The Twilight Zone.
A stream of consciousness is a writing term used to describe a writer who starts a story with no more than an idea and lets his/ her thoughts dictate what happens - as I usually do.
Today is one such day.
I woke today feeling ill, and as I have had a feeling of being sick several times in the last month I wondered if I had blood poisoning?
My next thought was would I wish to be put on a dialysis machine if we could get a charity to help pay the costs?
In my teens, if the situation had arisen, I would have said yes, as I would have done over the last 30 years of marriage, however, now at 62 I don't think I'd wish to be kept alive by a machine.
It isn't anything religious I have against the idea; but I feel my life has run its course and if the Lord has decided my time has come to go, who am I to contest the concept?
My final line in this run of thought was I would not wish to be put into cryostasis, even if I could afford the process; the system may work for someone with no friends or relatives, but the thought of returning to a world I am not meant to be in appears wrong to me. This line of thinking took me to the Twilight Zone episode called "The Rip Van Winkle Caper."
The story is about four thieves who pull off a multi-million dollar heist and decide to hide out in the desert for 100 years in pods until the gold they stole is no longer "hot."
Flash forward 100 years to the group waking up, one died when his pod got broken, and the other three fought over the gold until only one man was alive; dying of thirst, he offered his last bar of gold to a man in a car to get him to a city, but he died before the man could tell him the gold had no value as 100 years on it was being manufactured.
Who can say what will have value in the future? After all, the Native Americans had gold for centuries but rarely used it as it could not be made into tools as it is so flexible.
I never mention this award I earned in a Facebook writing contest in 2012 because I would prefer to forget the contest, as it was rigged and hacked.
The person who had the first two stories in this section had a friend delete my stories to stop me beating her in an open contest, and showing her that I am a better writer than she was at the time, her other claim to "fame" was made by copying a story from a friend of mine and passing it off as hers.
2012 ws a bad year for me, it was the beginning of a struggle to regain my rep as a writer, a struggle that to this day is ongoing.
What Nostradamus predicted.
During the last US election run-in, there was great concern that one of the prophecies of Nostradamus would come true.
He is said to have predicted that one day three ladies would be in power, and this would bring out worldwide devastation.
It is true that if Hilary Clinton had won she would have caused the Third World War; like here predecessor - Barrak Obama - she was bent on the destruction of Israel. With Angela Merkel allowing the Muslim invasion - yes, invasion - of Europe this would have caused the collapse of Western civilization as we know it. As for Theresa May, she would have become what she shows herself to be, no more than a German pawn in the UK.
The point of this post is that this is not the first time this has happened, those of us with memory can recall that in the 1980's three powerful ladies WERE running their countries; Margaret Thatcher (UK), Golda Meir (Israel), and Indira Gandhi (India).
Mrs. Thatcher was more formidable than Mrs. may could ever aspire to be.
In last month's issue of Premier Christianity magazine, there is an article of Hebrew words that we could use; I used several Yiddish phrases in the romance I based in Israel (Aliyah).
Aliyah is a term used to describe a return to your homeland, with the horrifying rise of anti-Semitism in the UK/France there has been a considerable increase in the number of Jewish people seeking an Aliyah to Israel in the last four years.
I undertook my Aliyah (return to my homeland) eight years ago, not to Israel, though I always wished I'd had the opportunity to visit the state, but to Yorkshire.
The Hebrew term is the same as saying "cheers," why not use it as many people use the Danish term "Skol."
In the words of my character, Kim Altland "Zevel ich zevel" (rubbish is rubbish). The book cost me a lot to produce as I decided to buy a cover, rather than use a free image, and basing the story in Israel caused animosity for me online.
I made another error, I aimed the story with an audience in mind as I had several Jewish contacts in Israel when I was writing the story.
I did enjoy writing the romance, but in over 18 it sold only three copies; when you take in account it took as long to write and edit as it has been on sale, you can see why I call it a disaster.
I sent it to several publishers, the only positive reaction I got was from Vanity Press houses, meaning I'd have to pay for the publication and do the promotion work while they took my money for doing as little as they could to help the sales.
I am writing a sequel, you can read it free on this blog https://www.alsdominion.co.uk/the-reading-room, along with several other Christian Fiction stories on here.
I am not a Tony Blair supporter.
Before you get the WRONG impression - I am NOT a Tony Blair supporter - but he did do me a favor when he became PM.
Bristol has always been a Labour party stronghold, and toward the end of my term at the museum it was obvious I'd never see a promotion (hell, I knew that for several years); the reason being I was neither a snitch, an ex-cop or a FREEMASON, and that is how you got promoted.
