Category Archives: Ideas

Concepts for future extention.

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Detective Inspector Walter Bambridge stepped past two uniformed officers into the room cast in darkness that had until recently been someone’s home but was now nothing more than a crime scene. A rank odour greeted him as he passed over the threshold, not the usual reek of death that after five years on homicide he still couldn’t get use to, but the smell of grease and left over food. To his right a tiny space that could hardly be called a kitchen seemed to be the cause of the unpleasant fragrance as piles of dirty dishes flooded out of the sink and across every surface. The hallway continued on past the kitchen and Walter paused at what looked like a door but as he looked closer it became apparent to him that it was in fact a set of hanging beads that were being used as a room divider. He parted them with his gloved hand and passed through the makeshift doorway. The beads clattered against each other as he let them go adding sound to the quiet room. Weak light from the nearest streetlamp crept in through the thin curtains from the window to his left casting various shapes in front of him. Walter reached into his inside jacket pocket and pulled out the miniature torch that resided there. With a click the beam came to life and illuminated a lounge that had been shown as little housekeeping as the kitchen he had just passed. A Television ten years past its best sat in one corner, a coffee table littered with all manner of fast food and confectionary wrappers lay between the Television and a worn along the arms and cushions sofa. More rubbish was scattered across the floor and Walter had to shine the light at his feet so that he didn’t stand on any possible evidence. In the same room but to his right a double bed looked like it had seen better days and had also recently been used. The light cast across the dishevelled sheets, revealing various stains that appeared to have been ground into the fabric, before resting on the discoloured pillows. Walter held the light on a substance that was scattered all over the pillows and with careful footing moved around the bed to get a better look. A full head of hair looked to have been shaved from someone’s skull and was scattered all over the top end of the bed. He considered this image as the sound of the hanging beads rattled their tune and another figure entered the room.

Detective Constable Cynthia Lawrence couldn’t help but turn her nose up at the hideous state that was before her and she had to dip into all her reserves of willpower not to begin cleaning up the mess. She surveyed the room and her eyes soon fell onto the torch lit bed and her superior officer crouching down next to it.

‘What we got, sir?’ Cynthia asked as she shone her own light around the scene.

‘I’m not sure yet.’ Walter turned his light towards her. ‘But watch your feet as there’s crap all over the place.’

Cynthia guided her beam to the floor and skipped her way around the piles of junk so that she could be at Walter’s side.

‘Got a whole lot of human hair all over the pillows, looks like someone did some barber work.’ He paused and turned his torch towards the only other area of the small flat that he had not yet searched, the bathroom. ‘Our victim must be in there.’

Together they approached the closed door; Walter reached out and turned the handle then pushed the door open. A weak strip light gave off some light from above a small sink but the bathroom could be called anything but well lit. There torch light moved across the pristine floor, sink and finally rested on the bathtub or more precisely what hung over the tub. Her legs had been tied at the ankles, the rope cutting deep into her flesh as the whole weight of her body was taken by the knot. The pale nakedness of her form had been disturbed at various pointed by a series of deep cuts made at very specific parts of her anatomy. One along each upper thigh, another across the left side of her mid abdomen, a further two down each of her wrists and a final cut athwart her throat. Her head had been shaved and a look of disbelief stared out at them from her vacant eyes.

Walter got closer and looked at the interior of the bath. ‘Where’s all the blood?’

Cynthia stood by his side and examined the tub. Not a single drop of blood blemished the white surface, the whole area gleamed under the torch light, plughole and taps all spotless. She looked around at the rest of the room and the same clean surfaces as the bathtub were on the floor and even the sink. ‘This room doesn’t fit with the rest of the flat. It’s spotless.’

‘Yeah, they cleaned up after themselves.’ Walter placed a hand on the victim’s right arm and studied the incision. ‘She’s been cleaned too.’ Walter shone the light into the plughole and leant forward to get a better look down the hole. ‘We’ll need Forensics to confirm but I don’t think any of the blood went down there.’ He stood and looked around the room. ‘They took it with them.’


The ‘Burbs.

The ‘Burbs. A film by Joe Dante.


I grew up in what was by no means the rural outskirts of a city and was not within sixty miles of what the government class as a city in England, but it certainly had that feel about it. My childhood residence was in a cul-de-sac so this movie has a very close place not only in my funny bone but also to my youthful years. My folks were by no means people who would twitch curtains and are not what I would call nosy but they certainly had an interest in what went on and still goes on in their little corner of the world. The Burbs takes this nosy neighbour idea, multiplies it by a considerable number, adds paranoia and general boredom to the character’s lives and tops it off with a very American cold war unease but without the actual threat.

