You move into the world, a mind arrival, after a disturbing darkness. First you perceive outside the body visual… another odd spot on the ceiling. Peer at the shape, like an inner organ. Not the spot itself, though it has a strange form, but what hides behind it, from the writing in your dream. In this dream, you came walking through a heavy mist. You perceived yourself moving in a swirling, grey white wash of cloud come to earth. Then you entered the corporeal, inside a body walking from a car towards the front of a gated institution. You understood that you possessed the persona of a staff member, approaching daily work at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital….the hospital for the criminally insane. You walked in this persona, up a road which bridges over a dike built to repel high water, a barrier that separates the hospital from the surrounding farmland. You observed the man-made berm with the oak tree at its summit. You stepped by the sixteen-foot-high fence and the wall cameras. You pulled out an electronic fob and opened the blue iron gate, and entered the inner grounds. The pastel buildings lay about at diamond-shaped angles, over a small rise you perceived the Central Hall. You looked past the staff person’s early morning bleariness and found your own motivation for walking in his shoes: the need to know the truth about yourself. You possessed the staff’s body and followed his path, and his path led to the office of Poplar Central Ward.Continue reading “Not Criminally Responsible by Harrison Kim”
Jimmy’s knees were indented where his elbows dug into them.
He gently moved to and fro on the swing. He could hear his father singing some old song that he’d heard too many times. He looked across the road and saw Charlie The Paedo staring at him. Jimmy knew if he told his dad, he’d end up in jail again.
He heard the pub door open, “Here you go son. Is your mum not back from the bogs?”
The boy shook his head. He accepted the crisps and can of Coke.
Murphy Conway was half Albert’s age and twice his size, but all Murphy had to do was look into the pieces of flint that were Albert’s eyes to know he could never take him, even if he did him dirty and started it from the side.
If I think back to it, I can still feel that moment when I really thought you were going to burst my skull. Your whole weight pushing my head into the ground, your mouth right next to my ear, hissing at me that I couldn’t tell anyone. Like somehow if I did, people would mistake her illness for your weakness. Even after the first three times I’d promised I wouldn’t, you didn’t let go, and when you did, you left your knee buried in my chest. I carried that weight, your weight, every day until she died, all those years later. But I never told anyone, not even my parents. I even lied to them when it happened, and I pretended to share their shock and grief at the news.
So, Hugh now joins the teeny tiny group – well I say group – there’s only one other, of writers with 100 posts on the site. CONGRATULATIONS. It is fair to say that it has probably been harder for Hugh. As editors I think we are tougher on ourselves than we are on other authors. We are so keen not to be seen to be showing any sort of positive bias that we are brutal with each other. However, Hugh always accepts rejections and edit suggestions with good humour, humility and professionalism.
He is the backbone of Literally Stories, he has kept on going through his own personal traumas, never letting what is happening in his life get in the way of his work on the site. He has been an incredible rock when the rest of us have had our own dramas, kind, sympathetic and stoic (hahahahaha – his hate word – ha) and he makes the work, which at times can feel overwhelming, worthwhile and rewarding. As well as the reading and emails, Hugh comments on the stories and together with other of us give feedback to authors who have requested such or who we feel deserve an explanation as to our decisions or a suggested edit. He writes almost all the Saturday roundup posts and let’s be honest they are hilarious and a brilliant end to the week, even though the times when he says ‘That’s it there, Diane. Sorry’ I do quake in my boots.
I have never actually met Hugh, or Nik in person, or Adam or Tobias for that matter, but I count them among dear friends, but Hugh, and Nik are the blokes I want to have a drink with, the blokes I can count on to unload to when life throws cabbages at me and I just want to say thanks and, Hugh, my life is richer for knowing you. You are a fearless, uncompromising writer and I admire that more than I can say and many, many Congratulations on reaching this outstanding milestone.
Never Being Confused
It was a typical day in the life of Jim and Debbie, the parents of SeptemberThe28th.
They were on The High Street championing their offspring’s cause as usual. They wore their ‘Asexual Is Not Fluid UCUNT!’ Tshirts, The back of which said ‘LGBTQI+Forever!!‘ And underneath that was ‘I am not a label!’
Red lacquer on her toenail, in the exact colour of the Duesy parked outside. One good thing about putting up with Fritz, was the cabbage.
“Money, money” she mouthed mutely; placing the cupid-bow stencil on her lips. Painting them to match the car and the nails.
Another good thing was that a man was never going to replace her in this business; no matter how wonderful the Maybelline; no one will ever want to see scantily clad men in the movies.
Just pronounced ex-Navy and having breakfast in a small diner in Idaho, road dust claiming him as much as it did his old Ford convertible gracing the parking lot like an abused antique, he met Maybelle Hustings slinging homemade hash, the air full of morning’s riches. She was tall, neat in her apron for a hash house waitress, wore her hair pinned back severely yet evoking promise in its loosing. Corded movements in her neck, supple and graceful but fully pronounced as a woman’s, brought him early hungers, caught him leaning in the booth. Their eyes locked, gave out announcements, were decoded, and then, so as not to embarrass the other, were allowed to wander. Initial signals had been made, and illustrated; acceptance, of some order, duly noted.
Fergie left early again. He was fed up with the self-acclaimed King Of The Pub. He was a cunt. He was a pumped up insignificant prick who walked about as if he’d shit himself. And the clothes, fuck the boy thought he was a gangster rapper, he was nothing more than a nipple-end with some ‘roid rage.
The motel was distasteful. The wallpaper peeled off in strips, and water leaked from the ceiling into a near overflowing bucket. Everything had a yellow tint as the sun slowly set.
Out on the back patio, sat two men.
June 1st 1990
Sharon walked into the office. She saw her workmate Jim staring into a half empty coffee cup. He looked up. His face was flush, his eyes tired and she could have sworn that there was another line on his forehead.
“Do you know what I caught that kid doing?”
She began to chuckle. Jim had been trying to keep his cool since wee David and his mother had moved in.
“We know that it is the spawn of Satan, but go on…Surprise me.”