Friday Fiction – Next train in 9 minutes


Village Station

Next train in 9 minutes

The train would be here very soon now and she would be on board.  Laura Pearl, the girl who I grew up with in school, and thinking about it now, I haven’t actually seen in over 35 years.

I’m waiting on this deserted station and I can’t believe just how nervous I am, or is it excitement? I’m really not sure. I haven’t felt quite like this since primary school.

It’s the same feeling I got when Laura, Peter and I would gather together at playtime and just be brimming with nervous excitable energy at being together.

I can remember us in the summer throwing freshly mown grass in the air. All at once I feel incredibly sad. Sad at the time that has passed; sad I can’t go back to that time, sad about Peter and what he had told me before he died.

She sent me a picture so I would recognise her coming off the train. It was hard to process the face in the picture. People often say; “You haven’t changed”, but she had. It wasn’t so much the features or that she had put weight on. It was the smile. In the photo she sent I couldn’t see that insane happiness that I saw every day when I was young. I looked at a photo I’d brought along of when all three of us were young. She was dressed as a Red Indian and Peter and I were dressed as cowboys. She was stood in the middle and had her arms round both of us. Her smile was so joyous, so infectious, actually all our smiles were. We were so happy. It started me smiling and chuckling to myself. I looked around feeling self-conscious, but it was still an empty platform.

Next train in 5 minutes

I’m starting to panic about how I should act when she arrives. Should I behave in a melancholy way out of respect of Peter? Or should I show how happy I was to see her? Would she misconstrue this as distasteful?
I miss Peter so much and I feel so guilty that things didn’t turn out as they should.

When we all moved to secondary school Laura started to find some other girls to hang out with. She would still hang out with me and Peter, but not as much as in primary school.  The longer we were apart the more me and Peter agreed we wanted her around. Then came the point when I told Peter how I was going to go out with her, and that I loved her.
I remember Peter smiling at this when I told him. Although thinking of that smile now, I can see it wasn’t real; it wasn’t even close to the one he wore in the photo I was holding. I think I was too wrapped up in myself to care. God, what a dickhead I was.

I often told her how I felt. She would just laugh at this, but in a way that made me laugh too. I know now the love I had wasn’t the love Peter had for her. She was one of my best friends and I couldn’t separate those feelings properly. She knew how to handle my outpourings of ‘love’ for her whilst keeping us friends.

Next train in 2 minutes

When she moved away from our village with her family to live in France I was sad, but Peter…. I remember Peter not coming out of his house on the weekends or after school for weeks. Even at school he seemed withdrawn, not his normal self.

I went on to love other women and even marry one, for a while anyway. Peter never did. I remember him dating women when we were younger, but I guess none of them ever lived up to Laura.

When he told me in his last days that our friendship meant so much to him that when we were younger he wouldn’t make a move for fear of hurting my feelings, I wept. I resolved to try and find her. I didn’t know if it would do any good, but I wanted her to see him again. I felt like I had cheated them out of true happiness.

My nephew showed me this social media thing and tracked her down, but not in time. I told her about Peter over a fucking email. What is wrong with me?

Next train due

So now here I am with all this guilt and happiness colliding, waiting to see her again.

I hear the screech of the train brakes and look up, it’s arrived.  Only one person is getting off the train, it has to be her right? Who else would want to visit this nowhere village that I never left?

It’s a woman but I can’t tell if it’s her. She looks so classy; she doesn’t fit in with the surroundings at all.

She’s seen me and is walking this way.

My face is blank and my hands are shaking.

Then I see that smile, and without even trying, I’m smiling too.

 

Friday Fiction – Cold Smile


Cold smile

It’s cold today. The ice on the windscreen didn’t want to melt on the drive in. I didn’t sleep, I look awful. My hands shook far too much this morning to even think about makeup. At least I’m here now. Maybe i should try smiling at people today, that could work?

I think it’s been three weeks now since it happened, and no one at work has said anything to me.

There’s been no; ‘Oh Sue, you’re looking a bit glum, how are you?’

Nor has there been any; ‘You’re looking pale Sue. One too many sherry’s was it?’

I hear my colleagues say this sort of thing to each other all the time, but not to me. I don’t even get the ruder stuff they say to each other, which they call “Good natured banter”.

To start with I wasn’t so bothered. I’ve always felt uncomfortable making small talk with colleagues. I’d never bonded with anyone at work apart from Denny. Oh my Denny, who was so easy to talk to. How could it be so easy with him, but so difficult with others? Ever since I spilled my coffee over him, the way he acted, the way he made me feel, and that smile he gave me, my heart melted on that smile like an exquisite ice sculpture being caressed. He was my soul mate from that moment forward.

I know I haven’t said anything to anyone about it, but you know how gossip is. Surely someone would have heard about it and told a few other people in the office.

