National Rat Day … RAT TALES: A Mischief of Little Horrors

Kick-starting my campaign for a new UK national holiday …

National Rat Day, October 15th 

 … which just so happens to be the provisional release date for …

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Rat Tales:

A Mischief of Little Horrors 

Rat Tales is Book One of a three-book collection, titled …

The Creature Tales.

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Books Two & Three, scheduled for publication, early 2019.

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Repentance

A short story to be featured in an upcoming Flash Fiction collection:

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Repentance

Not a day went by when Richard Dewsbury didn’t regret what had happened. He hadn’t meant to hurt anyone, but when you’ve just robbed a bank, you’re not too fussed about speed limits or safer driving. He never saw the little girl midway across the road when he took that last corner trying to shake the cops off his tail. She never had a chance when the car he was driving catapulted 9-year-old little Suzie over the bonnet. She died instantly. The ten-year prison sentence Richard received was nothing compared to the guilt and torment he’d had to live with ever since. He would have given his life to turn the clock back, but there was nothing he could do to bring the little girl back. He swore though he’d do whatever it took to make amends

*

At exactly 11:00 just one week after his release, Richard Dewsbury walked into the transplant and dialysis department of the nearest hospital. At 11:15 he set about making good on the promise he had made to himself all those years ago …

“Hello, nurse?” Richard Dewsbury said, trying to catch her attention.

“Yes. Can I help you?”

“Probably not, but …” Richard replied, extending his hands to display his now bleeding wrists.

 “Ahh, Wh …What the … Stay right there; I’ll get help,” she replied, clearly shaken by the unexpectedness of the sight.

There was nothing they could do of course. Richard had cut too deep and waited just a little too long. Normally a simple blood test and the appropriate blood-type transfusion might have saved his life. But Richard was far from being normal. In fact, he was practically unique, and being so had almost certainly signed his death warrant.  He remained calm though. It was the death sentence he should have got when he knocked down that little girl, he thought. He was doing the right thing, he told himself.

“I can tell you now, it’s no use, you won’t have my blood group in your blood banks,” Richard began telling the doctor who had just arrived.  The doctor was busy trying to stem the blood flow from Richard’s wrists as he and a hospital porter wheeled him towards the elevator to take him up to surgery.

“Let us worry about that; you’re in good hands,” the doctor replied.

 “My inside left-hand side pocket, there a letter and a card, “Richard struggled to tell the doctor, the loss of blood and oxygen to his brain and other vital organs quickly taking their toll now.

“Yes, all in good time. Now, try not to talk.”

 The doctor wanted Richard to conserve his strength, but he knew it was a losing battle, he was dying. Richard never made it as far as the elevator. The blood loss had been too fast, accelerated by the several aspirins he’d taken an hour beforehand to thin his blood.

“Time of death, eleven thirty-one,” the doctor stated. The nurse accompanying them nodded her agreement.

“Let’s take a look at that card and letter he was referring to,” the doctor said, remembering Richard’s words from a few minutes earlier.

Just like Richard said, there was a card and a letter. The card he immediately recognised as being a medical one, stating the holder’s blood group and other health details. His jaw dropped when he saw that Richard Dewsbury was listed as Rh-null, the rarest blood group on the planet, the so-called Golden Blood of which there were less than a dozen donors worldwide, blood that could be given to any recipient in the world no matter what their blood group or however rare. Unfortunately, Richard Dewsbury was dead. Such a waste, the doctor thought. He opened the letter. It looked like a legal document at first glance. Then it struck him. It was a letter of authorisation signed by Richard, his solicitor, and two witnesses. It was a cast-iron statement of authorisation for Richard’s organs and any other part of his body to be used for organ transplantation and research after his death.

Within the hour, Richard’s organs and just about every part of his body were being harvested for those recipients with the rarest and hardest to match blood and tissue types.

One of those recipients was a Jessica Cambell, a girl estimated to have less than a few weeks to live without a suitable donor transplant heart. Had it been a kidney she needed, her twin sister might have been able to be a living donor. But her twin sister, Suzie, had been killed in a tragic automobile accident years before so that wouldn’t have been an option either.  

*

Suzie and Jessica’s parents stood in attendance at Richard Dewsbury’s funeral, the man they had hated since the death of their young daughter. He had taken one daughter away from them but given them back the life of the other.

They each dropped a flower onto his coffin as it was lowered into the ground, wishing him eternal peace.

 

A Change of Mind

 

I used to be one of those ‘the courts are too soft. They should slice the bastards’ balls off with rusty wire cutters. Lock the fuckers up and throw away the key.’

Like so many, I was convinced I had a better understanding of justice than the courts.

