I’ve been busy writing stories over the last half a year. I completed the first draft of a romance novel recently, and after that the first draft of a short story about a time travelling wannabe detective (at one point they end up in the back of a van with a kidnapped goat, and have to hide in a plastic, garden-waste bin to avoid detection. It’s great.) Also, I’m halfway through the second draft of a horror/romance/mystery fusion novella right now. (Starting to wonder why so much of what I write becomes horror, romance and/or mystery…) Moreover, I have completed one dramatic short story about an injured man who takes care of his neighbour’s package for a few days, and another short story about gay, school students who are trying to figure out themselves and their relationship to each other (the latter story is hella dirty, like a teenager’s mouth.)
Due to all of this, I haven’t had the time or energy to post anything here in four months. I am working on a couple of new blog posts at the moment, but before I post them, I thought it would be fun to put up the intros to a few of those short stories that I have been writing, just for the sake of sharing.
1. Ms Wilder’s Package
(To *hopefully* be released in a short story collection by the end of 2017.)
The doorbell goes while I’m sprawled out on the couch, watching an awful cooking show featuring celebrities who don’t know what they’re doing. “Hold on, hold on.” My crutch is out of arm’s reach. I twist around and, with my good leg, reach out for it, hooking my bare foot underneath it and pulling it towards me. It’s cold to the touch. “Hold on!” I get to my feet, crutch pressed into my armpit, and limp over towards the door, wondering where on Earth I might have left my second crutch. I hop over some cereal that I spilt earlier.
“Anybody home?” I hear from outside.
I huff. “Yes, me.”
“Oh. Hello,” they say. I consider finishing the conversation from here so that I don’t have to let in the cold air, since they seem quite happy to just talk through the door, but I think better of it and open up for them. “Hello,” they say again. He’s a postal worker. He has a package under his arm.
“I didn’t order anything.”
“It’s for your neighbour,” he says. “They’re not in. Are you happy to hold onto this for them?”
“Happy would be an exaggeration, but no, I don’t mind.” I try for a smile. I must be out of practice, however, because I can’t get my mouth open enough to show teeth. “Do I have to sign for it?”
“The things you do for your neighbours, am I right?” I say. He hands me an electronic pad and a stylus. I sign as best as I can and he hands me the package. I tuck it under my arm. These armpits are getting a lot of use, lately.
“Thanks. Have a good morning.”
“Yeah,” I say. He leaves and I knock the door shut again with my good side. I let the package drop to the floor. It’s not marked as fragile. I go back to the couch and lay down, slowly drifting off to the sound of that cooking show on T.V. It really is rather awful.
Midday. I lug myself into the shower for the first time all week and turn up the heat. I don’t bother washing my hair with anything. It gets wet, though. I’m on the up. My bathroom radio is quiet over the sound of hot, spraying water, but I catch something that somebody is saying about the EU, of which everyone except me seems to be an expert. None of it means anything. After ten minutes of mindlessness and warmth, I get out of the shower, glimpsing myself in the mirror as I do so. I badly ought to shave, but I don’t feel like it. I’m growing fond of my messy bristles. I do brush my teeth, though. On the up, for sure.
When I get downstairs after putting on some clothes, I notice the package that I took in the other day. “You’re still here?” I ask it. “You’ve been very quiet. Can I grab you a cup of tea?”
“Great.” I can’t pick it up. I kick it softly towards the kitchen, instead, so that I can make us both a drink. I wonder why the neighbour hasn’t come for it yet. “They must be busy.”
“I won’t open you,” I assure it. I flick on the kettle, sit down on a chair and reach down to pick it up. The address it’s wearing says that it is for next door. I’ve never met the person who lives there. According to the label, their name is Ms Wilder. “Hmm.” I stroke my prickly chin, feigning deep thought. “Is that your mother? Sister? Girlfriend? I bet it’s your girlfriend.” It doesn’t reply. I make two cups of tea and drink them both over the course of the next twenty minutes. “Don’t give me that look,” I tell the package, after finishing the second one. “You weren’t going to drink it, were you?”
“Exactly.” I look outside the kitchen window and see that it is starting to snow. So much for spring. “I wonder if the postal worker forgot to leave a note next door, saying you were here…” I ponder, aloud. I raise my bad leg up and down rhythmically, trying to pump some heat into it. “Maybe I should take you around to them instead of waiting.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Later.”
2. I Don’t Know What A Rim Job Is
(Warning: Mature, Sexual Language)
Liam is sitting across from me, completing a Sudoku puzzle and nodding his head to music that I can hear coming from his headphones. I would kick him under the desk and tell him to turn it down, because it’s distracting me from revising, but I don’t wanna be that guy. I bite my lip and look back down at page sixty nine in my psychology textbook. The writing is dense and difficult to understand, and my notes, scribbled into the margins, are almost illegible.
