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Monday, 30 May 2016

Read MY RECYCLED SOUL for free

I have started transferring my stories from my dot com webpages to this blog. There is no way I'm going to pay an annual fee just for the privilege of having a dot com website, when I can use Blogger for free and it caters for my every need. A girl needs to look after her pennies.

I am in the process of trying to get all the previous links which takes you to the other website removed, but it's going to take a while (possibly a decade!) to get all those sorted, so in the meantime please bear with me, as I try to sort this all out.

I posted MY RECYCLED SOUL today, so now you can read the full, unabridged story without having to jump through a couple of links to get there. Only one link or use the tab at the top of this page and it will take you to the right page so you can start reading straight away.

I hope you enjoy the story, and if you do, it would be awesome if you could give it a rating at Goodreads.

Be bold and share it with the world.

To get you started, here's Chapter One.

Chapter One

I smile broadly all the way home from school.
There is a skip in my step and a song in my heart, and it feels as if my life is on track, everything is perfect and nothing could ever change how I feel - nothing at all.
I have always secretly liked Jason, and although he went out with Carol for almost two years, I still have a serious crush on him. He is, after all, the most popular, most handsome boy in school, and now it appears, he is eventually aware of my existence.
This afternoon I saw him standing on the steps leading away from school, waiting for someone, and I was going to walk past, as always. I usually pretend I do not notice him, and then at the last moment, I will look up and say, “Hi, Jason,” casually, in my over-practiced voice.
Just as I opened my mouth to deliver my line, I heard him say, “Hi, Elizabeth,” in that deep, husky voice of his.
Abruptly my mind went void of all thoughts and intentions, and although my gut feeling urged me to walk away, the butterflies in my stomach tumbling and dropping, my feet stopped moving anyway.
I turned toward him and said, “Hi, Jason,” a bit awkwardly, but making sure to let his name almost whisper over my lips – once again over practiced, and my feeble attempt at being sexy.
My mind filled rapidly with screaming and shouting, so loudly, it was difficult to hear myself think and besides, I did not want him to realize he had just made my day, in fact, made my life.
I made a quick exit, before I started babbling, making a fool of myself. My feet started to walk me away again, and I smiled sweetly up over my shoulder, catching his gaze following me.
I cannot believe he actually knows my name. I replay this very short conversation with him in my mind over and over again, the entire way home. I cannot wait to share my news with someone, anyone.
What I did not realize, is that my future is not in my hands, and change is not a choice.
As soon as I walk through my front door, I know something is wrong. My mom and Sean approach me, and if not for Sean’s happy smile, I would be thinking someone died. My mom looks cheerful, but nervous, as she comes to stand next to me, putting her arm across my shoulders reassuringly.
Then the radiant, happy smile fades from my face, as my world crashes to my feet.
Sean announces with great excitement, “We are moving.”
I look at him shocked. “Where?” I feel my mom’s hand on my shoulder tighten encouragingly.
“To Ireland,” he beams.
“When did this happen?” I ask in disbelief. This cannot be happening to me. Not now. Not today.
“Your mom and I have been discussing it for a while, and we made the decision last week. I have made a few phone calls and everything just fell into place.”
I feel fear push up in my chest, from the immense despondency suddenly filling me like a flash flood, permeating every cell in my body. I move away from my mom, mumbling, “I am going to my room. Homework.”
Moving away from my mom, I feel her hand drop from my shoulders. I sense she wants to say something. Something to encourage me, to motivate me, but I do not want to hear what she has to say. I need to be alone.
As I climb the stairs to my room, thoughts rush through my mind: we are moving not just house or city, but country.
Sean has Irish ancestors and his great, extremely great grandfather was a lord of some importance about a million years ago. Unfortunately, being the only son, he inherited an apparent manor in the west of Ireland from his dad last year. A house that has been in his family since the time of this great grandfather and this is where we will be moving to now.
In the weeks that follow, I start having the strangest dreams. My friend, Rebecca, says it is my subconscious trying to prepare me for the future.
Although I try to hold onto these dreams, to try and make sense of them, they escape my mind as fast as water down a blocked drain. They linger for a few days at the back of my mind, and then they melt away, forgotten.
In my first dream, I am dressed in a funny medieval kind of dress and my hair is tied up in twisting braids on top of my head. I am crying despondently. The sobs shudder through my body until I become aware of someone watching me. I look up, but I do not recognise the boy looking down at me. He has dark curly hair, intense blue eyes, and his lips match his rosy cheeks perfectly. He has the face of an angel. Looking up at him, I feel a sense of peace settle over me.