What makes this Movie so enjoyable for me is not the plot, as it is pretty singular and you think is only ever going to come to one conclusion, but the different characters that interact within the piece. Each member of the neighbourhood adds their own elements to the story and the comedy, the stressed business man who is taking a week off work to relax only to have his plans dashed by his interfering neighbours. His wife who can see her husband getting more and more worked up by the events unfolding before her and continuously tries to help him relax. The two main culprits that drag her husband into all the stupid games are a Korean War veteran with every type of military equipment available for them to do all the spying that want and his partner in crime a bored house husband with too much time on his hands and an overactive imagination. With the laid-back teenager, painting his parent’s house for the summer whilst they are away, looking in on the whole scenario as if he is almost part of the audience. All of them are spying on and surmising over the movements and habits of the less than social new family on the street with the run down house and unkempt lawn. It is this lack of social interaction that brings about the main plot device. Who are the Klopek’s? When did they move in and how many of them are there?

What I think also draws me to it are the subtle underlying levels of horror and peril that are thrown in throughout posing a very real question that we must all ask ourselves at times. How well do we actually know our neighbours? You may disagree, thinking that it is merely a comedy, but I think that there is a very fine line between horror and comedy. This seems to be a running theme throughout many of Joe Dante’s movies, Gremlins, Innerspace and The Howling all having their roots grounded in comedy but including sinister undertone.

A number of people within my social circle all share the same appreciation for this movie as I do and we have been known to spend an overly long time discussing it, sometimes on a meaningful level, but mostly with jovial recollection.  One of my sisters used to sit and watch it with me when we were younger and my wife beamed about the fond memories the movie gave her the first time we discussed it. A number of my close friends all perk up and discuss it at length when it enters conversation. However, I have also seen people give a very negative opinion about the film and as with most comedy the humour in it is not for everyone. Many a time my sister and I would be watching the movie when my Mother would enter the room and state ‘I hate this film’ in her broad Geordie accent before turning around and exiting the lounge as soon as possible. Another of my sister’s also use to leave the room if we decided ‘The Burbs’ was what was going to be watched, although a lot less vocally than Mum.

The paranoia of the unknown neighbours takes the lead characters measures of finding out more about the Klopek’s to the extreme when they start using night vision goggles to spy on them in the dark. Slip notes under the outcast’s front door, ringing the door bell and then running away like a group of mischievous schoolboys. Forcibly stopping the Bin men from doing their jobs by going through the Klopek’s bins in the middle of the street, in search of any shred of incriminating evidence they can find.

When an elderly neighbour’s dog shows up cold and shaking they presume the worst, thinking that his absence is down to the Klopek’s, so they take it on themselves to check and see if the he is okay. After some snooping around and some breaking and entering they get into the house. Signs of a struggle in the lounge area send the imaginations of the group into overdrive and a whole new bunch of even more outrageous ideas are hatched.

The wives are more sceptical, deciding to put a stop to everything by inviting themselves over to the new Neighbours house and cooking Brownies as a greeting gift. The Klopek’s very reservedly invited their neighbours in offering them pretzels and sardines. What follows are in my opinion moments of comedy gold. Awkward silences and stumbled attempts at pleasantries are the crux of the scene with the social inadequacies of the new family made even more apparent by the invasion of their home. The evening ends when an uninvited guest makes a rather loud entrance through the back garden.

Having had a chance to snoop around the Klopek’s house the husbands hatch a plot to have a more though look around the house when the occupants are away on business the very next day. Again, moments of comic genius unfurl in an over the top and very Hollywood ending.

My conclusion is that if you are at a loss for something to do this coming Sunday why not get hold of a copy of the ‘Burbs, leave all sensible thinking behind you and enjoy this little gem.


Bleach by Nirvana. 1989

Bleach by Nirvana. 1989.


This article is for those of you out there whose love of Music did not start after hearing the opening bars of Smells Like Teen Spirit which left them obsessed with a 3 piece Garage band from Seattle for most of their adolescent life. My aim is to give you the reader an insight into an album that is largely disregarded due to the popularity of the two preceding studio albums from Nirvana. I feel that people should take an hour out of their busy lives and listen to each of Nirvana’s studio albums and unplugged in New York at least once. But with this article I would like to concentrate on their debut and probably least revered album, Bleach.

Released in June 1989 it received positive reviews but failed to reach the US Billboard album charts selling 40,000 copies in North America. Its bleak lyrics and heavy riffs were at the time competing against albums such as Madonna’s Like a Prayer, Queen’s The Miracle and Aerosmith’s Pump, and the mainstream market was not quite ready for this sound. It would only gain recognition firstly after the release of Nirvana’s second album Nevermind when Bleach was re-released in 1992 and then later after the Death of Kurt Cobain, where all material by the trio was bought en masse. Bleach subsequently reach number 6 in the Top Pop Catalog Chart and sold over 4.0 Million copies worldwide.

But enough statistics!