I look up and notice Liam staring at me. I look down. I look up again. He is still staring. His big, dark eyes lock with mine and I’m suddenly afraid to blink in case I miss a moment of it. I smile. “Sup?” I say. He mouths something at me. “Huh?” He mouths again, more slowly this time, his dry-looking lips moving up and down, forming invisible words that I don’t understand. I shrug and look back down. He sniggers. I think about the last time we masturbated together, when he suddenly kissed me with those lips of his. Now I definitely can’t focus. “I’m gonna go,” I tell him. “It’s nearly time for psychology, anyway.” I put my things away and leave the common room. He doesn’t acknowledge my exit.
“Is being gay nature or nurture?” a girl in front of me asks, interrupting Mrs Black’s lecture about learned anti-social behaviour. I lift my head and stare intently at the teacher, waiting for the answer to a question I never realised I cared so much about. I worry that I was a little too obvious, but when I look around I notice that everybody else has looked up in interest, too.
“If you’re asking me,” Mrs Black says, “it isn’t as simple as one or the other, but a complex mixture of factors from both camps.”
“Like getting schizophrenia?” a guy next to me asks.
Mrs Black looks taken aback. “Hmm. With schizophrenia, you remember, one has or has not a genetic disposition towards it, and environmental factors, like stress, may trigger those who are vulnerable.” I nod my head but I barely feel it. I’m hypnotized by what she’s saying. “Perhaps homosexuality operates in a similar fashion, a fusion of genetics and environment, but being homosexual is not a mental disorder so please don’t think of it as such.” I wonder if I was vulnerable to being gay from birth. Did something trigger me? Mrs Black starts talking about other things but I don’t hear her.
I find an erotica book in my parents’ bedroom. I am equally creeped out and intrigued. I flick through the book, scanning occasional pages of boring romance, until I find some dirty words. On page eighty one, a man named Jack is getting a blowjob from a woman named Tiffany. Tiffany stops before Jack can finish and then gives him a rim job. I’m not sure what that is but I think it’s something to do with his butt. It makes him jizz, whatever it is.
“Shit.” I start to whack off to the thought of Jack’s spunk and as I imagine licking it, I am suddenly thinking about Liam, and what it would be like to taste his sticky, white spunk, instead. I feel myself about to finish. I don’t have anywhere to shoot, so I do it into my hand, watching as it collects there in my palm. I don’t wash it straight away. Rather, I call Liam. I consider telling him what I’m holding, thinking that he might get a kick out of it, but I get cold feet so instead we talk about the music that he’s listening to. I start to imagine, though, that on the other side, despite him sounding normal, he is silently masturbating, like I was, shooting similarly into his hand while thinking about me. I start to feel hard again. Disgusting, and hard.
3. Untitled Novella (Horror/Romance/Mystery)
It is the third building of the week that they’ve tried to break into, and definitely the most foreboding. It is an old hotel, with three towering storeys of brick, an abundance of windows that are boarded up with sheets of metal, and an open, visible location in the neighbourhood, at the cap of two residential streets, where any nosy neighbour might notice three mischievous teenagers sneaking around. The teenagers in question are dressed up in dark fleeces and hats. One boy is fingering a thin, yellow torch and another is clenching a sharp, wooden stake, which he bought at the Scarborough seaside – he was torn between that and a small, tinny looking Master Sword; the Buffy fan in him won out.
The group of boys lap the foreboding building, who knows how many times, keeping low, ‘stealthing it up,’ as Barry, torch bearer, says, while they chatter in hushed voices about how they might enter. None of them really expect to get inside tonight – or ever – just like during their previous outings to other abandoned buildings. The idea on its own is all the thrill that they need. So when wooden stake wielder and local klutz, Shouta, jokingly kicks a floor level, metal panel with his foot, recoiling as it suddenly retreats and clatters against a solid surface within, all three boys are almost tempted to call it a night. They don’t have to go in. They don’t want to go in. Just pretending is enough.
“Whoa.” Steven won’t be the one to admit that, though. In his mind, it’s perfectly feasible that Barry and Shouta would, in fact, want to enter, starting their first successful urban exploration adventure together, and thus call him a phoney for not wanting to take the plunge as well. So before he can be called out on his hesitancy, Steven does a muted kind of cheer, part show and part cathartic release of nervousness, and congratulates Shouta. Then he gets on his front and backs up, feet first, into the opening. “I’m going in,” he says, dramatically, feeling the odd sensation that he is being eaten whole by the dark as he starts to disappear from view.
Thanks for reading this far! Did you like these introductions? Would they entice you into reading further into the stories? Let me know.
Edit: Heh! Just posting and re-reading has helped me to see multiple typos already.
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