Although he went to a school for boys, all he thought about was the girls.
The girls fancied Danny. They would say, “Oh boy, he’s cute!”
He wanted their company but they pushed him away.
The boys couldn’t understand why he didn’t want to become one of the boys.
They pushed him away.
Each night Danny’s Mum put her little boy to bed.
“Goodnight darling Danny”
Then one night, he said, “I’d rather be Danielle.”
She replied softly, “I know darling; I know.”
Danielle was a beautiful girl.
Yay! A chance click in my browser led me back to Literary Lion to discover that it has become a monthly challenge. I’m so happy because I have a strong link to the challenge as it was one of the first challenges I undertook last year.
So naturally I’ve put it back into my calendar.
This month, then, I’m two weeks late so I’m sorry for the late entry.
Hurrah it’s Literary Lion time once again and this weeks theme is Gambling!
My tale this week is darker than usual so be warned.
Alice took a step back and surveyed her handiwork.
Stuart was naked and strung up by the wrists, restrained by a long length of strong red cord, that crisscrossed his body in an elaborate pattern.
The cord passed through the ring of a thick red leather collar and was attached to a pulley that dangled from the steel girder above. The tight collar was locked into place with a heavy padlock.
He was suspended, his toes just making contact with the cold concrete floor. Any attempt to move or change his position would increase the pressure around his neck.
Perfect, she thought.
Stuart came around slowly from the drug she had administered, and stared with wild watery eyes, trying to speak but managing only mumbled sounds. A steady stream of saliva drooled from the corners of his mouth.
She slowly approached her mouth to his ear and gently nibbled the earlobe.
“Shhhh … there there …”, she murmured; like a mother to a crying baby.
“Don’t fret; relax; … let go.”
She kissed two fingers of her right hand then softly caressed his cheek before passing behind him and out of view.
Positioning her knee in the small of his back she seized him around the shoulders pulling him back towards her with great force. Feeling his bones crunch as one shoulder blade slowly and painfully approached the other, she laughed as his screams echoed vainly in the abandoned warehouse.
“Worthless piece of shit!” she bellowed.
“Pea-brained imbecile!” she howled as she threw him forwards, relishing the strange throttled sounds coming from his crushed vocal chords.
She pulled a knife from her belt and turning around and around, stabbed him randomly on his arms, belly and thighs; pulling blood but making sure his wounds weren’t too deep.
She wasn’t finished with him yet.
Extracting her mobile she pressed play on the last voicemail and held it to his ear.
Stuart heard his own sneering voice.
“So, I owe 500K. You’ll just have to wait, bitch. I’ll wager you’ve not got the guts to …”
She stopped the recording and stepped back fixing his gaze with hers.
When she spoke her voice rolled over her tongue like acid, “You’re my bitch now, Stuart, and I wouldn’t speculate on this ending well if I were you.”
Literary Lion is a fortnightly writing challenge organised by Laura Gabrielle Feasey. This time it is around 400 words with the prompt : Edge.
After a quick pint in the World’s End Pub I crossed the road and continued my march down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. The paved road was slippery and wet and I was glad to get back onto the pavement.
It was late in the season and there weren’t too many tourists, so the walk to Holyrood Palace only took around ten minutes. I took a right along Horse Wynd and quickened my stride as I approached the next roundabout and the entrance to Holyrood Park.
There were a few cars left in the car park and some children were skipping and shouting, delaying as much as possible the ride home.
I ignored them as I prepared myself for the hike to the top of Arthur’s Seat.
Climbing Salisbury Crags I found myself curiously out of breath as the path steepened. A couple were walking down, hand in hand, and we all smiled as I walked nearer to the edge to let them pass. It was a long drop and I was glad to move back away from the brink.
Images flashed in my mind as I made my way upwards. As a teenager the Crags were just a means to attain the summit, whereas now in retirement they were much more of an obstacle. I chuckled to myself as I imagined hiring a helicopter to get straight to the summit and was relieved as I turned the last corner before the final ascent.
I had to bend over to catch my breath, holding my knees with both hands, struggling, embarrassed and a little ashamed; glad I was alone.
After a few minutes I felt the air returning to my lungs and strength returning to my legs.
I was ready.
Taking the same path as all those years ago I took my time and reached the top without passing a soul and found myself all alone at the highest point.
What a feeling! My heart soared as a tidal wave of memories swept back over me.
I reached my arms over my head to the sky above and turned my gaze to the Castle and the city of Edinburgh below.