For the last eight years of my term I knew I had no promotion hopes, so when I was made redundant for medical reasons it saved me from being sacked for arguing with my bosses; I won't say "superiors" as I - along with many others - had no respect for the bosses in the end.
Though we never proved it, the suicide of a close friend was caused by pressure from the bosses (Freemasons) because he was a Unionist who fought for the workers; though I was not as militant as my friend, Richard, they knew I was of a similar mind.
Don't set the bar too high.
My sense of contentment with my writing has come from a changing perspective about viewing the goal, until two years ago, sales were my goal. In the last two years, I changed my views to getting readers for my blogs as that is what matters, sales are the only way I had to evaluate my worth as a writer.
I realize having a blog is no real sign of popularity as a writer, but with a growing readership of over 100 readers a day reading over 300 posts; I must be doing something worthwhile.
It is hard to believe in this age of enlightened times, but some people still think being left-handed is a sign of Satan.
I had several friends in Bristol Museum service who are left-handed, and one of my children is left-handed.
When I bat either in cricket or baseball I can bat from either side of the plate. At times, I have wondered if I was left-handed as there are times when doing things right-handed seems awkward for me.
If my present condition doesn't improve I may be forced to either type left-handed or use my voice recognition software as I injured my right shoulder last night and I can't move my arm without a lot of pain.
A sign of the times.
While reading the article on the Leicester City plane crash in the current issue of Premier Christianity magazine, I was saddened at the loss of life; but it is a sign of the times.
When I used to watch Bristol Rovers, the only transport available for away matches was the club coach, and players were bought for their talent at playing.
The Chronicles of Mark Johnson.
Here is the first of the eight stories in my award-winning book - www.amazon.com/dp/B008BEDMSO
The man sitting on the clifftop at the edge of his garden, taking photographs of birds as they swooped and dived, looked calm and in his element. Until the phone rang, the phone call brought him back inside the house, which was not a good start for Mark Johnson who begrudged spending time indoors. After many years working in laboratories and studios trying to make a name for himself, he longed for the air.
“Mark! When are you going to do some high-profile work again? This damn phone is ringing off the hook for you ?”
No further introduction was not needed. Phil Moore, a longtime friend, was the only person who had the reclusive Mark’s phone number.
“Well, you know my philosophy, Phil, so you can feed them whatever BS you want. I do not do celebrity shoots, models, or work for tabloids. When I do a shoot, it has to be for real. Not because someone needs to be in the limelight for a while! When I get a real shoot, I will come back from obscurity - then and only then, Phil!”
“I don’t get you, man! Top of the class in photojournalism; agents calling me for you to shoot their people. You could be out there with the lights on you, making so much more of your talents than selling the odd article here and there.”
“You hit the nail on the head when you said photojournalism. I do picture stories, not pretties for the glams and tabloids. That part of my work is what drove me here if you remember. I found it soul-destroying and sickeningly shallow.”
“That is as may be, but it's the best-paid work, and you are the best. All the top magazines want you.”
“They can want all they like until I get something that can arouse my spirit, I am content as I am. The stories I sell allow me what little pleasures I require- a roof over my head, food in the freezer, and the pleasure of being out here in the elements.”
“That's something else I never got about you. Mark. How, when you can make such a lot, are you happy with next to nothing?”
“I just never got into wanting all the trappings of fame. The story is what it's all about. I am a photojournalist first and foremost. If the shots don’t tell a part of the story, then I have failed. I know I can make my name, have lots of money and fame, but for me, it was never about that. For me, it has always been about the shots.”
“I can’t tempt you, then? Not even with a trip to Italy for three weeks in the sun, with masses of pretty girls to shoot.”
“No. You can treble any offer made, but I am not interested. Never was, never will be. Those that chose that lifestyle can keep it. I am doing what I like now. I stuck with that false crowd for four or five years when I got started. Every night I ached to take real pictures - stories that would do my art justice.”
“All the years I have known you, you have never changed. Throughout college courses and afterward, money was never your driving force was it?”
“No, you have that right. I would rather struggle to sell a few stories and being true to who I am, than clicking for magazines, to show how pretty a lady is. If she is that pretty, then let it shine through. So many of them love themselves, and I cannot abide their shallow lives. Out here in the wind and rain, watching the birds and animals, that is what I am all about, Phil. If you get an interesting story for me, please let me know. As for any offers for celebrity shoots, feed them the BS you feel is right.”
“OK, Mark. I have got the message. Can you tell me something?”
“I will try to.”
“There was a rumor about your college having a research group checking into psychic abilities. Was there any truth in it?”
