October horror shorts: The Boutique for Lost Souls


I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story, poem or article constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Boutique


 

Editor’s note: I’m placing my note this week up front instead of at the end. This is so I can thank in advance our wonderful word hostess Denise for allowing me the honour of choosing this week’s cue word (thank you so much, D, joy 😁). The word I have chosen is boutique – I love how sweetly it rolls off the tongue. A French word – but one used in the English language.

My entry for boutique goes down a somewhat typical route for me: a dark and ghostly tale, but one I think is ever so tender and loving. The Boutique for Lost Souls is a tale about ghosts and running and dancing and falling in love. It’s origins are in a story I was once working on about a secret shop in which the visiting customers had to shrink to the size of a mouse before entering. It was loosely inspired by tales such as Tom Thumb, Thumbelina, and The Borrowers. The Boutique for Lost Souls has ended up a much different beast, though it still explores the theme of being or becoming small. And so here I present to you two versions of it: the long version, and the short version.

Enjoy.

Ford 🙂


The Boutique for Lost Souls (long version)

I once was a dancer who learned how to run, to run from a monster who was after my blood, and each time I turned he was one pace closer, and I felt his vile breath like fingers on my back, as I ran and ran until I thought I might collapse, on and on, and on, the monster always there, bigger than I, taller, wicked and agile, with spinning discs of barbarous eyes, with cutlas teeth and grotesque smile, a tongue versed in spells and ancient rhymes – it was all I could do but run for my life, like a dog with its tail set alight.

And at last, near-destroyed, my lungs seething with fire, I came to a town at the end of the world, and in it a boutique with windows aglow – a hideout I prayed might save my soul; a shelter, a safe house, a temple for the pursued – and so I pushed open the door and asked for refuge.

And inside was a woman who smoked a cigar, and her eyes brimmed with wisdom, perception and guile, and she said to me: “You’ll be safe here in my little boutique, if you hide somewhere good and don’t make a peep!”

And I saw many objects of antiquity and art: instruments and barometers, timepieces and charts; optical lenses for near and far; microscopes for bugs, telescopes for stars; violins and cellos, pianos and harps; paintings and drawings, books and cards; and a music box which when opened by the woman, held a tiny ballerina spinning to Swan Lake, and I – a dancer alike – beheld this twirling figure with my lovestruck eyes, as the woman urged me on: “Hurry up and join her, there isn’t much time!”

And I duly obliged, and scampered inside, not questioning how I shrank to such a small size, as the woman closed the lid and stepped aside, and puffed on her cigar as the beast stormed inside her little boutique at the end of the world, and how he hollered and bellowed and boomed and yelled: “Where is that fool dancer, tell me, old crone, or I’ll break your boutique into thousands of pieces, and then one by one your snappity-snap bones!”

And the woman pointed a finger to a door which said: LAST EXIT FOR FOOLS, and there the beast fled into a boundless chase of the phantom of a dancer which I once was – and may he chase my steadfast ghost as the fool master of the hunt he will always be – while I, safe forevermore in the music box, with my ballerina soulmate dancing at my side, ballerina, ballerina, O angels did you see her, how she mended my heart when it was broken in two, and a pirouette later, said: “My beautiful dancer, I so love you.”

***


The Boutique for Lost Souls (short version)

“Take heart if you are running from an ancient curse

For here is a love story set in verse

About monsters and ghosts and a charming boutique

And how love and dancing may set you free

Do not despair you will find that place

Of sanctuary and a loving soulmate.”

***


 

Godzilla vs King Ghidorah – 1991 movie programme

Cover. Godzilla VS. King Ghidorah 1991 Movie Program. Japan.

This Japanese movie programme for the 1991 film Godzilla vs King Ghidorah is a most welcome addition to the TVTA archives. The attractive programme features stills and background on the production of the Kazuki Ōmori / Toho Studios film, as well as advertising for some of the cool toys and merchandise related to the release.

Enjoy the selected scans 🙂


Toys and merchandise 

Godzilla VS. King Ghidorah toys by Bandai.

Godzilla VS. King Ghidorah toys by Bandai.

Encyclopedia of Godzilla.

Godzilla 1992 Calendar.

The Art of Godzilla.

Max Factory Custom Craft Godzilla models.

Advert from Godzilla VS. King Ghidorah 1991 Movie Program. Japan.


Detail from rear cover of programme.


Thanks for looking 🙂 More Godzilla here

October horror shorts: Diary of a Weekend Vampire


I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story, article or poem constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Field


 

warning: contains vampire lust

Diary of a Weekend Vampire

I

Suzy trimmed my hair on Monday after work when it was dark
(I’ve promised her a book of poems and picnic in the park)
She cut her index finger on the edge of her scissors
And I gave a little snigger as I watched her in the mirror
Run into the kitchen searching for Elastoplast
And it got me set to thinking that nothing ever lasts
And roses that are red to her to me always turn black.

