Friday, 21 November 2014

Hellbound is entering the world!!!


Well, last week my Britain's Next Bestseller supporters started receiving their copies of Hellbound. Exciting and a little anxiety-provoking, wondering whether people will enjoy it, knowing that it won't be everyone's cup of tea, wondering if there is a typo I missed, curious as to whether readers will relate to the characters, believe the world I created...in the words of The Riddler in Batman Forever "Too many questions!"

Looking at it myself, it is a little surreal as I can't even remember writing it...it is a very strange feeling indeed reading your own work. Yet, at the same time, a wonderful feeling that it is finally done and can be held in people's hands for them to judge.

Good, bad or indifferent, I'm proud of Hellbound, the tale I tried to tell and the characters I placed into Obadiah Stark's world. It may not be perfect, but it is a good ol' yarn and I think people will be pleasantly surprised and enjoy their time with Joe, Obadiah, and...well, spoilers!!!!


Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Cusp of Darkness - a tale of madness

The Cusp of Darkness

1 hour ago…

As the guards finished chaining Erebus to the chair opposite and left the room, Dr. Aloeus Hart sat down and once again, opened the slim, manila folder in front of him. 
The circumstances of Erebus’s capture had been very strange. He had been found by the police at the scene of the murder he was currently charged with, covered in blood and making no attempt to hide the fact that he had almost certainly committed the crime.
After being charged at the police station, he had been transferred to St. Judeca’s Hospital for psychiatric evaluation and had ultimately ended up in this room, where they had spent the past seven days in lengthy assessment sessions. All of this took place without him ever uttering a single word, either in defense or acknowledgement of his accusations. As Aloeus re-read the file, he began to slowly consider that the individual before him was unlike any case he had been asked to review in his entire career.
The doctor looked up, unnerved to see Erebus continuing to stare unblinkingly at him. He cleared his throat and closed the folder.
‘Good morning again Erebus. How are you this morning?’
‘How long have you been a doctor? I meant to ask when we first met, but being a little absent minded, I forgot,’ came the reply.
Aloeus shifted uncomfortably in his seat. ‘I have been a practicing psychiatrist for the past twenty two years. 
‘Wow!’ Erebus exclaimed with a chuckle. ‘Twenty two years. Who would have thought it.’
As he finished speaking, he leaned as far forward as the shackles would allow him, so far that Aloeus could smell his breath, sweet and sickly, as if he had just eaten candy floss.
‘Okay, well,’ Aloeus stated nervously before continuing, ‘This session is really just a summary to my report that….’
‘That I’m not sane enough to stand trial. Is that the basic jist?’ Erebus interrupted with a lyrical lilt in his voice.
‘Well, yes. You could say that is the ‘jist’, as you put it.’
‘Okay then, paesano,’ Erebus exclaimed. ‘What are you going to suggest that they do with me?’
Aloeus shifted in his chair again, before glancing back down at his notes. ‘You do understand why you were sent here, don’t you Erebus,’ Aloeus asked rhetorically, without looking up, deliberately so as not to make eye contact. The emphasis which Erebus had placed on the word, you, had made him nervous.
‘Of course I do,’ came the reply. ‘I’m here because ‘they’ think I murdered all those people in some sort of satanic ritual.’
‘If by ‘they’, you mean the police, then yes, that is correct,’ Aloeus replied. ‘And because of that fact, I have to consider your treatment, one that will be in the best interests of not only yourself, but of others. Are you willing yet to explain to me your motives for killing them?’
Erebus settled back into his chair and placed his shackled hands on his lap, fiddling with the chain as he spoke. ‘Well, I was looking for someone. But then something occurred which made me reconsider my strategy.’
The casualness of his reply took Aloeus by surprise. ‘And what was it that made you reconsider your strategy?’
Erebus leaned forward again, never removing his eyes from the doctor.
‘I had a dream which made me realise who the person was I had been seeking all this time.’
‘Did this dream identify who this person might be?’ 
Erebus kept his gaze, but returned to a slouching position in the chair.
‘I think that that’s enough for one day, chief. Don’t want to spoil the main event by giving too much away, now do I?’ 
‘I do hope that you realise I’m here to help you. I appreciate the situation may not be how you expected it to be, but I know you understand that, given the crimes you are accused of, I’m only doing my job.’ 
Erebus suddenly shifted in his seat, causing Aloeus to jump slightly. ‘I know, doc. So am I. After all, do you really think that knowing you’re going to lobotomise me, I’m going to let you go through with it?’
‘Pardon?’ Aloeus questioned, feeling a panic he had never before experienced. 
Erebus replied without answering the question. ‘You know, we really can’t have any kind of meaningful discussion if these guards are going to stay stood outside the door, eavesdropping on our intimate conversation about your credentials and future plans.’
Aloeus was now the one who was leaning forward. The fact that his patient knew what he had written in his final report, summarising his assessment of Erebus’s state of mind and suggestion of the only course of action he felt could realistically remove such a dangerous threat from society, made the hairs on his arms and neck begin to prickle.
‘With all due respect, Erebus, you don’t know anything about my credentials or future plans.’
Erebus laughed loudly. ‘I beg to differ, doc. I know everything about you. You obtained your medical degree in 1978, worked as a foundation house officer for two years to achieve your registration, took basic specialist training in psychiatry for three years and then branched off in forensic psychiatry with a Certificate of Completition of specialist Training, which allowed you to apply for and obtain a specialist consultant‘s post in forensic psychiatry where you have work since 1988, all in this hospital. You’re also married to Victoria, who lives with you in a house in the countryside just outside town.’ 
Aloeus stood up abruptly, his mouth open incredulously. ‘How do you know that?’ he asked with a hint of panic in his voice.
‘Oh, I know everything that goes on around here. You would have to get up early to get one over on me.’
Aloeus sat back down abruptly, his chair rocking onto its back legs for a moment.
‘In fact,’ Erebus continued, ‘The only reason I am here is because of you.’
Aloeus frowned at the statement. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, you didn’t really think that bunch of incompetents actually caught me, do you? I let them get me, ‘cause I needed to see you. You have something I want, you see.’
Aloeus felt his skin prickle with gooseflesh, and though he was terrified to know what the answer to the question was, he had to ask it.
‘And what’s that?’ he asked leaning forward, unable to stop his hands from trembling from nervous energy. Unprofessional behaviour he realised, but he couldn’t control it.
Erebus stood up from his seat and grabbed the doctor’s hand. ‘I’ll tell you in a moment, doc’.
Aloeus felt a sharp prick in his hand and found himself almost immediately unable to speak. As everything around him began to turn black, he found himself considering how his patient had been able to remove his restraints and have in his possession a syringe with drugs in it. He found himself wondering how Erebus had known what he had written in his final report to the board regarding the proposed lobotomy. As he slumped forward onto the table, he also found himself wondering how Erebus knew his wife’s name as he slipped into darkness…. 