“There was no secret about it, Phil. We did have the grant to do Psychic research, some of us developed great powers and can see the spirit world at times. We didn’t make it known for obvious reasons, we were doing serious research into psychic ability and didn’t want to be classed as just a bunch of crackpot ghost chasers.”
“You are kidding, seeing ghosts!”
“Not at all, think of us as receivers of signals, some people are more adept at receiving than others. We started as a group of about 20, by the mid-term of the first year there were only three left. Me, Rachel Stockman & Pat Sammels. We call them essences rather than ghosts, they come in all forms and some not very nice.”
After Mark put the phone down, he turned and walked across his ramshackle old kitchen to the stove; he lit the gas so he could make a pot of his favorite coffee. The wind was picking up, and the choppy seas were making the bell in the river clang loudly.
“Be good shooting today," Mark thought as he looked out across the bay.
That was always something that mystified his friends. When the sun was out, Mark would rarely take a shot. Give him winds, rain, and high seas, and he would be out there for hours. One friend asked him why and Mark replied, “If you want great shots, you have to go chase the weather; you won't get them if you're sitting inside in on windy days!”
The clouds rolling over the hills were low and threatening as the thunder roared and the lightning flashed. Upon the mountain, Mark thought he could see a face at the old Morton Manor, but he was sure nobody lived there. It had lain derelict for the past twenty years, and no-one had been near it since the mysterious disappearance of the young girl. Over the years of his, seclusion Mark had become adept at tuning into the lost and lonely souls of the dead, at first he wondered what had happened to make this occur, now he realized he was a receiver of messages from across the void and accepted it.
Some stories told of a stranger in the area, days before she vanished. Others spoke of light in the old house and weird howling noises. Here on the coast, tales of strange happenings abound, but this had taken place in recent times, with modern equipment, not olden days with old instruments that could not be trusted.
Mark felt this was an interesting story, worthy of his talents; a mystery for over twenty years, all but forgotten in the area. From those he had asked about the secret, he had received the same answer – a wall of silence. It was as if the townsfolk were hiding something; something they did not want to admit. No police reports were kept, and no record of the events at the house was available. The whole town was cloaked in deathly silence as if this was their curse for all time.
Since Mark was a virtual newcomer, he had not known about the history of the Morton house, as he was usually out on the cliffs. He barely paid attention to the old house on the hill until, one day, he happened to be passing on his way to photograph some strong waves crashing in the cove. It was then he thought he saw a face peering out from the house. As a journalist, this piqued Mark’s curiosity. However, all avenues of research ended either in a dead-end or a wall of silence. The greater the silences and dead-ends, the more determined he became. But how could he get to the bottom of the mystery?
As well as searching through the town records, he went to the County, but all attempts to get information proved fruitless. He had plenty of questions, but could not get answers from anyone. After months of foot slogging and stone-walling, he just gave up. But he never forgot about the face which plagued him constantly. But when all records have been cleared out, where can you go?
As much as it pained him, he was forced to come to terms with the facts: something terrible had happened, and they wanted to hide it. He felt beaten. The whole area seemed to be locked down. Whatever it was, it must be awful, he thought.
For years, nothing more happened, but every time he saw the old house he wondered about it. One night he was sitting on the cliffs when a stranger approached along the cliff path. At first glance, it appeared to be a young man in his thirties. There was something odd about him. Mark could see he was limping, as he dragged his left leg behind him.
“I see you are a photographer as well," observed the man.
“Yes, I came here to escape the rat race, the glamour shoots and the celebrity. I used to be well-known years ago, but now I sell a few stories.”
“I know. I have been watching the house for the last few months, deciding if I was doing the right thing or not.”
“What do you mean?” asked Mark.
“My name is Richard Morton. I used to own the house on the hill, I came here thirty years ago and lived happily on my own for ten years. Then a girl came from the city. She was beautiful, with long black hair and a slender figure. She worked up at the house as a cook and cleaner, until she went missing that fateful day.”
“I don’t know. I was in town for the day, and when I got back, all hell had let loose. They had her wet body on the ground. When they saw I was wet as well, it became a mob mentality. I had no chance against fifteen deranged men. They beat and kicked me, then threw me over the cliffs to make it look like a suicide. I survived more through luck than judgment. The incoming tide broke my fall a little, but even so, I was severely injured. I managed to crawl to the caves down there and believing I was dead, they never checked. I survived for days on crabs and lobsters I scavenged from pools. I died from my injuries a few months ago and had come for one last look.
“That explains the lack of records of what happened. You said you were wet?”
“Yes. It was a windy day, and I loved to walk on the shore. That day the waves were running, and I got soaked through.”
“Did they find out what happened?”
