Riding High



The box beckoned to me, itching to be opened. I wiped the dust off the top of it, sneezing as it tickled the inside of my nostrils. Pulling off the lid, I smiled as the photo sitting on the top of the pile beckoned to me. The large, green mountains sprawled in the backdrop of the photo, their beauty only surpassed by the crystal, aquamarine water flowing softly in front of them. That wasn’t what caught my attention though. It was the figures in foreground who captivated me. To the right stood Nancy; her back tall and proud, her skin kissed pink from the sun and a beer clasped firmly in her grasp. Her arm wound around my neck, and mine around her waist as we grinned happily at the camera. Next to me stood Rosie, her eyes sparking with laughter and her mouth partway open in a huge belly laugh. I couldn’t help but giggle as I remembered what was going on in this photo. Next to Rosie stood Lila, her golden hair sparking under the beaming sunlight. Unaware of Rosie’s ‘trick’, she stared straight down the camera, beaming with exhilaration. Throughout her hair, courtesy of Rosie, lay small particles of hay; a ‘surprise’ Rosie had bought back from the farm we’d visited that day. In front of us all crouched Amy. Her mouth was opened in a half smile, half shriek as she’d fumbled to keep her balance atop the small rock she’d found to perch herself on for the photo. The only word that came to mind when I looked at this photo was happiness. Sighing, I put it aside and tried to push back the memories of what happened next…


“My back is still aching!” Nancy complained as she plopped onto the seat next to me. “Those rides were so totally worth it though!” She exclaimed, taking a big slurp of her beer. 

“For you maybe,” I said with a shudder. “I still can’t believe you guys conned me into going on every single one! Never again.” I added determinedly. 

Laughing, Rosie headed over and topped up my glass of champagne. “If I remember correctly, you were the one who insisted we go on the biggest ride in the park five times in a row!” She insisted.

“Nope.” I shook my head, “wasn’t me. They really kinked my neck out though. Every time it moved I was thrown against the supports. Makes me highly envious of your substantial padding, Rosie!” I called as she moved towards the barbeque again.

“Well, I was given these beauties for a reason!” She called back as she flipped the steaks.

Laughing, I got up and stretched, heading inside to go to the toilet.

“Grab some insect repellent while you’re in there will you!” Amy called out as I walked towards the door, “the mozzies are eating me alive tonight!”

“Will do!” I called back. She’d been attacked the whole time we’d been here… They’d left me alone though so I wasn’t too upset about it.

It was our last night in the cabin. I sighed wistfully as I looked around the front room where the old, tattered lounge sat longingly awaiting some TLC. It’s back was adorned with Lila and Rosie’s clothing – mainly the dresses and clothes that were highly inappropriate for a week spent out in a log cabin at the lake. The room seemed to hold the heat of the day inside its walls, though as we’d come to realise, it also held the creatures of the night pretty darn well too!  

Smiling, I looked around and grabbed my camera to take some last minute photos of all of us together, noticing I only had a few shots left. This had been one of the most amazing weeks of my life with just us girls. I didn’t want to go home.


 Chaos would be the only way to describe what I opened my eyes to the next morning.

The room swirled with stirred up dust and heated, stuffy air, clogging up my airways. Sitting up, I eased out of my sleeping bag on top of the old, creaky bed and looked around blearily. Rosie was throwing clothes onto her bed, trying in earnest to get them squished back into the suitcase. Lila was sitting on top of her bag, grunting in her effort to get it closed. Watching her progress, I debated whether or not I should tell her she’d forgotten to put her toiletries bag in or not.

Hmm… Not. I decided sitting back against my pillow grinning. This was just too entertaining!

“Uh, Lila?” Nancy called tentatively from her bed.

“What?” Lila growled, glaring at her half closed suitcase.

“Forgetting something?” She asked, smothering a laugh.

Looking around, Lila spotted the abandoned toiletries bag. “Ugh!” She screamed in frustration. “I give up! These are going in your bag!” She said, throwing a bunch of clothes on Nancy’s feet.

Laughing, Nancy, Amy and I crawled out of bed and headed into the bathroom to get ready for the long trip home today.


 “This town is simply adorable!” Rosie exclaimed as she took in the idealistic, old-fashioned town surrounding us. 

It truly was beautiful – the streets not clogged with congestion and traffic but patient, slow paced weekend drivers. The streets were lined with small, boutique shops and the people wandering around seemed relaxed and content. It was hard to wipe the smile off my face as we melted in with the crowd and explored before our flight left later that night.

“STOP RIGHT THERE! HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!” A voice boomed through the air, cutting through the daze of happiness and silencing the streets.

Confused, I turned around to see what was going on. Behind us stood a beefy, burly policeman, his gun trained straight at Amy’s chest. Shock filled her face as she slowly raised her hands, her eyes watering and chin trembling in fear.

“What the hell is this about?” Lila demanded as we took in the approaching guard coming up behind the officer.

“I think you girls know.” He said quietly, motioning for four other officers to come forward with handcuffs at the ready.

 Bewildered, we looked at each other, searching for a sign of awareness in anyone’s face. There was none. This was completely unexpected. 

“HEY!” Yelled a voice from behind the policeman, “Over here!”

Looking beyond the line of local law enforcement that boarded us in, I saw a young woman, waving her arms frantically above her head. Clutched in her hand was a large machete, its blade glinting manically in the beaming sun. The police turned, and started forming a line against her, giving up a split second window of escape.

And we took it. Piling into our rental car, Nancy grabbed the wheel and spun off the curb and down the street at a rip roaring pace, hightailing us out of there. Dodging traffic, she swerved, weaved and cut off other motorists, eventually merging in with the heavy traffic headed towards the airport.

“That was close.” She said, gripping the steering wheel tightly. “But I think we’re in the clear now. No one followed us.”

Letting out a collective breath, we settled back and laughed nervously about what we had just escaped, wondering what in the world would happen; why they targeted us.


Fighting for control of my pounding heart, I placed the photo back on the top of the heap in the box. Maybe today wasn’t the best time to relive those memories again. Especially considering what happened after that… 


Photo Credit: http://www.youwall.com/index.php?ver=MjQxNQ==

Walking Away

The gears of the train ground to a screeching holt jolting me from the light slumber I was just settling into. Gazing out the window, the small lights of the train station formed large yellow blurry fireworks against the inky darkness of the night in my sleep-hazed eyes. Wiping away the small pool of drool that had begun to crust at the side of my mouth, I swallowed the harsh dryness of sleep away and stretched my arms above my head stifling a yawn.

