Go Home!

The bangs, the flashes, screams, people running and shouting. I am stuck, I can’t move, the group of men move closer and closer to where me and my sister are hiding. We’re covered by some baskets, I’m trying not to breathe, my sister is shaking, I’m sure the baskets are moving as she shakes. One of them reaches out and grabs the basket, tossing it aside and looking down at us. His eyes are dead, there’s no emotion. He grabs my sister and pulls her up then throws her on to the dusty floor, she looks back towards me as she falls, I look up at him, he hits me and then it’s blackness.

The fireworks keep banging but I’m not back home, I’m here in this place, lonely and trying to make friends. I am not even sure what all the fireworks are about, what the celebration is for. There are kids burning dolls and pieces of wood, their parents looking on at them laughing while they drink from beer cans. A small boy runs up to me and smiles and hands me a sparkler, he lights it, gives another cheeky smile and runs away to where his friends are trying to set something on fire. I swirl it around, watching the orange glow, I want to throw it away but the boy keeps looking back and smiling.

When it is finished I put it on the floor, give the boy a wave and go back to my new home. I don’t know how to mix with these people. They aren’t bad people, but their culture, their language, it’s all so different to me. I never wanted to leave home but I had no choice. They help me here, they’ve given me everything I need, I am grateful, but I don’t want to be here. I want to be in the fields where I grew up, looking after the goats, watching my sister play in the fields, hearing my mother call us to come and eat dinner.

There isn’t much in the place they’ve given me. There’s a chair in the main room, a table that I eat on each evening and another table with a television that doesn’t work on it. My room has a bed and a small cupboard that I keep my few things in. I’ve put a sheet over the window so people can’t see in and the sun doesn’t wake me up in the mornings. The bed is uncomfortable, it is too soft and I am not used to it. Each night I go to sleep I take the small picture I have of my sister from pocket and look at it, remembering the good times we had together.

I awake to banging at the door, constant knocking. I am frightened to open the door but I can’t ask what they want, I understand few words and can speak even less. I open it enough so I can see out, there is a man standing there with a bright yellow jacket.

“asdjo aosjd eowr English?”

“No English”

“safdjon awerojnr oajewr money sofdoa oasdf”

“Sorry, no I speak English.”

“osfoer wernjon weorjo weorj wejr wperj”

He walks away and I shut the door. I am shaking, I don’t think he meant any harm but it frightened me. I am feeling sorry for myself, I have been through worse, at least it is safe here. I am going to have to learn the language, try and make things work. That’s what my family would have wanted. It’s a bright day, looking out the window I can see the leftovers of the party last night. It is a strange place, people all live so close to each other. There’s a skinny kid kicking a ball against a wall outside, why isn’t he in school? Do any of them go to school?

I should go out for the day, try and see somewhere new. I grew up seeing pictures of London in books, seeing it on the television. I dreamed of going to London and now I am here I haven’t left this place that I am living in. How do I buy a ticket for the train? I don’t know which direction I am supposed to go in. Big Ben, I know Big Ben, I know how to say it too, I can say it to the man at the station, he will know where I want to go. I hope I say it properly though, if I get lost I’ll have a problem, I won’t get lost though, I can try and ask a policeman.

I want to get up out of my chair but something is holding me back, it’s like this every time I go out, like I am stuck. It feels like my mind moves forward but my body stays in the chair. This is stupid, I am in a safe place now, I have to try and make something of my life. Going out to enjoy myself will be the first step. There’s still guilt, every time I want to do something fun I think of my mother, my sister, that they can’t do anything fun, would they be angry at me for enjoying myself? Go! You are only torturing yourself.

At the bottom of the stairs there are three boys standing by a wall. The stairwells are dark, the light broken. They all stare at me as I walk past, I keep my head down, my eyes on the floor, shaking again. As I get past them they laugh. I hear the sound of something hitting the floor, a small copper coin. I want to look back, shout at them, tell them that really they don’t scare me, that I have seen things they will never see. But I am frightened. I keep walking, I can feel their stares on my back, laughing to themselves.

“adasjn don’t want aknewpq  akdsn wer go home!”

This has been taken from my book of short stories called ‘The Unwashed’ which is 9 short stories based on a fictitious housing estate in London. 