“Oh yes, a few days later. By then the deed was done, and the town had was sworn to silence to protect the guilty families.”
“Since the records got expunged, how can I find out what happened?”
“The only way is to go up there yourself. The face you see in the window is hers. She is riddled with guilt that her death led to my murder. If you can free her soul, we can be freed to love again on this side.”
“I will see what I can do for you.”
“Thank you, kind sir.”
As the day started to draw to a close, mists came in from the sea. Mark began his walk up to the old house with a feeling of trepidation. He was unsure if he was doing the right thing. The town had closed the subject, and no-one had ever mentioned it.
Maybe, I should let sleeping dogs lie, he thought. But there has been a terrible miscarriage of justice, and the town needs to be cleared of this shared blame so they can move past it.
As he arrived at the old house, there was an overwhelming sense of gloom surrounding it. The darkened windows were filled with cobwebs, and there were broken tiles on the ground. The door groaned as Mark pushed it open, camera in hand. He slowly moved across the hallway. Nothing stirred, not even a breeze. The air was so still and damp it was stifling, and Mark found it difficult to breathe. As he approached the kitchen door, he felt a sea breeze. Turning to the right, Mark noticed a door was ajar. He slowly walked through it and down the steps to the sea below. The closer to the shoreline Mark got, the steeper the steps became. He was just about to place his foot on another level when a voice from behind halted him. Turning around, Mark looked up and saw the girl. She did not move as he took her photograph.
“Please be careful," she called. "It was there I slipped and cracked my head before I fell into the water.”
“Then the outgoing current carried you out and left you on the shore, where they found you?”
“Yes, I was semi-conscious. Not being able to swim, the tow pulled me under, and I drowned. When Richard returned, they all thought he had drowned me in a fit of jealousy. He would never have harmed me. We loved each other so much that summer."
“The moaning the town’s people can hear -is that you?”
“No. I don’t know where that came from; I began to look at the lovely glowing lights, slipped and fell to my death.
After thanking the girl, Mark took some photos of the caves, the steps, and reflections. As he was just about to turn away, the girl motioned him down to the shore. As he looked down, the last shot he took was of the two lovers, gliding out of the caves, arm-in-arm, finally at peace.
As he was walking away from the house, Mark was met by a local fisherman. “The council has asked me to tell you that they will be in contact with you about what has gone on,” the man said as they stood in the street talking.
In his hotel room, he was writing up about the mystery, when he heard a knock on the door. “Who can that be this late?” he thought.
Going to the door, he noticed an envelope had been slipped underneath and was lying on the mat. He opened it, and inside was a note:
Dear Mr. Johnson,
We are sorry you have met with such resistance during your investigation of the mystery of Morton House. We would like you to attend a meeting, as we understand you have more information on this subject. We cordially invite you to a meeting in the library so that you may explain your findings and we may end this matter.
As requested, Mark showed up at the library the next day, notes in hand, ready for any questions.
He explained how the girl had gone to see the lights and had fallen down the slippery steps. He spoke of the accident and told the group how she had ended up on the beach. There was silence for a few minutes before the questions began.
“Mr. Johnson? In your opinion, if it wasn't the girl, who did make the noises?
“I don’t know for certain, but my best theory is that since the caves have a strange way of transmitting sounds, it was probably the waves crashing.”
“What caused the lights we saw?”
“Sorry, but that has me foxed as well. I looked all around, took photos from all angles and in all conditions from drizzle to bright light, and still, have no ideas.”
“We cannot thank you enough for being brave enough to go ahead and see this through despite our silence,” offered one of the leaders of the group.
“You are very welcome. It was a delight to have something to write about for a change.”
The story made the local papers, and the national press clamored for Mark again, knowing he was a truthful man. His star was on the rise once more.
I try to keep a Christian and forgiving nature, but some things test my forgiveness beyond reality.
In the last issue of Premier Christianity magazine, there is an article on the murderess Rose West.
Like fellow inmate Myra Hindley she claims to have found God in prison, this is something I find hard to believe. How can somebody who abused and chopped their children up before burying them under their patio find forgiveness?
There are times when taking a life cannot be avoided, if you need to do it to save a life, or to ease someone's suffering; that I can forgive, but to cut up a body you need determination and a level of evilness that to me goes beyond forgiving them for the crime.
I am sorry if this is unChristian, but remember that all these years after the infamous Moors Murders of the 60's, Hindley and Brady never disclosed where the last bodies got buried, so the families of those children have not only suffered all this time but still have no closure.
Maybe the Lord can forgive these people, but I cannot.
I suppose, in the end, it boils down to do you forgive yourself, and if you do those evil things the question is moot as you had no conscience at the time.