Scary Visions – Part 3

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Hey there 🙂

How are we at Wednesday already?!  Wrote this pretty late tonight as Youngest has been off all day with more rashy type stuff, and Hubby has been at work…so I’ve done less walking than a full school/nursery run, but more than I have since Friday (and pushing a grumpy 4.5 year old in a buggy the whole time) because the kids were off ill on Monday, too! Gotta love the winter viruses: you just think they’re better and some other random symptom pops up…

I think my subconscious has been whipping up wisps, rather than going at this week’s story in a linear fashion, so I reckon a lot of what I have written since Monday will be scrapped, or at the very least rehashed into the story I finish with.  I like the character name I have (which Hubby gave me when I was struggling in the last few seconds of Monday’s scribblefest!) but I have lots of swirly ideas and plots in my skull…

I am trying to trust the process, it’s all part of growing into the writer I was born to be.  She doesn’t like rules very much, it would seem 😛

 

Marylin often thought back to how her mother scolded her, realising now the fears the older woman was trying to supress.  Hearing in the echoes of motherly admonishment the harsh truths that were being battled against, Marylin felt ashamed of her flippant remarks, or (worse) outright defiance.  She could not remember her mother having many friends that stopped by, and certainly none she could definitely rely on, to leave her precious charge with.  roses around the door

Maternity was bound up in fragrant sheets, gingham aprons and well-scrubbed pans of comforting food, in Marylin’s mind.  It was an ideal she aspired to, but was always struggling to attain.  There was never the right odour to her bedclothes, and her kitchen did not shimmer in the morning sun.  Healthy plants did not festoon Marylin’s windows, no roses peeped in at her doors.

The family cat preferred to dine at the neighbours’ and the coffee mornings she hosted never seemed to get past the stilted stage.  One never knew how much was enough, when one’s spotlight was truly at rest. 

Or when a critical review might ruin one’s whole week…

(184 words)

 

 

 

[Pic is from here]

 

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Scary Visions – Part 2

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Hello 🙂

Hubby took Youngest on the nursery woodwalk today, and I wandered home – after waving Eldest into his classroom and being let into the nursery quickly, even though the bell had rung, so I could hug Youngest goodbye a second time 😉

The sun was out, cheering yet blinding at its late November height.  I was thinking of my story, and about who would be most prone to scary visions or nightmares.  Write what you know came into my head.

I do think in disastrous newspaper headlines a lot.

I got home, and folded clothes watching a Miss Marple episode on YouTube that had the fierce protective streak of mothers as one of the central themes.  Later, when eating lunch with Hubby, these statistics about the mental health of women after having children were featured on the news.

The universe had spoken…

From the other side, motherhood was more frightening than any dream.  One grew cloven feet just trying to sort out laundry; familiar landscapes could all at once become claustrophobic and fraught with danger.baby on the washing line

Sometimes there was no safehouse, others everything seemed so perfect one entertained the nagging feeling a door would burst open and the grim reaper himself appear; to cut down all those one cared about with abandon.

But one survivor, alone to bear the sole responsibility of remorse and memory – a bereft mother sifting through happy faces in a merry-go-round of pain, trying to see which sign she missed.  Confirm that their fate was indeed her fault.

Yet all this morbid musing must be pushed aside!  A long succession of joy built up; cherished, carefully planned and implemented.  They must not know how double-edged a mother’s love can be.  They must not guess how many hours she sat there praying that she may trade [her] longevity for their continued happiness.

This is too great a burden, too onerous a knowledge to impart.

(173 words)

 

 

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Scary Visions – Part 1

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Hello 🙂

I have a new title and theme, provided by Sandy!

*Monty does a happy dance*

Ideas about what I could do with “Scary Visions” and ‘Nightmares’ have been crowding my head for a day and a half now, but I have no concrete plan as yet!

I just set the timer and wrote for 20 minutes, and this is what I came up with:

 

She was trying to cool her coffee, but the fire came back again.  Her gums ripped with the expanding fangs, and her black shoes changed into hooves.hooves

There was no longer a café; the beverage had begun to stink of copper.  Somewhere, a woman screamed…about toast going cold.  It was urgent: chilled toast was outlawed in the kingdom of Breaking Fasts.

