As he took his first couple of steps outside, Nick could feel the first bite of winter on the westerly wind blowing directly into his face. It was coming straight off the cold grey mountains and there was nothing in the twenty-eight miles between their lofty peaks and the coast, to interrupt the flow, or warm up the air. He squinted a little, his eyes watering as he looked across the lake towards its island.
‘It’s time to go in,’ he thought, rising from the stone seat and turning towards the cottage. Then, he paused for a moment and raising his face to the sky, he turned and took a long, deep and measured breath in through his nose. There was something familiar in the tang, something that went far beyond the all-pervasive aroma of the Kelp beds at low tide and the salty sea, which was just a few hundred yards beyond the lake. Curious, he took in another long breath and held on to it, for a little more analysis. Now, as Nick released the breath, he suspected he could detect a hint of rain within the sample.
‘Sniffing the wind,’ as he called it, was as good a forecast as any other, in predicting the local weather. It had proved far more accurate than any of the generalisations that flowed like a river of conjecture from the Television presenters. He had learnt in the past few years that dependent upon the wind direction, a quick snort could generally predict with 80% accuracy, whether it was worth beginning an outside task today, or not. It was always better to wait a day or two, to avoid a deal of frustration, when inclement weather brought proceedings to a grinding halt. The few summer visitors who made it out here to the northern tip of Anglesey, often liked to call this kind of thing, ‘Country Ways.’ It was a mystery to them how these, ‘bumpkins’ were often correct.
He folded his arms as some scant protection against the worsening weather and cast his eyes up towards the ominously darkening clouds, flowing off the distant peaks like some kind of metaphorical lava, spewing from an invisible volcano in the heavens. He observed them as they raced past, trying to estimate the rate of knots they were moving. The grey mass was being propelled by a strengthening breeze, which had started the day as a gentle lilt but had been gaining velocity all morning and long since become a gusting wind. As the sun inexorably rose higher into the dark, cloudy sky and the land warmed up a little, so the wind increased and grew ever colder.
“Looks like there are going to be less and less of these mornings from now on. I reckon sitting out here, in a dressing gown and some tatty old slippers, is over for another year.” He grudgingly opined, sighed and turned to head back inside Bethyn Bryn. This day dawned every year but Nick never found, that it was any less of an annual bummer.
“I declare this autumn …. over,” he pompously stated, whilst closing the back door as if to shut the weather out until the next spring.
The warmth from the central heating hit his senses like a velvet wave and the desire to spend the remainder of the morning indoors, rose on his list of priorities. Standing there by the bay window, with the cold world outside, Nick casually looked at the small motor boat he’d tied securely to its Capstan, now bobbing around in the choppy waters of the lake. He’d strategically placed several old rubber tyres along his refurbished quay, to prevent any damage occurring to his new ‘Lady Friend,’ as she bobbed around in the water.
“Shit!” He cursed, as he realised the awful truth. ‘Now, I’ll have to reopen the boathouse and put her away again. Was it too much to ask for a few hours of peace and quiet, to partake of a little fishing?’ Pleading to the weather gods was generally a futile pursuit but Nick did it anyway, while watching the dead leaves by the quay begin to pile up against a long neglected drystone wall, in drifts. It was no use, he would have to put the boat away. Sighing, he turned away. His grandmother’s, ‘Better safe than sorry,’ mantra that he remembered from his childhood, which resonated with deeper meanings, came to mind. It was as if those four words came from somewhere within the depths of his subconscious but on giving it a little more thought, he considered correctly, that it was closer to the barely perceptible but omnipresent, ‘galactic hum.’
Nick, carefully took the top off his coffee and reached for his stash box. He considered briefly where he was going to sit but as usual, plumped for his Lazy Boy recliner, permanently positioned in the bay window, overlooking the lake with its little island. As he casually rolled himself another joint, his third already this morning, which considering he’d only been awake for barely ninety minutes, this was indeed going some, even for him. He calmly lit his latest ‘hand rolled cigarette’ and sitting in the ridiculously comfortable American sized armchair, his mind drifted away on leaden wings of the Marijuana ‘high,’ allowing an overpowering sense of security to flow over him.
“A touch more research, me thinks and this Coffee’s damn good,” he opined, reached over to pick up his iPod and flicked on some Beatles to get himself going, after his almost transcendental garden experience.
“O.K, Heddi let’s see what you’ve got for me, on this fair morning,” he said with Arthurian grandeur. His finger’s operated automatically as he typed in his Username and Password into the computer. Then, while he waited for her to fully boot up, he took another toke on his half smoked ‘dooby’ and washed it down with another mouthful of the surprisingly delicious coffee. “Right then, let’s see if you and me, can find another revelation,” he enquired and lazily typed: Anglesey Post archive+Llyn Isaf, in the Search box.
