Archives for posts with tag: Short story

I first published the following story in February of this year and at the time Donata Zawadzka had just been introduced to me by Paul Andruss.  Tales from the Irish Garden was just a twinkle in my …

Source: My WIP – Tales from the Irish Garden- with Illustrations by Donata Zawadzka | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Advertisements

Vashti is having a busy month and introducing us some wonderful writers. Karen Ingalls shares a lovely story that I had to share too.

Hello and welcome to the 2nd day of the Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour! Today I have the privilege of introducing

Hello and welcome to the 2nd day of the Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour! Today I have the privilege of introducing award-winning author, Karen Ingalls. Karen is sharing with us her delightfu…

Source: Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour – Author Karen Ingalls | The Writer Next Door|Vashti Q

A great story by Pete from BeetleyPete.

This is a work of fiction, a short story of 1670 words. Steve liked to sit in the gap at the side of the steps. The spot gave him some protection from the wind, and the slight overhang above kept o…

Source: The steps to the bridge | beetleypete

Another superb story by Hugh Roberts.

Is agoraphobia all in the mind or is it a fear that nobody should take for granted? A piece of flash fiction that has the answer.

Source: Inside-Out #flashfiction – Hugh’s Views & News

Hi all:

Friday is the day for new books and guest authors. I always love to have authors who have already featured in my blog come back with new offerings. It warms my heart to see that, however hard the task, we’re all committed to writing and creating new worlds.

Today is one of these occasions, as Nicholas Rossis, a fantastic author and a generous blogger, is back with his new book. Just in case you missed my previous post about his books, here it is.

Author Nicholas Rossis

Author Nicholas Rossis

And he brings us a treat for those of you who enjoy short and speculative fiction.

Infinite Waters by Nicholas Rossis

Infinite Waters by Nicholas Rossis

Infinite Waters: 9+1 Speculative Fiction Short Stories by Nicholas C. Rossis

Ten speculative fiction short stories and flash fiction, written by the award-winning author of Pearseus and Runaway Smile.

Although they seem to be concerned with various themes, there are certain passions that run through them.  What is the nature of reality; digital and corporeal?  Is there more to the world than we can see?  How far can we trust our senses?

The anthology includes the following stories:

  • Infinite Waters“: A woman seeks her future at a carnival. She discovers more than she expected.
  • The Things We Do for Lust“: Beware of time travelers bearing gifts.
  • James’ Life“: A man with nothing to look forward to but oblivion, discovers it’s not that easy to escape his life.
  • Two’s a Crowd“: Blood runs thicker than water. Especially when you spill it.
  • What’s in a Name?“: A trip to the tropics has an unexpected ending.
  • The Lucky Bastard“: How far will the luckiest man alive go to escape his luck?
  • A Twist of the Tail“: A confused woman meanders through a sleepy town. But not all is as it seems.
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?“: A high school student just loves to experiment.
  • Sex and Dinner“: A timeless combination. Or is it?
  • Would You Like Flies With That?“: Nothing’s scarier than a supermarket.
  • The Hand of God“: Nothing has prepared a grizzly veteran for this meeting *.
    (* first published in The Power of Six)

Humorous and poignant, these short stories are exciting, intriguing and imaginative.

Editorial Reviews

Review

“I found myself looking forward to coming home so I could dig into the next story. Each story pulls you in to its unique little universe and takes you on a ride where the tracks are hidden, and you can’t see the corners up ahead.”

“…the author really pulled out a ‘Twilight Zone’ type of vibe.”

“Well-written, fast-paced, clever and thought-provoking.”

About the Author

Nicholas Rossis lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, walks his dog, and enjoys the antics of two silly cats, one of whom claims his lap as home. His children’s book, Runaway Smile, earned a finalist slot in the 2015 International Book Awards.

What readers are saying about Nick’s fantasies:

“Most avid readers still have books from their childhood which they read over and over again. ‘Runaway Smile’ has joined the list.”

“From the very first sentence I realized I was not reading a book, I was going on an adventure.”

For more on Nick or just to chat, visit him on:

Just in case you need more convincing, I’ve chosen one of the many fabulous reviews the book already has. It is a five star review.

By Nat Russo on July 9, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Nicholas Rossis is a master of the craft. Each of these short stories is handcrafted with the utmost attention to every facet of good story telling. But more, Nicholas finds a way to wrap the collection in a “meta” story. It was a brilliant way of grouping together a set of seemingly unrelated short stories. I read each of these over the course of a couple of days, and I found myself looking forward to coming home so I could dig into the next story.

In short fiction, you don’t have a lot of room for error. Every sentence, every word should have to fight for its existence, and Nicholas handles this expertly. Each story pulls you in to its unique little universe and takes you on a ride where the tracks are hidden, and you can’t see the corners up ahead.

