Times Like These

It’s been stupidly busy over the last couple of weeks. So many events, things in my personal life, work and to top it off it’s been painfully hot. I don’t do heat. I like the winter. Writing has been slow, but I am doing it. 2467 is coming along nicely. I can’t wait for people to read it. I know that’s going to be quite a way off. There’s still about 13/14 weeks of The Broken Pocket Watch to go.

I plan on releasing The Broken Pocket Watch as a book/ebook at some point, with further editing and corrections. I just wanted to release something and share my writing. I feel like I hold back too much. I have to force myself to release stuff, and hopefully people will like it and carry on reading.

Recently I bought 2 films on DVD, which is rare for me nowadays. I take too long to watch things that I own, so promised myself only to buy things I plan on watching that week. There was an offer at tesco so I picked up Resident Evil The Final Chapter (Which for some reason wasn’t on at the local cinema) and Rings (Which was on, but I couldn’t make it).

I love the Resident Evil series; games, books and even the films(Animated or live action). The Final Chapter was the worst addition to the entire franchise by a mile and a half. It was so poorly made. The whole film felt like a montage of action scenes with a few lines of exposition here and there to give it some context. Not good. There were a couple of scenes late in the film where I started to enjoy it, where the action slowed down, but other than that it was awful. It’s apparently getting a 6 movie reboot (So much for The Final Chapter), and I really have little hope. 6 more? seriously?

The first one was a really good action/horror movie. It was fun, and had a really decent soundtrack. I watched it recently and while it seems dated, I still enjoyed it. The second and third movies are decent as well. But that’s when they should have stopped making them. I carried on watching as they diminished in quality and will continue with whatever comes next.

Rings, however, was a nice surprise. The 3rd film in the American Ring series, and the first new addition in over a decade. While it’s not that fresh and doesn’t do anything too original or surprising, it’s a decent horror film. Especially when you look around at the complete garbage that is released almost daily. So many bad horror films, both small and big budget. I can’t remember the last horror film I actually enjoyed.

I’m thinking of writing a post at some point dedicated to music. I listen to music all the time. Currently the OKNOTOK remaster of Radiohead’s Ok Computer. I’ve recently been getting into a bunch of new (to me at least) bands, and want to talk about it. I don’t know how I’d do it, but I want to.

Thanks for reading,

Ashley

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The Broken Pocket Watch – Chapter Nine

Catch up with The Broken Pocket Watch HERE

 

I start the walk home straight away, feeling a spring in my step. The sun is setting in the winter’s sky, leaving a gloomy dark shade over everything. A stale chill in the air moves through me as I walk home, the clouds dark above me, looming. A harsh wind cuts through everything, but just for a second. It leaves quickly, making me realise how empty the streets are. People are already in there homes, the smell of cooking meats swirling out from the windows of most buildings. Bellowing smoke, racing out of the chimneys, joining with the sky and disappearing, escaping. The skip in my step brings me home quicker than normal, even though it’s probably a little later thanks to the teacher keeping me back.

Inside the shop, Dad is working on something by candle light again. Even though we are one of the only houses to have electricity he doesn’t use it. Prefers candles to overhead lights. I think the only reason he actually got it put in was to stop me from reading in the dark after the candle had burnt out. Something I know I shouldn’t do, but just can’t help it.

“Good evening, Ny. Good day at school?” he speaks without looking away from his clock.

“Yes it was okay. I got held back a little.”

“Fighting again? I hope you won this time,” he says, still in full concentration.

“I always win, that’s the way you taught me. But it’s not that. The teacher, Mrs Edina, she told me about the scholarship. It sounds similar to the one Mum did. She says that I can do it to. That I’m not that far off.”

My Dad actually pauses in his work, which is something I’ve never seen him do. He places his tools on the side, and looks up at me. Time seems to stop, he’s mad about something. I can tell. He’s never been this quiet for this length of time before. Maybe he thinks I want to abandon him, maybe he just doesn’t think I can do it. Maybe I can’t.

“That’s wonderful news,” he shouts, moving around the counter to hug me.

I’m shocked and don’t know what to say.

“You’re going to get out of this place,” he starts. “I can’t believe it, you’re just like you Mother. I suppose I shouldn’t really be surprised. Seriously, I’m really proud. How come you haven’t mentioned going for it before.”