(What?)

Yes!  There was to be a meeting at the town hall, because apparently someone had found schoolbags growing legs and skulking under furniture; awaiting their chance to bite unsuspecting ankles and spit impossible homework across freshly cleaned floors.

As she looked down at her hands, she realised they had also metamorphosised into giant claws that dropped balls at every opportunity because they never learned about discipline.  The only thing they were good for now was painting with stolen varnish in a fetching shade of…

“So have you READ it?”

“What…?”

“The part of my contract that says I have to put up with your slovenly ways and sense of entitlement!  Why the devil do I bother?!”

“No idea…” said Marilyn, stumbling out of bed and away from her mother’s wrath.

(192 words)

 

Nope, still no real clue…

 

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Shallow Graves – Final Edit

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Hey there, readers!

I got to bed sometime after 3am, after making poor hubby stay up to read the end (to make sure I was doing the story justice, and not compromising through exhaustion) and then (after Hubby had gratefully fallen asleep) obsessively re-reading the whole thing a few times for about an hour, cos I’d spent all week with it and I was already missing the characters… 😉

I hope you forgive the fact that it somehow blossomed into a 20-page saga.  I have been assured it moves along quickly enough by Hubby.  He didn’t grudge me my enthusiasm for his first read-through.

I am crossing my fingers that the link below works for you all…be sure to message me on my Facebook or Twitter page if it fails, and I will get a copy of the PDF to you somehow!

Shallow_Graves_in_entirety_-_full_edited_secure

 

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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

 

Shallow Graves – Part 6

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Hello!!

I am still hard at work, trying to finish this crazy story!  I am getting near the final ‘scene’ and have written over 3 thousand words today, but I am not quite there yet…

I thought I would put a longer piece up to show that I have actually got something to show for my scribbled plans and tippy-tappy fingers, so here is part six!!

I will get the finished version up tomorrow, probably in PDF form, if it loads properly…but I will finish this story, at least in unedited form, before I go to bed!!! Argh!

 

I could see she’d been crying.  I never know what to say when women get all sappy, so I blurted out:  “I’m sorry, mum.  You’ve had it rough these past few weeks and I wish I could sort it for you”

She started properly crying then.  The big heaving kind of movie stuff.  I wondered whether to just leave her to her potatoes and make a quick getaway.

“Have you seen that two little kids found that girl?” she wailed.

“What girl?”

“Hailey.  The pretty blonde that was missing; just 4 years older than Mona.”

“Oh.  No, I hadn’t”

“Well they did.  At Mook Beach where we used to take you.  Remember?  Mona used to call it ‘Moon Beam’ after one of her My Little Ponies.”  Mum sniffed and wiped her nose right up her sleeve.  It was impressively disgusting for a woman who has nagged me all my life about that sort of thing.  I was glad she was going to be boiling those spuds before I had to eat them.  “Buried in a sand dune” she went on  “The poor kids will need counselling for the rest of their lives…you two used to love it there, and I always felt it was so safe…”

“Jeez”  I said, not quite sure where this was going.

Mum spun to face me properly.  “I questioned that silly little bitch Kelly!”  I didn’t like the way she was holding the vegetable knife.  “got her to finally tell me where Mona is.”

“Did she?!  Great!” I smiled, but soon figured out that this was not the right response.

Mum dived across to the kitchen table and threw the paper at me “Great?! GREAT?!  I’m worrying FOR A WHOLE WEEK that my daughter’s been murdered by some serial killer and  her mother wasn’t there to save her; then I find out she just swanned off somewhere?!  She going to WISH someone had finished her off when I get a hold of her!”

****************************

Fiona was right, I wasn’t supposed to be there and it did make me look extra-suspicious, I suppose, but I just… 

Fiona sat down beside me and told me she’d handed the tie into the police, asked them numerous (probably annoying) questions and done a few other things I wasn’t really listening to.  I was wearing my sunglasses, but I was sure she could see I’d been crying, because she fell blissfully silent after a while and just stared out over the field beyond Hailey’s garden with me.

We could hear the stream that ran just behind the garden fence and the bees in the lavender.  I really should have been doing something a lot more cheerful with my Tuesday off, and I definitely should have been steering well clear of Miss Unpredictable to my left. 

