Old Tales

I bought myself a floppy disk reader. I know! Seriously outdated hardware.

There is a reason; I have a number of stories and plots from the last eighteen years that have been lost to me for a all that time. So far I have transferred a large amount of these files to the main pc but now… I have to convert them all from Lotus Wordpro to a simple doc format.

What I have found in these files are a fair number of horror stories I’d forgotten and few screenplays I’d written too. There’s even a few bits of fantasy.

The upshot of all this? I have way too many stories to write!

😉

James

I’ve updated the synopsis of Her Name is James. Any comments, especially from those who have read it (and those who chose not to) would be very welcome. New synopsis is below.

Her Name is James.

     A coming of age, lgbt romance.

At fifteen years old, James Farrow was removed from home by social services for his own safety. Now he is eighteen, he is no longer the responsibility of the welfare state. Returning home to an uncertain reception, James finds his father has mellowed and his brother is delighted to have his hero back.

Life could run smoothly for James now he is home again but he has a painful truth to confess; James is transgender. He’s always known he wasn’t intended to be born a boy but now he wants to begin his transition into the woman he should be.

Even before he faces his family, a ghost from his past emerges. A friend who seeks to blackmail him for an act recorded he wishes hadn’t happened. Fear of his past being exposed, he agrees to the friend’s demands with unpleasant repercussions.

Just as things couldn’t get worse for the young teenager, his brother learns his hero is much less than he though and the younger sibling’s anger becomes physical.

James has one confidante, a friend since childhood; Tina is his support through all his anguish but she too rocks his world when she admits she loves him. Confused and struggling to come to terms with his own feelings, James needs to find a resolution that both meets his needs and is accepted by friends and family alike.

Her Name is James is an emotional journey for the lead character and for the reader alike. It is an involved tale that avoids the sensational aspects of the life of a transgender teen and concentrates on the needs and compromises James has to face up to.

NOTE: The aspects of transition made mention of in this story relate to the process as it stands in the United Kingdom and some readers will identify significant differences if making comparison to other countries actions.

Explaining Dark Angel

Okay, this is to try and answer a question on my facebook page regarding the religious aspects of Dark Angel.

The majority of belief through the series can be identified as either Judaic or Christian as for the most part, where religion is mentioned, it is from the old testament. A notable exception is the mention of St Peter through the set of books and the appearance of a Catholic priest in book two. (There is also a brief chapter that references the Pope).

Having said that, there is nothing detrimental intended to any religion. Dark Angel is about good versus evil. It revolves around the intent to bring Hell to the world of men. Does that mean I have adhered to Church doctrine? To be fair, no I guess I haven’t but I can say, my variance has been both gentle and subtle.

There are two primary angels in the books, they are Briathos and Leo. Briathos begins as a somewhat judgemental individual whereas Leo is the more forgiving. They are not intended to be a mirror to hold up to all angels; the role of each is outlined as ‘one who thwarts demons’. They are portrayed as pure souls but I have given them reasoning and rationale that permit them to adapt and change their perceptions. They are individuals and at no time to do I suggest their thinking and actions are typical of the Host or of the intent of a divine source. In fact, there are occasions when either or both rail against instruction that has been attributed to Saint Peter.

There is an active role given to archangel Michael and here, I have sought to paint him as archaic as I could. He is a character who is described as the Host’s warrior, (think of him as a cross between Hercules and Moses). Michael is portrayed as in the Apocrypha as a fire and damnation type of angel. He has a lassitude that that is not given to other angels and he will actively war against evil whereas the angels of the Host have limitations to their actions.

On the opposite ‘team’ a few demons are made use of; Mastema (to tempt people to sin) and Xaphan (former fallen angel, fans the furnaces of Hell) are all you would expect of demons. There are some human characters who to be honest, are quite possibly more evil than the demons they serve.

Of the church, the second book introduces a priest who is true to his faith. He is a significant character and aside from a few disparaging thoughts about his own Bishop (which he chastises himself for berating even in his thoughts) there is nothing to indicate any variance from dogma.