“I wasn’t. I only found out such a thing existed when you mentioned it, and the she held me back, to tell me I seemed distracted, and that some of the teachers thought I could get this, and my name was going to get put forward to it. All I need to do is carry on.”

“Brilliant news. If your name gets through the first round, which it will, you have to fill out an application, and with you working here at the weekends. That’s going to help a lot. Even if it’s family, it shows responsibility.”

“Whoa, calm down a minute. I’m not going to be put forward until next year, my last year at school. Lets not get ahead of ourselves.”

“Sorry, but I just can’t help it.”

“Thank you?” I try being funny, but I’m really not.

“You’re just like your Mother. I can’t believe it. She would be so proud. Hey. If you actually do need any help filling anything out, which you won’t, then you could always just go back and ask her. She got accepted straight away, so you could just ask her for help.”

“I suppose, but that’s a bit weird isn’t it? Mum and daughter applying for university together at the same time, twenty five years apart. Not the normal way a family does things.”

“Who actually wants to be normal, really. You want to be mad, and different. I always thought you wanted space pirates from the hidden fifth moon of Mars to barge through that door at any time. That wouldn’t be normal though. Although you’d be safe,” he jumps as if he has a sword in his hand and points it at the door. “I’ll protect you.”

I can’t help but laugh. Always the same person.

“Not exactly.”

“The less hidden fourth moon? Those pirates are monsters why would you want them to come down. You’re on your own there, I don’t think I’d be able to do much.”

“Come on, not like that. But I could ask her for help at some point I suppose. But that’s not important right now, is it? Did you find those pictures?”

“That, I did,” he says while pretending to put his sword into its sheath.

He walks back around the counter, and moves the clock to one side. He’s so careful with it, as if it’s his fragile child. I almost want to knock his hand so it falls to the floor and crumbles to pieces. But I think we all know how well that will go down. I probably wouldn’t be looking at those pictures tonight, or any night soon for that matter. After he places the delicate treasure to one side, he grabs a small pile of photos and brings them to me. They’ve been sitting on the counter in plain view the whole time. He moves around to my side of the counter. I lean on the old wooden counter, that had stood in this place for more generations than I can count. Dad stands close next to me, so we can both see the pictures. The first one, is just of the three of us. He’s holding me, and my Mum just looks happy. I’m a baby in the picture. They both look so young and happy. Like nothing could stop them, and the whole world was perfect.

“This one was taken just after you were born. Just a couple of months after. Your grandparents on you Mum’s side, they wanted a picture we could all cherish of that moment. Probably the happiest time in my life.”

“You look so young there.”

I wait for some kind of sarcastic comment, about how he still looks young, or having troubled children ages you. But it doesn’t come, he just lingers on the photo, before putting it on the counter and showing me the next one. It’s my Mum and Dad, sitting on wooden chairs, in a room I’ve never seen before. They are both in conversation, and don’t seem to notice the photo was being taken at all.

“This is one of my favourites. This was taken, before you were born, at you Mum’s childhood house. One of the first time I ever went there. They live in a village on the other side of the Eastern City, we were just talking for hours, and her Dad just snapped this and didn’t mention it, the next time I visit, it’s sitting in a frame in your Mum’s bedroom.”

“Is the village still there? Do my family still live there.”

“I assume so, but I haven’t been there in years. I suppose you want to go. It’s somewhere I’ve been meaning to take you for years, but it’s just never been a good option, I’ve just pushed it back over and over again. And time moves fast, you’ll understand one day.”

“I’m not mad.”

“I know, I suppose I am. I should have given you more. A connection to your Mum. Not just avoided mentioning her.”

“I know it’s not easy. Believe me, I know.”

“Thanks.”

He moves that photo to the pile. The next one looks really old. The colour has either faded, or was never really there in the first place. There are two people standing side by side, that I’ve never seen before, and in the middle is a very young Mum. Probably younger than me now.

Are any of them still alive. I wonder. What could they tell me about my Mum. New stories, that I don’t need to go back and get involved in. I’m guessing these are her parents, they could tell me about her, maybe she was really naughty as a child, or even the opposite.

“Do we have a camera?” I ask. The question just popped into my head and blurt it out.

