Lovely Liebster Candle Kreativ

During the last two weeks, I’ve been rather surprised at how many awards have come my way. First I received the One Lovely Blog Award from Scriptor Obscura

then the Liebster Blog Award from Christy from Poetic Parfait

then the Candle Lighter Award from Lostupabove

and just the other day Sandy from Sandylikeabeach nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award.

A great big thank you to all of you. I really appreciate the support you give me through these awards, and it gives me a great boost of self confidence to know that you enjoy my writing. I hope you will enjoy all my future posts just as much.

Now I will have to admit that I’m going to break a few rules…
I will not break any rules for the One Lovely Blog Award and the Candle Lighter Award, but that is only because those awards do not have any rules…
Every rule there is I will break. Or at least bend.

First: I will only nominate ONE new blog for each award.
Second: The Kreativ Blogger Award says that I have to share ten things about myself… I will write five.

So, the five things:

1. I have always had a love for wolves and dogs.

2. I studied English at university for a year, now I study mathematics. (But I still want to be able to live off my writing)

3. I like computer games with humour. I just finished playing one called Psychonauts where I had to enter people’s minds to fight their inner demons and sort out their emotional baggage. The humour in that game was wonderful 🙂

4. I’ve just bought a Leonard Cohen CD exclusively for the two songs: ‘First we Take Manhatten’ and ‘Everybody Knows’

5. I think my favourite author is Mervyn Peake. His descriptions are fantastic and his characters are always twisted and often hilarious. I hope to be able to write like him one day…

And now back to the good part:
The nominations!

For the One Lovely Blog Award I’ll nominate literarychicks78  at The Squirrel’s Eye for her wonderful writing where the humour is never far away.

For the Liebster Blog Award I’ll nominate H. E. Ellis for all the fun I’ve had reading her posts and especially for the opening of her book The Gods of Asphalt.

For the Candle Lighter Award I’ll nominate Stan at Art of the Stem for his interesting articles.

For the Kreativ Blogger Award I’ll nominate Rebecca at Novel Girl for all the lovely advice on writing she publishes.

And thanks to all of you for reading 🙂

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13 Misfortune

Harry was killed.

It did not have much to do with him. He did not commit the deed and he did not prevent it.

He had been hired for an office job in a respectable company, not because of the marks he had received during his education, but because Nike had recommended him.

At his job interview Harry was asked questions and answers issued from his mouth, but Harry never really followed them. When Nike asked how it went, an answer was given to him as well, but it did not come from Harry, it came from Harry’s mother. She waited outside sitting down half the time and leaping to her feet the other half, her hair arranged with at least ten different pins.

Ninety percent of the time Harry had someone to speak for him and when he did not, answers came from his mouth anyway without his interference.

One day Harry’s mother died. Nike drove Harry to the funeral and said goodbye to Harry’s mother. Words exited Harry’s mouth as easily as ever. In fact, a whole speech poured forth during the ceremony. The few guests nodded their heads at the sentences which were not his.

Five years after the funeral, the company who had hired Harry fell on bad times and soon Harry was unemployed. They told him to clear out his desk, and his desk was cleared out.

That evening Nike rang the doorbell to the place where Harry spent most of his time when he was not at work. After a few rings Nike opened the door and went in. Harry was in the living room. A large lumpy sofa supported him. Everything in the living room looked very neat, as if someone had just tidied up, or as if nothing had ever been used.

‘I came as soon as I heard,’ said Nike, ‘I think the people in charge were keeping it from me on purpose. I only found out because one of my colleagues asked me about you in a mail.’

Harry’s face was turned towards him.

‘How are you?’ asked Nike.

Harry’s shoulders shrugged.

‘You mustn’t let this get you down,’ said Nike, ‘you just have to take it in your stride. I’m sure there’re plenty of other companies out there who know how to appreciate your strengths.’

Harry’s head nodded.

‘You had better begin job hunting at once though, the market is in a bad state at the moment. First thing tomorrow, eh?’ Nike flashed his dazzling white smile. Harry never smiled, but his teeth showed themselves from time to time.

‘Sure,’ said Harry’s voice.

‘Good, I’ll look forwards to hearing about it.’ Nike talked some more before he went home to his wife.
The next evening Nike came calling again. He found Harry in front of the computer, eyes staring at the screen.

‘Hi Harry, how’s it going? Find something good yet?’

