Charlotte’s World – Chapter 1

“Harlot Charlotte!”

Dorothy spits in Charlotte’s face, a wide grin on her ruby red lips like a lion ready to pounce.

Dorothy hates any moment that Charlotte is near. Her weird ways only encourage hatred in Dorothy’s perfect world. Hannah and Tony stand either side of the queen bee. Ready to join in if given the chance. Acting as personal guard dogs, hanging onto her every word. Maybe guard dogs isn’t the best descriptive of the two. They’re more scaly and sinister than that. They only follow Dorothy because they don’t meet her high standards. If they resist then she’ll find others to stand in their place and then they’ll be with Charlotte. Huddled on the floor trying to minimise her existence by pulling in her limbs, close to her body. Nobody wants that. Not even Charlotte.

Words of abuse are thrown at her 5’2 petite frame. I’m just surprised that they know the meaning of the word Harlot. Charlotte can’t help but smile at the thought.

She would assume girls like Dorothy would think it was the latest French delicatessen cheese. Her smile only aggravates the bullies, with a swift kick to her shin they leave her on the floor in a satisfying heap. Smiles holding onto their porcelain doll-like faces as they elegantly sway down the school corridor. Dorothy and her friends can be compared to well-dressed Barbie dolls that should be on stage next to the Beatles. Fashion inspired haircuts, sky high with layers of hairspray to give the most volume copied from the latest issue of ‘Teen’ magazine. Charlotte works quickly to gather her books before they are stepped on by the oncoming stampede of pupils as the bell rings to indicate next period. Besides, if she doesn’t move swiftly they will likely come back for more fun.

At 16 Charlotte’s small, boy-like figure was an easy target for her fellow high schoolers. With skin so white you could almost see through it and a lack of a womanly figure on her protruding bones. She always thought her breasts would come in at a later stage but the small forms she was given didn’t show any sign of growing. She kept her mousy brown hair short. Cut into a neat bowl style that only aggravated the torment from her peers with their beehive hair in red ribbons and headbands. She used to have hair down to her knees to hide behind. After a particularly rough week at school, Charlotte felt belittled and angry at her appearance. She insisted that her parents take her to the hairdresser that weekend. When Monday morning came around she walked through the school’s double doors with a completely new style. Walking down the school corridor with a spring in her step. People were looking at her and for once she liked the attention. That was until the bullies spotted her. Purposefully sitting behind her in class they spent the lesson throwing screwed up pieces of paper at her and calling her a boy. She ran home crying and didn’t go back to school for 3 weeks. Now she must hide in other ways. Hats are useful but the teachers force her to take them off in class. She tries her best to be invisible. Dressing in dark simple clothes. Wearing scarves and hats even in Summer. Anything to help her hide. Sometimes it works. Sometimes she could go a whole day with only a few words said to her. Other days she wasn’t so lucky. Today was a particularly bad day. So far, she’d had her hair pulled, her shin kicked, paper was thrown at her and now she’s just been spat on for little more than minding her own business.

Picking up the last of her books off the floor Charlotte asks herself why she bothers but she already knows the answer. Despite all this. Charlotte would invite the torment. The clothes she wore to hide were in fact covered in holes and carried a second-hand stink of musk. She wore next to no makeup and wouldn’t follow the latest fashions. It wasn’t just the pupils that didn’t like her. People in the streets hated her mysteriousness. Her unpredictability. To anyone that didn’t know her she was a dangerous entity. An awkward presence containing a whirlwind of the unknown. People hated the unknown. They crave chronic stability and routine. Charlotte didn’t meet these standards. Strangers certainly wouldn’t spit on her like the bullies but what they did was worse in some ways. They looked at her like she was dirt. They would drag their toddlers to the other side of the street to avoid walking near her. She was the cigarette butt flattened into the dirty sidewalk. The lamppost with a broken light that will never be fixed. They pretended she didn’t exist. She knew she didn’t help herself. She could buy the latest clothes or smile at strangers but she was always too focused on her own fear. The hurtful words only allowed her the ability to remind herself that she was alive today. To Charlotte, her daily life was heaven. It was sweet and delightful. Every morning when she woke up was a relief. The only problem was figuring out where she was. The night was her enemy. You see Charlotte was plagued by nightmares. Terrible nightmares. Not your usual monsters or aliens. But instead, of serial killers on murdering sprees hunting their next victim or mental patients breaking out of a ward and killing children. Not unusual you may think. Everyone has nightmares, but again, you’re wrong. You see Charlotte was never the victim in her nightmares. She was always the one stabbing people until they stopped breathing. She could feel the warmth of their blood dripping down her fingers. She could hear the blood-curdling screams of children as they cried for their mothers to help them. They always seemed so very real in Charlotte’s head. Nightmares she couldn’t escape from. The worst part of it was that she would wake up somewhere else. Different to her soft bed. Sometimes soft like sand or grass. Other times hard like stone. Never in the same place and never where she fell asleep.

It first began when Charlotte was only 10. Her Mother and Father were quick to notice. walking through the door in the early hours of the morning wearing her frilly nightdress and a layer of dirt. Her Mother spent hours cleaning the house while Father was at the office. If one speck was out of place she would know about it. Charlotte wasn’t surprised when her mother rang Doctor Sanders. He was lost for words at first but after a lot of phone calls with other important Doctors, he told Mother that it may be Dissociative Identity Disorder. Charlotte always knew she wasn’t normal but by mother’s reaction when the doctors explained to her what her disorder is, well, let’s just say Charlotte didn’t feel normal anymore. Around here people don’t talk about the crazy folk in the asylum. They were a taboo subject that was too daring to form on people’s lips. If you talk about the crazies you risked being called crazy yourself. Charlotte didn’t want to go there. She’d heard terrible stories about people who were more dead than alive wandering through endless white corridors, covered in their own feces and urine. She wasn’t one of them and she made sure to convince the doctor and her parents otherwise. She told them she was happy and that her nightmares had stopped recently. After a lot of convincing she was allowed to stay. From that point on Charlotte did her best to act normal so they wouldn’t send her away to that place. Her head of the wives’ club sophisticated mother made sure Charlotte’s ‘disease’ was kept a secret. They carried on being perfect and Charlotte carried on having nightmares, only she didn’t tell anyone about them anymore.

