Sample the Silence Once More

Every so often I try to introduce readers of this blog to my more serious fiction. It’s not exactly plentiful. Four books in total – and I haven’t written a new one in years. But oldies can be goldies – right? Right! And just to prove it, here is a sample from this book/e-book…

Although it was now over a year since disaster had struck across the entire globe, and reduced humanity to scattered remnants, we were still careful to walk at the side of the road, and be prepared to leap to safety on the verge or through a hedge. Few cars remained running – their owners eking out what remained of their precious fuel – but we weren’t surprised to hear the approach of an aging diesel engine.

Stepping onto the grassy verge we checked each other’s haversacks for signs of protruding semi-automatics. Of course, had there been a need for rapid deployment of self-defence weapons, we both carried Colonel Cosgrove-supplied Berreta 84Fs strapped to our ankles.   

Unsurprisingly a well-worn four-wheel-drive vehicle rounded the nearest corner. It was towing a small trailer upon which several straw bales were lashed expertly. I couldn’t help but notice that the vehicle was a Land Rover, and appeared to my eyes to be identical to the one in which Candice had sacrificed her life so that the rest of us could escape the clutches of Nigel Hawley and his private army. It even had the same fawn canvas cover on the rear bed. Even now I could still see that cover bursting off as the two hand grenades exploded inside the vehicle.

I must have made some sound at the recollection, because Tasman’s head snapped around to look at me.

“What is it?” He said nervously as his hand began to reach downwards towards his hidden Beretta.

I shook my head. “Nothing.” I said, “Don’t worry about me. Just concentrate on the driver; see if you can deduce his intentions.”

It was necessary for Tasman to relax in order to best use his telepathic powers. He shook his joints loose; closed his eyes; and breathed out slowly through his nose.

“I don’t get a name.” He said as the Land Rover laboured up the rise to where we stood, “But he comes across as non-belligerent. Ah, he’s a farmer’s son. Hmm – he seems to be having trouble keeping the farm going. Lack of staff, maybe. He could be eyeing us up as potential work-mates.”

“No thanks; done that; bought several T-shirts.” I replied. “Is he alone?”

Tasman nodded. Moments later the vehicle covered the final few metres.

“Here he comes.” I said out of the side of my mouth. “Big cheesy smiles.”

As the Land Rover pulled alongside us, we could barely hear the driver’s cheerful hail above the din of its clattering diesel engine.

“Hello, you two.” He shouted from the side window of the two-seat cabin, “You’re from yon farm along the way, aint ya?”

I raised an eyebrow at this; I was somewhat surprised that the young man of (I estimated) eighteen or nineteen was aware of us. We’d chosen a well-hidden spot in a shallow valley that was all but invisible from the road.

He must have read my mind because he tapped the side of his nose, winked, and said, “Spent all me life ‘round these parts: pays to know who the competition are – ‘specially during times of plague and pestilence.”

“Yes, I imagine so.” I said as I extended a hand towards him. “Felicity Goldsmith.”

“Graham Perkins.” He replied – cutting the engine, and taking my fingers in his huge, calloused hands. “It’s nice to meet someone’s what’s civilised for a change.”

I was surprised at the coarseness of his hands. They felt like those of a man three times his age that had spent a lifetime tilling the land.

‘A farmer’s son. I think I can trust this man.’

Tasman then introduced himself as Brian Wilkins. I was glad that Tasman had slipped in a pair of his contact lenses; explaining his oblong pupils would have been problematical.

“I hope you don’t mind,” Graham spoke to both of us, “but I’ve been keeping a bit of an eye on your farm. I figured everybody’d be here when I found Soverton empty a few months back.”

I nodded; it was from the village of Soverton that we’d recruited the members of our co-operative.

“If you don’t mind me saying,” Graham was continuing, “you could use a bit of expertise down there.”

Although I bristled inside, I said nothing to the older boy. I merely looked at him with what I hoped was an inquiring expression.

“Them winter crops in the lower field.” He went on, “You need to sow ‘em further up the slope.”

Tasman threw me a glance. I could read nothing into it, and so wished that he could have used his telepathy upon me.

“Would you be interested in joining our co-operative?” He asked the young farmer.

Graham pretended to pause for thought. “Well I wasn’t exactly planning on something quite so bold.” He replied eventually.

Tasman continued as though the other boy hadn’t spoken, “It’s just that Felicity and I have business elsewhere, and it’s…you know…”

It let his words trail off into nothingness.

Graham grinned. “And you’d like someone what knows what he’s doing to take over?” He said hopefully.

“Pretty much.” Tasman replied.

I was surprised at the sudden turn of events.

‘Hey, this isn’t part of the master plan!’

I was concerned that we were in the process of giving away the fruits of many week’s labour to a complete stranger.

‘But wait a moment, Fel: Tasman might be too polite to read your mind, but you can bet your last…whatever…that he’s read Graham’s. Now would be the perfect time for two-way silent communication between us.’

I tried ‘sending’ Tasman a thought, but I expected him to be too busy concentrating his attention upon Graham to even begin to ‘hear’ me.

“Is this boy the real deal?”

