Olive Hawkins

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Olive Hawkins had been privately counting down the days for over month to, what turned out to be an unfortunately bright, Tuesday in August.  She had forgotten to turn on the stove to boil the pot for tea that morning and put cat litter in Mr Darcy’s feeding bowl. Her efforts to walk a little slower to work seemed to have the opposite effect as she arrived promptly outside the library at eight-fifty, just as she done for nearly thirty years.

It was a largely unassuming building, somewhat squashed in between the small towns’ only pub and the sandwich shop that Sadie Owens had taken over when her mother took ill. If someone did not know it was a library, why they could just walk right by without ever knowing the splendour within. Although, in recent years, that splendour had been vastly abridged. Unending rows of books towering as high as the ceilings had once filled the rooms with an air of magnificence. Now many of her much loved stories were banished to the basement storage, or sold off. She herself had packed away books into boxes, to make way for such things as CD’s and Video tapes.

“Todays the day, Ms Hawkins!” Martin the Manager had said cheerily as he past her desk that morning. She had given a reluctant smile, but couldn’t bring herself to form a reply. There was nothing to do but get on with the day. Every morning she would walk up and down the aisles, replacing the books that had been returned the previous afternoon. It wasn’t a task that should normally take very long, but on this Tuesday, Olive took special care of each of the books. She placed each one gently in its correct position on the shelf and took a second to reflect on the journey that that particular book had just taken an unsuspecting reader.

During the course of the morning, many familiar faces made their way through the library. Olive had helped an increasingly frailer Mrs Palmer over to the crime section and recommended one of the few Agatha Christies novels the older lady had yet to read. When young Helen Porter came in asking for something to keep her ten year old son occupied whilst he was off sick from school, she gave the last copy a new story of another ten year old boy who went to a school for wizards, that would keep him entertained, she told the tired looking mother. She smiled and waved as she watched Mr Gilbert leave looking please with her suggestion of a book of First World War aircrafts.

It had been easy to forget what she knew the day had yet to bring. When lunch arrived, Olive took her lunch box out at her desk and unwrapped the sandwich she had made the previous evening.

“It’s just going to make things so much easier.” Olive heard the Martin the Mangers voice drift through from the small reading room. As the library remained open over lunch, she always elected to remain at her desk. The rest of the staff however took to the reading room to enjoy the comfortable sofas and water cooler. The door was always left open, so Olive usually picked up the jist of their conversations.

“I mean, no more searching through all those paper cards,” Martin continued. “And no more practically memorizing where every book in this bloody place is. Just type it in and point them in the right direction.”

When Martin had taken over as branch manager two years ago, she just knew it was going to be the end. He had all these ideas, plans to make the library run better, make everything easier. The world was becoming such an easy place to live, god forbid anyone done any hard work.

The oversized clock on the wall ticked by loudly, taunting her. Lunch was over far too quickly, and Martin the Manager bounded out the reading room with the giddiness of a little boy.

“Oh, Mrs Dawkins, they’ll be here so soon!”

And so they were.

A little after half past two, a beefy man with hair much to long for a chap of his age, presented himself with a clipboard in front of Olives’ desk.

“I have a delivery here of four-“

“Yes, yes, I know.” She cut him off and hastily got up from her desk. She was going to go and find Martin, let him deal with his delivery, but unsurprisingly Martin the Manager was already barrelling down one of the aisles towards them. To her dismay, he had apparently bailed mid-conversation with a confused looking Mr Peters. Instead of sitting back at her desk, Olive went to help the elderly gentleman choose between two Clive Cussler books she knew he had already read. She was still in prime position however, when four very large boxes were wheeled in through the narrow door way and watched as Martin the Manager pointed and babbled excitedly to the delivery men.

For the next hour or so, Olive watched on from behind shelves and surreptitiously peering over the tops of books. She caught snippets of conversations but understood very little.