Copyright 2018 

Chapter 2 Coming Soon 

How to be a writer – Pick up a pen

Let’s talk about being a writer. You see recently I’ve been doing some studies that focus on writing fiction, as a means to develop my knowledge.  One of the first things we were asked to do on this course is to introduce ourselves. My introduction went as follows: 

“Excited to get going on this course! I’m still very much an amateur writer but I suppose you will always be learning and therefore always an amateur. I have a website www.charlie-wright.co.uk where I share short stories, advice, and guidance as well as other social links. Follow me! Would love some writing friends”

Of course, I had to promote myself, that was a given but I share this not for the promotion but the common sense. ‘Always an amateur’, this one statement peeked interest with a few including myself. I said it off the top of my head but when I read back it makes perfect sense. 

I’m surrounded by doubts, worries, people never thinking they’re good enough. People always striving to improve. Take note ‘improve’. You never stop learning and the term ‘amateur’ refers to inexperience, but everyone is inexperienced in some way otherwise there would be no room to improve, am I right? So, why beat yourself up about not being good enough? There is no highest level or top pedestal to reach so why do we do it? Strange post, I know. I would just like to put that thought in your head the next time you start beating yourself up about not doing enough. I’m not saying I don’t have these thoughts by any means. I have plenty of worries and doubts thanks to an anxiety problem but I don’t let that stop me.

You’re always an amateur. Always learning something new, always striving too improve. So why hold yourself back and limit yourself? I’m not excepting you to write a novel or jump off a cliff ski diving but too just except that you can never be perfect. Perfection is an impossibility. 

So, to any writers out there. Stop worrying about messing up and your work not being good enough. Write what you want to write and stop blaming writer’s block everytime you get ‘stuck’ with doubts. 

Want to be a writer? Then pick up a pen and write. 

Detective Mentis – Chapter 5

Another long day. Mentis collapses on the armchair. Once a place that he sort-out comfort and relaxation. Stress now sits comfortably on his temples. He’s aged considerably in the last 6 months. Silver Whiskers along his hairline have become snake-like tendrils through his balding head. His favourite radio show has gone unlistened for months. Mentis doesn’t recall the last time he ate some proper grub. Still, he needed to lose some weight. He could make money selling this new diet, he could call it the ‘Detective Doom Diet’ – ‘The stress of an endless case will have you dropping pounds in days’ 

Hell, he’s disillusion. Mentis gives himself a stern acknowledgment of his stupidity with a hoarse grunt just as he would if he was toning down Stinton’s anxieties. Something he’s had to do regularly over recent months. The horrors they all saw and helped drag up out the muddy depths hit a nerve with everyone in a way. Stinton more than most. He’s already been up for a psyche evaluation. Fortunately, he passed it. Since then though, the Cheif has had Mentis watch over him, as a mentor somewhat. Something that Mentis would prefer to avoid the duty of but he wouldn’t leave the lanky kid with Erickson instead. Besides, if he looks after the kid then it keeps Erickson at arm’s length.

For the most part, Erickson is putting in the effort. He’s filing some paperwork and even doing a lot of the questioning. On the one hand, it gives Mentis more time to focus on tracking the killer whilst Erickson gathers the evidence. On the other hand, Mentis feels he would do a better job and may pick on a few things that Erickson would miss in his questions. 

The phone lets out it’s annoying shrill and Mentis hurries to answer it. 

“Yes?” 

The other end of the line is quiet in response. Mentis hangs up the phone assuming it’s some kid with his friends pranking random numbers, he used to be one of them when he was a wee one. There’s a niggling feeling despite what he tells himself though. A whisper of the idea with the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the killer he’s searching for could be the one ringing him. 

He shuns the idea to the side and locks it away but it’s not enough. In the morning he unplugs the phone, just in case. He has a mobile if it’s an emergency anyway. He can’t have any distractions today. 

************************************************************************************************************************************************

Later that morning, with paper in hand, Mentis steps up to the podium and gives his speech. He looks upon the many people in black, their mournful faces. Parents, friends, siblings, aunts, uncles, even a few pets. One of which, a rowdy Chihuahua, sits proudly on its owner’s lap, barking once in a while for attention.  73 in total. 73 families pulled apart in grief. They’ll never be the same again. Sure, many will pretend to move on but there will always be those lingering stares when people recognize them or a look too long at the front door, hoping for their loved ones to return knowing even then that they never will again. Mentis hated his job at times. This occasion was the top of his list. 

The service is meant as a consolation. The bodies were…investigated over the months which delayed any planned burials. When the bodies have been poked, prodded and digested they were finally allowed to be buried in peace. As much peace as can be had after the ordeal each went through. His words are prompt, professional. A lot of apologies and sorry for your losses. He doesn’t say anything about the killer or the fact that they haven’t found him. When his speech his done. He sits next to Stinton and stares at the ground while they finish the service. Blocking out the cries of the mother three rows back who breaks down in the middle of the service and screams her son’s name in heartfelt anguish.

