Archive for the Fiction Category

Why I wrote The Black Torment

Posted in Fiction on February 10, 2014 by Johnnie

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On the face of it, I wrote The Black Torment because it seemed, in my imagination, based on an obvious metaphor – a writer who is afraid of what’s ‘upstairs’.  But I went along with it, without planning, to see where it would take me. It was important for me to get it out of my system. A month of furious typing, and, 60,000 words later, it is drafted.

Welcome to Arthur’s house; its spacious rooms, silent memories and secret horrors. Continue reading

“So, that novel you were writing, Johnnie…”

Posted in Advice, Books, Fiction, Words on July 9, 2012 by Johnnie

OK, I admit it. From both sides, mine and yours, this looks like an utter failure. I am the procrastinator’s procrastinator, I could make up excuses until the cows don’t bother their arses coming home anymore, and I could walk around daydreaming all day of being that person I always wanted to be since I was about 8 – The Novelist.

I’ve started four novels: I finished one to third draft; I half-wrote another, which expired along with the laptop it was written on (backing up, I know, I know); and I have begun two others, currently in “progress” on different computers. All of them have madly-scrawled synopses, which look, on the page, every bit as mad and unfathomable as their creator; only I know they make perfect sense – until I start to write them and try fitting all the pieces together, that is. Still, I have faith in the ideas – if not my ability to sit down for sustained periods and complete them. Continue reading

Show Them Who’s Boss

Posted in Fiction on May 14, 2012 by Johnnie

Once upon a not-too-long ago, there lived a little man in an old, old street. For a long time, the street was mainly populated by old, old people and the little man was able to win their friendship and trust by routinely asking them about their health, their daily movements and their daily intentions. He would even ask if they had any little odd jobs he could do for them in their homes, so that he could get to know their houses, and chat away to them until nightfall. He would also volunteer to look after their properties, look after the street, and guard all and sundry in the locality against the slightest breeze from the terrifying Ill Winds of Progress.

The old, old people tolerated the little man; for, although he was a distinctly inquisitive individual, he was a handy person to have around. Surely no robber or burglar would come near the place, when, at the first sign of a strange face, his window blinds would twitch inquisitively, or he’d tramp out into his forecourt to demand to know said stranger’s particulars or intentions. He was, the old people decided, a sort of guardian; the kind of person who could be relied upon to keep the street safe, familiar and stuck in AD 1956.

Continue reading

Sepulchral Notices (or The Mystery of Edwyn Pugh)

Posted in Fiction on March 1, 2012 by Johnnie

Clement Wiffen sat at his desk, his trembling hands obscuring his face.

‘Which one was Edwyn Pugh?’ he groaned.  ‘Are there any photographs?’

‘Maybe family ones, sir,’ said Mr Darkin.  ‘But we can hardly ask…’

‘Damn it, why can’t funerals be more like weddings?’ Wiffen snapped, removing his hands and staring down at the page.  He emitted a long sigh.  ‘This… it’s the end of me.  Us.’

‘Sir, do remember, Grave News is a trade publication,’ said Darkin, sitting down opposite his boss.  ‘The public need not find out.’

‘Don’t be naïve all your life, Darkin.  Of course it will get out.  Why do you think Lambrick and Sons suddenly closed down after 93 years?’  Wiffen stabbed the paper with his index finger.

‘Then it’s bad, sir?’

‘Worse.  Read it.’  Wiffen tossed the paper to his assistant.

Darkin read aloud: ‘“Wiffen and Usherwood Funeral Directors, estd. 1896, is now managed by the last of the Wiffens, Cyril’s great-grandson, Clement – a singularly gloomy individual who should carry an ‘Abandon Hope’ plaque around his neck…”Continue reading

So, whatever happened to Rocky Johansson?

Posted in Fiction on February 29, 2012 by Johnnie

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‘Mock Turtles… Menswear… Jesus Jones… it’s a treasure trove of ‘where are they now?’ bands.   What else have you got in there?’

‘Well… what I was looking for was… where is it… here!  Remember this guy?’

‘Rocky Johansson… remind me..?’

‘“There’s only one of you? / Damn me if that’s true / Your love is like headlice / headlice…

 ‘Oh, God, Miserable Farewell, that takes me back.  You had a t-shirt of him, didn’t you?’

‘And the rest!  Posters, books, magazines… I bought everything he ever did.  Not that there was much.’

‘Look at that photo – looks a bit up himself, if you ask me.’

‘He probably was, a bit.  But I liked him.  He was the first star I wanted to run away and marry.’ Continue reading

Small Window

Posted in Fiction on February 16, 2012 by Johnnie

‘We don’t have long,’ says Eric.

‘I know,’ says Dave.

‘Why are we doing this, again?’

Dave sighs.  ‘You know full well.’

The patrol car has already passed the alleyway and is now turning the corner, out of the street.  Dave grabs his end of the long ladder, signalling to Eric that he should lift his.  They scurry out of the shadows, across the street and prop the ladder up against the old factory wall.

‘Have you any idea what to expect?’ says Eric.

‘I dunno.  But someone’s up there.  I just wanna see who, just have my question answered, then I’ll be right down.’

‘The patrol car will be back around in two minutes.’

‘I know.  Hold the ladder.’

Eric grips the ladder firmly and Dave scrambles up as fast as he can go. Continue reading

Shadows of Love

Posted in Fiction on February 14, 2012 by Johnnie

Creak… thump… thump… rattle… rattle… … … thump.

It takes only a few seconds each morning but it’s a time I look forward to and dread in equal measure. She’s regular as clockwork, and quite the best reason in the world for me to get up at 3.30 and vacate the bedroom. I can’t be there, I have to be gone, and now I actually look forward to that half-hour’s breathing space before she performs her little routine.

The first time I heard it was only a few days after she passed on. I’d been having a dreadful night’s sleep; somehow, I knew something wasn’t quite right in the house.

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