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Sarah Weisters

God bless you

About ‘Leagueless’

So here’s the thing.

‘Leagueless’ is the umbrella title/term I’m giving to the exorbitant number of stories I’ve written over the years since I “became” a writer when I was 12.

These can be short stories, chapters of stories I’ve never finished or never will finish, or ones I one day might but I have no idea – because that’s the kind of writer I am.

Writing for me is and always has been an outlet, a form of wishful thinking and my way of defragmenting my over-emotional brain.

Bearing in mind I’ve only completed two stories in my entire “career”, to expect a fully fleshed out conclusion to any of the “episodes” I post here would be an exercise in futility and/or insanity.

For all intents and purposes, ‘Leagueless’ is a collection of every story I’ve written that’s still in my possession from the last 12 years and anything I may write in the future, posted here in no particular order.

So, in conclusion, that’s it.  No conclusion, no summary – this post is what it is and nothing more.  New episodes should be released every Sunday, no set time and no promises.

Thanks for reading.

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Featured post

Before Time Began

[NOTE: written circa 2014]

Nobody knows me anymore,
I have faded from existence;
All the people I love still live,
but they have forgotten me.

All but one of the people I hate are dead;
She will rain Hell down upon the Earth,
and all those who stand against her.

I am dead;
I can do nothing
but watch as the world burns.

LEAGUELESS | Episode 06: The Bone Tree

The house was old.

It was small too, almost Gothic and looked like it was built during the Victorian era.  Despite its two storeys it looked more like a doll-house than anything a normal-sized person would live in.  The walls were a pale, mottled blue, like birds eggs, and grown over with thick ivy.  The large windows were diamond-paned and the wooden porch had carved railings and pillars supporting the roof above.  Three sturdy, weather-worn steps lead up to the heavy oak front door.  The wide, stone path was soft with moss underfoot and the wrought-iron fence towered around the wild, windswept garden, casting ominous shadows.  Tangled with weeds and topped with spikes, blunted by years of harsh weather, the fence creaked in the wind.  The rusted wind-chimes hanging over the porch jangled with abandon, filling the air with bells and whistles.  Dry, crumpled leaves rolled across the overgrown lawn.

A single browned leaf snagged on the hem of Ryan’s blue trousers as he looked up at the house in mute trepidation.  He clutched the strap of his tan leather shoulder-bag with both hands, the wind seeming to go right through him.  Juney and May had it worse, wearing the thin layers of dark clothing they favoured these days – and Juney had no sleeves.

Ryan sighed quietly.

He knew why he was here.  He knew why Juney, his twin sister older by just thirty-three minutes, and her girlfriend, May, were unloading boxes from their VW minivan out on the street behind him.  But still he wondered why they’d decided to move him all the way out here, to this place, to this house that was absolutely nothing like the boring home he and Juney grew up in.  Maybe that was the point.  Maybe he needed a change.  He just wished he’d been given more of a choice in the matter.  He wished Juney and May had gone to see the house before putting a deposit on it, before they were sold the house cheap because nobody else wanted it.

Its price was already reduced because the last resident died on the property.  She was a ninety-year-old widower with no surviving family and she passed away in her sleep.  Five days had gone by before any of the neighbours thought to find out why they hadn’t seen her in a while and the house had now stood vacant for almost three years.

Ryan wouldn’t long for his parents’ house or his student accommodation.  He wouldn’t miss his classmates laughing behind his back or sneering to his face, and he definitely wouldn’t pine for his mother and father stepping around him like a bomb expected to go off at any second.  It was a moment like this that had influenced him to pack all his clothes, and box up all his music, films and books.  A moment that had faded as he’d watched towns, roads, fields and forests speed by as the three of them spent all of yesterday and that morning driving here, to the outskirts of Collinstown.

It was an old hamlet with narrow, cobbled streets and ornate lamp-posts; red-brick buildings and white-washed cottages with thatched roofs; a flag-stone marketplace and even a village green.

All Ryan wanted was some peace for once.  Some quiet.  Some time to rest and convalesce, and to figure out what he really wanted out of the life he’d been given back.

