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Hi all:

I’ve come looking for some help. I don’t know if that’s the case with other writers, but I seem to accumulate beginnings of stories that sometimes get parked because I’m too busy, or because another story comes up in my head, or because I get stuck, or life gets in the way…And every so often I revisit this orphaned stories and sometimes I think…nothing doing, but sometimes I wonder if it might be worth investing more time or carrying on writing and seeing if it gets anywhere…

I’ve decided to try and rescue the beginning of some of these stories and bring them to your attention. I’d be really grateful for your feedback, positive or negative. If positive I’ll put them in the pile of ‘future work’. If negative, I’ll put them out of their misery.

In no particular order…I’ll start with this one….

Xenon

Xenon. Billie always tried to guess things about her patients by their names, even before reading the referral letter, or the notes, but somebody called Xenon…It said something about his parents for sure, but…

It was a referral letter in his case. Very vague. She wondered if it would be one of these cases where somebody who should have been referred to a counsellor, or told to get a life, had been referred to a psychiatrist. No specific symptoms, asking for help…Drugs maybe?

He was a young man, 27 nearly 28, quite attractive, the tall, dark and handsome type, dressed in a casual but expensive manner. He shook her hand and sat in front of her, at the other side of the desk. He appeared quite relaxed.

“Dr Curtis…”

“Mr Taylor…”

“Call me Xenon. Or Xen. Everybody does.”

“Thanks.” She must have looked intrigued or puzzled because he felt obliged to explain.

“My parents wanted to call me X but they weren’t allowed to. The guy at the registry thought Xenon was a real name.”

“Everybody always asks you the same, I imagine.”

“Not always. Some people pretend they know the name or they’ve heard it before. In a human being, not a gas.”

Billie smiled. At that point she wasn’t really sure that it was going anywhere.

“Sorry but Dr Asley’s letter isn’t very specific. Why do you think you need to see a psychiatrist?”

“Oh…I have problems…I don’t mean I’m mad, or depressed, or anything like that. It’s just…I’m different…”

OK. One of those. Nobody understands me, I’m trying to find myself…Bo-ring.

“I don’t mean all that crap… ‘I don’t fit in’. ‘Nobody understands me’. No, I mean…I don’t….I’m not a human being. I’m different.”

Billie knew her face was not showing anything. She was a professional and had heard a lot of things. But now what? Humour him, or send him on his way? Was he genuinely mad? How had he not come to the attention of mental health services before if he was really mad? Had something happened recently?

“I’ve lived with it all this time but it’s getting too much.”

OK, the next question was self-evident, but that didn’t mean it shouldn’t be asked.

“If you’re not a human being, what exactly are you?”

Xenon smiled and as he did opened him mouth wide. His canines had become fangs and his eyes had changed, showing elongated pupils, like a cat’s.

“Oh, I see. You’re a vampire.”

“Yes.”

How unoriginal! Billie sighed. It was a reasonable trick, but she had things to do. Better things to do.

“Have you come on behalf of my friend Cynthia? She’s been talking about secret societies and vampires since we were kids. I’m not that interested.”

“I’m not joking. It isn’t a trick!” He said, holding her by the wrists and leaving marks there. That was much more than she was prepared to take from somebody who wasn’t even a patient yet.

“What do you think you’re doing? I don’t care if you’re Count Dracula in person, but don’t touch me! Do you understand?”

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to…Look again…” He showed her how his teeth transformed into fangs, step by step. OK, no tricks she could see. He then smiled.

“I can do other things too.”

Suddenly the things on her desk moved without his touching them, including the computer and all the papers, lifting up and floating as if not subject to laws of gravity and then twirling around. He then just gave a short nod and all went back to its previous position.

“Telekinesis…”

“Amongst other things. Your friend has been right all along.”

Maybe he should be telling Cynthia rather than her. The guy was definitely different, but from that to needing a psychiatrist, and her in particular…

“Well…What do you expect from me?”

“Help. It’s difficult to live between humans and pretend to be like them when to us they are only…”

“For feeding. Cows?”

Xenon nodded and then a smile toyed in his face.

“You know? You seem very calm and cool about all this. You aren’t thinking about telling anybody, are you? You’re bound by clients’ confidentiality.”

“I’m not sure it applies to non-humans.”

Xenon looked at her with incredulity and menace in his eyes.

“If you try…I’ll hunt you down and…kill you.”

“That’s what I call the beginning of a good therapeutic relationship. Why did you choose me?”

“I sensed something about your name.”

Billie couldn’t help trying to get some amusement out of the situation.

“Shouldn’t you be in your coffin or something? It’s day time.”

“Oh, there’re a lot of things people believe about us that are pure crap and lurid imagination. For some reason we appear to be a never ending source of desire, fear and inspiration to humans.”

