Remember, Remember… (Short Story #6)

Guy Fawkes

“Retribution was indeed close now.”

To all who read this, this is a true and honest account of my crimes. These words are my own and no-one else’s. They are delivered free from any coercion or unjust means. For my actions, I accept due punishment for the actions I committed.

That night had been dark and gloomy, much more so than we had anticipated. We didn’t mind though, the darkness would suit the enlightening work we were to do that night.

We were here to make our mark upon history and upon those who had dared to look down on us.

‘The barrels! Quickly!’ I urged to the men that were following close behind.

‘We have good fortune with this weather, but it will not last forever…we must hasten!’

I ignored their grumblings and cursing and stole onward through the dark, eager to reach our destination. I felt for the men, they had not signed for such things.

I had filled their heads with promises of glory and a legacy that would last a thousand years, but right now they were now yearning simply for the feel of a busty maid and some cold ale.

We had been rushed into executing our plan tonight. Word of a treasonous scoundrel within our ranks had accelerated our plans much quicker than we had liked.

We had lacked the time to dwell on this and having still been blessed by a small window of opportunity, by the grace of god we intended to take it and complete his holy work.

I marched on ever quicker through the night, the steady pitter patter of the rain masking the footfalls of my heavy boots upon the pavement.

The ‘clunk’ as they hit the cobbles was barely a whisper in the night amidst the steady downpour,

The loud hoots and whistles of the distant religious cretins fell upon my ears like autumn leaves upon the ground.

Retribution was indeed close now.

Too long had my brethren and brothers in arms been the whipping boys for those in power. Tonight, they would find out who really had the upper hand.

I looked up; we had arrived at our destination.

After entering the shadowy clutches of the buildings embrace, I stole a moment for myself before the men behind caught up. I could hear the thud of the barrels slowly approaching and I knew that these would be the last easy breaths that I would take for quite some time.

‘In and out.’

‘In and out.’

I repeated this mantra to myself twice more as my breathing threatened to revolt against its more natural tendencies.

The ‘thud’ of the barrels had reached me and I looked up to be greeted by my sweating, soaked and rain-ridden men.

They looked scared, hesitant and downright miserable. I took this chance to reassure them.

“Gentlemen as you know, these barrels contain the makings of history. I implore you to remain true to our cause. You will not regret it.”

More grumblings and some feet shuffling greeted this.

I sighed, offered up a quick prayer to the almighty Lord and continued on speaking.

‘You… put that barrel over by the door! You, I want that one right behind it, ready to enter straight after it. It must be fast, and incisive…remember the punishment if we are caught here tonight.’

‘We are in the eyes of the law committing high treason at this very moment. For that the punishment is severe, we know this. If there is any such man here now that wishes to take no further part in this, speak up now.’

A long silence hung in the air as I finished.

Gaps started to appear in the huddled mass in front of me. The left side thinning first, then the right…soon, only seven of us remained. This was to be our group.

Seven.

Seven days in which the Lord created the earth.

Seven men charged with fulfilling his will.

Seven, who tonight would bring fire and hell upon you our enemies and right a wrong that had been a long time coming.

Seven barrels of gunpowder.

‘Let us go now so, down under the centre of their power. It will not be so powerful come the morn. No, they will never forget this night! They will remember the night of the 5th of November!’

I, Guy Fawkes then led my fellow conspirators and fellow traitors into the belly of your ‘House Of Lords’.

This has been my confession. I will write no more.

Let the Lord himself judge me, take me away and be done with it.

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VIDEO: UK Singer Kelly Premieres Music Video For ‘Miles To Tralee’ Song

Kelly Oliver 2

Kelly Oliver has seen the music video for her ‘Miles To Tralee’ premiere online.

A TALENTED UK singer and songwriter that recently penned a tribute song about her grandmother’s journey to England has now seen the music video for her song premiere online.

The London-based singer is the creative talent behind the song ‘Miles To Tralee’ which tells the tale of how her grandmother left her hometown of Tralee to go to England in order to find work and her desire to return home to Tralee and the land of her birth.