Catching a distinct whine of old metal on the wind, Ryan left the path and his travelling companions behind.  He trod as carefully as he could through the wet grass in his white shoes and rounded the corner of the house.  He passed large hedges and darkened windows, catching glimpses of silhouetted doorways and the banisters of a staircase, until he reached a tall tree with twisted ivory branches, reminiscent of bones, and only a few dead leaves still hanging on as if to life.  Suspended from the thickest branch, the end of which clung fast to the bars of the rusting fence, were two ancient swings, their heavy chains creaking and groaning, as if begging to be made use of again.

Although it was possible either the chains or the branch could give way without warning, Ryan perched on the one closest to the tree trunk.  Idly propelling himself back and forth with the toes of his now grass-stained shoes, he gazed languidly up at the house again.
There were three windows, two on the ground floor and the third centred above.  Through the one up top he could see a ceiling and an empty light fixture.  The one on his right was obstructed by something on the inside, possibly a damaged shutter or an old piece of furniture – Ryan couldn’t tell.  Through the window directly opposite him, all he could see was a distorted reflection of the outside world.

He watched the rippled tree branches sway in the wind, the swings and himself in the glass.  He listened to the wind whistle through the invisible gaps in the frames and he looked without blinking.

Often he found he saw far more of the world when he stopped blinking and caught fragments of another world altogether when he closed his eyes at night before sleep took him away.  Atoms, molecules, shrouded figures passing by. Sometimes he could hear them speaking, chattering, like the sound of a city in his head.  Voices, car horns, sirens, footsteps.  Eyes open, he watched flowers bloom, grass grow, paint dry, the minute hand of a clock slowly move with every second that went by.  He watched people walk by out on the street, wondering who they were, what kind of lives they lived, what sort of secrets they kept.  He made up stories about them in his head and wondered how well they aligned with the truth.

Right now, he kept his dim blue eyes on the reflections of the remaining leaves on the trees, dancing in the breeze, and on his own mirror image.  He couldn’t remember ever looking so gaunt, his eyes so dark and shadowed – but then he couldn’t remember the last time he’d looked at himself either.

How long had his eyes been open now, without blinking?  Twenty seconds?  Thirty?  A full minute.

He was seeing figures again, in the glass, indistinct tricks of the light, tricks on his mind.   And glass reflected in colour, not monochrome.  Ryan didn’t know how he could have forgotten such a simple fact, no matter how monotonous the day was.  He was wearing colours, but his reflection wasn’t.  Because it wasn’t his reflection.  It wasn’t a reflection.
He narrowed his eyes, squinting.

“Ryan!”

He blinked at last and colour returned to the window.  The blue of his trousers, his corresponding diamond-patterned v-neck, his navy cap, the blond of his hair, and he wondered how he could have possibly mistaken that dark mass for himself.  It didn’t take him long at all to realise it was because it matched the image he had of himself in his head.

“Ryan!” Juney called for him a second time, more urgently, but he didn’t move – if she wanted to find him, she would.

This place, this town, this house – it may have been old, but Ryan didn’t think for a second that it would be boring.  Maybe he’d like it here.  Or maybe he’d hate it as much as the last place, or the next place, or the one after that.  He didn’t know.  He had no way of knowing.  He couldn’t tell what the future held.

That wasn’t his gift.

*

Copyright © Sarah Weisters 2018

LEAGUELESS | Episode 05: The Introduction

Yang gave birth.  First to a daughter, then to a son two years later.  But it was much more complicated than that.  Yang lived in a block of flats on the sea-front of a small, forgotten town, with her own younger brother.  The town was forgotten by most but not by all.  The Ministry remembered it.  The Ministry owned it.  Yang and her brother were poor.  Yang wanted to be a mother.  One day in April she became one.  A representative of the Ministry knocked on her door that same day with the payment for her sacrifice.  She had changed her mind.  She didn’t want the money but the baby and knew they would not accept her withdrawal.  So she invited the representative in under the pretence of politeness.