As if she could read my thoughts, Fiona said:  “Jeffrey…I just wanted to say I’m sorry about the other day.”

“Forget it”  I said, hoping to just hear water babbling again.

“I can’t!  I accused you of MURDER Jeffrey.  That was very wrong of me”

“You’ve apologised now though, so let’s just move on”

Fiona sighed.  “Look, it’s a lovely day – why don’t I take you out for lunch to make up for it?  I realise now that you were a gentleman with Hailey, but obviously cared about her very much.  You’re a good guy.  I feel terrible.”

I sighed again “there’s really no need.  But if it will put your mind at ease…” I hadn’t eaten much in the last two weeks, and the peace I usually found in Hailey’s garden was gone anyway.  Maybe if I had lunch with Fiona she’d leave me alone?  It was certainly worth a try.

 

Fiona picked a nice little cafe in the next town.  Apparently she and Hailey had gone there when Fiona had been between jobs and visiting for a few days. 

“I never saw you at Hailey’s,” I said.

“Yeah, we didn’t really get on as kids.  I stayed in a B&B instead of at Hailey’s.  Didn’t want her neighbours banging on the door wondering what all the noise was about at 3am after one of us had had a skinful and picked a fight!” Fiona slowly stirred her coffee, intently watching the spoon go round.  I imagine she was regretting that she wasn’t close with her only sister.

“Your mum must have loved separating you both!  Did she have to use the hose?  I was a bit like that with one of my brothers.  He’s very respectable now though, has well-behaved kids and everything…”  I stopped, suddenly thinking that may not have been a very tactful thing for me to have said. “Anyway, the menu looks good.”

“Yes,” smiled Fiona “can I recommend the club sandwich?  Oh, good lord…!”

I followed Fiona’s stare across the road to where a woman in her late forties was dragging another woman, who appeared to be in her late teens, down the front steps of the town hall.  By her hair.

 

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Shallow Graves – Part 5

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Hi 🙂

I’m just going to leave this here quickly as it is so late, and plan to tussle with the rest of the story tomorrow afternoon after the boys have had their haircuts (or in the early hours when a great idea grips me, whichever comes first!!)

Hope you enjoy it!

 

Dad was waiting for me at the back of the bus stop on Monday morning.  I nearly jumped out of my skin.

“Psssst!” he said, like we were in a novel or something.  I almost didn’t recognise him, on account of the beard.

“Whoa!  Why are you skulking about like some tramp?  You nearly gave me a heart attack!!”

“Watch your mouth!”

“Sorry!” I grumbled “Just wasn’t expecting to see you!”bus stop

“Yeah, well…don’t tell your mother”

“Why not?!  She’s in a state.  Do you know Mona’s missing?”

“What do you mean ‘missing’?”

“You know.  Missing. Gone.  Up and left without saying goodbye…”

“Watch your mouth!”

“Sorry…”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Dad asked, actually looking like it bothered him.

“Em…you’ve been ignoring your phone?”

“Oh.  Well.  I lost it” he said.

“Lost it?!”

“Yeah, lost it!  It happens…”

Why did I have to be so closely related to such a jerk…? 

“Ok…”

Dad looked like he wanted to hit me, so I put some distance between us.  “You alright Dad?  You look awful” he gave me a look glare, and I resisted the urge to duck.  “Well you do.  Just sayin’”

“I’m fine”

“Okaaaay”

“So where is Mona?  Did she say anything?  Is she with a friend?”

“No. Dad, we don’t know where she is.”

“Oh.  Well…”  he looked about, as if someone was about to jump out of the bushes or something.  “Well, let me know if she turns up”

“How?!  Wear a red rose and meet you in a bloody café?!  God, Dad.  Just come home and comfort mum a bit.  Whatever trouble you’re in she’ll help you sort it out…”

“I’ll…I’ll be in touch” he said, and looked around him in that shifty way again.  “Here’s your bus.  Look after your mum.  I love you, son.”

And he hurried away.

I almost fell under the bus wheels in shock.  Since when did Dad succumb to ‘Parental Feeling’?  He must be in the poop up to his eyeballs this time.

