Welcome to the strange worlds of Victoria Pearson, writer of the Strange Stories series, A Tale of Two Princes, and Once Upon a Twisted Fairytale, the Victoria’s Notebook blog and creator of the creative prompt journal designed to help you love yourself, My Strange Notebook.
Victoria Pearson lives behind a keyboard somewhere in rural Bedfordshire, with her husband, her four children, and her dog. She writes very strange stories.
I realised halfway through writing this that this isn’t the first time I’ve used these particular monsters in a story and although I didn’t set out to I’ve almost written a continuation/sequel to the original here- hence this story being called The Show Must Go On (Encore).
The Show Must Go On (Encore)
Like most beasts, they are docile enough if you keep them well fed. It’s when they get hungry that they become aggressive, and then you really don’t want to be cornered by them.
She can feel me watching her. Her unease has been rising steadily over the 20 minutes I’ve been tracking her, I can hear her heart speeding up, her breath catching a little, the pulse in her delicate, delicious neck throbbing a little faster from all the way across the street, 50 yards or so behind her.
Come sit on Nanna’s knee, little one, and I’ll tell you a story about when I was young.
Back in the old days, before even my parents were born , they didn’t have palm discs. They had no access to the HiveMind at all.
I mean, they thought their technology was cutting edge, they really did, but if they wanted to find out something, or speak to someone that was further away than you are from me now, they had to use a machine. The machines started off big and clunky, and were attached to the walls of the house with wires, you couldn’t take them with you anywhere. They were useless really, you had to read information off of a screen and everything, it must have taken ages to learn things. But without them we wouldn’t have the advantages we have today. Like the candle being the forerunner to the electric light.
Now, the more a person uses something, becomes accustomed to it, the more they tend to rely on it. It was that way with the forerunner of the palm disc. The mobile, I think they called it. People got fed up I suppose, having to get to their home or place of work to be able to find out a fact, or listen to a song, or talk to someone in another part of the world. They began to create smaller and smaller devices to do the job, tiny versions of their home machines, that ran on something called battery power, although don’t ask me how that works as I’ve no idea. All I know is that to keep the devices powered, they plundered the world’s natural resources, polluted the air, poisoned the water. There were many more people back then, in cities a bit like ours, and small settlements called villages, all over the globe. They were scattered across the entire planet, grouped into tribes and communities and peoples, not united into a few cities like we are. Imagine living so divided from people. Awful.
Those of you who have followed me for a while know that it has long been my dream to write an episode of Doctor Who. Well in 2016, with the help of multitalented political and philosophical poet and musicianSteve McAuliffe, that dream (kind of!) became a reality when I wrote and performed in an unofficial mini-episode of Doctor Who for the Ungagged podcast. Grab yourself a cuppa and a blanket and curl up for a 12 minute adventure that should (hopefully!) leave you laughing.
I’m playing around a lot with micro fiction at the moment (a much longer piece is on its way) so I thought I would share some with you. I love the challenge of trying to write very short stories. Some of them are ripe for expansion; Protection has already been made into a much longer story for Strange Times.
I keep moving against the cold, never stopping my steady, ponderous progression. My body is warm – almost too warm actually, bundled as I am in heavy furs – but winter’s chill still bites at my nose, and my feet are tingly and numb.
It is rapidly becoming dark, and the snow is glittering with the reflected colours of Christmas lights that are just starting to come on. It might cheer the soul, if you were strolling along hand in hand with your lover, or heading home to your children. To me this day is always the saddest of the season.
They start to hang the lights earlier nowadays, though they have largely forgotten the reason. Some people have them up for the entire month of December, small points of cheer and defiance against the darkness. But today is December 27th, and soon they will all be gone. All the build up, all the belief, all the energy that built to wake me is slowly ebbing away. I feel myself weakening already. It is becoming harder and harder to maintain my stride, my breath wheezing now in asthmatic gasps. Continue reading “The Greatest Gift”
I have a jar full of story prompts and sometimes I pick one out at random to write a story about. This is one of those stories. The prompt that came out of the jar was – a new door appears in your home. This is what I came up with…
It was a sleepy Sunday morning when I first noticed the new door. It could have appeared on the Saturday night – I had been out drinking with my boyfriend Robert that night and was pretty distracted at bedtime, I might not have noticed it. It definitely wasn’t there Saturday morning.
My house isn’t the biggest – just a living room with a small kitchen attached downstairs, a bedroom and small bathroom upstairs. It’s not like I have a huge old rambling house where a door might be overlooked. Continue reading “The Door”
I did exist. I was real, you can’t deny it. Though no one but you ever knew my name, I had people that loved me, cared for me, respected me. I had needs and hopes and desires. I had dreams. You never thought about that did you? When you abandoned me for better things, you thought I would just fade away. Of course I didn’t, I am a person. People don’t just disappear.