If you want to experience what good short fiction is like, grab a copy of Infinite Waters.

And before I forget, links to the book:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010MRBJ3W/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B010MRBJ3W/

Ah, and best of all, Infinite Waters is FREE from the 17th to the 21st of September and on the same dates The Power of Six is only $0.99. Now, what excuse do you have to not CLICK?

Thanks so much to Nicholas for his new book, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Hi all:

You will remember that I had Lucy Pireel as my guest a while back. OK, if you don’t remember, here is the post:

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/guest-author-lucy-pireel/

Since that post I’ve had a chance to get to know Lucy better, and we’ve talked not only about writing (believe it or not, writers talk about other things…sometimes), but of such varied subjects as yoga (because Lucy practices and teaches Yoga, and I’m seriously considering attending one of her courses maybe next year…), spirituality, work, spare time (what is that?), hobbies (Lucy has green fingers and loves growing things… I just eat green things)… By the way, if you want to keep up-to-date with new authors, don’t miss Lucy’s blog (see link below) where you can get to know the most talented writers through Lucy’s fabulous interviews (yes, I’ve visited her blog).

But of course, Lucy is a writer, that’s how I met her, and today she brings us her new book, a collection of short stories with a very suggestive and inviting name ‘A Menu Of Death’. And don’t forget to check the giveaway!

by Lucy Pireel
A collection of stories centered around vengeance, obsession, cravings, and life.
Pick one item of the Menu or devour the entire buffet
Make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew
Read, but not with greed
for Death awaits, ready to come and collect its due
AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | KOBO | SMASHWORDS
These eight short stories revolve around obsession, revenge, craving, love, and Death.
A woman in need of rescue, a man who hungers for his wife, a demon lost, or wishes coming true, all characters want something.
Badly.
But …
You can’t always get what you want, but you might just get what you need.
***
About the author
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Lucy Pireel is a writer who doesn’t let herself be restricted to any one
genre. She loves to write in whatever direction her current story
leads her.
When she’s not writing, or reading, she is practicing or teaching yoga,
her other passion. Or she could be on a long hike somewhere in the
beautiful British nature.
Being an author it is almost a given she has a great love for chocolate and
coffee to live on while writing, but she doesn’t shy away from trying
to prepare intricate dishes, for cooking is another thing she enjoys.
Should you want to follow her she can be found at:
Her Site, WordPress Blog, on Google+, Twitter, and The Book of Faces.
If you want to keep track of what she is reading follow her on BookLikes.
***
For now I’ll let you read a small teaser from one of the stories in this Collection,
Hunger

They had walked for days without seeing any of the lush greens the others had said he’d be able to eat. Gwars hadn’t had any food before they left, because a part of the initiation had been a fast and now his beast clawed at his bindings. Flesh, red, fresh meat, bloody, alive, ready to grab and devour. He shook his head to rid these thoughts.

“When will we eat?” Gwars asked Twark.

“You’ll eat when we are back. Be strong, prove you are worthy to be in our coven. It’s not much further before we will be at our destination.”

Puzzled Gwars recognised the street they had started out from and looked around to see if he was right. At that moment the sound of a rift closing caught his attention and he turned.

***
And then we come at the end of things, where all that is left is the Giveaway! Yay!
Stuff to win:
1 $25 Amazon Gift Card
One of five digital copies of Red Gone Bad by Lucy Pireel
One of five digital copies of Shadow People by Jo Robinson
One of five digital copies of African Me by Jo Robinson
Click on the link to go to the Rafflecopter giveaway
http://kristyberridge.blogspot.com.au/

Hi all:

Although I have several projects going (including writing an epilogue for the three novellas in the series Escaping Psychiatry and publishing them as a single volume, and also translating them to Spanish) sometimes you come up with an idea for a story that won’t leave you until you do something about it. So there you have it, I’ve started writing another story. This is a romantic story, and although I’ve written stories (both publish and unpublished) with romance in them, none have had romance as the main focus.

English: Oscar Wilde, photographic print on ca...

English: Oscar Wilde, photographic print on card mount: albumen. Español: Oscar Wilde, impresión fotográfica en papel de albúmina. Français : Oscar Wilde, une photographie connue. Tirage albumen sur carte. Gaeilge: Oscar Wilde, prionta ghriangraf ar cárta albaimin. Italiano: Oscar Wilde, una fotografia che ci sia pervenuta, ricavata da una stampa fotografica. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But this one wanted to be written, so, what could I do? As Oscar Wilde says, the only way to conquer temptation is to fall into it.