Let me tell you what I love about this album. From it’s opening Bass riff it drags you down into a beautifully bleak sound that is not quite Heavy Metal, nor is it Rock but the foundations of an entire Genre that would rise out of the rainy region of the Pacific North West of America. Grunge.

I will admit that I probably did not own this album until maybe 1992 or ’93 but in my defense I was 8 years old when it was released and at the time was still worshiping 4 mutated reptilian New Yorkers. Even after it became part of my ever expanding music collection it was hard to see past Nevermind. However my years have learned me and made me realise that although Nevermind is a masterpiece my love of Bleach and In Utero runs deeper. Whether it is because I played Nevermind too much? Probably! Bleach just has that raw energy to it that comes so often with debut albums.

Normally reviewers will advise certain songs that you should skip to because they jump out at that person when listening but I feel that the album has a wonderful fluidity about it and should be enjoyed in its entirety on the first consumption. Picking it apart would be an injustice to the piece of work as often in this MP3 age tracks of albums are disregarded because people are not familiar with them or have not found the time to truly listen. But as this is a review I will list a few of the songs that people should pay specific attention too.

We open with, Blew. Krist Novoselic delivering a truly dirty opening Bass riff  before bursting into life with electric guitar, feedback, drums and rough vocals. It has an almost anthem sound to it and is a true classic that purely and simply starts the whole thing off. Then comes Floyd The Barber that chugs along at a more melodic pace. The first verse begins with the story of a man going to get a wet shave, by verse two it has moved onto the man being strapped into the Barber chair and then sexually molested. And by the third verse the Barber has been joined by his friends where they take turns torturing and finally murdering the man. About a Girl which is arguably one of Nirvana’s finest pieces of work and could be called the calm amongst the storm on this relentlessly heavy album is proven so by the exquisite acoustic version performed in New York during their Unplugged set. It was also used in one of the Guitar Hero games for all of you out there that need a popular culture reference to help you along. Negative Creep which is a lyrically cynical attack on Cobain himself and his own personality flaws, a reoccurring theme across all of his songwriting. It is also one of the heaviest tracks on the album which has lead to it being covered by the Californian Metal band Machine Head. You might also want to check out School, Love Buzz, Swap Meet. In truth I could name all 13 tracks on the Album and point out the pro’s of each but I don’t think that would make for an interesting read. Instead I will leave the conclusions of the reader and their opinions down to their ears and whether they feel inspired or repelled by this article.

I would like to think that you would be able to pick this album up for a couple of quid in a back row of any Independent record shop but sadly this is probably not the case. However, with the wonders of the World Wide Web a copy could easily be delivered to your doorstep with a minimal drain on your income. I would be equally surprised if you can’t find a friend who has the album stored away ready for an all important nostalgic day. If you don’t know anyone who would have it in their record collection then you need to search out and discover better friends.

Finally, I think that I should add something profound to get you to acknowledge this album if the ramblings above haven’t done so already. Nirvana may have ignited the World music stage back in 1991 with the release of Nevermind but it was back in 1989 when Bleach debuted that the fuse was truly lit.


Everything that stands. Part 4.

Everything that stands. Part 4.


Will and Luther raced forward to where Nita and Joshua had just been but over the handrail they could see only the dark outlines of the street below. A heavy foot from overhead brought their attentions back to where they were. Countless creatures streamed down the walkway and had almost reached the level above. The fire exit on that floor burst open releasing yet more beings out into the night.

They took off, spiralling down the metallic shaft at a pace that their pursuers had no chance of keeping up with and they were soon at the base of the staircase. A wire mesh fence greeted them with a padlock on the inside keeping the entrance firmly closed.

Will aimed his gun at the lock but Luther put his hand on the weapon and lowered his friends aim. ‘That lock might give us a bit of time.’ Luther said. ‘Let’s go up a level and jump down.’ Will grimaced at the idea but with a nod agreed and the two of them ventured back up one flight. ‘You go first kid and I’ll be right behind you.’ Will nodded in agreement and lowered himself over the side. He landed and instantly took in his surroundings. The alleyway was shrouded in shadows and even after a few moments his eyes would not adjust to the pitch. To his right a dark puddle had formed on the pavement and it slowly leaking towards his feet. The sound of teeth scraping against bone turned his stomach and he dreaded the sight that he knew would hail him just hidden in the darkness. Luther landed next to him and immediately flicked open his lighter to see what had caught Will’s eye.

The flame flickered in the breeze which cast dancing shades of light across the two bodies at their feet. Nita’s right arm had shattered on impact, the Humerus jutted out the top of her shoulder and her legs were spread apart broken at inhuman angles. Joshua laid across the top of her, his legs also a bloody mess and he appeared to be kissing her. As the light enveloped the scene Joshua became aware of his audience and lifted his head. With a sickening rip Nita’s lower lip came with him and he greedily consumed the tender meat. With a devilish grin Joshua crawled over Nita’s corpse and reached out for them. Before Will could react Luther stepped forward and put his laces of his boot through Joshua’s face. The rest was lost to Will in the shadows but the sound of Luther’s boot caving in Joshua’s skull could not be hidden.

