Oct 31st – The Haunting of Harold Hemmings

October 31st – The Haunting Of Harold Hemmings

Harold Hemmings hated Halloween.

To be fair, he hated a lot of things, but Halloween always seemed the worst. American, he used to say, whenever the subject came up. ‘American nonsense’, or something stronger, depending on who he was taking to. Harold Hemmings didn’t talk to too many people, and even fewer wanted to talk to him.

If he had anywhere to go, Harold Hemmings would have gone out, but he didn’t have anywhere to go, and he wasn’t going to walk the streets, so he was in, alone, sitting in his armchair in front to the television, on Halloween. The only light was the light in the back room. The rest of the house was in darkness. Harold Hemmings wasn’t going to open the door.

As the night drew on, he remained untroubled. No one knocked on his already darkened door. ‘Trick or Treat’ was unheard. Harold Hemmings relaxed a little into his chair.

One thump on the door. Slow, and heavy, and hard: a large hand.

Harold Hemmings ignored it.

Another. Slow, and heavy, and hard. And then another.

Harold Hemmings ignored them both.

Another. And another. And another, louder, growing in intensity.

Harold Hemmings had had enough. He got out of his chair and stormed to the front door, fully intending to give whoever was disturbing him a piece of his mind.

In front of a flickering fire, Harold Hemmings’s armchair grew slowly colder. The front door swung loosely on its hinges. The street was quiet, and dark, and cold.

And the street was empty.

The Haunting of Harold Hemmings

He wouldn’t let it lie. He could have let it lie, but he wouldn’t let it lie.

He should have let it lie. He might have let it lie, but he didn’t let it lie.

A scab. A scab that was spread over the inflamed, red, angry, soft flesh of skin knitting to skin, the magic of invisible antibodies and plasma and reconstructing cells building walls and carrying on their pre-programmed business, beavering away. The temperature of the area of flesh was heightened, betraying the furious action going on underneath, the itch another symptom as the nerves transferred to the brain the knowledge of furious action, repairing and fixing and mending. Things were being made better, beneath the surface. But on the surface, it was a scab. An ugly scab, yellow and brown and dry blood black and even, around the edge, a hint of pustulous green. Its surface was uneven, misshapen and irregular. It sat over the healing, a mockery of the fine and natural processes going on underneath. And it was strangely stiff, unyielding like a carapace, but this was unnatural. The very fact that the scab was hard and nasty meant that it could not flex with the skin beneath, and this mismatch was what made it irresistable to the touch.

Time and again his hand went back to the scab, picking it, rubbing it, moving it from side to side and feeling the unpleasant hot itch-pain of the tug on the damage that was hidden.

He wouldn’t let it lie.


The Haunting of Harold Hemmings

To write for exactly, and only, ten minutes every day, as exercise. Helped by daily prompts by “M“. Today I wrote from 14:02 to 14:12 with the prompt …..

The Haunting of Harold Hemmings

Waking up again. Another morning, another day. The initial trained burst of optimism, “Today will be good; I will have a good day” is soon gone; evaporated quicker than the purest alcohol, the alcohol Harold has eschewed now for so many years.

Thoughts. The thoughts come.

He lets one or two in, I can handle these, I can think about this, surely? After all this time. And briefly he feels he can. By the time his feet are on the floor, however, he is licking over these painful thoughts as one might flick one’s tongue against a rotten tooth; yes the pain is still there.

In the shower it is all he can think of. “Why? Why? Why?” a million times the same questions, the same hard rock of the same answers, the same circle.

Harold Hemmings cannot recall the taste of morning tea without fresh tears in it. By the time he leaves the house he is on the floor. His head is stretching to hold all these circular never-ending miseries in them. Time will help, yet his haunted head continues to ache and burst at the seams as he never can seem to lay these things to rest. He never can exorcise the disappointments, the humiliations, the pain and the despair.

Finally at the end of the day – a good day, his brain was only on fire for most of it – he takes his pills and he can sleep. The haunting nightmares will not begin again until morning.

My other writings are on Dead Deer Blog.

The Brink of the Link

At the Brink of The Link

He had been making his way slowly all day. Anyone watching might have thought that he was stationary, so slow was his progress. The weather was that “inside a cloud” level of general Lakeland moistness that would probably show up as ‘95% humidity’ on the Met Office website, and although it wasn’t exactly raining, or even drizzling, there was no doubt that he had become absolutely sopping, wringing wet.

