Category Archives: Short Story

Reader Expectations.

I am aware that all readers have their own tastes and expectations when they choose a book. Many are die hard fans of their chosen genre and will consume every variation of their vampire sagas, romantic encounters or else stories about the flawed detective in police procedurals and crime novels. Readers know what they like and what they want!

Do we write to please the reader or please ourselves?  It is almost like two different planets of the universe. Those who write to please the reader live in big houses, while those who write to please themselves are on welfare – I believe – or else have a day job.

Book review:Case of the Mahjong Dragon

The latest review on my collection of Russell Holmes stories has made me consider some awkward realisations about my book.

Have I misled or deceived the readers’ expectations?

By using the name Holmes and having a similar collection of characters, albeit the stories are set in Glasgow rather than London, have I unwittingly sullied the genre? The POV is that of the lead character and the idea is similar in style to Sir Author Conan Doyle’s most famous private detective Sherlock Holmes. However, I did not adhere to the strict code of the true pastiche and have unintentionally varied the imitation such to confuse readers, who may have expected a firm Sherlock Holmes story, by creating conflicting images in their minds.

Perhaps publishing my take on a Victorian detective, I have inadvertently fell into a trap set by Moriarty and dipped my toes in an acidic bath of offence towards all true Holmes fans. But then again for all ‘you’ know I just might have accepted Moriarty’s challenge to subvert all who live in 221B.

I note however the world of films have their own unwritten rules: that is just do what sells.

In all honestly I am grateful to the reviewer for their honest opinion and the fact they have taken the trouble to read my book and I am sure secretly enjoyed it.

Is She my Type?

Blind Date.

Zoo Bar IMG_1387

Street Art in Glasgow, Scotland

They said she’s nice, so don’t be late
You’ll recognise her beautiful smile
And she’ll be wearing the latest Prada style
My nervous excitement, on a blind date

I saw her, gorgeous, laughing at the bar
Dressed in fashionable hugging stripes
Enchanting, attracting extroverted types
Like a prowling stag, ready armed for war

There is something about the fading light
That brings out an instinct in my mind
A sort of sublime emotional mating kind
That drives survival, but perhaps not tonight.

 

 

Alice Wants Home

Alice Wants Home – Three Line Tales

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photo by Fleur Treurniet via Unsplash

‘Only the Unicorn knows your way home,’ the owl screeched. ‘Which way, which way, which way.’ It glided into the dark.
‘Wait!’ shouted Alice. Alone she looked around. No entry, one way street going both ways. A window in the yard.
She stamped her foot and wept. Could she really climb the drain pipe? But she must to find the Unicorn.

Three Line Tales – Great Expectations

Three Line Tales -Great Expectations.

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Photo by Annie Sprat via Unsplash

Just another large gin to steady the nerves, must be presentable; you understand.
I hope they bring a red and some Jack Daniels or better, a Glenmorangie.
Food! Too late they are here. Why the white coats? What have I done?

Book Week Scotland -Simply Read Too

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I had a book and CD launch today with the completion of my project for Book Week Scotland.

The book contains the transcripts of a collection of poetry and short stories written by Lanark Writers, which I published. The recordings on the Audio CD, which are the authentic voices of the authors, were arranged by the gentleman on the left, Mr Boom. He also composed the music and did the sound engineering. The result is a professionally finished piece of entertainment. Mr Boom is a TV entertainer as well as a sound recorder for local music groups and bands.

Here is an example of one of the poems; Villanelle for an Ancient Lover by Edith Ryan.

 

How did this lover get to be so old?

Who once was young and in his prime

In whom the fire of the love has not gone cold.

This ardent mate with passion bold

Whose days were full of summertime,

How did this lover get to be so old?

A lover with a heart of beaten gold,

Now slower, all he needs is time

In whom the fire of love has not gone cold.

Life’s race is run, perhaps life’s story told

In fireside tale or ballad rhyme

How did this lover get to be so old?

I thought that he had split the mould

Eternal youth, an ardour so sublime

In whom the fire of love has not gone cold.

Time’s etched his face with line and fold

And on his hair there’s frosty rime.

How did this lover get to be so old?

In whom the fire of love has not gone cold.

*****

Simply Read Too in Other Writings

 

 

 

 

 

Three Line Tales – Mojito Sting

Three Line Tales

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Photo by Wolf Schram

Mojito Sting.