I let out a roar of pure, primal, raw pleasure.
It still felt like home to me!
My favourite place on Planet Earth. (382 words)
The photo was taken by my son David when he was studying in Edinburgh a few years ago.
When I lived in Edinburgh I never took a camera. It’s a pity 😦
I must admit that I struggled a little this week for my Literary Lion entry. Perhaps the result is a little too contrived, I’ll let you judge. I didn’t want an uplifting sunshine, vacation sort of story but wanted to incorporate musical elements and song titles into the fiction.
Here comes the sun thought Paula looking to the sky as she jumped off the bus. She tried to grip Freya’s hand but Freya pushed her away. They headed towards the recording studio both women feeling awkward and uncomfortable.
Paula tried to lighten the atmosphere. “It’s going to be a good day, sunshine,” she said affectionately, with a wink.
Sunshine has been Paula’s nickname for Freya since they were together at school but they had long forgotten how it had come about.
They entered the small studio to finish work on the new album. Mick was already behind the drums pounding out a fierce rhythm which underlined Pete’s brash staccato chords. When the boys saw them arrive they broke out spontaneously into the chorus from – Don’t let the sun go down on me – while grinning, impishly, from ear to ear.
“It’s getting a bit old guys”, Freya chided as she climbed onto her high stool and reached for the mike.
Paula eyed her up as she settled in behind her keyboards and Freya turned to look away, feeling more and more ill at ease.
Dan the bassist, ambled in, cradling a large Caffe Latté and reached for his Bass Guitar.
They had a long standing musical understanding, and without the slightest exchange of words, Mick started laying down the drum intro to their soon to be released single, as the others joined in.
Looking towards Paula, Freya caught another lascivious regard, and was suddenly unable to utter the slightest sound.
Jumping from her stool she ran desperately to the adjoining room, knocking microphone and musical stands in her rush to escape.
Paula scrambled from behind the keyboards and followed her to the little changing room stepping on microphones and musical partitions in her rush.
The boys heard a shouted argument, followed by a scream, and an agonising pause. Paula pushed open the door.
She made her way back; rivulets of dark red blood, dripping to the floor, from bloodied hands, that gripped a metal nail-file.
Time seemed to stand still.
Sunshine of Your Love
The sun ain’t gonna shine – Anymore
Ain’t No sunshine when you’re gone
Thanks once again to Laura Gabrielle Feasey for organising and breathing life into this fortnightly challenge and for the wonderful photo prompt.
Here Comes the Sun (The Beatles) : Good Day Sunshine (The Beatles) : Don’t let the sun go down on me (Elton John) : Sunshine of Your Love (Cream) : Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot) : The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore) (Walker Brothers) : Ain’t No Sunshine When You’re Gone. (Bill Withers)
A Capella : Sung with no (instrumental) accompaniment ; Coda : The end of a piece ; Con Amore : With Love ; Rallentando : Becoming Progressively Slower ; Diminuendo : Dwindling ; Coda : The End of a Piece.
It’s a mystery to my children. They always want to know why.
“What happened Mum?” my son asks. “Did you trip over something?”
“I don’t know,” I reply.
He gives me that strange look of his that he’s been practicing since he was a toddler. I find it amusing so I smile and he retorts “It’s no laughing matter Mum.”
I try to display a serious tone and reply “No, of course it isn’t,” and because I daren’t look him in the eyes ; I look down bashfully.
My daughter is preoccupied with the state of my health.
“Did you feel dizzy Mum?”
“I don’t think so dear”
“Don’t you remember?”
“Not really; I was just walking normally and then… I wasn’t, I was laid out on the carpet.”
Then my son turns to my daughter and they exchange glances and suddenly I know exactly what’s coming.
They have this theory that explains it all. To them anyway.
My dear late husband was quick and sure. He knew what he wanted and destroyed any obstacles that might impede his progress.
I had to continually try and keep up with him and when he left the house it was as if he was in a hurry to get back. He strode out at a dashing pace; determined to get where he was headed to as quickly as possible, and I was left trotting a few paces behind, trying, but rarely succeeding, to catch up.
My children often saw me continually off balance, and always about to fall but I rarely did. Well maybe once or twice. I suppress another smile.
So they think I fall because I continue, out of habit, to walk without measuring my stride, or paying attention to my gait.
“You must slow down Mum,” my son says and I nod. It’s no use contradicting him.
