A collection of songs inspired by animals that have been totemic in our relationship and musical journey so far. Everything from wolves to sharks to cats to hummingbirds. a sound born in a storm. t…
Welcome back trekkers…to The Void. After an unfortunate and catastrophic accident, Captain Callen Amity and her crew, and their sentient ship, Harold, and two members of an alien race called The Im…
Source: Return to The Void!
Welcome back trekkers…to The Void.
After an unfortunate and catastrophic accident, Captain Callen Amity and her crew, and their sentient ship, Harold, and two members of an alien race called The Immaru, are given another chance at life by an anonymous old friend to humanity in a defiant act of compassion against the Continuum.
What is in store for Captain Amity and her crew as they desperately try to escape the void, and return to Earth with warnings of Reptoids and impending war?
Can they avoid falling apart this time? Can they suppress the madness?
Is Harold damaged beyond repair, or even willing to cooperate with the loathsome humans?
Can The Immaru help them make it home? Or are they cursed with their own limitations and psychosis?
Return for a darker trek. Return to The Void.
A collection of songs inspired by animals that have been totemic in our relationship and musical journey so far. Everything from wolves to sharks to cats to hummingbirds.
a sound born in a storm. this is what happened when a bird fell from the sky and foxes followed us home. this is supernatural, homespun honesty. this is soup, at 4am. this is a map of the stars that trace our fate. this is paprika tea. this is animal instinct. this is our story. our music.
this is the sound that came from a gorge . this is what happened when lovers cut each others hair with a samurai sword. this is inside out and up ‘n’ down. this humble creation from this hibernation. baring and purging. this is defining heroes. this is katsu curry & fermented pears. this could be winter. these are our scars. this is our music.
this is the chaos of living with panthers in a house by the sea, where ravens share their secrets with those who speak their language. this is our allegiance to our ancestors and the salt in our Bourbon. two years of travelling the sun, we are finally home.
Available in three parts or as the full album HERE – https://pilgrimsuk.bandcamp.com/
Join us on our journey, our pilgrimage.
A large, white, senior tom-cat gently strolls through a large, white house. Light jazz music resonates through the rooms and hallways of the house. He slumps down onto his favourite window sill. A space big enough for two. It used to fit two. Two cool house kats that would sit together, side by side, and watch the world go by. But now, he sits alone, forlorn. It’s been a long time since he has seen his friend. She left so suddenly and he has never fully recovered from the loss of her presence, and her love. Nor has he fully given up hope that she will return some day. Return for him. His big, old, olive-green eyes carefully studies each face that goes by, searching for that face, those eyes, that smile. He is so engrossed in his search that he does not notice that the music has stopped.
‘She’s no’ coming back,’ a man says, abruptly, from behind him.
The tom-cat’s ears lower, and he gives a solitary tail wag, acknowledging the man’s voice.
The man huffs and walks away.
The cat’s ears perk up again as he continues his search.
Several miles away a petite, dark-haired woman excitedly dances on the spot in the kitchen of another house. She hasn’t been this excited in a long time. In her hand is a mobile phone with an image of a grey and sand-coloured tom-cat, with dark stripes and spots. A miniature tiger. You could forgive someone for mistaking him for a Scottish wildcat.
‘He’s two years old,’ she tells a man, almost pleading, ‘he’s a Maine Coon/Bengal cross, looking for a loving home and you’ve been saying for a while you’d like to rescue a cat…’
The man, tall and lean with long dirty-blonde hair, smiles as he gazes at her sparkling eyes. He hadn’t planned on a companion animal so soon, but the image of the cat’s charming face and consideration for the animal’s desperate situation, and his lover’s excited anticipation, has him soon nodding his head.
Meanwhile, the white tom in the white house rests his weary head on his front paws. Instinct tells him something is wrong, but he can’t understand what is happening to him. He is so tired. And his heart aches. He huffs as his breathing becomes shallower.
Hours later, the man and woman return to their home with a cat in a box. He runs riot, exploring and rubbing his face on everything, marking out his new territory with his scent. His character shines. The woman takes great delight in feeding him as the man watches, smiling, but he is distracted by the dawning implications of taking on such a responsibility.