‘Oye que bola,’ she sipped mojito in the Bertolt Brecht bar, hustling canasta. I had a sure winner and dropped in my Chevrolet keys. She turned a full house. ‘Want to come for a ride?’ She laughed. At the beach in the back seat, was I lucky or being screwed for my car?

***

I have added a short story from my collection The Listener.

Ellen

A Girl on the Train.Short Story by James McEwan

On my journey by train into Glasgow yesterday I was reminded how anonymous we are to other passengers and seemingly invisible -unless they try and sit on your lap. We become strangers thrown together for a short period – and we sit in silence. Or do we?

I tried to capture this in a short story I wrote sometime ago where the interaction of sounds, furtive glances and seemingly disinterest is a cover for our instinctive curiosity.

Tell me what you think, can you envisage this situation?

On Camera Nov 2014 128

A Girl on the Train.

(She Blew Me A Kiss.)

 

The girl rushed into the train compartment and she dropped into the seat diagonally opposite me, to my right by the window. Seemingly agitated, she looked out and down the platform as if searching for a friend or relative, who perhaps might wave. But no one was there. Rapid beeps preceded the closing of the doors and the train smoothly moved off.

Her red hair was tied in a ponytail. Freckles dotted around her nose, her cheeks were clear and soft. She wore a white blouse underneath a tight tweed jacket, a short skirt and her faint green tights stretched down her legs into the ankle boots that matched the light tan of her satchel. Early twenties.

A woman directly opposite from me shook her Hello magazine and we exchanged glances.

I returned my attention to the crossword. Four down, the colour of jealousy, five letters. Green and isn’t that also the colour of envy?

An increasing volume of a ring tone from a mobile telephone had the girl rummaging in her satchel. I looked up. The woman opposite lowered her magazine, tightened her lips and shook her head at me as she glared over her glasses. I tried to ignore her and returned to the crossword.

Six across, slight discomfort in the organs. Ten letters, try irritation.

The girl placed a notebook on the seat, before retrieving her telephone from the bag.

‘Where are you?’ She spoke into her mobile.

The woman opposite rustled her magazine to a new page and turned sideways.

‘Well get the next one.’

I stared at my crossword. What kind of boyfriend misses meeting this girl, with bright blue eyes? Seven down, an inferior assistant, three letters. Slave, no that’s five, try cad.

‘Carol, you always say that.’

Not a boyfriend then, perhaps it was just a friend with a lame excuse, and who had probably slept in.

‘No its Ok, I can wait in Starbucks, you owe me.’

The woman opposite stared through her glasses at me. Well don’t listen I telepathically glared back and clearly you should avoid Starbucks.

‘He did what?’ The girl stamped a foot on the floor. ‘Oh Carol he didn’t. … He did.’

The woman took a deep breath and lifted her hand to cover an ear. Perhaps she doesn’t want to know what he did. I do.

Three down, something rare or unusual, nine letters. A curiosity. What was it he did?

‘But, is he coming with us? … He is.’ The girl stamped her foot again.

The woman folded her magazine and shifted in her seat, she crossed over a leg and accidentally kicked me. Ouch that hurt, I telepathically smiled at her and rubbed my shin.

‘I’m going to ask Mark along, if that’s Ok?’ The girl continued on her mobile and looked at me.

The woman opposite mouthed sorry.

‘No harm done.’ I said and return to my crossword.

‘What do you mean?’ The girl continued her conversation. She glanced at the woman and then stared across at me. She shifted the mobile to her other ear and turned to look out of the train window. ‘But Carol he’s good looking and …’

Eight down, having no choice eleven letters. Involuntary, now that’s an interesting word.

I watched the girl’s reflection flicker in the window where her face appeared contorted by the diffractions of light and passing background.

‘No no Carol … Mark said what?’ The girl stomped both feet.

Oh dear, what did he say? Perhaps Mark is too good looking or perhaps he is a two timing selfish sort. The woman turned a page in her magazine and a picture, of George Clooney with a beautiful woman in an evening dress, smiled at me. Oh how the celebrities live their lives.

‘I never want to speak to him again.’ The girl hugged the satchel resting on her knees.

So many times I’ve heard that before. Nine across intended to mislead, six letters. Deceit, yes we all fall for the same old excuses.

She started to laugh. ‘I know … you should have seen him.’

So clearly he made a fool of himself, somewhere.

‘I know what an idiot.’

So you’re better off without him, he can’t be trusted and you’ll find someone else. Twenty-four down, influenced by proximity, ten letters. Attraction, what does she find attractive?

The girl looked at me. ‘Who should I invite?’ She said into the mobile.