II

On Tuesday I was stuck in traffic and very late for work
Some scoundrel driver cut me up and made me go berserk
I fantasised about his neck and drinking road rage blood
Then at the perfect moment as he was just about to turn
I’d slash an artery here or there and leave him for the worms
Rotting in a field in the English countryside
Good for him I wasn’t on duty and only work part-time.

III

On Wednesday Alicia from accounts did my Tarot cards
She said she learnt them from a man who was a Russian Tsar
I played her up and drew for fun ol’ Death and The Hanged Man
And she rattled on ‘bout new beginnings and being the best you can
How my chakras needed aligning and my aura looked like mud
And all the while I was thinking I’d like to suck her blood
But Wednesday’s only half the week and I’m meant to be good.

IV

Thursday after work I volunteered at the skate park
The kids there think I’m very cool and call me Mrs Sharp
Or Northern Vamp in Aviators, Vans and skinny jeans
With links to Bauhaus, SoM and Siouxsie And the Banshees,
And I tell ’em go listen to the Cure’s Carnage Visors
While flashing them my fingernails and sexy incisors
Yeah, I know it’s cool to be a kid – as I once was before being bit.

V

Thank Fuck It’s Friday for I was horny as hell
Was dress-down-day at work and Alicia sure looked swell:
Alicia in black stockings and an off-the-shoulder number
And thoughts of gorging on her neck stirred me from my slumber
And after knocking off at four I met her in the pub
Should never mix my Gin and Tonic with my colleagues’ blood
Coz around midnight later on, Alicia was supped up.

VI

Saturday I woke up late with an epic hangover
Virgin blood and toasted bread, a nice refreshing shower
Then at the discotheque that night I spied my vamps-to-be
Gave invitations to my castle overlooking the sea:
A beauty queen, a nurse from Leeds, a cosplay Wolverine
Sacred rites, blood and lust all night… yes Saturday is the best!
Then precious sleep in ancient caskets, for Sunday is our day of rest.

***

***

***


***


Dedicated to weekend vampires the world over.

Poem and art card by Ford.


Editor’s note: disclosure – normally my Six Sentence Stories are written on demand subject to inspiration found from the weekly cue word. However, my poem Diary of a Weekend Vampire has been sitting in the Six Sentence Story reception area for more than a month, its impatient author waiting for our wonderful word mistress D to unleash a cue word applicable to my, erm, vampire urges, and all fine and dandy and in time for Halloween 😁 🎃

But time passed, and the cue words wouldn’t marry the spirit of my vampiric tale, and before I knew it we were almost halfway through October. Could I risk waiting for the following week’s cue word? Or worse, risk it with the last date in October? Not on your holy water! It had to be this week’s Six Sentence Story, or my protagonist lady vamp Mrs Sharp might be consigned to the perils of next October.

So, this Sunday, came the announcement of the cue word… and it was… wait for it, hah, oh, wait, what… Field. Umm?!? How do I fit part-time vampire lust into a field? Or a field into part-time vampire lust? It seemed our fearless word mistress D had delivered to your humble editor a deadly word-blow – akin to a stake through the heart at midnight while the coffin was still warm.

What could I do? Who could I turn to? Nothing at my Writing & Bakery School classes (micro stories while making tarts) had prepared me for this; nor were there any chapters devoted to my dilemma in the 1001 Ways To Get Your Sorry Ass Out Of Writing Trouble which Wooof bought me last Christmas; and my clandestine seances with the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker (The Three Dead Literary Spooks and a Rubbish Living Writer Society) garnered no advice nor wisdom other than: “Don’t give up the day job, mate, and can you get us any laudanum?”.

Only one thing for it… the word field simply had to fit! Somewhere, anywhere, even if it didn’t make sense! Well, luckily it did, in a way. And you know, on reflection, the word field ended up stamping itself with some authority inside the swaggering sentence: “Rotting in a field in the English countryside”. I really like that line. It also sums up Brexit quite nicely. Fuck you, Brexit.

I’m glad now that it was field as the cue word; and this is the beauty of Six Sentence Stories – you have to work with what is given, and this is not a constraint really but a liberation. And I love it. And I love our word chooser D for taking time each week to challenge us all ♥. If you enjoy writing, then come on over to Six Sentence Stories and try your craft. We’re a lovely bunch here, and we don’t bite (apart from the part-time vampires among us 😉)


SomEone  eLse’S  countRy,  SomEone eLSe’s CriME

Jacques Richez. Colour trap.


I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story, poem or article constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Resistance


 

SomEone   eLse’S   countRy,   SomEone   eLSe’s   CriME

Proudman L. had never murdered a soul in his life, nor tried to, nor threatened to… okay, sure, beaten a few up, yes, plenty: a lousy drug dealer once, a filthy pimp, a mouthy biker, his ex-boss (three ex-bosses to be exact), a gas station clerk, four liquor store owners, four mechanics, a dozen or so doormen at various bars, a professional hockey player, a scientologist, numerous racists and queer-bashers, and his own father – that drunken, sick bastard.