 

I didn’t mention Dad’s visit to mum, and apparently we’d gone a whole week now with no word from Mona.  What the hell was going on in our family?!

“Mum…”

“Yes??”  she was savagely peeling potatoes and muttering to herself about the price of vegetables these days.

“Are you…ok?”

She just sighed and looked at the ceiling dramatically.  “Would you STOP asking me that?! What have I to be ‘ok’ about??”

“I’m still here…?”  I tried.

She just threw me a look.

(413 words)

 

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Shallow Graves – Part 4

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Hey there 🙂

As I hinted (!) on my Facebook page, this story is growing away from me.  It is not being entirely faithful to the (secret) plan I set out for myself on Sunday, nor is it likely to stick to the letter of the rules from my new challenge post!

A character has wandered into the story that I didn’t know needed to be there, and I now have a few different ideas whirling around my head about how to end the piece!

This always happens, dammit!  Characters take over, storylines evolve, I get no sleep… The difference here is that I promised someone I would finish this, and people are watching.  I have no time to get scared and shelve the project!  What fun 😉

 

It is a lot harder than one would think to wrestle a book off a determined woman without hurting her.  They don’t teach you that sort of thing in an all boys’ school.  Fiona had relented eventually, however, and we’d moved on to something stronger than tea to settle our nerves a bit.  She was still glaring at me, though.

“So your name’s not Paul?  You’re sure?” she said

I took out my driving licence and tossed it at her.

“I’m sure”

At least she had the decency to go red, but no apology followed.woman looking over glasses

“So, this Paul,” I said, to try and stop her coming up with more suspicious outbursts; “he helped her move in, too?”

“What…?”

“You said…”

“Oh yeah… No, he met her shopping and then followed her home a few days later”

“Oh…”

“Said he lived ‘round here”

“Oh.  So you thought…”

“Well, you identified her body!”

“It was me who reported her missing”

“Oh.”  She played with the tassel on my couch cushion.

“Yeah.”  I sighed.

“Isn’t it supposed to be family that does that?”

“They couldn’t find you, and they wanted to know who she was quickly, or something, and I volunteered… I’m sorry.”

“I move around a lot.  We weren’t close.  Do you mind if I smoke?”

“Yes.”  I frowned.

“Outside?”

“I’d like to get on, actually.  I have papers to mark”

“You’re a teacher?”

“Lecturer”

“Oh.  Well.  I’m sorry I bothered you.”

 

Tries to knock me out with part of my own library and calls it ‘bothering’ me!  Maybe Hailey was the smarter one, after all…

 

(264 words)

 

Loose ends…so many loose ends…

 

[Pic is from here]

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Copyright © 2017  Montaffera All Rights Reserved
Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Shallow Graves – Part 3

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Hi!!

 

Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

And on to the third instalment…

 

Fiona wasn’t as good-looking as her sister, but she was definitely the clever one.  It wasn’t just the glasses and the less confident manner.  I just got the impression she was taking everything in.  Sizing my life up.  I tried not to act nervous.

“So…you’ve been in Hailey’s house, then?  Did they leave a mess in there?  Hailey always liked everything so clean.”

“Yes, she did.  Never understood why.  We weren’t brought up like that” Fiona tried for a smile, but she still couldn’t look at me for long.  “Did you know her well?”

“I met her when she moved in about 5 years ago.  Her removal men were being rough with her ‘sound system’.  I went over to see if I could help.”

“That’s not how she told it” Fiona suddenly looked at me, and I didn’t like what that look said…

“Pardon?!”books on a table

“You were harassing her, weren’t you?”

“No!”

“Yes you were, she told me! Gifts and offers of nights out and…”

“Fiona! Calm down!”

“You killed her!”

“WHAT?!”

“You KILLED her!  And I have proof, you bastard.  I found your tie in her room!”

“Eh?!”

“Yes, your tie.  You STRANGLED her, didn’t you?” She suddenly grabbed a coffee table book on art, and waved it above her head like a mad woman.

“No I did NOT!  Fiona, you need to sit down! Jesus woman!  You’re going to bloody…PUT THE BOOK DOWN!!!”