Tasman’s eyes flicked in my direction: I detected the minutest of nods.

Graham appeared to be prevaricating, though I was certain it was just an act.

“It’s not every day that a lad your age gets offered the manager’s job on a working farm, complete with live-in staff.” I pointed out to him.

Graham’s head tipped to one side slightly in agreement. He then added, “No, and it isn’t every day that world ends either.”

I wasn’t absolutely certain what he meant by that remark. Perhaps he had more work on his hands than he could deal with. Maybe running our farm as well as his own would be too much for him.

“Could you give me a tour?” He inquired.

Had he asked the question twenty-four hours earlier, Tasman would undoubtedly have agreed to his request: But today wasn’t yesterday. Although no one at the farm knew it yet, Tasman and I were Absent Without Leave. Or in Lee’s parlance, we’d ‘done a runner’. We couldn’t go back; it would require that we explain the reason for our departure, and then face all the arguments that would no doubt be intended to keep us there.

“Tell you what.” Tasman said, “You know where the turning to the farm is: If I write a quick note of introduction, you can find your own way there. Ask for Carl, and show it to him. He’ll gladly show you around. He knows the farm isn’t nearly as efficient as it should be, and could use some pointers. And if truth be known – we’re a little over-manned: Perhaps you could take a few kids back to your place?”

‘Brilliant!’

This must have been exactly what Graham had wanted to hear. “I accept your kind offer.” He said whilst shaking Tasman’s hand.

He then produced a dog-eared note pad and an almost blunt pencil from a cubbyhole in the dashboard of his Land Rover.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

Needless to say, this charming (and at times violent) e-book is available all over the place – see beneath the header, or on the sidebar, for some of the better-known outlets – and as a paperback at Lulu.com.

Advertisements

A Silence Concerning the ‘Silent’ Books

I can’t remember when I last posted an extract of my best work – that being these books…

So today I’m correcting that omission. Ladies and Gentlemen may I present an excerpt from Silent Resistance – a book I’m rather proud of…

It was only as we approached the last door in line along the corridor that I realized that I’d made a mistake. In my reality this final door opened into an office: here it led to a stairway. I could see the stairs as I dared take a quick peek through a small wired glass window set into the door. In that nervous glance I’d also noticed something else: a shotgun booby trap much like the one upon the floor below. I informed the others about the situation.

“Great.” Shane said in her most sarcastic manner, “So how are we supposed to get at him now?

“We don’t.” Dainam answered her question. “We make him come to us.”

Leaving Shane and Killer to keep watch upon the door to the upper floor, Dainam and I returned to the lower level where he’d noticed various cupboards, filing cabinets, and drawers. After a couple of minutes searching through them Dainam came up trumps. He brandished a plastic box containing a set of screwdrivers.

‘Seek and ye shall find.’

Returning to the next floor we propped a table from one of the offices against the door to the stair so that it couldn’t move outward. Then using the screwdrivers Dainam and I set about the screws that held the door hinges in place.

The screws had been wound into the timber frame many decades past – probably by burly builders, and for several minutes neither of us could make much headway with the task; but we stuck at it – often cursing as we whacked our knuckles each time the screwdrivers slipped. But fifteen sweat-inducing minutes later we had unfastened all of them, and now only the office table held the door in situ. Shane then tied a length of electrical cable to one of the table legs, and holding the other end of the cable in her free hand she retreated to where Dainam, Killer, and I waited in the relative safety of the adjacent room.

As she backed into our temporary sanctuary she said, “Ready?”

I nodded, and she yanked firmly upon the cable. This in turn twisted the table away from the door, which allowed it to fall outwards into the corridor – pulling with it a length of string that was attached to the shotgun trigger as it did so.The double blast of both barrels in such a confined space almost deafened us, and sent us reeling further into the office to escape the cloud of dust and smoke that suddenly filled every available space. Fortunately the blast destroyed the exterior window – sending an avalanche of splintered glass out into the bus park, where it fell to the tarmac surface below. This had the effect of venting some of the smoke and dust, for which we were most grateful; but it was still very difficult to see in the murk and gloom of the grey autumn day. As we emerged into the blasted corridor we all heard the clatter of feet descending the stair. The next second I realized that we were not alone as a dark shape passed between me and the feeble light that the ruined window allowed in. Whether he saw me I don’t know, but I was taking no chances. I lashed out at his head with the butt of my MP7. It wasn’t a telling blow, but it made the booby-trapper stumble. Dainam released Killer, and in bound from a standing start she brought the person crashing down, and pinned him face-down among the debris. The dust continued to dissipate, and as Shane disarmed him, it was obvious that he was an adult. He was also unconscious – or at least pretending to be. A quick check of his eyes, and I kicked him in the stomach for good measure. He wasn’t acting.

“He’s out cold.” I said as Dainam pulled Killer away.

“If he’s not, I’ll set Killer on him again.” Dainam replied.

“Say that again – in Espeeg.” Shane suggested.

Dainam did so, but the Espeeg failed to respond.

“You’re right, Fel.” She said. “He’s out cold.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

These books are available in e-book and paperback. Click here to see the better-known outlets.