However, the cat is friendly and trusting, perhaps too trusting for a desperately cruel and opportunistic world, and as the night rolls in, and all settle in, the man, curiously content, watches his two kats, curled up beside each other, and besides themselves with love. He knows how she has suffered, how she has grieved for another cat, from another life, that she had to leave behind. Often referring to the cat as her best friend, having saved her from herself and a nasty fall from a high-rise precarious perch.
The woman’s eyes flicker open and she gazes at the her new furry friend asleep next to her, she smiles, teary-eyed and reaches for him. She rubs his ribs down to his thigh, his coat is thick and soft, and he mews an almost kitten like cry for a five pound burly cat, and rolls onto his back, with his front paws tucked up like a kangaroo, exposing his belly. She runs her fingers through his super soft and delicate belly fur and he mews again, blissfully purring, and she falls for him, hard.
And miles away, in a vacant white house, the lonesome white tom feels another sharp ache in his chest. Through a deep, thousands of years in the making, inter-species understanding, he now knows his time has come. He knows she has fallen in love with another. She will never return. And his heart breaks, beyond repair. He slowly heaves his weakening body to his favourite window sill, the place where he saw her last as she painfully walked away and out of his life, and gently lies down to die.
We are all animals. We all experience love and pain. Our hearts break. Some heal. Some don’t. It is not a perfect world and there is rarely an ideal solution. But we must follow our hearts, and simply hope that those who are caught in the wake from the vital choices we make, and the chances we take, can endure and recover. And we can only simply grieve for those that do not.
Rest in peace, Jaco.
‘On your marks…’
Two ten year old Scottish schoolchildren, a petite peely-wally boy with an unkempt golden haystack of hair hanging in his eyes, and a tall and lean girl with large pink-framed glasses and a dark cloud of curly hair, are poised at the end of a long corridor in Southwood Primary School.
They both loved to run. And race. And they would often have their own little competitions. Who is the fastest? And sometimes, who is the strongest? They had a special game, called Deid Arm, where they would sneak up on each and try to punch each other on the upper arm, so that it goes limp. A dead arm. They were evenly matched, the girl could give as good as she got. Many a time the boy would be engrossed in an assignment, when…Wham! The girl would catch him unaware with a right hook. And they would laugh as his arm would flop down by his side. She’d left many a bruise.
‘Go!’ the boy blurts, and they both tear away from their agreed start line.
First to the end of the corridor, the finishing line.
They both move like brats out of hell. Running in the corridors was against the school rules. But this added new stakes to the game. Who is the bravest? They enjoyed their little games together. And breaking the rules.
The boy, with shorter legs runs like a knackered hamster on a wheel. His mother’s burnt outsider breakfast offering had long worn off and the boy is already feeling the hunger pang sapping his energy as he runs. But he runs. He can’t lose against a girl.
The girl, with long lean legs, runs in an awkward manner, gangly with knees together, much like a young giraffe falling over its own feet, but she is strong and determined and keeping pace with the scrambling boy.
Halfway down the corridor, disaster. The girl ungracefully trips over her own feet and tumbles to the carpeted floor. The boy notices out of the corner of his eye and turns to her as he runs. She hits the ground hard. There is a brief moment where he sees opportunity and considers running on to another victory. But it is soon overridden with concern for his friend, and he skids to a halt. He turns and runs back to her. She is embarrassed and is already picking herself up off the floor to compensate, despite clearly being in discomfort. She grimaces as the boy helps her to her feet. He scoops up her glasses.
‘You okay, Dawn?’ the boy asks, handing the girl her glasses.
‘Yeah, I think so,’ she says, putting on her specs, and rubbing her elbows and knees. ‘I just fell. These damn legs.’
She looks down at them disdainfully.
The boy sees her frustration and tries to lighten her mood. He always knew how to make her laugh. Like the time he pretended that he had glued his hand to the table, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t move his hand, until she believed his hand was actually stuck. When he revealed he was faking, it was another small victory for him, and she knew it, but she laughed anyway. Fair play.
‘It’s like you want to go so fast that your legs can’t even keep up!’ he offers.
She smiles and glimpses at the boy. There is something in her eye that he does not recognise. She is hiding something.
The boy reckons that she may have hurt herself more than she is letting on.