His equipment was top notch, reflecting hours spent over winter evenings checking YouTube reviews of different brands, all with the same arse-clenchingly annoying music behind them, as people with the charisma of a ‘salesman of the month from a very small region of the country for a very large retail chain’ talked through the pros and cons of different items, always addressing the viewer as ‘guys’, with that weird not-really-mid-Atlantic-but-what-do-you-call-bland-tv-americanisms voice, with ubiquitous Australian Question Intonation? At the end of the sentences?

Anyway, the gear was the best he could find. He always held out some hope that the promises of at least a small branch of capitalism might hold some water. Literally, in the case of his Goretex (TM) jacket. And yet, with the effort that he had put into the morning’s ascent, sweat had poured from him and filled the jacket, condensing and running back down his sleeves to soak his technical under-layers. Wick as they might, wicketty-woo as they were, they were drenched. But now, he had another problem.

The sweat was pouring from him in torrents, and he was clinging from his fingertips at full extension, his feet similarly on a tiny ledge below him. His harness should theoretically keep him safe, as his line was clipped through a piece of safety off to the left, but he had been unable to make any further progress. And now, he could see that the rope was hanging in the gate of the carabiner, unable to take the weight of his fall.

AT THE BRINK OF THE LINK-30th October 1:45 – 1:55

My blood was pumping,                                              My heart was thumping,                                           I didn’t know what to do,                                          and I really needed a poo,                                          time was running out,                                                 oh, the things I was thinking about,                          I had 60 seconds to live,                                               my life was a real bizz,                                                   at the brink of the link.

Oct 30th – At the Brink of the Link

Oct 30th – At the Brink of the Link


Daphne was due to give birth. And she was worried. As much as she could be, not having much concept of the idea of ‘worry’, but she was about as worried as she could be, given the circumstances.

If she was still alive, Daphne would be roughly 2.1 million years old. But she isn’t, so there’s nothing really to worry about on that score. And it’s also highly unlikely that ‘Daphne’ was her real name, or that she had any concept of names, either. But we’ll call her Daphne, just to make it easier.

Daphne was an Australopithecus. And Daphne was worried.

If she had any concept of time, Daphne would have known that it was about 8 months ago that the strange one came into their territory. The strange one, with his strange looks and his strange fur and his strange way of smiling that caught her eye.

He led, and she followed. And about 8 months later, here she is.

The others know what’s happening, even if they don’t know about the strange one’s role in all of this. He didn’t last long, the strange one. He was just a bit, well…strange. They’d driven him off with stones, and wood, and they never saw him again.

If Daphne knew about contractions, she’d know they were starting. She knew something was starting, but she had not given birth before, so this was all new. The others knew, though. The other females were around, and the children were excited, and the males… Well, the males were just being males. They knew their place.

Daphne sat down for a while, then walked around, then sat again. She could feel it moving inside her, feel it wanting to come out. Her child. Her first.

What Daphne didn’t know, what none of them knew, was that Daphne’s child wasn’t going to be like them. Because Daphne’s child was not Australopithecus, like them, but something very different. In a little under half an hour’s time, Daphne was going to give birth to the first, the very first, Homo Habilis.

Daphne stood at the brink of The Link.

At The Brink Of The Link

To write for exactly, and only, ten minutes every day, as exercise. Helped by daily prompts by “M“. I wrote from 09:54 to 10:04 and today’s prompt is…..

At The Brink Of The Link

It was a strange time, I sometimes can’t quite believe I did it. of course I’m delighted I did, I wish I could remember how I was back then, who I was. It seems so unlike me now to decide to do that, and to do it.

But I did, and for some decades it appeared to be the best decision I ever made. Off I went, a bit into the unknown, but I guess I did know, we knew, and it worked. It worked so well, for so long, so many years. But still I wish I could recapture that sense, that strength, that spirit I had as I stood, all those years ago, at the beginning, just that step I needed at the brink of a link.

I took it and built that first link, and between us we built another and another, yet more links, a long continuous chain, a chain so strong it was unbreakable. The chain of my life, all I had to show for so many years, all I wanted to have from life. And in my mind’s eye yet more links stretching forever into the future. A long unbroken chain.

But it seems the more recent links have been weaker, I didn’t see it, in my foolish way, looking far back along the chain I can also see so many old links have begun to rust, have rusted even. what happened to our beautiful, essential, inevitable, endless chain?

And now here I sit; once more at the brink of a link.

If you enjoyed this you might like my Dead Deer Blog. I do.   And this prompt inspired this post there.