Looking around me, I noticed the carriage had emptied considerably since I had drifted off. Glancing at my watch, I was surprised to see it was 4am. I’d slept for close to seven hours and I was only a few hours from home. This trip was going much faster than expected! Reaching into my bag, I grabbed the worn paperback I was currently immersed in and settled back into the seat, pulling my legs up underneath me and resting my head against the cold glass of the window. The raindrops smeared across the glass and down the train, as if they were in a frantic race to see who could reach the ground first and become a part of nature once again. The area where I rested my head quickly fogged up as my body heat combated the frosty chill of the rain, restricting my view of the dark countryside flashing by completely.

Sliding my bookmark out, I began reading; my heart and mind ready and eager to continue on the tumultuous and traumatic journey the characters of my book had taken me on so far.

“Well well well look what the cat dragged in.” A snide comment ripped through the air to my right. Looking up, I saw the sneering, ugly face of Emily, my ex boyfriends new whore. Behind her stood Freddie, looking appropriately abashed and embarrassed to be in the situation. Avoiding eye contact with me, he mumbled a comment to Emily about sitting down.

“Sit down?” She screeched. “In the same cabin as this filthy mole? I’ll catch diseases just from breathing the same air as her! I cannot believe you ever, ever went there.” Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath and counted to ten. Maybe if I ignored her long enough she’d go away.

“I know you can hear me bitch.” She snapped. Nope, not going away. Sighing I opened my eyes and looked at Freddie standing behind her.

“Control your woman Freddie.” I snapped, “And get her the hell out of my face. I shouldn’t have to deal with this when you’re the lying, cheating bastard who fucked up.” Relishing the shocked look on Emily’s face as if I’d slapped her, I reached into my pocket and pulled out my earphones. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to continue getting on with my life – the one I put back together better than ever after you two destroyed it.” I said pointedly and determinedly, shoving my earplugs in my ears roughly, closing my eyes and pumping out some loud, angry music.

Blocking out the world, I kept my eyes closed for a long time after that; hoping Freddie and Emily didn’t notice how white my knuckles were as I clenched my fists or the sheen of liquid that had sprung up over my pupils as I let her words – and his lack of words – affect me just a little bit too much once again. I’d worked so hard over the past three months to pull myself together after what they did to me – after Freddie ripped out my heart and fed it to Emily for fun. I couldn’t let them bring me down now. I was so close to being over it forever.

Regaining control of myself, I let my fists relax and settled back into the chair, opening my eyes to check my watch once more. Only an hour left thank god. Reaching for my book I had carelessly dropped to the ground, I shut off the music and tried to relax into the storyline and get lost in the world of fiction once more.

Until her screech interrupted my escape once again. Just hearing her voice made me cringe; it sounded like someone was dragging their nails down a chalkboard. I don’t know what Freddie saw in her with her dirty blonde hair, tattooed arms, whore red lipstick and ready-for-desert combat makeup. It honestly baffled me how he could go from sweet, pure little old me to… that.

My breathing shortened in frustration and anger as I caught wisps of her shrill shriek through the cabin. “Bitch”, “slut”, “ugly mole”, “wish she was dead”. The insults just kept coming, thick and fast. Looking out the window I saw the sun was finally starting to rise through the thinning rain in a brilliant red haze; its rays still held captive like my anger by the curve of the earth. I could see the next stop coming up quickly, it’s hard, brick exterior still shrouded in the shadows of night. I had no idea where we were or where to go from here but making a split second decision, I grabbed my bags and headed towards the exit door at the opposite end of the train. I just had to get away.

Watching out the window as the train ground to a stop I longed for the outside. The icy slap of the cold morning air grabbed me as the doors whooshed open and pulled me outside onto the old platform where I stood and looked around, taking my first, real breath in the past few hours since they got on. Studying the signs on the walls, I realised I was still a fair ways from home. But that was ok, I was sure there was a bus I could catch at some point in the day. Anything was worth it to be out of that carriage.

“Holly!” I stopped and turned as I heard my name being called behind me and saw Freddie running down the platform frantically trying to catch up to me. “I’m so sorry,” he huffed as he reached me, slightly out of breath, “she shouldn’t have said those things to you. You don’t deserve it.”

“You’re damn right I don’t deserve it!” I responded, my anger slowly building back up inside of me. “How dare she insult me when you’re the one who fucked everything up? You’re the one in the wrong here.” Shaking my head, I turned away from him. “Just leave me alone Freddie. I’ve had enough, I’m so tired of all this. It done. Over. Enough.” I started walking away.

“I love you.” Freddie said desperately behind me, reaching forward and grabbing my wrist. “I should never have let you go,” he said, his voice cracking.

Not bothering to turn around, I looked to the ground. A month, hell even a week ago I would have crumbled at those words. But not anymore.

“Let me go Freddie.” I said quietly. “You made your choice. I don’t deserve any more heartache. Goodbye.” Pulling my wrist from his grip, I looked forward. The road was long and straight before me, the sun rising at the end. It still rained lightly on me, dampening my hair, leaving small drops glistening on my eyelashes and cheeks. But for once my tears were not mine – they were mother natures. Tipping my head back, I let her waves of rain wash over me, cleanse me of the past before I looked forward and walked towards the brilliant rising sun and the start of my new life.


Friday the 13th


“I thought they were expecting us” I turned to my friend, Andrea, and frowned.

“Knock again” she urged me, biting her lip and darting to the side of the porch to try and peek in the dark, shuttered window.

Raising my hand once more, I raped my knuckles hard against the closed, red door, wincing as the unrelenting wooden barrier grazed the soft skin of my hand.

Stepping back, Andrea and I waited a few more minutes in silence. An ominous buzz filled the dark night, and I shivered as a roll of thunder echoed in the distance.

“I think I know where the spare key is.” I said, turning and walking around the side of the house. “I still can’t understand why they’re not home or answering their phones – they knew we were coming!” Scooping up a small pot plant to the side of the house, I prised an old, slightly rusted key from the ground.