Why not me? I smiled.

Next clue: four across, an impractical person, and eight letters. Idealist.

‘No Carol, he’s too old for me.’ She looked out of the window.

She’s noticed me, but surely we could try. The woman turned over another page of her magazine and I saw Michael Douglas with Catherine Zeta-Jones holding hands. It works for some.

‘I don’t care, I am not going to ask him.’

She has no sense of adventure, I am sure if she got to know me, we’d be a perfect match.

‘That’s what you think.’ She spoke into her mobile and looked at me. ‘I’ll tell you later … later I said.’

The train announcement called out, ‘the next station is Central Low Level.’

In a connecting glance with the girl I instinctively felt a mutual desire and a perception of more to come.

‘No way,’ she said. ‘I’ll meet you in Starbucks, bye … bye.’ She returned her mobile telephone into her satchel.

Sixteen down inspired with foolish passion, ten letters. It can only be infatuated.

The girl shouldered her satchel and left the train. Rapid beeps preceded the closing of the doors and the train started to move off.

Someone knocked on the window from the outside. It was the girl. She frantically pointed at the seat where she had left her notebook. I grabbed hold of it. The top window was jammed and I rushed to the next compartment. The girl was running along side the train and I threw the book out to her. She picked it up, smiled, waved and then she blew me a kiss.

‘Oh really,’ the woman said as I returned to my seat. She shook her magazine to a new page. Renée Zellweger was smiling at me from a picture, as if she knew why the girl blew me a kiss.

Our world – The Physics of Life.

The Physics of life.

I can see I am not the only nerd who is bored, the air is stuffy and people are shielding their iphones under their desks. Their vacant looks are directed at the front in a posture of disinterest, as their fingers collaborate in their cyber conversations. Others are blatantly asleep, and yet this all seems immaterial to the lecturer. “Jason” as we have to address him although he is at least 15 years older than any of us, but he considers “familiarity inspires creativity”. This is one of his big ideas he brought back from America from his time in NASA doing academic research. Put it in your CV, Jason; we get it! Yes, I was impressed at first but repetitive repetition of his self-importance is as interesting as cold tomato soup.

He drones on in a monotonous voice with his explanation of wave-particle duality, and I know he has got it wrong. Why doesn’t he use notes? I am the only one to notice, he is slurring and stuttering his speech and has a hangover. I don’t drink alcohol, but do I find it humorous the way people use this as an excuse; I think they’ve already planned their mischievous notions deep in their subconscious mind and after a few drinks play them out, then feel ill and foolish afterwards. Still it never seems to deter them, and it’s always the same response, it was the drink.

Jason is off at a tangent, me, me, when I was in America, how dull, blah!

I once interrupted him a few weeks ago when he clearly missed the importance of the integral spin of mesons. What a mistake. He didn’t accept my obvious correction but instead rebuked me for the interruption and then made a personal attack on my appearance. He told me I was a Gothic Satanic Vampire with no future in the world of quantum physics. The narrow-minded self-egotistic fn twat, and what an hypocritical view considering his cult following of Scientology, another of his big ideas from America. At least my blood is clean and untainted from the poisonous fluid that is pumped around his body and through his obnoxious brain full of dribble.

I don’t consider myself a Goth, my long black leather coat and boots with their stainless steel buckles is from my admiration of the “Matrix”, a film I felt appealed to my open-minded view of our world’s future. Cutting my hair short and dyeing it blond was great, what a conversation stopper as I walked into the lecture that day. I think I felt a cosmic pulse rush through my body in response to their momentary silence. But not a Goth, after all I wasn’t dressed or covered in make up as characters in the film, “The Crow”.

Image -Welt.de

gothikdrei-DW-Vermischtes-Leipzig

I am afraid of Jenny, she is a real Goth with a few meaningful tattoos on her left arm, black and white make up on her face and hair of fluorescent pink stripes with lines of purple. Surreal, dressed as a Halloween doll. She describes herself as a walking canvas reflecting her artistic interpretation of her period in time. I have no idea what she means but I suspect she is suited to her description as a modern artist waiting for her special moment. Normally, I feel uncomfortable near groups of girls and have no idea what to talk about beyond scientific notation. I always felt they were internally laughing at me, but probably not. My new image caused a kind of magnetic solar pulse of attention from them about my appearance.