In that moment he made a decision to himself. He would find the person responsible for these deaths even if it killed him. A decision he never thought would come around. 

Copyright 2018 

Chapter 6 coming soon. 

Writing Inspiration – Where and how to find it.

As a writer, you aren’t limited to where you find inspiration from. Everything and anything can inspire a writer. Everything from the mug of coffee in your hand to the bird sitting on a branch outside to the neighbour who annoys everyone they meet. Inspiration is everywhere if you understand what it is and get in the right mindset for seeing it and understanding what you see.  I would highly recommend reading my post on writing focus. In order to find inspiration, we must be focused.

Reading

Whether it’s reading a book, magazine or another blog. Reading is the easiest way to get inspiration as a writer and you can’t have one without the other. If you don’t read a lot, then you won’t make it as a writer. 

Listening to conversations

Everyone has those times where you’re walking through town doing errands and you can’t help but hear what others are talking. You will be surprised at how inspiring these overheard conversations can be for a writer. 

Media

Films, TV shows, Music, and Video games are all great sources of inspiration. Especially if they follow the same genre that you want to write in. Even the internet can be a source of inspiration. 

Writing with no target

Writing for the sake of writing can be a great help in finding inspiration for new stories or ideas. Just set a timer for ten minutes or so and jot down anything that comes to mind even if it ends up in the bin after, it may well give you inspiration and will certainly get your creative juices flowing and may even allow you to vent some of your frustrations or worries.  

Word Games 

Play word association games, scrabble, even charades. You can get inspiration from any word related games.  For example, pick 6 words out of a book and then create a 6-paragraph story from those words. 

Keep a Journal 

Try to get into a habit of carrying a notebook everywhere you go. Even if you’re just nipping to the shops. If ever you think of something great, then you need somewhere to write it down promptly before forgetting. This is a good thing to get into a habit of doing every day.

Change your environment

Sometimes just a change of scenery or setting can be enough to inspire you with a new idea. When you work in the same place all the time your brain becomes bored and inspiration and focus become difficult. 

Write what you see

If you’re really struggling for inspiration, then sometimes the simplest things can be the most inspiring. You know we talked about taking your journal everywhere with you? Try taking it somewhere simple like a park or even a meal out and write what you see. Everything from the colour of the grass at the park to the smell of the pasta dish you’re eating. every day in as much detail as possible without it being too wordy and pay attention to your surroundings. Spot the things other might not like the waitress giving a knowing look to another about a customer or maybe a child hitting another in the park. Little scenes like this can make all the difference in good stories so make notes for a later date. 

Lost your writing focus? Here’s how you can get it back.

Read a lot 

How many times have you been reading a book and all of a sudden an idea for that story you have been working on pops into your mind and you have to scribble it down before you forget? Use that to your advantage. If you’re struggling to focus, read for a while. Reading, after all, is research for writing. This gives you a break but keeps your mind in writers mode. 

Remove distractions

If something keeps pulling your focus whether it’s technology, people or even the outside world. Remove that distraction. Close your curtains and turn off that TV. 

Write for you

Everyone knows how good it can be to write down your thoughts and feelings or just scribble in a journal. Sometimes it’s good to vent like this with your writing. Writing crap is better than writing nothing at all. Everything you write is still a learning experience. So, grab some pen and paper and write down anything that comes to mind. Time yourself for say, 10 minutes and see what you write. You might surprise yourself. 

Make it a game

If you’re really struggling to focus think outside the box. Instead of seeing writing as a chore or just something you need to do. Make it fun and make it a game. Set yourself challenges such as completing a word count by a certain time or getting a reward when you’ve been writing for so long. This can force your brain into focus mode. You could even create some word of word games from your writing. Give yourself a break and see how many times you can use the word ‘sight’ in 300 words whilst making sure it still makes sense to the reader. Challenge accepted. 

Remind yourself why you’re doing it  

Sometimes a loss of focus can be because you’re doubting your skills as a writer or you have fallen out of love with what you’re writing. In that case, you need to remind yourself why you started writing in the first place. Focus on how it makes you feel.

Rewind

Similar to when you remind yourself why you started in the first place. Sometimes it can be as simple as rewinding or replaying the story in your mind or an idea for a story to be able to pick it up again. Sit back, get comfortable and ready what you’ve already written. That can be enough to make you focus again and can even give you a new insight into what’s next for your story.

Schedule time for writing

It’s too easy to avoid writing if you don’t set time for it. Just like setting time for housework, your job and even eating. You have to set time aside for writing. Creating a general schedule to keep to can really help with this so you know on Thursday Morning, for example, you will be writing the plot line for the story whereas Friday Evening you need to be focusing on spending time reading. This is also a good way to make sure you don’t miss anything throughout your week.

Play that funky music

There have been endless studies done on the effects of music on your focus and general mood. There are even playlists on Spotify for concentration. Sit down, relax and get in the mindset of writing with some appropriate music. 

Write or die 

There is writing software and tools out there that help you with your lack of focus. Well, when I say help, I mean to punish. The premise is, if you don’t write a certain amount of words or right continuously without a break for a whole thirty minutes then everything you have written will be deleted. It doesn’t work for everyone but it’s worth a try. I like the one attached to the software ‘Storyline Creator’.

Take a breather

If you have tried all of the above and still can’t seem to get back into writer’s mode then take a step back and take a break. Sometimes that is all you need. Write something completely different or don’t write anything at all for a few days.