“The video is set in London, and shows me walking the streets, imagining the longing my grandmother might have felt to return to her home in Tralee once more,” said Kelly talking to Fergus Dennehy recently.

“I am very connected to my Irish roots, and feel very much a part of the culture when I visit Ireland. This is something I feel my grandmother has passed on to me,” said Kelly when talking to Fergus Dennehy recently.

“I am a contemporary folk singer influenced heavily by traditional Irish music and was inspired to write about her story because she has partly inspired my career as a folk singer. It makes me happy to think about her whenever I sing it, which is an element of the folk song tradition,” she finished.

‘Miles to Tralee’ will be officially released on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and Bandcamp on November 20 and will feature on Kelly’s second album which is set to be released in March 2016.

Check out the music video to Kelly’s ‘Miles To Tralee’ down below…

Inside, There Be Monsters… (Darren Truslove: Guest Post)

rsz_bully-19480766“Fairy tales do not tell children that monsters exist. Children already know that monsters exist. Fairy tales tell children that monsters can be defeated.”

You thought that monsters didn’t exist…but they do.

Everybody has the potential to be a monster.

It lives inside all of us, either hiding buried deep down in the shadows or indeed teetering on the very edge of escape.
No matter where it resides though, it is always waiting for its moment to be set free.

This particular monsters name was Richard ‘Rich’ McGrath and he had once been my closest friend.

For many years we had been as thick as thieves, always hanging around with one another down by the Spanish arch or the ‘Sparch’ as we liked to call it.

We’d spend countless hours/days/nights going on adrenaline and imagination filled adventures.

We were together every chance we got much to the dissatisfaction and worry of our poor mothers of course who would be unable to relax until our return each night.

This was largely due to the sheer number of skinned knees/elbows and the unfortunate incident of a broken bone or two we picked up along our travels.

However, the summer before we started our second year of secondary school it all just changed.

Rich hit a bit of a growth spurt and suddenly gone were the days of him being a short and awkward kid, he was now this near 6’2 giant of a man who could easily be mistaken for an 18-20 year old.

Along with the growth spurt came a sharp rise in popularity and the inevitable ego and bad attitude that comes with it. We slowly started to drift apart, so much so that by the time that school started again he had new ‘cooler’ group of friends and our friendship was but a mere distant memory.

Life went on as it always does after this; I went on and made new friends in some of the new school transfer kids while Rich grew closer and closer the ‘gruesome twosome’ that were Donnie and Max, people who seemed destined and intent on heading down the darkest path they could find in life.

Things came to a head one seemingly innocuous Wednesday when I was walking alone down an empty and gloomy hallway after a particularly intense guitar lesson in the band practice room.

I was strumming away on my air guitar when I noticed Rich and his friends sniggering as they headed into an empty classroom. Finding myself more than a little curious as to what they were up to, I inched quietly up to the now closed door and looked in the small square window.

At the back of the classroom stood Rich, with Donnie and Max standing at either side of him.

They were standing over another student who I didn’t recognize, Donnie and Max were seemingly edging Rich’ on to hit the student on the ground

From my vantage point, it was obvious former friend was undecided about what to do, there was hesitation in his movements and for a few brief moments, I harboured hopes that there might actually be a happy ending to the situation.

That hesitancy lasted only a moment however and once passed, he struck the unknown student in the stomach with two fierce kicks, this act bringing laughter to the group as he did so.

In that moment time seemed to slow down and I was left with a decision to make.

I could either decide to stay in the shadows and do absolutely nothing to help this person, who I didn’t know and who was in trouble or I could step out and face the ‘monster’ that now was my old comrade Rich’.

I chose the latter and entered the room not knowing what I was going to do when I was in there, just that I knew it was right.
My heart was beating wildly in my chest as I shouted ‘Hey! What do you think you’re doing Rich?’

The three stooges turned their attention to me instead, giving the felled student time to slip out the side door. As he left the room he gave me a quick nod of thanks and then he was gone.

While I was glad of his escape, I was now faced with the prospect of getting a kick in the stomach myself.

It came quicker than I expected, but it didn’t knock me and I decided there and then that I wasn’t going to run away and give them the satisfaction of an easy victory, I was going to stand and fight.