‘Luther.’ Will waited for sounds of violence to stop. ‘We need to go.’

Luther stepped over the carnage he had partly created and took a deep breath.  ‘Let’s go.’

From the heavens light cascaded down onto them as a break in the cloud cover revealed the Moon in its full glory. The stairwell behind them came alive with the horde that now pressed against the padlocked fence. They backed away from the bulging wire mesh and crept towards the street. Things moved in the far reaches of the alleyway before them, drawn towards the sounds of their fellow beings bashing against their metal cage. Legs shattered beyond repair Nita dragged herself towards them, her half eaten face oozing blood down across her chin giving her the appearance that she was smiling at them. With one last look of pity Will aimed his firearm and pulled the trigger. The bullet caught Nita just above the left eye, shattering the back of her skull and ceasing her movements forever. The two of them spun and ventured out into the city.

The flashing orange light from their goal was easy to follow through the abandoned city streets and they were soon testing the armoured car’s locks. With a pleasing click the driver’s door opened, Will flung it open and glanced inside.

‘I’m gonna need your lighter.’ Will offered a hand for Luther to give him the Zippo.

‘No time.’ Luther pointed to the gathering crowd approaching them. He pulled the passenger driver side door open and climbed into the back. Will followed his example and climbed into the driver seat. Like a snake Luther worked his way up through the hole in the turret on the roof. Will searched around the steering column looking for the keys but they did not hang from their dock, so he began to look around the cabin but the poor light prevented him from seeing the interior.

‘Luther!’ He called back into the rear. ‘I’m gonna need that lighter.’ Will noticed movement ahead and took in the scene in front of him for the first time. Forms had begun to sidle out into the Luna lit road, their shambolic movements slowly starting to unite into an increasing mob. Then the clouds did what they do and took away the natural light, the hellish picture somehow taking on an even more sinister look.

Will reached back and placed a hand on Luther’s leg. ‘I’m gonna need a distraction too.’

Luther’s hand shot down to meet his and thrust the lighter into Will’s. ‘What do you need me to do?’ Luther replied.

‘Shoot everything that stands.’ Will flicked the lighter on and immediately began searching for the keys. Above him violence barked out its automatic cry.

Luther lost all sense of time as the bullets cut apart the first ranks of the Living Dead, then the second row, and the third. Each wave bathed in an orange glow briefly before they fell, the road soon becoming littered with the peppered carcases of so many unfortunate souls. His focus on all that approached his line of sight and yet so many shadows still cast across hidden foes from so many different angles. He aimed at all that he could see but even that was not enough.

So much debris littered the vehicle. Used shells formed a golden blanket across most the seating and floor and continued to spread as more empty cartridges rained down into the back compartment. The flame danced its dance with Will searching through every inch of the large armoured people carrier, his ears ringing as the miniature cannon overhead bellowed its tune. Something caught his eye, he dove down into the metal sea and his hand clasped around what he was probing for. In his excitement his gripped loosened on the lighter, it cartwheeled out of his hand snapping shut as it hit the floor but he disregarded it and jumped into the driver seat. The keys slotted pleasingly into the ignition and with a satisfying choke the engine spluttered into life. Will released the handbrake and floored the automatic accelerator.

Bodies crunched and popped under the transports weight. Figures appeared in front of him and then vanished under the front bumper. He picked up to a steady pace and then let out the breath he had been holding. With this sudden release his ears regained some of their use and told him that the turret had stopped. Will chanced a look over his shoulder and found the empty void of death staring back at him through rotting eye sockets. He ducked to the side to avoid the oncoming teeth and fumbled at his belt buckle to draw his firearm. From the darkness ahead an abandoned car was parked in their path and before Will could react the two automobiles collided. His ribs cracked as they ploughed into the steering wheel, the body behind him adding to the blow before it sailed past him and struck the wind screen head first. Its blood plastered the broken window and the flesh on the skull torn back over its forehead. Its head was stuck in the hole the collision had created yet the creature still reached for him, fingers wrapping around his left arm. With a scream of terror his right arm came up from his lap and the revolver opened up into the back of its head. A second bullet silenced it and before he knew it the chamber sounded empty, the fingers around his arm became loose. Will tried to take a breath but it felt like a paving slab lay across his lungs. He lost consciousness.

A long slow soulless moan brought him back from oblivion.

Blood foamed on his lips and a sharp pain stabbed into his left hand side. Gasping for air realisation hit him and he remembered his current predicament. A forceful shove moved the body draped over his left shoulder onto the passenger seat and he painfully turned to see if Luther was still alive.