I leave you the very beginning of the story (probably. I’m writing it so things might change. The title that I think I’ll keep is ‘Click Me Happy!. It is going to be a somewhat reluctant romance that has its origins in interactions in social media rather than face to face. When I prepared this post last weekend I was looking for ideas for a cover but since, I’ve found one I like (Raquel who was a guest from the Spanish group suggested this and I’m in love). What do you think?

Here a small sample:

Chapter 1. We meet the “heroine”

“No. Not another bleeming romantic novel! I’m going to puke! Come on, come on, look at it! Pink cover with a hunk showing off his chest and a gorgeous girl looking impressed. And somebody’s idea of a Scottish castle on the background. I can’t stand it any longer!”

Lilith Darville was far more attractive than she ever gave herself credit for. She was not a ravishing beauty (whatever that means) but she had nice brown hair, that she always wore short (no talent for creating hairdos), big almond shaped brown eyes, a beauty spot on her left cheek, a small nose and a well-defined mouth. A very pleasant combination whatever her opinion.

She only wore makeup under extreme duress (and on very special occasions), and although she used to be big as a child, between healthy eating and plenty of exercising she was now slim and reasonably fit. Not a supermodel but, who wants to be that skinny anyway?

“What’s it called?” Asked the Head librarian and good friend of Lilith, Debbie.

“What does it matter? It should be called: Just look at the six pack in this guy, get horny and buy my book. Does anybody believe all this rubbish?”

“It’s not about believing, Lilith. It’s fantasising. Who wouldn’t want to go out with a gorgeous guy and be the centre of his world, and have other women envy you and…?”

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to leave me comments and suggestions/ideas for the cover.

Clickmehappy

Hi all:

As you know it’s been Easter and again I managed to catch up with some reading and I bring you the reviews of two books I’ve finished reading very recently. Both are by female authors I know (at least in the social media dimension) and in both cases I’d read a previous work by the author and really enjoyed it. I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed this time either.

Please, check the books out. They’re both fabulous. If you prefer horror, I recommend Regina’s book; if you love imagination, fairy tales and unusual stories, read Mary’s. Actually, read both. You’ll thank me for it.

I’ve also had time (I’m afraid) to experiment with videos, so I leave you a link to a video where I talk about my novel The Man Who Never Was. Come on, you know you want to watch it!

And don’t forget to click on the links!

Regina's tales of horror

Regina Puckett’s Short Tales of Horror

I can start by saying I loved this book. I love horror movies and I love to read horror novels and stories, so this one was right up my alley. The stories are different enough to suit most tastes, from monsters, to ghosts, from slashers to dolls (clowns even, horror of horror!). After reading `Mine‘ that I found scary and unsettling, I knew I was in for a good ride. I know from Ms. Puckett (I follow her on Twitter and she’s a great follow) that she has now written and published the continuation, `Ours‘ and I’m looking forward to it. As I’ve said the stories are varied but I noticed that many have female protagonists (might be perpetrators and/or victims) and men tend to suffer sometimes the female rage, sometimes pay the price for not taking women’s concerns seriously. Some of the stories are pure horror in the best tradition (like `Mine’ or `Inheritance‘), but others like `Pieces‘ are horrific and tragic whilst touching on really serious issues (domestic violence). And what about `Will Work for Food‘ and its dark (humorous?) comment on the crisis? I won’t talk about the stories in detail as I don’t want to spoil the surprises but can thoroughly recommend the book to everybody who likes horror and does not scare easy (unless you like to be scared, of course!). I have read one of the author’s romances and also really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to her new works. And the ones I haven’t read yet.

http://www.amazon.com/Regina-Pucketts-Short-Horror-ebook/dp/B0097H1QZ0/

51jk4AGTx7L._AA160_

Forever After. A Dimensional Love Story by Mary Meddlemore

All power to stories and imagination

‘Forever After’ is ‘a dimensional love story’ as the title indicates. It does not fit in well with any standard genres. It has romance, but a very special kind, it has fantasy (and even dragons, but that’s in the story within the story), has an ecological theme, is a fairy tale, a parable…More than anything, ‘Forever After’ is a triumph of imagination.

Mary Meddlemore is the name of the main character in the novel, and that proves how powerful a grip over the author’s imagination she obtained, that she insisted on writing the story herself. There is a story dimension in the novel, and a reality dimension, and we discover that although Mary lives in the reality dimension (the reality of the novel) she belongs in the story dimension. The fact that she has a little lamb (love Miss Lamb) and that neither she nor her lamb ever grow older should have been a clue. As her name indicates she meddles, trying to bring together two people who are made to love each other but unfortunately live in different dimensions. Andrew and Jenny can’t believe Mary’s explanations but…

The main characters are endearing, lovable and original. A boy with a dragon suit who grows into a lawyer defending good causes. A girl who managed to save a town with the help of a teacher (I also love Hannah) and a dragon (Abibus). And Mary…And Miss Lamb, of course. But even character with small parts are unforgettable: The Flower warrior, the Dragon Crier, Hannah, even the waiter at the restaurant obsessed with ‘The Suit’ and providing perfect sugar cubes…Charlie Kaufman would feel quite at home with this story that like many of his scripts explores the boundaries between reality and fiction and celebrates the power of stories and imagination. Like in ‘Enchanted’ fairy tales and reality mix with wonderful results.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. Anybody who loves books, writing and stories will like this book. On the other hand if you think that reality is superior to fiction and material things more important than imagination, maybe you won’t.

