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Happy Families

  -By Adam Wilby From his vantage point near the top of the Skyway bridge Edward Chandler looked upon the streets of Matracea. He had never visited this part of the city before but could see how it had earned its nickname as the Ant Colony. More people than he cared to try and count swarmed up the narrow road which ran parallel with the Skyway before branching off into any number of side streets. Somewhere ahead Edward was just about able to make out the beginnings of a square which seemed to be where most of the people below were headed. According to the directions he had been given this was also his destination and he saw little point in hanging about. Walking slowly down the stone staircase Edward analysed the speed and depth of the crowd as he went. The sheer numbers meant that was no-one was able to move at an especially quick pace but they also meant there was a lot of jostling going on and he instinctively rested his hand upon on his money belt even as he stepped out into them. Electing to keep fairly close to the buildings on the near side of the street as he headed for the square that he’d seen earlier Edward quickly discovered that there was nowhere on the street that allowed for respite from being driven along by the crowds. It occurred to him that it was lucky that his wife Mary had not accompanied him here today as it would have been seconds before the claustrophobia she had carried ever since she was child got the best of her in such an environment as this. The moment he reached the square Edward felt able to relax as it was sizeable enough to allow the crowd to spread out. Taking a few moments to look around...

Cordelia’s Lament

– By Adam Wilby Cordelia moved across to the mirror and silently gazed through it. On the other side the man approached and set a cardboard box down on the floor. Looking up his breath settled on the glass as his attention focussed on the dresser in front of him. Reaching out her hand Cordelia traced a finger in the resulting condensation. The message spoke but one word, “Remember”. For a moment she thought the man had seen as his teeth lightly bit on his lower lip as he had always done when he witnessed something unexpected. Cordelia’s hopes were dashed as he took hold of a framed photograph which rested near the edge of the dresser. Even without seeing it Cordelia knew what it depicted. Two years ago the two of them had taken a trip to Devon and had stumbled upon Saunton Sands beach more by accident than design. The month of June had been upon them and the summer sun had brought out the surfing community out in force; one of whom had been nice enough to take their photo. Cordelia turned her fingernails into the palm of her hand and exerted pressure to the point where it almost hurt. Watching as the photo was consigned to the cardboard box she looked on as memories of her previous life followed. As they did so her mind went back to the events of six months ago. It all seemed so silly now. A handful of words hastily spoken and she’d stormed from the house in anger; without slowing down she’d crossed the road without looking and had only been dimly aware of the sound of screeching brakes. Afterward Cordelia could have realistically have gone anywhere but with no real family in the world she’d felt her choices were limited. In the movies there always seemed to be...

Christmas Requiem

– By Adam Wilby CHAPTER ONE Even as his consciousness returned and he started to open his eyes Seamus grimaced as the familiar pain of the previous evening’s alcohol shot through his head. Squinting against the glare of the sun as it streamed through the window he turned over and his heart sank upon seeing the bars of the prison cell. On the far side of the bars a policeman glanced up from his chair as Seamus slowly made his way to his feet. “Merry Christmas,” he said sarcastically. Seamus rubbed his eyes as a fresh wave of nausea swept through him, “What time is it?” he asked. “Eight thirty, suppose you’re going to ask to be let out now?” “That would be nice,” said Seamus. The policeman walked over to the cell door and unlocked it before sliding back the bars. Seamus trudged through and began to head for the stairs leading to the upper floor of the police station. “Thanks,” he muttered over his shoulder. “No doubt we’ll be seeing each other tomorrow,” replied the policeman. Seamus heard the probable truth in the words but chose to ignore them as he proceeded up the stairs. Even before he reached the top he caught sight of Mary’s red hair, partially buried as it was under a thick woollen hat. Almost as soon as he caught sight of her Mary’s head turned in his direction and the scowl on her face seemed to grow ever deeper. As he drew nearer she turned away and began to make her way toward the exit. As he rushed to catch up with her a round of applause erupted from around them, “If you’re tired of him sweetheart, you can have my phone number” someone called out. Mary was far nearer the door than Seamus and she vanished through it long before he...

The First Time

– By Adam Wilby The girl barely raised her head as he entered the room and he paused in the doorway as he looked at her, for her own part she was seemingly content to stare shyly at the floor. Her long brown hair covered part of her face before draping over the shoulder straps of the black dress she wore. He crossed over and placed a hand on each arm, noting the barely concealed tremble as he did so. Reaching up he brushed the hair from her face and cupped her chin in his hand, raising her head until their eyes met. “I never thought to see something so divine,” he said. The girl smiled for the first time, the auburn eyes which lit up as an echo of the smile betraying her innocence. “Are you sure you want to do this?” he said, his voice holding steady with a confidence he wasn’t sure he truly felt. Slowly her right hand moved to the left hand strap of her dress before pushing it clear of her shoulder. Turning her attention to the bed behind her she sat herself down, her eyes once again focussing upon the floor. Sitting down next to her he noted the glimmer of tears in her eyes. “Have you done this before?” she asked. He made pretence of clutching at his heart, “Now there’s a turn up,” he said, “I was beginning to think you’d been struck dumb”. A second later he knew he had miscalculated as her expression hardened and she began to stand up. “I’m sorry,” he said, placing a hand on her shoulder, “That wasn’t funny was it?” She turned to look at him, her irritation registered on her face, “No it wasn’t,” she said. He took a breath, casting a look around the room, “You’re not the only one here...