“Got it!” I sung out to Andrea, who was still staring nervously up at the house.

“Something just feels off.” She murmured to me as I walked back over. “The fact that they weren’t at the station to pick us up and that we can hear their phones ringing in there… It just doesn’t feel right.” Another roll of thunder clapped across the sky, closer to us this time. Jumping we looked at each other in worry.

“Yeah, I know.” I said quietly, pausing for a moment before putting the key in the lock and turning it softly. A sense of forbidding filled me inextricably as I felt every gear grind and click in the lock. I breathed in deeply as I twisted the knob slowly in my hand and pushed the door open, scared for what I’d find inside.

Taking a step inside the threshold, I immediately became engulfed in thick, stifling darkness. The closed shutters blocked out any sliver of natural light the night offered, and the air smelt stale… and almost metallic. Wrinkling my nose, I reached out and edged along the wall, feeling for the light switch I knew was there somewhere.


Finally finding the switch, I flicked it. A sharp burst of bright light flooded the room and with a bang, disappeared, the bulb still glowing faintly after blowing out and tainting the room in a dark, hazy, residual glow. Adrenaline flooded my veins as I squinted my eyes and tried to make out my surroundings in the small glow that was left, my breathing increasing as I got more and more worried.

I could just make out a small shape at the end of the hall; something big and hunched. A person? “H-h-hello?” I stammered out, my heart beating frantically against my ribcage. Forcing my legs to move forward even though my instincts were screaming at me to run in the opposition direction, I inched forward. “Kate? Mike? Is anyone there?” I called out again, my voice a little stronger this time.

“AHHHHH!!!!” I screamed, as a hand grabbed my arm and yanked me back.

“Shhh, it’s just me.” Andrea whispered as she came up behind me and pressed against me. “This is all just plain creepy.” She said.

Breathing hard, I struggled to get my heart rate under control as Andrea pulled out her phone and opened up her flashlight app. I closed my eyes to blink, scared to reopen them for what I’d see at the end of the hallway. Don’t be silly, I told myself, there’s nothing there.

“Oh my god” Andrea mumbled behind me, backing away.

“What?” I asked sharply as I opened my eyes, looking towards the end of the hallway. “Oh my god.” I repeated, feeling sick. At the bottom of the staircase lay a slumped figure in a dark pool of liquid. It couldn’t be blood. Those things just didn’t happen.

My legs seemed to have a mind of their own as they made their way slowly towards the body. Shakily I bent down, taking in Kate’s small, slumped form. Her auburn hair fanned across her face covering her features. Reaching out, I lowered my hand to her neck and felt for a pulse. Nothing. Pulling my hand back, I recoiled as I felt a sticky, wet warmth between my fingers where I’d touched Katie’s body.

“Ohhh” I moaned as I looked back down at her laying in the puddle on the floor. Slowly lifting the curtain of hair away from her face I recoiled in horror and screamed, falling down in my haste to stand up and run away. Her once pure, beautiful face was marred with gashes, smears of blood. Her eyes were frozen open in a look of horror and upon closer inspection I took in the unnatural angle of her arms and legs, the shredded clothing barely covering her body, the stains and gashes spilling her insides onto the floor in a puddle I was now sitting in. Someone had done this to her. Someone sick and terrifying. Crying out, I turned and ran from the house, stopping just outside the door to heave up the contents of my stomach. This couldn’t be happening.

“Andrea” I called back into the house. “Andrea, we have to go. We have to call the police, lets get out of here!” I cried.

Scrambling to get the use of my body back after the shock, I turned to grab Andrea from just inside the house. As I moved back inside I realised something was different. The deep darkness was back. The silence was deafening. There was no other living person standing in that room except for me.

“Oh my god!” I cried, “Andrea! Where are you!?” I yelled into the house, fighting my urge to turn and run out the front door; to run far far away. I couldn’t run, I had to help her. Where was she? Had the killer taken her? The tears streamed down my face in fear, sadness, frustration and I willed myself to summon the courage to find her. I couldn’t let him take her.

One step.

Two steps.

I paused close to Kate’s body, taking a deep breath and quickly walked around her into the kitchen. Screaming I fought to turn and run the other way as I took in the sight of Mike’s body spreadeagled across the kitchen floor, his blood streaming through the grout in the tiled floor and forming a grotesque mosaic. My stomach churned again as I dropped to my knees and dry retched on the floor. Crying, I looked around the room, taking in the fallen curtain rod someone had grabbed in their struggles, the broken china hurled from the cabinet and smashed against the wall behind the killer. The kitchen door swung wide open, and sitting beside it on the counter was Andrea’s phone, silently vibrating.

Lunging for the phone, I took in the ‘blocked’ caller i.d. and tentatively answered the call.

“Hello?” I answered.

“SUSIE!!!” Andrea screamed in the background, “HELP ME!!!” Sobbing, I looked out the kitchen door. I could hear her voice echoing through the yard, bouncing off the trees that fenced in the property. She was close.

“I’m coming Andrea!” I cried, running out the door into the night. I reached the smooth, cold colour bond fence cutting off the yard at the back of the property and scrambled to get myself over it. She’d sounded so close, somewhere in those woods. I just had to find her!

BOOOOMMMM. I shrieked as another roll of thunder crashed above my head, and a flash of lightning lit up the yard. Looking back towards the house I saw him. A shadowed figure, carrying a large knife in his hand. It was still too dark to see who it was, but those eyes… They drilled across the yard straight into me as he determinedly made his way down the back steps and across the yard towards me.

I flung myself off the fence and rolled onto the ground below me, barely feeling the sharp impact on my shoulder. Jumping to my feet I took off in a run as he began scrambling up the fence behind me, hoping that if I was going to die, I could at least I could lead him away from Andrea.