The tall West Indian’s legs swung down into the cabin and the confined space rattled to life as used casings scattered under his feet. The friendly smile of Luther greeted him no more, only the tattered leftovers of a face hung from the head, all resemblance of humanity lost in his one remaining eye. Behind him another body fell through the hole, followed by a third. More joined them as they pressed down onto their next meal.

 THE END


Everything that stands. Part 3.

Everything that stands. Part 3.


Will returned to his three comrades and paused as he saw the torn flesh that hung from Joshua’s ruined left buttock, his eyes darted towards Luther’s and the tall man looked away.

‘I’ve checked the whole suite and there’s nothing in here that can help us.’ All three of them deflated at Will’s words. ‘But looking out onto the street below I saw something that could be of use.’

‘Down on the street?’ Nita barked. ‘What fucking good is that?’ Her eyes had welled up with tears and she looked away from the three men.

‘Let’s see what it is before we disregard it.’ Luther added. ‘Let’s go have a look.’

‘Anything to keep me occupied.’ Joshua joked. ‘I might need a hand though.’ He put his weight on his leg but it buckled under him. Luther stepped forward to help but Nita got in the way.

‘I’ve got him.’ She said slipping in under his left arm.

Will turned and headed back into the suite with everyone in tow. He led them to the bedroom which was dominated by a lavish four poster bed and a window that took up the entire wall to the right of the room. The four of them looked out at the black city scape, fires blazing through various buildings providing the only sign of activity. Will pointed to the street below where a single orange hazard light spun on top of a shadowed vehicle and with each turn of the lamp a little more of the transport revealed itself. The four seated Humvee with a mounted machine gun on top had clearly been left by the Military when they had evacuated or been overrun the distinction between the two had long been forgotten. A broad smile crept across Luther’s lips.

‘How are we going to get down there?’ Joshua asked between gritted teeth.

‘Every hotel in the city has to have a fire escape from the roof to the ground floor.’ Will replied. ‘We just have to find it.’

‘I hate to burst everyone’s bubble but even if we get down there and the damn thing is unlocked there is no saying that it will have any fuel in it.’ Nita shifted under the weight of Joshua.

‘It’s a chance I’m willing to take.’ Will responded. ‘None of you have to follow me but it’s the best looking option to come my way in a long time.’ He was already moving towards the door before anyone could give a response. Luther looked at the two interlocked partners, shrugged his shoulders and followed Will out of the room.

Will lingered at the front door to the apartment, listening at the door but hearing nothing. Luther appeared at his shoulder and also pressed his ear to the wood. Both delayed moving for longer than was needed, glancing at each other to see if either of them could make out any sounds from the corridor. Finally they gave up and stepped away from the door. Will stretched out a hand and turned the handle, in the silence it screeched like the brakes of a bus and they both cringed. He pulled the door open, stepped out into the poorly lit corridor and instantly he wished that he hadn’t dropped the torch earlier. Gloom greeted him from both directions and either end of the corridor was lost to the lack of light. Luther joined him in the darkness and began to fish around in his jeans pocket. With a snap and click his lighter sparked to life. Even with the extra brightness they could still not make out one end from the other.

‘You lead the way.’ Will offered. ‘I’m right behind you with this.’ He waved the gun into the light. With a nod Luther began down the hall to their left, slowly they edged further into the obscurity in front of them. A door appeared to their right so Luther tried the lock but it didn’t move. They moved on. Gradually the light began to bounce back at them from a metal double door as the lift became visible and to its left a white wooden door with stairs written above it.

‘Do we try the stairs? Luther whispered but Will whipped a finger up to his lips and then pointed at his ear. They both listened. At first it sounded like the wind blowing through a crack in the doorframe but as it got louder that familiar sound of heavy breathing and shuffling feet echoed up the stairwell. Slowly the two men back away, never taking their eyes of the white exit and retracing their steps. Just as the door became engulfed by the dark something bashed into it and the wooden frame splintered. The thump was followed by another, then a third and with a groan the door gave way generating the sound of multiple forms stumbling into the corridor.

Luther snapped his lighter shut whilst turning on his heel and ran. From the darkness ahead two figures crept towards them and Will raised his weapon ready to fire.

‘It’s us you fool.’ Nita barked at him before he could get off a shot. ‘I take it from your running that we shouldn’t be headed in that direction?’

‘They’re up the stairwell and in the corridor. We have to try the other direction.’ Will didn’t stop to tell her and was already past her midsentence.

He disregarded the darkness ahead of him continuing on at a constant pace and just as he was about to give up hope another white door materialised out of the pitch at him but above this one read Fire Exit. Without slowing down he hit the push to release bar and burst out into the evening air. A quick glance down the metal stairwell produced the all clear he was hoping for and he returned his attention to the open exit in front of him.