Return to Hamster Britain!

Yes, it’s time for another Hamster-Sapiens extract. On this particular occasion I’ve selected a sample of this fabulous tome…

Wendy stood atop a single raised dais in the centre of the dell. She took a deep breath in preparation for her opening speech, but quickly released it when she noticed a knot of small boys seated upon the ground beneath the dais. They appeared to be trying to look up her skirt. Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t have been a complete disaster for the public servant, but tonight a certain situation existed whereby she must avoid such scrutiny: She’d planned to get herself thoroughly rogered during the intermission by her mysterious new personal assistant from Darkest Jungle Land – Plops M’Banjo – and had decided to circumvent his heavy-pawed attempts to relieve her of her under garments by leaving them in her knickers drawer at home. Now she’d spotted that one of the small boys held a compact camera and a cardboard periscope in his paws, and her plans lay in ruins.

“I say.” She called across to P C Chest, who was busy chatting animatedly with his girlfriend, Amy Crumpet, “Can you have these ruffians removed?”

It was an inauspicious start: Hamsters were generally very fond of their younglings, and since time immemorial the young boys of the town had sat at the feet of the mayor on Remembrance Thrudsday – or Danglydong Dell Diaries Day as it was more popularly known – and many of those nearest shifted uneasily upon their roughly hewn logs, and cursed quietly under their breath. Some went so far as to spit. And someone who looked suspiciously like the recently removed mayor – the disgraced Chester Bogbreath in disguise – broke wind forthrightly.

Wendy quickly caught the mood with her sensitive snout, and like the brilliant politician she was, intuitively altered tack. “Indeed, Constable.” She added, “Take the little darlings for a ride in the mayoral limousine. I’m sure that they’ll enjoy a quick thrash across the field, down the lane, and around Farmer Jacksey’s motocross circuit, followed by a motion sickness-induced vomiting session. It’s much more interesting than listening to my boring old oratory.”

Of course she was correct, and within moments the youngsters had scarpered, and she was able to relax and begin again – only this time properly…

“Fine upstanding citizens of Hamster Heath,” she boomed in a voice that was remarkably free from the usual shrillness commonly found in female hamsters, “once again we find ourselves seated within the hallowed earthworks of Danglydong Dell – to hear the personal stories of this year’s chosen town-folk. In keeping with tradition, those who have received the most votes from the town council Diaries Commission will be invited to stand upon this dais, and read an especially prepared extract from their personal diary. Naturally, as is the way of rodents in general, and hamsters in particular, each entry will have been ghost-written into third person narrative by our guest author; and will read much as a piece of fiction would – rather than egocentric, me-me-me, self-aggrandisement. After all,” she chuckled, “we wouldn’t want to bore ourselves silly with dull, tedious, prose written by complete amateurs, would we!”

“Who’s the guest ghost-writer this year?” Bootsie – the retired former town police constable – bellowed from somewhere at the back.

A shadow crossed the face of the mayoress. She was well aware that almost everyone present was expecting her to reply to Bootsie’s question with the answer ‘Granny Arseblower’. But she had bad news for them, and she prayed that her reply wouldn’t make them turn ugly. She didn’t do’ ugly’ very well, and usually resorted to violence when confronted by it in private. But this was a very public affair, and she knew that she would have to maintain a modicum of decorum.

“Well obviously we would have loved to have Granny Arseblower be our ghost-writer again this year.” She began positively, but quickly lowered her tone, “But unfortunately the town Medium – Molly Horseblanket – discovered too late that her magic whoopee cushion had perished during the summer heat wave, and all attempts to contact the spirit of her forebear using a Ouija board failed miserably. Fortunately we were able to contact the late, and very famous, Freda Bludgeon at the eleventh hour to help us out.”

She chanced a toothy grin at the assembled horde. There were a few weak smiles in response, which boosted her confidence considerably. She was about to continue when she was rudely interrupted

“Freda Bludgeon?” The less than feminine voice of Farmer Niblet from the Farm Workers and Associated Dung Flingers section exclaimed. “She was an old hack. Couldn’t write for nuts. All her novels were re-writes of earlier stories. Why – she was such a shit writer that she took up farming. I should know – I’m one of her descendants, and I can’t string three words together what make sense to some one.”

Wendy ground her incisors together for several seconds before replying. But when she spoke it was with succinctness and utter authority.

“Tough shit, Farmer Niblet: It’s either Freda Bludgeon’s work – or the evening is cancelled.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

 

Re-Blog: Preparing to Dash Through a Forest of Triffids

I first posted this a handful of years past. Having discovered it among the older files, here it is again…

Thank you, John Wyndham, for the inspiration.

triffids

Had I not read the works of the aforementioned, I would never have written Silent Apocalypse.

Annotation: Strange that, at the time, I didn’t add the cover photo. Not feeling particularly mercenary, I guess. Maybe I’d sold a couple of copies that week. Well I don’t have that luxury now: let’s put that right!

And just for good measure…the sequel!

Well, Will I Do This Again?

