A prison of his own making

It is probably no surprise that the most surprising events stem from the most unexpected places. Such is the nature of a surprise, I suppose. Surprises can be pleasant though, perhaps a shock is better. A fright, bombshell, cataclysm may be better. Forgive me my rambling, I have far too much time to myself.

To the purpose of this prose: a warning to the audient emptiness and those who dwell on the world above it. Women are a nasty breed, a breed who will put their own above any others. They bite the hands that feed them. All I have done, I have done for these god-forsaken women. First Louisa, may the lord forgive her departed soul, the number of company dinners and society occasions I missed for that woman’s fancies. And now, Elizabeth. Her mother should have indicated the presence of a disturbed mind. And yet, here I am.

It began with the tragic death of Elizabeth’s mother, my wife Louisa. She was woman of strong convictions, a most unbecoming trait and one, I believe, that caused her youth and beauty to fade as her opinions grew stronger. She entertained wild ideas about working and public speaking, about the rights of women and the inferiority of men. Naturally, she was disturbed and required frequent sedation to calm her of these notions and protect the honour of the house. I was forced to knock sense into her on many occasions, eventually she acquiesced and became much more agreeable. Quiet, homely, a proper lady of the house. She relied on essences and potions to sleep at night, I maintain she simply confused the vials on her nightstand on that tragic evening. What she was doing with essence of nightshade is beyond the realm of my understanding. A simple mistake. When Louisa failed to rouse the next morning, I called the physician immediately. He pronounced her dead, accidentally suicided he declared.

Upon hearing the news, Elizabeth quite lost her head.

“Tyrant!” she had screamed, “Oppressor! Hangman! Murderer!”

Where the child gets these ideas from, I will never know. Whether the untimely death of her mother broke her mind, or whether the madness had always lingered under the surface, I will also never know.  She had oft been prone to bouts of hysteria and whimsy, but in her flushed face I saw true madness for the first time. I had assigned a nurse for her care, so as to assure her wellbeing and prevent her from endangering or disgracing this house. This was my greatest mistake, one I will surely rue till my looming death bed.

The power of Elizabeth’s sick mind was revealed to her nurse, in all its twisted force. She was able to coerce this simple woman into doing her bidding, the bidding her god-given weak and sickly body was unable to commit. Elizabeth, that cursed witch, lured me down to the cellar on false premises where the nurse was waiting, shrouded in shadow. When I woke I was shackled and bloody. Elizabeth stood over me and I saw the devil shine through the back of her dead and unholy eyes.

“No more. No more.” She murmured, as if possessed. The nurse brought writing materials and I was forced to sign my own social death warrant. I was eloping with a common maid, I relinquished the estate to my daughter, my one and only heir. My hand tremored as I wrote it, I was enraged. I was convinced no one would believe this demeaning, disgraceful tale. But it seems they have. There have been no callers to the manor, none that I have been able to hear. In fact the house seems quite deserted, no footsteps, no sounds from the kitchen. I fear I am quite alone. It is impossible to know how long I have been here, perhaps a week. My rations run low and it appears neither of the she-daemons will be replenishing them. They have departed to lead their sinful, hell-bound lives. So I write this in the hope that someone will eventually find me and know the true depth of the depravity of women. They are vengeful creatures and cannot be trusted.

<a href=”http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/ready-set-done-5/”>Ready, Set, Done</a>

An excerpt

As some of you may know, I took part in a little challenge a little while back. It was my own personal NaNoWriMo. I wanted to write a novel (loosely defined) in a month. And I kind of did. It’s almost finished and on the verge of being sent to one of my harshest critics. So here’s an excerpt from ‘title pending’. Feedback encouraged, please be kind!