Detective Mentis – Chapter 4

Body after body is pulled from the water in an endless cycle of horror. Each one with eerily similar signs to the other. Mentis loses count when the 18th is pulled from the water. It takes 2 weeks and an endless cycle of new faces from various policing departments far and wide to search every inch possible of the oceans harnessing depths below. At the end of one such day, as the night draws in once again, the chief, alongside a hierarchy of other credentials finally stop the search when it’s been 6 hours since the last body was found.

It’s been a long and tiring few weeks, both on Mentis’s body and mind. The events have taken an understandable toll on everyone. Erickson has been on his back, finding any chance to ridicule him or step on his toes while Stinton has been following in his footsteps. Asking Mentis questions with hidden notes of resentment and egocentrism. Mentis has been doing his best to function on little sleep and food. He’s already adjusted his belt to 3 settings tighter. Every time he got so much as a break he would get a call about another body being found and rush to the scene with a moment of hope that it may be different to the others. That there may be evidence on the body that it’s a suicidal death or just an accident. His hopes were always dashed when he unzipped the bags and saw those harrowed empty eye sockets. Men and women of all shapes and size. Even a boy as young as 10 have been found. The worst thing is, not all the bodies were complete. Legs here, arms there. Years or depredation on somebodies meant it was a jigsaw puzzle trying to work out what went where. Some of the older bodies have been checked by the coroner who estimated they could be around 40 years old.

All evidence points towards it being a dumping ground of a serial killer but they have no clues to who it is and where they are or even if they are still killing. They haven’t found Miss.Simms body so who knows. The earliest body they have found otherwise is already 6 months old. Standing at the edge of the field with Erickson by his side. They look over the grass coated with a layer of body bags. Covering the field like a haunted quilt that nobody would ever dare to wear. Even Erickson is quiet. Stinton is hovering in the wings, observing the scene with a face of terror, Mentis sent him to the side when they were halfway through the body count, Stinton became obviously detached and shaky, who knows how this is going to affect the young lad.

“I’ve never seen anything like this” Erickson is surprisingly considerate. Cases don’t normally affect him, or Mentis for that matter but this one has them both keeping them emotions back with a pitchfork.

“How many is there?”

The chief’s voice appears behind them. All the important people are here. Erickson looks a lot like his dad. Tall, dark, a perfect ladies man. Unlike Erickson though the chief doesn’t drink or anything else of the sort meaning he looks pretty ripe for someone of retirement age.

“73” Mentis forgets to call him sir but on such an occasion the chief decides to let it slide.

“Do you recognize anyone? Do we have any ID’s?”

Erickson answers his next question whilst Mentis signs a document handed to him.

“No, sir. No identities for anyone of them yet. We’ve got a lot of people working here and nobody recognizes any familiar faces and as far as we can tell they haven’t been reported missing”

Erickson has always been respectful to his father and very professional of their relationship. If only he could exert that professionalism for the rest of his job, he would make a good impression. As it stands though, the Chief keeps him on but always lumbers him with others in the department to try and keep him out of trouble.

“Miss.Simms has been the only one” Mentis intervenes. “I’ve asked two men to do a last sweep on the spot where I saw her jump”.

Mentis expects a whiplash from the chief about going behind his back but just as the chief opens his mouth the shout he’s been waiting for arrives.

“I think we found her!”

Mentis rushes to the aid of the two men dragging the body up. Not yet in a body bag it gives him a chance to do the once over. It’s the same lady who jumped of the cliff and started all this.

“It’s Miss.Simms. I don’t believe it” Erickson has only ever glanced at the case information.

“We can’t be sure Erickson”

“Yes, we can. Look at her left arm. You see that tattoo on her wrist”

It’s a tattoo of a swallow in drowning waters. Mentis remembers seeing it from the paperwork and thinking how tasteless it was. He’d never seen a tattoo like it. It was a strong confirmation that it’s Miss.Simms in their minds. A grunt of disapproval escapes his lips. Mentis did the hard work and yet Erickson turns up in his drunken state and can identify the body as quick as he can down a pint.

The chiefs authoritative voice snaps them back to focus.

“Erickson. Go call her parents. Get them down to the station. Mentis, I want you to get all these bodies sent to the coroners and start digging for information. Literally, if you must. Witnesses, evidence, anything you can find is brought to me first”

With Mentis’s nod of agreement and Erickson’s’ figure already in the distance the chief heads back to his car. Now alone, Mentis does a quick check on her body and checks her stomach for the words like the others. This is the only body they recognise and it may be a clue to the killer, a good starting point. Scrawled on her stomach the letters are fresh, possibly a few weeks, maybe they were put there the day she was on the edge of the cliff. These words are different though. They cause hairs to stick up on the back of his neck and he scans the area for any suspicious activity. Standing up he retreats towards the cars and gets straight onto the phone.

On Miss.Simms stomach, scrawled in capital letters across her abdomen are the words “YOU’RE NEXT”

Copyright 2018 

To continue reading head to chapter 5.

My favorite Author Tag #whosemyfav

Hello! It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve written properly on here because recently I’ve been sharing the Chapters for Detective Mentis. They’re still coming but they will slow down now. I only have a few more that are already prepped and I haven’t yet started writing others. So, for now, you will have to cope with me.

Everyone has a favorite Author, even if you don’t write you will likely have a favorite Author. Anyone who says they don’t just haven’t found theirs yet. So, who is mine?

Well for this post I decided to create a favorite author tag #whosemyfav. I have no idea if this has done before, I would assume so as it’s not that creative but I figured it would be the easiest way to talk about my favorite Author while also encouraging others to do the same with the questions below. Enjoy!