It is available on Amazon Kindle here

Paperback from Amazon here

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Tick Tock

Fucking alarm, I don’t know why I set it, I always do it. The night before I have these grand plans where I am going to get up in the morning, go down the job centre, find a job by one, make thousands within a couple of months then fuck off to Thailand or Vietnam or some place like that were it’s hot and I don’t have to worry about no one. It’s like it would be so easy when you’re at the end of a bottle of vodka. When the alarm rings though I don’t give a shit about them plans, I just want to lob the phone out the window and try and sleep for another hour.

I can’t sleep now though, I’m wide awake. I feel sick but not as sick as I’ll feel later if I don’t get up soon and have a couple of cans. I struggle out of the bed and head to the living room to look for some dregs that are left after last night. I open the door and see the window is wide open, even worse, there’s red all over the walls, claret everywhere. What the fuck have I done? I can’t remember if anyone come round last night. I remember being at the pub, not a lot after that. I rush round all the rooms looking for a body but there ain’t one.

I sit down on the sofa, it’s got to be blood, what else can it be? The wall is covered in it, what the fuck am I going to do? If I’ve killed someone how comes they ain’t here in the house. I don’t get violent when I’m drunk. Oh fuck what have I done? I pick up the vodka bottle on the floor and drink the last couple of drops, gagging then rushing to the toilet to throw it all back up. I rest my head on the bowl, sweat pouring out of me, this is madness. I hear movement at the door, I shiver, my whole body shaking, it’s like I can see myself. It’s only the postman.

Where did I go yesterday? I went to the shop in the morning and bought a few cans of that strong lager went home and watched a couple of films, then I went down the pub. I can’t remember who I met. I know I was drinking with that old geezer that don’t say anything for a couple of hours, he bought me a few drinks. Strange old geezer, I can’t have brought him back here and offed him can I? He’d still be here, what if I got rid of the body when I was in a black out? I’ve gotta go down the pub and see if he’s there.

What if he ain’t there though? I think I’ve killed someone. Fuck this, what am I supposed to do? I need a drink but there isn’t anything left in the house, that means I’ve got to go out, the old bill could be waiting for me out there. I pick up my old jumper that’s lying on the floor and throw it on, hands still shaking, I can’t see properly, everything just seems blurred and not real. I take another look at the living room, just to check I ain’t going mad, it’s still there, big red marks all over the wallpaper, some on the floor too. This really ain’t good.

I open the door and look both ways, there’s some woman that lives a few doors down smoking a cigarette on the balcony, she turns and looks at me throws the unfinished cigarette and hurries inside her own flat. That’s not good, maybe she’s gone to phone the police. I run down the stairs and over the green, I need to get off the estate, find a shop that’s a bit further away, where nobody knows me. I’m starting to feel sick, I want to throw up again but I am trying to hold it in. At the bottom of one of the other blocks there’s a police car but there’s no police in it, I put my head down  and walk faster.

This has been taken from my book of short stories called ‘The Unwashed’. All the stories are based on life on a London council estate and will be available from 25th August 2015. All digital copies of the book will be FREE and you can receive your free copy by entering your email address below. You will receive it on 24th August a day before it goes on Amazon. 



My writing book is sitting next to me, I can’t look through it when I ain’t had a drink or two, I find it hard to read back the things that I’ve written down, it’s like I am ashamed of it, that it isn’t good enough. It’s easier to write too, my thoughts go down easier, I can write how I really feel and how I used to feel without it affecting me too much. It probably sounds like psychobabble. The doctor got me a counsellor that I am supposed to see every week but I struggle to talk to her, she don’t make me feel comfortable, I’m thinking about not going at all because it’s a waste of time.

I’ve been waiting for two days now. I’ve no idea where she’s gone. I know she’s been struggling a bit recently but she usually lets me know where she is. I open the door to her room and see an envelope with my name written on it lying on the bed. There are clothes all over the floor and some of the drawers have been left open. I pick the envelope up and open it, there is some money inside along with a letter, I read the letter. She’s gone, never coming back again, I lie back on her bed holding the teddy bear that she’s left, desperately needing something to hold on to, to hold me.

