Intriguing – A Potential Story Snippet

Check out this story starter that I wrote recently. I hope that it makes you wonder about the characters and upcoming drama. I would love to read your feedback below.

Chapter One (Jack)

 

There are lots of exciting things going on in this town at any given moment. When I moved here, though, I had no idea that a place could be this messed up. Just three years ago I packed up all of my belongings and made the bold move up North, away from the London fringe that  encapsulated my rather sheltered childhood. It had taken me about three years to save up enough of a deposit to lay down on a two bedroom house in what appeared to be a beautiful historic town, nestled between the hills of Yorkshire. Little did I know, this place was full of weirdness; riddled with gossips, intrigue and a strange sense of community which presents itself as a shield under which dark personalities seem to lurk, menacingly. Who would have thought that it would be my job to draw out these menaces and expose them?

 

 

Having worked in advertising for some time, I felt I was now in a position to start my own business. One of my old mates from University was working for a law firm near York and he had offered me a contract to begin designing a package to help advertise their continued expansion. The advance for this alone had secured my office right in the centre of this fascinating little country town. I also had a former colleague who had just moved to Yorkshire with her girlfriend and she had offered her services if I decided to go it alone. Seema was a graphic designer and already had most of the equipment she needed to get us started. It seemed only fair that I made her a partner when we registered the firm. Everything was set in motion. Back then it all seemed perfect. Such a wonderful business opportunity. A chance to move away from the folks and make my mark on a new community.

 

I was determined to throw myself straight in by joining a club, maybe trying the local gym, getting onto a dating website and keeping myself as busy as possible. It was going to feel so refreshing not living at home and having to sneak in quietly after a night out. Finally I had the freedom to do whatever I liked, whenever I felt like it. This town, Olding, was going to be the place where I made my fortune. I could already feel the good vibes as I took my very first stroll down to the local supermarket.

 

Small but convenient, this independent little store had absolutely everything you could need. Next to the groceries were shelves full of DIY tools. Just around the corner was curtain fabric, right before paints and brushes. Then, before you reached the checkout, there was even a selection of underwear to peruse. It was a supermarket with a difference. It bordered on being a mini-department store but with slightly less sophistication. The owners certainly tried hard though. It was very clean, lit well and had useful signage.

 

I had followed the sign that led to beverages and noted the two diagonal arrows reaching down from it. One stated, ‘fizzy drinks’, whilst the other was labelled, ‘booze.’ I chuckled as I read that one and picked up a four pack of lager before moving on. Five packets of crisps and a sausage roll later, I was in the queue, feeling entertained by the seemingly elderly lady processing the goods at the checkout. She was incredibly quick. If scanning products was to become an Olympic event, she would win gold, hands down. The fascinating thing was that she worked swiftly but was still able to chat non-stop, engaging with the customers on a very personal level, without breaking a sweat or showing any signs of being out of breath. For what seemed like an eighty year old, she had a lot of stamina.

 

She glanced at me briefly, smiling as I placed my stuff onto the conveyor belt. The young guy in front of me was busy checking his phone.

 

“You going to pack your bags, Tom?” she asked politely.

He looked up, surprised that his shopping was already through.

“You get faster every day,” he sniggered as he went to collect up his milk, eggs and bread and shove the lot all into a flimsy plastic bag.

“Mind it don’t break. These bags are getting thinner and thinner,” she warned before reading out the total.

 

She went to open up a few more bags for me but I stopped her in her tracks.

“I have my reusable bags with me.”

“Oh, you’re one of them.” She turned to Tom and winked.

He smiled back at her and looked at me curiously.

“Don’t worry. You’ll get used to the yocals. It just takes a bit of time.”

With that, he marched off, holding his bag in one hand and trying to text with his other.

 

“If you buy two of these you get a quid off,” she pointed out as she raised the sausage roll to scan it.

“Thanks. Can I go back and get it?” I asked, backing out and returning to the chiller.

By the time I had returned, she had packed my things and was waiting for me, expectantly.

“Wow! You didn’t have to do that!”

“Haha I even used your special bags,” she grinned as I handed her my tenner.

“Not bad value either,” I said as she gave me fifty pence change.

 

She seemed to hang on to it a bit longer than expected. As we both touched the coin, she whispered, “I like you. You will be popular around here.”

Nobody else was in the queue but I got the feeling she was trying to tell me something.

“Just keep your wits about you. Have a good day.” She seemed to mutter the first part and announce the last bit confidently, so that anyone overhearing would tell that she was using good customer service etiquette. Not being a very suspicious person, I came away thinking that this very friendly cashier was a reflection of the new town I’d chosen to live in. Lovely, genuine people in a picture postcard setting. You never would have imagined that she was going to be so important to me in the months ahead. She was to be my guardian angel.

This is taken from a draft that I started a year ago and recently rediscovered. Now that I look at it with fresh eyes I wonder if it will make a reasonable beginning to my next novel. Let me know what you think. I won’t be offended if it seems dull. For a sample of my new YA book simply click here. If you enjoy my writing then please consider following my blog for similar future content.

The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost – Story Extract

Here is another extract from my dramatic little book that explores relationships, teen angst and mental health. I hope that you find this part somewhat intriguing.

The weather seemed a lot more bleak the next day. I took the dog for a walk after dropping Max off at school. I had called work and taken a day off because I wanted to clear my head and they owed me a few days so it really made no difference anyway. I could not stop thinking about the mysterious death of Alex’s wife or the horrid reality of my own sinking marriage. It was a train wreck. It had been for quite some time. After these recent events it seemed to have come to the point where I had to really think carefully about my future, and how that future could impact on Max. In these situations, the only person I could turn to was my brother, Jamie. He would listen to me rant and not judge me but he would also make me see sense. As I found myself edging towards his street, I suddenly had the urge to direct message the teacher again. I could not help myself. ‘Hi, please keep an eye on Max for me. Thanks. Matt.’ I left it at that but hoped he would at least give me an update on how the boy was doing at school. It was only yesterday that Max was in a fight on stage, and they still had another performance of their play this afternoon. His mum swore on her mother’s life that she would go to this show, but I knew he was not bothered either way as he was used to no shows when it came to her.