Is there anything that may be considered contentious? It is conceivable that a reader may object to an angel being judgemental of a gay relationship in the story but equally, another angel has no issue with it; equally, the lusts of the dark angel can be viewed as both warming and damning by two different angels. It’s complicated😉

So, in summary… I think I have been just and minimalistic in my references to religion through the books. There is certainly no deliberate attempt to smear or slander any religion. On a personal note, I read theology intensely for my own pleasure and though I do not hold to any one religion I do acknowledge significant traits of many that are admirable. Do not misunderstand me, I do have a belief but it is not something that is fully formed. I have my intentions and I try to abide to a simple premise.

“While we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.”

I would like to warn readers of a sensitive nature that there are some pages that may be hard to read. I have edited out large swathes of text that I felt were too harsh on the senses but some pieces have remained. There is a small amount of sexual content but I have kept it as clean as possible and there is a tendency for the edited sections to occur off the page. It’s something of a ploy but there is “before” with a bedroom door closing at the end of a chapter and the new chapter begins with “after”.
An additional warning is that there are some pages that are somewhat gruesome. Curiously, some readers (my niece) want more of this while others (my mother) want less. I think that my mother has read my books says more than any fearful disclaimer of mine may.

I think I’ve covered everything. Any other questions… just ask. As long as you can wait for me to give a considered reply.

CJH

The Gypsy’s Lie. (Extract from a work in progress)

1952

1952 – West Sussex. England.

Chapter Three

Mickey woke on his back with the stars shining brightly above him. The edge of the tree-line was quiet and he could smell the smoke of the all but extinguished fires drifting across him in the gentle breeze. Even without moving he knew his head was going to hurt. He remembered switching from the Romany ale to the Irish whiskey and he had a recollection of Flynn insisting he drank a toast with their poteen but he couldn’t remember much beyond that.

A hint of the dawn was just visible on the distant horizon as a thin sliver of lightening sky. With no cloud cover, the full moon lit the ground around him in a sterile, frozen glare. He peered down his body at the weight pressing on his chest and saw the familiar straight, black hair of Rosie as she slept with her head against his breast and her arm draped possessively across his body. Mickey took a long breath in and let it slowly escape again as he sighed and frowned sadly at the girl.

It wasn’t that he disliked the girl, they’d been friendly for their entire lives and it hadn’t surprised anyone when their parents had discussed joining the families together with their wedding.

Rosie was pretty; her large, dark eyes were the same shade of brown as his and she had a very classical look to her face. If not for the Romani colouring to her skin, her high cheek bones and straight, aquiline nose would suggest Greek or Italian parentage. She was five inches shorter than Mickey’s five foot ten frame and she curved in all the right places. At seventeen years old, it was late for her to not be married already but she was such a will-full, stubborn daughter her parents had been content to wait until she decided it was time before the families had been made aware an approach wouldn’t be refused outright.

Mickey’s father had haggled with Rosie’s Da through the night almost two years previous before the darro had been agreed. The two men were accomplished at pushing negotiations close to offence but never quite crossing the line; at the conclusion, both families were happy with the deal. Neither Rosie nor her family were happy with the delay that Mickey insisted on; a long engagement wasn’t unusual for the promised children but most times, the promise was made when the offspring were just entering their teen years. To keep Rosie from being a wife until she was beyond eighteen years had caused a little friction between the two fathers.

For her part, Rosie was taken to being the betrothed with an enthusiasm none had expected; she wanted nothing more than to be Mickey’s romni and bear his children. Though she’d often try to find time to sneak away to be by his side, most of her day was spent with her Gran or Mickey’s mother learning all she was expected to know.

With a pained expression on his face, Mickey gently freed himself from the gypsy girl’s sleeping embrace and sat up, leaving her still slumbering beside him on the damp grass. Glancing around from the wood beside their sleeping area, he looked toward the camp a hundred yards distant and spotted Rosie’s cousin almost immediately.

The fifteen year old was lit periodically as he drew on the pipe he held clutched in one hand; the glow of tobacco in the bowl cast an eerie orange glow to his face and it was easy to ascertain the youth was staring at Mickey. The youngster was leant against a solitary oak tree between the fighter and the camp and Mickey was impressed the boy had managed to stay awake through the night. He knew it was just as well as if Rosie’s Da had learned his watchman had fallen asleep the boy would have suffered a savage beating.