The ‘this’ to which the title refers is writing. Sure the sentences between the photos in my Earplug Adventures is ‘writing’: but it isn’t proper writing. Proper writing is when the author describes the scene. Proper writing is the sort of stuff I used to live for. The sort of stuff I used to dream that (one day) I’d be really good at. The sort of stuff that comprised these four books…

The sort of stuff that looks exactly like this…

An extract from Silent Apocalypse.

Horse knew the way to our destination. Without any input from Driver, he turned across the road. By dawn’s early light we could make out the shape of a service station. Weeds grew through the cracks in the concrete, and rust had rotted the pumps. It had obviously been abandoned long before the plague had struck. Driver pulled us up in front of a plate glass window that had become opaque with dust and grime. The remainder of the building was coated with neglect also, and at some time a graffiti artist had immortalized himself. All in all this was a place that no one in their right mind would give a second glance. It was because of this very reason that the building had been selected. But that was something we were to learn later. An up-and-over door rattled open. Before us stood our man in black or at least someone who looked very much like him. Their isolation suits made each of them indistinguishable. Only body language could tell them apart. He beckoned us from the Crag Bus. I looked at Driver. He nodded.

We disembarked. Taking instructions from our mystery-man, we hurried into the dark recesses of the service station. I turned to watch him return to the Crag Bus. For some reason the acoustics of the building allowed me to catch their conversation. Driver leaned forward to best see the other man:  “Cosgrove, is it?”

The man, whom Driver referred to as Cosgrove (and quite clearly hailing from somewhere in North America), spoke without preamble:  “We’re not exactly packing them like sardines.”

“Can’t help that.” Driver replied flatly.

“It’s not like we have unlimited time…” Cosgrove spoke as though this was a well-worn conversational path.

“P’raps if you made them Whispers of yours easier to understand…” Driver suggested.

“Whispers, is it?” Cosgrove might have been amused if he hadn’t been so worried about something, “That’s a new one. No, we can’t make the message any clearer. We can’t take every urchin we find. We have to be selective – you know that. Only the brightest and the best…”

Driver finished his line for him. Obviously he had heard it many times before: “Only them what can decipher the hidden message. Yeah, I know. Aint too sure I agree with it: we could missin’ an awful lot of good’ uns.”

Cosgrove appeared weary. Perhaps this made him reply snappishly: “You don’t have to agree with it: Just do your job.” Instantly he regretted the outburst, though Driver appeared to take no offence. “I’m sorry, old-timer. Forget that. You’re a brave man. We owe you a hell of a lot.”

“You don’t have to go payin’ me compliments: It aint no bother. You’re the brave  ones so far as I’m concerned: I don’t need one of them isolation suits. But you…if you get just one nick in it…”

He left the suggestion hanging. Obviously it meant death-by-virus. Cosgrove clearly was a brave man.

“Well you’ve brought us another six: That’s six more than yesterday. If I get a little unreasonable once in a while, you’ll forgive, won’t you?”

Driver took up his reigns, “I’ll forgive you anything ‘cept failure.”

Cosgrove gave Driver a long, lazy salute. “I won’t fail. Our future depends upon it.”

Driver gave him a wink. Horse then turned the Crag Bus around, and they disappeared into the dawn mist.

Cosgrove quickly made his way to us – sliding the door closed behind us. Electric lights came on. We were all taken by surprise at the cleanliness of the buildings’ interior.

“Kids.” He said, (I hated the term) “Follow me.”

Without a word from any of us, we followed him to a door, which for all the world resembled an airlock. It hissed open, and we entered behind him. I felt a little trepidation run up my spine as it closed behind us once more. There were two small doors opposite.

“Right,” said Cosgrove, “I’m going to take the left-hand door: You take the right. One at a time, please.”

Then without another word Cosgrove promptly disappeared, as promised, through the left hand door. We all looked at each other. No one seemed eager to take the first step.

Lee put it into words. “Hey, we’ve come this far together: I aint too keen on breaking up our little team.”

“Yeah,” Wayne agreed, “Why should we separate? I say we all go through together.”

‘Is it camaraderie? Or are we just frightened kids who’ve been whistling into the dark for too long?’

We strode to the door as one. Donald pushed a green coloured button, just as he’d observed Cosgrove do. A lock was heard to ‘clonk’ open. He pushed upon the door. It swung silently open upon well-oiled hinges. Inside was a small room, not unlike an elevator. It was just large enough for us to pack ourselves in with a little room to spare. There was yet another door leading to somewhere else. The door through which had entered closed. The ‘clonk’ was heard again. Locked in. I didn’t like it.

“Thank you.” An electronic voice spoke, “Now please remove all of your clothing.”

Everyone erupted with varying degrees of colourful expletives. Unfazed, the voice repeated its instruction. It then added, “Decontamination will begin in one minute.” Now it dawned on us why Cosgrove had wanted us to go through one at a time. Donald tried the door, but there was no green button to press. In fact there were no controls of any kind. This was a one-way door!

“P’raps we could be decontaminated with our clothes on.” Lee said in desperation.

“Perhaps if we hammer on the door.” Katherine suggested.

I looked from one to the other several times. “Which door?”

“Both.” Wayne yelled.