Oh I know it’s easier with him. You don’t have to think so much with him, he is simple, relatable, he makes it all so easy. You just “get” him, don’t you? No need to work at uncovering his layers, work out his motivations, what makes him tick. He is an open book to you, not like I was. He doesn’t confuse you or deceive you or challenge the way you see the world or your place in it. I understand all that. He was the easier option. I was making things too complicated, with him it just flows. Continue reading “Character Flaw”
It was raining when I met my wife. It was about two in the morning, the streets just starting to fill with belligerent drunks. She had been out with a friendbut the friend got lucky and left her to get home alone. She had run out of money but decided to walk home as she didn’t live far from the town centre. To this day she insists that she would have gotten home just fine if her stiletto heel hadn’t caught in a drain, breaking the heel and twisting her ankle quite badly.
I was tipsy myself, having left my mates because they were already
out drinking me, and settling down for a serious session of liver murdering. I had a headache and was just finding it all a bit much. I had hoped the cool air would clear my head.
I offered her help, maybe hoping if I’m honest that tonight would turn out to be a good night after all. As soon as I got close I realised she was far too far gone to know what she was doing. I couldn’t take advantage, but I couldn’t leave her there, easy prey for any passing predator. I could have put her in a taxi, I suppose, but it just didn’t feel right. She was so ridiculously beautiful, and so ridiculously drunk. It didn’t feel safe.
First scribbled in my last notebook on October 7, 2012
The Show Must Go On
Everyone loves a good show, the lights, the make-up, the pretty girls singing songs, the actors that can produce a smile or a laugh or a
tear with the mere twitch of an eyebrow, the carefully pitched tone of a line.
The show must go on. So few ask why.
Partly it is the sheer energy that goes into it, the months of rehearsals, the bitter arguments over the precise stance of an actor delivering his monologue, the momentum. The performers think the show must go
on because of the paying audience, people who have worked long hours, denied themselves luxuries for this one evening of entertainment. The audience thinks the show must go on because of the hours of hard work the performers have invested, the energy and the time. They see it as a mark of respect, thanking those people for their time with rapturous applause. The truth is the build-up of those things – the energy it all creates.
I thought I had seen every expression your perfect face could make.
I have seen your smile, sudden as spring sunshine, light up your face. I have seen tears of joy running rivulets of silver over your delicate features, seen your face puffed up with heaving racking sobs and every variation in between. I have seen your features contort in the agony of purest ecstasy, toes curling, body shuddering. I have watched your cheeks flush with the prettiest of blushes, seen your brow crease in concentration. I have seen the perfect peace and joy in your features when you held our children for the very first time.
I thought I had seen every expression your face could make. I never thought I would see you like this.
I am scattering content from my old notebook amongst the new so if you followed my last blog you may have read this story before.
This was written for a Goodreads writing contest (in the amazon kindle group), and it didn’t come last (always a positive). The theme was “memories inspired by colour” and the word count limit was 200 words, so I had to cut it a little more than I’d have liked to. Here is the slightly expanded version.
I order a glass of rosé while I wait and regret my choice immediately. The swirling soft pink in my glass takes me back 22 years in a moment. I swallow down the lump in my throat. This is supposed to be a happy day. Continue reading “The Reunion”
You mean I never told you how I found God? What, never? You won’t believe me anyway. I mean, I wouldn’t. Oh you still want to know? Ok, here’s what happened. It was a few years back and I was on on a road trip. Sheila had left me a couple months before and I was looking for something. Not God or religion, or anything like that. I suppose you could say I was looking for myself, although I didn’t know it at the time. I just had the urge to wander. I was just passing through the town, on my way somewhere more interesting. It was that kind of town, if you understand what I mean, just somewhere to pass through, a few houses, a bar, a dilapidated church. A two horse town, if they’d had another horse. Nothing to write home about.My car had broken down a couple of miles back and I had walked into town to see if there was a mechanic, or even a car rentals place anywhere nearby. It was easily ninety degrees in the shade though, my head was pounding and my legs were tired, so I ended up heading straight to the bar instead. I was blinded by the gloom when I first walked in, couldn’t see much of the dingy exterior to start. A bored barmaid gave me a tall glass of water and I chugged down half of it without stopping. Then I ordered a bud and looked around for somewhere to sit, blinking the sunspots out off my vision. The bar was empty except for me and some old guy at the end of the bar, nodding into his whiskey, so I wandered to the other end of the bar, sat heavily and laid my head on the table. Everything from the last few months seemed to catch up with me then – Sheila leaving, losing my job, gambling away all of my money, being stuck in this ghost town that was hotter than hell.“Oh God!” I groaned into the table.