Three figures staggered out of the dimness before him, Luther and Nita struggling with an unconscious Joshua draped over their shoulders his feet dragging along behind them. Behind them a wall of rotting flesh flowed through the darkness. Will stepped to the side to let them through and slammed the door shut behind them.

‘All clear below.’ Will stated as he pushed against the door.

Luther glanced back at Will as they stumbled down the steps. ‘Leave that, they’ll be through it before you can get away.’ Will considered the suggestion, looked around at the tight staircase and then followed.

As they reached the floor below something crashed against the metal fire escape above, follow by another thump and then finally the door swinging open. It struck the handrail with such force that the whole staircase shook and knocked the four fleers of balance. Will caught himself before he could fall hooking an arm around the nearest piece of structure. Nita was not as lucky as her grip on Joshua came loose and she stumbled forward down the next flight of steps catching herself on the barrier at the foot of them. Luther managed to keep his footing whilst retaining a hold on Joshua’s shirt but the injured man lost his balance and landed heavily on his backside.

Will looked up and saw them swarming out onto the stairwell above. He picked himself up and caught up with Luther. ‘Is everyone alright?’ Luther nodded in agreement. Nita looked up to them with a smile which soon faded.

Joshua stared at her but his eyes didn’t have the caring depth that she was used to, only the cold face of death peered at her. With a jolt Joshua lurched forward and reached out for his partner. Nita had no time to react as Joshua’s hands wrapped around her left shoulder and the right side of her waist. His momentum overcame them both, her back bent against the strain causing her to scream and his weight took them toppling over the railing.

TOO BE CONCLUDED


Everything that stands. Part 2.

Everything that stands. Part 2.


The onslaught never came.

As his eyes adjusted to the bright room three figures came into focus. A tall man dressed in jeans and a T-shirt stood to his right, hands out in front of him showing he meant no harm, and a broad smile across his dark features. To his left a young woman in some form of law enforcement uniform had a scowl on her face and her arms folded over her chest. The third figure appeared to have the same uniform and was pushing a dressing table up against the door, his broad shoulders flexing with the effort.

Will regained his composure and scrambled backwards away from the new faces. Too his left the gun lay bathed in dusk sunlight; he leant forward grabbing the weapon and then continued his retreat.

‘It’s ok; we’re not going to hurt you.’ The tall man said taking a step forward, his West Indian accent having a soothing effect on Will.

‘Yeah, but we should.’ The woman interjected. ‘He’s led them straight to us.’ As if they had heard her voice the door began to shake on its hinges.

‘This won’t hold for long.’ The man by the door added.

‘Thanks.’ The woman stared at Will with more venom than he had ever experienced, her arms now at her sides fists clenched.

‘Nita, go do something productive and help your partner barricade the door.’ The tall man turned to her and his face made it clear that his statement was not a request. With a heavy sigh she grabbed a chair from nearby and jammed it under the dresser. The tall man returned his attention to Will and took another step closer.

‘Now, what’s your name kid?’ Will raised the gun towards the tall man, fear still pumping through his body and overtaking all his other instincts. ‘Easy my friend.’ He held his hands up in surrender and took a step back. ‘Shall I give you mine first?’ Will lowered the weapon but gave no response. The tall man shrugged and continued anyway. ‘My name is Luther. Her name as you may have heard it Nita and her partner is Joshua.’ The door rattled and scrapped as the horde on the other side pressed forward.

‘Luther, we need to move and fast.’ Joshua remarked over his shoulder. In front of him the middle of the door had begun to splinter. Luther ignored him and took another step closer to Will.

‘Just your name, that’s all I’m after. Giving your name never hurt anyone.’ Will got to his feet but still held the gun out in front of him. As if for the first time he began to take in the room glancing to his left and right, but never really taking them off Luther. The interior was identical to the previous one, aside from the bodies and blood spatter, as was so often the case in large hotels.

‘Just lower the piece son and we can all work this out.’ Luther stepped closer, but Will still did not respond ,his eyes had become distant and he stared down at the metal instrument of death in his hand. Both men stood regarding the black object in his palm.

Their silence was broken by the sound of wood cracking and from the middle of the door a pale bloody hand reached towards Joshua and Nita.

His eyes came back into focus and the situation dawned on him. Will raised the gun again this time towards the door; Luther stepped back and held his hands over his face, but at the last moment Will turned and fire a shot into the centre of the window to his left. The whole pane of glass spider webbed, but stayed in its frame.

‘My name is, Will.’ He took a step towards the window and kicked at the bottom corner of the sheet. It gave way at the second attempt and disappeared down into the street below. Will poked his head out of the empty window frame and looked up. He smiled and ducked back into the room. ‘There’s a balcony on the floor above us.’ Will shoved the gun down the front of his Jeans. ‘We can climb up.’