I ran through the trees, breaking into the next-door neighbours yard and using the darkness as my cover. I knew this yard; Kate and I had played in it as kids. There was a small entry to an old underground cellar that we used to sneak into. It was connected to the house, but well hidden from anyone who didn’t know it was there. I could hear him behind me, but he wasn’t close enough to see what I was going to do. I slid under the back veranda and shimmied into the small crawl space, its opening tight around my body. The hard packed, dirt walls pressed against my sides and I could only wriggle forwards or backwards in there. I knew the cellar was behind me, but I was scared to push back. Claustrophobia strangled me and tried to surmount my fear of the killer coming towards me. This hole seemed a lot smaller when we were kids. Frantically fighting for control of my breathing, I urged myself to stay quiet. I could hear his footsteps cracking the small twigs on the ground, crushing the fallen leaves into dust. As I peered through the small opening between the deck and the yard I took in his old, steel capped boots, stained with Kate and Mike’s blood. The large knife swung methodically back and forth in his hand as he walked past.

And past again.

And again.

He was pacing. He knew I was here. I had to get into the house and make a run for it before he figured it out. Fighting my fear, I began to inch backwards down the hole, praying the cellar hadn’t caved it or been covered up after all these years.


Photo credit: http://www.badhaven.com/film/film-features/dans-meanderings-why-dont-they-remake-movies-that-need-to-be-remade/attachment/jasonvorheesfridaythe13thremake/

“I’ve Got This”


“I really don’t think we thought this through” I said, staring nervously at the wide expanse of open ocean stretching out to the misty horizon in front of us.

“It’ll be fine,” Kristy said, pulling the small seatbelt across her waist and buckling it at the front. “Just make sure you’re all strapped in and there won’t be any worries. Jace showed me how to drive it a million times, I’ve got this.” She boasted, playing idly with the controls in front of her.

I bit my bottom lip worriedly, my shaky hands once again pulling the small suicide seatbelt even tighter across my lap. Kristy’s partner Jace had come up with the bright idea of constructing this open roofed airplane. The front (except for Kristy’s controls) was completely open and vulnerable. The four of us girls sat side by side, strapped in only by a small seatbelt, ready to face to the great unknown for Kristy’s first solo flight.

I took a deep breath as she started the engine, my lungs becoming clogged with petrol as the back propellers thrust a surge of polluted air around us. Coughing and spluttering, I gripped the side of my chair so tightly I couldn’t feel my fingers and squeezed my eyes shut. I couldn’t stand to watch the take off when everything was so open.

My hair, ripped from its ponytail, lashed at my face in the fierce windstorm surrounding us. I could feel my stomach falling as we began to lift slowly into the air. Clutching the chair arms even tighter, I prayed I wouldn’t loose my stomach there and then on the floor. Kristy’s loud whoops and Stacey’s light, tinkling laughter filled the air as we sprung forward, released from the land and free to roam the seas from incredible heights. Small drops of water fought through my waves of hair to moisten my face; their droplets merging with my nervous beads of perspiration and serving as an ever constant reminder of where I was – which honestly, was front and centre of a death trap.

Moaning, I fought to keep control of my stomach as we began to level out. Stacey and Carly were talking excitedly beside me, exclaiming with delight at all they could see. I tried to no avail to open my eyes. Nope. My body just refused to let me behold the wide expanse of ocean that was surely to become my deathbed. Forcing myself to peek through, I managed to pry one eye partially open, quickly squeezing it closed again as I saw how high we were. Just a few more hours… I just had to make it through a few more hours and we’d arrive at the island for our girls weekend – which would be amazing. Then I would catch a boat back to shore. No way in hell was I getting back on this deadly contraption!

Relaxing my eyelids, I let myself ease back in the seat slightly, never letting go of the armrest. I focused on the suns rays as they caressed my skin and marveled at how quickly it dried the small spots of water on my face into small deposits of salt. I breathed deeply, the odour of petrol now mixed with the fresh, salty aroma of the ocean. I could almost imagine I was just sitting in the bow of a boat and perfectly safe.

I felt the engine slow beneath my feet and prised my eyes open to see what as happening. We were only a few meters from the water now and looming ahead of us was a crack between two large boulders jutting from the depths of the ocean.

“This will take us through to the river” Kristy called out over the wind, “we’ll be at the campsite soon.” Exhaling in relief, I started to actually relax a little more knowing I was a little closer to the ocean and had less chance of dying if we fell from the sky. I glanced over at Kristy; her brow scrunched in concentration as she slowly and carefully meandered the contraption between the cliffs. Stacey, Carly and myself all exclaimed at delight as we flew through. The walls of the boulders stretched high above us, letting only a sliver of sunlight penetrate the water far below. The walls were rough and covered in small green vines and deep aubergine flowers which seemed luminescent in the shadows. The water below us flowed clear and green, and from our vantage point we could see small, colourful fish swimming and jumping. It truly was spectacular and definitely made up for the initial horror of the trip.

Kristy gunned the engine once more as we reached the end of the pass, yelling out to us all to hold on. Frantically I yelled to her to stop what she was doing, it was too fast, too high. Laughing, she looked over at me and replied, “live a little! It’s just one flip, I’ve got this!”

Flip? FLIP!? “ARE YOU INSANE?” I screamed as she took us higher and higher, tilting us until we were staring straight at the sky.

And then it happened. The engine stalled. Squeezing my eyes shut, I screamed in horror as we fell faster and faster towards the water below us. The first shock of water wasn’t too bad, the bottom of the vehicle took most of the brunt. I struggled to get my seatbelt undone and fought against the tugging of the water as it fought to suck me down into its dark, murky depths of death. Finally pulling my seatbelt loose, I thrashed through the current to make it to the surface. Small, white dots blurred my vision, my lungs burnt to breaking point.

And then there was air. I gasped in the fresh, crisp air of life, sobbing in relief I was alive. I knew I never should have come. Splashing around, I looked for the others. Kristy and Carly were both meters from me, but Stacey was nowhere to be seen.

“STACEY?” I called, looking around frantically. “Stacey?” Kristy and Carly joined in looking for her. Taking a deep breath, I dived back under. Spotting her bright red hair still linked to the vehicle, I dove into the depths I had been so scared of only moments before. Her face was relaxed and peaceful, her body limp, still held tight to her chair by that stupid suicide belt. Grasping the belt, I yanked it off her lap and pulled her to the surface with me praying frantically I had gotten to her quick enough to save her.

Swimming towards the shore of the river blindly, I pulled Stacey along. My tears were mixed with the salt water and I couldn’t tell if the rivulets of water streaming down my face were mine or the rivers. It didn’t matter. Hands pulled us out of the water, and I found myself laying next to Stacey, panting for breath as someone administered CPR. Hearing her cough and splutter, I rolled over laughing in relief that we were all ok. It was only then I got a look at our saviours.