“No. These were all taken by her brother. Your Uncle. Mazwell. He studied photography in the Eastern City University, works in the City now for a magazine. Reasonably successful I hear.”

“Really? When was the last time you saw him?”

“Oh, years ago, shortly after we lost your Mum. I got on with him alright, just didn’t really keep in touch, but that’s life really. Even people you want to spend the rest of your life with, they get forgotten. Pushed to one side, or worse. There are so many people I used to be best friends with that I’ve forgotten about. Kinda sad if you think about it. I can only say, don’t get hung up on it. There is nothing we can do about it really. Maybe they forget too, and wouldn’t recognise you if you saw them on the street. Not that it’s really important. I actually knew Maz before I met your Mum. He covered an article about this place in the newspaper. He came here took a few pictures, and then I took him on the tour of the village. I can’t believe I forgot about that. He wanted to take pictures of the poor. Wanted to show the city what life is really like outside the walls. This is the poorest village on the wall. Nothing really came of it though. That was a really long time ago. I wonder if the story ever got published. Funny story really, years later when I was just about to get married to your Mum I was spending some time in her village and he walked in through the door. We spotted each other and couldn’t figure out why we were both their at the same time. Weird coincidence. I wonder what’s he’s really up to now.”

“Maybe we could find out, he can’t be that hard to find.”

“Maybe, but I’m not sure.”

“Did you leave on bad terms?”

“No it’s just time has passed. You’ll realise it when you’re older. People don’t stay the same, even if they don’t realise it. We aren’t always meant to be with the same people all the way through our lives. As hard as that is to understand things change us.”

“Does that make you sad?”

“Kind of, it’s hard to explain. I don’t think about these people a lot, they are forgotten. I don’t mean to sound mean, but that is just the way things go. I want you to understand that. People change, they move on. It doesn’t mean we dislike others or we fall out. Circumstances change. Sadly that means people will disappear, people we love. Maybe we will never see them again. And that’s okay. That’s the way it goes. I just don’t want you to spend sleepless nights wondering what people you went to school with are doing. Some of them won’t stay in the village, they will move to other ones. Some will stay here and you will just forget about them. That’s life.”

I feel like he’s just venting his own emotions rather than trying to teach me anything. I imagine I’ve opened up a chest full of forgotten memories and people in his mind. I don’t want him to be upset, so I’m just going to let him get it out of his system. Maybe I should stop trying to make him dredge up the past with me. That this is my quest, and I should probably do it alone. I don’t know how many painful moments I’m making him relive. There is obviously a reason why he hid these photos.

He shows me a few more pictures, but I’ve seen what I want to see. My Mother, and her family. Young, happy and unaware of anything in the future. I want to meet my family. These people I’ve never seen, or if I have then it’s been years. Seriously, probably when I was so young I wasn’t concious. I wonder if they still think of me, if I’m just a forgotten person to them.

The last photo is of my Mum and Dad, in the city. Their wedding day. A Wide smile crawling across their faces, almost joining them together, as they embrace, heads squished close. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my Dad wear anything, that nice. Normally it’s the same as me, tattered old, but comfortable clothes. Clean, but just not the nicest things to look at. We bought them from the local clothes shop, and they don’t make especially nice things. But in the picture he was wearing a suit, and looks seriously well dressed, even his short, normally messy hair, it was combed. I can’t believe it. I’ve never seen him look like this, it’s hard to believe he scrubs up so well.

“Wow,” I stutter. “I can’t believe how good you look.”

“Ah, thanks. See maybe if you try a boy will take interest.”

“Dad!”

“I’m joking. I’m sure they will take notice, eventually. They will run out of girls.”

“Seriously?”

He just smiles and continues to look at the photo. My eyes move back to the stunning dress my Mum is wearing. They just look perfect.

 

To be continued…

If you want to get next week’s chapter early and want to support me at the same time, check out my Patreon page. You will get early access to any stories published on here, as well as exclusive stories.