The uncanny, as Freud put it. He was right about human’s fancy with vampires and other monsters, although vampires more than others.

“But you suck blood.”

“Sure…”

“That’s a relief. At least they got something right. I’m not sure I could have coped with such disappointment and let down.”

Xenon laughed.

“I like your sense of humour. Very…dark.”

“It helps in my profession.”

They looked at each other. Surprisingly Xenon gave up first and looked down.

“I’ll bring you our book of rules and laws…It might help you understand my issues.”

“Do you have a code of conduct, rules, regulations…?”

“We’re a very ancient…people…Yes, we have some laws…”

“Good…Isn’t all this supposed to be a secret? Aren’t you breaking the rules here?”

“Billie…Yes, of course. But then…I’m trying to avoid breaking more serious rules. There are rules and there are rules…and as you know rules are made to be bent…if not broken. I hope you don’t mind if I call you Billie.”

“I’m not that bothered.”

“Could we meet in the evenings? Yes, we can walk around and all that, but we’re creatures of the night, that’s true enough. We function better at night.”

“I only have use of my office during standard working hours.”

He might be prepared to break or bend the rules, but Billie didn’t want to set a precedent. It was quite clear this was a guy who didn’t take no for an answer if he could help it. He needed boundaries…and many other things, although she didn’t have any idea of what those might be.

“Could I come to your place? Or we could meet somewhere else. I have a nice apartment.”

No way.

“I don’t do home visits…If you insist…If you give me your mobile number I’ll let you know of a convenient evening, if you don’t have any…”

We normally meet on Thursdays, after midnight. I don’t imagine you’d want to meet that late. Otherwise most of my business is conducted at night.”

“Give me your number.”

Xenon gave her a card. Black, red letters, very stylish.

“Very you…I’ll call you.”

He looked at her fixedly.

“I will call you. Honest. Can’t you read my mind? Or is that also part of the folklore?”

“We’re quite good with some people. Some better than others. Particularly if the person isn’t very complicated.”

She guessed that was as close to a compliment as she could expect to get from him. He then gave her a thick envelope. It was full of money.

“What is this for?”

“I want to pay you in advance. Just tell me when you think we’ve run out of money and I’ll keep topping up. It isn’t a problem.”

“But, how many sessions do you think you need?”

“No idea…Anyway, pleasure meeting you. See you next week.”

“Listen, this money…”

“Oh, don’t worry. You’ll earn it. Don’t be concerned about that. I don’t give anything for nothing.”

He shook her hand and left swiftly.

Thank you and don’t forget to leave a comment!

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Hi all:

You’ll remember I posted the beginning of a YA novella that I was getting ready for publication, ‘Twin Evils?’ a couple of weeks ago. Well, it’s finally available in Amazon, and to welcome it and introduce it to everybody I thought I’d leave you the description, another taster, and the book cover. And of course, the link….

I hope you enjoy it and you go and check it out!

Twin Evils?

Once upon a time there was a pair of twins, a girl and boy. Ruth was blonde, blue eyes, very fair and really good. Max was dark haired, grey eyes, broody and bad. Their next door neighbour and pal, Hilda, tried to be friends with both but it was not an easy task. They didn’t like each other and she found herself in the middle trying to keep the peace. Max found his sister impossibly perfect and tiresome, and Ruth could not stand her brother’s bad boy attitude and his horrible behaviour. She was scared of him. Ruth was too perfect and child-like for the real world and Hilda suspected something was wrong but didn’t know what. Was she the angel everybody took her for? Was she ill? Why didn’t she behave her own age?  When both twins started talking about fate and said that “something” would happen she worried. What could she do? Unfortunately they were right and “something” happened.

‘Twin Evils?’ is a Young Adult novella (approx. 40 pages) that begins like a fairy tale, talks about friendship against all odds, tragedy, romance, and has a touch of the paranormal. Fast paced and entertaining with intriguing, mysterious and ultimately lovable characters it will make you feel good but leave you wondering. If you have plenty of imagination and love a compact and fulfilling read, try it out!

And now, if you remember the previous extract, the two families were preparing a party…

At the party Max was wearing black denim trousers and a black T-shirt. He didn’t listen to his mother about wearing something ‘nicer’. With the final details of the cake, Hilda and her family got to the party quite late, when all was well on the way. Max was in the hall, and seemed to be anxiously waiting for Hilda.

“Hi Hilda. It’s ludicrous. You must see Ruth’s dress. It’s so…disgusting…I can’t even talk.”

“That’s something that doesn’t happen to you very often. Happy Birthday Max.” Hilda kissed him on the cheek, but he grabbed her by the arms, hugged her, and planted a kiss on her lips.

“Nice” He said with a smile.