Now…

‘Wakey, wakey, doc,’ the voice says. ‘Time to be up with the best of them.’
He tries to move, but finds his arms are pinned down by his side. He is unable to move his head.
‘Oh, don’t try to talk or move, doc. That little jab I gave you was a small amount of neurotoxin, capable of causing your vocal cords and muscles to temporarily atrophy.’
Erebus, who now looked like the doctor who went by the name of Aloeus Hart, leaned down so that he was right beside his namesake’s ear.
‘During our little therapy sessions, you asked me if I knew why I was here and in your self-righteous tone told me how I needed to understand why you were doing what you were doing. Well, I took your advice, doc and I’m not only going to tell you why I’m here, but I’m going to try and understand what it is you do. And the best way to do that, is to be you. By the way,’ he said in a whisper. ‘Did you ever realise what my name stands for? In Greek mythology, Erebus was the personification of darkness. Dark should be a word you’re familiar with.’
He stood up and ran his hands over the front of his white coat, straightening out imaginary creases and touching his magically altered face, caressing it gently as one would if it were something they were not used to. 
‘Oh yes, before I forget,’ the man formerly know as Erebus said calmly. ‘Don’t worry about them not recognizing you when they enter the room. The little spell I conjured to make me look like you had a buy one get one free offer. Now you look like I did before all this silliness started. Cool, huh? That means you get to take full advantage of all my upcoming appointments.’
‘Oh my god,’ Aloeus thought. ‘The lobotomy’. Horror suddenly tore through the doctor and he tried to scream and call out, but found that it was still useless. He couldn’t even move enough arms enough to initiate something which would be akin to thrashing about. He simply had to lie there as the panic he now felt caused him to scream silently inside his head, a pitiful, primal howl. 
The Voice who now wore the doctor’s face banged on the door and called out. ‘Guards, I’m finished with Mr. Erebus. You can prep him for his procedure now.’
The man formerly known as Erebus leaned over again and whispered in the doctor’s ear. ‘Don’t you understand it yet? Have you not realised? The surname?’
Aloeus’s mind became frantic as the realisation dawned on him. Dark was his fiancĂ©e’s name and the name of all of Erebus’s previous victims. Every single one. His cries tore though his mind, but continued to remain unheard and unnoticed by the guards around him as they moved through the door. 
‘I’ll look in on your wife, by the way. She’ll be worried to death. And all this stress will have her drained.’
Aleous could swear he could hear him laughing as he was wheeled out the room, his silent scream deafening in his mind.