A brief attempt at reasoning with my former friend came nothing so I bravely took a swipe at him, thinking it was my only option. My half effort missed however and I was rewarded with another cheap shot in the back and I soon found myself on the ground feeling quite dazed as I waited for the final blow.

My saving grace however came in the form of passing teacher which resulted in my opponents quickly leaving the room via the side door.

As Rich’ was leaving he pointed his finger at me and warned me not to say a word to anyone.
Once I’d dusted myself off, I got up and left the room a little bruised but okay enough to go on for the rest of the day.

This was the first time I had been faced with the monster that was now residing within my former friend and I was admittedly a little scared at what he’d become.

I wasn’t going to leave it go though, I wouldn’t run into the shadows to hide, if something like this ever happened again, I would be ready.

So it began that over the next few weeks or so I set about coming up with some sort of a plan that I could use to stop Rich’, Donnie and Max from bullying or tormenting anybody else in the school.

There was one slight problem with this however.

Rich’ was not only a ‘Grade A’ student, he was also the the youngest ever member of the senior basketball team and was well liked by most teachers in the school.

Obviously, the people that he bullied had a very different view of him, but they were far too intimidated to speak up for themselves.

Continuing my detective work, I went around the school to talk to some of these bullied students to see if they could help me come up with any ideas about how I could put a stop all this.

Alas, all I got from them was their own wish for physical revenge on him for the humiliation he had put them through.
I explained to them that while I was going to stop Rich’ and his ‘wonder twins’ from bullying anyone else in the future, I wasn’t about to become a monster myself to do it.

With the avenues of options seemingly being closed off around me, I decided to take a different tactic.

Over the few weeks I started to make little observations on Rich’ and his daily life within the school. I noted at how he played the ‘good polite boy’ card in the presence of adults, there was nothing new here. I did however notice how he seemed to act particularly good this one girl who he seemed to like.

To me, she seemed to be a sweet type and pretty down to earth aswell. She certainly didn’t really look like the type of girl who would put up with a person that bullied others.

I’d found my way in.

It was simple enough really, all I had to do to stop Rich’ and his cronies was to make him and them believe that there was a chance that I could damage their popularity if he continued to do what he was doing to others.

I set a Friday as my target date, Rich’ would be busy at basketball practice for most of the day which gave me plenty of time to get what I needed to do done.

The first thing I had to do was to carefully put a letter into Rich’s locker (he uses the same four numbers for everything) telling him to meet me in one of the study labs.

The second thing I would have to do before everyone started filling into school was to get into the study room where I’d arranged to meet him and plant a camera. This would record the events of the exchange between me and the gang.

To do this I had to enlist the help of Tom from the A.V club, who along with having access to recording equipment and the keys for the room, was also the person that I helped get away from Rich and the ‘Dumb-believable duo’ those few weeks back.

Once everything was in place all I could do was to go on as normal with my day until the time came to go to the room.
At one or two points over the morning between classes I could tell that Rich was watching me, trying to figure out what I was at but he kept his distance, unlike his two minions who on two occasions throughout the day shoved me against a locker.

About ten minutes before lunch I gave my teacher my permission slip that stated that I could leave her class a few minutes early.

Once I had left the class I hurried over to the study room where Tom was waiting to give me the recorder control. He told me that he would be on the other end of the feed making copies of what was about to happen.
I told him that if this was going to work as I had planned, then the recording couldn’t go further than us unless I said otherwise.

He assured me that it wouldn’t and that I had his word.

After Tom left, it wasn’t long before Rich’, Donnie and Max came into the room, clearly annoyed at my ‘request’ and looking for some answers.

Before I could say anything to anyone, I was shoved to the floor by Donnie and kicked repeatedly in the gut before being grabbed by the collar and pushed rather unceremoniously up against the wall by Max.

The pain in my abdomen was excruciating as I steadied myself, I may have had a broken rib or two, but I was determined to not be cowed and so I gritted my teeth against the pain and stood tall against the trio.

Rich had stood by the door watching as the ‘action’ took place, I could see that he was still trying to figure out what I was up to, even now.