 

The wind was howling now and really blowing me about, causing the dog to get excited and my hair to break through the crust of fixing gel and start flailing around wildly. I knew I should have bought a ‘Super-hold’ version of gel rather than the light touch one. Aesthetics went out of the window for a minute as I tried to reclaim my balance. I had lost concentration for a second and walked over a hole in the footpath, stumbling slightly and letting go of the dog lead, momentarily. The stupid dog legged it at his first chance. He was always a runner. I cannot believe I had let go so quickly. Fego was gone in an instance and now I would spend the afternoon trying to hunt him down once more. Could this day get any better? I started to turn back for the car, when a friendly face appeared in a vehicle which had pulled up beside me. It was Nicole, my cousin, and she was eager to tell me that she had just seen what she thought was my dog racing down the high street. I hopped into her Mercedes and we did a three sixty. The dog was my mission but my head was telling me to offload a bit to Nicole while I had the opportunity. The only problem is, she would judge me. She had always seen the good in everyone. She would not make it easy for such a conversation. I decided to rein it in and chat about the suicide. A safer topic, ironically.

 

Nicole had to have the window open as we drove, which to me seemed crazy, as not only did it make it very cold inside that car, but it made it even harder to hold a meaningful conversation over the howling noise of the encroaching wind. Her hair swept back freely as we negotiated several bends in the street and she had always got her radio on in the background. This meant I had to literally yell whatever I was going to say to her out loud.

She looked carefree as she drove.

‘So how did Fego get away from you this time?’ She shouted.

‘I fell over a broken bit of kerb.’

‘I swear he was just round here about five minutes ago.’

‘He will come home eventually. He usually manages to.’

‘You seem like something else is puzzling you,’ she screamed happily.

‘Well yeah, this whole suicide thing. It doesn’t make any sense. It just all of a sudden…’

‘I know what you mean,’ she interrupted mid-sentence, ‘but you know she was never really happy. Their marriage was probably a sham.’

‘What makes you think this?’ Now my curiosity was growing exponentially.

Nicole took a moment to clear her thoughts and compose herself before she replied.

‘Are you kidding? She was a nervous wreck.’

‘How do you know? I mean I never really noticed anything unusual,’ I shouted back doubtfully.

Nicole slammed on the breaks and pulled into a little lay-by. She turned off the engine and wound up the window. I could tell she was more concerned about people hearing this part but I could see no sign of anyone around us. She moved her head closer to me and took a deep breath.

‘You are not exactly the observant type, cous!’ she snapped.

‘What do you mean?’ I replied with a defensive whine.

‘You spend your whole life wrapped up in a bubble. Wrapped up in yourself and your world.’

‘How dare you! I have never done anything to cheese you off. I notice stuff!’

‘But you don’t! You go from place to place. You have earphones in most of the time. You unplug yourself from what is really going on on your own doorstep. I mean I am not trying to upset you but wake up and smell the coffee.’

AD – Thank you for checking it out. There is a link to the book below if you feel like reading more. For an extract of another shorter story, click here.

Being Watched – My New Book

The story starts with a bike ride. This is the only picture I could find.

This is a small excerpt from my forthcoming YA mystery book. I hope you like it. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I was keen to get into the YA genre as I enjoy reading YA stories a lot. Inspired by a range of authors, I decided to try my hand at something mysterious but still grounded in genuine drama.

I simply couldn’t look her in the eye. I shied away from her gaze as I tugged her up from beneath the scratchy hedge that had protected our falls. With a cut lip and some already visible bruises, I was feeling worse for wear. She had a bump on her cheek and a few grazes, but seemed to have come off better than I had. It was difficult to get back to reality and regain our focuses after such a traumatic event. Glancing back over my shoulder, I could see the house looking almost unchanged. It seemed to stand more erect than before apart from the shattered windows of the conservatory and the door that was hanging off its hinges. It blew in the wind and banged loudly every second or two. It’s rhythm was awkward and seemed to resonate within my chest. She looked at me and caught my eye. We had survived something that only we could ever understand. Nobody would even believe us if we told them. It all started that day when I suggested we look for her stupid blue scarf. But it was not her fault. Far from it. It needed to come about in this way. I can remember everything right from when we got together that morning to cycle into the woods.

 

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Chapter One

 

It was quite a sunny day and we were enjoying a ride over to the neighbouring town where we wanted to get some new trainers. Mum had given me some cash, with strict instructions to get ones that would last a long time rather than just ones that looked good out and about on the streets. She had reminded me that training shoes were for exercise and fitness and not just for showing others how much money I could waste. I was not as bothered about looks as she thought, but I did want to make sure that I got my favourite brand. Siobhan, however, was also interested in checking out a new shop which apparently everyone was talking about. By everyone, she must have meant her girly friends, as I knew nothing about it. It was one of those new shops that sold stuff at a reduced rate from outlets that belonged to big chains and she had her hopes set on buying cheap trainers and still having enough money left for a brand new pair of cut price designer jeans. I suppose we both had brands that we liked and so we had a similar reason for going to town that day. We just had not planned on getting interrupted. By interrupted, I mean starting a sequence of events that would lead to us being swept into a bush, grazed and washed out, lucky to still be in one piece. But that was all yet to come months later.