Hump Day Hook.

 

Hi everyone, and welcome to Hump Day Hook. The day when you can sit back, pit your feet up and read some fabulous snippets from other authors covering all genres. 

Following on from last time, here is the next snippet from my ‘time-slip story, The Cloud of Unknowing which I wrote for my sister two years ago when I started writing again. So it’s a bit rough I’m afraid. 😬

Phil, visiting Pontefract Castle with her history buff sister, has been abruptly woken up from a doze to find everything bathed in a still, quiet and dream-like ‘aura’.  This is what she sees. 

 

To read other ‘hooks’ click here and enjoy. 

 

 

Pinned to the ground, her breathing shallow, her heart thumping and mute with panic; she gasped in horror as a shaft of sunlight broke through the clouds, spotlighting an area of the green opposite. .

For there, in the centre of the neatly manicured grass, was an executioner’s block, and kneeling before it was a man, head bowed and hands clasped in an attitude of prayer. 

What the…..!No way! No, this can’t be…….

The sun caught the man in its beam, highlighting the fairness of his hair and his thin handsome face, pale and impassive as he gently passed the beads he held through long slender fingers.

She could clearly see every detail of the man’s clothing and appearance, and that of the sinister masked figure, which stood unmoving, watching him….and waiting. 

Having finished his prayer, the kneeling man crossed himself then bent his head, resting his neck in the hollow of the block. And in the same deathly quiet, she watched with horrified fascination as he stretched out his arms, and in that one terrifying moment, she knew without a doubt that the man was about to suffer a bloody, brutal death. This was no dream, no tourist attraction.

The executioner then held the blade against the exposed neck, marking his target, and then, raising his arms high, he swung the axe, and as it flashed downward, Phil, shocked and sickened and with a cry of something akin to pain, covered her eyes and turned away. 

In darkness and silence she waited. Waited for a sound, any sound to indicate that it was all over, and the victim had been despatched quickly.
For even she knew, thanks largely to her sister that a beheading sometimes necessitated more than one stroke of the axe.
Oh! God, it was almost unbearable to think of someone, anyone suffering so horribly.

 

Hump Day Hook

It’s Hump Day again and that can only mean one thing……flitting from blog to blog for a jolly good read of some amazing ‘hooks’ from equally amazing authors by clicking here.

Now, because I’ve had a particularly trying week or two, I haven’t written much of my WIP so I’ll let you read a snippet from something I wrote for my sister two years ago when I first started writing again. It is a ‘supernatural/time slip story and it is set at Pontefract Castle in South Yorkshire. It is called The Cloud of Unknowing.

Two sisters, one a history buff, are visiting the castle….a storm is brewing and one sister (not the history fan) has gone to sit in the shade to nurse an aching head. She wakes up and well…….read on;

 

She began to relax a little in the cooler shade cast by the lush greenery of the trees, and the soft cooing of a wood pigeon added to the air of tranquillity.
It was all very well coming to these places with Iz, and she had done it many times in the past. But following in the slipstream of her sisters enthusiasm could be trying at times, especially when A, one had a head likely to split, and B, when one had very little interest in history or old ruins, and her sister’s passion for it was all consuming at times.
Sometimes, Phil imagined Iz was on more intimate terms with the entire court of Henry the Eighth or Edward the Fourth than she was with her own family.

The cooing of the pigeon was having a hypnotic effect on her now as, eyes still closed; she began to drift into a slight doze. Her head still ached a bit, but not as sharply, and the sick feeling was passing too, thank God.

She did not know how long she had been asleep, but she was suddenly jolted into full wakefulness, as though something or someone had shaken or pushed her quite violently.

‘What the f…?’ She spoke aloud, as heart thumping; she stared around her, fully expecting to see Iz grinning down at her.
But there was not a soul to be seen. 
She also noticed how eerily quiet it had become. There was not a sound, no voices of other visitors, no sound of distant traffic; even the pigeon had ceased its monotonous purring.

It was, she recounted later, as though her ears had been stuffed with cotton wool.
She also noticed that the whole area had become somehow ‘two dimensional’ and dreamlike and, even more alarming, the air around her seemed to crackle with static.

Oh God! She thought; it must be a storm brewing and I’m about to be struck by lightning. She felt the first stirrings of panic.
Get a grip, girl, she told herself now. Get away from the trees for starters. Go on GO! NOW!
But, when she tried to stand, she found to her horror that she could not move as much as a muscle. The very air seemed to be weighing her down and her first thought now was, God help me! I’m having a stroke.

Once Upon A Time……

…..I was homophobic. Yes, shocking isn’t it, and shameful. I say homophobic but really, I went through a phase of disliking anything gay and avoiding anyone who appeared to be, or I knew to be gay. Thankfully, it didn’t last long. 

Let me explain. In 2001 I started an Access Course at a local college and there I met a young man, lets call him Adam (not his real name), who was severel years younger than me and separated. We started seeing each other and for a while it was nice and I fell for him big time. 