Luther smiled back at him and then turned to his two comrades who had both stopped at the sound of gunfire, a smile also formed on Joshua’s lips, but Nita remained grim. Three different arms now pushed through the small hole in the door behind them and it began to get bigger. Another shake of the door brought them back to the task at hand and they put their weight back into pushing against the pressing mass from the corridor. Luther joined Will at the window and looked up at their escape route.

‘Not an easy climb.’ Luther offered but then shrugged his shoulders and looked back towards the door. ‘Not much choice either.’ Will gave him a reassuring grin and leapt forward. He caught the underside of the balcony and felt rough climbing proof paint cut into his palms. Through gritted teeth he adjusted his grip and reached up over the side.

The floor of the balcony had been made from decking so a good grip was easy to achieve, Will pulled himself up onto the outer lip and then up over the side. He stopped briefly to catch his breath before getting up and leaning over the side. Luther stared up at him.

‘The paint on the underside is serrated.’ Will said showing him his bleeding palm. ‘I’m gonna find something to hang down for you.’

‘Well hurry up because they are almost through.’ Luther glanced back into the room, the top corner of the door had begun to crack and bend inwards.

‘Luther, what’s the plan?’ Joshua quizzed over his shoulder. ‘This door’s about to give way.’

As the words left his mouth the top corner ripped and arms extended into the room. Nita’s head was down pushing against the dresser as a hand took hold of her hair and pulled her towards its fellow reaching limbs. Joshua saw this and sprang up onto the dresser forcing the loose corner of the door back against the outstretched rotting extremities. Luther took a step forward to help and was greeted by material hitting him across the face. A backdraft pulled the curtain out the window, knocking Luther off balance and he swung wildly with his arms trying to get a hold onto anything. His right hand found the edge of the window frame, but also found the shard of glass still lodged in the grouting. It sliced deep into his palm, but he held on regardless of the pain. His left arm got a grip on the curtain and slowly he dragged himself back into the room.

Luther pulled the material from his face and was met by Nita just in front of him, she was bleeding from the back of her head a large chunk of hair had been ripped out and red droplets now covered the shoulders of her uniform. Over her shoulder Luther could see that Joshua was still stood on the dresser, but was leaning to the right and kicking at anything that tried to come through the shredded wood.

Nita grabbed hold of the curtain in Luther’s hands and followed it out of the window. Above her the other end was tied to the balcony and Will leant over the edge looking down.

‘Come on let’s go.’ He shouted down at her.

Luther followed her gaze up and gave Will the thumbs up.

‘Joshua!’ Luther shouted. The stocky man looked up towards his name caller, accessed the situation in front of him and gave a quick nod.

Luther turned back to talk to Nita but found her half way up her climb.

Will gave the curtain an extra tug his end, grabbed Nita under her left armpit and together they fell backwards onto the decking.

She rolled off him and darted back to the balcony edge.

‘Joshua, come on!’ Luther shouted again as he swung out into the open air. His right hand burnt with pain as cut tendons strained against the force of his own body weight, almost causing him to lose his grip. He tried to pull himself up but all strength had left him.

‘My hand is fucked.’ He called up to the two faces above him. ‘I can’t climb.’ He glanced towards Joshua but as the sun set behind him the room became a series of shadows. ‘Pull me up God damn it!’ With a jerk he slowly began to rise up to safety above. Just as his feet reached the top of the window a figure jumped out from the darkness and grabbed a hold of his left leg. The extra weight took Will and Nita by surprise, the two of them crashed against the wooden frame and the curtain loosened from their grip. Luther looked down and saw the grimacing face of Joshua staring up at him.

‘Climb damn you!’ Joshua called up to his counterpart.

Luther shook his head and held back a scream. ‘Climb up me.’ He growled through gritted teeth. Joshua looked at the blood soaked curtain wrapped around the other man’s right hand and nodded his agreement. Will and Nita doubled their efforts but the going was tough.

Shadows formed and from the darkness a shape appeared at the window. And then another and another. One reached forward but missed Joshua and plummeted into the darkness below followed by another three bodies. The night exploded with noise as the four creatures hit the ground hard.

The two men jerked upward as Will and Nita finally got a hold of the makeshift rope.

Another shape leapt from the gloom and this time it caught hold of Joshua. Again, Will and Nita struggled with their haul and found themselves pressed against the handrail.

Before Joshua could react the creature’s teeth sank into his left buttock and its arms tightened around his knees. Joshua released his left arm and swung it down onto the top of his assailants head. He struck again and still the jaws would not separate.

‘JOSHUA!!’ Will screamed out from above. ‘Don’t move.”