Jenny spoke to me first, I am sure she had never noticed me before. That is until I started wearing my matrix look. It was exciting and she was an easy talker and the way she looked at me made my adrenaline burst through my veins causing my heart to race. Or was it the grip of testosterone that flared my cheeks?   However, I still felt awkward and flushed aghast when she described her body piercing, and how liberating it felt. I formed an erotic image that remains engrained in my mind and keeps me awake at night.

She insisted that I come with her in June to the Gothic Wave Festival in Leipzig. The photo’s, she showed me from last year were fantastic, all the costumes were amazing. I am drawn to her ideas of Gothic inhibitions and being part of something across Europe, but am still not sure. She wants to share a tent and I keep getting that image in my head of her secret steel pins locking and sealing her virginity until she was ready for her special moment.

The lecture is over and Jason has destroyed wave particle duality. Jenny will be in the café, waiting for my answer. Should I decide to go with her to Leipzig, I wonder if I will discover the meaning of her special moment?

Leipzig 2015 costumes.

If I won the Lottery.

A whimsical piece of writing, for your entertainment.

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What to do If you win.

Mary was sitting on a picnic blanket in the garden arranging her doll’s hair. She held the doll up to her ear.

‘Jessica says she likes the sunshine,’ Mary said and pulled a ribbon from the doll’s ponytail. ‘She wants to go to the beach.’ She looked up at her father who was reading.

‘Quiet lass, I’m busy,’ John, her father, said with a grunt and shook the Herald onto a new page.

‘We could build sand castles and Jessica says she wants a go on a donkey.’ Mary continued to brush the doll’s hair.

John stroked the wisps of grey over his baldness and dropped the newspaper onto his lap. ‘Well you can tell Jessica, if she doesn’t eat her sandwiches she’s not going anywhere.’ He stretched out his legs, lifted the paper and thumbed it open.

‘Oh dad! I don’t like tomatoes, they’re yucky.’

The garden gate squeaked open and a man walked in towards them. He had a cigarette hanging from his mouth and wore a paint stained Arran sweater that had tattered woollen threads hanging from the sleeves.

‘Uncle Bob.’ Mary jumped to her feet and ran to him. ‘Can you take me and Jessica to the beach?’ She grabbed hold of his hand. ‘You can watch the seagulls and Jessica wants to go for a swim.’

‘Aye,’ he said and sat down on a wooden bench. ‘Hi John, there’s still no sign of my pigeons, you know, Pearl and Oyster Blue.’

‘Uncle Bob, you can watch them fly over the sea at the beach,’ Mary tugged at his hand.

‘Aye,’ John said and shook the Herald up in front of his face.

‘Come on Uncle Bob, we can have ice cream.’

‘I put new rings on them last week, bloody regulations. They all require an international number.’

‘Aye’ John said and turned the paper over.

‘Cost a fortune, anybody would think you’d have to win the lottery to keep racing pigeons these days.’

‘If I won the lottery I’d buy a beach.’ Mary said and chuckled. ‘What would you do Uncle Bob?’

‘If I won the lottery, lass, I would build posh pigeon coops along the cliff tops and have a big house with a glass balcony where I could sit and watch Pearl and Oyster Blue fly about.’

‘I would travel the world.’ Mary giggled.

‘Daft lassie.’ John snapped the paper over to a new page.

‘Where would you go, lass?’ Bob said and lit another cigarette.

‘I would go to Manchester to visit Gran.’ Mary held Jessica to her ear. ‘Jessica wants me to take her to China, that’s where she’s from.’

‘Travelling, aye I might do that.’ Bob blew a cloud of smoke into the air. ‘Hoy John, what would you do if you won the lottery?’

‘Me.’ He drop the paper onto his lap. ‘If I won the lottery, I’d disappear and you wouldn’t see hide nor hair of me.’

Uncle Bob winked at Mary who held Jessica to her ear.

‘Dad,’ she said and smiled, ‘Jessica says that she really hopes you win.’

Hospitals are infectious.

Having taken my father to A & E (Accident and Emergency) and two weeks later my mother to a different A & E. It has been a fraught time with both being admitted into hospital at the same time. I am not a fan of hospitals, although they are wonderful places and do a great job, I just find them so cold and impersonal. I know the consultants, doctors and nurses mean well but I just felt my parents are too trusting as I listened to various contradictory advice and views. I know this was exacerbated on my part as I seemed to become the default carer running around at everyone’s beck and call. Both elderly parents are now back home (father minus his big toe)and completely ignoring all my health advice, instead they trust the doctors who have prescribed a pharmacy of pills, of which they don’t really understand what they are or why they are taking them. (I discovered from these events they have been on similar prescriptions for over ten years and was shocked at the number of different medications they are now on – and in Scotland this is free – how lucky.