‘Not much,’ replied Harry’s voice.

‘They have really increased the workload, phew, I’m exhausted.’ Nike collapsed on the couch. After a few more moments of staring, Harry’s chair spun around and they were face to face.

‘Sounds tough,’ said Harry’s voice.

‘It is,’ said Nike, ‘it really is… Say, what have you found today?’

Harry shrugged.

‘Nothing good, eh? I could help you find something.’

Harry shrugged. Nike rose from the couch and went over to help Harry. Before Nike went home, he had sent off five applications.

‘Hi Harry,’ said Nike the next time he visited,  ‘How are you?’ A stray clump of hair had released itself from the constrictions of Nike’s hair gel. ‘I’m sorry it’s been so long since I visited last,’ it had been three days, ‘but I’ve been so busy with work that I’ve had no extra energy at all. I don’t have much time to spare today either unfortunately, I just came to say hello.’

Harry’s head nodded.

‘How’s the job searching coming along? Have you sent any more applications? Have you had any answers?’

Harry’s shoulders shrugged.

‘Oh, well, keep fighting, eh?’ Nike gave Harry the thumbs up.

One of Harry’s thumbs rose in reply.

‘Great,’ said Nike, ‘I’ll see you around.’
When Nike visited the next week, his shirt was creased and he loosed his tie as he walked into the living room.

‘I feel like I’m suffocating,’ he said, ‘they’ve fired almost a hundred employees now and I’m running as fast as I can, but it never seems to be fast enough. I almost envy you, sitting here where you can relax.’

Harry’s eyes looked at him.

‘Heh,’ Nike smiled, ‘you know I’m just kidding, right. I know you’re very busy. Looking for jobs.’

Harry’s shoulders shrugged in reply.

‘Have you found anything yet?’

Shrug.

‘Is that yes, or no?’

Shrug.

‘Come on now; are you mad at me for what I said?’

Harry’s head shook from side to side.

‘Good, then tell me what you’ve found.’

‘Nothing,’ said Harry’s voice.

‘The market must be tough right now,’ Nike nodded, ‘what have you considered this far?’

Shrug.

Nike sighed.

‘Look my patience isn’t really in a good state right now. Can’t you just answer my questions?’

Harry’s head nodded.

‘Thank you. What have you considered?’

‘Nothing,’ answered Harry’s voice.

Nike opened his mouth and for once no sound came out. At least not at first.

‘Nothing?’ he said.

‘Nothing,’ affirmed Harry’s voice.

‘You can’t be serious. Nothing at all?’

‘Nothing.’

Nike’s jaw worked up and down.

Harry’s head was turned towards him, his face calm.

‘What have you been doing all this time?’

Shrug.

‘Argh!’ Nike’s face turned red, ‘can’t you do anything on your own?’

‘No,’ said Harry’s voice.

Nike lunged.

He brought both Harry and the office chair down with him, his fingers locked around Harry’s neck.

‘You little shit!’ he yelled, ‘is this how you repay me?’

Harry’s voice tried to answer, but it could not pass through Nike’s fingers. Harry’s lungs struggled for air and his heart pumped what oxygen was left around his system. But they could not keep it up for long. When Nike realized that Harry’s chest was no longer moving, he fled, slamming the door behind him.

As Nike was the only one who ever visited Harry, it took some time before Harry was discovered. When they finally found him, Harry was very wilfully rotting.

12 Insanity 2 of 2

I am lying face down in the sand. How long have I been in this desert? It feels like years, but it cannot have been; I would be dead then. I turn my head to one side. I feel shrivelled up. Like a crisp I might snap at any time. I push myself up.

There is nothing for it, if I want any chance of survival, I have to move. My legs feel tangled, but I get to my knees. Then I fall down heavily on my side and pain shoots up in my shoulder. I never thought sand would be so hard. I push myself up into a sitting position. Come on, I tell myself, come on, you can do this. And I remember how I used to never even think about it when I stood up.

When I have found my feet again, I try to figure out which way I had been going before I fell asleep, or passed out. I am not sure which is most accurate. All directions look the same, with the dunes and the sand and the sky, so I just start walking.

‘Mr. Harris?’

I spin around. Who is saying my name?

‘Mr. Harris, please relax.’

There is no one there. Somehow I find enough strength to increase my speed.