The Crypt

– By Adam Wilby Kayleigh was pissed off, there was less than two hours to go before the stroke of midnight and she hadn’t received so much as a birthday card from any of her friends. Pausing for a moment at the entrance to the churchyard which she regularly used as a shortcut on her way home, she glanced upward. The last vestige of the sun was barely visible on the horizon, the rays of which appeared to cover the sky like a red blanket. Kayleigh had of course seen the crypt before, older than the church itself someone had even today clearly gone to considerable lengths to keep it restored, if she was to hazard a guess the descendants of those buried inside were still rich enough and still cared enough to keep it this way. Traversing her way through the network of graves Kayleigh walked over to the crypt. The outer design was of Tudor architecture unless she was very much mistaken; history had always fascinated her, ever since a very young age she would set aside the comic books that her peers read and instead pour over history books, paying particular attention to the pictures of old building contained within. As she had done countless times before Kayleigh approached the crypt and silently marvelled at the skilled workmanship. Tracing a finger along the marble which had been artificially darkened in the manner of the gothic style of the Tudors she could see the hard work that gone into carving religious imagery into the stone, all of which lay in the shadow of a statue of Saint Christopher on the top of the crypt. Measuring approximately half a metre high the statue depicted the saint carrying a staff and staring out across the horizon, looking every bit the patron saint of travellers. Traversing the crypt round to...

Moonlight Flirtations

-By Adam Wilby . . LOCATION – The Starlight speed dating agency; PAUL has just sat down across the table from MARTHA. MARTHA:        Evening. PAUL:               Evening, my name’s Paul, what’s yours? MARTHA:        Pleased to meet you Paul. PAUL:               So what makes a girl like you want to speed date? MARTHA:        Honestly? A desire for companionship I suppose, how about you? PAUL:               True love, what else? MARTHA smiles. MARTHA:        Are you always this optimistic? PAUL:               Best way to be I think. MARTHA:        Yet you are single, not the way you like things I assume? PAUL:               I split up with the girlfriend two months ago. MARTHA:        I’m sorry to hear that. PAUL:               Don’t be, it was a case of opposites attract, that is until we both woke up one morning and realised we had nothing in common. MARTHA:        I assume then that living on your own was not to your liking? PAUL:               Something like that. <PAUSE> How about you, any men in your life? MARTHA:        Not recently, I’ve been off seeing the world for the last couple of years; romance hasn’t been terribly high on the agenda. PAUL:               Good for you, who were you travelling with? MARTHA:        I was by myself. PAUL:               Really? Brave girl. MARTHA:        I’ve always liked my independence. PAUL:               Where was the last place you visited? MARTHA:        Thailand, I was out there for a month last February.  I spent a few days in Bangkok before making my way over to Phuket. One of the best times to go if you haven’t already, weather is warm without being uncomfortable and you get to experience the Chinese New Year. PAUL:               You make it sound very attractive. Do you by any chance work in the tourism industry? MARTHA:        (Laughs) Actually I’m a taxi driver, ever need a lift home on the graveyard shift and I’m the girl to call. PAUL:               A...

On Remembering a Past Death

. Why Our God is a Vengeful God . – by Lori Moritz . Layer One – The First Fragments . The imminence of death gave me superpowers. They found me guilty. I was guilty. So was she. Had they found me innocent, I would be innocent. And so would she. This choice held interesting consequences. Then I died. . Layer Two – Love . After pronouncing my sentence, I could taste her emotion infiltrating the air of the judgment chamber. Her guilt altered the resonant frequency of the molecules that bounced off her skin. They transferred her message to me, collision by collision, a carrier-wave tuned to my soul. It whispered her inaudible scream of sorrow and fear. But no one caught her. The stupid fools have yet to learn how to read matter by influence. It’s so obvious, I guess it can’t be seen. So, she was innocent and I was guilty, and that’s the way it would forever be. I loved her. That didn’t stop me from hating her for letting me face death alone. For not admitting the crime, and thus willingly joining me in death. Let’s be more precise. I did hate her. For seconds only, but the emotion existed enough to make an indelible mark, a fine etch in the crystalline-perfect nature of our resonant souls. I feel it now when her thoughts land on me from light years away. They are the cold obligatory caress from a disinterested lover’s hand. I lost her. Then I died. . Layer Three – The Betrayal . “Guilty!” the judge spat out, and with it, a thousand unsaid crimes of her own. This decision, this label of guilt, drew me inside the boundary of all things dangerous. Danger seized my consciousness, and I became what was known as evil in their eyes. I disagreed with this....