Joshua pulled his arm in and grabbed hold of Luther’s leg again just as another individual jumped out of the pitch Hotel room and wrapped itself around its fellow pursuer. Its dead eyes stared greedily up at the two living beings stretched out above it and with a lick of its lips it began to climb up the hanging body ladder. Joshua screamed again as the creature enveloped around him sunk its teeth deeper into his flesh, Luther could feel the last ounces of strength leaving his arms as the climbing being at the bottom of the chain caused them all to swing with its erratic movements. More of them reached out from the shattered window as their momentum brought them closer to the outstretched arms. A few caught hold of their rotting companion’s and began to drag the whole group back into the room.

Suddenly the top half of the biter’s head exploded, it’s vice grip on Joshua vanishing as it fell like a stone taking its hungry friend with it and four other forms wrenched out of the window.

Will dropped the gun on the decking and began to help Nita pulled the curtain up. As Luther reached the lip on the railing he let out a triumphant shout and then tumbled down into safety. Joshua follow, his face drained of all colour and a look of absolute fear.

‘Fucking thing bit me.’ Joshua said holding a hand over bite marks to stop the bleeding.

‘Just stay calm, Josh.’ Nita knelt down next to him and had a quick look at the wound. ‘We need to find a first aid kit. You two go see what’s in this room.’ Will and Luther slid the door open and entered the Penthouse suite.

Joshua looked up to see if the other two were out of earshot. ‘I’m done for, Nita.’

‘Don’t say that.’ She replied keeping her eyes on the wound.

‘It’s true though. You’ve seen what one of those bites does to a man. I give it an hour before I turn on you.’ He reached out and turned her face so that she could look at him. ‘Leave me here and carry on.’

Nita blinked back a tear and then shook her head. ‘Not a chance.’

‘I’m dead anyway and sooner or later I will change.’

‘Well, we’ll worry about that when it happens.’ Nita snapped. She wiped a tear from her cheek and gave him an apologetic smile. ‘Sorry.’

He returned the smile and gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze.

Luther returned to them with some bed sheets and a bottle of Vodka. ‘It’s all I could find but it should help stop the bleeding.’ He handed them over.

‘Alright drop them.’ Nita said as she unscrewed the lid.

Begrudgingly Joshua complied, leaning forward and lowered his trousers.

The wound had already begun to coagulate and a black discharge wept out of the multiple tooth holes. Joshua screamed as the alcohol washed over his damaged skin.

TOO BE CONTINUED


A Spectator Sport?

A Spectator Sport?


So the ever present life partner that is my wife regularly takes it upon herself, along with various friends, to go and take part in organised long distance runs. Due to the working habits of just about every employed person I know the only time they have available to participate in these events is at weekends. Is it wrong that I invariably opt out of going along and cheering her home?

In my defence there are a number of reasons why these events can be a less than thrilling experience for the spectator. Firstly, the race is by no means a sprint. As these runs will be of a distance that will take no less than an hour at their shortest and over two and a half hours at their longest this all equates to a lot of standing around. When the occasion takes you to a vineyard in Dorking, Surrey on a day that sees temperatures rise to 30 degrees Celsius then these events can be bearable. Sun soaked strolls through the garden of Dionysus with a good book and music flooding my ears from a personal stereo are moments of joy that must be savoured. In this case three hours can pass by quite pleasantly. On the other hand going to Woodford in the London Borough of Redbridge on a cold, snow sodden February morning could only be top as the worst day of my life by a Bank Holiday trip to IKEA.

Another bonus to going along is having the chance to watch a lot of Lycra clad athletic female forms. I’m a pervert, sue me, all men are perverts. They may deny it to your face ladies and you may disagree with me but deep down all men have a hint of the sexual deviant in them. But I digress. On the flip side of the Lycra argument are the less flattering images that come with watching people do long distance running. The looks of absolute agony that cover the faces of a number of the competitors as they approach the finish line could haunt even the most hardened soul’s dreams.

Another perk of these early morning occurrences is the interesting people and surreal moments that you will see.  From a man dressed in a Lion suit causing a dog to go crazy and bark continuously at him until he removed the head of the outfit, to watching hundreds of runners all dressed as Santa Claus doing laps around Battersea Park, London on a cool December day. The people who stand at the finish line with some form of Public Addressing system and encourage the competitors over the line can add another level of amusement to the situation. They can be a great motivator on the final stretch of the course, offering encouragement in the form of shout outs for specific race numbers coming up to their finish line, giving out information about particular charities involved. But they can also be an annoyance to the spectator as they wail the same one liner over and over for three hours nonstop.

I guess the question I’m trying to ask is; am I a bad person for not wanting to spend my Sunday mornings traveling to see people run in circles round a park or vineyard or even the streets of east London? My own argument is that for a number of years of our relationship I would spend my Saturday afternoon’s running around various spaces of open ground pretending that I was a competent football player and not once did she come to watch. So maybe we are both as bad as each other? The fact it did not bother me that she never came should be taken into account and although seeing me at the finish line brings her joy at the end of a hard run she is never offended if I choose not to travel on my weekend.