The Library Book Project – 16 July 2009

To read more about this project, click here.

I give the coloured envelopes on my doorstep an ambivalent stare. I then pick them up, but decide I want to make myself a coffee before opening them. I feel a little more tired as I consider my new age. I sigh as I flick the kettle’s switch and gaze into space as it boils the water. I feel like I ought to be more anxious about my age, and then decide it’s probably a good thing I can’t muster up any strong feelings about it.

Once I have my caffeine hit in place, I carefully tear the envelopes open and pull out the cards inside. There’s a good mixture. Humour from my sister, though not the tasteless kind that’s about tits or beer or both. That kind of card comes from Mark, my closest friend who I haven’t actually seen in months. Then there’s the sentimental card from my parents, telling me what a treasure I am. Those kind of lines were patronizing at ten, let alone at forty odd.

I look at the cards from across the kitchen table, sipping my coffee and hoping I’ll feel more alive in the next ten minutes. How did it get to this point?  It’s my birthday, I have no plans, noone to call, and nothing to do. This is why old people turn crazy, I decide. It’s nothing to do with your brain deteriorating, it’s the loneliness and complete lack of meaningful contact. Gone are the days when phone calls to the family were something I’d guiltily hate. Now they’re the only thing I really get, and I string out the conversations with pointless questions about people I haven’t seen in years nor have any particular interest in.

My sister’s husband, for example, is a solicitor and the dullest person I’ve ever met, yet I quiz my sister on his work, which I don’t even understand. She mumbles on about various contracts, clearly finding the discussion even more mundane than I am. I reluctantly let her go, wishing I knew what to ask that would animate us both. I remember a story from our childhood, but it’s too late; she’s put the phone down.

I set out a plan to celebrate my solitude. I will walk to the university campus and wander around the lake. Then I will go to town, return my library book, and then eat at whatever restaurant I feel like. I’ll buy some booze, cider will do, and return home. That’s when I’ll start drinking, and later on at night, when I’m hungry again, I’ll order the greasiest takeaway on offer.  I’ll scour the internet for the most promising porn film I can find and link it up to my larger TV screen in front room.

I wouldn’t be able to do that, if I wasn’t alone, would I?


Taking Back The Crown – Part Sixteen

“Do you think she’s any closer to waking up? It’s been weeks.” Sonya heard Orika’s voice, but couldn’t open her eyes. Her body seemed to be made of pain. She paid for every breath with agony.

 “She sustained serious internal injuries, especially on her brain. Even if she wakes up soon, it will be months before she fully recovers without a properly trained healer.” Linden replied. “We need to go. It’s time for another patrol.”

 After both Linden and Orika had left the room, Sonya finally managed to lift her eyelids. When she’d almost gotten used to her aching limbs, she pulled herself out of the bed she was in. Once stood, she felt heavy but delicate. Most of all she felt defeated, and she could think of only one place to go, of one person that she wanted to be with.

 Using energy she didn’t know she had, she warped to the Natetic training ground. She ended up in the upstairs corridor and stumbling towards Seta’s room. It was empty, so she went inside and ended up sitting on the floor, her back against the wall. She didn’t have to wait long. She heard voices outside in the corridor.

 “Elder, I don’t understand why you want to see my room, there’s nothing in-“ Seta’s voice suddenly stopped as they opened the door and saw her. Sonya had never seen an elder before. “Who are you?” he abruptly asked. Her heart sank. How could he not recognize her?

 “Seta, you must leave us alone while I talk to her.” the elder said. Seta reluctantly obeyed.  The elder watched him leave then turned back to Sonya. “I know who you are. I know why you’re here. We are not interested in your wars or agendas. We won’t tolerate you coming here ever again.” He turned on his heel and left.

Summoning all of her remaining strength and swallowing back tears, she warped back to the camp.

The Dispute

The Following Is A Dramatization Of Real Events.

The hungry ache slowly inches upwards through my torso, like some particularly malignant cancer. The thirst is worse than that, as if a small dead mammal crawled down my throat while I slept. I could give in. The future would still be uncertain, but the outlook would be less bleak than it is now. I could face her accusing look. But I’m sticking to my principles. I never committed a crime and I won’t pretend I did just for some peace. I’d rather stay in this room and rot.

I mean, for crying out loud, if she got so upset over the washing up, how will she react if she finds out I haven’t once vacuumed under the couch in the past nine months?

There’s been a small amount of drama between one of my housemates and the rest of us recently. It’s a long story. My other housemates have all fled elsewhere. I’m pretty much staying in my room until they get back. Apart from maybe going to the door to collect a pizza delivery.

Friday Fictioneers – Friends don’t let friends sleep in phone boxes.


Copyright – Danny Bowman

All I seem to be able to write about is Break Ups and Romance Gone Wrong lately… If you want to join in and do a Friday Fictioneers piece yourself, look here.


Jake woke up on a friend’s couch, his stomach feeling as ropey as the musty blanket he was tangled in. Each twitch brought on the sensation of a blunt knife being forced through his temple. Vague memories flashed through his inner eye.

“Jake, you need to get up.” Alex had said, last night, when Jake was curled up in the bottom of the urine scented phone box.

“What’s the point?” Jake had drunkenly wailed. “She dumped me and now she’s with that tosser!”

“Mate, seriously, let’s get you home.”

Jake couldn’t remember how Alex had got him out of the phone box, but he probably owed Alex big time.

Photo Prompt – Numb


So, this week I’m working from a photo I took myself. It’s not great quality, but I guess it’s more there for inspiration than for aesthetic effect. Feel free to use it yourself as long as you link it back to this blog.


Karen tripped over her dress as she walked along the icy fields. She needed a place to hide. Anywhere. She spotted a path surrounded by tall, orange hedges and stumbled down it. Both her mind and vision were fogged. They would be looking for her. Or would they just carry on without the maid of honour? She chucked the flowers against the bushes and pulled her tiny sleeveless jacket across her chest. The January air slowly penetrated her to the bone.

Karen decided the cold would be her punishment and her cure. She took off the jacket and laid on the frozen grass, hoping it would numb her diseased heart as effectively as it numbed her skin.

The Extrovert: Lives Colliding


When I was

an observer,

I’d stay in the shadows

And contribute nothing

to the social artwork

before me.

I sat aloof,

convinced that

my subtle shade

would be wasted

on ignorant eyes

and lost in the chaos

of uneducated opinions.

I critiqued the disorder,

the ugly colours

that showed.

Then I realised,

the magnificence

could only be felt

and not seen.

My own brush strokes

had infinite effects

on everything around them

not visible,

but present.

That is the beauty

of lives colliding.