I sob, “Who are you?”
“Devlin.” He says casually as if I should know who he is.
“What do you want?”
He does not reply, but he sits down onto the fallen tree trunk beside me, while looking at me sympathetically.
I continue crying, dropping my face into my upturned palms, while he sits next to me in silence.
After a while I look up at him, with red-rimmed eyes, and say, “It’s just not fair, you know.”
He looks back at me solemnly.
“I am my da’s only daughter, and he always told me to be independent in a world where women are second-rated, so I cannot understand why he is doing this.” I glance at him, wondering how much I can say, but then I decide I just do not care who he tells. The whole world needs to know the injustice of what is being done to me. “He only wants to further his own aspirations of being more important than what he actually is.”
His voice is soft, when he speaks, “What is it that your da wants you to do?”
“He wants me to marry Gerard, the neighbour’s son. I do not even know him.”
“Maybe it would not be so bad if you married him.”
I look at him appalled.
“I have seen him. He looks well brought up and he would not treat you ill.”
“That’s not the point. I do not want to marry him.”
I feel the damp of the night air settle on my shoulders and I shudder as a cold shiver squeezes through me.
For a couple of nights, I dream of Devlin. We are always sitting on a tree trunk surrounded by trees and shafts of sunlight.
I get to the point where I actually want to escape into my dreams, away from the truth of moving. In my reality everything becomes a haze and I remain in shock and disbelief as my mom and Sean continue past me and through me, as if I am invisible, not taking any notice of me in their busy schedule to make the move happen without any problems.
Then one night, without any warning, I do not dream of Devlin. I am in a small, dank room. The roof slopes down on both sides of the room. The corners are dark and dusty. A single, metal bed stands beside a small circular window. There is hardly any space for anything else.
Even in my dream, I feel a deep sense of loss.
I see myself stand in front of the circular window. Then I am looking out, down to the ground far below. I recognise a man below. He is wearing a strange jacket and pants, and he looks like a picture from one of my history books. The man looks up at me silhouetted in the small window, as I glare down at him with a loathing I cannot understand.
A girl appears behind me with a tray in her hands. There is a teapot, teacup, sugar pot, small milk jug and a plate of biscuits on the tray. She looks around, and then shrugging her shoulders faintly, she places the tray on the wobbly bedside table.
“Where am I?”
She looks at me unsure. “The attic?”
“Remember? The master found you with that servant boy who was taking advantage of you in the forest.”
“No. I leaned in and kissed him. He never ever tried anything. It was all me.”
“It is too late now, child, Devlin is gone.”
“Where did he go? You must help me to get out of here.”
“Oh no child, your da is very, very angry with you. You best stay here until he calms down. Besides Devlin is long gone to Dublin by now.”
“Who? Devlin? Dublin?”
“Yes, child. Devlin. He left the day your da locked you in here.”
I sit down on the bed. My legs are unable to carry my weight any longer. I say softly, “Devlin and I never even had a chance to say goodbye. It feels as if he died, it is so final.”
She puckers her face and nods her head a little. “Probably died. I think you might be right, child.”
I look up at her shocked.
She wrings her hands in the white apron tied around her waist. “There is a great sickness on the streets of Dublin. They say people are growing big black lumps on their skin, and their tongues are turning black. They say it is called the Black Plague and people are just falling down dead in the streets. Dreadful business.”
I am unable to pull a breath of air into my lungs.
Waking up, I am gasping for breath.
The next night I dream of an elderly lady who opens the door to the dark room I am in.
The woman says, “You may leave the room now.”
Sitting on the bed, I look at the door. I have a feeling of dread and I do not want to walk out of the room. It feels as if I have been trapped in the attic for a long time.
Filling my lungs with air, I get up and walk out of the room. Sunlight bounces throughout the rooms. It has been a long time since I have seen the sun or felt its warmth.
I follow my feet down the stairs to a room where the sun is shining in brightly through the windows. The woman, who opened the door for me, is sitting in a rocking chair facing one of the large windows.
She shocks me when she says, “Your father is dead.”
I sit down on a chair beside her. Words refuse to form on my tongue.
“You caused a lot of problems for your father.” She says it as if she is blaming me, as if it is my fault. I feel a deep sense of guilt. She continues, “Surely you understand. Your father went through persecution since that scandal you brought over this family.”
“How could it be regarded as a scandal?” I ask incredulous.
“You were in an inappropriate relationship with a servant. How can you be so naive?”
This dream merges into another.