Three to a door, we began hammering upon the hard metal, and shouting at the top of our voices. The electronic voice informed us that we had thirty seconds to prepare. At ten it began a countdown. When it reached zero we heard the now familiar ‘clonk’. Donald dared push at the door. It swung open into the ‘storeroom’, where Cosgrove stood waiting for us. It was difficult to make out his face behind the mask, but his eyes told us that he was not best pleased.

“Now that was a painless lesson about doing what you’re told, when you’re told. Ignore me again, and the next time it’ll be a whole lot less agreeable. Now go through one at a time.” He emphasized this last line. With that he re-entered his own door.

We shuffled about awkwardly for a moment or two. Finally Kevin made a decision, and approached the door.

“Need a bath anyway.” He said as he entered the room. “Bye.”

The door closed on his cheerful wave.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

A rather inactive excerpt, I think you’ll agree; but you can’t expect to have action-action-marvel-mystery-and melancholy at every turn – can you? No, of course not. By the way, this book, and those appearing above, are all available as paperbacks and e-books at Lulu.com; and as e-books at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and many other suppliers.

And to answer my question in the title of this post: God, I hope so!

 

Why Clive Thunderbolt isn’t Like Tooty Nolan

As, no doubt, you are well aware – being discerning (and hopefully regular) readers of this blog – Tooty Nolan is the writer of some very silly tales, be they Hamster-Fiction or Earplug Adventures. His alter-ego, Paul Trevor Nolan, writes family friendly science-fiction. But what about the third member of this story-telling triumvirate – Clive Thunderbolt? How does he differ to the other two? Well the name is vaguely silly, so perhaps he writes comedy. Nope: not intentionally anyway. Well what then? The answer lies beneath these two book covers. Take a look at an excerpt from both of them…

 

Captive Echo.

Wozniak kicked out several more boards that covered the bedroom window. Despite his certainty that he was no longer upon the world of his birth, he still needed some more visual proof. The absence of his estate car was sufficient. There was simply no way anyone could have taken it without his knowing: the alarm system he had fitted to it only two weeks previous was state of the art. The noise it emitted would have raised the dead.

Wozniak understood that the laws of inter-dimensional transference meant that everything Wozniak had brought with him to The Peaks had remained in his reality. All he had to wear outside were the pyjama bottoms he was currently wearing – and they would be of little use because they were of the simple cord fastening design, which left a huge gap in the fabric through which his penis had an habitual tendency to protrude when he walked around – which had amused Janice on more than one occasion. If he tried leaving the house in them, he felt certain that pretty soon he’d be arrested: and he didn’t want his first inter-dimensional trip to result in a charge of indecent exposure!

A quick search – and the bedroom gave up its secrets all too quickly. Every trace of clothing had been removed – along with personal effects. But oddly a radio had been left behind. He switched it on. Silence followed, and remained in situ until Wozniak recognized the problem as a lack of power. Rather belatedly he tried the light switch. As expected there was no response. Taking a deep breath with which he hoped to steel himself, he opened the door beside the light switch and peered out into a dusty corridor. The house, it appeared, was an exact duplicate of his rented accommodation. Even in the dimness caused by the boarded windows, Wozniak had no difficulties negotiation the interior. A few careful steps down the stairway into the hall, and his hands found the small door that opened on to the power breaker. Feeling about in the darkness he pushed all of the levers upward. Immediately he could hear music playing in ‘his’ room, from which a light shone into the landing above.

When he re-entered the bedroom, the music was coming to an end. It was followed by a man who introduced himself as Bob Collet.

“Well fellow Brambledownians,’ Bob said, “Old Bob figured you might be wanting to know what’s going on over at Wycksford today.”

Wozniak’s ears pricked up at the mention of the scientific community. He thought back to the words of Len Peters the night before: surely it was no coincidence that he’d arrived here when it appeared that not all within Wycksford’s garden was rosy.

Collet continued, “Droxfield leader – Kev Winterbottom – has reiterated his demands. That means he’s said ‘em again. Apparently Wycksford Scientific Community must hand over all their hardware – and data pertinent to it – to the Droxfield Militia. Well the stuff that’s less than three years old anyway. If they don’t, he says, he’s gonna let the militia loose on ‘em, and that they’d be sorry that they’d pissed him off. I spoke to the Droxfield Militia boss – that tosspot Nigel Horn – on the ‘phone last night. Here’s a recording of what he had to say.”

Another man, his voice far less rural, spoke. But where Collet’s tone had been warm and possibly rather innocent-sounding; in Horn’s voice there was an edge of threat that was clearly calculated to frighten those listening. His words backed up this impression…

“We aint changed our stance.” He began belligerently. “They got ‘til noon tomorrow, then we go in and take it ourselves. Then, whether they like it not – they’re out. Out on their fucking ears. We’re pullin’ the whole place down. It’s as simple as that. We aint gonna have none of them Scientific Communities anywhere near where we live!”