Mickey had always had a soft spot for Stefan, or Stevo as he’d always been known. Until he’d become promised to Rosie, Stevo had been the older boy’s shadow and despite the age difference, the two of them had been almost inseparable. It had been Mickey who had taught the youth how to fight and had they not fallen out over Rosie, Stevo would likely have developed into a strong fighter. The falling out had less to do with Rosie and more to do with the boy’s uncle. No sooner had the bottles been opened to toast the pair than Rosie’s Da had tasked Stefan with watching after her honour.

The irony was, if Mickey could be honest with himself, it would be Stefan that had more to worry about than Rosie.

Over the elapsed two years, the friendship between the two boys had crumbled into dust. Stefan had begun to both resent the lost time learning to punch and duck and also, he had grown angry that he had to spend his day watching the girl he was sweet on himself flirt and tease his former friend. He was bitter and jealous despite how much he tried not to be.

Raising a hand, Mickey acknowledged the youth and the only response back was a brighter glow from the pipe as Stefan drew harder on the stem. At least he knew Rosie hadn’t had her way with him while he was deep in his cups. There were fewer reasons for him to stall the wedding as the days and months passed but if she got her way, there’d be a rapid wedding with a shotgun behind him and her swelling with every moon.

Frowning and shaking his head, he knew eventually he’d run out of excuses and he’d become rom to her romni. There was no belief he would ever avoid becoming her husband but he was terrified of the night that would follow the day. There were some duties he didn’t know what he could do about. How could he become a Da himself when her curves and smile failed to rouse him? The fear ate at him daily.

Glancing back down at the girl he found himself smiling at the way she lay curled close to him. He did love her but he could never love her the way she wanted, not in the way she deserved. Rosie was his best friend, more than a sister and dearer to him than any other girl. Some when she was going to know his lie and he hated that he was going to hurt her.

A blanket lay pooled across his knees and he carefully shifted to the side, keeping the blanket from the damp grass and raising it above Rosie’s shoulders to keep her warm. The girl must have brought the blanket to him and wrapped them both in it but it had been a warm night and he’d slid it down their bodies as he slept. Now the morning carried a cool chill to it and covered her to keep her cosy.

Quietly Mickey rose to his feet and headed to a nearby tree to relieve himself. His head pounded and he had to rest a hand against the coarse bark to ensure his balance. Turning back and buttoning his fly he strolled back to the gypsy girl while keeping a watchful eye on Stevo as he silently watched back.

“Hey, Rosi-posie!” Mickey dropped back to his knees and gently shook the girls shoulder. “Rise and shine” he said, a gentle urging in his voice.

With her long hair tangled around her, the girl rolled over and arched her back, deliberately pushing her breasts upward while exaggerating her need to stretch. “So? Dosta! Me’s awake.” Mickey grinned at Rosie’s irritability and she grinned back. She reached up and wrapped a hand behind his head, pulling him down to meet her part way for a kiss. The boy managed to shift slightly so as to place a delicate kiss on her cheek and then he straightened up, forcing her to rise to a sitting position or to fight against him to pull him down. There was no doubt who’d win.

Subtly breaking free form her grip, Mickey offered his hand to help her rise but the young girl simply laid back on the ground and put her hand down to her skirts and as her fingers made walking motions on her thighs, she gathered the material in her hands and inch by inch, she slowly raised her hemline. Rosie’s bare feet were already exposed but as she tried to tease the fighter, she exposed her ankles, then her calves. As her knees came into view she asked if Mickey wanted to lie somewhere more comfortable.

Deliberately glancing in the direction of the camp, the boy mentioned Stevo’s presence and the girl’s face fell and she swore loudly, turning her head to glare in the direction of the young teenager.

“Khul!” Rosie hissed, letting her head fall back hard to the grass as she pouted petulantly. “Thee and Me need being wed!”

Without responding, Mickey again offered his hand and this time, after a momentary hesitation to stare at her promised, she acceded and let the muscled boxer haul her from her grass and dirt bed to her feet.