I have read the author’s collection of short stories ‘The Seventh Sheep’ and adored it. I follow her blog (http://marymeddlemore1.wordpress.com) and I am aware that she’s working on a sequel of Forever. I can’t wait and in the meantime plan to read ‘In the Reign of the Ilev’ too.

http://www.amazon.com/Forever-After-Dimensional-Story-ebook/dp/B009HXI30A/

GO ON, CLICK!

And, miss at your peril. Here I’m talking about The Man Who Never Was. Have a laugh!

http://youtu.be/51H6QzATtb0

Thank you for reading!

JOINT GIVEAWAY WITH MARY MEDDLEMORE

I promised I would be writing about this wonderful giveaway we have organised. WE as in Mary Meddlemore and I. “Who is Mary Meddlemore?” you will ask? Excellent question, as questions go. Mary is a character. And a writer…Or something like that.

Mary is also writing in her blog about the giveaway and the process of setting it up and all. Well, I don’t know exactly what she’s writing as we were both going to post on the same date, so I haven’t seen her post. But if you check, she might explain it more and better…

Here is her blog page:

http://marymeddlemore1.wordpress.com/

So, what’s the story? Mary and I met through a group of writers. ASMSG (Authors Social Media Support Group). I was happily Tweeting about all kinds of things, but doing a fair amount of retweeting about other writers and the founder of the group (R. Grey Hoover, great man) contacted me and there I was…a member of the group. We have a variety of fora, one being Facebook, where people post about their writing, interesting stuff they’ve come across…you know…(By the way, if you want to check the webpage of the group, here is the link: http://asmsg.weebly.com/index.html   Plenty of useful stuff.) Somehow Mary and I got talking (or messaging), and got on like a house on fire. Yes, we live very far away from each other, in different time zones, completely different climates (luckily for her), and we’ve never set eyes on each other (only our avatars or some pictures) but what does any of that matter? We shared the joys, the frustrations the misunderstandings, the hopes and aspirations, the gossip, the ups and downs, and we enjoyed each other’s companies. If nothing else comes out of this writing thing, meeting Mary and some of the other wonderful people I’ve come across along the way will make it well worth it. (I would add some nice sentimental music here, but you should see how difficult it was to just do a sound post, so…sorry…).

Through chatting about writing we discovered we had published in Amazon around the same time (in October 2012…it seems years now!) and therefore chances for using our free giveaway days were running out. And, hey presto! Light bulb! Why not combine the giveaways? Yes, our writing is quite different, but that should make it far more interesting. Mary was working on her new collection of short stories The Seven Sheep (it’s fabulous, but don’t take my word for it! Download it! It’s free from the 10th to the 14th January!) and wanted to give all her books away. She’s a truly generous soul. I started with my novel ‘The Man Who Never Was’ but then thought…I should give the Spanish version away too…And…Maybe we should make it half a dozen, so why not add one of my novellas?

We had some comings and goings and thankfully Mary organised our blog/webpage for the giveaway. Although you can choose to go to each one of the books and get them, why make life difficult for yourself? If you follow the below link, you can click on all the books and download them to your heart’s content. If you’re not in Amazon.com we have the ASIN of the books and they should be available in all Amazon stores (beware of time zone differences.) Not only that. Even if you don’t have an e-reader, Mary has also added the link to download the Amazon PC e-reader App, so you can always read them in your computer.

http://freestuffolgamary.wordpress.com/

And Mary kept going with her writing and editing, and I kept investigating how to promote our giveaway and sending information to Mary (who had sent me information before. We’re like explorers in an alien planet trying to understand the language and laws of this book marketing thing) and started pestering people and posting things on websites…and of course, here…

Now, the time has nearly come. From the 10th to the 14th of January Mary and I are giving away 6 books. Sci-fiction, short-stories, novellas, family sagas, humour, absurd, magical, tears, laughter…Why? Because we love stories, and without stories we’re nothing.

Or as Mary writes in her introduction to The Seventh Sheep:

“Stories cannot be contained. They can be labeled and sorted into categories, but readers read and make of them what they will and so it should be.