‘Mr. Harris you really should lie down.’ The voice sounds so calm. How can it sound so calm? Then I get it. This must be my subconscious, telling me to just lie down and die. I will just have to ignore it. I do my best to steady my steps and continue walking.

‘Mr. Harris can you hear me?’

Just walk, I keep thinking, just walk. It will stop if I ignore it. It is not real. I will have to find someone real to help me. The air burns my nose as I inhale. I gaze into the sky. It should get dark at some point, but the sun does not seem to have moved at all. At least my subconscious shut up some time ago. My eyelids are heavy. I shake my head and slap my cheeks. No more sleeping. Or I will disappear in the sand. I will die out here.

‘No!’ I tug at my sand-filled hair, ‘No, don’t think that. I’ll have to get out of here.’

‘Don’t you think it best for you to stay, Mr. Harris?’ It is not the same voice as before, but it is just as calm. ‘At least until you feel better?’

I laugh at that.

‘Why are you laughing Mr. Harris?’

‘Because you’re saying I might get better if I stay longer. I’m dying of thirst.’

‘Then have some water Mr. Harris.’

I laugh again.

‘You are laughing again Mr. Harris, why?’

‘You’re telling me to have some water. There’s no water in the desert.’

‘But you are not in the desert Mr. Harris. You were rescued from the desert years ago.’

My throat clenches shut. I think I am choking. I am on all fours on a cold marble floor. I am on my hands and knees in the sand gulping down scorching air.

‘I’m not listening to you!’ I shout to the cloudless sky.

‘Mr. Harris-’

‘Go away!’ I crawl on. Up the next dune.

‘Mr. Harris, please listen to me.’

I will not listen. I will ignore all voices from now on. I do not know what madness made me answer them before. I will get out of here some day. I just have to ignore the voices. If I ignore them long enough they will go away.

12 Insanity 1 of 2

Sand. It crunches between my teeth. It is in my clothes and between my toes. The sun sears my neck and sweat runs from me. Down my back, my legs. From my hair. Into my eyes.

I force my head up. Sand dunes are all around me. I have to move. I have to go on. Just to the top of the next dune. I might be able to see something. Someone might find me.

I drive myself forwards one step at the time. Up, up, to where the sky touches the sand and becomes all hazy. I keep my mouth closed. In the beginning I could swallow my own spit, but now my mouth is as dry as the sand.
I am close to the top now. Just a few more steps. I stagger, but keep my feet. And I am there. I am at the top. I look around me.

Dunes.

Dunes, as far as the eye can see in every direction. I fall to my knees. I cannot keep going like this. I will need to drink soon. But if I lie down and let the sand cover me, it will be as if I was wiped out of existence. No one would ever find me. I have to find someone. Anyone.

My gaze drifts across the dunes. There is movement on one of them. I squint. Someone is walking on the top of the next dune. I have to make the person see me. I try to speak, but only a hoarse whisper is released from my mouth.

I struggle to my feet again and will my legs to carry my weight down the dune and up the side of the next one. My feet hurt and my legs tremble. The wind blows more sand into my face. I keep going. Just put one foot in front of the other and you’ll get there eventually. I put my foot down, and slip. I grip at the shifting sand and scramble the rest of the way up my heart thumping like mad. Then I smile, I made it. I look up.

Sand. Dunes. Sky.

Left. Sand.

Right. Dunes.

Up. Sky.

There is no one here.

I shout. I yell my frustration out to the sand and dunes and sky. I curse them long after my voice has disappeared. A small whirl of sand dances in front of me. Then it is still.

I must have fallen asleep because I dream. I am sitting in a soft armchair. I am in some sort of common room, with a lot of other people. Some of them are sitting like me, others wander around the room. Most wear ordinary clothes, but some are wearing nurse uniforms.

There are pictures on the walls of forest clearings and animals. Beside me on a small table there is a glass of water. It is cold and wet when I take it. I smile, put the glass to my lips and let the cold water flow slowly down my throat. My whole body is drinking, expanding, regaining its usual form. Then I wake up and my throat is parched.

The sand is in my ears, my nose, my eyes. My lips are cracked and bleeding. I suck them, to keep the liquid. At first I dreamt of cool swimming pools with naked women, now I dream of drinking a glass of water. My hands curl into fists and a dry sob is released from my throat, but I stop myself from crying. It would not do to loose the last bit of liquid in my body.

