Meet Milly

Firstly, sorry I haven’t posted in a while!

Secondly, Mummy R told me off for centring everything… I am sincerely sorry; I didn’t realise it was so annnoying. So behold, a snippet of Chapter 2 of “Milligan” in which we meet the main character – and it’s left-aligned!

Juliet Simone ‘Milly’ Milligan had never been quite so unkeen to start a new job. With a disdainful snarl on her face, she unpacked her box of stationery and desktop bric-a-brac onto her new desk in the large office space on the third floor of the police station where she worked. She was used to moving up in the world! She was never the sort of person to stay still and let life pass her by. She had ambitions and drive and, so far, success.

Until now.

Milly had allowed herself to get demoted as punishment for something she really shouldn’t have done.

She sighed as she tipped her miniature cactus onto the corner of the small desk. She knew how lucky she was, really. If everyone involved had taken the matter a little less personally, and not decided to deal with it themselves in the most ghastly way they could think of, Milly might have been facing a jail sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Instead, she had been stuck in an experimental department on reduced pay, with the threat of the sack should she refuse the position.

Milly was proud but not stupid. She had accepted the alternative punishment with grace and as much dignity as she could muster, and here she was on her first day in the new office. As she lowered herself into her swivel chair she already missed being out on the streets surrounded by all the action.

“Cheer up!” a disembodied voice called out. Milly looked up to see her best friend and colleague, Paul Sanderson, who had parked himself in the chair opposite Milly that her clients would soon be occupying. “It could be worse, you know. You’ve got off lightly.”

“I know,” Milly groaned, “but that doesn’t make this any easier. Or less embarrassing.” She leaned across the desk dramatically and grabbed Paul’s hands. “Help me get through this!”

He laughed. “I will, I promise. Hey, one perk of your new job is that I’m sitting right across the office from you. You can always come over if you need a pep talk or some advice.”

“Don’t patronise me, Mister I’m-going-to-be-commissioner-within-ten-years. I don’t need that right now.”

“Oh Milly, don’t be so maudlin! This is just a minor setback. You’ll climb up the ladder again, you just have to give it time. You’re a great policewoman.”

“Precisely!” Milly said, ducking under the desk to switch on the shiny new computer she had been given. “I’m meant to be out there, catching criminals. Driving at 100 miles per hour. Being visible! Not stuck in some office job. I should be on the streets, in uniform, actually serving the community. That’s where I’m meant to be.”

Paul snorted. “You think I don’t serve the community? I do nothing when I’m sitting behind my desk?”

“No, I didn’t say that…”

“I’ll have you know, if I didn’t spend time doing paperwork – if I spent all my time sat in the passenger seat of a police car – no one would ever actually get caught. How would any of us know who or what to look for?” His voice softened. “Oh, Mills. I know you didn’t mean it like that. I know you’re upset. But listen, good will come out of this. Once Superintendent Harman thinks you’ve learned your lesson and Angela’s calmed down a bit, they’ll send you straight back up the ranks.”

Milly quailed at the naming of her new worst enemy. Angela Hillard was the district judge and she was the reason Milly was in trouble.

Well, her husband was.

Or rather, what Milly had done with Angela’s husband was the reason she was in trouble.

Milly shuddered at the thought.

“You don’t have much crap, do you?” Paul asked as he surveyed Milly’s rather bare desk.

She shrugged. “Just my cactus and stapler to keep me company. Hey, any news on that name plate I asked for? Am I getting one?”

Now it was Paul’s turned to shrug. “I can chase it up for you if you like, but I would put money on the assumption that you’re not getting one.”

“I just want people to know my name up here.”

“But the sign won’t say your name, will it! It’ll say Juliet Milligan, which you’ll hate, because then everyone up here will start calling you Julie and Jules, and you’ll go mad explaining that actually you’d much rather have them call you Milly, and they’ll all say “Milly Milligan – haha!” and you’ll get annoyed. I know you. And I also know the admin staff in this place, and they’ll never sanction having a nickname put on a name plate, let alone a ridiculous one like yours.”

“I just want something to brighten up this shit of a menial desk job. Oh God, this had better be temporary!”

Paul wrung his hands in frustration at his friend’s defeatism. “Oh, quit it, Mills! It’s just a bloody punishment! Like being in detention at work.”

“But an experimental department though? I understand the reason behind mind-numbing desk work, but this?! They could have put me on long shifts downstairs at least.” Milly thumped her hands against the desk and slumped forward in her chair. “I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be doing. What’s my job description again?”

“Well that I can tell you,” Paul replied. He rummaged through the papers on Milly’s desk and pulled out a small handbook, which he started to read from…

TO BE CONTINUED!

 

 

What do you want?

Hey readers! (All, like, 5 of you at the moment…)

I want people to want to read this blog – so tell me what you want me to post! Do you want to see more of Wednesday’s book, or something from another of my creations, or do you want me to write a poem? Maybe you want to know more about how, what, when, where, who, why I write? Tell me! I’d really appreciate your input.

