Special Feature / Hugh Roberts

It gives me great personal pleasure to feature my friend and yours, Hugh Roberts. Hugh is always incredibly generous with his own time in relation to others, so it’s a pleasure to be able to return the favour. Please read and enjoy.

Richard

Thank you so much to Richard for allowing me to take over some space on his blog today. My name is Hugh W. Roberts. I’m dyslexic and have a passion for writing.

In celebration of my short story collection, Glimpses, reaching its first birthday in December 2017, I’ll be publishing some short stories from the book, both on my blog and as a guest over on the blogs of other bloggers. Look out for them over the next few months.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Jonathan, one of many characters who feature in my stories.

The Bridegroom

Jonathan ironed his shirt. It was brand new, crisp, and white, but the creases he thought he’d ironed out had miraculously appeared overnight.

His stomach churned; he’d not been able to eat a thing; too afraid he would heave it all up the moment he reached the church.

His mobile phone had been pinging for what seemed like days now with messages and emails, most of which were of no importance apart, that is, from the one which begged him to call her back.

Matthew, his best man, was due back in five minutes.

The crease in the left sleeve was stubborn, refusing to budge. He looked for a bottle of water from the minibar so he could sprinkle some of it on the crease. His mother had taught him that this always helped when ironing out stubborn creases. It would have to do, even with the stubborn crease. After all, it would be hidden by his jacket so nobody would see it.

Ping, ping, ping. He picked up the phone and was about to throw it against the wall when her face stared back at him from the screen saver and stopped him in his tracks.

A tear rolled down his face. He couldn’t go through with it. She’d understand, wouldn’t she? But in five minutes’ time, Matthew would be knocking on the hotel bedroom door telling him it was time to go to the church.

Within minutes of him slipping on his shirt, doing up his tie and putting on his jacket, Matthew was knocking on the door. They hugged each other briefly.

“Are you ready?” Jonathan nodded his head.

“Take your time, mate, there’s no rush,” uttered Matthew.

As they walked out of the room and down the stairs to the ground floor of the hotel, a few more tears slid down Jonathan’s cheeks.

The tear duct dam burst the moment he stepped out of the car outside the church and saw the light oak box his ‘no longer wife-to-be’ was now laying in. Jonathan was supposed to be getting married to her, not burying her.

***

Taken from Glimpses. A collection of 28 short stories that will take you up a path full of twists and turns.

#books #shortstories #sciencefiction

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Lantern Light Horrors

Author’s note: After a few of you had said how much you enjoyed the London Fog post I did, I thought I’d introduce you to a secret. I’ve been working on a Steampunk novel which is provisionally titled Britannia Unleashed. Mortimer Headlock is one of the main characters that will run through a selection of intertwined stories. I just wrote this in the style of the former post to give you a taster. I hope you enjoy it.

It did no good to reveal oneself along the harbour front, undesirables roamed like packs of wild dogs and I was not about to do something irreconcilably stupid. Life expectancy for my profession was already short enough, and I had no intention of making it shorter.

I inched my way along the dark, dank warehouse wall until turning up Beggar’s Alley. Why the lane had such a cheery name, I never knew, because Alley of the Eternally Damned would’ve been far more appropriate. I shivered, and not because of the midnight fog, rather, those cloying remains of the deaths that haunt such places. Pulling up the collar of my trench coat, I moved on stifling the desire to retch.

The familiar incline of the alley made a devil of the sodden cobblestones and I cursed beneath my breath at the incessant slipping of my leather-soled feet. If truth be known, I made barely a whisper, but Beggar’s Alley had a way of making one feel somewhat more conspicuous than normal.

All lay smothered in a layer of grey gloom. I saw nothing, heard nothing, not even the slapping of the Thames on the boardwalk; all was still as the grave. Then, in a reminder of someone more famous than I once declaring — let there be light — there was.

It was an eery introduction to a domain one would rather have avoided, those lanterns flickering like bodiless ghosts, just floating about ten feet from the ground, watching, always watching. I moved from one light to the next, the prior smothered by the London fog almost the moment I stepped away from it. And thus I progressed, one disembodied guardian of the night at a time.

Investigatory situation aside, this was one of the cases that I, Mortimer Headlock, had wished he’d never accepted. Though to be fair, when Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Queen of England and Empress of India, decreed such things, one had little choice but to accept.

If Sir Magnus Monk, slave to Alunia that bitch from another world, heard the workings of my inner mind, they were not acknowledged in auditory form, just in the shivering lantern lights. I felt them in my soul.