11 Memory 2 of 2

I do not know how far I went; I lost sense of time. But at last I reached an archway lit by torches, old-fashioned ones with flames licking the wall behind them. Through the archway I could see a large room also lit with uncovered flames. I crept inside, remembering that I was probably an unbidden guest.

The room was empty, but there was an archway in the furthest wall and through that I glimpsed movement. I tensed. The room behind the next archway was lit as well. I crept along one wall. When I came to the archway I peered through ready to pull myself back at any moment. What I saw in there left me dumbfounded.

In the middle of the room was an altar and outstretched on top of it was the woman in the rabbit costume. Someone had torn off her dress. The only things she wore were shoes, a thong and her rabbit ears. Around her in a large circle stood about twenty people all in different animal costumes.

A man was saying something in a language I did not understand. He wore a white unicorn mask with a goat’s beard. The horn on his forehead looked wickedly sharp and the point glinted when he moved his head. His dark red robe made me think of dried blood.

The feeling hit me like a sledgehammer and my throat went dry as a desert. Whatever they were doing, it was wrong and whatever happened, I did not want the man with the unicorn mask to see me. I wanted to run or hide, but all my legs did was tremble and my eyes were locked on the altar.

The man continued his chants and the other people joined in. The sound rose to a crescendo. Beads of sweat ran down my brow. It felt stuffy under my mask. I removed it from my face. The man took out a curved dagger from his robe. The chant ceased. I gasped for breath. It was like trying to breathe under water.

The man lowered his head and the horn pointed straight at the woman on the altar. There was the sound of a spring being released and the horn flew from his head and buried itself right under the woman’s jaw. A gurgling broke the silence. The blood spurted and ran down the altar. The woman twitched for an eternity before she lay still.

I vomited and all heads were turned to me. I fell to my knees, as a man in a full-body bear costume came towards me. I tried to speak. When he picked me up, I tried to fend him off, but all strength had gone from me. Then he squeezed me.

I know it is hard to believe, but you must have seen the horn in her. And there must be signs that all those people were here. What do you mean there is no horn? I saw it.

I don’t know, I did not see them mutilate her.

No, I have never seen that knife in my life before. The one the man had was curved, remember?

I have no idea how my fingerprints came to be there.

I am telling you, they were here and that man killed her. Why won’t you believe me? I saw it!

I swear, I saw it!

11 Memory 1 of 2

Something large and hairy. No, that’s not right. It was fuzzy. A large teddy bear, yes, that was it, I remember now. A teddy bear that hugged me tighter and tighter and then everything went black. It sounds crazy, I know, but I’m sure it happened. It must have, how could I have ended up here otherwise?

Before that, I was at the carnival. I had this white mask on with a long long nose which was red at the end. Like the mask was drunk or had a cold.

No, I was not drunk. I think. I had not drunk very much. Of course, I was in a good mood, everybody was. There was music and dancing. I had forgotten my earplugs so it was much too loud. When I drifted too close to a music wagon, I felt like my eardrums would explode. So I ran. Away from the noise. Into a deserted alley.

While I rested my hand against the wall, getting my breath back, I noticed a woman in a rabbit costume. She went right past me and at the end of the alley she opened a door and disappeared through it. She left it ajar.

I glanced down the way she had come. No one was following her. My legs went to the door of their own accord and I looked inside. There were steps. Leading down. A naked bulb lit them where they turned.

I gave the alley one last furtive glance before I stepped inside, leaving the door like she had. I took a few steps down and looked over the banister. She was gone. She must have gone down the stairs pretty quickly to be gone already. There was a small click behind me. I turned. The door had closed.

I rushed back up. No matter how hard I pushed or tugged, the door would not open. I dared not bang at the door, because I might be accused of breaking an entrance. The light blinked and the stairs were plunged into darkness. For what felt like an eternity I stood there in the dark with my back to the door.

In the end I made up my mind. I could not just stay there. I groped for the banisters and made my way down, step by careful step. At the first turn I felt the walls, but there were no doors and not even any light switches.

It became colder as I descended. Or maybe, I just imagined it. It was strange to think that only moments ago I was outside in bright sunshine. I am not sure how far I went down. I began counting the turns. After a while I gave it up.

It became very damp and I heard a dripping from somewhere beneath me. It became steadily louder. I took a step down and stumbled. My foot was stopped by cold stone and the banister ended. The dripping was now in front of me.