While his back was turned, she hit him about the head with a heavy ornament, took her baby and ran.  But she had neither killed him nor rendered him unconscious.  He was merely dazed and he was not alone.  In the wide, formerly-luxurious corridor of the building, adorned with cracked mirrors and faded tapestries, Yang’s path was blocked by the Ministry representative’s colleagues.  She ran the other way, clutching her newborn child to her breast, and down the stairs to the ground floor.  She ran out into the crowded car-park opposite the sea-front, weaving in and out of the stationery vehicles when she spotted her brother returning from work.  She ran to his car, pulled open the passenger door and yelled at him to drive.

Her brother had no time to react, he turned round to her hunkered form in the back-seat, opened his mouth, and died.  The rear window shattered with a loud bang and blood spattered the front window in a demented umbrella pattern.  Yang’s brother slumped, blood oozing from the two holes in his head – entry and exit.  She screamed, crying, and kicked his body from the car out of the open driver-side door.  After having done so, she attempted to clamber behind the wheel, her baby on her lap, but she was caught.  The Ministry representative she had attacked appeared by the open door and seized her arm, pulling her out of the car.

“NO, PLEASE!” she begged. “SHE’S MY CHILD! PLEASE!”

“You gave up your rights to this child before she was conceived,” the representative stated coarsely, lifting the baby from its mother’s arms and pushing Yang back into the seat.

Sobbing, she pleaded, “Please, I beg you! I’m sorry! I’ll do anything … anything!  Allow me to raise her.  Construct whatever rules you wish, give me any orders you like, send me wherever you choose, just let me raise her.”

The representative was unmoved by her pleas but by her grating tone.  He’d have just put a bullet in her head to silence her, except the body of the brother was already one too many and he had been collateral.  The bullet had been for the mother, the soldier had missed his target.  He would be punished.

Grabbing her wrist tightly, the representative tugged Yang from the car. “Come, come!” he ordered, roughly pulling her toward the unmarked van pulled up nearby.  To his colleagues nearby, he instructed, referring to Yang’s deceased brother, “Dispose of him.”

Yang was put in the back of the van.  Her baby was taken in the front with the representative.  Her brother’s body was put in a body-bag and placed in the back of the van with her.  She wept for the sight of it.  The rest of the Ministry soldiers got in with her and she was handcuffed.  She said not a single word.  They left.  Within half an hour of leaving, the crime scene was cleaned up and her brother’s car was removed.  Any trace of their presence in the small, forgotten sea-side town was destroyed.

A child watched from behind another car.

*

Copyright © Sarah Weisters 2018

LEAGUELESS | Episode 04: Reality

The ballroom is filled with dancers, courageous and shy, and sweet music.  Such music.  It flows through them all, them all donned in colourful tuxedos and flowery frocks of silk, satin, gossamer, and cashmere.  Cream, magenta, coral, ebony, rouge, aqua, and fuchsia.  Twirling and swirling, a riot of colour, all around the room with its dance-floor cluttered with upturned dining tables and broken bottles of alcohol, medicine, and the rank smell of disinfectant.  The dancers make their own music as they cling to their partners, whooping and cheering and laughing at themselves, at others, at their lives, or simply life itself.

Kaye and Tee watch from above, their arms draped over the railing of the staircase.  Smiling, smiling, smiling.  Dreaming too.  They wish they could join the happy huddle, dance with abandon.  They wish they could hear the music.  What music it must be for such joy to be radiating from the swarm below.  Tee hums to herself, drawing patterns only she can see in the air with her finger, smiling warmly, like she has a secret.

Kaye watches the smattering of figures by the window, those who aren’t yet dancing.  Her smile is weak, betrayed by another kind of secret, a longing for something other than to dance.  Companionship.  She loves Tee but Tee is insane.

A figure in a cream tuxedo, a black bowler hat and a cane catches her eye.  He is amongst the non-dancers.  But then with a twirl and a tip of his hat, he bids a ballerina to dance with him and she accepts.  Kaye sighs, forces her eyes away only to find them on the couple waltzing fluidly between every other.  After the dance to music she cannot hear, as the bowler hat dips to kiss the ballerina’s hand, his eyes meet Kaye’s over his partner’s shoulder and he smiles.