Christina Henry

Some Facts
  • Christina Henry is an author who is mostly recognized for her Black Wings Series,
  • Christina lives with her husband and son in Chicago.
  • She enjoys novels and books of similar categories, including zombies and samurai.
  • She is very keen on long-distance running, which is an activity she enjoys on a regular basis

courtesy of https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/christina-henry/

Do they have a website?

Yes- http://www.christinahenry.net/

Do they have social media accounts?

Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads 

How did you first find them?

I can’t remember if my husband bought me the first book or if I may have spotted it when it came out in a bookstore.

How long have you liked them?

She’s not actually been my favorite Author for that long. I would say maybe a few years now since I read ‘Alice’ which is a dark, twisty story based upon my childhood favorite, ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

Why do you like them?

I love her ability to turn stories into some dark and thrilling with plenty of suspense and twists, both terrifying and gory. She’s a huge inspiration to me as a writer.

The biggest inspiration

Turning things into something dark and sinister. A very creative play on words.

Your favorite book

‘Alice’ the first Alice book is amazing. I couldn’t put it down and want to read it again soon. Probably the darkest book I’ve ever read and it was so good!

Your least favorite book

Out of them all, I would say ‘The Mermaid’ I still love it greatly but out of all the stories I care about Mermaids the least.

Most recent or current read

Currently reading ‘The Mermaid’

What did/do you think so far?

I’m loving it so far. Really enjoy the love story at the beginning and the idea behind the museum and people after her.

What I’m looking forward to?

I can’t wait to see what other stories she creates a dark version of. Beauty and the Beast or Snow White would be amazing. I would also love more in the ‘Alice series’

What I want to read

I really want to read the books she first became famous for which is the ‘Black Wings’ series. They’re supposed to be really good so I’m excited to give them a go and read some of her short stories.

If you like this post feel free to copy the questions and answer them yourself. Let me know in the comments if you do as I would love to read others and also remember to hashtag your post with #whosemyfav

Detective Mentis – Chapter 3

The first thing Mentis did after seeing the girl jump off the cliff was to ring everyone he could think of that should be there. It took a while for him to work the phone but eventually, all the right people were called. Within an hour the place was filled with police and ambulance while a local coast guard was scouring the ocean to find the body.

The night’s events have left Mentis in a state of hatred and confusion. Hatred over what has been done to the girl and confusion over the circumstances he finds himself investigating. In the early hours, the coast guard announces that he’s found something. Police work on dragging the body up just as Erickson turns up with Stinton close behind. Mentis grumbles under his breath. Erickson always appears at the crime scene to play his role as the partner when all the paperwork and research has been done. Mentis would happily say something to him but he wouldn’t dare without the worry of whispers heading back to the chief. Then it would be his neck on the line.

“Hey Mentis”

Stinton’s lanky exterior greets Mentis in a warm manner with an awkward wave that he quickly turns into a head scratch. Unhinged by where he is. Mentis nods in response. There’s no such greeting from his apparent partner. Erickson’s 6-foot slender frame hangs off balance, probably intoxicated. His 30-year-old body looks haggard and his sagging face has tell-tale signs of alcohol abuse and an uncommitted attitude to being here.

“What do we have?” he asks in his brash woven voice.

Mentis narrowly avoids remarking on his choice of the word ‘we’ and leads them to the police who are now laying a black body bag on the floor inland, away from the edge of the cliff. Mentis walks straight up to the body bag, kneeling on the floor he unzips it carefully. A moment of shock befalls his features. It’s not Miss.Simms in the bag. It’s a woman but this woman is from a completely different generation. Signs of age hold onto her skin forming wrinkles and dark spots. She looks at least 80 and she has been dead a while by the stench and decomposition stage of the remains.

“It’s not her” Mentis acknowledges to the gathering of emergency services people around him.

The most shocking thing is that such as the young girl, this woman doesn’t have any eyes. In a remarkable resemblance to the other, they look like they have been dug out and all that is left are two large holes with perfectly rounded edges.

“What the fuck” Erickson regards in his ear before disappearing, assuming to help with the continued search.

Mentis sends Stinton to grab him a pair of gloves which allows Mentis to have a better look, starting with the teeth. Surprisingly well kept for someone of this age, the teeth are almost all their with only two missing. On closer inspection, Mentis predicts they may have been pulled by force due to the visual damage at the root. That’s not the only torture inflicted. At some point her finger and toenails have been pulled from the nail bed, they have struggled to grow back properly and look somewhat thin and claw-like as a result with skin covering them in a peculiar manner. A layer of dirt and dried blood are coated underneath suggesting she may have been dragged or tried to defend herself at some point. Possibly during her death. Her hair is matted and sparse due to her decomposition. Again, like the other, this woman has shredded clothing hanging sparsely onto her body with just a few threads holding everything together. It appears to have been a floral nightgown by the intricate detail and lack of shape. On her arms, there are thousands of small scratches, whether they are on from the bedrock or before she died it is uncertain.

“There’s another one” Erickson calls to Mentis.

Just as he stands to view the other body a glimmer of the morning’s sun rays draws his attention to a marking on the woman’s stomach. Barely visible by the mud and clothing. Removing the garment and using it to wipe away most of the dirt, the word ‘RUN’ is scrawled on her body it large uneven lettering. It’s old and is now only a faded scar but the letters are still readable. By the uneven format and lack of structure, Mentis assumes that it may be self-inflicted.

“Run from what? What does it mean?” Stinton’s voice is shaky.

“I don’t know” Mentis can only shrug off his words. He’s expecting the suspected Miss.Simms to be in the next bag and is more focused on that. With a begrudged feeling of guilt weighing down on his shoulders, Mentis walks to the other body bag and unzips it.