‘Listen, maybe it was a dumb idea, we don’t have to finish the stupid race if…’
But before he can finish his sentence, the girl takes off down the corridor in one swift movement. The boy instantly realises what she had been concealing in her gaze, and he smiles. Fair play. He turns and quickly assesses the situation. She isn’t too far ahead. Perhaps he still has a chance. He runs after her, pumping his scrawny arms and legs for the win.
But as he gains on her slightly, he knows she has outsmarted him this time. She reaches the double doors at the end of the corridor, still at full steam ahead, and slams into the double doors. She really wanted this victory. Needed it. And she got it.
The boy catches up and they huff and puff, out of breath, for a short time.
‘Very nicely, and sneakily, done. You never cease to surprise me, Dawn,’ the boy smiles, trying to lose gracefully. ‘Not bad for a girl…with bandy legs.’
Dawn laughs unabashedly. She is beaming and elated with her win, but she has suffered for her effort. She reaches down and rubs her knees again.
‘Thanks, Robert,’ she says. ‘I paid for it,’ she says, grimacing slightly as she rubs her wrists, one after the other. ‘But it was worth it,’ she smiles, gazing into his eyes.
He smiles. Her eyes gloat, but she deserved this one.
‘Well, I thought it was awesome, falling and still beating me!?’
She beams again.
‘Yeah, yeah, you go ahead and bask in the glory,’ Robert says, narrowing his eyes. ‘It’ll be short-lived.’
Dawn just laughs, delighted with herself and the attention.
A teacher comes charging through the double doors, almost colliding with the children. She is short and dumpy, with short chestnut hair. In her fifties and dressed in drab grey office attire. She is the school receptionist, Mrs Stark. And not only in name. Also in nature. She pauses, looking down her long round nose at them, with suspicion.
‘What are you pair doing?’ she asks, bluntly.
Dawn seems to panic and shuffles, unsteadily, on her feet. She never could get used to authority. But Robert had long learned how to talk his way out of trouble, having been in a lot of trouble in his short life.
‘We are heading back to class, Mrs Stark, we were at the toilet.’
Mrs Stark considers the information for a moment and then seems to revert to the formal spiel.
‘It is strictly forbidden for children to congregate in the corridors.’
‘Yes, I agree, Mrs Stark, we can’t condone children casually congregating in the corridors,’ Robert teases, holding Mrs Stark’s glare.
Dawn lowers her head trying to conceal her smile and stifle her amusement.
‘Yes, well, children are expected to return from toilet breaks as quickly and quietly as possible. So I suggest you both do that,’ Mrs Stark says, her eyes rolling slightly and her eyelids fluttering as she struggles with her own sense of authority.
‘Will do, Mrs Stark,’ Robert smiles.
Mrs Stark just stares at him, leaning slightly away from him, as if he is a dangerous cobra that could strike any moment. She shuffles passed them and takes off down the corridor.
‘Better get back to class,’ Dawn says.
Robert gets another hunger pang and his stomach rumbles. He groans and holds his stomach.
‘You okay?’ Dawn asks.
‘Yeah, just hungry.’
‘Well, lunchtime is only an hour away.’
Robert takes a deep breath through his nose. There is a sweet and savoury aroma lingering in the air. He now becomes aware of the distant sounds of plates, cutlery and pots crashing, tinkling and clanging together. The dinner-ladies in full swing.
‘Race you back to class?’ Robert suggests.
Dawn laughs and shakes her head.
‘I think my knees have taken enough punishment. Quit while ahead, eh?’
They turn and push open the double doors and make their way back to class.
After an agonisingly slow hour, the dinner bell rings and Robert hurriedly makes his way to the canteen to see what goodies the dinner ladies have rustled up. He is hoping for pizza. As he enters the large assembly hall that doubled as the school canteen, the folding tables and chairs are all laid out and many seats are occupied. There is a steady din, as children and staff chatter and eat.
Robert looks at the blackboard where the daily menu is written in chalk. No pizza today. He is disappointed. He settles for brisket and potatoes with gravy. He had been dreaming about pizza and feels frustrated as he joins the dinner queue. But he soon lightens up when he sees Dawn, already seated at a nearby table, eating her lunch with a friend. She is always seated first. And she is completely unaware of his presence.