Kaye stares, blinks, stares again, he’s still smiling.  Time means nothing here but she wonders for how long he has been smiling, she has been staring.  Then her heart thuds and she recoils, retreats, hides behind the corner.  She sits on the dirty floor, knees to her chest, and stares at the floor instead.

Nothing is real here.  Everything exists only in one’s mind.  He did not smile at her.  She imagined he smiled at her because that is what she wanted to happen.  She wanted to be smiled at and so her head granted her her wish.  She hates it here.  She hates herself.  She hates herself here.

Tee hasn’t noticed anything.  She lives entirely a world of her own.  What Kaye might see may not be even a touch on what Tee sees.  Swallowing her hatred of herself, of here, Kaye stands up again, leans over the wall, scans the crowd.  The ballerina is dancing by herself.  The cream tuxedo with the black bowler hat and cane is nowhere to be seen – probably because Kaye no longer wants to see him, or be seen by him, so she does not and is not.

The whooping, cheering, laughing and screeching of the dancers grates on Kaye’s ear implants.  She says drearily, “Too much noise ….”

Tee replies dreamily, “The bots will come.”

Tee always sounds dreamy.  Kaye scratches her neck, around her add-ons, her ear-socket, the whirring irritating her, her hair tangling in her antenna.  She sniffs and says, “The bots always come.”

“Yes, they do,” Tee agrees as the hall floods with bots – six-by-three square-feet hunks of grinding metal and slashing claws – and the couples scream and scatter.

Kaye straightens up, preparing to run or watch, and Tee lazily stabs Kaye in the fleshy part of her throat with an implant gun.  She hadn’t wanted Kaye to see it, so she hadn’t.

Kaye thought she knew what pain was.  Bruises, grazes, cuts, and burns – all minor.  Multiple augmentation surgeries, all under anaesthetic, all before this, all memories of that time faded, disintegrated, all gone.  Her arms from the elbows down, her legs from the knees down, her right hip, her spine, her lungs, her digestive system, her ears, her eyes, her voice-box; any physical defect she’d had before here was now no more.  No more blurred vision or asking anybody to repeat themselves; no more asthma or irritable bowel syndrome; no more worries about losing the use of her hands, no more chronic leg or back pain, no more stutter.

She can’t remember either way, but they didn’t touch her brain.  She feels like they couldn’t have or why does she have such trouble remembering things, discerning what’s real and what’s not, who she can trust and who she can’t?  Why couldn’t she see before now that Tee’s insanity was dangerous?  Kaye had seen her tear the tails off rats, trip strangers down stairs, kill people they knew, were friends with.  But what were friends here?

The pain short-circuits her voice-box so she can’t scream in pain or for help, or ask why.  Her vision flickers through black, white, and colour and no colour and back again.  She hears whooping and cheering, then nothing, then the music everybody else can hear, then nothing again.  Then she can’t see, speak or hear but she can still feel.  Pain, such pain in her neck, her head, her spine as Tee grasps her wrist and tugs her away, not down the stairs but somewhere else.Kaye tries to remember where they are, where they came from, how they got wherever they are, what she was doing before this happened.

Her mind, the only unaltered part of her left, is blank.  It is the one part of herself she was confident in maintaining by herself.  But first the dreams flooded in, the inability to tell them apart from reality, then the loss of memories, of who she is, was, might have been.  She lost herself.

Tee drags Kaye out of the hall, seals the door behind them, and then lazily meanders along the corridor, humming loudly to herself.  She hopes Kaye can hear because when she’s happy everybody else must be happy too.  But Kaye doesn’t move and Tee jabs her in the ribs with her boot, wanting her to react but Kaye is busy.  She’s trying to remember where she is, who she is, what’s going on.  The implant gun is still sticking out of her neck.

“YOU’RE SO BORING!” Tee yells at her, not knowing Kaye can’t hear, and yanks hard on her arm, kicks her again.