A silence of many emotions fills the air. Inside the bag is another John Doe. A man this time. With the same tell-tale signs, even the eyes. This man looks no more than 30, yet his decomposition makes him dead a good month.

“What-t-t. What is this?” Stinton squeaks in his ear.

Mentis has no words to support Stintons fear. He can only do his best to hide his own. A quick glance in Stintons directions tells Mentis that Stinton is fearful of more than just the presence of the body itself. Focusing on where is eyes lay, Mentis pulls aside a piece of degraded cloth on the man’s stomach. The word is more difficult to make out this time but it’s still there. ‘RUN’. The same word on both victims with their torturing appearance in such similarity. Mentis’s heart is racing with a sense of panic and adrenaline, unwilling to admit what it means. Erickson appears at Stinton’s side after scrounging through the remains of the other bodies. Hovering over Mentis’s knelt figure with a look of horror that even the strongest willed would succumb to.

“You know what this means” Erickson states in a stern tone.

Mentis is quick to jump in.

“It’s too early to tell. Forensics will need to be called in but they certainly have similar marks which….”

“We’ve found two more!” One of the police helping in the search call from the water’s edge below as a group of people are each dragging lifeless bodies out of the water.

Mentis springs into action as Erickson rushes to aid the police officers with the bodies.

“Stinton. Call the chief and tell him he needs to be here. Then I want you to call forensics and the department in the city. Get them to send people over. We need more people. Tell them we’ve found bodies and we may find more”

Stinton runs off in search of the nearest phone or radio whilst body after body is dragged from the murky depths.

“STINTON!” Mentis shouts towards his rushed childlike figure just as shouts are heard about another body being found.

“Tell them it’s a serial killer!”

 

Copyright, Charlie Wright. All rights reserved.

To continue reading head to Chapter 4 here.

Detective Mentis – Chapter 2

Glimmering like sunlight on ocean wavers under the allowance of the moon’s luminescence and his flashlight. Mentis slowly walks towards the figure. Taking big strides to try and reduce the noise from his oversized feet and leather shoes. He doesn’t want to scare them. A little closer and he can make out the figure of a female. This is what he came here for. A potential sighting of Miss.Simms. It could be her. The 5’2 petite frame and dark hair blowing in the ocean’s breeze match the description down to the last detail. Edging closer until he’s just a few yards away, he’s so sure that it could be Miss.Simms. It’s someone short and he’s seen enough girl’s arses over the years to know that the figure is female. He’s close enough to touch the girl now but he hesitates.

Why hasn’t she noticed him? Even though he’s tried to be so quiet he must have made some noise, maybe not from his shoes but certainly from his overexerted breathing and it would be impossible to not notice the light of the flashlight currently being shown, and yet, the figure remains still. Head steered toward the open ocean. Now he’s closer he can see that she’s wearing little clothing. Ragged material hangs from her body as if they have been through a shredder. Long like a dress down to her ankles but unconnected like a seamless piece of fashion. Then he notices the smell. It’s resonating from the girl in putrid waves, carried towards him in a sudden strong gust of wind. It’s like nothing he’s ever smelt before and he has dealt with some gruesome things in his life. Dead bodies coated in maggots is ecstasy compared to the smell his nostrils are detecting now. Layers of body odor doused in rotten food that coats a deceased rotting corpse. It’s almost too difficult to bare, but, bare he must if he’s to help the poor girl.

“Miss.Simms? Is that you?”

He addresses the shadowy figure. Best not to mess around. If it’s not Miss.Simms, then at least she will turn around either way. Or that’s what he thought. Instead, the figure doesn’t move. In fact, he doesn’t recall seeing the silhouette move since he laid eyes upon it. Mentis begins fearing the worst. Maybe she’s too drugged up to even know where she is. Or, maybe she’s to messed up mentally to even know what reality is anymore. Maybe the smell is a sign of her rotting flesh after months of decay. Mentis notices that the smell is less potent now though, turned into more of a hesitation on the nostrils. Who knows where she’s been the past six months. He decides the best approach is to stand to the side of her rather than to possibly make her jump if she has unpredictable behavior.

Edging a few steps forward he does his best to slowly take a long stride to her right-hand side. He never looks her way and instead gazes forward so as not to startle her, making sure to point his flashlight towards the ground. His shoes don’t protect his feet from the sharp edges of the uneven rock surface at the cliff’s edge and his thoughts distract him for a moment. He’s going to need to buy new shoes after tonight. Layers of mud, excrement and grass coat his shoes like a 3-tier cake. That and the now protruding sharp rock edges are creating second-hand shoes. Guaranteeing they will spend the rest of their days in a garbage pile or on some homeless soul’s feet.

Remembering where he is, Mentis turns his head slightly to try and catch a glimpse of the woman, pointing the flashlight at her feet in the process. Pushing his eyes to the furthest corners of his eye sockets he can make out the outline of grubby bare feet and scraggly legs and arms. Her hands grip his attention most. They are swaying to and fro in a slow angelic motion similar to a ballroom dancer’s gracefulness. With the way she’s swaying them, you would think she was skipping but she’s still motionless otherwise. Moving towards her head his eyes float across her body and the clothes she’s wearing. They look very similar to the ones she was last seen in. A long white plain cotton nightdress down to her ankles, chestnut hair cut to the top of her shoulders, naturally straight and worn down. No shoes were reported missing and no bags so she left with what she was wearing which crossed off the possibility that she might have run away. Even the most idiotic runaways would take the essentials on their backs. The other possibility would have been kidnap but the family had no enemies and there had been no other evidence towards this and certainly no demands. Mentis had been baffled by the case and the lack of evidence towards any possible conclusion to her whereabouts. In his mind, everyone was a suspect because there had been no push towards a certain individual. If it’s not Miss.Simms, then it’s certainly someone who has stolen her clothes.

