Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Another chapter from my new book...

He Who Forgot

I was shivering all over - not because I was cold, but because I was terrified. The noise was deafening. The ground was swaying and vibrating frighteningly. I tried to press my legs against the floor to get some sort of hold, but whenever the swaying became too strong I slid helplessly around until I bounced into a wall – only to slide the other way with the next jolt.

This continued for a very long time until it eventually stopped. Still a bit shaken, I carefully got up to see where I was, but  it was too dark to see anything. I couldn't remember what had happened. The terror had wiped all memory.

I slowly inched forwards to find some light, but after only a few cautious steps I could feel one of the walls in front of me. I turned around and inched the other way until I got to another wall – the same to my left and right. It was clear I was trapped inside some sort of rather small box.

Suddenly, my prison started to sway again, but this time much gentler and without the frightening noise. I quickly lowered myself down again and lay flat on the floor. When the swaying became stronger I pressed myself against one of the walls to avoid falling about. My heartbeat quickly increased again and I started breathing more heavily. Luckily, the air inside my prison seemed to have become much less stuffy and I could smell fresh air.

Then, after a period of milder shaking, I felt lighter for a short moment, as if I was falling, quickly followed by a thump against the floor. Then, a few seconds later, one of the walls opened upwards. Bright light flooded in and I could see grass, trees, flowers and even a lake. Curious to explore my new surroundings and to escape my prison, I made a cautious step towards the opening. I looked left, right and up for possible threats, but everything was clear. I made another step and entered the outside. I had another good look around.

It was a beautiful place.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Back to the sci-fi...

After a few posts about my German children's story, here is more from the latest sci-fi story I'm currently writing. As always, please let me know what you think...


He Who Knows

The sun was soft, as it usually was at this time of day and during this season, but it was still strong enough to keep me warm. The water was quietly running up the beach and inched closer to my feet with every new wave. It was peaceful and there was nobody around. I slowly closed my eyes to concentrate on the sounds around me, the silent ssshhh of the water, the chirping of the birds and the comforting hum of my PDA1’s fan. I completely relaxed.

"Zero-one-zero-three-six, this is your wake-up call," a voice came from the PDA. I had fallen asleep. The sun was much closer to the horizon than it had been before and I estimated it to be about a couple of hours later. I lifted my arm and looked at the small computer on my wrist. The tiny display showed that there had been an incoming message. I pressed the reply button to acknowledge the call.

"Zero-one-zero-three-six, thank you for choosing ZS&S2. Have a good day."

It was time for me to go back to the Centre. I did not really want to go, but I knew that I had no choice. If I was only a second late, I would be locked away in isolation for at least a couple of days. That was the price you had to pay when you took part in the Outdoor Prisoner Scheme – and I had been lucky to be allowed to participate. The OPS had been introduced only recently and all participants were watched closely. Even a single breach of a single rule was punished hard-heartedly. The authorities wanted to make the scheme a success at any price to allow the government to look good in the eyes of the public – and the public didn't know what was really going on.

I got up and started walking to the bus stop. I passed a lot of people who stared at me uneasily. From my clothes and the security device that was tightened around my left arm showing the OPS logo, they could see that I was a prisoner. I had learned to avoid the stares, but whenever I happened to lock eyes with somebody I felt a nagging sensation until the person looked away again. I thought that it had to be my conscience reminding me of what I had done – but then, I had never thought that I had done anything that could ever justify a prison sentence – not even a caution. Well, times had surely changed.

I caught the bus back to the Centre at one of the quieter stops. The bus' system scanned the tag on my left arm as I entered and then the driver closed the door. The trip was free for me, because the Social Office3 paid for it – or so they told us OPS's. At the end of the day it was taxpayer’s money and that was one of the reasons why everybody looked at me half angry, half afraid, as I made my way to the bench at the back of the bus. They were angry that I was allowed to walk around freely, but scared at the same time, fearing I might attack them at any moment. If they were ever to find the courage, they would not hesitate to kill me with their bare hands right on the spot. In a strange way the prison clothes were like an amour, protecting me from the angry mob.