Mickey reached the ground and picked up the blanket, he folded it in half and wrapped it around the shoulders of the girl like a shawl and with his fingers, he gently straightened out the tangled tresses of hair that fell around her face.

With one hand, the girl reached up to cup his chin, she sidestepped him, circling him just enough that he had to shift his feet to keep his eyes on her. Once she had him positioned so the moon lit his face, Rosie began to inspect the damage the Irishman had caused to the face she loved.

An eye was closing as the swelling form the punches he’d taken took effect while he slept and the cut on his brow had scabbed over. He’d be sporting a black eye for the next few days and there was a good chance by the time they reached the camp and prepared to move out he’d not be able to see out of the eye but the damage was superficial. His other eye was unmarked but the cheek below it looked red and tender; the moon reflected in the black pupil as he looked ahead while she examined him. She gently stroked the cheek while she stared into his eyes, the brown iris looking as dark as the pupil in the half-light. She reached up on tiptoe and placed a soft kiss against his split lip; he neither pulled away nor encouraged her but he turned his eyes to look down on her, a smile lighting his face. Lowering herself back to her heels, Rosie briefly lay her head on his chest.

“My man! My rom” she whispered just loud enough for his ears to catch her words.

Taking a step back, Mickey put his hand to her shoulder and turned to break the contact she had with him. He looked over the ground they had been laying on and spotting three empty beer bottles, he gathered them up in one hand, gripping the neck between his fingers. With his free hand he reached out to take her hand in his and slowly, with Rosie pulling the blanket tight around her shoulders, they began to walk toward Stefan.

“Stevo!” Mickey called, “Give these back to ya puri daj.” He dropped the bottles at the feet of the young boy and walked on, not waiting to see if he picked them up. Rosie and Stevo’s grandmother wouldn’t be happy to find her bottles had been left behind and Stefan could be guaranteed to take them to her.

If their grandmother found out they had been left with Stevo and he’d not brought them back to her, he’d suffer for it. She might not beat him herself but she was a devious woman; all she had to do was to refuse a drink to one of the men in camp and say she had no bottles because Stevo had left them behind and he’d suffer at their hands instead.

Heading toward the Irish camp, Mickey grinned to himself as he heard the glass bottles clink together behind him as the lad did as he was told.

The camp of the Irish was quiet; the tents and caravans were in darkness aside from the light from the moon and stars but Mickey could see well enough. Heading for the fires where he’d had his fight, he kept his eyes open for any Romany he could, spotting a few sleeping in the dirt. He woke those he found and continued through the camp until he found his own Da.

Half under a caravan and propped against the wooden steps, Mickey’s father was snoring with an almost empty whiskey bottle gripped in his hand and held across his chest. Letting go of Rosie’s hand he knelt in the dirt and prodded his father until he responded by opening one eye.

The father and son exchanged no words but Jacky Ray managed to open his other eye and after a pause, he nodded once to his son who smiled back. His father was proud of him.

Standing again, Rosie’s hand pushed itself into his and the two of them continued through the Irish camp toward the road a hundred yards outside of the caravans. They avoided the tarmac and walked along the grass at the side of the road in bare feet and headed back to their camp. The news had probably gone ahead that Flynn Burn had lost the bout and Mickey was going to be lauded for a few days by those who’d won money on him. There wouldn’t be much celebrating today though, today the camp would pack everything away. A few of the men would head into the local village to see what they were owed was settled and then they would all move on to a new site.

Mickey was smiling as he walked but as Rosie squeezed his fingers, his smile faltered as he realised another day had passed and he was another day closer to being joined to her. Try as he might, he found it hard to be happy for it. There were worse people to be bound to but the lie pained him as much for her as for himself.

Humiliation time

I’ve finally created author pages.
One is for my softer, lighter nature, the other for my dark and sinister side.

I’ve made a deal with my wife… when one of the two pages hit 1,000 likes, I’ll post a picture on that page of myself dressed (in)appropriately (See the Tim Curry photo).