Robert knows he has a chance here. To get in a sneaky victory, in return for Dawn’s sneaky tactics earlier. He quickly tip-toes up to her and lands a right jab on her right arm. Her friend gasps, but Dawn just bursts out laughing as she holds her sore arm.
‘Deid arm!’ Robert cries, laughing, and hurries back to re-join the dinner queue.
‘I’ll get you back!’ Dawn warns, after him.
And Robert knows she will. But he grins, satisfied with having the upper hand for now.
‘What do you think you’re doing?’ asks an infuriated red headed boy, standing in the queue next to Robert, who had witnessed the scene. Robert turns to him.
‘What do you mean?’
‘I saw what you just did.’
‘So? How would you like it if I came up and punched you in the arm?’
‘No wait, you don’t understand, I do that all the time.’
‘What!?’ the boy asks, taking a threatening step forward.
‘No,’ Robert says, raising his hands, ‘what I mean is that it’s a game.’
The boy looks even more exasperated.
‘That we both play,’ Robert adds.
Dawn and her friend have noticed the confrontation and are now watching. As are other children.
‘Seems a little unfair to me,’ the boy says, looking Robert up and down.
‘Well, because…’ the boy says, glancing over at Dawn. ‘Because she’s a…’
‘Girl?’ Robert interrupts. ‘Don’t worry about that, she’s given me a few crackers…’
‘I was going to say… a spastic! You can’t just go around punching a spastic.’
The canteen has fallen quiet as most of the children are now engaged with the commotion. Robert’s eyes meet Dawn’s. There is a deep sadness in her eyes and she blushes hard, embarrassed at the attention drawn to her disability. Dawn has cerebral palsy. It is slowly crippling her, and has already taken a major toll on her body. As a result, she is bow-legged and has mobility difficulties. But she can run, and she is fast. And she is strong. And her disability was never an issue or a focus in their friendship.
As Dawn and Robert stare at each other from across the canteen, they share an unspoken understanding of how the outraged boy has inadvertently offended and isolated her by trying to ‘stick up’ for her. Perhaps his heart was in the right place. But for Robert, he never treated Dawn like an invalid. Or a disabled person. Or a spastic. He treated her as an equal. And Dawn realised that their competitiveness and friendship was proof of this. She didn’t want special treatment. She didn’t want cotton wool wrapped around her. She just wanted to be treated like any other ordinary child, despite her illness.
As more of the children take notice, they gawk at Dawn.
‘What happened?’ someone asks.
‘He hit a spaz,’ someone else answers.
Dawn lowers her head and quietly sobs, overwhelmed by the awkward moment.
‘See,’ the redheaded boy blurts, becoming enraged. ‘You’ve made her cry.’
He rushes at Robert and they grapple.
‘You don’t understand…’ Robert tries to explain, ‘We’re…friends…’
But the children have broken out into a yelling rabble as they gather around the scuffle.
An unamused teacher is soon over, breaking up the fight.
‘What is the meaning of this behaviour?’ the teacher demands, a tall man, with tawny-brown hair and a moustache, and small but frightfully piercing dark eyes, called Mr Dobbin.
‘He started it,’ Robert says, poking a finger at the redhead.
Mr Dobbin turns to the boy.
‘Is this true?’
‘It is, sir, but only because I saw him hitting that spastic,’ he admits, and points to Dawn.
Everyone gawks at Dawn again and she lowers her head again, and begins to sob. Mr Dobbin turns to her and notices she is upset. He becomes very concerned and turns to Robert.
‘You did what?’ he asks, with a look of disgust on his face.
‘You don’t understand, it’s just a game…’
Mr Dobbin lunges at Robert and grips him by his shirt collar and begins to march him out of the canteen.
‘Let’s go,’ Mr Dobbin says, sternly, ‘you can explain this sick slap the spaz game of yours to the headmaster.’
Some of the children laugh.
‘Okay everyone, back to your lunch,’ Mr Dobbin says, raising his voice.
Robert and Dawn glance at each other again as he is brashly escorted out of the canteen. Dawn looks devastated. Robert winks at her.
‘In trouble again!’ he calls out to her, as he is dragged away.
And just before he is pulled away through the canteen double doors, he notices her eyes twinkle and she smiles. She holds her arm.