Kaye screams inside her own head.

The cream tuxedo with a black bowler hat and a cane walks up behind Tee.  He thrusts the end of his cane, an electric prod, into her back.  She yelps and drops to the floor, stunned.  He leans over and pulls the implant gun out of Kaye’s throat.

Silence is replaced with distant screams, darkness with bright flecks of indeterminate colour dancing before her eyes, and muteness with a sharp gasp as if she has been deprived of oxygen for some time.  She coughs, flails, defending herself against no attacker.  She is Kaye.  She is Kaye again.  She remembers.  She remembers the dancers, the ballerina, the cream tuxedo, the smile, the bots, and Tee.  She grasps her throat, feels the two new flat, circular implants plugged into her jugular and tugs on them.

“O-ut!” she croaks, her voice stilted and robotic. “G-et t-hem o-ut!  O-ut!”

“No!” Cream tuxedo shouts, pulling her hands away, and she blinks at him, a cream-coloured blur, flails, tries to get away.

He lets go and she presses her back against the wall, away from him, her hands and feet grinding against the metal grill of the flooring.  She blinks again, trying to focus her ocular implants.  She can make out blue eyes, a black hat.  She uses sign language.   Something she doesn’t remember learning, doesn’t know how she remembers its particulars, uses it anyway: W-H-O you?

Hesitation and then he holds out his hands and signs the letter R.

She pulls a face. “C-an h-ear,” she tries to say, signing her words as she speaks. “C-an’t s-ee. C-an’t s-ee,” she says again, pitifully waving a silver hand in front of her face, distinguishing nothing but a fuzzy grey ghost.

She huffs electronically, jabs a finger in the direction of her throat, and signs, Why can’t I take them out?

“I don’t know what they are,” he replied, speaking softly.

Who are you? she repeats and he looks at his shoes.

Eventually he murmurs, “Just call me R.”

*

Copyright © Sarah Weisters 2018

LEAGUELESS | Episode 03: 27th Nov 2015

I went to bed last night at 11:30pm instead of 12:10am because I had to get up in time for the 10am bus to town.  So I ended ‘Person of Interest’ on a cliff-hanger, believing I’d have time to watch the conclusion this morning.  But it took me donkeys to get to sleep, then I woke up a bunch of times during the night for no apparent reason and managed to toss not only one of my two winter blankets off while I did sleep but my dressing-gown as well.  I’ve stopped hearing my alarm clock.  I know I didn’t sleep through it because I have a vague recollection of whacking it to shut it up.  I didn’t actually regain consciousness until forty minutes before the bus came, which means I didn’t have time to watch the conclusion of ‘Person of Interest’ unless I could teleport from my bedroom to the bus-stop just as the credits began to roll in order to catch my bus.  So I didn’t roll out of bed until 9:40am because after the irritation set in, I just couldn’t be bothered making the effort.  I got dressed, packed my bag, made my bed, grabbed my MP3 player and rolled out to the bus-stop at five-to.

I listened to music on the 45-minute journey and then, because I – ironically – had time before my shift started, I went for a coffee at the art centre café and decided to grab a bacon roll as well.  I read some more of ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ and should’ve left five minutes earlier because I didn’t account for my unnecessary application of foundation and mascara in the rest-room or the fact that I decided to drop into every shop that sold books on my way to the hotel just to see if I could find a copy of ‘The Novice’, the second book in the series.  I didn’t find it.  I ended up picking up another Martina Cole book for a penny because the one-penny book-sale at Bethesda’s back.  But all those pit-stops and I was late for work. Luckily nobody noticed.

All I was particularly concerned about was whether Alexander was working today or not.  He wasn’t but he occasionally dropped in, wearing regular clothes instead of his regular three-piece, and today was one of those days.  He was wearing an adorable pale yellow sweater and jeans, going through the Christmas decorations with Maggie.  He always smiles when he sees me and today was no exception.  He’s so friendly and kind and always gives me advice and time.  He’s such a sweetie.  I may even say he’s ‘the one’.  I’m not head-over-heels, exactly, and I’m not obsessed, but he makes me feel … comfortable and I’m not at all awkward when I talk to him.