He then tried to appear more reasonable – hoping to appeal to the listeners as logical, sensible people. Easing back on the belligerence he added:

“I mean – think about it: who’s gonna want dangerous experiments going on in their back yard? No one with more than half a brain, that’s what I reckon. Anyone remember what happened a year ago? Experiments getting out of control, and going haywire, that’s what. For a while everyone thought that the world was coming to an end. I shit my pants, I did – and I don’t mind admitting it. And I bet that I wasn’t alone.”

Wozniak was grimly amused at both men’s verbal style. If only his local radio station spoke so freely…

Collet’s voice interrupted:

“Well that may be true, Nige; but why have you waited until now to make your demands? What was wrong with a year ago?”

“We had to study the situation.” Horn replied – if a little uncertainly. “We didn’t want to go off half-cocked. You can’t go accusing communities of bad stuff without proper proof.”

Collet taxed him further:

“So it had nothing to do with Peter Wozniak defecting to Droxfield, then?”

At the mention of his name, Wozniak turned the volume higher – before dropping on to the bed to listen in comparative comfort.

Horn’s tone hardened once more:

“I don’t like suggestions like that, Collet.” Horn almost growled. “We were studying the situation – like I said. Wozniak didn’t defect: he was always working for us. He knew things were dodgy over there. Well then he put us right; and now we’re gonna do what we have to do.”

“Central Liaison aint gonna be too happy about one community having a go at its neighbour.” Collet – it seemed to Wozniak at least – appeared to be arguing for the majority of sensible people who might be listening. “Have you spoken to ‘em about it? Made a formal complaint?”

“You know we fucking haven’t.”  Horn snapped back. “Central Liaison do just that: they liaise between all the communities of the Federated Shires of England. They don’t tell no one what to do. They aint got no teeth neither. And I’ll tell you something else, Bob Collet: I don’t like your line of questioning, or the tone of your voice. To my way of thinking, you Brambledownians have been pretty chummy with Wycksford for too long. Now wouldn’t it be a crying shame if some clever sod over there started thinking he could poke his nose into our affairs. You’d better tell your listeners this, Collet: if we go in – they’ll be no such thing as a non-com. Any Brambledownians we find there won’t get treated no different from Wycksford types. You’d better believe it. So stick that in your pipe, and smoke it!”

Not really Tooty kind of stuff at all. Check out this…

Present Imperfect

Tom and Peter Wozniak had an uncomfortable walk back from the orchard to the house. Both spent the entire traverse warily looking over their shoulders. Now as they approached the kitchen door they finally began to relax. Something about the sturdily built house made them both feel that it offered some form of sanctuary from the dangers of the world outside.

Wozniak hadn’t spotted his fiancée through the kitchen window so he called her name as he entered the room. His words were met by silence.

Tom followed Wozniak in.

“Probably gone for a pee.” He suggested.

Wozniak wasn’t concerned: his brother’s suggestion was a good one. In fact there were any number of rooms throughout the large edifice in which she would fail to hear his call. Then he stopped short at the sight of Janice’s torn blouse as it lay across the breakfast table. For a moment his heart seemed to stop. Fear welled up inside him like it had never done before. He knew with utter certainty that something terrible had happened to Janice. He searched the large room with his eyes. But it was Tom who bent down to pick up the unclipped bra from beneath one of the chairs.

Not yet aware of the blouse, Tom said:

“Jan taken to letting her baps loose during daylight hours has she?”

Wozniak grabbed up the blouse. He showed it to Tom – who in turn offered up the bra. A look of dread crossed both men’s handsome features.

“Jan!” Wozniak roared.

Tom grabbed him by the shoulders.

“Let’s not jump to conclusions, Pete.” He spoke firmly as his brother tried to shrug off his powerful grip. “Rational head on. Calm down and think: if she’s hurt – where is she likely to go?”

Wozniak’s flicked his eyes this way and that as he fought down the panic that threatened to overwhelm him.

“Oh my God, Tom.” He managed. “I had no idea how much I loved her until this moment. The bathroom: she’d go to the bathroom. Yes, I think that’s what she’d do. She keeps all sorts of stuff in there.”

“En suite or family?” Tom pressed.

“Ah, both.” Wozniak spoke as he turned for the door that led to the stairs. “You take the en suite: I’ll take the family.”

It was Tom who found Janice. As Wozniak had blundered into an empty family bathroom, Tom had entered the bedroom in something of an apologetic manner. He wasn’t entirely convinced that Janice was in any real trouble, and he wanted to avoid the resulting embarrassment to both of them if he caught her changing. He’d knocked politely, waited a couple of seconds, and pushed the door open slowly. His first view as the gap between the door and the doorframe widened was Janice’s bare legs upon the bed. He’d paused, and whispered her name. When she hadn’t replied he pushed it a little farther, and was duly shocked – not by her total nakedness – but by the wheals and bruises that covered her still body.

“Peter.” He yelled in a voice an octave higher than was usual for him. “In here!”

Tom was loath to enter the bedroom that his brother shared with Janice. He was content to stand in the doorway, and watch from there as Wozniak maintained

Janice’s modesty by easing her legs together. He could see by the rise and fall of her chest that she was still alive. But the bite marks upon her breasts, and the presence of an almost colourless liquid spread across her thighs made it clear that she had been subjected to some sort of violent sexual assault.

