Number 1

“I don’t want to leave daddy,” Robin Hall tightens the grasp of his chubby hands on Carmel Hooch’s t shirt. “I like it here, I want to stay with Cam,”

Nick slams the trunk of his car shut before turning to look at his five year old, who sits in the arms of their next door neighbour’s six year old daughter. Carmel had a look of determination on her tiny face, her hand resting against Robin’s back, wanting to keep her friend close. “We will take care of him Uncle Nick. Please…” she says, “Don’t take Robin away,” the pleading is clear in her big eyes.

Copyright Emily Morris 2016

 

 

Number 2

The bed is cold on her side when he wakes up, tired eyes landing on the flashing red digits of her digital clock. It doesn’t really surprise him when he sees it’s ten to four, as he has come to learn that she is a real night owl. He's lost track of how many late night texts he has gotten from her over the last six months. He just pulls on his shirt before climbing out of bed, and heads downstairs. The flickering light of the computer screens cast a glow underneath the door of the study, and he can hear her voice. As he reaches out, closing his fingers around the doorknob, a sudden flare of crimson light replaces the dim glow. He pushes the door open once the spots have cleared, to see a empty room.

He glances over at the french windows, thinking that she might have gone out that way, but they are firmly closed. “She’ll be back soon.” the husky voice makes him turn back to the doorway, abandoning his planned exploration of the doors.

“Where has she gone?”

“To do her job,” the thick set woman turns and disappears out of the door without another word.

Copyright Emily Morris 2016

Number 3

One of the writing groups I’ve been a member of, set the task of how to introduce characters into a story.

These are three of the ones that I came up with

Shuffling steps over the threadbare carpet, accompanied by the deep bone rattling cough announced the arrival of Frederick Lane. His entrance caused a round of applause to erupt in the crowded room. His eyes welled up with tears, as he took in the large banner hanging on the back wall reading Welcome Home, “Welcome Home Captain,” He saluted in response to his daughter’s words, a smile bursting to life on her chubby cheeks.

Clouds raced in across the periwrinkle blue sky, turning it a murky shade of navy in seconds, and then the rain cascaded down, soaking the sunseekers who lay supine on the white sand. Curses rang out from people of all varying nationalities but the most vividly colourful ones came from a toned Hungarian.

The crunching of brakes rang out in the quiet street, as Janet Kelly swerved to avoid the skeletal cat that had rushed out into the road. The noise of the grinding gears, and the loud curse even got through the sleeping brain of her passenger: DC William Leaford, and he awoke with a grunt.

 Copyright Emily Morris 2016

Number 4

The first time that I heard it, I was relieved. The isolation had begun to get to me, as I had been the sole occupant of the tree top research post for nearly eighteen months, and there hadn’t been any visitors for ten months.

The trees swayed once again, the trunks straining against the wrinkled grey hide as the elephant pushed it’s way through into the clearing. A coffee skinned man sat astride, just behind it’s ears, and grinned at me. They don’t pause, the huge animal disappeared just as quickly as it appeared.

The next day I’m ready, my ancient camera dangling from around my neck, waiting on the balcony. It appeared, as if on cue, dead on four o’clock, just like on the previous four days. I’m determined to get a photo, aiming the camera and taking the shot just as the pair reached the watering hole.

Later, when I start to develop the photo, I’m surprised to see just what the camera’s recorded. Somehow the elephant’s rider is transparent, I can see only just the outline of someone sitting atop the grey bulk.

Copyright Emily Morris 2016

Number 5

“Welcome back Mr Jackson,” the bespectacled receptionist smiles at me then tenses a little when she sees Dawn is by my side. I can’t resist slipping my arm around her waist, pulling her closer. Glitter falls from her tangled ringlets, a reminder of what we did less than a hour ago.