(234 words)

 

‘Til tomorrow, dear friends…

 

[Pic is from here]

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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Shallow Graves – Part 2

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Hiya 🙂

 

I’ve written the next 20 minute bit of my rolling story!  (if you missed Part 1, you’ll find it here). 

Hope you enjoy it!

 

Fashion she calls it.  It’s just an excuse to be a real poser, get her cronies to take lots of shots of her with their posh camera – and for her to get out of eating mum’s crappy dinners.

“Jack!”

“Yeah…?”

“Come down here, I want to ask you something!”

“Okaaaay…!”  Mum has not got off my case since Mona went missing.  She’s doing my head in. “What?!”

“Are these yours…??” she’s holding up Mona’s cigarettes.

“No!  They’re Moaner’s!”closeup of a denim jacket

“Stop calling her that, Jack! And you know she doesn’t smoke.  Why are you being such a little shit about all of this?”

“She does! ‘Appetite suppressant’, she says.  C’mon, do I look like someone who’d smoke bloody menthols?!”

Mum sighed and sat down on the bottom step.  “What the hell would I know; I’m only your mother.”  To my surprise, she took out a fag and lit up.  Right there in the hall.  I’ve never seen her smoke before.  “I suppose you’d not use this poncy lighter, anyway…”

“Where’d you find them?”

“In your denim jacket!”

“She’s such a bitch! Why’d she do that?!  Dad would murder me if he’d seen them!”  Mum blew a smoke ring, like some bloody professional, followed by another sigh.  “You ok, Mum?”

She snorted. “Do I look it?”

I made her budge up a bit, and put my arm around her “Have you heard from Dad?”

“No,” a tear rolled down her cheek “the tosser.  When are you leaving?”

“Eh…?”

“Well…it’s a pact, isn’t it?  I’m just wondering, so I don’t get too many messages in tomorrow.  Wouldn’t want to waste money, or anything.”

“I’m staying put” I said “unless you keep nagging me so much: then I’ll move to Gran’s.  They’ll turn up, Mum.  They always do.”

She snorted again, “Yeah… Do you want that stew or will I just call the Chinese again?”

 

Guess which one I went for…?

 

(316 words)

 

I think I have a tense out of place, but I get to edit on Saturday…

Catch you tomorrow 😉

 

P.S. messages = groceries and errands 😉

[Pic is from here]

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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Shallow Graves – Part 1

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Hello!

I posted up my new Facebook Fiction challenge at the weekend (here) and spent a bit of time last night planning where I would go with a title of “Shallow Graves” and a theme of ‘Revenge’ – both suggested by Jennifer (who is a writer herself, check out her blog here.  I love her work!)

Coincidentally, I was tapping around YouTube on Saturday morning, and found this channel while searching for documentaries about female authors I admire.  How did I miss that the BBC had made a series from Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie novels?!  I have watched six episodes to date, so feel somewhat primed to tackle an extended story in this vein 😉

Below is my first 20 minute instalment:

 

She still looked beautiful, even on a cold slab.  I nodded to the guy and signed the form.  He looked almost disappointed that I hadn’t had to use the bucket he’d indicated.  I’ve always had a strong stomach, however.

Her house looked sad as I pulled into my driveway.  None of those naff tacky fairy lights on, the curtains uncharacteristically closed.  She’d liked living in a goldfish bowl.  Ironic, seeing the way she died.  I wondered what mess the police had made of her IKEA furniture with their fingerprint powder; whether those stupidly ludicrously pristine and springy carpets had boot marks on them now.  Had they all worn those blue protective plastic things?  I’m sure some of the big-wigs tramped in without them.  Well.  You get off with things when you’re battle scarred, I suppose.

******************

I kind of miss her.  Yeah, she’s a pain in the arse and I don’t like being slagged off every day, but it’s too quiet without her.  I even miss that stupid perfume she wears.

I wish her bimbo friends would just tell mum where she’s gone!  She must have told one of them at least.  They were never off the bloody phone, and she never left it here, so she must have been in touch with them?

It’s probably all some stupid thing they thought of to get publicity for her blog, or something…

(226 words)

 

I’ll be back tomorrow with Part 2! 😛

 

[Pic is from here]

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Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!