Stories have wings. They fly where they want to.

Stories are the soul of mankind. It doesn’t matter whether the story is “intellectual/literary” or just fun, whether it is meant for children or adults etc., all stories contain the same story elements, namely: characters, settings, actions (or non-actions), consequences of actions or non-actions, story moments and a story line etc.

Whether you read just for pleasure or whether you study a story, the story elements invade your being, because your life, is a story too. Stories merely mimic human existence, because being human, human authors cannot think of anything outside their “human” capabilities.

Extraterrestrial intelligence will be elegant, complex, internally consistent and utterly alien.

Carl Sagan in Cosmos

 

Stories bring extra experiences, because when you read, you get to “know” thousands of “characters”. There is no way that you could ever “know” so many “real” people intimately. Thus, reading automatically widens your perspective.

Stories can also bring awareness if you “read/notice ” yourself, or others  or specific familiar circumstances in a story.

Awareness brings the possibilities of change, if it is wanted or needed.

Each story is experienced and interpreted differently by every single reader and so it should be, because you are all unique.

The gifts of stories are immense!”

Readers, here are our stories. Please help us share them with others! If you have any ideas of how to spread the word, please leave a comment and we’ll be on your eternal debt!

And thanks for reading!

I'm a featured author at Freebooksy

Hi:

After talking about me and my writing, I decided to post a story I wrote some time back. I also have news. I’ve published my first book, both in Spanish and English (El Hombre que nunca existió, The Man Who Never Was). I hope you like the story.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWEGC8

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWRT22

THE NOVEL

Denver had never been the most attractive or lucky of girls. Brown hair, brown eyes, average height. Not a sculptural body either. She’d gone through Primary and High School without doing anything remarkable. She’d had a few dates, but she’d never had a formal boyfriend (or an informal one, for that matter!). She’d managed to move away from her parents’ house (nice people, but too conventional) nearly a year ago, and she’d expected her life to change completely. No more boredom! Excitement, freedom, recklessness! Maybe all that wasn’t her, after all, because her life had continued to be as boring as usual. Nothing new. She had a studio-flat to herself, but that was all there was.  It wasn’t even in a fancy place. Peaceful, quiet, and empty.

Even her friend Phoebe was living with someone. She’d always thought Phoebe would be the last girl in the world to get somebody. So shy, so prudish, she never dared to take any risks at all…And there she was. Phoebe had had her adventure, and Denver was still there. Waiting. What on earth was she waiting for?

If only things were like in the books or the films. Life would be so much easier to handle. If only she could discover what the plot to her life was, or at least what the genre of the novel she was living was. If life came with a book of instructions for its use and enjoyment everything would be so much simpler…

She told herself that it was all a matter of determination. She was going to take control. From now on, she was writing her own story. And she would decide what it was going to be like. She could hear the music of Carmen (‘Toreador’) as she went to sleep on the thought. Her name in neon lights. Her relatives and friends clapping at her performance. Her life was going to become a best seller!

The next morning, when she walked into her office, she’d made her mind up. A romantic story. That was what her life was going to be. A beautiful love story. The setting wasn’t perfect: tables, computers, doors, papers and more papers. But her reserve of imagination was larger than the Federal Bank’s gold reserve. She could blank out reality if she tried real hard. It was all in the process of creation. The plastic and cheap-looking tables could become mahogany, period tables. The lamps, crystal…Maybe something more intimate and less grand would be more romantic. She didn’t want ‘Gone with the Wind’ either. It was too much. Not so ambitious. Flowery pastel curtains on the windows; instead of the huge skyscrapers a lake and a little white house in the distance, a Cole Porter song…And soft light. Definitely soft light. It would go with her pink dress. And she had a hero. Mr. Spencer, Mark, her boss. He was tall, dark and handsome. Denver was well aware that there were many women interested in him, but deep inside him, even if he’d never showed it, she knew that the flame of his love for her burned really hot. She had got some flowers for her desk, to complete the scene, and she left one in his room.

Mr. Spencer came in and nodded at her. The music grew louder. He hadn’t said anything but Denver sensed that he was only feigning indifference. She waited for his call. He would call her any time to thank her for the flower, and he would acknowledge his feelings. She could picture the scene. She’d go in, and there he would be, in the centre of the room, hazy  background and a shiny smile on his face. Who needed Brad Pitt or Leonardo Di Caprio when she had Mr. Spencer? He would rush towards her, inflamed by his passion and taking her hand he would cover it with kisses.

”Thanks for the flower. It’s so beautiful and delicate as you are. I suppose you imagined I didn’t notice you, but it’s taken all my self-control not to approach you before, and now…”

“Mr. Spencer…” She would blush and flip her long eyelids that were one of her main charms.