I never thought that I would have gotten married, it hasn’t appealed to me before. I’ve met loads of women, some of them have been great: intelligent, athletic, pretty and flexible. But I’ve never really regretted leaving any of them. The only time I’ve ever really wished I had longer with a woman, or thought about them after we split up is when Dawn left me. She draws me out of my thoughts, with a laugh as she leads me into the lift. “Where were you Mr Jackson? You seemed to be miles away,” she leans against the opposite wall, curiosity in her big eyes.

“Oh just a few hundred yards.” I laugh as she flushes a light red. “Mrs Jackson,” the words don’t feel strange, much to my surprise as I’ve spent my life avoiding responsibility. I finally get what my dad used to talk about, when he talked about my mother: that she completed him, made him feel whole for the first time.

“That still feels strange,” she smiles “Being Mrs Jackson,”

“Well you have a lifetime to get used to it,” I assure her as I tighten my grasp on her slender waist, giving her a brief squeeze. “I’m not planning on letting you go again,” I can’t bear the idea of not having her in my life.

“Not going anywhere,” she whispers, her hand tracing the long scar that I received during the time that she wasn’t in my life, before she leans up to kiss my cheek, her lips lingering on the raised skin. “I love you,”

 

Copyright Emily Morris 2016

Number 6

I was challenged to write something including the words, Interview, Uniform, Journey, Souvenirs, and Catastrophe.

Here it is:

Striding out in her new uniform, she feels self confident for the first time in a long time. The highly polished buttons and the gleaming leather shoes catch the sunlight. “Looking good Mary!” the newsagent’s son calls across the road, as he straightens from setting out the sandwich board.

“Thanks Jeff! I’ll see you later!” She can’t help the smile, stretching across her face as she walks.

The journey down to the station doesn’t take her long, one of the perks is that it’s only five or six blocks from her house.

She glances up at the front windows, seeing figures moving quickly through the thick glass, and then…catastrophe!! She feels the splat land on the pristine black fabric of her jacket.

Number 7

I did this monologue based on a picture of a rather confused looking older man, who was staring directly into the camera. My writing tutor Mollie, challenged us as a group to write a monologue inspired by the person, and this is what I came up with. 

The thing staring back at me, takes me aback. Darkness seeps into the heavy lines beneath my eyes, the passage of years I have not allowed myself to feel spilling effortlessly across my skin.

Fingers come up slowly, the person staring back, mimicking my tentative exploration of the neatly clipped beard covering my chin.

When did the chestnut I was so proud of, turn into this murky non descript grey?

Did no one think that I would notice? I know that they have been keeping some things back from me, the shadows that have kept me captive for the last thirty years, have enabled me to hear the unspoken words in the silence.

I reach further up, the edges of my fingernails clacking against plastic, and return them to the case.

I shouldn't have gone to Specsavers.

Copyright Emily Morris 2016

Number 8

You only live once

 

My life can be split into two distinct chunks. The first eighteen years, pretty much defined the word ‘average’. I lived in a small town, with a brother and a sister, my parents were still together and happy. I wasn’t popular but I wasn’t a loner either, I had three best mates Jeff, Steve and Jon. I went into middle sets in my fourth year, coming out with grade Cs in all twelve of my subjects. I had a couple of girlfriends but no one serious. I don’t want to bore you with the details of those years though.

Two weeks ago I met Aurora, and that is when life finally got interesting. I’m Mike Perkins and this is how it happened.

 

“Mike!! Get up!!” Judy Perkins raised her voice, making sure that it carried upstairs and through her son’s bedroom door. She was well aware of the time, and knew that he needed to get moving. There was no response from the eighteen year old, and so Judy left her bowl of porridge cooling, and hurried upstairs to bang on the bedroom door. “Mike!!”  A sleepy grunt came through the wood, which she took as a welcome, and entered the small bedroom. Mike was covered by the duvet, only the top of his head visible over the blue cotton. Judy stepped carefully over the discarded clothes, and dirty bowls, to open the dark curtains, sighing in distaste when the weak sunlight failed to rouse her son. “Mike get up,” she shook his shoulder, finally making him open his eyes.

“What?”