Long, dark hair trailed down her back in a messy mass of curls. Her clothing was old and tattered, her feet bare and dirty. Behind her stood a group of people – all the same.

“I guess you’re not here to save us.” She said.

Laying back down, I started at the clear, blue sky. We didn’t die. But it looked like we would never be found again.

Photo credit: Norm Shockley Sr www.normshockley.com

Devil’s Spawn



Gasping for breath, I stopped and leaned against the wall. Closing my eyes I started to sink back, imagining how nice it would be just to stop and sleep right here and now against this hard, cosy wall. 


The piercing wail of the baby threw me back down to earth with a thud. I mentally ticked off what I needed to do to get the rascals I was babysitting into order so I could stop running for just 5 minutes. Change the baby’s nappy. Change the 2 year olds nappy. Give the 2 and 4 year old food laced with sedatives – no, I corrected  myself, no sedatives, no sugar. Just wholesome warm milk and sleep inspiring foods. Put the baby to bed, chase the 2 year old around the house in some twisted ‘game’ she came up with before putting her to bed. Put the 4 year old to bed way too late after the 2 year olds shenanigans. Fall down and die.

Sighing, I reluctantly pushed myself off the wall and headed back into the nursery. No time to waste, time is money and sanity people! Smiling ruefully, I walked back through the open doorway and headed over to pick up little Jamie from his cot. Screaming his lungs out, I managed to get him onto the change table where he proceeded to twist and squirm and almost roll off the table were it not for my firm hand across his abdomen. Sighing, I attempted to get the nappy off with no success. He was moving too much for it to even be possible. I didn’t know what to do, the smell coming from him was horrendous, and I couldn’t put him to bed in a wet nappy for his parents to come home to. I’d never work again!

The delighted shrieks of the other two children floated through the air to my ears. I stiffened. Delighted shrieks are never good with those two rugrats, I thought worriedly. Still holding Jamie, I almost passed out in relief as the imposing, dark figure of my best friend Luke darkened the doorway.

“Oh thank god” I breathed. “You don’t know how much I need your help right now!” I cried.

Laughing, he made his way over to me and took Jamie in his arms who, miraculously, stopped crying. “I’ll take care of this one if you want to get the other two ready for bed?” He asked, chuckling at the horrified expression that crossed my features. “I’ll be there in a moment, to help” he added.

* * *

Two hours, three nappies, four toilet trips and five glasses of water later Luke and I finally collapsed onto the couch in exhaustion. Looking over at him, I saw a smear of mashed potato from dinnertime still adorning his brow, the lines of fatigue firmly etched across his face. Laughing, I reached across to wipe the potato away, wondering ruefully what sight of beauty I portrayed at the moment.

Gently I ran my thumb across his forehand and into his hairline. I’d never noticed before how soft his skin was. He turned his head to look at me, his face all of a sudden so close to mine. I felt my stomach flutter and the breath whoosh out of my body and I looked into his eyes and felt his nearness to me. This was a strange feeling, it was Luke. Just Luke. I’d never felt this way about him before. I slowly lowered my hand from his forehead, but before I could place it back in my lap he grabbed it in his rough, large hand, softly holding on and stroking the inside of my palm. My breathing stilled as his head moved slowly towards mine, his eyes darkening with lust. As his lips met mine, my stomach gave birth to a herd of stampeding cattle. I felt the softness of his lips against mine as he pressed small kisses to my mouth at first, slowly intensifying the pressure as my body responded. As the kisses became more intense and hungry I marveled at how amazing this felt. All along it had been right here in front of me. 



The sun had just lowered below the horizon, blanketing the city in a sheet of darkness. My arms were overloaded from the successful shopping trip I had just taken into the city and starting to strain and hurt from the weight after the long train trip back into the suburbs where we were staying.

Fumbling for my key in my handbag amidst the crinkling bags, I struggled through the door and finally unceremoniously dumped my loot on the lounge. Seeing the bags flop and fan out in a circle symbolising a hard days work, I smiled satisfactorily. A job well done!

Looking around me, I realised the apartment was quiet for once. When there were ten people staying together, one never expects quiet! Finally I spotted them all having drinks out on the far corner of the balcony before heading out for the night. Turning, I headed back into the kitchen to grab my own concoction and join the party; ready to regale everyone with the successful expedition of my shopping trip and solo navigation of the city’s public transport routes.


I froze at the intrusive sound behind me. What was that? I sounded like a camera flash.

Click click click click click.

As I turned around the investigate, the sound became more frantic. Looking towards the corner of the room I saw an older man with a camera raised to his face, capturing my every move. Uneasy, I stared at him as he continued to shoot away.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked, trying to keep the tremor out of my voice that threatened to break through.

Mute and unwavering in his incessant clicking, the man continued on.

“Stop it!” I cried, the shrill tone of my voice starting to betray the fear I was feeling.

Unwavering, his pudgy finger continued to depress the wretched camera button.

“STOP IT!” I screamed this time, making my way towards him quickly as he continued to shoot shots of my face as it came closer and closer towards him. Grabbing the camera from his hands I threw it against the wall, taking delight at the audible crack that rang through the air. Visible rage filled the mans eyes, and I shrunk back, all of a sudden second guessing my ability to take him on alone.

Pondering my next move as this deceivingly small man towered over me, I breathed a sigh of relief as the sliding door to the balcony slid open and Ryan’s voice boomed behind me.

“Who the fuck are you?” He yelled, making his way across the room in a few short strides. Grabbing the man by the scruff of his collar, Ryan shoved him violently against the wall. Watching intently, I waited to see what would happen.

Before he could throw the first punch, Rebecca came through the door screaming for Ryan to put him down. As the others made flocked into the room, the man managed to sneak out. Screaming in frustration, I sank to the floor as what had just happened started to sink in.

Ryan made his way over to where the offending camera lay still and quiet against the beige carpet. As he flicked through the images, scowling in displeasure, I realised my proud throw hadn’t been such a big shining moment that I’d thought it was.