Yesterday, his attempt to glean a little more information regarding the history of Bethyn Bryn, had yielded little he wasn’t already aware of. He’d learnt of the estimated year of her construction, her previous owners and their family members. There seemed little else to glean from the census and council records, so it was time to look further. He’d decided last night, while watching The Papers on the BBC’s 24 Hour News Channel, that he’d have a look at some of the local press archives for something less dry. A click here and a click there, opened up the world he’d been seeking all along.
“At last, it’s not a scientific project, or anything heavy,” he said to ‘Heddi,’ and started to read. His eyes fell on a file named, ‘Mysterious Death’s and Curious Disappearance’s, 1900 – 2007 inclusive.’ Intrigued, he opened it and peered down at the long list of headlines. Then he saw a search box for the file and typed in ‘Bethyn Bryn.’ It threw up an article which read:
Mysterious Black Water Claims Two More Souls by Elrond Peters
The deep black waters of Llyn Isaf have struck again. This time claiming two more lives from the locality. Local farmer, Mr Bryn Hughes, 56 of Bethyn Bryn and Mr Jack Pritchard, 58 of Ty Croes. The two men were reportedly searching the lake and its mysterious island for Mr Hughes’ son David, 20 also lately of Bethyn Bryn.
I reported the disappearance of David Hughes only two months ago. His boat was found floating in the reeds off the island, Ynys Y Niwl after spending a night fishing on Llyn Isaf. The police put his disappearance down to falling overboard into the lakes freezing black waters and drowning, like so many have before.
Mr Bryn Hughes, inconsolable at his loss, refused to give up hope that his sons body may yet be found. He and his friend, Mr Jack Pritchard continued to search the lakeshores and the island. According to the police, it was on one such venture last Friday, in Mr Pritchard’s inflatable dinghy, that they went missing.
So far, no evidence of either men or their boat, has been found. Yet again, the police have filed this one under ‘accidental capsize and drowning.’ Their deaths bring the total number of those consumed by the dangerous black waters of Llyn Isaf since 1900, to 146.
A spokesman for Lord Cuthbert and Lady Cleaver, the present owners of the estate which includes Llyn Isaf, Ynys Y Niwl and the lakeshore and island properties, has stated that the lake will continue to be closed to all local people except for permitted shoreline fishing. However, those renting properties on the lakeshore have historic legal boating and fishing rights and can continue to use them. They have erected signs to inform and warn the public of the rules and dangers of the lake. In addition, the area is patrolled by Seth Gordon to ensure compliance and life rings are available at several points around the lake.
Mr Bryn Hughes is survived by his father Tecwen Hughes, 78 who remains living in Bethyn Bryn. Mr Jack Pritchard leaves a teenage daughter.
Last winter, as all the remaining meat began to fall off my ever more visible bones, I thought that I was going to die. One day, whilst out on a futile scavenge for something to eat, I found a dead child, poorly buried in the snow. My hunger had reached the point of eat or die. It compelled me to release the remainder of the dead child from the snow’s frozen embrace and take it home with me. The body seemed to have been in its tomb for only one or maybe two days, as it was more, or less intact. The animals had barely troubled it.
After gutting the little boy and leaving his offal for the beasts, I ate his liver raw, then I hung the rest of the body in the Fogou to season. By this time, I’d been starving for so long, that I could hardly remember my name, Gideon. That child was a gift that saw me through. It made me swear to the Gods that I would not spend another winter on those islands.
I don’t recall now how many men I had to kill, to secure my passage off Flotta but I knew I would never be returning. Olaf Gunderson is not a man you would wish to anger, lest you wish to receive a visit from “The Eagle.” I was ever mindful of that possibility when I joined the crew of “The Red Witch” and prepared to depart from The Northern Isles.
As the Sea God’s would have it, The Red Witch was blown off course by endless storms and when the last barrel of fish was emptied, being unable to fish in the high seas, we all began to die of hunger. I was so weak, that I had several of what the ships navigator nee healer, called, ‘Head Fury’s.’ I oft wished for death to take me, anything to release me from my suffering. I longed for the eternal darkness to consume my aching hunger, before madness overwhelmed my being.
So, out of a desperation, I prayed to The Keepers of Ragnarok, beseeching them to deliver my soul to the Gates of Valhalla, so I may be judged by Odin. To be either rewarded, or punished, as he saw fit. I knew this was a risky path to take but surely, my befuddled mind reasoned, it couldn’t be worse than the anguish of wasting away on a salty ocean….
Finally, it’s finished and available from all the usual outlets and direct from the publishers @:
This was a really intense thing to write, all the characters had their own voices, flaws and idiosyncrasy’s and sometimes they informed me of where they were taking this story. Believe me, sometimes that kind of thing can be somewhat disconcerting. It got so bad, that at times they even invaded my dreams! The problem is that sometimes, the dreamscape and your novel, are not comparable on this level. On more than one occasion, a whole load of gigantic bouncy Marshmallows and a couple of Dayglow Klingon’s, were the main player’s invading Wyndwrayth in the night’s acid plot. They were not useful!
