woman replied.

 

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch.” The presenter nodded, his eyes closed. “Anyway, another wonderful evening for anyone living in or visiting Wales at the time. Check the dates and times on her website, available in the programme. Everybody, it’s Lily Sawyer!” The audience applauded and hooted. The comedian was a mass of curly black hair, hung over her shoulder and tied up with a black velvet band. When her eyes looked out into the audience’s, those white orbs shone like diamonds. She took hold of the mike from its stand and flapped at her renaissance-sleeved dress.

 

“Good afternoon everybody! It’s a pleasure to be here! Yes I am Lily Sawyer and I’ve come here today to ask you: ‘how many of you know what ‘flying on a broomstick’ means’?” The audience cackled suggestively. One crone raised her broom – prive tag still attached – abouve her head and yelled:

 

“I’ve got my besom right here!”

 

“Yes ladies and gents, you can buy your mini besoms here today, for those of you who can’t handle a full-sized broom.” A babble of laughter rose then disappeared. “So I have a poem for you today about using flying ointments and some of the…effects. No this isn’t personally researched, I can assure you! Alright, so here it is, and it’s called: ‘Flying Around the Room.’”

 

 

[Insert a magnificent poem here.]

Chapter 10

Bridgit knew that Loki hadn’t told Alex what he had seen.  Alex and his band mates were setting up the stage for later and his face glided from one happy emotion into another.  He was clueless, which meant that Bridgit and Aereyst-Wynn felt obliged to meet again, not more than five metres away from the stage where Alex prepared.  They hadn’t noticed Loki up in the gallery, but he was watching them – in fact he couldn’t pull his eyes away.  Poisonous bugs crawled under his skin every time he saw them make eye contact, every time one of them spoke… every time they touched each other.  It was all happening right there, in front of her husband, and he was naïve enough to believe that she could be trusted not to break his heart.  It’s not that easy.  People are complicated nowadays, his inner voice excused.  It’s alright then, that Zack punched me in the face and his friend spat in Rhiannon’s, because they’re complicated people who weren’t raised right, right?  He retorted.  No, but-  Loki ended the voice: he hated ‘buts’ he hated reasoning nowadays: he reasoned that you could make anything reasonable with the right reasoning and the right amount of desperation.  Watching Aereyst-Wynn and Bridgit sickened him.  A cold heat burned with intensity between hi lungs, behind his heart.  It was Hatred, and he hated experiencing it because it meant that he was closer to losing control.  Wynn had followed him everywhere yesterday.  What Bridgit had done in the meantime, he did not know: only when he and Alex were in the same workshop (which Wynn had physically tried to block him going to, until one of the other festival goers saw what was going on and commented loudly on it) did he get within speaking distance of the man, and then Bridgit and their son had been by his side.  She was also screening his calls and text messages, since Alex was busy rehearsing and carrying around a nine month old baby didn’t give her enough to do.

Loki was worried that his father was going to do nothing: it wouldn’t have been the first time he had dedicated himself to a course of action and ended up not following it through.  When the neighbours’ son started playing his drum kit at two a.m. through to three or sometimes even five.  Apparently, none of the other neighbours minded.  At first he complained and then threatened to get the law involved, and then nothing came of it.  Flora, in the end, sorted the problem by mentioning that she was coffee friends with one of the board members at the private school they were trying to get their daughter into.  It may have been coincidence, but Flora had recognised the family’s phone number attached to a drum kit for sale in the local newspaper soon thereafter.

The time that Rhiannon went through her coarse language phase was little different: swear words were flying around the house like the cat on ‘nip, but after only once saying the four letter sentence: ‘Rhiannon, tone it down’, his enforcement went to nothing more than a stern look and it was only when Flora stopped buying the Smoky Bacon flavoured crisps and explained why that the swearing decreased to tolerable levels – never went away – but decreased.

“Loki! Hey!  Loki!  Can you help John with the cables up there, please? How’s the stage looking by the way?”

