I Am Not A Well Person

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Mental health is an odd thing. For some time I ignored it unti leventually that wasn’t an option anymore.

“I Am Not A Well Person” is a collection of short stories inspired by my exploration of my mind. From tales created from my paranoia to the nighttime journey through a galery and conversing with a living statue, everything in this collection comes straight from the heart.

Also included is my debut novella “The Valley of Death”, the story of a man who deserves his fate.

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Cut from an early draft of “Ferris Wheels”

1895

She hadn’t been in the town long. No money, no family, but the influx of tourists and travelling performers eager for something resembling the faintest of home comforts provided her with an opportunity to sell the one thing she had to her name.

She usually waited in the tunnel at the entrance to The Hall by the Sea, dressed in her finest, hoping to catch the hungry eye of revellers leaving the dance hall. They were the ones with money, but so often they were in a hurry to the pub, or had made some other arrangements for the night.

An hour after the visitors left was when she normally made her money, when the smaller group of travelling performers and sideshow operators would leave the park to explore their home for the next month. They were the ones who knew how to drive a bargain, and she was in no position to turn down even their offensively meagre offerings. She couldn’t handle another night in the cold.

As the gathering of performers slugged past her, she saw Gus, an old regular. Gus was on a small rotation, frequently returning to the same sites a few times a year. He was a large man, standing at just under seven foot tall, a veritable mountain with a slight anger, burning under the surface, at being named Gus. He was no gentle giant, to be sure, Gus was a brute. Disrespectful and not prone to bedroom acts of tenderness, but his money was as good as any.

Gus must’ve known she’d be there, as he was not walking with the group but rather, making a beeline towards her.

“Let’s go” he grunted at her, grabbing her roughly by the wrist, his gigantic hands encircling her arm, making her feel doll-like and delicate.

He led her, almost dragged her back towards the park entrance, and then glanced around. Spotting the service road to the side, darkly shadowed, only to be used for deliveries to the park; he lurched towards it, almost pulling her shoulder out as he moved with such colossal steps she could hardly keep pace.

Once they’d walked a certain way down the muddy road, he let go and turned around. She was used to this kind of behaviour, as well as the public predilections of some patrons, and as soon as she caught her balance from the abrupt stop she began her usually sales banter.

She’d scarcely let out a greeting when he advanced on her, towering over her with rage in his eyes. He raised an arm, covering her mouth with his meaty paw and squeezed.

She’d been raped before and wasn’t about to let it happen again, kicking at his shins with the heel of her shoes. He didn’t react, just continued to stare, choking her tightly.

Her vision grew faint and her kicking began to wane, until she was just about able raise her foot. Slumping, her eyes went black and she fell forwards, into the vice grip and the looming darkness.

The Valley of Death

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Jeremiah Roberts is not a nice person, behind him lie a string of ex-lovers, drugs and alcohol; all the trappings of a washed-up musician. Once on top of the world, now scraping a living by sponging off his housemate and playing in bars, his life takes a turn for the sinister after he meets a mysterious man-in-black. Otherworldy and powerful, the man-in-black offers Jeremiah a last chance to seek redemption, but will he take it or will Jeremiah find himself stalked by a being of inconceivable darkness. Neo-noir and magic meet in The Valley of Death, a part of “The Tales of Nomergate”. Inspired by the hidden stories of the author’s seaside hometown, Nomergate is a strange place. Magic hides around each corner, brewing away and infecting the lives of its residents. Accidental heroes are thrown into darkness as something evil waits for opportunity.

The Valley of Death was inspired from my own life in a seaside town that’s seen better days. Though it’s enjoying a new lease on life, it was not always such a positive place. Characters such as Jeremiah Roberts used to be commonplace. The Valley of Death takes place just as new life starts to take root, sending a washed-up musician through the streets to seek his wage every night in the small pubs, a distant cry from his previous life.

It would’ve been easy to make him likable, but the seeds of Jeremiah lay with some of the more morally bankrupt individuals of this town. Pursued by an otherworldly force, the reader may find themselves on Jeremiah’s side, hoping for his safety, if only he could stop being such an unremitting ass.

I didn’t see to write the tale of Jeremiah Roberts first. Truthfully, a novel has been slowly gestating on my desk for sometime but as I learned the roads and mythology of this twisted shadow of my home, I knew I needed to explore what happens to those who call this imaginary realm their home.

Nomergate continues to grow, it’s secrets revealing themselves slowly and bringing a magic of it’s own to my town as I walk through it. Buildings reveal hidden histories of skulduggery and murder, the history behind the tales claws its way to the surface and sometimes, the real life hints of evil bloom into something more at home in my writing than reality.