‘I’m due you one’ she calls out.
Robert smiles and disappears as the double doors swing closed.
Hello Worpressers –
Follow this link to my new novel, Ace Ventura – White Devil.
It’s a dark and twisted tale, but not without humour, about Ace. Ace, as you have never known him before.
He is older, wiser and just a tiny bit more insane. He has taken to vigilante style justice, utilising his animal rights organisation, ACE (Animal Cruelty Extermination), to protect the innocent animals of the world, at any cost.
And he goes by the name – White Devil.
A young FBI agent, Joshua Jamieson, is tasked with infiltrating ACE in an attempt to find and stop the White Devil, before he kills again.
But what Jamieson learns along the way, rocks the foundations of the reality he thought he knew.
Who is next on the White Devil’s list?
Can Jamieson stop the White Devil before he strikes again, and before he loses his own mind in the process?
Enjoy and share.
Chapter 1 – A Royal hunt
Gaewick Forest, Perthshire, Scotland.
Three middle-aged men, dressed in green camouflage overalls and hiking boots, tread heavily through dense forest. The morning air is cool and fresh with a distinct pine aroma. The wood is a typical Scottish forest with a variety of different trees – oak trees, silver birch, majestic Scots pine, ash, sycamore, Douglas fir, the ancient yew tree, horse-chestnut trees and many more.
Two of the men carry on their shoulders a carved wooden pole, and tied to that pole, hanging from its feet and swinging lifelessly, is the dead body of a stag. The third man, leading the other two, carries two hunting rifles, one over each shoulder. They are in high spirits after a satisfying hunt, laughing and jeering.
‘They can camp outside of the old hag’s palace for all the good it will do them,’ sneers the man…
View original post 72,286 more words
Robert lives alone in a house with all the windows boarded up on both sides.
Windows are bad.
The lighting in the house is always dim and carefully positioned to avoid casting any shadows.
Shadows are bad.
And there are no mirrors.
Mirrors are bad.
No glass. No TV sets. No polished metal.
In fact, there are no reflective surfaces of any kind.
Reflective surfaces are bad.
Because within reflections and shadows lives the other Robert.
And the other Robert is bad.
Robert has to time his movements outside, very carefully, to avoid the sun. The sunlight would cast a shadow. He would wait until sundown to venture out. He even has to plan his routes in advance to avoid certain street lights.
And shops and supermarkets are out of the question. He does all his shopping online, with a very low light monitor. Delivered late at night, of course.
He dare not drive until it is absolutely necessary.
He wouldn’t bother going out at all, but there are some things he must do.
It is all a calculated risk.
Because if the other Robert gets the chance, he will start to exert his will, and that would be bad.
So many times before, before Robert altered his lifestyle, before he knew how to keep the other Robert at bay, the other Robert had spoiled so much, for so long.
But those days are over. No longer would Robert allow the other Robert to meddle.
As long as he sticks to the routine.
But if there is one thing that can disrupt a man’s routine, his order, aside from death; it’s a woman.
Once a month, no more, no less.
The life Robert leads is a solitary, lonely one. He has urges, like any man. A carnal craving. But meeting women has proven difficult over the years, what with the awkward conditions and necessary precautions he has to adhere to. How does one style one’s hair or gauge one’s appearance without mirrors, for example?
Today is a normal Friday. Late Friday night. It has been a month since…the last time. It’s time to hit the town. Time to quench a particular thirst.
Robert is dressed in his outfit for the evening. Black boots, black jeans and a black polo-neck jumper. To match his mop of black hair. He looks good in black and he reckons that the ladies love a man dressed in black. The dark mystery.
He stands in his bedroom, his hand clutching a sheet, which has been pulled over a free standing mirror. He is nervous, breathing heavily.
‘One glance,’ he tells himself.
And with one sudden and quick motion, he pulls the sheet away. He braces himself as he looks into his own terrified eyes, reflected in the mirror. But as his reflection stares back at him, he watches the fear fade from his expression, as he, himself, relaxes. He stares at his own face. A month since he last saw it. He looks himself up and down.
‘I scrub up well,’ he says, and his reflection even smiles back at him.
No sign of the other Robert.