All that kind of stuff, is just a garbage dump and should definitely not be interpreted, as a guide to any future plot lines. Outside of the Star Trek domain, there are few opportunities for a Klingon and stable, long-term employment, is almost unknown. As for the marshmallow’s, that’s one for the ages…..
Well, it’s here now and I hope you enjoy it. “Powderfinger,” was a tale set in and around one of the deserted areas of a major city, in The North West of England. An area I knew well, in all its guises.
“Wyndwrayth” on the other hand, is set in a basically deserted area of North Wales. It draws on my life here, it’s history and the landscape for inspiration. It took longer than I originally anticipated because about half way through the first draft, I realised that I wasn’t really ‘feeling’ it, on any appreciable level. I simply wasn’t getting creeped out, frightened or even revolted for that matter, on any level that I consider to be essential when writing this flavour of head food. In addition, the tale was eating itself…which is something that was anticipated by my editor when I ran it by her. I knew best of course and continued fruitlessly for almost a year before having to bow down and kiss her feet. The ignominy!
So instead of attempting a cut and paste, job, I started the whole thing over again. It is a much more interesting story and I hope you will enjoy reading it. I suspect, that Nick Swann, quite possibly survived the process, a little better than I did.
Now that “Wyndwrayth” is completed. I’m taking a few weeks off and refreshing my existential creativity by working on “W900.” I have the bones of the next Nick Swann investigation in my cranial shaker and will begin it soon….. once I’ve run it by Zinzan! I’ve learnt my lesson!
🕷Sorry about the stupendous delay, it’s because I’ve been trying to write two different styles of book, at the same time and believe me, it’s not as easy as you’d think. One’s another spooky Nick Swann story, to sit on the shelf alongside Powderfinger. The other, is a tale that I’ve been meaning to write for years but something always seemed to get in the way.
“Not this time, Moriarty.”
Firstly, let me tell you a story.
When I was back there, in the 3rd year, of my high school daze, I met Mrs Wilson. She was a South African, substitute English Literature teacher who was quite inspirational. We struck up a quite edgy, yet interesting relationship. On her last day as my substitute teacher, she commented that she would be waiting to read my first Existentialist novel. Seeing as how I’d just submitted for her perusal, what I considered at the time, to be a rather good analysis of The American Civil War, I wasn’t exactly sure exactly how to take her statement?
Ever the optimist, I decided to designate her words, as being, “Groovy.”
So, I took that statement as a form of faint praise and set about the planning of ‘my great novel.’ From that high point, it all went downhill, round the bend and off a cliff. Any thoughts of a start date, were continuously delayed but the idea stayed with me, no matter what and now I can gleefully say, “W900” is finally being written.
However, the next Nick Swann story, Wyndwrayth was started ahead of it and hence took priority. W900 began its existence in the spaces between drafts, whilst my editor chomped away on Wyndwrayth.
Writing two books simultaneously, sounded like the right way to go; well I thought it was……
“How wrong can you be?”
Wyndwrayth bumped into W900 and the two threads got entangled in each others time lines. That resulted in seemingly endless rewrites and wasted eons of time, both for myself and my editor. Suitably admonished by said editor, I resolved to finish Wyndwrayth before continuing W900. A good decision! Wyndwrayth will be published in the new year and W900 is already up to 25,000 words and flowing nicely.
The Worst Summer Ever!
“More Trident anybody?” Asked the new P.M. hopefully.
“No thank you, Terreza. I doubt, that I could even manage another tiny mouthful and that Plutonium topping, is simply darling but I regret that I must decline,” answered the rather plump guest, defensively.
I’m having a certain amount of trouble, with “The Labour Party” at the moment. What with The Jeremy of C, endlessly playing Militant Tendency 2, “The Hatton’s Revenge” on his Amstrad Door Stop – personalised brick stylee computer – the ghost of Uncle Joe is rising from the remains of his fetid political party, inevitably leading to a repeat of the early 80’s.
“Prepare thi’ sen, for a lifetime of opposition, mi ‘arties.”
O.K, so I am now a member of The Green Party…….
Don Didondom Trump, America’s Boris J is talking endless crap over the pond and with this place being held hostage to fortune, by a bunch of Brexit morons, who sadly believe that they can have their cake and eat it …… twice.
“Jeebus, we’re all fucked.”
Add to that the utterly crappy weather and this has got to be:
“The worst summer……. ever!”
Ship of fools…..sail away from me!
And the war drags on……
I’ve decided to change the focus of any future ‘Blogs’ that I write and stick to the stuff that interests me on a regular basis.