I think deep down I always knew she’d go at some point, either death or running away. She never could face her problems and I was her biggest problem because she never knew how she could look after me. I doubt she’s even alive now, there’s no way that she’d make it another ten years, she probably didn’t make it ten months. I thought she had been doing well but I look back and realise that it was just blind hope from a naïve kid that didn’t really know anything but blind hope, that’s how I got through it all them years.

I’ve been sat at home alone for nearly a week. I’ve barely eaten, sometimes going to the chip shop when it’s dark so that I don’t have to see anyone, keeping my head down, hood up. Nobody knows because I haven’t told anyone, but I feel like everyone knows, they all knew it was coming, they were the ones that were right, the faith, the belief I had in her has all gone and now they are all laughing at me. Paranoia, fear, loneliness, hatred, hopelessness, abandoned, all those words that I was trying to use in my English exam come in useful now.

I can still see that kid walking to the chip shop under the cover of darkness, hiding away from the rest of the world. In a way I am still that kid, when I go out I don’t really want to see anyone, I don’t want to talk to them and then when I do have to talk to them I over compensate and start talking complete nonsense, making my life some elaborate fantasy that you know they don’t believe anyway. I’m still under that hood, now though, my hood is drink and lies, I don’t have to be that little boy when I have them.

I put a few bits of clothes into a bag that I found in her room, a couple of books and walk over to Mrs Smith’s house. When she opens the door I walk in and fall onto her sofa in exhaustion. I can see her looking down at me in surprise. I manage to pick myself back up again and she walks over to me and hugs me. She doesn’t ask what’s wrong, she’s just there so I can have someone to hold me, someone I can hold. When I let go she tells me to sit down and goes and makes something to eat. At least I feel safe here, she’ll wait until I’m ready before asking what’s wrong, she always knows when I am ready.

If it wasn’t for her I don’t know what would have happened to my life. Don’t get me wrong, my life isn’t amazing, it’s pretty shit, but if it wasn’t for her it would be even worse. She did more for me than my mother ever did and she is still here for me. Thing is she’s getting old, I don’t think she’ll be around for much longer, when she’s gone that’s when I really will have nobody left. At least she won’t be abandoning me though, knowing her she’ll die when I’m ready to cope with it, I can’t see me being able to cope with it being anytime soon so I hope she does have a bit longer left.

What’s the point in school? I don’t have to go anymore, not if I don’t want to. I was doing it for her anyway, give her a better life, now that she’s gone, who am I going to be going for? Myself? Honestly, I don’t care about myself enough now, I don’t have any motivation to do well, I just want to get by. Mrs Smith wants me to go, but I just can’t go in there and face all them people knowing that they know that I’ve been abandoned by my mother. I’m confused, things were looking good just a few months ago and now it’s all completely hopeless.

And I gave it all up, that’s why I am sitting here, living on the same estate as I grow up on, having just come back from a dingy little pub to drink the rest of the night away. I didn’t see it at the time, you don’t. When you’ve lost everything there’s no point looking towards the future because you don’t want to face it, everything is grey and that tunnel that leads down to what is going to happen later on in life is even darker, just fading into a darker and darker shade until it’s finally completely black. That’s probably psychobabble too, but that’s the only way I can describe it, try it and you’ll know what I am talking about.

A year to the day that she left and there hasn’t been any contact at all. Even though she wrote that she wasn’t going to contact me, I still hoped that she would, that she would have a change of heart, that she would realise what she had done. Every time I’ve heard the phone ring, a knock at the door of Mrs Smith’s house, every letter that comes through the door in the morning I look to see if it’s for me. I’ve become more detached from the world outside, scared to go outside, thinking everyone is looking at me, talking about me. I thought this was supposed to be for the best?

She took me in and let me live there. She sorted everything out that needed to sorted for me. She didn’t rush me, she didn’t try and make me go out. She did tell me not to have too much hope that she would come back though. She knew that she wasn’t going to, she just didn’t want to take away that little bit of hope I had, she wanted me to take it and put it on something else. I don’t think she knew what I was going to do with my life but she at least tried to make me look forward, give that tunnel the smallest prick of light at the end of it.