This experience was formative to my latest short story. ‘Falling Stars’.

Picture Credit from the Avenue Story

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Falling Stars.

Dressed in mourning suits, they listened to the minister as he read out the eulogy. My name was Benjamin Carmichael and at fifty-two years old this was my funeral. To me, it seemed surreal as if floating around in a euphoric haze viewing my coffin draped in the clan tartan shawl and adorned with white lilies. Peeping through a small gap I could see the faces of the congregation and by their demure I sensed an impatient acceptance. Were they saddened by the tale of a tragic loss as imposed on them by the monotonous voice of the minister or were they bored by the ritual? Surely, this was the day they had been expecting for years and eventually their long-suffering would soon be over, the body would be cremated to ash and the soul free to flutter heavenly in a plume of white smoke.

I pulled up my coat collar against the chill of the draught coming up through the floorboards where I was hidden behind the black drapes of the pulpit. I swallowed rapidly to suppress my impulse to laugh and muffled a cough.

When you least expect it, it’s a killer. I knew something was wrong, and horrified when I received the news that confirmed my journey towards an early death. The doctor had asked me to lie on my side and pull my legs up into the foetal position. I can tell you, no matter how pretty she looked with her warm smile and bright intelligent eyes, there was nothing erotic in the process. Perhaps, and I might have appreciated it more if the procedure was a little less clinical, and maybe, just maybe if she had warmed the gel before she put her icy fingers up my anus.

‘I’m afraid.’ Her expression had turned serious. ‘Your walnut is inflamed and enlarged, we’ll conduct further tests and examinations.’

Walnut! I would have expected her to use medical terminology, but it seems any reference to testicles or the prostrate gland is analogous with nuts.

‘The nurse will take some blood.’

I chuckled in response to my vision of a female vampire dressed in a skimpy nurse uniform embedding her fangs deep into my carotid artery as she sucked the life from me.

 

Three years of failing treatments were followed by my admission into the cancer research centre. That’s what private health insurance gets you, your own room and the privilege of being a guinea pig to medical science. I was delighted that all the students were able to embellish their knowledge as the balding consultant prodded at my swelling tumour in my anus and lectured on about my degenerative condition slowly spreading throughout my body.

I would smile at their cheerful mantra laced with an air of defeatism, ‘Good morning Mr Carmichael, you’re still with us today.’ As if somehow a miracle in the night had organised my escape, perhaps to a better place. Certainly, there were none worse than in this clinic where I was methodically dying under the careful scrutiny of medical science.

Oh, the family and friends came visiting always tearful and full of hopeless encouragement, but as time went on I saw less of them, and less of their tears. I had become a physiological burden and a nuisance intruding throughout their daily routine, it was the knowing and not knowing with the contradictions of fate and hope that pained them most. I gently encouraged them to distance themselves from all intrusive thoughts and to continue with their lives as I slowly edged towards my bodily disintegration. It was not the prospect of dying but the slow pace of the journey and the constant bobbing between episodes of pain and euphoric high of morphine induced hallucinations, it was the frustration of waiting as if my long haul flight was delayed indefinitely.

I played profession football until my knees protested after which I created a line of sports luggage. After meeting Carol I expanded my range with handbags for her fashion shops, and we married soon afterwards. Life was kind to us with two children, Mike and Vanessa.

On a particularly bad day after some rough radiation and mouthfuls of Bisphosphonates, I was feeling tearfully fearful of my fate. Through my ward window I observed the spectacle of stars in the clear night sky. There were occasional bright flares of meteorites streaking momentarily towards Earth before extinguishing as they burned out in the atmosphere. I absently unburdened my thoughts verbally in the presence of Rosanne the hospital cleaner, regardless if she was listening.

‘You only die if you want to,’ she said, and stood behind me.

‘What choice do I have?’

‘Falling stars, they are the souls of angels returning to Earth.’

‘What!’ I felt indignant for my outburst and so moderated my tone. ‘Yes, of course angels.’

‘Here.’ She took a small flask from her apron pocket. It contained some cold red berry tea. I sipped at the acrid juice as she placed her hand on my head; she closed her eyes and recited a prayer. Once finished with her religious ritual she said, ‘Dying is natural, let it go and make a choice.’