The Mentor

The Mentor -By Adam Wilby Below us the group of people left the building right on time and began to walk up the street, their usual route would eventually bring them directly past us. From beside me I heard the voice of my mentor, “Do as I do, act when I act”. Always the same words for as long as I could remember. On the day we had first met he’d introduced himself as Patroclus, addressing me only as Diomedes from that point on. Of all the kills I’d made with Patroclus at my side I remembered one the most vividly, the first of which had been my initiation. I had been sixteen at the time, in a crowded pub on a Saturday night nobody have given me a second glance when I cleared the empty glasses from the table, a simple sleight of hand trick being sufficient to poison one of the pints of beer on the table moments before it was seized and gulped back. He had brown shoulder length hair and a broad northern accent as I recalled, ironically the conversation topic had been something along the lines of future plans. I found out later that he’d been the boyfriend of some rich heiress and didn’t have the intelligence to keep his trousers zipped up without bragging about it. Naturally enough word had quickly got back to her. He’d probably heard the phrase “beware a woman scorned” a dozen times before without thinking it would be instrumental in his death. Even before the poison had started to take effect we were long gone like shadows in the night. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the trigger finger of Patroclus tighten as made the first shot as he done many times before, a half-second later I copied the action and seemingly as one the...

The Queen of Cups

Hey guys! This is MY very first showcase on my VERY own website! I hope you like it: The Queen of Cups – by Lori Moritz First Session – I see what I know. What do you see? The pretty voice wants to soothe me. Make me like her. I don’t like her. I don’t like anything. The pretty voice is supposed to help me. I forget what the owner of the voice looks like. A generic woman. Immemorial. Isn’t that amazing? I can give her one thing, though… she has a pretty voice. All you need in this field, I suppose. When my daughter begged me to come, I resisted. I can’t be hypnotized. I don’t trust anyone. I don’t even like my daughter, how could I like this girl – this hypno-therapist. I came because my daughter thinks something on the inside is plugging up the ducts of my love flow. The offensive plug is lodged so far down the pipe, I need guidance to get it unstuck. I spat into the sink. To hear of it! There never was a love duct. Love is missing in me. It always was. So no therapy could magically bring it back. I came here to prove that to her. I thought – so wound up in a mental vice grip of negativity – that I would see only blackness. But wouldn’t you know it. Something comes to mind. Look around and tell me what you see… Fine! “A kitchen.” It isn’t my kitchen, though. Instead of walnut, “The cabinets are white. The counter-tops are tiled in indigo blues.” It’s much bigger than mine. “With an island.” I always wanted an island. “And everything is clean. Pristine.” My kitchen has old wine stains on the counter. Sticky goo on the stove. No island, and absolutely no blue. But something is...

Blood Rain

Blood Rain – by Adam Wilby I hated the rain. I hadn’t always felt this way. I vividly remember the day that I did. It was August 23rd 2008 when everything changed. I looked into the face of the man I had just punched. Blood was dripping from his nose, for his own part he was staring with an expression of disbelief at the claret puddle in the palm of his hand. The people stood closest to us had fallen silent, out of the corner of my eye I could see most of them were biting their lips; the odd few of course were clearly amused at what they saw at some impromptu entertainment. “Do I look like some cheap tart to you?” I asked the man rhetorically. If I hadn’t been so angry I might have been incredulous that he appeared so surprised. I had been sat at a table near the bar with one eye on the door while I waited for Stella to arrive. That evening the two of us had planned to meet here for a couple of drinks before moving on to a nightclub just down the road. Consequently I had gone out that morning and bought myself the red dress I had seen earlier that week when using the shopping centre as a shortcut to work. He’d walked over and asked if I wanted to dance. If Stella hadn’t once again kept me waiting I would probably have declined his offer with a smile and the false promise to catch him later. As it was I had grown bored of sitting by myself. In any case I didn’t see the harm, as the pub was less than a mile from my flat, while I wasn’t exactly one of the regulars, I was confident that if anything untoward happened someone who knew me would...

The Punch and Judy Show

THE PUNCH AND JUDY SHOW – by Adam Wilby Judy heard the keys rattle in the lock as Punch let himself into the flat they had shared together for the past two and a half years. She had never liked the flat much, situated as it was directly above the record shop where Punch worked during the day, it was also located near the two main nightclubs in the town centre. Judy had lost count of the number of times she had been woken up during the night by people who apparently couldn’t handle their drink as they staggered, shouted and swore loudly on the way home. It was small wonder that when Judy climbed out of bed at eight every morning she had bags under her eyes from lack of sleep. Even so she was never so tired as not to know that Punch would return to the flat almost precisely at noon every day for his hour long lunch break, in keeping with their established routine Judy always made sure there was a salad on the dining table waiting for him. Punch had made his feelings clear on this as he took his diet and fitness very seriously, just one of the examples being the five mile run he took every day after work meant he didn’t have an inch of fat on him. This being, if Judy was to be honest with herself, one of the reasons why she had felt an attraction to him so soon after a mutual friend had introduced them. As the shop closed at 6pm it meant that Punch would, almost as regular as clockwork, return home perhaps an hour afterward. While he was out Judy generally kept herself busy as there was usually something to occupy her attention. Indeed over the course of just over two years of living in...