Then there’s nothing, nothing I can write about because there’s isn’t anything interesting that has happened. It’s been like that for nearly nine years, just getting by from day to day, never having a job because I don’t have the confidence to go and meet people I don’t know. The doctor gives me sick notes because he says I have depression and the events of my childhood have ‘impacted me deeply’. I have friends but they ain’t really proper friends, they’re just people I see down the pub, it’s how I prefer it though, I don’t want anyone close to me.

Extract from my upcoming book about a person growing up in inner city London and his relationship with his drug addicted mother. Dark, full of emotion and showing the struggles of those that don’t always have a voice.

If you would like to receive updates on the books release and receive a FREE ebook of short stories based on characters from the same book just enter your email into the form below and you will receive it when it is published next month. 




The coffee shop has a feeling of being out of place, the brand new seats in the small garden at the front of it, the flowers and plants giving it colour, making it stand out from the other grey buildings and the dusty, grey streets. Well dressed people sitting drinking cafe lattes and cappuccinos, reading newspapers and playing with phones that are brand new. Across the street is the river, one that flows from high in the plains of China down to the tropics, passing cities, towns and people as it flows.

“Money, money, please give me one dollar!”

I have no idea how old the boy is, he looks about six but he could be ten. His eyes are dark and tired, world weary at such a young age. The man at the table ignores him, the kid repeats the only English he knows again but the man still doesn’t react, emotionless. The kid looks down at the floor and walks away, sitting down next to a small girl, his sister? She is playing with a doll, battered and torn, the doll’s clothes are the same dusty grey colour of the streets.

I take a sip from my coffee, feeling slightly guilty, almost extravagant for drinking something I take for granted. I avert my gaze, not able to look at the two children. The man gets up to leave, taking his complementary water that he hasn’t drank back into the shop but leaving his empty coffee cup still on the table. He leaves the garden and climbs into a large car and is taken away by his driver. The small girl is still playing with her doll, talking to it, the boy has his head in his hands, staring down at the floor.

Behind them and in front of the river is a fair, rides and games, big teddy bears stuck to the walls. They are all bright colours, clean, waiting for someone to win the as a prize. There are families walking about, laughing and smiling and eating ice cream cones. A father throws rings trying to win his son one of the teddy bears, his son standing next to him eating an ice lolly, he makes a face, not liking the taste and throws it to the floor, the father takes no notice, carrying on his quest to keep the child happy.

The little boy sitting by the road takes the doll of his sister and brushes it with his hand, admonishing her for it getting so dirty, he stands up and gives it back to her, she carries on playing happily with it, oblivious to everything else going on around her. The boy walks back over to the entrance of the coffee shop, alert, looking to see if there is anyone that will stop him from coming in. The garden is empty now, just me and the boy. His eyes dart from table to table, looking for something to take.

I pick up my full glass of water and hand it to him, he drinks the glass in one go and puts it back on the table, his tired eyes look a little bit brighter. I point at the piece of cake that I bought but still haven’t eaten. He picks it up and then looks back at me for approval, I nod my head and he runs off back across the road. I watch as he breaks of a small piece for himself and then hands the rest to the girl. She puts the doll down and eats it all in one mouthful.

The boy comes back to the garden, he picks up a water bottle that has been dropped on the floor and runs back to the girl. He takes the doll and covers it in water, rubbing it, the grey turning a lighter colour. She takes the doll back and drinks the rest of the water, her brother takes her hand and they skip off together down the road, revitalised. The man behind them has failed to win the teddy bear, his son on the floor, crying, kicking and screaming in disappointment.

This is based on a time I was sitting at a coffee shop in Vientiane, Laos. 



“Wow, I’ve always wanted one of them. Can I have it?”

“No! It’s mine.”

“But I want it!”

“It’s not yours, it’s mine, you can borrow it if you want, you can’t keep it though.”

“Okay, I’ll give it back to you tomorrow.”

So I gave it to her, and she never gave it back. Every day I asked her for it and she would tell me that she had forgotten it, she would bring it tomorrow. I would pout and tell her not to forget because my mother would get angry. Still she forgot it until eventually I forgot. The little boy in front of me, sitting down on the bus, is playing with one. That’s why I’ve suddenly remembered. A snowman encased in a glass sphere. He shakes it, the snow covering the small, plastic figure. The fascination created by such a simple thing, that simple thing that held such significance for me.