Perhaps the reason I didn’t get enough sleep last night was because I was just dreaming up scenarios where he asked me out for a drink or to dinner or invited me over to marathon ‘Lost’ or ‘Person of Interest’ with him – because that’s entirely likely.  It’s not an exaggeration to say my imagination runs away with me sometimes.  In this case, I actually used that phrase in one of my scenarios where I left my job at the hotel and in my explanation to him why, I’d say something like, “My imagination has the tendency to run away with me and with you … it ran miles.”  And that’s how he’d know I had kind of a thing for him but I’d walk out the door before he could say anything and I’d never look back!  Until he roots out my phone number from my old job application and calls me and asks me out for a drink.  I’d say that’s one of the more mellow scenarios but that’s actually probably the only one.  I like this guy a lot and … he’s my boss.  He’s the manager of the hotel.

I am so screwed.

Anyway, before I could say ‘good morning’ to my soul-mate, however, I was deferred by Maggie to go see Ruth to see if she had anything for me to do.  The answer, as always when I’m given a lunch shift, was ‘no’.  I really expected someone to just come up to me and tell me I wasn’t needed and that I could go home.  But no such luck.  Ruth talked to me about several things, though, as we wandered around looking for something to do in the absence of any lunch-time reservations in the restaurant.  One of which was cats.  Hers has just had kittens, four of them, and she’s looking to give three of them away.  Since I already have five cats, mi casa isn’t exactly an option for newcomers, so I said I’d ask around instead.  We talked about the odd places mother cats choose to give birth, from … drawers to neighbour’s airing cupboards to carrier bags – not the plastic kind, the canvas kind you buy in Tescos and Co-op which last forever.

Another thing she told me was that she’s been falling over a lot. She’s got a black eye from tripping over nothing in the hotel lobby and landing face-first against the sideboard.  She said it’s not a case of her feeling dizzy or faint beforehand, just … first she’s standing, then she’s not.  I suggested she may just be tired because, as patronising as I find her sometimes, I really don’t want there to be anything seriously wrong with Ruth.  She is nice and she sympathised with the fact that there was nothing to do today and that we’re both really short people.

But finally, last … and certainly but diabolically least … she pointed to the hotel foyer where the only guest we had was sitting on our way back from the still room to the restaurant and said, “That’s Alexander’s wife.”

I don’t think my expression changed to give anything away to Ruth, but I know the bottom of my stomach dropped … somewhere beyond earthly dimensions. Out the window went all my scenarios – well, just the one – my hopes, my dreams of finally snagging a guy who could not only stand me for more than a few weeks but whom I could stand for more than a weekend.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sleep around.  Yes, I’m a virgin and I’m not ashamed of that.  In fact, I’m rather proud that I don’t go around sleeping with every cute boy that crosses my path.  Not that that’s a bad thing.  To each their own, or whatever.  Whatever.  I just … I just thought that for once I could care about someone like that and have them care for me, instead of consuming TV shows and falling in love with their characters instead of real people.  I thought, for once, that I was actually getting somewhere.

I should’ve known he was married.  I mean, I’ve seen his ring but he has an identical one on the opposite finger on his other hand.  I just thought it was a ring … not a wedding ring.  I’m not losing sleep over this.  Married men are automatically not my type, so moving on.

…. With the rest of my shitty day.

I … replaced two sets of water glasses in the conservatory.  I … swept the conservatory floor.  I … returned glasses to the bar and restaurant from the still-room.  I carried breakfast stock.  I sorted out an entire cupboard of cutlery and Ruth went home.  I ate a slice of grilled cheese that Reiko made and made myself a lime/blackcurrant cordial cocktail with lemonade, coca-cola, a slice of lemon and lime and three ice-cubes.  I ….

Both Maggie and Nell ran out of things to give me to do and yet they kept me in anyway.  Maggie’s sent me home before when we’ve had no reservations.  She cut my entire shift last Friday just because I had a doctors appointment at the end of the day and we had a wedding on!  I could’ve helped!

