Fighting for Rose Garden Sanatorium!

Yesterday I got some ‘bad’ news. It wasn’t bad in the sense that I was faced with criticism, it’s more that I didn’t get through to the long-list on the Watty Awards 2018… I know it sounds silly, it’s just WattPad… and now that I have had time to evaluate everything, I do find it silly I was so upset, but let me explain…

When I was a young girl, I was very shy. I was so shy, in fact, that I was bullied at school. It affected me so much that I refused to talk. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it was a ‘cry for help’. This issue spread into my life at secondary school and the only way I was able to communicate with people was to talk quietly. I didn’t like to be heard, in case I was bullied.

I began The Girl Who Whispered.

Because of this, I had many issues, and my confidence was one of them. I lacked confidence. Long story short, I am forever trying to improve my confidence… becoming an author is EXTREMELY nerve-racking for me. I’m basically putting myself out there for criticism and when I’m faced with criticism, it is so much harder for me to bare.

Alongside this, I always doubt myself, I always think I’m not good enough, and when I don’t get a lot of ‘support’, I become quite despondent… I can also lash out and seem like I’m having a moan at people, when in reality, it’s not people it’s me. It’s my own insecurities.

Anyway, back to the WattPad Awards. If you don’t know what WattPad is, it’s an online community for writers and readers. You can read book for free, one chapter at a time, and writers can also use it to gain a fan-base for their work. It’s an extremely difficult platform to get recognition, and I’m slowly building up my ‘fan-base’ on at least a few of my works.

WattPad do awards, sometimes they’re little community driven ones from fellow WattPad authors/readers, but there are large awards that are run by WattPad themselves. The Watty Awards is one such large award.

I submitted my BEST work, Rose Garden Sanatorium to the award, I posted new chapters so that it had more chance of winning, I did everything by the book. I had a LOT of faith in it.

Yesterday, WattPad annonced their long-listed authors, those that go through to the next stage. Rose Garden Sanatorium did not make it. I was gutted. My confidence was knocked. I was doubting my abilities as an author. For me, this isn’t just a pin-pick in the side where I brush it off and get over it, my confidence was sorely hit, it felt like someone had slammed a door right in my face.

BUT… since a few people have been very kind, one person even said they’re surprised it DIDN’T get through, and another lady even said she was looking forward to it being published so she can have a copy herself to read… I’ve decided to push forwards and move on. I need to get this series done.

If JK Rowling faced lots of rejections… there’s still hope.

In the mean-time, my thoughts about WattPad aren’t the kindest right now… considering just deleting my account and focusing my attention elsewhere instead.

 

Copy of Rose-Garden-Sanatorium-full

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

… But I need your help to get to #1!

Yesterday I got a little notification from WattPad… how I love to see that little red dot on my WattPad account to tell me I have another notification!

And when I opened it up yesterday, I found my story; Rose Garden Sanatorium, had made the Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

*Gasp*

I have a LOT of faith in that story, so I know it will do well, I just need people to give it the chance. ❤ And seeing it make the Top 10 really made my day yesterday (especially since I had a slightly crash because of my Fibromyalgia too, feeling better today though!)

WattPad has a lot of readers (and writers, like me) who love to read stories, but I see a general pattern with the *type* of stories that get read the most on there… they’re mostly romance. Now, I don’t mind, I write romance too, but for the stories like Rose Garden Sanatorium which doesn’t focus heavily around romance, they are harder to get seen. Well, to be honest, getting recognised on WattPad is hard enough as it is! So, Rose Garden Sanatorium, although it’s been my main project since January 2017, hasn’t been as popular on there.

I have submitted it to the Watty Awards, I have sent it to a literary agent, I have even sent it to WattPad Studios as I have faith it is a good story (the whole series is). And winning Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards is (hopefully) the first step into getting more momentum on the story!

HOWEVER… it seems that to win top spot on the Cryptic Awards means I need people to vote for it, so I am writing this in a plea to people to go on WattPad (it’s free to set up, if you don’t have an account) and vote for Rose Garden Sanatorium to be Number 1 and Best Dark Adventure!

Here’s the link to where you can vote: https://www.wattpad.com/616298631-the-cryptic-awards-closed-%E2%99%A6-the-choosing-%E2%99%A6

Voting closes on the 15th September 2018.

And here’s the link to the story if you’d like to read it before then:

https://www.wattpad.com/story/124077410-rose-garden-sanatorium

1. Rose Garden Sanatorium NEW (2)

Rose Garden Sanatorium made it to Top 30 in an Award!