“Coffee, shower and dressed.” Judy ordered, setting down the steaming cup of black coffee on the bedside table, “It’s that interview this morning remember?”

“I don’t feel very well.” He mumbled, as he raised the cup of coffee to his mouth. The strong drink helped to clear his head a little, but it still felt like a jackhammer was vibrating against his left temple.

“That’s a hangover sweetie.” Judy told him. “Your dad pulled a lot of strings to get you this interview, and you’re going to go. You will charm them, and get the job. You will work and earn your keep from now on, if you insist on not going to university.” Her tone held no room for argument, so Mike climbed from the bed, wincing a little as his bare feet hit the floorboards.



Head bowed over his mobile phone, Mike ambled down the street, twenty minutes later. His fingers flew over the small keypad as he wrote his texts, sending one off to Jeff. They had half planned to meet up after their job interviews that mornings, and he wanted to nail down their meeting place. He wasn’t aware of the olive skinned brunette watching him from the bus stop, her eyes glinted and almost seemed to glow gold in the dim light of the wintry day.

He stepped right into a large lump of dog dirt, and let out a loud curse as soon as the squishy sensation registered. “Fuck’s sake!” he had spent half an hour that morning, making sure that the black leather was neatly polished, at his mother’s insistence.

“Here,” the brunette proffered a paper tissue as he drew level with her.

“Thanks,” he took it from her outstretched fingers, eyes taking all of her in, especially the white angora sweater that neatly emphasised her curves. Balancing on one leg, he wiped hastily at the dog dirt, and felt a tell tale flush starting at the back of his neck. Of course it would happen in front of the fittest girl I’ve seen in months. Stay calm Mikey.

The girl’s bright blue eyes sparkled with barely restrained amusement. “ You might wanna sit down while you do that,”

“Nah I’m fine. I’m very flexible…” He glanced up to see a smile curving her mouth, and lost his balance, falling off of the kerb right into the path of the oncoming traffic.

The driver slammed on his brakes, but the action was far too late. All Mike registered was a pair of terrified hazel eyes, peering at him from behind the windscreen, and then a awful pain shot through his system from hip to shoulder. His world went black, as he fell backwards onto the cold tarmac.

The next thing he felt was a pair of warm hands resting on his stomach, the heat searing through his wool jumper. He could see a flash of gold through his closed eyelids, and then a husky voice said “Sit up, you’re okay now,” Cold seeped into him through his pants, from the hard stone beneath him, and he couldn’t suppress the tremor that ran through him.

“How?” Mike’s trembling hand came to rest over his stomach, anticipating a wave of pain, but he didn’t feel anything. His eyes flickered open to see that he was sitting in a sparsely appointed room with marble floors, and a green velvet settee in his eye line. The brunette was kneeling at his side, and her clothes had changed, into a yellow flowered dress, her hair cropped back to her shoulder blades. “Where am I?”

“The lighthouse. It’s the base of the Amour Federation.”

“The what?”

“You want something more than a average life.” The brunette told him, as she helped him to his feet. “We want to give you that.” She pressed a business card into his hand, “Think it over, and we’ll be in touch.” Her curvy frame shimmered with a bright gold light, it poured out of her every pore, expanding and blurring the very air around her. The gleam made Mike close his eyes, and when he opened them again, he was standing under the bus shelter.

 

Number 9

The last thing I saw of England, was a seagull wheeling and diving against the backdrop of an almost cloudless sky over the white chalk cliffs, as I stood on the deck of the clipper. I didn’t feel dread or fear at leaving as I had expected to. 

“Are you not scared that you shall never see home again?” Robert's voice distracted me from my thoughts, and I turned my head to see that he was standing at my side. 

“I have to realise that home is not bricks and mortar,” I replied, glancing further along the rail to where Aella, Luciano and Nancy stood. “As long as I have the four of you, I will always feel like I am home,” Robert squeezed my hand, the calluses easing the last vestiges of my fear.

 Copyright Emily Morris 2017