Mentis’s eyes pull into focus on her head. It takes him a moment to realize that she’s now turned slightly and is focusing on his plum shaped forehead. This isn’t what makes him step back in horror though. It takes a second for it to come into focus but when it does Mentis is repelled by what he sees. It looks like Miss.Simms. The facial features, height, and weight all match. She’s even wearing the same clothes. Her eyes though, it’s her eyes. Or lack thereof. You see where her blue eyes once were there are now two large sunken holes. Dug into her skull with what looks like the shape of a spoon, rounded on the edges like a barber’s clean shave. Once life there, all that is left is the muscle tissue that connected them. Unapproachable signs of torture and death tug at Mentis’s consciousness. It would be impossible for her to see and yet she seemed to stare straight through Mentis. It was unnerving and he didn’t have the expertise or the know how to deal with such an outlandish situation. Mentis does his best to keep his professionalism but his instincts rage war with his commitment to his detective title. Ready to run at a moment’s notice. His feet on the verge of betrayal. For the first time in a substantially long time, he is bullied by the sight that befalls him. Possibly even scared. Forcing his shoulders into a more relaxed stance he stands a little further away.

“I’m Detective Mentis of the GreetWood Police Department. We’ve been looking for a missing girl. Francesca Simms?”

A knifes edge silence fills the atmosphere. She doesn’t utter a word or even signs of a breath. Both Mentis and the girl stand like this for what seems like a long time. Mentis remains on edge but he does get a chance to look her over, shining his flashlight on each precise part without the worry of it being noticed. Hair sits in a deranged form on her scalp. Bunches here and there like unwilling flowers in a perfect bouquet.  Mentis idly takes a moment to appreciate the color, a reminiscent shade to his favorite whiskey. Deep in color with undeniable tones of ash. As well as the various matted textures and knots, Mentis also notes the woodland extremities embedded within the layers of the hair, leave and twigs decorating her scalp like a forest floor. He avoids focusing on her eyes just yet as they will draw the most attention. Instead, he takes the time to embed the rest of her facial features into his memory – in his haste, he never thought to bring something to scribble on in case she makes a run for it and he wasn’t about to try fiddling with the phone in his pocket. Concentrating on the rest of her face. She has an elongated Roman accented nose with small nostrils. Either side, there is a red swelling of flaming cheeks, almost like she’s embarrassed or is covered in a rash. There’s a small black mole – just like the information from the case file – that sits outwardly above her thin, blistered, white rose lips. Taking a couple of steps closer and towards her front allows Mentis to shine the flashlight on her nightdress. A shameful layer of cotton covered in unrecognizable stains hangs from her feral skin, holes bigger than the material itself. Mentis feels a sudden overpowering feeling of sorrow towards the undoubtedly pained girl in front of him. She must be too afraid to even speak. Moving slowly towards her he reaches out a chubby aged hand so it’s the first thing she feels. When he’s only a few steps away a raspy voice protrudes from the woman’s throat forcing him to stop in his tracks.

“How long has it been?”

Her voice is poisoned with withered distress and a lack of fight. Her hands, once swaying now stop in their motions at her side.

“Are you Miss.Simms? Why don’t you come away from the edge”?

Silence befalls once again. Mentis is becoming increasingly agitated about her being so close to the edge of the cliff, especially if she can’t see.

“Miss.Simms has been missing for the past six months. Is that you? ” Mentis calmly states. Perfectly formed eyebrows sit above the girl’s empty sockets, all most like an unfinished doll. They raise slightly when she hears this information and her lips quiver as if holding back tears.

Deciding enough is enough he reaches out towards her, in hopes of grabbing her to pull her away from the edge. His actions are too late though. In a moment of what seems like clarity. The young girl smiles a heart-wrenching smile of life lost. Then she turns her head back towards the ocean and steps over the edge without a moment’s hesitation, stepping as if she’s stepping onto lush grass. Mentis is quick to react but not quick enough. He reaches for her and falls to the ground in dire hope but she’s already gone. He can only watch in a moment of horror as she falls into the dark water below. A single sorrowful tear falls onto the surface of the rock as Mentis accepts her fate.

 

Copyright, Charlie Wright. All rights reserved.

To continue reading head to Chapter 3 here.

Detective Mentis – Chapter 1

A few words to the wise before the story begins. All parts of this story are fictional, any resemblance to anything is a coincidence. There are significant amounts of swearing throughout this and other chapters that some may view as offensive. All rights to this story belong to me (Charlie Wright).

Chapter 1

Currently wading through a farmer’s field to get on the other side of the track.

“Fuck sake Karen”

Detective Mentis angrily exclaims as he steps in yet another steaming cow pat. An hour ago, he was sat in his favourite thread pulled armchair. Whiskey in one hand and a fag in the other. He was content listening to his usual radio show. Hosted by one of the latest self-righteous know it all youths. The whole show consisted of the host ringing up people to prank them with terrible news. Making people believe that relatives were dead or pets had been run over among other things. The show had already been pulled off air twice. Mentis didn’t know why they kept putting it back on. Maybe there were plenty of others like him. People who liked to listen to it to remind themselves that there are worse people in the world. Either way, Mentis had become accustomed to his 11 pm show. Every evening on the dot. It was something he had begun to look forward to at the end of his shifts. This evening was no different. He had just taken his first warming sip of dark liquid when his phone rang. He tried to ignore it but when it rang the third time he forced his hefty weight out of his chair and over to the other side of the room, grabbing the phone and silencing it with the push of his large sausage finger.