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The Broken Pocket Watch – Chapter Eight

To catch up with The Broken Pocket Watch click HERE

The next few days seemed to return to normal. Everything else just blurred into the background. Neither one of us mentioned the past for a while. I still think about it when I’m alone, but I can’t help that. The pain in my Mum’s voice, will haunt me for a while, but at least I know I will see her again soon. I’ve decided that I want to go and see the village she grew up in. The pictures from the wall in the past are etched into my mind, and I want to see where they were taken. Where half of my family were raised. Maybe some of them are still alive. I don’t think I’ve ever met them before, or that even my Dad has mentioned them to me. Before I go back to the past again I want to see what it looks like now. That will give me enough time to prepare myself for the past, while also giving time for my body to recover. It’s been two days and I’m still exhausted. I’m struggling to get up in time for school, which has never been a problem before.

“Honey, you’re going to be late if you don’t get up now.”

“I know Dad, I’m getting up, I’m just tired.”

“I know,” he pauses. “Are you still using the watch?”

“Not since you used it.”

“Good, not that I don’t trust you, but if you use it more and more it will take it’s toll on you.”

“I know.”

“I just worry.”

“I know that too.”

I pick the book up from my bedside table and shove it in my bag, it’s all I need to get through the school day. I look at the watch, which has been sitting next to the book for the last few days. I don’t need it. I feel compelled to take it with me, but I really just don’t need it. Simple as that. I near enough skip out of the room, not wanting to be to late. Or tempted to go back for the watch which would make sure I’m not late.

“You’re off now then?” my Dad asks as I walk past the counter.

“Yes, but can you do me a favour?”

“Of course.”

“When we went back into the past. I saw a load of pictures hanging on the walls in the stairway. Do you still have them?”

“Yes. Somewhere. I’ve haven’t thought about them for a long time, did you want to see them? I suppose I should have shown them to you when you were much younger.”

“I would like to see them.”

“I’ll find them out as soon as I can. Now go, before your late. They can wait, literally.”

“I’ll see you later, have a good day.”

School really drags, but then again I’m actually looking forward to getting home. Each lesson blurs into another, until one teacher asks me to hang back at the end of the lesson. She does it discreetly. Just kneeling next to my desk and asking as she walks past. I have no idea, what she could want. I haven’t done anything, nothing to gain attention since that lunch time last week. And that doesn’t really count anymore. I learnt a long time ago, that if something happens to you in this school, it matters for less than a day. If you haven’t been scolded or asked if your OK, within a couple of hours, it won’t ever happen. I slow down when packing everything in my bag, and make my way to the front of the classroom, meandering between the desks. Most people have left by the time I reach the front.

“Nymia, thanks for staying. It’s nothing to worry about,” Mrs Edina starts. “I’ve just noticed how distracted you’ve been in the last couple of days. I’m worried. You’re one of the only students who shows actual promise, and I don’t like to see that wasted. Is there anything going on, anything that I can help you with?”

“No, everything is alright.”

“Are you sure? You can tell me anything? You not feeling sick, or anything? Not getting enough sleep?”

“Everything is normal. Don’t worry about me, I’m fine.”

I turn and start to walk towards the door.

“Wait a second, please. I want to ask you something else. Have you heard of the City Scholarship?”

I pause for a second and turn back to Mrs Edina. Something about that sounds familiar. Maybe I’ve heard about it before, or it was mentioned in assembly. No, it wasn’t. My dad mentioned it last week. Or something that sounds like it.

“Is that where the City Council pay for someone to go university?”

“Yes. It’s the only way people get out of places like this. Most people in your year will do the exact thing their parents do. School doesn’t do much for them. To be honest with you, it’s essentially day care, so the parents can carry on with their jobs. Every year the closest villages to the city get to put forward a couple of students for the scholarship. We do it every year, but don’t really notify the students, it’s a lengthy process that is normally finished before it begins. It’s been quite a few years since someone has actually shown some promise, and you really do. We’ve spoken about putting you forward next year. You could be given a place in a subject of your choice at the Eastern City University. Which would get you out of here. You really have a chance, that’s the only reason I’m telling you this. I can see there is something distracting you, so I just wanted to to talk to you about it and see what you think?”

I stand there in silence for a couple of seconds, not really knowing what to say. It’s as if everything in my life is falling into place in front of me. I’m able to see my Mum again, and now the future I’ve always dreamed of, has just fallen down in front of me. All I have to do is take the first step.

“I think my Mum did something like that, in the village she was from. She went to University. In the city, to study history.”