“Let’s make an appointment with your GP,” adds my daughter.
“Yes dear,” I answer.
Again, we’re back to where we always conclude.
Maybe one day they’ll understand that there are no reasons or remedies.
I just fall. (347 words)
This is the current Literary Lion challenge which is to write a piece of fiction in around 400 words inspired by the word Fall.
I’ve just come back from holidays having seen three large waterfalls (Niagara Falls in Canada, Godafoss et Gullfoss in Iceland). I resisted the temptation to use a waterfall as a subject!
This fortnights Literary Lion Challenge word is Limerick. It’s so enjoyable to be able to spread to 400 words from time to time! The featured photo is (c) Laura Gabrielle Feasey
”Write me a poem,” pleaded Caroline, her face upturned with deep green eyes that twinkled pleadingly in the night light’s shine.
“I thought you wanted me to read you a story,” I replied.
“Yes, tell me a story but I need a poem that I can give to Mark.”
It was just a few days before Valentines Day and the whole school was in effervescence.
“Have you bought the card?” I enquired.
”Yes, Mum helped me choose it in the supermarket.”
“Are you going to send it as a surprise?”
“No I’ll give it to him on the way home.”
Mark had been walking Caroline back from school since the beginning of term. I often watched them from the upstairs window as they turned the corner of the street and walked the last few feet to the house.
I observed Mark glancing often at Caroline and imagined that he was trying to pluck up the courage to hold her hand.
I remembered living a similar experience when I was at school. I can’t remember her name, I think it was Anne. It took me more than two weeks to hold her hand and then it was even more awkward when a few weeks later, I went to kiss her on arriving at the front porch of her bungalow. When it finally happened, it was with clenched lips, and romantically very anticlimactic.
I read Caroline her bedtime story and leaned down to kiss her on the cheek before going downstairs.
As I started to pull the door behind me she stirred and said “Promise me Dad.”
“Sure thing buttercup. I’ll do my best.”
I went straight to my desk, poured myself a large glass of Pinot Gris, and after searching in the top drawer for pen and paper, started to write.
I’ll try a Limerick I thought.
After 10 minutes, I’d thought of something, and read it aloud before folding it, ready to slip into the envelope tomorrow morning.
“There was a young boy called Mark That took Caroline on a walk in the park. He held her by the hand In front of the bandstand And blew her a kiss before it got dark.”
“Can anyone tell me any cultural references to Heather?”
I get up from my desk and go to the blackboard.
I write HEATHER in bold strokes of white chalk and turn to face the class.
It’s the last lesson before the end of term and I’ve decided to take a break from the Canterbury Tales.
Paul raises his hand and I nod my assent.
”Robert Louis Stevenson : Bonnie Auld Scotland.”
I add ‘1. fragrant hills of purple heather’ to the blackboard.
It’s rather hot in the classroom and I start to sweat: I loosen my collar to get more air.
“What about you Jill, anything?”
She hesitates then shouts “Scarborough Fair, Sir”
This is going well : I smile and add ‘2. Gather it all in a bunch of heather’
Feeling a bit faint and dizzy I return to the comfort of my desk.
Andrew, at the back coughs, and I gesture him to speak.
“Kings of the Night by Robert E. Howard”
Rising again I feel my heart beating wildly and grasp the side of the desk. I take a long deep breath.
The class is staring but I turn and write ‘3. … concealed in the tall heather, lay a hundred picts with their shafts on string.’
My chest feels tight and there’s a ringing in my ears. Although I’m starting to shake, I signal to Samantha that it’s her turn.
She looks at me rather oddly, and I raise my eyebrows inquisitively.
“You’re not looking well Sir, you’re all white!”
Suddenly the dizziness returns, my mouth is dry and I’m shaking all over. My legs give way beneath me and I feel myself falling.
The fall seems to go on forever while the film plays out in my head vividly.
I’m back in my car: my wife is sitting in the passenger seat. I catch a glimpse of the van speeding towards us and hear a screech of brakes. I only have time to utter one word before losing consciousness.
The heavy curtain of darkness lifts and I open my eyes.
A paramedic is taking my pulse, and the children are huddled at the rear of the class, strangely subdued.
I prop myself up on my elbow and grin, trying to hide my embarrassment.
I really should have chosen a different flower.
Here is this weeks Literary Lion organised by the lovely Laura Gabrielle Feasey. She writes that Literary Lion will be changing to a fortnightly challenge from now on. I can’t wait to discover the changes!