Feeling confident and in control, Robert decides to not push his luck and to cover the mirror with the sheet again. He moves to bend down and pick up the sheet, but from the corner of his eye he notices that his reflection is no longer matching his own movements. In fact it does not move at all. Robert feels panic wash over him, hitting him hard, like a tsunami. He quickly glances up to see his reflection standing perfectly still, glaring at him with contemptible eyes.
‘No, no, no!’ Robert blurts, as he hurriedly snatches up the sheet and rushes towards the mirror. He tries not to make eye contact.
‘You can’t shut me out forever!’ the other Robert yells, furious, as Robert frantically covers the mirror.
Robert stumbles backwards, disturbed by the encounter.
‘Oh yeah!?’ Robert shouts at the mirror, trying to find his nerve. ‘We’ll see about that!’
He heads out of his bedroom and towards the front door. He pulls on his coat, a black blazer, and slips his hands into his driving gloves and leaves, locking the door behind him.
He pauses outside his door, gazing up into the starry night sky. He draws in a deep breath of cool crisp air and holds it. He still feels unsettled. But he is determined not to let the other Robert spoil his evening, before it has even begun. He exhales slowly, feeling calmer, but excited about the night ahead.
He makes his way to his modified van. The wing and rear view mirrors surfaces are covered in a non-reflective plastic sheeting, which makes the mirrors still look the part, to avoid the unwanted attention of passersby, or the police. He climbs in the van and starts the engine, not noticing the corner of the plastic on the rear view mirror, which has peeled away slightly. He slowly pulls out of his long dark driveway and takes the road leading him into town.
As he enters the town the traffic increases, as does the lighting intensity. Headlights, streetlights and lighting from businesses and bars cast moving, but fleeting, shadows of himself inside his van. He does what he always does on this monthly prowl and tries to ignore them, as they seem to threateningly flash by him, looming and reaching out for him. He can almost hear a faint voice from each shadow, whispering warnings and disdain.
The other Robert trying to manifest and meddle, as usual.
As another shadow flits towards Robert with an outstretched claw-like hand, he finds himself ducking away from it. As he does he loses control of the van and he swerves precariously over the road, almost hitting another parked car.
‘Fucking leave me alone!’ Robert cries, gripping the wheel and correcting his steering, regaining control of the vehicle.
He realises he is on edge, and decides to pull over, in a darker secluded street. He lowers his head and covers his face with his hands. He is regretting heading out tonight. It’s never easy, and tonight has been no exception.
‘Why can’t you leave me alone?’ he asks nobody, shaking his head. There is no sign of the other Robert. ‘Huh? Why can’t you leave me alone to live my life? Why can’t you just let me have one night?’
Of course, there is no answer. Only a frustrating silence.
Robert is disheartened. Afraid. He can feel that the other Robert’s presence is stronger tonight. Closer tonight. Just waiting for the opportunity to appear and do what he does best; spoil everything. Robert decides to call it quits. It’s not worth the risk after all. But then he hears a sound. A recurring, if somewhat erratic, sound approaching. A clicking, clacking sound. A sound Robert knows. The sound of high heels on concrete. He looks up to see a young woman, scantily dressed, stumbling up the pavement towards his van. She is obviously drunk.
‘Too drunk to walk,’ Robert whispers, and as if she heard him, she staggers and falls forward, hitting the pavement hard.
Robert watches her for a moment, shocked. She doesn’t seem to be moving. He slowly switches off his engine and unfastens his seat belt. As he reaches for the door handle, he glances in the rear-view mirror and notices that the plastic sheeting has peeled away, now revealing half of the mirror. The other Robert is peering back at him, his eyes glowering and intimidating.
‘What do you think you are doing!?’ the other Robert yells.
‘Shit!’ Robert cries, reaching up and fumbling with the sheeting, trying to re-stick it onto the mirror. He releases it and it flops back down, revealing the other Robert again.
‘You can’t hide from me, Robert. I’m always here, waiting and watching.’
‘Stay away from me!’ Robert cries into the mirror. ‘Stay out of my life…my decisions…you do nothing but hinder me. Hound me. You spoil everything.’
The other Robert is enraged.
‘No, you do that, you spoil everything! Don’t you see!?’