Shaking as Ryan put his arms around me, I started crying. “Shhh” he murmured into my hair. “It’ll be ok now. Let’s just get out of here for now, get you away for the night.”

Nodding in acquiesce, I let him lift me and lead me out of the room.

After three train trips, a bus ride and a fair walk, we finally reached Ryan’s place. Moving into the lounge room, he settled me into the couch and told me he would be right back. Still reeling from what had happened at the apartment, I sat back and closed my eyes, hoping some form of relaxation or sleep would grab me and help calm my frayed nerves.

Light as a feather, fingertips whispered across my thigh.

“Stop Ryan, that’s not funny.” I mumbled through the encroaching darkness of sleep.

More determined and incessant in their strokes, the fingertips moved up and across my thigh.

Shooting up, I opened my eyes to see the seedy camera man hunched on top of me.

Screaming, I struggled with my life as he lay on top of me and attempted to hold me down as his hands roamed my body.

Racing into the room, Ryan grabbed him, throwing clean across the room in a fit of rage. I cowered as I watched him beat, kick and disparage the man, taking some form of reverence in the arc of crimson blood that had sprayed clean across the white wall.

Leaving the unconscious, bloody mess of the man on the floor, Ryan made his way back over to me quickly, pulling me into his arms once again.

“This time he’ll be gone.” He promised.

Photo credit: http://www.photobizcoach.com/wp-content/uploads/bigstock-Press-Paparazzi-holding-camera-25171373.jpg

Guess Who’s Back…


Brrrring. Brrrring.

The incessant shrill of my phone pierced the calm night, echoing through the empty house to where I sat in the bedroom. Jumping up, I ran down the hallway into the kitchen as the ringing increased and taunted me to reach it before it cut off. Skidding to a breathless holt on the tiled kitchen floor, I made a wild grab for the phone, answering it on its last ring.


“Oh thank god you answered!” Andy cried on the other end of the phone hysterically. “I don’t know where we are, they took us and blindfolded us and now we’re sitting here in the car, tied up, all alone.”

“Wait – what- slow down, what the hell is going on?” I stammered as a cold sense of forbidding flushed through my veins.

“I don’t know!” He answered, “Nathan and I were just out getting some dinner and the next thing we knew, we were tied up in the front seat of this car, staring at rows and rows of cornfields somewhere.”

“Are you ok? Do you have any idea where you are?” I asked frantically. “There’s no cornfields around here at all!”

“Shhh” he whispered anxiously into the phone. “I think they’re coming.”

Standing stock still in the kitchen, I gripped the phone so tightly it cut off any circulation to my fingers. Staring blankly at the wall I held my breath, waiting for what was coming next. I know I need to do something, I mused. But what? Call the police! I decided with a jolt. No, no how can you call the police you silly woman? You don’t even know where they are or who took them! Feeling helpless and worried, I slumped against the kitchen counter and slowly slid towards the floor, numb to the cold seeping through my legs from the cold tiles as I listened intently to the static silence coming through the phone.

“Hello boys” a soft feminine voice floated through the speakers. Sitting up suddenly alert, I pressed the phone harder against my ear as if that would take me to them and save them.

“So sorry about the rough ride. We didn’t mean to scare you. We were just having a little fun.” Muffled laughter filled the air; dominant masculine tones overriding the dulcet feminine chirps of the woman. She wasn’t alone.

“We would appreciate it if you boys would kindly slide into the backseat while we place these blindfolds on. Jerry here will be taking over the driving for a little while.”

Jerry… Now where had I heard that name before? In fact, the woman’s voice sounded familiar too. A memory twinged at the back of my mind, fighting through the haze of fear and confusion to get through. Jerry… Jerry and… Matilda! That was it. The coldness seeping through my veins turned to ice as I remembered.

Matilda had been after me. She’d wanted Andy all for herself, and would stop at nothing to get him. A few years ago she’d attempted to kidnap me and have her fathers men kill me but I’d been lucky enough to escape. The police had swooped in and arrested her. But it looked like she was out and back on the prowl for her prey – my Andy.

Placing my phone on the counter quietly, I moved into the next room and grabbed the landline to call the police. Now I knew who had taken them and the police should be able to trace them.

* * *

An hour later I sat in the back of a police cruiser as we flew down the highway with the sirens blaring. The dark landscape flew by, illuminated in a brief glow of red and blue. The wide eyes of surprised animals scurried and sought cover as the violent noise penetrated the cold night. They knew where he was. We were going to save him.

Skidding to a stop in front of an old farmhouse, the police cautiously got out of the car, guns at the ready as they prepared to storm the house and extract the boys. The dirt kicked up from the sudden stop in the old driveway helped hide their movements, and the inky night sky further helped to obscure them from prying eyes.

Nose pressed firmly against the glass, I raised my sleeve to wipe away the condensation from my breath as I watched the two men make their way towards the front door, working in tandem to ensure they remained safe. Standing side by side, they covered the door scouting for danger. Before they could do anything, the door swung open and Andy and Nathan came streaming down the front steps in a blur to get away. Matilda followed only a few steps behind, unaware of the authoritative presence dominating her doorstep at the moment. Screaming obscenities at Andy and I, she was apprehended and dragged away to a second police car.

Pulling Andy tightly against me, I marvelled at once again how we were able to escape the evil woman’s clutches. Hopefully this time she would go away for good.

The Girl With Venom in her Smile

I never really thought I had a problem with my local government… Maybe I still don’t. Maybe I just have a problem with some people destroying the serenity of a place I viewed as the most beautiful, wonderful, magical place as a child. Nonetheless, I’m not really sure where last nights dream came from. It was certainly an interesting experience – one that cumulated with me exhibiting some amazing basketball skills that would have seen me shoot straight to pro… too bad I’m uncoordinated and clumsy in real life. At least in my dreams I get to be a star (and a teenager again apparently!) 🙂 Anyway, I hope you enjoy the latest jaunt into my unconscious mind.

This was totally, 100% unacceptable.

Beyond unacceptable.

Pulling out my notepad and pen, I poised myself to write a very strongly worded letter to the council about this situation. Sitting down on the grass on my front lawn to scribe this complaint I found myself lost for words. Glaring at the landscape around me I angrily threw down my pen and stood up. It was the noise that was blocking my flow – this was meant to be my quiet, peaceful place. This was my home; my front yard and the council had turned it into a detour for traffic. Car after car after car sped through my yard, churning up the painstakingly laid and cared for green grass my father had laboured over and demolishing painstakingly arranged flower beds Mum had planted and lovingly tended to. These assholes were disrupting the natural peacefulness and privacy my home afforded me.