Like a lot of people, I was sick of seeing murders and rapists walking free after less than a year or two in jail while their victims suffered the rest of their lives. I was actually pleased with the shock election of a far-right government when it freed us from the judicial restraints of a civil and human rights obsessed Europe.

And then it happened; a little the worse for wear after too much booze, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If only I’d called a taxi that night, everything that followed might have been avoided. But I didn’t. I’d decided to stumble along the dark back streets to where I lived. I’d hoped against hope the night air might clear my head, maybe just enough to minimise the disapproving reception of a wife no doubt less than impressed at my turning up in the early hours of the morning. I can’t help but sigh at the irony of such a trivial concern now.

I was passing some derelict factory when I noticed some bloke walking towards me.

“Got a light, mate?” he asked. I should have just muttered I hadn’t and continued walking, but thinking about it, I doubt it would have made a difference.

I fumbled for a lighter among my pockets. In the process, I dropped my wallet to the ground. Fuck it, I silently cursed, cursing the stranger too for interrupting my efforts to walk home. The man immediately reached down for it. I assumed he was picking it up for me, undoubtedly aware I was too drunk to do so myself. I extended my hand for him to pass it back to me. He didn’t. Instead, he opened it, taking out the one remaining twenty-pound note before tossing the wallet among some discarded black trash bags. I could well afford the loss of twenty quid, and it would have been easy enough to cancel the credit cards the next day. I should have just shrugged and continued my walk home and let it go. I didn’t …

“Oi, what you up to? You’ve taken my fucking money,” I shouted at him. He turned to justice5walk away, so I grabbed his arm to try and stop him. He easily shoved me to the ground, among the trash bags where my cashless wallet lay. If I’d any sense, I wouldn’t have got up, allowing the stranger to go on in search of his next victim.

I rose to one knee and reached out to an empty bottle lying among the adjacent rubbish and threw it in his direction. It hit him in the back of the head, hard. He turned back towards me, now with a knife in hand. But having slumped back on my rear end, it was hard for him to lunge at me the same way he might if I were standing. Nonetheless, he tried to strike in a downwards motion. He stumbled in the dark. After that, it’s mostly an alcohol misted blur. All I know is, when he fell, the knife he was holding ended up piercing one of his lungs. Despite my drunken stupor, I still remember those last frantic gasps for breath while he literally drowned in his own blood.

If only I’d been sober. I would have either made sure I left no clues I was ever there or would have called the police. Instead, I continued on my way home. The police found my wallet, and I was arrested the next day. A month later I was convicted – of murder.

Sentencing was very different now from what it was before the recent changes promised in The National Patriots’ election manifesto before their unexpected victory. All the medieval punishments I would often wish for had become a part of the here and now.

The first change was the reintroduction of the death penalty. But you had to suffer beforehand, the public demanded that. First, they would amputate a foot. A month later it might be a leg, then perhaps an eye or sometimes just a couple of fingers – there was no order or timetable for the surgeries. The Government kept the public onside with lots of happy-ending heart-string pulling posts of children being saved by the many more transplant organs available – courtesy of all those scummy criminals who wouldn’t be needing them.

In between the amputations and the organ extractions, the authorities would wheel me out around the schools and young offender institutions. I served as a stark warning that the days of being soft on crime were over. As my anatomy continued to shrink, the looks of those I was paraded before gradually turned from pity to ones of horror and disgust.

We’re forced to write or dictate blogs, detailing our experiences as a further warning to others. That’s how you come to be reading this. I won’t be writing for a while, I’m due for another surgery tomorrow – another limb removal or perhaps a lung, I don’t really know.

*

George Richardson never did get to write the end of his story. They amputated his hands yesterday. There’s not much of him left now, certainly not enough to parade before all the young offenders. Not surprisingly, he’s changed his mind somewhat about judicial punishments. He misses all those civil liberties and human rights he’d once been so dismissive of … along with most of his body.

Never ending turn-off

It had been a long drive and Mason Garvey was tired. The rain and poor visibility had meant he had had to concentrate harder on the road than that for his more usual leisurely driving trips, adding even more to the fatigue he was feeling.  He really should have stopped and parked in a lay-by or one of the motorway services. Instead, he thought it better to simply increase his speed and carry on driving through the night; the thought of splashing out on some dingy hotel room or spending an uncomfortable night in his truck in some lay-by didn’t appeal as much as his own nice warm and comfortable bed. He was especially anxious to get home to for some much-needed sleep before enjoying the millennium celebrations on the eve of the end of the twentieth century the following day. Just another two hours and he would be home if he didn’t drop below 70 mph. That might have been okay if he was still on the motorway but he wasn’t. He was on a country road with lots of twists and turns and overhanging foliage. The rain was coming down harder, and there was only the glare of his headlights to see by.