However, over time, Adam began acting very strangely and being very distant, until one evening after a dinner date he told me he wanted to end the relationship. I was stunned and heartbroken of course but eventually I accepted it and moved on. 

In 2002 I went to university and Adam got in touch and we started our relationship again….and a few weeks later, he finished it again. His moods were increasingly erratic and he would shout and scream for little or no reason. I was a wreck and felt as though I was for ever walking on egg shells. Consequently, my studies suffered and I was increasingly depressed. 

The on/off pattern of the relationship lasted until April 2003 when we finished finally and for good. Later, a mutual friend phoned me and gave me some news which stunned me…..Adam had ‘come out’ as gay. I will never forget how I felt that day. Sick and angry…at him. Why had he done this to me, why? 

That night, I shut myself in my room on campus and sobbed and sobbed and drank and drank. And, to my everlasting shame, I broke and ruined every gift he’d ever given me. Worse, I wrote a letter to him in which I called him every horrible name I could. I won’t say what I called him…but you can imagine. I didn’t send the letter of course. 

Consequently, I hated anything gay. Magazines, people, films, books. I was bloody angry and bitter that part of my life had been ruined by him and what he was. Why, I thought couldn’t he have been honest with me (and his ex wife) Didn’t he realise what he’d done with his deceit and lies. He’d ruined my life and possibly hers as well; I was so horribly bitter and filled with so much anger and, looking back, I hate how I was then. 

But then, why did Adam feel he had to deceive people and why had he lived a lie for so many years. The answer of course, is simple….he was terrified of how others would react. Frightened that his family and friends would reject him and scorn him for who he really was. In short…..Homophobia. 

It wasn’t really Adam who had ‘ruined’ my life or that of his ex wife; it was societies intolerance of GBLTQ people. He lived a lie for so long and I know it caused him great emotional and mental trauma. And I also know that, while he was married he had twice attempted suicide. His wife had been less than sympathetic. 

I haven’t seen Adam since that April day in 2003 when we finished for good; but I heard that he had settled down with another young man and they were talking about marriage. I am truly happy for him and I hope he found the peace and  happiness that had been denied him for so many years. He has a daughter (from his marriage) and I hope she is happy for him and has accepted who he is because she was the one person in his life who, I believe he truly loved. I hope that, knowing who her father is and that he is still her loving dad as taught her, not merely tolerance but acceptance. 

Homophobia, then doesn’t just hurt one person; the effects of it can and do impact on many lives. It is horrible to think, in this day and age that many men and women still feel the need to live a lie, to conform to what many people still see as the ‘norm’.  But, until society is truly accepting of the diversity of human sexuality and stops believing that Man/Woman relationships are the only ‘normal’ kind then we will see more stories like mine and Adam’s and more lives ruined because of the terrible scourge of Homophobia. 

This piece has been written for the Hop Against Homophobia & Transphobia which was created last year to spread awareness of homophobia and transphobia, and to stand together as a writing community against discrimination of our works.

To visit the site and to read other HAHAT posts, click here or on the Rainbow Badge on the right and enjoy. 

To celebrate the the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia and the HAHAT blog, I shall be giving a donation to The Albert Kennedy Trust in one commenters name. 

 

 

Awake.

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Awake, my fair, my love, awake,
So that I may gaze upon you!
And if one is eager to kiss your lips,
In your dreams this do you see,
Lo, then I myself of your dream
The interpreter will be.

Judah Halevi (1075 – 1141)

Based on the translation by Alice Lucas that’s reproduced on page 43 of A Treasury of Jewish Poetry: From Biblical Times to the Present, edited by Nathan and Marynn Ausubel (Crown Publishers, 1957).

Hump Day Hook.

Hi everyone…it’s Hump Day again and time to read some amazing excerpts from loads of talented writers. So to indulge in some brilliant reading visit this site and enjoy.

Following on from last week and my WIP Ellis Stephen and Ellis are planning how Stephen can sneak into the house without his Mum seeing the tear in his trousers…..now read on;

‘ Mebbe you could sneak into back yard and into the lavvy and…and…’ Ellis stood there, still staring at the offending rent while rubbing a grubby finger up and down his snub nose; always a sign that he was thinking. I knew what he meant, and still smarting and annoyed I snapped, ‘And what, eh? Run passed me mam without me bloody trousers on?’

‘Ahm sorry, Stevie, I was only trying to help’. Ellis’s eyes pooled with tears,his bottom lip trembled and I was immediately contrite. I couldn’t stay angry with Ellis for long…and moving to his side, I laid a hand on his thin,narrow shoulder. ‘Sorry Ell..ah didn’t mean to snap’.

Ellis sniffed and wiped his sleeve along his snotty nose.’Well it might work yer know if yer mam’s busy in’t kitchen’, he said, his sun kissed freckled face brightening, ‘she’ll have ‘er back turned and she mebbe won’t see if you run fast’.

Oh, Ellis, Ellis, how simple things were for you, and us then.

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