My pages are…

https://www.facebook.com/HerNameIsJames
f
or the lighter side
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dark-Angel-trilogy/1595681034012809

for the darker side.

timMy embarrassment is in your hands!

Scrapping a story.

I have started writing a few short stories and this below is one I’ve decided not to push further than I have already gone. Having said that, I thought I’d share the beginning.

male

GUARDIAN ANGEL

Hector dropped like a stone. The time he had been falling had been of sufficient duration he no longer noticed the rushing air as it blew through his blonde hair and if anything, the sensation was becoming a bore. Two miles from his destination, he passed through the cirrostratus and felt the cold vapour cling to his bare skin. It wasn’t a welcome experience as it reminded him of his naked form and caused him to swear at Peter anew.

The Earth below him suddenly became visible as he passed through the lowest layer of cloud and he tried to determine anything of the unfamiliar landmass beneath him. Everything looked utterly alien to him. Three thousand years had passed since he last had walked the land as a mortal.

Though his speed of descent hadn’t increased, the visibility of a city beneath him gave the illusion of acceleration. Below the white mist, ten seconds had passed and the general impression of a sprawling metropolis now filled Hector’s vision. At twenty seconds, streets and individual buildings dominated his view and the reality of the term ‘terminal velocity’ began to take on a new meaning.

Thirty three seconds after leaving the cloud cover behind, slate tiles were all the muscled man could give any acknowledgement to as he made landfall. The blue-grey slabs shattered into myriad fragments as the naked blonde crashed through the support beams that constituted the roof of the two storey dwelling. It did little to arrest his descent, Hector broke through the rafters and plastered ceiling and slowed a fraction. Slamming hard into the carpeted floor, he continued down through the bedroom and crashed, back first into an enamel bath, its cast iron feet embedding themselves three inches into the concrete beneath the expensive tiles.

“When I get back up there Peter” Hector muttered, “I’m going to rip your damned wings off and see how you like it!”

Sitting upright, the naked man winced, tensed his shoulder muscles and tilted his head to one side, then back the other, each movement bringing a crack as he tried to relieve the discomfort in his neck. Resting his hands on the sides of the bath he glanced around the bathroom.

He stood and stepped out of the cream bathtub, extending his hand to the woman who stared at him, a toothbrush held motionless in her mouth. “You must be Julia, Edward sent me.”

Julia Firenze’s eyes bulged and she glanced up at the hole in her ceiling and then lowered her gaze to the nude hunk in front of her and promptly dropped in a faint, the toothbrush falling from her mouth and hitting the floor a moment before her body did.

When the twenty-four year old woman woke up, she was laying in her own living room, stretched lengthways across her settee. Her feet dangled over one arm and her head rested uncomfortably on the other end. She turned her head to assess the room, unsure if the last remembered event had been imagined. In the armchair opposite, sitting in her eye-line, the man was dressed and staring at her.

“Edward is dead.” Julia stated. Remaining in a semi-prone position, the dark haired woman shifted her feet to the floor, tugging the bottom of her oversized shirt over the top of her pyjama but she still leant heavily against the settee arm. With a sad expression, her eyes involuntarily flicked to the urn on the centre of the mantel that had displaced the silver framed photograph of a young man laughing. “He died two weeks ago.”

The woman suddenly sat bolt upright, memory snapping her to reality in an instant. “That’s his suit! You’re wearing his suit!”

“You seemed to have issue with me being naked, you can’t have it both ways.” Hector was puzzled. It wasn’t a surprise to him that Edward’s fiancé would still be emotional but he found it somewhat disturbing that she should fixate on him dressing himself. “Edward won’t mind. I’ll talk to him about it.”

Julia frowned, then closed her eyes tight shut. When she opened them again, the man was still sitting exactly where he had been. “What?” Who the fuck are you?”

The blonde man rose from the chair and tugged the waistcoat down to cover the belt buckle of his trousers and beamed. Once more Hector held his hand out to introduce himself and this time he told her his name.

The surreal event failed to quash instinct and automatically, the dark haired woman took the man’s hand in her own and shook it “Hector like Troy?” Julia asked still slightly nonplussed at the way her morning was progressing. Shaking herself from her self-imposed reverie, she dropped the hand angrily and rose from the sofa in a quick movement, barging her way past the suited figure and hurrying to the bathroom.