The benefit of hindsight is a wonderful thing. We can learn so much from it, much like experience. Sadly, it wasn’t much use to Mason Garvey or change what he had done.

It was just a fraction of second between taking the corner too fast and ploughing into the motor-cyclist whose body and bike were now lying sprawled some twenty feet away from his 4 tonne Bedford lorry. Mason reached for his phone, ready to dial 999 … and then he stopped himself … he needed to think, clear his head.

He’d been driving too fast. He’d been drinking. The motorcyclist had had right of way.  Did he really want to risk a lengthy prison sentence? And for what? For hitting someone he didn’t know during a momentary lapse of concentration, someone stupid enough to be riding a motorbike on the road at night and in the rain? Already Mason was rationalising a decision that suited him best.

He looked around his truck for signs of damage. It was pretty old, already sporting its fair share of bumps and scrapes, ideal camouflage for a few additional bumps and scratches to the paintwork the accident might have caused. He looked too at his road atlas; he was no longer bothered about getting home in any reasonable time, just getting there via a route that avoided for as long as possible any likely CCTV or other monitoring equipment. There appeared to be a turn-off a few miles ahead. He got back in his truck to continue his journey, not even bothering to check on the motorcyclist to see if he might still be alive?

The accident seemed to have given him a second wind fatigue wise. A few minutes later he spotted the turn-off. He’d reached it quicker than expected but didn’t give it much thought. The turn-off looked more like a dis-used track than the ‘B’ road indicated on the map. He wasn’t complaining – it would lessen even more the likelihood of anyone spotting and remembering his truck. He continued down the old road. It was a real test of his driving skills, navigating the meandering stony and uneven single track. The trees and foliage appeared to close in on him the further he went, though never quite enough to halt his progress.

 

It was over an hour before the road appeared to widen again. He’d feared that he had got himself lost, already sure this wasn’t the ‘B’ road he had meant to take. Seeing the turn-off widening of the road ahead, he increased his speed, anxious to be off the somewhat eerie road he was on …

It was just a fraction of second between taking the corner too fast and ploughing into the motor-cyclist whose body and bike were now lying sprawled some twenty feet away from his 4 tonne Bedford lorry. Mason reached for his phone, ready to dial 999 … and then he stopped himself … he needed to think, clear his head.

Mason Garvey got out of his truck, already regretful of trying to get home in such a hurry. He wished too he hadn’t stayed on for those last few drinks with his mates. There was something familiar about the scene but he was still dazed from the shock of what had happened and put it from his mind. But whatever his state of shock, he had enough of his wits about to know there was no way he was going to do a lengthy stretch in prison for some bozo he didn’t know.

He was in luck. According to his map, there was a turn-off just a few miles away that would take him most of the way home without re-joining the motorway. He reached it quicker than he thought … it was an eerie looking road. Mason wondered if it was the same one on the map? He didn’t care. It was leading away from the dead motorcyclist, and that was all he cared about.

 

The Rhondda Gazette

‘… A motorcyclist was killed in a hit and run collision in late last night or possibly the early hours of the morning. The man believed to be the other driver was found unconscious a few miles away having driven his lorry into a tree along a dis-used farm track, presumably in an attempt to avoid discovery and prosecution. Forensics confirmed the unconscious man’s lorry to be the vehicle to have hit and killed the motor-cyclist …’

*

Mason Garvey remains in a coma to this day.  He remains trapped in his own mind and body, perpetually reliving the events of that rainy night, each time remembering and interpreting them in a different way … all except the ending, that remains the same. That is his punishment.

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Crime & Horror News …

Rat TalesA Mischief of Little Horrors … 

Had your rabies shots yet? The rats are loose!

Due October 2018

D4Twenty-five ‘rat’ themed short stories. Many are traditional blood and gore filled horror, but several venture slightly into the realms of science fiction and the supernatural.

Within this collection, the reader will find every sort of rat imaginable, from the super strong and ultra-intelligent to bloodthirsty and seemingly immortal.

While every story has been written to stand alone, several are loosely inter-connected with an ongoing reference to the future. Among this mischief of tales are:

A farmer’s imaginative though brutal attempt to solve his rat problem backfires on him in the worst possible way.

A young boy’s efforts to repay the kindness of his childhood rodent friends has consequences that will change the course of history.

A vicious ghostly rat falls victim to karma

A centuries-old rat looks back on how it became the seemingly immortal creature it is.

Some escaped convicts realise too late they’ve chosen the wrong couple to terrorise when their rodent pets see their own comfy lives threatened.

A grim fate awaits those who take shelter in an abandoned house.

A country squire finds himself on the wrong end of his own sporting cruelty.

These are just some of the stories in this extensive collection, so brace yourselves … for a mischief of little horrors.