EHR x

Milligan – Chapter One

OK, I’m feeling brave, so I’m going to post the whole first chapter of the book I’ve thoughtfully named ‘Milligan’ after the surname of the main character. I’m not going to tell you what happens in this book, just read and enjoy! 😀

At night in Cornerstone Park, the pride and joy of Dulford, a nondescript suburb of Greater Manchester, the wail of police sirens was a common sound. The park was known throughout the area as a typical scene of crime, and the night that the woman who would soon become known as Manchester’s Lady Arsonist went on her so-called rampage was no different.

Spike hurtled along the litter-strewn path, through the overgrown playing fields, bypassing the play area which abandoned children long ago in favour of sullen teenagers, who swing their 12-stone bodies on the children’s swings and then blame the authorities when they break.

The only sound breaking through the cacophony of sirens and eerie snapping and rustling of twigs was the cry of a baby from the back bedroom of a terraced house that backed onto the park.

Suddenly, the playground entrance gate swung open and Spike tore through it and down the path. In her hooded top and layers of baggy, tatty clothing and scuffed trainers she didn’t even appear obviously male or female, but that was the idea. Living as she did, she preferred her clothing to not give away her identity. The hood of her jacket was hiding a long, tangled mane of jet black hair and a potentially very pretty face.

Spike was panting with exertion by the time the sound of car doors slamming and the voices of the police chasing after her became audible. “Fuck!” she cried out and swerved along the scrubby pathway, heading towards the abandoned gatehouse. The windows were bricked up and the doorway was secured with a thick piece of graffitied plasterboard.

As Spike fumbled with the edges of the plasterboard in an attempt to force entry into the gatehouse, it started to rain. Raindrops the size of acorns pelted her shoulders and ran down her clothes. Spike was soaked within seconds as she hammered desperately on the door. “Fuckin’ hell, let me in!” she cried out, revealing a worn, husky voice, aged by the cold and damp and a lifetime of substance abuse.

It wasn’t fair! She hadn’t done the crime she was being chased down for and now she couldn’t get away, no matter how hard she tried. It had been like that her whole life.

The police were yelling after Spike now at the top of their voices and they were coming closer. With one final shove and shriek the plasterboard covering the doorway burst through and Spike stumbled into the relative safety and dryness of the gatehouse.

She felt pretty happy standing knee deep in dry leaves and other questionable detritus until… “Urgh!” she said, “What the fuck is that smell?!” The smell of mould, alcohol and stale urine was overpowering. It seemed that the gatehouse had been used as a hideout from the police and the weather many times before. The scuttle and squeak of rats was also much in evidence.

Spike quickly propped up the plasterboard against the doorway and leaned against the wall to catch her breath through the grubby sleeve she had pressed against her offended nose. She rummaged around in her jacket pocket for a lighter so that she could see her surroundings properly and got the shock of her life.

Spike let out a muffled shriek of alarm as she noticed the aged, wheezing man slumped in the corner, surrounded by empty glass bottles. He was wearing a filthy woolly hat with more holes in it than stitches, and his clothes were in tatters. Actually, he was sporting an outfit similar to Spike’s, albeit a lot dirtier.

He looked up at the stranger who had invaded his private space and groaned at her fearsomely.

“Sorry,” Spike muttered insincerely, “I just need a place to hide out from the coppers – I ain’t gonna be here long.”

The tramp’s enraged moaning grew louder and he began to wave an empty bottle of cheap vodka over his head. As he did so, the foul scent exuding from him seemed to become stronger. Spike was forced to cough.

Then, she looked down and realised that the rats she could hear were closer than she had previously thought. They surrounded her feet and were swarming all over the recumbent man in the corner. Not just surrounding, in fact.

They were eating him. Gnawing away at the rotting flesh of his exposed left foot.

Spike screamed uncontrollably and set the paralysed old tramp into a frenzy. He shuffled over to her on his bottom, moaning and groaning with pain and confusion as he did so. There was as much left of his brain as there was of his masticated left foot.

He managed to grip his gnarled hand around Spike’s ankle and she shrieked again. This time though she dropped the lighter she was wielding in her fright and disgust. The tramp’s alcohol-soaked clothes went up like a bonfire.

Both of them were powerless to stop it as he yelled in pain and she stayed rooted to the spot, paralysed in terror at what she had accidentally done.

The evening was not turning out well for her.

In a moment of lucidity amongst her panic, and catching sight of the pile of jerry cans in the far corner of the gatehouse, Spike realised that she had to get out. The flames were starting to spread rapidly through the two feet of dried foliage littering the floor.

But it wasn’t the fire’s plan for her to get out in safety. Just as she reached the doorway and heaved the plasterboard aside – dropping it straight onto the flaming tramp – the whole floor caught light and the gatehouse exploded.