“Windows 95-“

“Dial-up connection in a matter of minutes.”

“Brand new Intel Processor-“

It was all too quick. By half past four the men were packing away their tools and grinning at their afternoons accomplishments. Martin the Manager was thanking them enthusiastically and walking them to the door.

“Come and see Mrs. Hawkins, you just have try this out.”

Having actively avoided the scene for the past few hours, Olive now had no choice but to face the future.

“We’ll get a sign put up here,” Martin the Manager pointed to the wall, “It’ll say Technology Centre. Won’t that be charming?”

“Yes, charming.” Olive nodded.

“Sit down, sit down. Have a go! Those tech men were showing me around the software.”

Olive had no choice but to take the chair that he was gesturing to. Tentatively, she lifted a finger and pressed down on a letter H, and watched in amazement as it appeared on the screen in front of her. She pressed a K and that popped up as well. She had to admit, it was rather neat.

“Just watch this.” Martin leaned over her and began pressing keys. She watched on the screen as an author’s name was spelled out. “Now, hit that button there.” He was indicating a larger button that had ENTER printed on it. She pressed it and watched the screen change.

“See? There’s a list of all the books this author has written that we have in stock. Isn’t that clever?”

Yes, Olive smiled, it was very clever.

A Toast

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Not my most profound work, but its simple. 

A TOAST 
Lets drink to those
who have left us behind,
And let them rest,
with our piece of mind.

Lets drink to those
who have seen us ahead
Through life, through love,
and nothing left unsaid.

Lets drink to those,
who have seen us through solace
Who brought us joy,
and loyalty so flawless.

Let us drink to those
that we cannot see,
But who watch over us,
until it is our time to be free.

Teaser

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Now college has finished, I finally have time to write for pleasure again, so I have been working on my longer project which I started for one of my classes. This is part of the same story in my previous post. I’ve been writing more short stories now as well for entering competitions, so  I will have more to post more regularly now!

The sound of the thud of her fist against the punch bag gratified Nicole to no end.

One, two.

One, two, three.

One, two.

Sweat built up on her forehead and her chest burned with every breath she took but she couldn’t stop, adrenaline was pushing her to her limit. It never registered with her at first when Glen was shouting her name. It wasn’t until he let go of the bag and stood right in front of it that she snapped of her trance, with one arm mid-swing. Glens hand had shot out and blocked her, before she followed through and smacked his collar bone.

“Nicole! For Christ’s sake!” His look of usual exasperation with her was evident. She let her arms fall to her side and straightened her stance. “You’ll be no use to me if you injure yourself now.”

Nicole turned her back to him and started unravelling the slightly bloody bandages from around her knuckles. “Well then let’s go just now, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”

“Not yet,” Glen through her a bottle of water and waited while she gulped it down.

“When?”

“Soon.”

“You’ve been saying that for two months now.” She scowled.

“We only have one shot at this, I have to be sure the timing is just right.” Glen scowled at her, but his expression softened quickly. “Look, I want to go back for one last trip, then it will be time.”

Nicole studied him warily. “How long will you be gone this time?”

“A few weeks at the most.”

She slumped down on the tattered sofa and felt the adrenaline run out of her. The thought of being alone still scared her, Glens trips were never something she looked forward too. “Last time you said that, you never came back for a month and a half.”

Glen sat down beside her. He took a bottle of antiseptic and fresh bandages from the table beside them and started cleaning the blood from her knuckles. She winced, but let him carry on. “You know how much quicker time goes over there, it’s hard to keep track sometimes. But three weeks, maximum, and I’ll be back.”

“It’ll be two years to the day next week that they took her. I’ve not seen my sister in two years, Glen.” Anger rose in her chest, and with no punch bag to lash out at, the tears started thick and fast. She hated herself for it, she was still weak.

“I know, but it’s barley been two days for her, she’s still there, still the same way you remember her.” He wrapped fresh bandages around her hands, and clasped them in his. “We will get her back, I will do everything I can to make sure she gets home.”