I am on a horse, and I do not even know how to ride a horse. I have never even seen an actual horse in real life.
Nudging the horse, it lurches forward, starting to gallop. My long, dark hair lifts in the air behind me, as the wind sweeps in under it. It feels as if a weight is lifted from my shoulders as my cares and worries, my disgruntlements, are stripped away from me. I approach a boundary wall, a stonewall built by peasants years ago. Turning my horse, I let it walk along the boundary wall until I see another rider, ahead of me, on the other side of the boundary wall.
He looks very imposing on his black stallion and as I get nearer to him, he turns in his saddle to look at me. Immediately I like him. The way his smouldering green eyes look at me, the way his dark hair hangs over his eyebrows. He smiles at me and my heart jumps fiercely in my chest. I ride past him without stopping and I can hear him following me.
He calls after me, “Are you not Eilish?”
I pull at the leather straps in my hands and stop. Turning in my saddle, I wait for him to catch up to me. When he reaches me, I ask, “How do you know my name?”
He smiles down at me. “I have seen you around. Where are you going?”
“Circling our land. And you?” I ask politely.
“Same. Just making sure everything is as it should be.”
“So you know my name, should I not know your name?”
“I am Gerard.”
I wake up with a start. My room is still midnight dark, and I do not want to reach for my phone on my bedside table to see what the time is, so I close my eyes and soon I am fast asleep again.
Gerard is sitting on the wall, beside his horse. It is as if he is waiting for me. I smile happily, but reluctant to let him see the joy on my face, I look down at him arrogantly and nod my head in acknowledgement, while I continue walking my horse past him.
“Morning Eilish,” he calls after me, but I ignore him, keeping my back stiff and straight, sitting as ladylike as I possibly can. I feel his eyes burning into my back and I chastise myself for not stopping to talk to him.
It is as if my mind is set to repeat and this happens again and again, until he gets up and grabs onto my horse, just as I am passing him.
He looks up at me. “So, how long is this going to carry on?”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.” I look down at him pompously.
He laughs loudly. “Yes, you do.”
I answer insulted, “No, I don’t.”
“Stop awhile, if you don’t mind, and talk with me.”
He reaches his arms up toward me, and with my heart in my stomach, I lean down to him. He helps me down from the horse and then I sit down next to him on the wall. We sit there silently, looking out over the fields, the grass gently swaying in the breeze. The silence feels comfortable and I feel at ease in his company.
The sun starts to set over the horizon, painting the rolling hills in a cascade of pastel colours and still neither one of us say a word.
I get up to go and he holds me back by taking my hand. The sensation, which runs through my veins at this simple gesture, the touch of his skin to mine, makes my heart race.
“Will you meet me here again tomorrow?”
“Maybe,” I reply coyly.
I pull my hand from his gently and walk away, as he calls after me, “I hope so.” My unbelievable attraction to him is intense. It is scary and daunting.
The memory of this dream remains with me longer than the others. In my everyday life, my parents continue making plans, packing boxes, shipping favourite pieces of furniture, seemingly oblivious, as always, of how I feel. My mom starts to pack the things in my room. Slowly my cosy, comfortable haven starts to resemble an empty shell with four walls and a bed. All my memories are slowly stripped from the walls and my surroundings. With trepidation I feel the inevitable future rush toward me.
Sometimes my mom creeps into my room late at night. She, more often than not, asks me softly if I am sleeping, and when I say no, she sits down on my bed next to me. She takes my hand into hers, smiling encouragingly, and then she tries to convince me how great it will be to make new friends, to widen my horizons and how I will do well anywhere in the world, because I am such a bright girl.
Once she leaves my room, thinking she has convinced me enough, I turn myself to the wall and I cry myself to sleep.
On other nights, when my mom is too busy disrupting my life to be worried about me, I lose myself in a fantasy wherein I meet Gerard at the stonewall. I imagine us sitting there, and sometimes we will just sit there next to each other, but other times I’ll make up long intricate conversations where I tell him how unhappy I am to be moving across the globe, to another hemisphere, until I tumble into unconscious sleep.
Standing up from the wall to go, he pulls me into his arms gently and holding me close, he fleetingly brushes his lips over mine. The feelings it rouses in me can never be forgotten. His hands are around my waist, drawing me into him. He presses his lips against mine. It is simultaneously magical, frightening, irresistible and sensual.
As the days became shorter and the frost remains thick on the ground, we meet discreetly in the stables each afternoon. I can feel the way his hands caress my skin, the way goose bumps erupt over my entire body at his mere touch, and his soft murmurings as my body is cradled close to his.

Continue reading the full, unabridged story