I was livid. I couldn’t see through the haze of red blurring my vision. Angrily I picked up the rocks lining the edge of my driveway and started throwing them at the passing cars in anger, screaming out obscenities as they drove through. How dare they violate my home in this way! I couldn’t even let my dog out anymore for fear she’d be hit by a car speeding through her own backyard. All this because of some zoning blunder. Some thick-headed, stupid imbecile in the past stuffed up the zoning and consequently it had just been discovered that a strip of our property still belonged to the council. And like the money hungry, soul sucking lechers they were, they had decided to capitalise on that and use the strip of land running through the middle of our property for their own private needs.

Not. Happy. Jan.

Feeling a hand on my arm, I whipped around to face whoever had dared come near me.

“You can’t change this now hunny,” my friend Nancy murmured soothingly to me. But we have to go, we’ll be late for school. And we’ve got the big game tomorrow too, we really need to practice!” Pulling my hand gently, she started to lead me away from the local traffic thoroughfare.

Sighing I relented, letting her pull me away from the monstrosity that was my home towards the building a few doors down that we were staying in.

Walking up the front, concrete steps we entered the narrow building. The floor creaked under our footsteps, the old wooden panelling on the walls faded and decrepit in the morning sunlight streaming through the small windows. The carpet, once an olive green, clung to the smells of time and scented the air with its unique brand of must, dust and grime. It wasn’t the most luxurious of homes, but it would do for now as we prepared for the upcoming game.

People milled around us, laughing and joking as they prepared for the day. I patiently waited until the bathroom was free, busting to use the toilet. Finally, the fifth person emerged from the staircase leading downstairs to the bathroom and I hurried in before anyone else could intercept it.

Locking the door solidly behind me I sighed in relief. Finally, five minutes alone to relax and get my head back in the game. Lifting the toilet seat, I shrieked as the door from the other end of the room flew open and three people came bursting in.

“Who the fuck are you?” Demanded a tall, willowy girl. “You can’t be here, this is our bathroom!” She exclaimed.

Stammering I tried to tell them to get out, but before I could the young man; her twin by the looks of it; roughly grabbed my hand and yanked me out of the room, pushing me up the stairs and warning us all to stay away from that bathroom. The only bathroom in the house.

Shrieking in frustration, I followed my own group who were all washed, scrubbed and relieved from the house, waddling to keep my own needs under control until we could reach somewhere suitable. This just wasn’t my day.

Walking towards the school, everyone joked and laughed, gearing themselves up for pre-game day at school. We stood outside the gates when we got there, throwing the basketball around until we were ready to enter. Finally calming down and smiling, I moved to the side with Nancy to discuss strategy.

And then I was gone.

The tall guy from the bathroom had literally swept me off my feet as he ran past; throwing me over his shoulder and running away with me. Screaming, I beat my fists against his muscular back to no avail. He was carrying me like I was a feather, and nothing was making him loose his grip.

Finally he placed me in front of another group. His twin and the other rude girl from the bathroom were standing nearby, and unlike my messily dressed conglomerate of friends, this group was all neatly attired in blue uniforms.

An elderly gentleman approached me, smiling softly and offering his hands to me. Gingerly I took them in mine, unsure of what was happening.

“My dear, I apologise for the uncouth way in which Damien here has bought you to us, but I assure you it is for a very good reason.” Pausing to smile reassuringly at me he continued. “We would love it if you could please join us out on the court to represent our basketball team. We understand how much trouble you are having with the council, and we would be more than happy to assist if you’d agree to switch sides and align yourself with us.”

Looking around I took in the neat, organised group of people. Though malice and venom dripped from their eyes I could see the meaning behind their actions. They just wanted to win. And they’d help me if I helped them.

Taking a deep breath I looked back at the old man. “Ok.” I agreed, unable to say any more for the shock of what I had just agreed to.

* * *

The next day was the game. An outsider looking in would have seen one group – a messy arrangement of mismatched boys and girls jovially approaching another basketball game with fun and laughter in their eyes. The other group stood in stark contrast – crisp, fresh and organised in blue and gold uniforms, their eyes hard and unwavering with tones of evil, malice and intent. And standing front and centre of this group was me. The girl now in blue with venom in her smile.


My Escapades in Wonderland


After this dream I came to a solid decision – no more drinking alcohol before bedtime. It makes for strange strange dreams. I woke up feeling a bit like Alice – drinking a (few) small jars of burning hallucinogenics and falling down the rabbit hole that is my unconsciousness. So, without a firm grip on my own sanity after this dream, I’ll just start from the beginning. Bottoms up!!!


The stadium rose high above my head, its intricate, architectural white marble sides looming and casting long shadows over the car park where I stood as twilight fell. The crowds milled around me – people ferrying pillows, doonas and overnight bags from their cars to the stadium door in preparation for tonight. Looking down, I realised I hadn’t bought anything with me at all. Just the flimsy shorts and t-shirt I was wearing.

Looking around, my eyes passed over hundreds of people searching in vain for the man who had convinced me to come tonight to no avail. Sighing, I let myself get swept up as the crowd slowly surged forward as one, shoulder to shoulder, shuffling towards the two tiny doors of the arena that looked like they’d never let us all in. I guess I would just find him when we got in there. Frowning as elbows jostled my body and people rudely shoved me aside in their hurry to get in, I questioned why I had even come at all tonight. For charity, I assured myself. It’s all for charity. Another sharp elbow to the stomach forced the air from my lungs and caused me to stumble into the woman in front of me. The woman tossed her hair over her shoulder flashing me a haughty, annoyed look. Yep… all for those poor orphans.

As the doors loomed larger and larger before me I started to get excited to see what was inside. These golden tickets of entry were like needles in a haystack to get a hold of; though you’d never know it with the throngs of people fighting to get in. I’d been really lucky to get a spare ticket from him and was glad he’d sent it over to me before the event. The men at the doors stood to attention in red tops and tails. Their skin youthful and oily, their eyes sharp, their smiles friendly. Checking my ticket, one of the young men took my arm and escorted me into the building.