“When are you leaving?” She asked quietly, wiping her sodden face.

“Tonight.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Just train, be ready for me when I come back.”

Nicole examined her freshly patched hands. Two years ago, she had pathetically struggled as she watched Mia being dragged away. Now, she was ready to take them down, one by one.

Creative Project

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Seen as how I haven’t uploaded anything in a while, this is the first chapter to my creative project. Enjoy!

Prologue

When the prophecies depicting the end of the world were translated, they got it wrong. The earth would not burn; hell would not come forth with fire and brimstone. It is humanity that died. There was no saving the human race, when they destroyed themselves. Greed took over and acedia became them. The need to be better, to be more than what god made them was the ultimate downfall of mankind.

It began when the oil started running out. World War Three rained down and they would never recover. When there was no more to fight for, they kept going. When soldiers died- brothers, fathers, daughters- no one spoke up and asked why. They trusted their leaders and waved goodbye to more loved ones who left to fight. Misery swept each nation as they fell, one by one. Everyone was losing. Then inflation hit, as money ran out. Desperation was ripe in the air and the hunger for power started to grow. An idea was planted in the leaders of each country that whoever lead the way victorious out of this battle, would rule the world.  Battles grew fiercer; the body count was climbing higher than ever before. People spoke in whispers, asking why this happening, but all they done was whisper.

Away from the battlefields, disease began to spread. Illness that had died out many years ago had resurfaced, and new strains were multiplying. People became immune to the most effective common drugs, penicillin was rendered extinct. Science advanced with the sickness and cures were given to those who could afford it. Only the rich could survive.

As the war raged on, colour disappeared from the earth. Nature was being blown up, destroyed to make way for technological advances. Forests were eradicated to make way for army camps, and shanty towns. Fields were trodden down and soil turned toxic. Mother Nature was taking her last breaths. The world was grey with dust and smog, it had been many years since any record of sunshine. The sun was still there, day was still distinguishable from night, but dust clouds caused the illusion of constant grey days. With the absence of green, hypercapnia became the most common cause of death. Carbon dioxide filled the air and it was almost impossible to walk the streets without a gas mask, which came with a high price tag.

When the world fell into chaos, and the segregation of the poor and the rich reached its peak, the poverty stricken were dying in their millions every day. The richest looked down from their tall towers and watched. They silently held their heads in shame and turned away.  They looked to science for an answer to save the earth, and they were given the answer. Leave this world behind and start again. With the years of war and disease, many academics had already been looking for and alternative, and they found a gateway to another world. A world that was still prosperous, with so much potential. They could start again, and do it right this time.

The stories of the gateway spread among the desolate communities, but that was all they believed it was, stories. No one believed such a thing was possible. The few educated in the crowds explained that, in theory, it was more than possible, it was probable. What else had they been doing up in those towers all this time? But people turned away, despondent and hopeless, unable to believe there would be such an easy way out.

But there was one man amid the mass, one man who listened with rapped attention whenever these tales were passed around. He would be found at the front of every crowd, hanging onto every word, and being mocked quietly by the rest of the audience. He had faith that there were these other worlds, and he knew he had to stop those in power from leaving the disarray that they themselves had caused behind, and repeating it once again. No one too notice of his mumblings, except to note that he must be crazy.

For years he studied, he picked the brains of any person who may be educated enough to teach him, he scoured books from abandoned libraries, collating as much scientific knowledge as he could comprehend.

And now he got it.

He understood.

There was somewhere else to go.

My Take On Kelman

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This is a short piece based on a book by James Kelman. Our task was to take one of the minor characters (a policeman) and expand. It had to be written in Glaswegian style. If you are offended by swearing, I would advise that you do not read on!

Junkie scum. Ruined his fuckin day. It felt gid but, kickin the shite ootae him. Fuck it, hame time.

