An anthology of short stories to be enjoyed on a dark and stormy night. In your imagination, conjure up the images of a long road, now the features of a clown: it's face, it's costume. Can you visualise a child with a gun? Now let the sleek forms of a powerful sports car come into view, along with a motorcycle, a heap of drugs and if you can feel it, heartbreak. Now you are experiencing The Thrill of the Chase!
Excerpt from STORMED:
The air tingled with the sounds and smells of people having a good time. The trees gave everything that woody smell and made the clearing seem a little sinister in the half-dark. Even the sting of flesh on flesh had hardly registered; had barely penetrated the drink and drugs haze that engulfed everyone and the heat made the beer and smoke seem all the more potent. The toppling lager cans didn’t matter. The broken stereo that the host kicked over didn’t matter. All that did matter was that the summer was going to last forever and we were all going to live forever. Even me.
That’s how I remember it starting – a party to celebrate the end of a school that half of us were expelled from before the end of the year. It was at my friends house but somehow had worked its’ way outside. Richie had a nice cabin in the woods where he lived with his parents and his new adopted sister. “Party?” he had asked one morning when we were ditching biology.
“All right.” And from that day on any parties were held at his house. It was just a thing we had in our gang – just like we always used my shed to play poker.
“Joey!” Rosie slapped me. “I don’t care how stoned you are, I’m not doing that!”
“Why not? You did it before.” I knew it was the wrong thing to say when she slapped me again, but I didn’t really feel it. Beer really takes the edge off. “I’m going, I’m going.” And I tried to go, honest I did – but my legs just gave out. Rosie ended up dragging me to the nearest tree and sitting on said legs anyway. “Rosie, I thought you just said –“
“I’m a girl. I change my mind.” I was barely sixteen and not about to argue. “Jesus, Joey, be quiet.”
I was back out in the heart of the party ten minutes later – I was sixteen – and treating my friends to my unique version of My Way. A very slurred and mostly made up version, but it was definitely unique. It was getting quite late so we all decided to call it a night, and people started drifting off to their homes. It was just after midnight and the crazy summer heat had finally died back down to double figures and a bit of a breeze was swirling the air up. Rosie left a few minutes later – when I started singing again, incidentally – so I gave her a wave and said I’d see her tomorrow, and Richie, me, Lucy and David were left cleaning up.
“Had a laugh, Luce?”
“Yeah, it’s been okay. Had to drag Rosie with me but I think she enjoyed it too.” She looked at me and I pretended I had no idea what she was talking about. She wouldn’t buy that crap. Like Richie, she’s known me since I was practically a foetus. WE were the Three Musketeers growing. Then David joined our primary and we were officially a gang. “How did we get through so much hash? How did we afford so much?”
For some reason, I looked up at a window and saw a white face there, holding a blue piece of cloth to its cheek and dressed in white. I actually thought it was a ghost for a minute and jumped out of my skin. Richie saw me jump and looked up too. “What?”
“W-w-window.” I truly did stammer. That’s such a pathetic thing to admit to but I have to tell it how it happened. “Ghost.”