“Call me Mark…”

One of the other girls, a newcomer, short and very active, shook her.

“Mr. Spencer is calling you. I wouldn’t make him wait. He’s been quite short recently.”

“He won’t be short with me.”

The other girl looked at her surprised, but Denver marched in the office with her notebook and a broad smile. ‘Our love is here to stay’ was playing in her mind.

“Mr. Spencer.”

He was sneezing like mad. No hazy background, no shiny smile.

“Was this your idea?”  He asked pointing at the flower.

“Well, yes. I thought it would enliven the office.”

“Nobody asked you to think. I’m allergic to flowers. Take that away from here. Quick!” His tone was dry and hard. He was not amused.

She grabbed the flower feeling mortified. She was only trying…

“And don’t come back in. Mr. Wingfield needs someone to help him. His secretary had an accident a couple of days ago. Take your things to his office.”

Mr. Wingfield! He was old, fiery, and not very nice. Denver could have cried.

“And take the flowers on your desk with you. Thanks.”

Thanks? Thanks? Who did he think he was? Not her hero, definitely not. A romantic hero didn’t behave like that. Men. One could never trust them to play their parts.

While she was filing documents in Mr. Wingfield’s office she concluded that, whatever it was, her life wasn’t a romantic novel. But, who wanted a romantic novel anyhow? There was no real adventure, no risk, and no danger. A detective story. A good detective story was what she needed.

Next day Denver decided on wearing a dark suit, and she even bought a packet of cigarettes on the way. She tried to smoke one, but it made her cough, and her eyes started to cry. She threw them away. She’d have to be a healthy detective instead.

Once in the office nothing exciting seemed to happen for a while. Selecting the mail, answering some of the letters, rearranging some appointments. Just before midday, Steve, one of the salesmen and Marie’s (one of the other secretaries) boyfriend went to see her. He was a nice guy, nothing outstanding, but kind and attentive. He didn’t have a dress sense though, red hair and a brown suit didn’t quite match, but he wasn’t like the other salesmen always flirting with the pretty girls and never talking to her. He was polite and he always told her about his adventures when selling their ‘wonderful garden implements’. Marie never let him talk about it; it was too boring for her. She only wanted him to adore her and talk about her all the time. Steve was far too good for Marie. Not Denver’s type, but he deserved better than Marie. She always had to act all high and mighty.

“ I wonder if you can help me with this mystery.”

A mystery! Eureka! She had the feeling this was going to be her lucky day. The music inundated her ears. Dark, slightly threatening, jazzy…

“Tell me.”

“I’ve been to see Marie…She’s not at her desk.”

Denver’s pulse accelerated. The trumpet blew in. A missing person. Always a good topic in detective stories.

“She’s probably doing something…photocopying?”

“I’ve looked. She isn’t there. Nobody has seen her go out either.”

“Let’s go and see.”

Denver examined Marie’s desk with utmost attention. A good detective had to be scientific and meticulous. Shame she hadn’t brought a magnifying glass with her. But, that was too old-fashioned. Now it was all DNA testing and sophisticated gadgets. She’d have to do with her wit. It was much cheaper. Observation was the first rule. Marie’s notepad was there, so it was unlikely that she would be in Mr. Spencer’s office. Unless she…

“Do you think she’s filing something in the office?” Steve asked.

“It’s possible, but Mr. Spencer doesn’t like us to do it while he is here, and he hasn’t gone out. You see? She hasn’t written anywhere where he was going. He must be there.”

“What about the toilet?”

“It’s been quite a while. And her handbag is in the drawer, so she isn’t making up or anything.”

“She can’t possibly have vanished.”

“Did she know you were coming?”

“No, she didn’t. I wasn’t supposed to be here today, I had to go out of town, but the client phoned saying he was unwell, so I didn’t go.”

“I see.”

An idea came to Denver’s mind. She didn’t like it, but it made sense. Why Mr. Spencer had seemed so crossed recently, why Marie had been wearing nicer and more expensive clothes, why he’d dismissed her with a stupid excuse. Her mental soundtrack died. It was solemnly silent.

“I think…” Denver pressed a button in the intercom.

“Oh Marie…”

“Mr. Spencer…”

“Mark…”

“Mark…Go on…Go on…Yes, yes, yes!”

Denver switched it off. It was too much. Steve’s face had changed colour.

“Bitch.”

“Don’t…”

Steve was flushed, shaky, but tried to smile. “Don’t worry. I won’t do anything stupid. Good luck to her. I can find somebody like her any time. Thanks all the same.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right. Not your fault. Bye.”

Denver wasn’t hard enough for the job. She didn’t like its results. The truth could be too hurtful at times and she wasn’t mean. Her life wouldn’t be a detective’s story either.