“If it weren’t your birthday I’d slap you. My parents have your present, but I guess you’ll open them later. Where is your sister?”

“Inside, licking the teachers’ bums.”

Hilda pinched his bottom, and when he laughed, she slapped him on his behind too.

“More, more…I love it…Be kinky with me, will you, Hilda?”

Hilda couldn’t avoid blushing, and to cover it up she turned around.

“Shut up, you pervert. I am going to kiss your sister. See you later.”

Ruth was being petted and admired by all the adults. Her dress was somewhat infantile for her age. The pink ribbons and the white lace made her look younger, and her long hair done in locks was excessive. For once Hilda agreed with Max. It was too sweet and syrupy for her own taste. Ruth wasn’t very developed as yet, but she was far too old for that. Most of the other girls in the party were wearing short dresses or tight trousers, but Ruth…Hilda looked at her own flowery dress. Simple, normal…She intruded to kiss Ruth and tell her about the presents. Ruth replied that she’d be out soon. Hilda left her to her admirers and went outside.

“So, what’s your opinion?”

Max was next to her again.

“I agree with you completely. I think your sister is far too old for that kind of dress.”

“You see? I am not always wrong.”

“You’re seldom right, though.”

“I’ll get you a drink. Seldom right. I like it.”

Max returned shortly with a soda.

“No punch?”

“You don’t want to drink that punch.”

“But your father is a real expert at mixing it.”

“Not today. I’ve tried it. It’s too sweet for me, and I know you don’t like drinks that sweet. He used peach instead of lemon. Bad choice.” Max said.

“I don’t like peach. OK, I’ll trust you on this one.”

Max bowed and went back to his corner, to “observe”.

Steph and Patrick were the appointed cooks of the barbecue, some people began to dance, the cake was brought in and the candles blown, mainly by Ruth while Max stayed behind, the twins opened their presents…There were more gifts for Ruth than for Max. Ruth got jewellery, clothes, perfumes…Max got some records, books, computer games…Hilda gave Ruth a pair of earrings she liked and Max an Ouija board. He was thrilled by it.

Ruth gave one of her lovely speeches to thank everybody for their kindness, her family and Hilda’s in particular for making it ‘such a special birthday’. When she finished, Max stood up and said:

“I am not as good with speeches as my most adorable twin sister, but I decided to share something with you. I hope you like it.”

He climbed up on a chair, turned his back on the guests, and pulled his T-shirt up. Most people were simply amazed by it, but Ruth fainted and both sets of parents got very distressed. Hilda heard the comments of a couple of students in their same course:

“What’s all the fuss about? It’s a fantastic tattoo. What’s all the fuss about?”

“Maybe they hate tattoos. It might be against their religion. Or it’s some family thing…I don’t care.”

Patrick and Steph took Ruth inside and laid her on the sofa. She recovered shortly after and asked Hilda, who was looking after her:

“Why did he do that? Why did he choose that drawing? It’s a threat, isn’t it?”

“He did it all for effect. He felt nobody was paying him enough attention. I didn’t realise what he wanted to do with it. He’d showed it to me when he came back from camping and he said that he’d show it to your parents, but not when. I should have imagined…”

“You couldn’t have known. He’s too devious.”

As the night went on, the behaviour among the young people became more and more bizarre. Hilda couldn’t understand what was happening. They became very loud, some began fighting, many were sick…Even Ruth seemed not herself, dancing madly and then becoming sick all over her dress. It wasn’t normal. Something was going on. Hilda looked at Max. What had he done? He was smiling, like the cat that’d eaten the cream, and he was looking at the punch…She had to confirm her suspicions. She went to get a glass of punch. Max pushed her before she could drink it and spilt it all on the floor.

“Sorry.”

Hilda held his arm tight and looked him in the eyes.

“What did you put in the punch, Max? I’m not daft, you know?”

“No…” He opened his mouth to deny it, avoiding her gaze, but she took his chin and made him look at her. He gave up. “OK…only some whisky, vodka, and a few pills.”

“What type of pills?”

“Amphetamines, Es…Nothing too dangerous. They’ll all be fine tomorrow. It’s funny to see the adorable Ruth sick like a parrot. Lovely.”

“You’re nasty, Max. Very nasty.”

Hilda rushed to her parents and explained the situation. With the help of the other adults still at the party, they got rid of the drink and took the worst of the girls and boys home. None of them seemed to require medical attention. Hilda left the house without a word for Max. She was mad at him. He had endangered everybody. OK, he might have been angry because Ruth had dominated the party, but…How could he be so nasty and mindless? And, did she want to be friendly with somebody like him?

Twin Evils cover11

Link:

http://viewbook.at/B00BDRA9DM

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and check the novella out. And please, spread the word!

And on Friday, guest author Eduardo Perellón!

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