From the living room, Hector watched the woman peer into the adjoining room and from her posture he knew she was looking at first the bath, then the ceiling.

“There’s a fucking great hole in my roof!” She yelled and turned back to the embarrassed man. “Why is there a hole in my roof? Who are you? What do you want and who the hell is going to fix that!””

Hector grimaced, not so much at her irate tome but at the questions she asked of him. “If it’s any consolation, it wasn’t my idea. Peter isn’t happy with me and… well… he sort of, took my wings away.”

Julia Firenze put her head in her hands and rubbed her face as though the action would wash everything that occurred from the moment she had risen. Taking her hands away, her eyes confirmed the man was still standing in her living room wearing the clothes of her dead boyfriend and she leant back against the door frame to the bathroom and slid down the gloss paintwork to sit huddled on the floor.

“Whatever it is you want, just take it and go; just leave.” Utterly defeated and unable to rationalise her day, the young woman just wanted her house back to herself. Whatever had happened, she would fix it later. For now, she just needed a little solitude.

Frowning and concerned he wasn’t communicating very well, Hector repeated that her boyfriend had sent him and tried to explain that leaving wasn’t an option he had. As the woman began to cry quietly, the angel felt he had no choice but to tell her why he was there; he’d explained Edward told him to come but he hadn’t told her the danger she was in. As the ancient soul gave her the details of Edward’s death, the woman slowly ceased her sobbing and stared with growing incredulity at Hector. She shook her head, not in denial but in disbelief.

“Edward threw himself in front of a train” Julia whispered, her voice hoarse with emotion and grief. “There were witnesses.”

Hector crossed the room and knelt in front of the pained girlfriend. “No Julia” he said. “If he had, he wouldn’t have escaped them. Heaven doesn’t forgive that kind of act.”

Refusing to meet the eyes of the angel, Julia stared unseeing to the side at the made up fire, refusing to raise her eyes even to look upon the container that held Edward’s ashes. She wanted to argue but deep inside, she really wanted to believe the love of her life hadn’t been as selfish as she’d been told.

“There were no witnesses.” The man reached out and tentatively placed his hand on her knee. When she made no effort to shake free, he continued. “A hellhound chased him onto the over-bridge and he’d turned to confront it. The demon came up behind him and threw him over the parapet and onto the rails.” Pausing while he assessed how much information Julia could cope with, Hector sat himself down and wrapped both arms around his knees. “There’s more… and I’m sorry about your roof.”

Confused and hurting, Julia couldn’t help but laugh at the sudden change of subject. She tilted her head back against the wall and with closed eyes, she shook her head gently. It was all too much to take in.

“I need a drink. There’s a bottle by the fridge.”

Hesitating as he absorbed her words, the angel eventually nodded and rolled onto his side and used the side of the armchair to raise himself to his feet. He’d seen the wine bottle she’d referred to when he’d been looking around the house while Julia slept. Making his way to the kitchen, he cast a last glance over his shoulder and felt apprehensive he may have said too much too soon. He was supposed to protect her; maybe he’d already said enough to destroy her. Biting his lip he walked through the door and headed for the bottle she’d sent him for.

Julia had moved back to the settee by the time her wine arrived. She took the long stemmed glass from Hector’s hand and swirled the ruby fluid against the bowl before taking a sip. She pulled a face, wrinkling her nose and running her tongue over her teeth.

“Does you water this down?”

When Hector confirmed he had, Julia asked why and confused the angel again. It was soon explained that in his time on Earth, watering wine was the custom. “Besides, I understand you shouldn’t be drinking in your condition.”

Spluttering over her drink, the wine spilling and staining her shirt, she asked him to elaborate and when he did Julia first laughed, then grew concerned. “You’re crazy!” Setting the glass down on the coffee table beside her without a care for the ring the damp glass would form, the young woman tried to mop at the spill on her shirt but only managed to spread the stain over a larger area. “I’m sitting here with an angel who has no wings listening to you tell me a demon killed my fiancé and now you say I’m pregnant?”