So anyway, Maggie had me clean … parts of the still-room that had gotten slightly grubby since they were cleaned on Monday, she had me move boxes to the cellar which is fair because they were new deliveries.  Then she sent me to Nell who sent me to Maggie who sent me to the still-room and then, gratefully … 45 minutes before my shift ended … Nell decided to send me home.  What a waste of time!  Saw Louis on the way out, he looks even odder than Alexander out of his suit.  I don’t think I’ll ever see Nell out of his.  He was born into it.  He wears a tie-pin.  Only those who are really serious about their job and their suits wear tie-pins.

On the mile walk back the bus station through town, I stopped off at Bethesda and bought six more books for six more pence.  I paid with a ten-pence piece and let them keep the change.  I spent a lot of time in Bethesda.  I’m quite picky with my books.  I don’t like reading hardbacks, so if I find a paperback version of a hardback book I already own, I’ll buy it and swap them out.  I got a couple more Martina Cole, another Marian Keyes, and my favourite John Grisham, The Testament, even though Dave already has a copy.  But then he and I have shared copies of Patricia Cornwell books too, so nothing new there.

I met Minnie at the bus station which was a welcome surprise.  I see so little of her.  She kind of merged through the huddles of people sheltering from the rain and at first I didn’t see her.  I mean, I saw her but her face didn’t register in my mind until a few seconds later.  A few more than usual and the reason I know it was a few more is because I actually had time to see what a non-registered face looks like.  It’s not blurred, it’s non-existent.  It was a tanned mass without a nose, eyes or mouth, but it was wearing a hat.  Not the hat I got her for her birthday in October, but a hat nonetheless.  It was a good hat.

She was in town to meet Dave but he stood her up.  Apparently his FaceBook’s been hacked and he had to stop using it.  Dave’s an odd bloke.  He hates social media and doesn’t see the point of a phone but – up until recently – frequently used FaceBook and owns three monitors, five laptops, an iPad and a PSP, but doesn’t see the point of a phone.  I suppose he didn’t let Minnie know he couldn’t meet her because the only way they stay in contact is via FaceBook.  I’d say he could’ve called her land-line but a) doesn’t know the number, and b) didn’t want to run the risk of getting her older sister, Dina, on the line because of blind, pointless prejudices.  I still find it hilarious that Dina thinks I’m the mentally stable one of this household.  Oh my gosh, if she only knew the truth.

Minnie and I stumbled around conversation for a bit, as we do, and rode the bus together home in silence.  We listened to music on my MP3 in one ear each and listened to the bus radio with the other.  The only thing I can really remember from the radio is a bad ‘Jo King’ joke and something about an out-of-control dung hose.  I got home just in time to start illegally loading the next episode of ‘Person of Interest’ before Dave announced dinner – we had rice, bacon and eggs with a side of chicken soup that May made. We started watching season 2 of ‘The 100’.  May already missed the first but, even though she joins us (when she’s not at work), unless it’s ‘Castle’ or ‘Sharpe’, she doesn’t really care.  She’s working tonight and won’t be back until tomorrow anyway.
‘Person of Interest’ decided to break my heart as … most shows I watch tend to do. So I went upstairs to visit Jay, seeking some sympathy.  We listened to some tunes, talked about TV shows and the shit days we’re having.  We watched Russell Howard’s Good News and then spent an hour looking up pictures from ‘Person of Interest’, including some of our best memories of it.

I went to bed way too late.

Copyright © Sarah Weisters 2018

LEAGUELESS | Episode 02: The Wretched Caw

[NOTE: written circa 2017]

I woke up at 6 am as I do every single morning, every summer, for the two years I’ve been here.  It’s not a choice, at least not mine.  No, it’s the choice of the flock of starlings that moved into the garden eleven years ago – nine years more than I’ve lived here, Constance never fails to point out whenever I start to complain about anything, starlings or not.  They – the birds – have this exceedingly cruel talent of mimicing crows.  The wretched caw, as I like to call it – usually when I’m complaining about it to Constance.  Between April and October, between six and seven in the morning, they begin their devils’ chorus, regardless of their neighbour’s feelings.  Their neighbour being me because I’m the unfortunate begger who arrived last and was therefore delegated the tiny bedroom at the back of the boarding house, wedged between the bathroom and the airing cupboard.  All the other residents are aware of its faults, thus why it was delegated to me, the final arrival.