“Not symmetrical,” he shouted down, ignoring the love birds, or whatever they were.  “Move the base unit over to the right a bit.  No sorry, left.  Bit more…bit more…”  It wasn’t serious: it was just a fling – an on the spur decision, that’s what Loki told himself. After the even was over, the affair would be over and everything would go back to as it should have been this whole time.  In which case, why did Alex need to know, and put a perfectly good relationship in which they’d be happy for many decades to come, into jeopardy?  Because it wasn’t right.  Because Alex hadn’t given his consent.  Because there was trust and lies.  If Bridgit was not entirely happy with Alex, why did she marry him?  Was Alex really who Loki thought he was?  Domestic abuse was a weird thing: a person could be a model in society and then beat her or his partner in the privacy of their home.  Or mental abuse: scars on the inside.  Loki’s imagination ran wild, and he knew it: he couldn’t imagine Alex doing any of those things.  But that’s how and why they get away with it, the inner voice chuckled.  Loki suppressed it.  “Okay, you’re perfect!”

“I know!”  Alex waved his hands and bowed to an invisible audience amidst the real audience of three.

 

Just a NaNo… 26th November

Standard

Although I have taken part in pagan community events, I have not been to a Lughnasadh event.  This camp and the characters herein are entirely fictional, hence no organisation names or place names.  This piece of fiction is a first draft and is subject to change.

Hereafter, the story contains gaps because I worked on the scenes that stood out to me the most before the November 30th deadline.

Today’s wordcount: 1,800

Current Total: 43,400

Pagan Story (Chapter 8 cont.d)

 

He looked up to the sky and down to the ground, but he couldn’t loosen those thoughts. It was then that he noticed the new lamp posts and the light that they cast upon the ground. This was the new design that he had seen installed outside Uncle Tom’s house and all the towns that they had passed through. They were adverts. An orange circle landed on the floor and cast letters onto the ground. These letters rotated anti-clockwise to grab his attention and make it easy for him to read. The slogan said:

 

‘HAVENT YOU HAD YOURS YET?’

Read the rest of this entry

Just a NaNo… 25th & ‘Other day’ November

Standard

Although I have taken part in pagan community events, I have not been to a Lughnasadh event.  This camp and the characters herein are entirely fictional, hence no organisation names or place names.  This piece of fiction is a first draft and is subject to change.

Hereafter, the story contains gaps because I worked on the scenes that stood out to me the most before the November 30th deadline.

There was an aditional part involving Rhiannon in this story, but since it was only a note to expand upon later and her ‘moment’ was nothing but a string of swear words, it was omitted.

Today’s wordcount: 2,600

Current Total: 41,600

Pagan Story (Chapter 8)

 

The night was cold and everyone had separated into smaller groups to gather around individual camp fires. When one group fell quiet, they could hear the laughter and voices from another get-together, somewhere close by but the light of the other fire rarely seen. There were more than twenty people gathered at Loki’s fire, which was one of the larger ones at the festival. One man was just finishing his song on the ‘spirits of the machines’ to the tapping of his drum. Tah-ta-ta-tam ba-bah, tah-ta-ta-tam, ba-nah it bellowed into the night, Everyone clapped politely. I can do better than that, Loki thought, and gave himself a mental slap at the same time. The event was so that others could show off not just their talents, but their tries: it did not need to be polished and gleaming, just a show at effort. Having an audience was thrilling enough that you wanted to push on to do more.

Read the rest of this entry

Just a NaNo… 24th & ‘Other day’ November

Standard

Although I have taken part in pagan community events, I have not been to a Lughnasadh event.  This camp and the characters herein are entirely fictional, hence no organisation names or place names.  This piece of fiction is a first draft and is subject to change.

Hereafter, the story contains gaps because I worked on the scenes that stood out to me the most before the November 30th deadline.

Today’s wordcount: 1,200

Current Total: 39,000

Pagan Story (Chapter 7)

 

When Mr. Essham woke the next morning, a sense of rightness overcame him when he put his hand under his pillow and found that his iPad was still there. The life of objects was such an interesting one: the trip it must have made in its six hours from being taken to being returned to his bag! He would have to thank the event organisers for their time and tell them that it had been found. He reached under his quilt for his other most precious item… and found that it was gone. He lifted himself upright and looked all over with his glasses on the end of his nose. It was gone.

Read the rest of this entry