Next morning I sat up cheered by Rosanne’s rigid belief in the power of faith and sweet tea. Then I saw them. I watched through the hospital window as my wife Carol got out of a white Range Rover in the car park. The driver was Douglas my business partner, who hugged her and held her as he kissed her more lovingly than any mutual friendship would dictate. They were laughing beyond grief. At this, I felt my cancer inflame and rage through my bones causing my heart to race as it pumped its fiery liquid around my veins. She came up to my room alone and sat next to the bed. She held my hand loosely avoiding the permanently attached intravenous needle.

‘You’re looking better today.’ She said, her face blank and drained of emotional expression.

‘I know.’

‘It’s a lovely sunny day outside.’ She hid her disdain behind the stare of her hazel eyes.

‘How are Mike and Vanessa?’

‘You mustn’t worry about us.’ She lifted up her iPhone. ‘Look, our time in St Lucia.’

As she flicked through the pictures of her and Vanessa I noticed Douglas lingering in the background, but I said nothing. I had no strength to argue and was unwilling to change the mood. Who was I to judge? I didn’t recall seeing Mike in any of these recent images.

 

It seemed so obvious now. From my vantage point concealed in the dark of the church I tried to judge their expressions. Carol kept looking back down the aisle as if someone was missing from the empty seat beside her. On her other side she held on tightly to Vanessa’s hand. I couldn’t detect any emotion or tears from their blank faces, which were tanned by the healthy exposure to the sun and fresh air. There was no sign of Mike.

How I missed being outdoors during my confinement in the cancer ward where I had occasionally stared through the windows and marvelled at the view of the rain.

Behind my family in the church the rows were filled with my business acquaintances, dressed in black making them look like vultures ready to pick and clean the bones of some leftover carcass.

In the hospital research ward, I had indulged Rosanne’s constant attention with her insistence of prayer as I listened and at the same time sipped palmetto berry tea. How could she have so much belief when my family and the doctors had all given up? The limitations of medical treatments were replaced by her reliance on the power of God through the Bible and palmetto berries. She believed in fate and had made provisions for her passing. I learned that she was not the employed cleaner after all, but nevertheless enjoyed working on the ward, as it helped her spend what remained of her life feeling useful. She also introduced me to her friends and family, a group of people who had formed a deep belief in the regeneration of angels. They reminded me of sixties hippies with a naïve idealism of a perfect world. They accepted the failings of human bodies and that medical science would never surpass the inevitable end through old age or otherwise. They believed in self-determination and making choices, what they then offered as an end of life plan was exciting and so comforting.

 

From my teens I had built up a leather handbag and suitcase business, and my share was worth millions. Douglas, in my absence had taken over the concern in complete disregard to my son Mike who held a minor managerial position. Ever since my confinement, Mike had formed an unhealthy distaste for Douglas and was determined to surpass him to continue the family name. My house was mortgage free as was the holiday home in St Lucia. I know that Carol and Vanessa would be well taken care of, and Douglas would inevitable be around. I couldn’t help feeling inadequate and although it may seem illogical I blamed him for my cancer. My share in the business was sold reluctantly by Mike to pay for my trip of a lifetime, my end of life plan, as I had no intention of wasting away in some stuffy hospital bed.

 

I took one last look around the congregation and decided I had made the right choice. I then slipped out the back of the church and met Mike waiting by his car. We sped along the motorway towards the aerodrome to the lift off point for my final destination. I asked Mike how he had managed to arrange a body in the coffin, don’t worry he told me as such earthly matters were no longer my concern. I knew he was right.

I held Rosanne’s hand as we sat on the escalator chair taking us into the spacecraft. A sense of relief and feeling of self-control washed over me as I embarked on this last and final stage of our journey, Rosanne was smiling. Behind and in front us there were lines of other chairs taking people into the same rocket, although the sense of excitement was subdued there was a warm glow of happiness on every face. We were split into two groups, the inward and the outward bound.

In orbit we looked down and saw the blue glow of the planet suspended by the gravitation hold from the sun, its rays warmed us through the viewing portal.

The inward-bound group, all of whom had some form of terminal illness, would be released to fall from space and burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, they would become the falling angels as Rosanne believed. The outward-bound group, containing the aged healthy people, would be released in small capsules to drift away into Space, where the occupants could marvel at the enormity of the universe as they slowly passed away. Their bodies would freeze dry and somewhere it maybe possible that from their DNA new human life in some other part of the universe would reform.

My fate in the inward group would allow me a final descent to a planet where I was born and to have had the humble privilege of a wonderful existence.