Denver didn’t admit her defeat as yet. The times weren’t right for romantic novels or detective stories. People wanted the impossible, dreams come true, progress…Science Fiction, that was the ‘in’ thing. A good Sci-Fi story. That was it.

On the elevator the next day she was trying to get herself in the right mood for her new genre. The building was better suited for that than for romantic novels or detective stories really. Metallic-looking doors, abstract paintings, mechanical sculptures, cameras everywhere, computer screens, and thousands of doors…Even the people looked grey and metallic that day. The elevator stopped without a warning between the tenth and eleventh floor. She didn’t know any of the other people stuck with her. They worked in other offices. One of the men, pale, bold, in a grey suit, seemed annoyed.

“I wonder what it is this time. These bloody things never work properly.”

“It won’t be anything serious.” the youngest, blondest and prettiest of the girls affirmed. She was wearing a grey skirt and a grey blouse too. Definitely a grey day.

“Shall we press the alarm button?” a very young man anxious, sweaty, and probably wearing his first grey suit for his first job, asked.

The lights went off. Maybe she’d made a mistake and it was a horror movie after all. Or a combination, like ‘Alien’. But, the only music that would play in her mind would be the band in ‘Star Wars’ bar. OK, they were all a bit weird in that elevator, but not as weird as the specimens in the film.

“What’s happening?” It was an unknown voice. A grey woman, no doubt.

“I’ll press the button” the young grey man said. No movement, no sound. Dead quiet.

“It isn’t working! What’s happening?” the same grey woman asked. The pitch of her voice was higher this time.

The elevator shook and there were noises. Everybody went quiet. Denver thought that it didn’t feel quite right for an abduction. She’d always heard about bright lights, and usually somebody driving along lonely roads, or out for a walk, not in the middle of town, in an elevator full of people. It didn’t make sense. Maybe it was a horror novel. But why that music? It wasn’t serious. Even the music of the ‘X-Files’ would be more appropriate, but no. The alien bar in ‘Star Wars’.

They could hear what seemed to be voices coming from outside. Perhaps it was an abduction after all. Aliens. Did aliens prefer people wearing grey in elevators? Denver hadn’t read anything about that. She shouldn’t have neglected her culture that way. If she wasn’t abducted she’d made up for it. If she was…well, she imagined she’d get to know, one way or another.

“Help! We’re trapped!” the bold grey man shouted.

The voices stopped and all went very quiet.

“Something is not right.” the very young grey man offered. “I think…”

They heard somebody or something walking on the roof of the elevator. One of the panels on top of them began to move. It was lifted and a ray of light flashed in. Denver had suddenly realised in a panic that she was wearing green! They were coming for her! Aliens couldn’t stand people who wore green! She screamed and the rest of the elevator joined in.

“They’re coming to get us!”.

When a head looked in, a loud thump resounded in the closed space. A spot of light fell on the body. It was the bold grey man. He’d fainted.

“What are you doing here?” the owner of the head asked. “We told the porter not to let anybody use this unit because we had to do some repairs, so we stopped it in a place convenient for us.”

“The porter never said anything.”

“Who did you think I was, anyhow? Why did you scream? Oh well, we’ll let you out. Sorry.” The repair man grinned. He was probably thinking it would make a good story to tell his colleagues. Panic in the elevator!

It was embarrassing. Even Denver looked grey after that. And if it wasn’t bad enough, the music carried on. But she could take it.  It wouldn’t be a Science-Fiction story, or a Horror novel either. Maybe try another old-style type of thing. Revival time. A good Western. Nothing could really compare to an old Western. And she’d always wanted to wear cowboy boots and a hat. With the central heating at full blast it felt like a dessert, and the cacti the company had bought to give the office a homely atmosphere helped the impression. Her name was appropriate too. Denver. The Denver Kid…The Denver Girl…Denver the Quick. Buffalo Denver? Decisions, decisions. And Mr. Wingfield bothering her about some copies. She’d choose her new name whilst making the copies.

When Denver reached the photocopier, strategically placed in the middle of the corridor that joined all the offices, she realised that she had forgotten her card. She left her things next to the machine while she went to pick it up. When she returned Marie had had the cheek to jump her place and start photocopying her own stuff. Who did she think she was? First her man, then the photocopier. What would be next? No, it shouldn’t be tolerated. There wasn’t enough space in that office for the both of them. The whistles in one of Clint Eastwood’s movies seemed to filter under the door at the end of the corridor. A very long corridor. Empty. Only Marie and her.

“Marie.”

“Yes?”

“I was here before you came. Didn’t you see my things?”

“You should remember to bring your card with you.”