I squinted into the darkness and there far ahead was a dim light. I felt the floor in front of me with my foot. It seemed to be level. Reaching out to one side I found the wall, cold and slimy. I retracted my hand. The slime was still sticking to my fingers, gooey but odourless. I wrinkled my nose and dried it off in my trousers, hoping it would not leave a stain.

Then I went towards the light.

10 Breathe Again

‘Breathe… Good… Again… take a deep breath and let yourself go. Good… Where are you?’

‘I’m, I think I’m in a church… why a church?’

‘What can you see?’

‘The altar is right in front of me. The pews behind me are all empty. There’s a flagon of wine on the floor. Oh, dear, think I knocked it over. The wine is spilling onto the floor. Wait a minute. It’s not wine; it’s all sticky. And it smells strange. Or maybe it’s not the wine, or the… whatever red stuff on the floor, but something smells strange.’

‘Can you describe the smell?’

‘It’s sweet. I can’t place it. It’s a good thing it’s not stronger than it is, it would force my breakfast back up. Uh oh.’

‘What is it?’

‘The floor just began to tremble… It’s getting stronger. The pews are getting knocked over. Ow, my ears! There was just a thunderous noise and now there’s a crack out in the middle of the floor. And something… Something is coming up. It’s huge and rotten and it’s… It’s coming after me! Oh my God, it’s coming for me!’

‘Please relax, you are safe.’

‘It’s been hiding, hiding under the floorboards all this time, and now it’s coming for me.’

‘You have to come back now.’

‘It’s between me and the door. There’s no way to run. No windows. It’s grabbing me. No!’

‘Breathe.’

‘I can’t! It’s got me by the throat!’

‘Breathe.’

‘No! It’s going to-’

‘Breathe.’

09 Drive


‘Drive them out,’ the villager said, ‘drive them out of the village, drive them out in their thing. Witches and wizards the lot of them!’

The angry mob drove the family out and left them sitting in their car about a kilometre from the village.

‘So,’ said Peter, ‘what do we do now?’ He scratched the whiskers on his cheek which had grown considerably since their arrival to this place. None in the family knew where ‘this place’ was.

‘I don’t know,’ said Lillian, ‘maybe we could find a town or even village where they don’t have such a profound hate of cars.’ She looked in the side mirror and tried to make her hair lie down. She really needed a bath, preferably a long hot one.

‘We’ve been to six villages already,’ said Peter, ‘I don’t know about you, but I see a pattern.’

‘Did either of you think of just leaving the car?’ said the child on the backseat.

‘Jack!’ said Lillian, ‘how can you say that?’ She shook her head as if the only thing more ridiculous would be a sheep trying to fly.

‘We could come back for it later,’ continued Jack, ‘without the car, maybe we could convince someone to help us, maybe they could show us the way.’

‘Jack I know the car hasn’t exactly been welcome in the villages,’ said Peter, ‘But leaving it behind is much too drastic.’

‘That’s it!’ said Lillian, ‘villages. We’ve only been to villages. We haven’t been to any real towns out here. This time Peter you just keep on driving until we see a real town, alright?’

‘Alright,’ Peter said.

‘And Jack,’ said Lillian turning round in her seat to look him in the face, ‘I’ll have no more talk of leaving the car.’

‘But mother,’ said Jack.

‘And that’s final,’ said Lillian.

‘Father,’ said Jack.

‘Listen to your mother Jack,’ said Peter.

And they drove on.

08 Innocence

Light blue eyes. Blonde curly hair. This must be what cherubs look like, she thought. The baby closed his eyes and went to sleep. No, she thought, he is more beautiful than a cherub could ever be. This is innocence in its purest form, and I’ll keep him that way. She shielded him from the world in her arms.

When he grew too big for her arms, she kept him in the house, and when he needed even more space than that, she made sure that he did not leave the garden. When she found little dead mice and frogs on the doorstep, she complained to the neighbours about their cat. When she found a dead cat, she complained to nobody in particular about “young people nowadays”.

The day came when she could no longer keep him anywhere, but she always asked him where he had been when he came home.

Then the police brought her little boy home for the first time, and she resolved to keep a closer watch on him. But that did not prevent him from going to the courtroom. The judge found him guilty.

‘No!’ she screamed, ‘he’s innocent! He couldn’t have done it! Your honour, he’s just a child!”

But no one else in the courtroom would call the two metres tall, scarred, hard faced man a child. No one would dream of calling him innocent.

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