Someone must know i exist. I mean I’m still getting work assigned to me. It’s very routine work. I do it automatically without thinking. I don’t need to think…..or want to. Not anymore.

Maybe they all do know and are afraid to say anything, I know I would be. It doesn’t stop me feeling alone though.

Denny used to tell me to try and stay true to myself. Not to bend to the will and personalities of the masses. Maybe that’s what i wanted to hear, but now he’s not around it seems like it wasn’t what i needed to hear. I need someone to see me.

The world feels somehow greyer since the accident, or maybe it was always like this and I’m just more conscious now.

I think about ending it all. Is this is what my life now amounts too now, if this is all I’ve got to look forward to.

Would Denny be like this if he had lived? Would he get on with his life if I had died?

I think what it would be like if I had died in that accident. Maybe I did?

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So i havn’t been blogging for a while, What the hell?! Well done Sudo one for continuing to poke me…..in a manner of speaking. Apologies if that story depressed the shit out of you, what a come back huh. And what a way to bring you down on a friday. Well Sudo One wrote the first paragrah to get me to think of some ideas and thats what i thought of. Next weeks attempt will be more up beat….i think.

Fiction, The Billingham Challenge: The Gap between the Willow trees


Sudo One loves a contest, so he set a challenge. A writing challenge. He writes an opening paragraph of a story for me to complete and I write a paragraph to start him off. He named it the Billingham challenge in honour of Mark Billingham the crime writer, who did the same thing for a competition in which I came second. You can see that effort here.

So here is my Short Story with Sudo one’s opener in brown. I’ve called it ‘The Gap between the Willow trees.’ Enjoy…

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The Gap between the Willow Trees – A Short Story by Gary Shaw (AKA the Resident Weebler)

The Willow Trees (Monet)

She waited with baited breath.

With any luck the groundwork had paid off. Tonight was the night it was all going to come to fruition, the stars in the inky night sky were, she hoped, aligned. She deserved it, didn’t she?

It was time... her time, Annie’s time.

Annie had been told about the creatures by Freda Percival, a long time resident of Hillfrome, her place of work, over two years earlier. At first she disregarded the stories as flights of fantasy, even madness. But after what had happened to Freda, what she’d seen with her own eyes, they must be able to do to her what they did to Freda.

Waiting in the woods, which surrounded the Hillfrome Estate, she watched the space between the twisted misshaped willow trees.  It had been a year ago today that Freda had gone missing from the home and Annie had found her here. A year ago today that the creatures had come through the gap in the trees and she had seen those black creatures crawl over Freda.

In her fifties now, Annie had regretted how her life had turned out. She had no real family to speak of. An only child, her parents passed on, she had no children, and the man and life she had always dreamed of had never arrived. She had so much love to give, and now nearing the autumn of her own life, only had the residents of Hillfrome to pour it on.

It was Freda that Annie had warmed to the most. The two ladies would often sit on the wooden bench at the rear of Hillfrome house on warm evenings, looking down on the vast wood that lay at the foot of the hill.  They talked of older, better times and how they both wished they were younger. Annie was reminded of her mother’s kindness as they spoke. So when Freda started to speak of magical creatures in the woods that could make them young again, she felt a terrible heartache. She remembered how her mother had started saying nonsensical things before her mind decayed, and how Annie had to look on as the mother she knew slowly disappeared. Read more of this post

‘Something’ – 2nd Place at the 2011 Reading Festival of Crime Writing


This is my entry in to this years Reading Festival of Crime Writing, Short Story Competition. My entry have won 2nd place! Yes! I am most happy with this.

The competition rules had a famous author write an original opening paragraph to a story. The challenge for all entrants was to write a crime story in 1,600 words using that paragraph as your opener.

Mark Billingham was this years famous author. Mark Billingham is most famous for his ‘Thorne’ detective novels, two of which were turned into a TV series on Sky1. Although Mark’s fame for me, will always remain in my childhood, when he play Gary the Norman in ‘Maid Marion and her Merry Men’. Ruddy loved that show.

My story was short listed from all the entries, and then the top three stories were chosen by Mark Billingham.  So with out further ado, here is my story. Enjoy.

Something – By Gary Shaw (A.K.A. The Resident Weebler)

They say that you always know when you meet the ‘one’.
You’ve seen it in countless films and read about it in books. There’s usually some combination of the mouth going dry, sweat breaking out, the heart thumping like a drum/thunder/the wings of a captured bird etc.
I’d always thought it was nonsense.
That was before he walked into the shop. Before the sweating, the dry mouth and – since you ask – a heartbeat that felt like a racing engine about to tear itself out of my chest.
Before I clapped eyes on the one I was meant to kill.

The bell on the door tinkled as he closed it behind him. The man who’d walked in was Read more of this post

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