“What!?” He proclaimed to the phone without so much as a hello.

Silence

“HELLO! Who is this?!” He hated this infernal contraption. Holding it to his ear caused a sheen of sweat by the time it was removed. He only used it for work but he detested every second that he had to.

“Oh, uh I’m sorry Mentis. I’m so sorry to disturb you I wouldn’t normally….”

It was Karen. He recognized her squelchy voice. It always sounded like she had to clear it but was incapable of doing so Mentis thought to himself. He pictured her jittery hands holding the other end of the line. Pointed nose facing the ceiling. The stench of her three dogs caked on her skin like wearing a dressing gown. She was probably wearing her dressing gown come to think of it. Unless she was still in the office. She often worked late hours.

“I called Erickson but received no answer. I didn’t know who else to call and….”

Erickson was Mentis’s partner when he bothered to turn up for work. Even then it was unpredictable when he did. Would you get Erickson the belligerent drunk or the head up his arse alter ego?

“Get to the point Karen” Mentis interrupts before she can continue her apology.

“There’s been a call from an anonymous source. Miss.Simms has been spotted somewhere along the GreetWood Cliffs. Past the farmers’ fields near there. You may have to….”

Mentis hung up the phone before she could continue rambling on. Shoving his phone in his trouser pocket, he grabs his flashlight from the cabinet on his way out – it’s old and you have to wiggle the batteries to get it to work but it was better than relying on his eyes in the pitch black – in his haste he forgets his jacket. Stepping outside there’s a cold shrill in the air. Mentis is in his beat-up 4×4 and on the trail towards GreetWood cliffs within minutes of receiving the call. Which is how he ended up here stepping through cow pats in the middle of the night illegally crossing a farmer’s field. He did consider waking the farmer but decided he didn’t have time. He’d already stopped to fix his light twice causing stumbles through the excrement. After the day, he’d had it was just the icing on the cake. His day started with an empty coffee pot and the chirping of Stinton in his ear. Classed as a corporal but not rightly so. Mentis had been lumbered with his shadow.

Erickson was supposed to be his mentor but ironically hadn’t bothered turning up that day. The lost shrill would pop up at the end of Mentis’s desk, asking for help on everything from filing a report to chasing up a suspect. Mentis is quite surprised he hasn’t yet been asked to wipe the guy’s arse. He wasn’t a hateful person. The lad was quite likeable, a can-do attitude and he wasn’t one to complain which Mentis appreciated. However, Mentis preferred to keep his head down and get on with things. Something he was unable to do as sufficiently recently with a bird flying around and tweeting in his ears. You may as well have stuck Apples and Cement together and expected them to be a great accompaniment to a refreshing red wine. In an ideal world, Mentis would have a partner much like himself. Committed to the job, wanting a good ending, soft spot for kind folk. But instead he was the logger carrying everyone’s weight in his department, what could he expect though, it was a small-town police department in the middle of nowhere, the case of Miss Simms was the most action he’d seen for a while.

Mentis had been quick to grab the opportunity. It was better than another day of harsh words for rowdy drunkards or babysitting Stinton. Despite his aggravations with his partner and a trying six months. In times like this, it would be suited to have someone by his side. He only wished there would be more comeuppance for his partner’s lack of engagement to his role. Nothing would come from it if it was mentioned though because his dad is the chief and Mentis wasn’t about to make himself an enemy. Mentis is on his own tonight. A preference for him these days.

Nearly at the edge of the field, Mentis’s shoes have a layer of dung coating the leather exterior. His grey shirt is exuberating sweat from the trek despite the cold night’s air and his fine wispy greyed hair – what he has left of it – is now slapped to his head like gel. He is determined to follow the source’s information. He’d spent the last 6 months trying to find the whereabouts of missing 17-year-old girl Francesca Simms. The events surrounding her disappearance were both worrying and vague. Miss.Simms visited a friend’s house on the night of Friday 20th March 1993. She left at around 11 pm that night and never returned home. Her parents didn’t realise she was missing until the following Monday, 23rd March. Apparently, it wasn’t unheard of for her to disappear for weekends at a time. They only began worrying when she didn’t turn up to her morning classes at Lenwood High. Mentis had dug his gritty nails into every piece of evidence. He’d questioned every suspect gruellingly to no avail. The only evidence that she was still alive was the lack of a body. This was the fourth suspected sighting of Miss.Simms. Three of which were in the first month of her disappearance. Mentis had given up hope about her being alive until Karen rang this evening.

Finally reaching the shameful fencing at the other side of the field Mentis walks along it, feeling for a gap to fit his ogre-like frame through. He’s relieved to find one that has been left unattended right at the end of the fence line close to some shrubs. Squeezing his way through clumsily….

“Fuck sake. Haggard old bat” he repeatedly swears and curses with Karen in mind. Blaming her for everything including his now stuck belt buckle on the wooden fence.

“Stupid fucking thing”

With a quick glance to make sure there’s no one around he unfastens his belt and pulls it from his waistline allowing him to lug the rest of his swollen body through the gap, swearing once again as he scrapes his head on a bent outward nail in the process. Regaining his posture as best he can and feeling his wound to make sure there isn’t a nail lodged in his skull. He grunts breathlessly as he loosely fastens the devil’s snare back around his gut which stubbornly protrudes in an obscure shape over the constraining leather material. The war with the fence has held his attention for the past five minutes. He only just notices the shadowy figure at the cliff’s edge.

 

Copyright, Charlie Wright. All rights reserved.

To continue reading head to Chapter 2 here