‘No!’ Robert shouts, as he pulls the sheeting over the mirror again. He holds it there with his hand. ‘I’m not listening to you.’
There is silence again, except for Robert’s heavy breathing. He looks up to find the woman beginning to stir. He opens the van door and swings it open. He releases the sheeting, and as he leaves the vehicle he can’t help but shoot a last glance at the mirror. The other Robert glares back at him, shaking his head. Robert tuts and flips a mid-digit at the mirror and climbs out of the van. He looks up and down the street. It is relatively deserted. He rushes towards the woman.
‘Jesus,’ he says, as he reaches her, ‘are you okay? I saw you fall.’
The woman tries to look up, but she is disorientated. She has a round bump and deep gash on her forehead. Blood is trickling from the wound.
‘…Not…feeling too good…’ she tries to say.
Robert carefully and slowly pulls the woman up and onto her feet again. Her legs buckle. Robert grips her tightly.
‘I can take you to a hospital?’ he suggests.
The woman seems to frown.
‘…Just…want to go home…’ she mumbles, her eyes rolling.
‘You have a nasty cut on your head, maybe I should take you to a hospital?’
The woman drunkenly shakes her head.
‘…Home…’ she says.
‘Well, if you tell me where you live I will take you home.’
The woman pauses, swaying slightly. She tries to focus on Robert’s face. But her eyes seem to have a mind of their own.
‘Yes, I’m a taxi,’ Robert lies, ‘I’ll take you home if you tell me where you live.’
The woman hesitates.
‘…Forty five…Ssshorehead Road…’ she slurs.
‘Shorehead Road, I know it well,’ Robert smiles, lying again.
Robert, with his arm around the woman and his hands gripping her upper arms firmly, begins to lead her towards his van. A car appears from nowhere, speeding along the road behind them. He panics, but then realises that they must look like a normal drunk couple walking home, or to the next pub. He relaxes, but as the car draws closer, the headlights cast a large shadow of them both. Robert watches his own shadow begin to move independently. It turns on him and reaches out a hand. It manages to snare his arm, halting him in his tracks. Robert struggles to free his arm from the other Robert’s steely grip.
‘Get off me!’ Robert cries, trying to hold the woman and fight off the other Robert too.
The woman seems to have a moment of clarity and realises the odd situation she is in. Now she tries to pull herself away from Robert, but his grip is just as steely as the other Robert’s.
‘…What are you…doing?’ she asks, now with serious concern in her eyes.
Robert looks into them and sees a faint reflection of himself. But not of himself, of course. The other Robert scowls back at him with antipathy and determination in his eyes.
‘Not again!’ the other Robert bellows.
The car passes by and the other Robert fades away again, to Robert’s relief.
‘Let go of me…’ the woman says, and tries to free herself again.
‘Please…’ Robert says, now almost wrestling with her, ‘if you just…get in the van…I’ll take you…home.’
But the woman is now distraught with fear and begins to yell.
‘Help!’ she cries, into the night.
‘Please…’ Robert says, looking up and down the street to see if she has drawn attention. Satisfied that she has not, he swiftly punches her in the solar plexus. She instantly doubles over, winded.
Robert brashly drags her to the rear of his van and opens the door. He swings it open and crudely crams the gasping woman inside. He climbs in and lifts a roll of duct tape from a hook. He bites off a piece of tape and quickly binds her hands together, behind her back. He binds her feet together. Then he places another piece of tape over her mouth. The woman cries and whimpers as Robert slowly crawls out of the back of the van. He watches her for a moment, jarred and vacant, before slamming the doors closed.
Robert climbs into the driver seat again and closes the door. He starts the engine. He glances up at the rear-view mirror. The other Robert is there, glaring back at him with a desperate and embittered look on his face. He looks ashamed. But Robert is not ashamed, clearly. A cunning devilish grin stretches across his face.
‘Try as you might to spoil everything, you failed again. You’ll never stop me.’
The other Robert just turns away, disgusted and saddened.
As the woman moans and squirms in the back of his van, Robert pulls away from the roadside and heads back the way he came. Back home to safety, and protection from reflections and shadows. Protection from his own conscience, the other Robert.
In case you missed it amongst the Crimbo fiasco!
Part 2 of Wilderness. An album from my band Pilgrims. Enjoy.
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