Out will go any more mentions of Women’s Sport, they don’t need any further help from me, they’re doing fine on their own. (See Male’s trying to play Football, at the recent European Championships). Case made and proven, I think.
I could harp on, about the state of modern music but my pennies worth isn’t going to make Adele stop dropping the odd flat note into her repertoire. So, I’m not going to rail on against the wind of modern acceptance of substandard trash. No! I’m going to stick to items such as Drugs and the appalling shit we’ve sleepwalked into, regarding the Euro Referendum.
Brexit and it’s illegitimate Sons, will lead to one of two things: either there is going to be a fiscal disaster, “Forgive them Lord, because they are too dumb to know what they have done,” or, we will emerge into the new dawn, of glorious solitude and a new form of empirical power will save us from our own righteous stupidity. However, while we have got Hinkley ‘C‘ and the Trident Nuclear Non Defensive System to worry about, it seems that we are continuing along Moron Boulevard, on the road to nowhere.
Terrorza May, was asked if she would be willing to launch a missile and kill 100,000 people, to which the New Tory hag replied, “Yes” and sat down again.
“Of course, she’s pretending to be Hilda Thatcher.”
“You bet, it goes with the job.”
But where is Old Grey Jeremy, the ancient guardian of the ludicrous militant left, prey tell?
He’s sitting back and planning his next Non Democratic move, utterly paralyzed by his own inadequacies and unable to see that he’s no longer required in a very realistic, ever more right wing world.
We’ve got a field of Barley just cropped in the field next door and last night, there was an enormous Hare, just sitting there, looking like it owned the place. That’s one of the great things about living out here, the wildlife just does it’s thing and doesn’t give a fuck about us, we’re just viewed as entertainment.
We’ve got this damned wedding to go to on September 31st or something like that.
I thought, that all that kind of thing was out of the way and marriage had died the death but “No,” my daft Niece, decides to play the traditional card and goes for a large, country house, near Clitheroe, (or Clit Hero as my wife so charmingly has dubbed it!) stylee of wedding. “Fuck me,” it’s going to be right up my street. “Not.”
I reckon, that you can put weddings, somewhere near the top of a worst things to do list.
The Blog of The Damned.
Another summer, another tooled up time for ‘the agents of fear’ to feast on. At least until the snow starts to fall and be it, a new bird flu that could easily mutate into another Ebola stylee virus. 1001 Jehadi Knights, or just another face of Jesus on a cream cracker, I always find myself rhetorically enquiring as to wether, any of it really matters?
Maybe it’s supposed to be comforting, or something like that however,if it simply serves as a small stain on my skin, that in its consequence, is barely of any lasting interest, then I will simply wait until it fades and is forgotten during the relentless passage of a few other “real time” events.
I worry more about all the lies, that our so called leaders systematically bleat, while hoping to confuse and deceive us. Do you clearly remember the new Northern Powerhouse, that we were all promised and then latterly conned over, well that seems to have suddenly morphed into just another dream of a mythical Jerusalem. The city in the clouds, which promises an earthly paradise but delivers only a fraction of that fallacious utopian agreement.
“How so”? Asks the believer.
Well, that’s gone the way of Copernicus and is now, simply a pile of ashes, that will be blown away only to be forgotten, just as the ‘agent of fear’ hoped. Memory is therefore metaphorically dissolved, amid all the blatant acts of diversionary clutter, which are brought to our attention by the relentless news broadcasts, liberally punctuated by ‘Weather reports’ and ‘Travel updates.’ Any intelligent soul, can easily see through subterfuge and calmly awaits the next horror, that will inexorably be along at any moment, only to be blown up into “a crisis,” if required.
Sadly, that will continue until the end of days.
The Japanese Women’s Football team are about to gain revenge for the dropping of the second one at Nagasaki and they just keep on smiling, as they totally destroy the finest examples of womanhood, that country A,B, or C for that matter has to offer up to the sacrificial altar of recognizable success, in the male dominated world of soccer.
I use the term “soccer” because it gives the women’s game, a distinct separation from the blokes version of the same thing. Blokes football seems to have taken on the uglier characteristics of professional wrestling.
“Don’t look David, it may affect your sperm count but a passing feather seems to have knocked down, that rough tough striker chappie.”
The U.S.A, are going down I suspect. Megan Rapino is suspended and there goes the fire. However, then there’s the German team to contend with and they are something else.
Didn’t watch much footy on the box, just the odd game until the 2012 Olympic Games, when having quickly become passe about winning another Gold, Silver or Bronze and in desperation, I began to watch the Women playing football.
“What a revelation, supoib.”
They don’t listen to me but somebody should weaponize it and put a game on every week, then see what happens.
The English women are more successful than the blokes at present and probably will be for quite a while into the future, if the Under 21’s team, that got knocked out of The European Championships, yesterday is anything to go by…….
Bring on the dancing horses…… semi finals here I come!