Not only its size, location or the starlings’ morning choir practice in a foreign tongue, but also the fact that the entrance to the airing cupboard – which houses all the towels, washcloths and bedsheets – is in the bedroom itself.  Meaning: limited privacy.  Then there’s the bathroom right next door and how everybody forgets to turn off the extractor fan after ‘lights-out’ – not actual ‘lights-out’, just ‘time you should think about shutting up because people need sleep’ – at 11 pm and how they forget to not flush the toilet (also after lights-out) because it’s loud and then sets off the boiler with this horrible, recurring twinging noise that goes on for hours and hours that not even ear-plugs can block out (I’ve tried).  The room is also situated above the kitchen, more particularly immediately above the wood-burning stove – the only means of hot water for baths and washing up – which is kept burning even at the height of summer, turning my room into some kind of dry sauna.  Well, I say ‘dry’, but then there’s the leaking window with the mouldy patch of ceiling just above it.  The room: another choice that’s not mine.

So, to summarise: too hot even in the middle of summer; repetitive interruptions from much needed study time by people needing towels for unnecessary baths, etc. – how is it that everybody needs a bath every day and requires new towels and also suddenly needs to change their bedspread the day before exams?; respiratory infection hazard from window (have not actually stopped coughing since March and is now nearly June); not even nearly enough room for twenty-something girl who loves books and admires clothes because sloping ceilings; and an early-morning alarm system in the form of about thirty small, annoying birds doing their crow impersonations that you can’t switch off, no matter how many times you grumpily slam your window after staying up too late to catch up on much-needed study time after many, many day-time interruptions from people needing towels but not really needing towels.

Sometimes I think about moving back home, then I remember my mother lives there and the notion flies away like those starlings should – but don’t.

Copyright © Sarah Weisters 2018

ONE SENTENCE REVIEW | ‘The Vampyre’ by John Polidori

The thing about ‘The Vampyre’ by John Polidori is that it seems more like the synopsis of a story, rather than a story itself.

LEAGUELESS | Episode 01: 100 Suns

[NOTE: Written circa 2008/9]

We only had one hundred days.  We knew it wouldn’t last forever.  But we didn’t think it would end like this.

Strawberry trifle or apple pie?  That was the decision it all boiled down to.  We couldn’t decide on pudding.

I suppose I would laugh but it hurts too much to do nearly anything anymore.

He sits by my side, his head in his hands.  There’s nothing I can say or do to console him.  He thinks this is his fault.

He’s wrong.

He’s never been more wrong about anything.  He thinks it’s his fault that I wanted strawberry trifle instead of apple pie.  That it’s his fault I got angry and ran all the way into town in the pouring rain just to buy myself a fucking strawberry trifle!

And then the bomb went off.

The things people do in life are so fickle.

It wasn’t meant to happen.  Bombs don’t go off in small convenience stores in back-of-beyond towns.  They just don’t.

But this one did.  I was barely in the shop for five minutes when it went off.  Fifteen casualties.  Three dead.  The two buildings on either side caved in on top of us.  I was buried beneath ten feet of rubble.  Seventeen hours I waited.  Seventeen hours it took them to shift all the debris.  I was barely alive when they found me.

I remember hearing him scream my name.  He had followed me after I stormed out.  He had seen the blast.  That gave me some hope.  It gave me hope to know he still loved me even after our stupid argument about pudding.

He didn’t stop searching until he found me the following morning.  The firefighters and paramedics tried to get him out of their way, but he came back every time – so they accepted his help whether they wanted it or not.

He never gave up on me is my point.

That was day 98.

This is day 100.

Everything has its time and everything ends.  We had our time and this was its end.

  • Copyright © Sarah Weisters 2018

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