“That’s great, you see it’s in your blood. I would love for you to make this happen. If anyone deserves a chance to make a good life for themselves it’s you. You’re on the right track, you just need to focus, and you’ll get there. I have faith in you.”

I almost feel like I’m being scolded, that I’ve messed up somehow.

“I’m going to try. It wouldn’t be right to just let this pass by.”

“Good, that’s what I was hoping to hear. I know things can be difficult, but I’m always here to help if you need any. So is the headmaster. We both want the best for everyone, but to be completely honest not everyone is suited for something like this. But you have actually applied yourself for years. I know your name is going to be put forward, all you need to do is impress them, and you can do that with ease.”

“Thanks, I’ll see you later.”

“See you later Nymia, I’m always here if you need help.”

 

To Be Continued…

If you want to get next week’s chapter early and want to support me at the same time, check out my Patreon page. You will get early access to any stories published on here, as well as exclusive stories.

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Where’s the Revolution

I’ve just finished watching Ubisoft’s E3 press conference, which I have mixed feelings about. New Assassin’s Creed looks awesome as does South Park. Looking forward to Sony’s later. Hopefully new information on Last of Us 2.

I’ve spent most of today in front of the TV watching Game of Thrones, American Gods and Twin Peaks. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my time next week. I’ve nearly finished Game of Thrones, 6 episodes left, American Gods finishes and I have nothing to replace them with. I should probably get to writing.

I didn’t upload a new chapter of The Broken Pocket Watch last week. I’ve not been feeling well and completely forgot. Most of my days have been spent either at work or laying in bed watching TV. There will be one this week though, I promise.

I did force myself to do some writing today. I’m really enjoying writing 2467 so far. I can’t wait to share with everyone. I’m not sure how to do it, since it’s very short chapters from different perspectives. It’ll probably be on here at some point, probably 2 uploads a week.

I’ve started to read See How They Lie by Sue Wallman. So far it’s really good. Mysterious and creepy set up. I bought it based solely on the cover, which is not always a good idea. It’s about a girl in a boarding style school for mentally unwell teens. She’s the daughter of the founder and head doctor. She finds out that her family has been lying to her. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. It’s really good. I can’t wait to get back to it.

I went to see The Mummy at the weekend. I was surprised. Much better than I thought it was going to be. Nothing spectacular, but worth a look. Russel Crowe was the best thing in the film. Hopefully, despite poor reviews, the Dark Universe will actually kick off and get better. I want to see the Universal Monsters back on screen. Bride of Frankenstein can’t come quick enough.

Only a small update this week. Again sorry about the lack of chapter last week but there will be one this week.

Thanks for reading,

Ashley.

 

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Lovely Times

It’s too hot and I have bad hayfever. Too much time was spent last week leaning against the bath tub, with a tissue held under my nose as blood freely flowed. I hate summer. It’ll go by quickly and then winter will be here and that will go as well.

I wrote a little this week, but probably only around 1000 words. Disappointing little. It’s taking too long to get into writing 2467. I’m excited about it, and I’m sure it’ll pick up once I get into the actual story. It’s still frustrating though. So much wasted time.

I read 13 Reasons Why last week. I saw it was getting great reviews as a netflix series, but me being me, it has to be the book. I will watch the series soon. The book was brilliant, a little bit weak in the ending, but I really enjoyed it. I can see how it would work well as a series. I need to finish Game of Thrones first, but this will be my next one.

My next book to read will be Moonlocket, the sequel to Cogheart. I really enjoyed the first book set in a world full of clockwork animals and people. Really easy and enjoyable read. I imagine it will become a film at some point.

I’m still reading Ulysses slowly.

At the weekend I went to see both Pirates 5 and Wonder Woman. Both of them were ok. Not bad, but nothing spectacular. I kind of expected this from Pirates, but was disappointed in Wonder Woman. The trailers looked awesome and I actually liked Batman vs Superman. I wouldn’t recommend either, but it’s not the worst waste of time out there. Looking forward to the Mummy this week.

It’s a short update this week, but it’s been uneventful. Hopefully this week will be better. I’ll be uploading the next chapter of The Broken Pocket Watch on Friday (Thursday on PATREON)

Thanks for reading

Ashley

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