He was gettin intae his auld ford fiesta when he heard someone shout his name. It wis that nosey buggar who works oan the front desk in the station. He closed the motors door again and waited for PC Prying to catch up wae him.

“Jack! Here mate, wait there!” His bulging waist line wobbled like fuckin jelly as he ran.

“Whit is it?”

The wee guy finally reached Jack and bent over, hands oan his knees, trying tae breathe.

“What happened to- a haud on.” This guy could hardly talk for trying tae inhale. “What happened tae that junkie in the cell, he’s pretty fucked up.”

PC Prying right enough. “How the fuck should a know?” Jack snapped at him. The guy finally straightened up and looked aw confused.

“Are you no the wan that brought him in?”

“Aye, an whit?”

“Just thought ye might-”

“Aye well, ye thought wrang!” Jack got back into his motor, leaving the puffing lump stuttering. Nae wonder he spends aw his time behind a fuckin desk. Canny run the length of himsel.

He pulled oot on to the main street and was stopped almost at once with a rid light. Bastard! He tapped the steering wheel in frustration. Sharon better have his tea oan the table when he gets in. She had been doing his nut in that morning, going oan about the wean needing new shoes fur school. He’s goat bloody shoes.

He pulled out when the light went green. Wan of those god awful fitbaw phone in shows was oan the radio. He couldnae stand this shite. He jammed in a cd. Those bloody shows just riled the fans up, made them act like maire of a cunt than usual oan match days. And HE had to deal with the fuckers.

He spotted an offys on his road hame, and pulled over. A few cans the night were definitely in order. He bought a packet of fags as well, not that he smoked that much, but he took the notion noo and again. He got back in the car and lit a fag as he pulled away. He thought back to that scumbag that afternoon. Fucker thought he had the right to speak tae us? He deserved aw he got. Bastard will probably cry POLICE BRUTALITY now. Like anybodys gonnae gie two fucks. No aboot a jakey like him. He hoped the buggar was still in pain.

His tea wis laid oot for him when he walked in the hoose. That’s the stuff, commin hame tae a hoat meal. She fetched him a gless with ice for his beer an aw. She wis a gid wumin, Sharon. He better gie her poaket money for the weans shoes.

Disconnected

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This is my first script. Scriptwriting is not something I am particularly keen on, but I can see why others would enjoy it. I think it is fun if I have a clear idea of what I want to happen, but it is mind-numbing if I have no inspiration. I enjoyed writing this- its quite simple, but I think it gets it point across.

INT. A young couples flat

The scene begins with CHRIS in his living room, an intense game on his Playstation. He is wearing a headset and talking to someone on the other end of the game. He is arguing and shouting at the TV screen.

Cuts to LAURA in the bedroom, reading a book. She is in bed, and she can hear CHRIS shouting in the other room. She is drinking a cup of tea.

Cuts back to CHRIS, and the scene goes black. Power cut. He throws his controller at the floor and gives a shout of rage.

Cut to LAURA, sitting in the dark, she puts her book down, gets out of bed and heads to the living room.

CHRIS:

What the fuck? I was fuckin winnin’ there!

LAURA:

I think the leckies out

CHRIS:

No shit, sherlock

CHRIS smiles at LAURA.

LAURA:

Theres some candles in that cabinet.

LAURA fumbles in the dark until she finds candles and matches, and lights them. She sets them on the coffee table and sits down beside CHRIS

CHRIS:

Now what?

LAURA sips her tea

LAURA:

I dunno, you could actually come to bed, seen as how its after midnight

CHRIS:

I’m not tired.

SILENCE

CHRIS:

I was enjoying that! I was totally annihilating that little Russian prick

LAURA rolls her eyes, she is used to him talking like this when he has been playing his games.

They sit in silence.

CHRIS:

What were you doing?

LAURA:

Just reading.

SILENCE

LAURA:

Are you working tomorrow?