I really felt for them. I would have paid the bus fare if I had been able to, but OPS's weren't allowed any forms of payment. Everyone else was given pocket money once a month, which was usually spent immediately on cigarettes or drugs – but I didn't have that luxury. I was not even allowed to keep my pre-prison possessions. They had listed everything on their IF303 – the standard inventory form, which I had to sign – and then locked everything away, including myself.

The bus turned right to leave town and drive into the desert where the Centre was. The bus was already nearly empty – nobody liked to come too close to the prison complex anymore, what with the OPS people around – and anyway, the prison was outside town in the middle of nowhere.

As the bus approached the prison, I pressed the button and got off at the stop. The huge building sat there in front of me – like a huge cobra, tantalising, teasing, luring, wanting to swallow me whole. The tall doors seemed to be smiling at me a wicked, devious smile. "Come on in," they seemed to hiss as they slowly squeeked open and allowed me to walk into the cobra's mouth.

I was back on time and ready to go straight to my cell – being locked away again. Room service was due to come round in a minute or so to give out dinner, if that was what you wanted to call the slop you got there.

I hated the place.

1PDA – Personal Digital Assistant; a very small computer, usually with a handheld display for viewing files and information, that is either linked up to the Information and Services Network (ISN) and/or has a restricted set of information stored locally. PDAs are often used for scheduling and appointment reminder services or as digital dictionaries, as well as phones, diaries and notebooks.
2ZS&S – Zentral-System und Service; a German service provider of a huge database of diverse of information as well as a free appointment reminder service, which is what it was being used for mostly these days. Formerly, it was a huge telephone company, but after telephones had become something of the past not too long ago, the company made the transition to the information trade.
3Social Office – the governmental body that funds and supervises prisons; after prisons were privatised five years ago, there had to be a central body that would supply both money and supervision for prisons. Originally, the Social Office was also concerned with social security issues, but after the Right to Live Act, its services in that area were no longer required.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

A Christmas Story...

This is based on a bedtime story I told my little one tonight and is still in its rough form.


Santa has had a busy few months buying presents, wrapping them, checking them against the Good Boys and Girls List, liasing with St Nicholas about delivering canes to those on the Bad Boys and Girls List, working out the routes and packing the sleigh.

The elves hadn't been as good as they used to be, and Santa has had to do most of the work himself. It had simply been easier and quicker, than correcting the elves' mistakes and rewrapping wrongly wrapped and labelled presents.

Santa was sitting in front of the fire with a mug of cocoa, resting a little before he had to go on his journey. It was the early evening of the 24th and tonight he would have to visit those countries where children opened their presents on Christmas Eve - and straight after he would go to those countries where children opened them on Christmas Day.

Then he had a couple of weeks off before going round again to deliver presents to those countries where presents are opened on the 6th January. Luckily he had the helpful St Nicholas who dealt with those countries who did the present giving on the night of the 5th December. Old Nicholas was very happy to pretend to be either Santa or St Nicholas himself as necessary. It also helped that many children were bought presents by their direct family, so Santa only had to focus on one present for the most part - but even that was a lot of work.

Santa was also getting older and he started to get tired of the logistics. He enjoyed the warm cocoa and roasting his feet in front of the fire. The sleigh was packed, the reindeers hitched up and fed, the satnav pre-programmed and the elves tucked up in bed.

A little while later it was time for the off. Santa put on his usual outfit, which was becoming tighter each year, and headed out. A quick "giddy-up" and they were on their way into the starry, cold night. Everything was going well, but a long night was ahead of them.


They eventually returned home, having raced ahead of the sun as quickly as they could, managing to span several time zones. Everyone was tired. Santa unhitched the reindeer, took them to their stables and gave them a generous helping of straw and water. Then he went back to the sleigh to check everything was in order when he spotted something in the back.

Santa couldn't believe it - there was a parcel. Wrapped in lovely shiny blue paper, tied with red ribbon into a beautiful bow at the top. He picked it up to see whose it was, but there was no label. He scratched his head in wonder and decided he was definitely getting too old for this if he started to forget to deliver presents. Who would be the poor boy or girl who went without a present today?

Santa couldn't bear the thought so he decided to unwrap it in the hope that the contents would help him work out where he should have delivered it. There might even still be time to get it to the right house, no damage done.

Santa found a box inside the wrapping paper and when he opened it he found a pair of warm, fluffy, red slippers, a mug that read "I love Christmas" and wonderful nightcap. There was also a note, which read:

"Dear Santa,

Thank you for your lovely presents and doing such a wonderful job delivering all the presents every year. You are the best!

Emily XXX"

Santa smiled. He hadn't lost his marbles. The mystery was solved. This little girl had managed to sneak a parcel onto his sleigh.

Santa went inside the house, took off his coat, boots, trousers, thermals, three pairs of wooly socks, hat - and put on his new slippers and nightcap. Then he went to the kitchen, made some steaming cocoa in his new mug and sat down on his wonderful, comfy armchair in front of the fire - and immediately fell fast asleep with a huge grin on his face.

Friday, 2 December 2011

An introduction to a new kind of story...

Dear readers,

After a long time of nothingness, here comes the first snippet from my latest work. I would like you all to read it and let me know what you think of it.


He Who Cares

"Look, that spider has only seven legs. Poor little spider. Who would rip off a leg from a small little spider?"
I had taken her for another walk through the park in the centre of the settlement which she always enjoyed. We had been there many times, and every time she had discovered something new, something that didn't strike me as very important or exciting – but for her each discovery had been the most important thing in the universe.
"Who would do such a bad thing?"
This time a missing leg on a spider had caught her attention. Only last week it had been an open window in the building across the street, which had been open for three days in a row – or so she had told me. Another time there had been a car that was parked on the wrong side of the street.
"Oh I don't know. Maybe the spider was born with only seven legs," I said.
I knew that I was not exactly telling the truth. I should have told her that the spider had probably been attacked by a bird and had swapped its leg for its life, but I thought that would have upset her. She didn't think bird could be cruel. For her they were all very nice and loveable creatures, just as all the other animals. In fact, in her opinion the whole universe was a nice and worry-free place.
"Poor spider," she said and started to run ahead. She seemed to have been satisfied by my explanation and had already found something else that interested her more than the seven-legged spider.
I looked down to find the little spider, but it wasn't there. It had probably run away into the bushes to build another web to catch flies and eat them – another thing that did not exist in Jenny’s worry-free universe. It wasn't that she would say eating was wrong – no, quite the contrary. She loved to put a lot of things in her mouth and eat them, if possible. It was only that she didn't realise that her meal had to be killed first – or at least she didn't want to think about that.
I continued walking and followed Jenny. She had already crossed quite a way through the park and was now sitting at the small lake in the centre of the park dome. When she heard me coming she turned around and asked: "May I catch some water fleas?"
"Yes, of course, if you like. Only take your shoes off first please, sweetheart. We don't want you to be walking home in soggy shoes, do we?"
"No. That wouldn't be nice." She pointed her feet into the air and said: "You do it." Then she looked at me with one of her cheeky, irresistible smiles.
I stepped closer and knelt beside her. She was wearing her lovely white sneakers which she always tied in a double bow that was very hard to undo. I gave her a look to show that I wasn't terribly pleased with her tying her shoes like that. She looked back at me in such a way that showed she was sorry.
"Well, off you go then, darling," I said after I had finally untied the knot and taken off her shoes and socks.
She got up and carefully stepped into the water to go on her exploration. She was always looking for pond life that she hadn't seen before. Whenever she spotted something, she dipped one hand into the water to try and catch whatever it was and carry it to me in her palms for inspection. She was always very excited to know what she had found this time.

She really loved the place.

Sunday, 25 September 2011


Welcome to my blog. Over the next few days, weeks, months and years, I will use this blog to post updates on my work, excerpts from the books I'm working on and invite everyone to feed back their thoughts and ideas.