I love this time of year, sitting on the bus watching families making their way home in the crisp cold evenings. Children dressed in their warm clothes, wearing bobble hats, their parents wiping their noses, adjusting their clothes in case they catch a cold. The children excited after going shopping, knowing that they don’t have long to wait until they can open their presents on Christmas morning. I’d give anything to experience that one more time. The innocence and the expectation. Not that I expected much, that small toy, the snowman in his glass house, that was what I loved the most.

Shaking the ball I was there living with him. The snow falling around us both, the snowman coming alive, playing with me, throwing snowballs. Going into his small house and sitting by the warmth of his fire, the innocence and naivety of my imagination, a man made of snow completely unaffected by the blazing fire. He would read stories to me and then we would go back out into his garden and play some more. All the time I was lost in this dream, oblivious to the realities going on around me, my family laughing and joking, opening their own presents.

I would take it to school and take sneak peeks at it when the teacher wasn’t looking, escaping the boredom of another day at school. Oh how I wish I could allow my imagination to run wild like it did then. Cynicism, experiences, life, they’ve all taken away the beauty of youth. Seeing the little boy brought it all up again, maybe I can still let my imagination run away, perhaps I don’t have to be cynical, I can still sometimes be that naive little girl. I wonder if he will keep it? How long will it keep his attention? Will he go home and put it down and never touch it again?

That day I gave it to her, was that the day when life realities started to chip away at that innocence? Not being able to refuse someone, trusting that they’d give back my beloved snowman. She probably forgot, I doubt there was any malice in it. Small things, things that you completely forget but are triggered by other small events, seemingly so irrelevant. You look back and realise that the consequences were bigger than not getting something back, it was the start of the journey that has led me to be sitting here looking at a small child with envy. I think I’ll treat myself to one, I can relive that Christmas again, even if only for a few minutes.


Living in a Bottle

That’s what people never understand, darkness. When you open your curtains in the morning light pours into your room, when you open your door and walk out into the morning sunshine the sun bathes your face, the warmth alone brings light into your life. When you pass someone on the street and they smile at you, there’s light, there’s warmth, there is a feeling of self worth that a stranger has acknowledged you. When you go to bed at night and someone says ‘goodnight’ to you, the darkness when you turn off your light isn’t so scary.

Everything that I see is tinged with darkness. The sun doesn’t warm my face, the light frightens me. It’s a fear of the unknown. It’s hard to describe to someone what it feels like to be scared of things that appear to be good, that bring warmth to your life. It appears irrational, it is irrational, but when your life is contained in a bottle that lets in no light, being rational is irrational. The escape route are those glass walls that can’t be climbed without help, help is what you want but you don’t know how to ask for it, you don’t want it, you need it but it still frightens you.

The bottle is metaphorical, or is it? It’s the sole purpose for your being, everything else exists outside of it, sometimes you can see out through the glass walls, but it is blurry and distant. Each morning when you wake up, the light that comes through the gap in the curtains hits the bottle first, it lights up nothing else in that room, illuminating that thing that you so desperately need, crave, would kill for. A room full of so many objects yet it’s the only one that is visible to you. You can almost see yourself at the bottom of it, looking for the last drops.

Why don’t you just stop? You’re killing yourself. I know I am killing myself, if I could just stop would I be here? Do you think I enjoy living in a bottle from which I see no escape, one I can barely see through. Do you think I enjoy living in a world where reality and fantasy have blended into one, I can’t distinguish between them. The dark shapes that chase me in my dreams, I don’t know if it is a dream or if it is real. The things that lurk in the corner watching me and taunting me as I sit there, I don’t know if they live in the bottle with me or are they just tricks of my mind? My own mind loves to taunt me too.

If you don’t understand, try. Try to live in my shoes for one day, imagine being me. I don’t want your sympathy, I just want you to know how it feels to be scared, trapped with no way out. If people understand, if they don’t judge me, cracks will appear in the glass, the light might not shine on the bottle in the morning, it might shine on my face, I might feel the warmth that you feel. If you understand it might give me the strength to break down the glass and escape, when I escape I’ll be able to walk out the door with my head held high and the sun on my face.