Ray glared up at the grey plaster ceiling. That irritating ray of morning sun had once again come in through the gap at the top of the curtains to shine in his eyes.  He could have been in any cheap guest house anywhere in the world but this one was the one he’d chosen year after year. He scrunched his eyes closed. He hated the spider web cracks on the ceiling, he had spent so long staring at them that he could trace their paths without looking. He was frustrated, restless, bored and lonely. It was debilitating in a slow, quiet way. He tried not to think about it but this restless, angry energy was the only thing that got him out of bed each morning. He’d rise from the same bed, in the same room, he reserved at the same time every year. His knees creaked as his stood up. He grabbed his grey slacks from a pile of clothes on the floor and rooted around in a drawer for his brown, wool jumper. He shuffled to the window, the air had a chilly bite to it but Ray pulled it open anyway. The light streamed in, the street below was already bustling, and the lake, as ever, was calm and pensive. He went to the bathroom and splashed water on his face, avoiding his gaze in the mirror. Morning ritual complete, he left his room and went down the hallway to the balcony. As always, Mya was waiting with his tea. “Good morning, Mr Ray.” She could set her watch to his arrival. 7.30am. Ray was usually a coffee man, but here it was always tea. He hated the taste of the 3-in-1 coffee Mya served up to the other guests. It tasted like soap. He sipped his tea from the chipped cup and looked down on to the street below. The market would be in full swing already, it was just the late-comers rushing down to the canal now. Ray and his thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of some young German girls. Brushing sleep out of their eyes, they slumped at a table next to the railing. Always attentive, Mya bustled over to learn their drink of choice. Ray was not in the mood for Europeans. He found them inscrutable and exhausting. These two were no different by the looks of it. The girls perked up over 3-in-1 and nattered away. One was seemingly taking inventory of what was in her day pack. “You hire bicycle today?” Mya asked them, simultaneously delivering their toast and confirming Ray’ suspicions. It was in the guidebook, you see. “In TripAdvisor we trust,” Ray thought to himself, accepting his own toast.

A challenge

As you may know, my partner and I have recently moved to Singapore from Australia. His company moved us over so while he has been trotting off to work every day, I have not been. Thanks to a holiday that was booked way in advance, as in before we knew we were moving, I’m in the middle of seven weeks off from work. I’ve been using that time productively, or at least trying to use that time productively, there may have been some TV watched at one time or another.

Anyway, I want to be a writer, and this is the perfect chance to give it a crack and see if I have the discipline, oh and maybe the skills, to do it. So now that we are officially moved in and settled in our new apartment/suburb/city/country, it’s time to get serious. This post is to hold me to account. I’ve dabbled in a few blogging challenges, writing around different themes and not using adverbs primarily, but I stumbled across a phenomenon called NaBloPoMo. Sounds like an upwardly mobile suburb of New York but it’s short for National Blog Posting Month. Basically you sign up and write a blog a day for a month, I think around a dedicated theme. Upon further investigation, NaBloPoMo is a spin-off of NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. This is where writers, amateur and professionals, sign up and commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in one month. Crazy, huh? When you break it down though, it’s potentially do-able. 31 days in July, minus 8 for the weekends equals 23 days. 50,000 divided by 23 days is about 2175 words a day; eight hour work day equals about 270 words an hour. Sounds achievable? I hope so, because that’s what I’m going to try and do. I’m a journalist by trade and there’s nothing like a looming deadline to get me motivated. So this is my commitment to these 50,000 words. On the side, I’ll still be blogging and writing articles, oh and probably working on my thesis… but I am going to write a novel in a month. You watch.

Disclaimer: I had a head start on today’s 2175 words so I guess tomorrow the real work begins. I’ll keep you updated but I won’t post any of the story, most likely because it will be rubbish! Wish me luck.

Between two storeys

She still remembered which ones creaked. As a child, she would wake early and creep downstairs to play with the dogs or cajole Pop into giving her sweets. She thought of him. Hands stained with oil, rising at 5am to spend time in the garage. “This is a car hospital,” he explained one morning. She picked flowers from the garden, “For the sick cars.” Pop wheezed and gave her a fistful of sweets. The stairs groaned, interrupting her reverie. The agent clip-clopped into the room, “It cleaned up quite nicely. I don’t think there’ll be any problems making the reserve.”

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