Wozniak himself listened to her breathing for a moment. Satisfied that she was in no immediate danger he then proceeded to examine the marks upon her body.

“She’s going to be alright, isn’t she?” Tom asked from the door.

“As much as any rape victim can be.” Wozniak replied with an angry undertone.

Wozniak’s anger seemed to tear at his insides, but without a corporeal antagonist upon which to vent it he felt helpless and impotent.

“Shall I call a doctor?” Tom offered.

Wozniak was about to nod, when he paused.

Would Janice wish to see a doctor? Would she want this awful event to become common knowledge? And what would they tell the police in the subsequent investigation?

He needed time to think.

“Hang fire on that, Tom.” He said in the most kindly tone he could summon.

Any further conversation was thwarted as Janice’s eyes flicked open. It took a moment for her to recognise Wozniak, but when she did, a sleepy smile spread across her face.

Wozniak couldn’t recall a time when she had looked more beautiful.

“Howdy, pardner.” He smiled.

Janice remained slightly woozy, but she was able to raise a hand to beckon him closer. Wozniak, thinking that Janice wanted to say something, bent closer. Janice placed her hand upon the back of his neck, and drew him closer still. She then kissed him gently upon the lips. He smiled and returned her kiss.

“What was that for?” He asked quietly.

“Oh I don’t know.” She spoke dreamily. “Just for being you I suppose. You know I’ve just had the strangest dream…”

She stopped when she noticed several scratch marks upon her arm. She climbed further into wakefulness.

“How did I do that?” She inquired in a puzzled tone.

Then she looked down at her body, and total wakefulness returned like the rush of a tidal bore.

“Peter!” She cried out.

“It’s okay.” Wozniak tried to remain calm. “We’re both here with you. You’re safe now.”

“Both?” Janice looked around the room. She spotted Tom in the doorway, and quickly scrabbled together some bed linen to cover her nakedness. Then the pain of her wounds struck her, and she groaned. Beneath the cover she placed her free hand into her groin.

“Peter – what’s happened to me?” She said as her hand came away sticky.

Wozniak found it hard to find the words. In the end all he could do was tell her the truth.

“Jan, I’m sorry, my love, but you’ve been raped.”

A look of horror appeared upon Janice’s face. Heedless of the watching Tom she cast off the covers, and hugged Wozniak with all her strength.

From his vantage point Tom could now see bleeding nail marks upon Janice’s buttocks as she raised herself up in her desperation to hold on to Wozniak. He took two steps into the room, and pointed a wavering finger in the direction of her wounds.

“No.” She sobbed into Wozniak’s neck.

Wozniak could find no words now: the love of his life was attempting to escape into

denial; and he wasn’t about to refuse her that temporary release.

“No.” She repeated herself, but in a more assured voice.

Wozniak released his grip upon her bruised body as she reduced the urgency of her grasp upon him.

“No.” She said for a third time as she released Wozniak entirely; pulled herself away; and re-covered her body with the bed linen. “It wasn’t rape: I was a willing participant.”

Both men were rendered momentarily speechless. Wozniak drew himself upright, and looked down upon the woman who had surprised him so many times him in the past, but never like this.

“It’s like a dream.” Janice explained as she searched her errant memory. “No.” She corrected herself. “More like a fantasy: a wild sex-fantasy. I couldn’t help myself. All I wanted was you. I wanted pure, undiluted, no-holds-barred, sex – and nothing else.”

It took a few seconds for Wozniak’s mind to assimilate this. Then he knew exactly what Janice meant.

“Of course.” He breathed out loudly. “You were subjected to a super-pheromone! But unlike me you received a neat dose – undiluted by the passage of time and the soiled fabric of an old hiking coat.”

Janice began to cry.

“You forgive me, don’t you? Please say you do.”

“Forgive?” Wozniak sat beside her upon the bed, and wrapped her up in the bed linen once more. “There’s nothing to forgive. It wasn’t really you having sex with that …” He couldn’t find a descriptive term.

“Monster?” Tom offered.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

That’s why I choose a different name for different subjects. I wouldn’t want a child reading this sort of stuff. Remember: Tooty Nolan = Funny. Paul Trevor Nolan = Family friendly/YA. Clive Thunderbolt = Darker, more explicit and sometimes violent. A style for a wider range of tastes, I’d like to think.

Silence X Two

As a break from all my silliness, please try some samples of my sensible stuff – namely these…

Although I never intended to write these books for YA, I did write them with my teen-aged self in mind. I wanted to write stories that I would have enjoyed as a youth. So p’raps I did, after all – only sub-cobsciously. Anyway here they are – suitable for all ages…

Silent Apocalypse.

I stood atop the slightly wind-swept railway embankment. Looking back I could see three winding tracks cut by our quad bikes through the long grass of the adjacent field. They halted at the embankment. Below my friends awaited good news.

Using binoculars, I scanned through three hundred and sixty degrees. Not a movement could I see. Not a sign that man or beast existed. No smoke; no sounds; Nothing, but a constant silence. The land was empty. Upon a whim I placed an ear to the railway track. All I could hear was my own breathing.