With all of this playing on his mind he walked across the room and thrust his rather large fist straight into my abdomen again, causing me to double over in a howl of pain.

“You think you’re being funny…threatening us that you’re going to tell someone about all this! Well, you don’t have the balls to do it and even if you did…who would believe you anyway!”

Ignoring his cockiness, I asked Rich how it had come to this, how he had let himself go so much in such a short space of time.

He eloquently responded by dealing me another punch, and then another.

By this point, I was pretty much beaten, I was almost on my knees with the pain but putting everything I had into staying on my feet.

“Stop, please,” I croaked.

Thinking he had won, they all continued to laugh at the discomfort I was in.

While they were laughing, I slowly got myself together and stood up straight to look Rich’ dead in the eyes and told him all about the little camera that I had recording all of this.

A big grin spread uncontrollably across my face when he heard this.

I pointed out the camera facing at us and all I could think of saying in that moment was “Smile for the camera boys!”

The look of disbelief on their face was priceless, but this soon quickly turned to anger and once again I found myself shoved back up against the wall for my trouble.

Before they had the chance to hit me again though, I said I would make a deal with them.

I told them that if they promised to never bully anyone ever again in any way shape or form and promised to apologise to those students that they had bullied, then I wouldn’t send the video to every single person in the school, including the teachers.

It was then that I saw an anger in Rich’s eyes that I had never seen before and I’m pretty sure he really wanted to hurt me at this point, but I also saw that he knew I was serious about the recording and what I would do with it.

I told them that I was willing to give them a chance to right the wrongs they’d committed and not let the ‘monster’ within them take over fully.

“Why…why are you even giving us this chance?” he asked in a surprisingly quiet voice.

“Everyone deserves a second chance,” I said, looking at him sadly. “Even the worst of us,” I finished before slowly closing the door behind me as I left, wincing with pain as I walked.

Over the next few weeks, I was glad to hear that on more than one occasion that Rich’ and Donnie had started to apologise to all those that they had bullied and were slowly attempting to make amends for what they had done.

Max though, he didn’t attempt anything like this and he alone stayed in the darkness and let his monsters win. Luckily, one of his victims came forward and made an official complaint.

Max was expelled two days later.

I guess not everyone can be saved from themselves…

Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too, they live inside us and sometimes, they win – Steven King.

Now & Forever (Short Story #5)

She is tired now.

There can be no respite.

Her arms are like lead and hold her against the concrete with sumptuous force.

Her eyes blink slowly back at the stars above her, her fingers curled towards the darkness.

Time for her is non-existent now.

There is no beyond this place.

No roommate or friends laughing anxiously as they tell each other to stop worrying about her.

No parents sat at home, pacing in denial, waiting for the sound of the door opening and her cheery voice.

Her mobile phone in her bag, with nine missed calls, and halfway through the tenth.

These things don’t matter to her now, nor will they matter again.

She cannot think anymore.

She is this way…

Now & forever.

Jeff (Short Story #4)

dont-be-that-guy

“Don’t be Jeff”

Once upon a time, there was a boy.

His name was Jeff, say ‘Hi Jeff’,

Hi Jeff’ said Jeff.

Oh Jeff.

Now Jeff liked a girl, Her name was Lucy.

Lucy didn’t know Jeff though and Jeff was sad.

So Jeff decides to follow her, Jeff is weird.

He follows her out, to work, on twitter.

‘Twitter is weird’ thought Jeff, he left Twitter.

So far…

Jeff likes Lucy, Lucy doesn’t know Jeff,

Jeff is weird…

He hates twitter.

Follow? Good.

Next…

Jeff talks to Lucy, Lucy talks to Jeff.

Lucy likes Jeff, they go out.

Jeff is happy.

Lucy goes to college, Jeff is sad.

Lucy breaks up with Jeff.

Jeff is mad,

Jeff kills Lucy,

Lucy is dead.

Jeff is in jail.

Moral: Don’t be Jeff. 

A Dying Gift (Short Story #3)

Bloody Gun

“He looked every bit the conquering hero that he’d always dreamed of being…”

The gun slipped from his blood-stained hand and clattered to the cavern floor.