CHRIS:

Backshift.

SILENCE

CHRIS is eyeing his playstationg longingly. LAURA finishes her tea and stares at the empty mug.

LAURA:

I think we still have a bottle of wine in the fridge.

CHRIS:

Aye, alright then.

LAURA exits with a candle for light.

CHRIS is picks up his controler and puts it loving next to the playstation. He looks out the window up and down the street.

LAURA enters the room with an open bottle of wine and two glasses. She hands one to CHRIS and pours them both a glass.

CHRIS:

Looks like the whole streets out.

LAURA looks out for herself and nods in agreement

Both return to the sofa and queitly drink their wine.

LAURA:

Have you heard from your mum lately?

CHRIS:

Aye, she phoned me the other day.

LAURA:

Everything okay?

CHRIS:

Aye.

SILENCE

CHRIS:

This is shit. What can we do?

LAURA:

We can always talk for a wee while.

CHRIS:

About what?

LAURA opens her mouth to reply but decides against it.

LAURA:

Ehh……(SILENCE) I’ve got that interview on Tuesday.

CHRIS:

What interview?

LAURA:

The one for the council, I told you about it last week.

CHRIS:

No, you didn’t.

LAURA:

Aw, yeh, I meant to.

SILENCE

I’ve got an interview on Tuesday for the council.

CHRIS:

Aye, I heard.

SILENCE. LAURA tops up the wine glasses.

LAURA:

There was a time when you would have been the first person I told about that.

CHRIS:

Yeah, that was about the same time that we didn’t spend our Friday nights in separate rooms.

BOTH sit in contemplation of what has just been said.

LAURA:

When did it become so hard to have a full conversation with each other?

CHRIS:

I dunno.

LAURA:

It’s only been two years.

CHRIS:

I know.

SILENCE

CHRIS:

This is stupid. We could sit up all night and talk at one point. When did we run out of things to say?

LAURA:

Right around the time you bought that playstation.

CHRIS:

Thats not fair, Laura. You’ve went and done your own stuff as well.

LAURA:

I guess we’ve both kinna let each other slide.

CHRIS:

Well, what do we do now?

LAURA:

What did we use to talk about?

SILENCE. They think.

LAURA:

Remember when I spent a week phoning you every lunch time, just to tell you what I was eating?

CHRIS laughs

CHRIS:

Yeah, my mates used to take the piss outta me so much for that.

LAURA:

(Laughing) I’m sorry.

Remember when you dropped me off at my parents house, and we would spend another two hours talking until my dad had to come out and get me!

CHRIS:

Yeah, even on our first date, we spent the whole day together. Couldn’t get rid of you!

LAURA punches him playfully in the arm

LAURA:

Shut it, you! You used to go out with your mates and spend the whole night texting me.(Laughs) The last text you sent me was days ago. All it said was the letter ‘I’. You couldn’t even stretch to ‘YES’!

CHRIS:

You know I don’t like texting.

LAURA:

You used too.

BOTH look at each other, with a sad sort of smile.

CHRIS:

I love you, you know.

LAURA:

I do know. I wish it didn’t take a power cut to make us talk, but.

CHRIS:

I guess we have to make more of an effort for each other.

CHRIS raises a glass as a toast, and LAURA clinks his glass with her own.

The lights flicker back on, as does the TV, making them both jump.

CHRIS sets down his glass and lunges for his playstation to turn it on, but stops him self at the last moment. He turns the TV off, sits back down and lifts his glass again. He gives LAURA an apologetic smile. She laughs, and they launch into conversation.

THE END.

If I Should Die (edited)

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If I should die let it be like this,

Don’t pretend to mourn what you are not going to miss.

Do not forgive what I do not deserve,

Do not insist my good memories must preserve,

Be angry, be sad, feel unjustified,

I have lived a life of hurt and lies.

Remember me for who I was,

An ordinary being, with ordinary flaws.

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