Finally crossing the threshold, I stared in astonishment. It was like a jungle in there – ropes at all different levels throughout the arena suspended small lily pad beds complete with plush white pillows and doonas. Vines with petite lilac flowers curled around the ropes; climbing towards the open-air roof and increasing inky darkness of night. Small pinpricks of glitter smattered over the doonas and lily pads, twinkling under the bright spread of stars. The ground was covered in small, sparkling lights that illuminated the aisles and numbered ladders swaying in the evening breeze. Some beds were already taken – from mums, dads and kids curled up in the biggest pads, to couples hiding under dancing doonas, to individuals settling back with books, drinks and food.

Following the ushers’ directions, I meandered through the thinning crowds towards the back section, climbing my swinging ladder to our pad. Snuggled comfortably under the doona sat Mike smiling down at me.

“She’s finally here!” he exclaimed, reaching out and grabbing my hand to pull me up onto the pad with him. Laughing I let him pull me up, crossing my legs and surveying the world of beds from our high vantage point. Breathing deeply, I let out a small cough, frowning as the toxic smoke of cigarettes filled my lungs. Glancing around I took in the chubby, man-sized caterpillars dotting the landscape. One in particular was sitting a few pads over, blowing smoke rings and ruining the serenity of the night.


I started to move towards the edge of the pad to get some help. This was just unacceptable. Pulling me over, Mike told me not to worry and murmured that we should get some rest. Stretching out, I hugged the snugly, feather doona to my body and closed my eyes. I could forget about it. For charity. Drifting slowly off to sleep, I was jolted sharply back to reality by the loud snores of those around me. Sitting up I looked around, taking in the sleeping figures of chubby caterpillars, men, women and children – all emitting nerve grating, window shattering, ground shaking snores. Flopping back onto my pillow, I blew my hair off my face. I wouldn’t be getting any sleep tonight. Grumbling I reminded myself once again – this is for the orphans.


The Day the Meerkats Disappeared


The front porch was spacious and airy, the ground covered in thick white tiles coated in a rough glaze to stop one from slipping in the wet. A small green elaborately moulded iron table and chairs sat to the side with two small teacups adorning the table. The ground around the front door was littered with shoes – from sophisticated high heels, to converse sneakers, to sandals and thongs – so much so, that Andy and I had to stand in single file to avoid stepping on the mess encroaching on the doorway.

Swinging open the door, we came face to face with a huge, red smile, bright blue eyes and a mob of curly grey hair. Laughing gaily, Mrs Westcombe grabbed our hands and pulled us inside, exclaiming all the while about how happy she was that we could make it today. I turned back and shot Andy a furtive look – what had he told her our reason for coming today was anyway? I only wanted to check out the house in case it was suitable to rent… Not move in there and then! Shrugging his shoulders and smiling sheepishly at me, Andy moved up to walk beside Mrs Westcombe as we made our way down a spacious white tiled hallway into the living and kitchen area.

Andy kept Mrs Westcombe engaged in conversation, so that left me free to examine what we were being shown. Trailing behind them, we made our way through room after room and I appreciatively took in the high ceilings, polished hardwood floors and light and airy atmosphere of each room. Maybe Andy was onto something. I spent time examining the other inhabitants of the house; or at least their belongings to get a feel for who we would be living with if we took the room.

“And now for the crème de la crème!” Mrs Westcombe exclaimed as she threw open the final doorway, leading to the small staircase to the roof. Anticipating a spectacular view and decoration based on the rest of the house, I eagerly climbed the five stairs leading into the sunlight. Stepping out, I recoiled in shock at what lay around me.

“These are my prized possessions!” Mrs Westcombe trilled proudly as she gazed around in satisfaction. I couldn’t speak, couldn’t even stutter out a word. I wanted to be sick. Cage after cage after cage cluttered the rooftop; the cages to my right full of meerkats and those to my left full of boys… teenage boys who looked at me with desperation, sadness and fear in their eyes. Even Andy looked disgusted at this turn of events.

Seeing Mrs Westcombe’s expectant expression as she watched Andy and I take in the rooftop, I thought I should say something. “So… you kept meerkats long?” I asked, kicking myself mentally that that was the only thing I could think of to say.

Laughing, she moved towards one of the first cages and lifted the latch to open it up. “Since I was a child.” She replied, as the two meerkats scurried up her body and perched around her shoulders.

“And what about the kids?” I asked bravely.

“Oh those,” she scoffed, waving her hand in the air. “They’re just a little project I’m working on. Never mind them though, do you think you’ll take the room?”

“Uh, we’ll need to have a little chat.” I choked out. “We’ll get back to you soon.”

“Well don’t take too long!” She trilled as we started to back towards the staircase, “prime real estate like this doesn’t last long!”

Smiling weakly, Andy and I all but ran from the house.

“We have to save those poor kids and those innocent animals.” I said as we sat in shock in our car.

“Tomorrow morning when she leaves for work.” He promised, sitting stock still and staring out the front window.


The next morning, we turned up at the house as Mrs Westcombe was leaving for work and asked to look at the room one more time.

“Of course darlings!” She cried, “just let yourselves out when you’re done!”

Walking into the house, we smiled politely at the two girls sitting on the couch and made our way up the stairs towards the roof. With trepidation I reached out a shaky hand and twisted the knob to the final door that opened up to the small square of blue sky. We made our way quickly up to the roof, backpacks loaded with bolt cutters, food and water for the boys and meerkats. Turning to Andy as we ascended to the roof, I began murmuring the best plan of attack.

And then, once again, we were rendered speechless. All the cages were gone. All the kids, all the meerkats, everything – all gone. Moving to sit on the edge of the roof, I turned to Andy with wide eyes.

“Did we imagine them being here?” I asked.

“No” he growled in reply, “stupid bitch is onto us.” We sat in silence as we comprehended this, sending up a silent prayer for those boys who were once again at the mercy of crazy Mrs Westcombe.

“We’ll still save them though.” I said, more to reassure myself than anyone else.

“Course we will.” Andy said, standing up and holding out his hand for us to leave.

Photo credit: http://rateeveryanimal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/meerkat-family.jpg