The only sound Spike could hear as she was thrown across the pathway and into the flowerbed on the other side was the policemen who had finally caught up with her, just at the wrong time.

“Jesus Christ!” one of them exclaimed as he watched the gatehouse go up in flames, “He’s over there! Call an ambulance!”

The two of them ran over to stand by her side and beat out the few, small flames that were singing her jacket. They were all grateful for the heavy rain; had she not been soaked through, the night would have ended very differently for Spike.

“My God,” said the other policeman, “It’s a woman, isn’t it? That’s not our man – what the fuck is her business out here?”

The first policeman rolled Spike over and checked her pulse. “Arsonist, isn’t she? Out for a cheap thrill at our expense. A Lady Arsonist.” He leaned in right over Spike’s face and stared at her accusingly.

Just before Spike lost consciousness, she heard the last words that would be spoken to her for a while:

“You’re under arrest!”

Fucking hell, she thought to herself as she lay in the dirt, I’m really in trouble this time…

First post!

I didn’t realise how hard it would be to decide what to post on here! I’m still a bit embarassed about showing off my work, I guess. I was looking through all my documents last night and thinking, ‘Gosh, that bit’s good! But the beginning is so bad… I can’t make that public!’ I think the thing to remember is that all my writings are first drafts, as it were. I can’t begin rewriting until I’ve finished writing. So, for my first post I’ve decided to show you a very short, stand alone extract from ‘The Dreamer’. This book is about a girl called Dawn, who has very vivid dreams. Aged 15, they start coming true. This isn’t a bad thing… until Dawn predicts the end of the world. Naturally, no one believes her and her mother drags her around a bunch of psychologists, determined to get the teenager sectioned. With the terrifying serpent who controls her subconscious refusing to reveal the date of the world’s end, Dawn is trapped in an uncertain race against time to get someone – anyone! – to believe her story. Here is one of Dawn’s dream sequences. They are fun to write so I have a few just floating around at the moment, waiting for me to write the actual story that will link them! This is one such piece, and one of poor Dawn’s weirder, scarier dreams.

I am dreaming. I know I am, because the sky is purple. It always turns purple when I am dreaming. Not only that, but there’s a staircase hissing through the trees like a boa constrictor, reaching up and up, strangling their trunks. And because I’ve allowed my conscious mind to slip briefly into the realm of sleeping fantasy, there is now an elephant approaching me from the house down the lane. A brick lane. A cobbled path. Now a tarmacked road with a car driving down it. A red car, until I turn and it is behind me, blue and shining in the daylight, windows rolled down. Or are they up? Really it doesn’t matter because I am now standing atop one of the many staircases – three, four, five, now four again because one has merged into one with the road, along which the green car is now driving. It is night time. My conscious self looks in on my hasty work of fiction and sighs. This is not realistic, not befitting of this night, not a reflection of my day in any way. And isn’t that what dreams are supposed to be? But she is cut off again, to look on passively, as the elephant stirs and vibrates the earth beneath its enormous feet as it marches away into the forest. It is dark. It is night time. I am tripping. It must be day; I raise my hand to shelter my eyes from the sun. I look down from my position, high in the purple sky, on the top of the tallest stair-encircled tree, rising, rising, rising – we are spiralling faster and faster and faster and I feel sick, dizzy, where are we? We? I am not alone. I turn in fear to look over my shoulder to glimpse what I am expecting. I turn – I turn – I turn – I am locked in position. I gasp as I see it there, over my shoulder, reaching into my face, reaching – reaching… I open my mouth to scream and – ! And?!

I awaken. Needless to say, I don’t sleep a wink the rest of the night. My eyes remain wide open, locked on the ceiling, waiting in terror for the serpent to appear and strangle me while I lie in bed.

Chapter 1

“Once upon a time, there was a girl called Emily who liked to write. She wrote her first story aged 5, using her Daddy’s computer. It was, she vaguely remembers, about a boy called Tom who went to the seaside with his parents and his dog (named ‘Ruff’) and found a limpet stuck to a rock. Sadly, that first edition manuscript has been lost in time and space.

Aged 14 3/4, Emily got a bit more serious about writing and started penning her first novel, whose current working title is ‘Keep Your Friends Close’ (KYFC). That book still isn’t finished but it began Emily’s passion for novel-writing, and she hasn’t stopped since. Her most recent project is as yet sans titre, but is ridiculously fun to write as the subject matter came to her in a mysteriously trippy dream*…

Emily’s only downfall is her shyness. In the last six years, only about three people have been allowed to read even a tiny snippet of her writings. This blog is going to conquer Emily’s fear of letting the world see her talent!”

I (writing in third person gets tiring!) will be updating the ‘Writings and Ramblings of EHR’ as regularly as I can, with chapters and sections from my ongoing novels, and my musings on my writings. I hope to receive lots of feedback, help and support!

*No one get the wrong idea, please. I’m not that kind of girl.