Denver didn’t have a gun, but she reached for her belt nonetheless. She adjusted her imaginary white hat. At the end of the dusty street was her enemy, Marie, all dressed in black. They were approaching each other in slow motion. Did she imagine the clink of the spurs? Moving closer, a little bit closer.

“And you should remember you have a boyfriend before getting in the office with the boss.” She felt a slightly bitchy, but one had to use the best weapons available. She was ready to shoot. Fast, clean, no hesitation.

“What do you mean?”

“Have you seen Steve recently?”

“No.”

“I think he heard a very strange conversation between Mr. Spencer and you.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“One that went something like: ’Mark…Yes, yes, yes!’” she said, trying to imitate Marie’s high pitched voice. Did she hit the target? Marie was still standing, but she was sure she’d wounded her at least.

“You…!”

“Me…what…?”

Denver could see in Marie’s eyes that she was preparing to shoot. She looked like a good shot. Cool, calm, no shakiness.

“Do you know what Mark said to me, Denver? He said: ’That Denver, she’s such a pathetic creature. She always seems to be living in the clouds, she has no style, no sense of humour. I’m sure she’s a lesbian.’”

“He didn’t…” Denver felt the bullet straight in the heart.

“Do you want us to ask him?”

Denver retreated. Too much blood loss to try another shot. She wasn’t offended by Mr. Spencer calling her a lesbian. That wasn’t an insult, that was the same as calling her short or brown-haired. Only she didn’t feel attracted to women that way. But ‘pathetic creature’ ‘no sense of humour’. She’d tried so hard to make him like her and she had failed. She didn’t stand a chance with anybody else. She left the scene badly wounded. She’d lost her duel. She wasn’t made to be a gunwoman either.

If Steve hadn’t walked in her office at that precise moment Denver would have cried, but she knew he had better reasons than her to cry(after all he’d been going out with Marie for nearly two years now and he seemed quite serious about it), and he was holding on. Whatever her life was, she didn’t want to make a big tragedy out of it. It wasn’t that bad.

“Hi Denver. You don’t look happy.”

“Hi Steve. I am not. But nothing important.”

“Tell me your sorrows and I’ll tell you mine.”

“It’s a long story, Steve.”

“It’s lunch time. Go on. Let’s go out and you tell me.”

“All right.”

Sitting on a bench in the park she told Steve her ideas about books and life and her failed attempts at living her life as if it were a book. He laughed.

“Do you think it’s funny?”

“I do. Haven’t you realised that your life makes a wonderful comedy?”

“It doesn’t. Not from my end.”

“I think it’s hilarious. A shoot-out with Marie. That’s a lovely idea. I wouldn’t mind myself. But I’d rather have real guns.”

“I’m pleased I’ve made you laugh.”

“You’ve made me feel better. But not as well as to make me change my mind. I’ve decided to leave this job. It was never for me in the first place and I don’t want to do this for ever. A friend of mine is getting a restaurant. I can’t remember if I’ve told you before but I trained as a chef. It isn’t going to be a big business to start with, but…”

“Here?” It would be sad to lose her only ally in the place. And such a nice person.

“No, in Boston. It’s a bit far but I am not leaving that much behind.”

“I’ll miss you.”

“Come to see me. I’ll miss you too. The only person I’ll miss in this hole. But you must remember, nobody can ruin your life for you if you don’t let them. You have enough imagination to survive anything.”

“Thanks. We must go back to the office. I still work there.”

“Let’s go back.”

Steve promised to say goodbye before leaving, and Denver promised in return that she would try to go and visit him. She sat back at her desk and her mind wandered back to the old themes. Life. Novels. Maybe books weren’t as powerful or as good a guide as she had thought. She didn’t want to live a comedy that was only funny for others. Whoever was writing her life hadn’t given her a very good part on it. And not much voice in the matter. Life wasn’t fair.

“Denver, Denver!” Mr. Wingfield’s voice woke her up from her reveries “Dreaming again? Come to my office. I have to dictate you some letters.”

Letters, letters…Maybe life was only writing other people’s letters.

Back at home Denver kept on thinking about her life. Writing other people’s letters? Was that all there was? No. It couldn’t be. If she couldn’t live her life like a book, maybe….

She sat at the table, got pen and paper and began to write:

Denver had never been  the most attractive or lucky of girls.

Olga

Living in the Gap

“Ruffled feathers and endless squawking over a minor difficulty is typical of a crow’s life. I lean back on the counter and realize that could be my line….”

Opinión y actualidad

Opinión sobre noticias y asuntos de actualidad

Los escritos de Héctor Browne

Blog (algo literario y algo viejo) de un Licenciado en Letras, diplomado en edición, y Profesor de Lenguaje.

Priscilla Bettis, Author

The making of a horror novelist.

%d bloggers like this: