Friday, 26 September 2014

Visual Audios

We're collaborating with radio producer, Jay Jones from Wales - he mainly produces Dr Who-related audio fan fiction stories and plays.

Here's my one from last Xmas: Midnight Mass, complete with sound effects this time!!
The recording is copyright so please do not copy!!!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Collectable - by Fiona-Jane Brown

I don’t usually do this – I’m only the secretary at Bloom Antiques in Portsmouth’s Albert Road – but they’re all away at a fair in Brighton.  My boss, who owns the shop, Mr Bloom has been harping on about it for weeks, so when I saw the auction catalogue and there it was, I couldn’t help it.  I shut the shop and dashed down to the Guildhall at lunchtime, swiftly grabbing a seat near the front, right in the auctioneer’s eyeline.

Never seen that auctioneer before.  Introduces himself as Louis; not local, sounds more like London.  Anyway, I’m waiting for it to come up, it’s not really an antique, more a collectable, but it’s a one-off Susie Cooper vase.  It’s quite small, cream and green, little hand-painted flowers, and the designer’s signature character, a stag, prominently painted on the side, whereas it’s normally just stamped on the base.  Mr Bloom reckoned this was Miss Cooper’s first ever firing for Gray’s Pottery and mega-important.  I just liked the simplicity of it.  Here we go, “Susie Cooper vase, early 1920s, A.E. Gray Ltd. Potteries.  Who’ll start me at £50?” Louis booms, leaning over the lectern.  I’m looking in my compact mirror behind me.  Nobody moves.  Then a hand appears from the back, a punter, yes, he’ll give fifty, and we’re off.

I jump in at £75, knowing Mr Bloom has said its worth at least £200, but in a sale like this, the audience aren’t likely to know that.  “£75… do I see £80?” Louis casts his eyes across the crowd.  “£80 at the back, original bidder, thank you, sir… now, £85?” My hand shoots up.  “£85, thank you, miss, against you, sir, £90?”  I angle my mirror and spot him, my rival, it’s nobody I know, certainly not a dealer, but is he a pottery expert? A Susie Cooper fan? Better keep going! 

We’re at £145, it’s just me and him.  Louis encourages my rival to top my bids, huh, are they in league?  We’re on ones now, £189, £190, £191.  This is nonsense!  Mr Bloom had said “If you ever see that, Alice, buy it, I’ll refund you, I promise!” I stick my hand up and mouth “two hundred” at the auctioneer.  He takes the bid.  Silence.  A very long silence.  Louis bangs the gavel after giving the old “going, going, gone!” rhetoric.  It’s mine!  I’m so pleased, really, Mr Bloom will be delighted!

Back at the shop, Bloom and his Albert Road cohorts have returned.  I excitedly show him my purchase.  A horrified look crosses his face.  “It’s the Susie Cooper vase, the one you were raving about!” I protest.  He says nothing and unwraps a package he’s got in his coat pocket.  There, lying in the tissue paper is an identical vase.  “But how?” I ask.  “Oh Alice, didn’t you hear me say this morning, a friend of mine in Brighton had found it in London.  He was keeping it for me.  This… this is a very expensive fake!”    

Handle with Care - by Pam Shand

“I don’t usually do this.”


“Go for a drink after work.”

Her podgy hand encased his and she licked her lips.  Robert smiled revealing a row of perfect teeth then ran a finger along her bare arm and watched her shiver.   Her skin was soft, delicate, would slice like butter, he thought.

Leaning back in his chair he appraised her size trying to calculate her weight.   He thought of the duct tape in the glove compartment of his car.  He would use wire this time, as rope would damage the skin, altering the price.    

“You’re staring.”

“You are just perfect.”

She blushed.   Poor cow, it was obvious no one had charmed her like this for years if ever.   Sipping at her drink, he cursed her slowness; the Ketamine would take longer to work if she carried on like this.  He reminded himself that he liked a challenge and her dullness would work to his advantage once he had her alone.  

“I’ve wanted to ask you out for ages.”


“Yes all those made up sluts at work, you shine beside them Sally.”

Her face glowed at the compliment.   Robert took her hands in his and smiled.   Take it slow, don’t fright her, she wants Mr Darcy not Jack the Ripper. 

“Why don’t we make an evening of it?”

The hesitating silence seemed to last forever, and then she nodded her head.  He leaned in for the kill.
“Drink up.”

By the time they were at the car, she was gasping for air and she swayed into his arms.  He almost buckled under the weight.  She was a big girl. Robert chuckled, hands grasping, pulling her close.  She smelt of a cheap perfume, probably something by Avon, Occur; his mother had worn that.   Working on the car door behind her they wrestled in a lovers lock, and Sally giggled.   Sweat soaked his shirt and the click of the mechanism was sweet to his ears.  

Pouring her into the car he struggled with the seatbelt and only relaxed once she was buckled in and he driving away.   She gave him a sleepy smile.

“I’m not used to wine I think I might be drunk.”

“Don’t worry I’ll take you for a coffee.”

She closed her eyes, trusting.  Now free at last he drove with mounting excitement.  He glanced across to see her head lolling, she would be snoring soon.   Reaching across he pushed her skirt up her thigh caressing her without resistance.   Mouth dry he already imagined her tied and helpless and all the fun ahead.   He checked the time.  He always preferred to give himself lots of leeway before Jarvis arrived.   It had worked out rather well.   There was always a need for organs, and skin.  He was doing his bit for science. 

He suspected that Jarvis knew that he had his percentage before collection; the marks on the last one had been a mistake.   

This time however he had thought of everything.

Inside Info - by Megan Loughlin

“I don't usually do this, but for you I think I can make an exception,” the man said, grinning. He was a short, porcine fellow with a severe comb over and watery eyes. He had on the most hideously garish outfit Frank had ever seen in his life, and exuded an odour that would send a skunk running for cover. He looked up at the tall, well dressed man sitting opposite him. “So whaddaya say, Frankie boy? We got a bet or what?”

Frank plastered a wide, insincere smile on his face and tried to talk without breathing too much through his nose. “That all depends, Joey. Now, are you sure this info is legit? I'd hate to go to jail over this.”

Joey looked downright scandalized at this. “Of course it's legit! What kinda guy do you take me for anyway? If I say Sunny Downs is the sure winner of the next race, then she is! Besides, I got the info from a very reliable source. One close to the action, you might say.”  He smirked. “Wanna drink while we discuss it?”

Frank scoffed, lighting a cigarette and blowing the smoke in Joey's face. “What, did you talk to the horse or somethin'? And no, I don't want a drink. The rotgut they serve in this hellhole would probably burn a hole in my stomach. I'll take real booze, thank you very much.”

“Come on man, blow that cancer cloud away from me, will ya? And for God's sake, don't be so fuckin' high and mighty. You ran the rotgut during Prohibition same as all of us.” Joey demanded, coughing. “Look, just trust me on this, OK? It'll be the easiest money ya ever made.” 

Frank stubbed out his cigarette on the table top. “ That was a long time ago, Joey. Things change.” He sighed, then grinned. “What the hell. I ain't had much luck at the track recently, maybe this will be a chance to change it. Put me down for $20,000 on Sunny Downs to take first.”  He stood and walked out of the dingy club.

Joey sat back, sighing. After a few minutes, he stood, went to the nearby payphone,  and dialled. “Hello, Mr. Green? It's Joey Desoto. The trap is set.” He listened for a few moments. “Yes Sir. Yes Sir, I will.”

He sat back in the booth, sighing. It was too bad about what was gonna happen to Frank, he thought. Guy seemed pretty OK , if a little full of himself, but he had stolen money from Mr. Green, and that sort of thing was frowned upon. The last guy that had crossed him...Joey didn't like to think about it.

Joey shuddered, then signalled the waitress to order a drink.

“So long, Frankie boy.” 

The Replica - by Richie Brown

I don't usually do this, but, you do get so lonely, don't you?'

'We understand, Ms Patton.  We provide a discrete service here at Replica X. We exist so those you loved may do so again.'

The assistant flashed a three day training course beam.  Ms Patton thinned her lips.  She opened the clasp on her second hand Prada handbag and pulled out a small scrap of tartan fabric.

'From his coat, his favourite.  I only took a bit, I won't part with all of it.'

'This will do fine, Ms Patton.  We'll get this over to the lab.  Can I get you a cup of tea while you wait?

'Just water, thank you...and, well, I need to know...'


'The tongue...'

'Rough or smooth, you choose.  It has a motor, five variable speeds.'

'And below?'

'Life sized.  It folds neatly into his bum when you don't need it.'

The assistant filled a mug with tap-water, looked at her wrist-phone and began to shake with laughter.  Ms Patton coughed.

'Something funny?'

'I'm so sorry, pfffffffffff, my boyfriend, aaaaaahhhh.'  The assistant gasped for air, 'he's so funny.'  She wiped a tear away from her cheek.

Ms Patton warmed to her.  'You're keen on him.  I can see that.'  The assistant nodded.  'If you were to lose him, would you have a model made too?'

This caught the assistant off guard. 'Well,' she began, then tailed off.

'But you're young,' said Ms Patton after a few seconds passed.  'I won't find another like Colin again.'   She rose and walked to a grubby window.  Placing her hand on the pane, she peered out as best she could.  'That beach,' she said.  'You can just make it out beyond the gasworks.  We would walk there, every day, even in the rain.  He'd run on ahead, but I could always make out his thick, curly, black hair in the distance. Then we'd reconvene, at our secret place beyond the dunes...and he'd lick me.  Like I'd never been licked before.  I'd come over and over again and he'd never tire.'  The assistant's eyes widened.  'Oh, I'd have to do him.  Eventually.  When he begged.  But this was about me.  So, you can see why I'm here, can't you?  I haven't been able to feel like that since he died.'

The assistant smiled nervously. 'Ashes to passion, dust to lust.  That's the Replica X motto,' she offered before busying herself with her wrist-phone.  A minute later it beeped.  'That's the lab,' she said.  'Colin is ready.'

Ms Patton followed the assistant along the corridor to the reception where a cardboard box awaited them.

'That's strange,' said the assistant.  'The dimensions look all wrong.  Was he a short man, your husband?'

'Husband?' said Ms Patton, excitedly tearing parcel tape from the box.  She pulled the replica of Colin from the packing foam, opened her handbag, took out a battered, red leather collar and fixed it round his neck.

'Woman's best friend,' she laughed.

The Queen's Bribe - by Michelle Wyllie

I don’t usually do this but she made it worth my while.  It’s my job to ferry people to and from the island to stay at the castle.  Usually it’s mostly the local nobility but last year we had an extra special visitor: Her Majesty, Mary Queen of Scots.  Rumour was she was with child and had come for some rest.  I could almost believe that had it not been for the armed guards beside her.
Sarah, the maid, said it was down to the Queen’s status she had guards.  Perfectly possible for that to be true, I suppose but these men didn’t look like protection guards.  No, these men flanked the Queen like she was a prisoner.  Loch Leven Castle doesn’t have anywhere to hold prisoners as far as I know.
‘You don’t hold prisoners of her rank in a dungeon, John,’ Sarah told me at the time.  So, a royal person wouldn’t be clamped in chains and thrown into a dungeon.  Her Majesty’s accommodation would have to as luxurious as possible.  Fine for her but I wouldn’t be so lucky if I was caught.  That standard of the Queen’s new home was not my problem.
When she boarded the boat, there wasn’t a man around who could keep their eyes off her.  I’d heard so many stories of her beauty but seeing her in person was something else again.  When she stood, she was as tall as any man.  Certainly taller than me but I’m still a growing lad.  That’s what the captain says anyway.  One day I’ll be as tall as her, he said.
Life in the Castle isn’t that bad.  You’ve got a decent roof over your head which is more than can be said about some of the poor folks in town.  Not only that but the island has some great views over the loch.  If you look ahead from the entrance to the castle, you can see out to Kinross or at least the surrounding countryside.  If you go east you can see out towards Burleigh Castle.  Perhaps Her Majesty would be happiest there with Lord Burleigh for company.   Nothing wrong with Milnathort either.  When she gets a chance, Sarah goes there to see her family.  At the backof the castle, you’ve got a braw view towards Scotlandwell.  Strange name for a village, isn’t it?
According to the women, the Queen lost the twins she was rumoured to be carrying.  Could be true but you can never believe women’s gossip.
Over the course of her stay, Her Majesty was also forced to surrender her throne to her little son.  The only people I could see benefitting from that arrangement were the ambitious nobles who hate serving a woman.

So, the Queen came to me through one of her guards and passed me £20.  Would I take the Queen off the island?   Of course, I wasn’t going to be stupid enough to turn down a queen’s ransom, was I?  Fingers crossed we don’t get caught.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Circle of Life - Michelle Wyllie

Circle of Life (c) Michelle Wyllie

 ‘Are you certain this is what you want?’ I asked as I draped a protective arm around her.  Our breath was visible on the air.  Elizabeth drew her cloak around her, resting her head against my shoulder.

‘I have to see if it’s true,’ she said, giving me a sly wink.

‘What’s true?’

‘That they’re really going to do it.’  She pointed to a stage set for an execution.  The officials were dressed differently, looking more like plague doctors with masks that covered their faces.  Perhaps they were ashamed.  I slid my hand down her face.  She took my wrist and kissed me on the fingers.

‘I just want you to be safe,’ I said.  Close to the Banqueting House, crowds gathered, a large group of Parliamentarian soldiers forming a protective ribbon round the scaffold.

‘I appreciate that but there’s no need to be so protective.’  She squeezed my hand tenderly.  I lifted her chin with my finger and looked into her eyes.  Any man could lose himself in her beauty but only I could love her.  ‘I can look after myself.’


‘Stephen...’  She hooked her arm in mine and pressed me close.  People of all ages squeezed into the space, some of them boys from St Paul’s School.  Whether or not the school was closed, I hadn’t heard but for the sake of the boys, I hoped it was.  The masters would have had the boys caned.  The chatter of groups of family or friends rose like a swarm of angry bees, making it impossible to hear.  From all sides, people pushed to get the best view, almost crushing us.  We stood and waited in the bitter January air, hoping we would not have long to wait.  The voices hushed as a man in a black mask emerged to a slow drum beat. 

After what felt like a long time standing, a prisoner took the stage, flanked by Roundheads.  He seemed small and vulnerable yet did not appear to shiver in spite of the cold.  His shirt hung loose over his breeches and his hair was tucked inside a nightcap.  He was led out from the palace but the soldiers below the scaffold made it harder to see.  His Majesty turned to another man and pointed to the axe and block in the middle of the scaffold.  From what I could see, the block appeared to be the right height for a child but not a grown man.    

He turned to his guard and indicated the crowd.  The soldiers who packed the areas around King Street and Charing Cross listened intently as the King spoke.

‘Unjust sentence and he’s an innocent man,’ one soldier taunted.  ‘And he loves his people and wants their liberty.’  The soldier laughed as he waited for the next remark from King Charles.  I squeezed Elizabeth’s hand as the soldier listened for the King’s next words.  ‘He goes from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown.’ 

I assumed he failed to forgive his executioners what they were about to do.  Elizabeth gasped, her hand covering her mouth.  I cuddled her as she bit her nails.  Christ’s blood, they were going to do it.  He laid his slender neck on the block and stretched his arms towards the crowd. 

The final blow was delivered.  Elizabeth clung to me like a scared child as the King’s head was displayed like a trophy.  The crowd was stunned into silence.  No cheers but some people held out handkerchiefs.  There was no one to touch for the King’s Evil.

As the crowd dispersed, Elizabeth’s face seemed paler than it was when we left the house.  Her hand trembled, so I held her tight.  As we walked home, shocked that we had just killed our own King, I stopped at Charing Cross and stroked her face.

‘Are you all right?’ I asked as I placed my hand under her chin.  For the first time since I married her, she looked scared.  This was not the Elizabeth I knew.

‘Yes, Stephen,’ she replied, taking my hand and squeezing it.  ‘I’m glad we made the effort, even though it was hard to hear what His Majesty said.’

‘There’s something else.’

‘You know me too well.’  She pressed me close and kissed me with a passion I had not experienced since our wedding night.  ‘I haven’t had my terms for the last couple of months.’


‘I’m with child.’  My mood lifted and I gathered her in my arms, my heart light with happiness.