Unsteady on his feet, his boots kicked up dust as he steadied himself. His shirt was soaking through with blood from the wound in his side. All he could do was stare dead ahead at the man he’d just killed. His eyes never wavered from the spot. He looked every bit the conquering hero that he’d always dreamed of being…

I made my way over through the rubble from the battle just as his feet gave way. I caught him mid-fall and laid him gently against the rocky wall.

I don’t know if he knew I was there…his eyes had the look of someone who was very far away. It didn’t matter though, no words needed to be spoken then. I was content to sit in silence and just be…

I sat with him until he left, holding his hand as tight as I could. I watched as his final breath caught in his throat and sat so long after that it became a distant memory. I watched his far away eyes take off for greener pastures…and as his soul departed, his body was finally free of the terrible burdens he’d placed upon himself.

I bade goodbye to him soon after, to the man who’d saved my life.

Hide & Seek | Flash Fiction #2

rsz_flickr_-_e280a6trialsanderrors_-_stanley_kubrick_commuters_in_train_station_chicago_19491

“The hairs the back of my neck were unwillingly standing straight to attention right about now, as my ears pricked the darkness, desperately searching for an indication of my mystery guests whereabouts.”

Have you ever tried climbing a six foot high metal fence?

It’s bloody difficult at the best of times, but when you’re right dab in the middle of being chased AND you’re wearing heels?!

Well, that’s just downright unpleasant.

I’m going to be straight with you, so here’s the rub. Some some very bad men are after me because they may be of the opinion that I stole something belonging to them, which of course I DID, but only for a very good reason, I might add.

You know, the whole fate of the universe and all that?

Pretty big deal, right?

Exactly, less of the judgment.

Anyway, where was I? Oh right, getting chased.

I rounded the corner as fast as I could ripping the cursed heels off my feet as I went, my heart threatening to smash through my chest.

Focus woman, focus, you’re not out of the woods yet, I muttered to myself angrily.

The sounds of my pursuers had died away into the distance, but I knew that it wouldn’t be long before they found a way in. They were determined little buggers like that.

The train station that I had so graciously clambered into was eerily deserted this late at night, the hulking bodies of the carriages lay still in the darkness, each offering a thousand different hiding places for those of sinister intentions.

I had slowed to a snails pace now, my bare feet cold against the concrete, gratefully offering me the stealth I so badly needed right about now.

The silence stood strong all around me, the creaking and groaning metal of the sleeping beasts the only sound capable of piercing its armor.

A movement in the corner of my eye caught my attention, whirling around; I adopted a fighting stance ready to attack…

Nothing.

‘Keep it together’ I thought.

‘Focus. This is how they get you,’

Right then, another movement, this time, a shadow passing across the puddle of moonlight behind me.

Throwing myself forward, I rolled and turned, quickly unsheathing the two knives I had concealed on my thighs, ready to kick some serious ass.

Again though, nothing.

Only the long dark stretch of tendril like railway track reaching out into the distance, searching for its destination.

‘Fuck this’ I thought, I don’t like being played with. 

The hairs the back of my neck were standing straight to attention right, as my ears pricked the darkness, desperately searching for an indication of my mystery guests whereabouts.

The lights of what I knew to be a diner could be seen in the distance; if I could somehow reach that, I knew I might have some chance of getting myself out of this shambles of a situation.

I’m ever the optimist really.

Murphy’s law was not going to let me off this easily however, as before my thoughts even had a chance to catch their breath, there they were. Marching slowly and ominously down the platform towards me, their usual knee length grey trench coats billowing softly behind them.

Dressed in their  which covered their usual immaculately pressed suits, their faces, as always, obscured by their dark balaclava masks.

They approached me from all sides, seemingly gliding out from every dark, dank crevice of the station, their snarling growls muffled by their facial mask.

The hunt was over; this fight was just about to kick off.

With a wry grin, I readied myself. If they wanted to tango, I’d certainly give them their moneys worth, drawing my knives again as the first of the creatures launched themselves at me.

Didn’t they ever learn?