‘And where there’s breath, there’s life. And where there’s life, there’s hope.’

I stood up, and waved.

“It’s all right:” I called to the others, “You can come up.”

With their pillions now dismounted, Kevin, Donald, and Lee were able to blast their mounts up the steep incline. Within seconds the quad bikes were positioned within the railway tracks – upon the sleepers that separated them unfortunately. It was hoped that their wheels would be run over whatever detritus had filled the hollows between the sleepers. We also hoped that it would be both firm and deep.

Katherine put it into words, “Railway sleepers do not a highway make. Ouch, ouch, ouch, and ouch.”

Once underway it was a case of ‘close your eyes and hang on for dear life’. Although our speed must have been modest at best– all four wheels were seldom on the ground at one time. It felt like we were attempting the land speed record down the side of Everest. Our teeth veritably rattled in our heads, and our eyes could barely focus. It was so ridiculous that I had to laugh.

I heard Katherine’s voice over the thudding of four-stroke engines, and the considerably louder rattles emanating from every other component of the sturdy vehicles as they threatened to disassemble themselves whilst on the move.

She shouted to Donald, “How fast are we going?”

He shouted back, “Don’t know: My eyes are blurred.”

And I knew from current experience that he wasn’t joking.

“Have we gone very far?” She called again.

“Oh, about a million miles.” Donald bellowed between bouts of handlebar wrestling.

“I’m sorry, Don,” Katherine yelled, “But I don’t think this is such a good idea after all: I have a terrible headache, and my posterior is quite numb.”

“That’s nothing:” Donald may have been joking, but I’m not certain, “I have a posterior-ache and my head’s gone numb!”

My chauffeur, Lee, chanced a look back at me. He shouted, “You know, one of these days we’ll look back at this, and laugh like bleedin’ drains!”

“No we won’t.” I was pretty certain of the veracity of my reply, “This will haunt us for all eternity.”

“It’s not quite that bad.” He shouted again.

“Yes it is.” I informed him forcefully – punching his shoulder with every word.

As lead vehicle it was our decision when the caravan stopped or deviated from its course. Lee spotted an unmanned road crossing just ahead.

“You’re right. Hang on.” He shouted – before swerving off of the track, and onto the narrow tarmacadam road, where he braked to a halt.

 The others followed. As they pulled alongside, their expressions showed undiluted gratitude.

Kevin summed it up when he said, “That was yukky!”

Katherine dismounted and stretched her legs.

 “Not that I’m ungrateful, or anything: but why have we stopped?”

“I thought I’d give the fluid in my brain-box a chance to settle.” Lee replied. Then to everybody, “Right – who votes we follow the railway now?

Not a solitary hand was raised.

Lee pointed toward a hill before it. The railway could be seen entering a tunnel through it.

“Unless somebody’s got a better idea, we’ll follow the track cross-country. Sounds’ good?”

All hands were raised simultaneously.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

It’s almost impossible to select excerpts from a sequel that doesn’t give away the plot of the original story. This is made all the more difficult when the excerpts are chosen at random. So, by necessity, the following snippet is all too brief. Sorry.

Silent Resistance

Karen had joined our triumvirate by the time, two hours later, when Shane entered carrying a tray of scalding hot coffee.

“Colin thought you egg-heads might need some brain-juice.” She said. “So where do we hit first?” She asked whilst scrutinising the vast scattering of notepad pages upon Cosgrove’s desk.

“Funny you should ask that, Shane,” I answered, “because I need an ally right now, and I think you’re just the girl to back me up.”

I swear her ears actually pricked up.

“Yeah?” She said with undisguised eagerness, “What’s all this about then?”

So I explained that I still wanted an answer to a question that had been niggling me since the day that Wayne had died so unnecessarily.

“Oh yeah, that one.” Shane said carelessly. “Why was an Espeeg hiding out in a bus station, and why’d he gone stark-raving bonkers?”

“Yes, that’s the one.” I said admiringly. “The others aren’t quite so keen to find out.”

“Yeah, you can count me in.” The diminutive girl said eagerly, “I’ll come with you. It’s about time I did something other than sitting around picking my nose.”

“Too much information!” Kylie wailed.

I hadn’t actually been seeking a side-kick on what was essentially a very secondary mission; but now that I had a volunteer I realised that it was probably a good idea to take someone along. Shane must have seen my reaction.

“When do we leave?” She asked as she dropped into a spare seat.

“No one said that anyone is going anywhere.” Karen said disapprovingly.

I chose not to hear the older, wiser girl.

“Well I’d like to finish my coffee before we go, if that’s okay.” I answered.

“Yes, that’s right.” Karen sniffed. “Ignore me completely. Ignore the voice of rationality.”

So Shane did as she had apparently been instructed. It was only when Tasman and Kylie also voiced their concerns that she responded with:

“Hey, maybe we should take Dainam along: after all he speaks the lingo which is more than we do.”

So it seemed that the decision had been made – in my favour.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

These books were actually written ten years apart. The former was polished somewhat and re-issued in 2014, following the completion of the latter. Both are available at most e-book suppliers. The paperbacks at Lulu.com (see side bar).