And these were just the ones he remembered.

Proudman wasn’t proud of what he had done with his fists over the years, but neither was he ashamed; he felt grounded in his belief that sometimes people got what was coming to them – and standing at six feet ten inches tall, and broad enough to take up two seats on a bus, Proudman usually gave what was deserved with little resistance.

So what was coming for him?

What had he done so bad to deserve being locked up in a police cell in a country he had never even visited before?

For sure it wasn’t because he tried to murder some people called Henry S. and Iris S. – hell, no, above all things, and let’s be brutal here… things right now were as crazy as the craziness in crazyland on a crazy night, Proudman was certain he was no murderer.

***



Editor’s note: the story SomEone eLse’S countRy, SomEone eLSe’s CriME is an extract from my WIP gothic ghost novel, and features the character Proudman L. from Vancouver, Canada, who awakes one morning to find himself in a jail in London, England, accused of attempted double murder.


Thank you for breaking out of chokey with us 🙂 

October horror shorts: Pheep Pheep Pheep

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story, poem or article constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Volume

 


WARNING: The following short contains strong horror.

Pheep Pheep Pheep

The police would come to discover her macabre hobby and gain a grim confession, and the press would label her The Small Heath Scalper, though her real name at trial would be Delores Ann Callaghan, 38, unmarried, no children, of Muntz Street, Birmingham.

A night owl she was in a decade about to roar around her, while she burned oil in her salon in her cellar, with a cast iron bath in which to discard all the heads; her day job – switchboard operator at the city hospital, with Mr Byrd and Mr Hardy being her favourite porters.

And by the small hours in her subterranean salon she would whistle while she worked – pheep pheep pheep to the clip clip clip and the snip snip snip of her scissors, and the heat of her Marcel wavers and curlers, the swish of her combs and Bobby pin snap, pheep pheep pheep, the hum of peroxide and pomade heavy to the walls of that windowless room.

Byrd and Hardy knew her favourites: the harlot-y dancers of the city bars and revues, the painted strumpets as her mother once was when she parted her legs to let a man in, who paid her with horse-won guineas after leaving her with child… she… she pheep pheep pheeps as she admires her newest coiffured creation: such beautiful waves and curls, such shine, such volume…

Her work done for the night, she places the mannequin head next to the others beside her mirrors, takes a step back, pheep pheep pheeps, and admires her collection of scalps; while upstairs comes a-crashing as the police break in, and they creep like a line of black cockroaches to the cellar door, and the horrors upon horrors waiting to greet them from below.


Muntz Street and Small Heath map 1904. Image: Wikipedia Commons


Editor’s note: Muntz Street is a real street in the ward of Small Heath, Birmingham, England. I worked in Small Heath and its neighbouring Bordesley Green during the late 1980s and early 90s, and bought my first drum kit there from a shop known as Green Lane Music Centre. The small hilltop site of Small Heath has been used as a settlement since Roman times, and was developed into housing for both wealthy industrialists and working class labourers in Victorian times. Small Heath is the original site of Birmingham City Football Club (now in Bordesley Green), as well as home to the once mighty Birmingham Small Arms factory which produced guns, motorcycles, bicycles, cars and taxi cabs – and which was heavily bombed in World War II. Small Heath was also home to the notorious Peaky Blinders gang; the gang and their Small Heath territory featuring in the ongoing BBC TV series Peaky Blinders since 2013.

The Malt Shovel. Muntz Street corner, Small Heath, Birmingham. Date and photo credit unknown.

In my story Pheep Pheep Pheep, the porter characters Byrd and Hardy are fictional, but loosely based on the real Burke and Hare murderers a hundred years earlier. The character Delores Ann Callaghan is also fictional, but loosely based on the fictional character Sweeney Todd – the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The establishment in my story of Delores Ann’s location and the early twentieth century date stamp might easily put her at the same time and place as the Peaky Blinders gang, perhaps even making Delores a once quiet and unassuming neighbour of the gang, until the police discovered her grisly hobby. And after… was she hung? Was she sent to the asylum? Did she flee incarceration to escape into the night of another story and another time?


Αεί Έλλην Μαχόμενος ( SPIRA – FORD P WAIGHT collaboration )

Friends, I am so happy to present via the blog of my good friend and collaboration partner – Spira – the fruits of our artistic endeavour to mark the 2500th anniversary of the battles for freedom at Thermopylae and Salamis which took place in 480 BC. Please add your thoughts and feelings over at Spira’s place, and join us in this celebration of one of the greatest gifts we can enjoy – freedom.

inSPIRAtion

This year marks the 2500 years anniversary from the battles of Thermopylae (August ) & Salamis (late September) in 480 BC during the Hellenic – Persian wars.

I am truly excited to honor the occasion with a collaboration with my good friend
                                                         Ford P.  Waight.

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