If you’ve been following what I do on WattPad, you may have noticed that I have submitted to a few awards recently (as well as WattPad studios, which is another story!)

One of the awards I submitted was to the Earnesty Writer’s Awards 2018 – two books have been submitted, ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’ and ‘I fell in Love with a Psychopath’ into two very different genres.

Today, I got a notification to say they’ve got the results for the Top 30 Paranormal and Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller genre, and my book ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’ got through! 😀

Check out the results here: https://www.wattpad.com/612140018-earnesty-writer%27s-awards-2018-top-30-paranormal

I’m super exciting, because that one is my favourite and it would be absolutely amazing if I won something!

If I don’t, it’ll still be brilliant that I get a few new people reading my work, and hopefully build up my popularity. 🙂

If you want to see what all the fuss is about, check it out here: https://www.wattpad.com/story/124077410-rose-garden-sanatorium

Looking forward to find out if the other one does any good on the Earnesty Writer’s Awards, as well as the other Awards I submitted to… Including the famous Watty Awards! 😀

1. Rose Garden Sanatorium NEW (2)

Butterfly House – Chapter 3

If you’re new to the story, please read the prologue here.


Chapter 3

A ringing sound woke Declan abruptly, he lifted his face from his pillow and blinked up at the clock on his bedside table. The time just changing from 09:23 to 09:24.

“Shit!” he swore as he rushed to get up out of bed, tripping on the bedsheets and fell to the floor, knocking his head on the cheap scratchy carpet.

He pulled himself up, groaned as he rubbed his head and picked up his ringing mobile.

“Harris,” he muttered into the phone, the best awake voice he could muster.

“Where are you?” said a hurried voice, his partner; Fiona Boyd.

“Pass, next question.”

“Declan!” Fiona’s voice hissed at him.

“I’m sorry! I…” He paused, and tried to think of an excuse. “I can’t come up with an excuse right now, can I get back to you on that one?”

“This is the last time I’m covering for you, you need to get your act together.”

“I know.” Declan groaned, and sat up, leaning against the bed frame. “I’ve already been told I need a holiday, maybe I should?”

“You’ll be seeing the inside of a morgue soon if you don’t.”

Declan laughed. “At least you’re friendly with the prison staff!”

He heard his partner sigh. “Seriously, what’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing, I… I just slept through my alarm again. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“Fine, but you’re doing some of my paperwork!”

“I’ll buy donuts.”

“Very funny!” The phone suddenly went dead.

Declan stared at the floor of his bedroom for a few minutes, wondering about whether he should redecorate—or maybe moving was a better option?—until he sighed, pushed himself up from the floor and got dressed, putting his standard police trousers over the top of the same boxers he wore yesterday and pulled a plain black t-shirt up over his muscular frame, the rest of his police uniform would be in his locker at the station. He didn’t even bother to shower, he didn’t have time. He would drown himself in deodorant and aftershave instead.

***

When Declan walked into his tiny kitchen, his stomach rumbling angrily at him, he walked over to his fruit bowl and picked up an apple. He pressed a button on his answer machine to play the messages he missed to listen to last night and walked over to the blinds, pulling on the string to open them with one hand while biting into the apple with his other.

“One new message,” he heard the mechanical voice of his answer machine. It proceeded to tell him that a new message was received only last night, ironically only minutes before he had finally got home last night. Having left the station late, skipping dinner and collapsing straight into bed. Only just managing to strip before doing so.

“Declan, hi, it’s me,” he heard a familiar female voice. His blood ran cold, his heart stopped and he stood still, the apple to his mouth and the blinds half-way open. “I’m sorry to call, but…” The woman sighed. “This is awkward.” She laughed. “Well, I’ll just come out and say it; I think I left my passport in our… your… filing cabinet.” The line went dead for a long time, Declan wasn’t sure if the message was over, or the machine started to play up, he looked round at it, taking the apple from his mouth, but just as he did, she continued again; “Sorry.” She continued, sounding like she was sobbing. “I… I need it need it by next week. We… I… I’m going away. So, could we… I don’t know… meet up? Or… if you don’t want to… which I completely understand, could you somehow get my passport back to me?” Another long pause and Declan was sure the message had finished this time, when her voice came back. “I did love you, you know that right?” Declan snorted and shook his head at the answer machine. “Anyway, you have my number, call me when you get a chance… but… please don’t leave it too late. I need my passport… Bye.”

Declan closed his eyes as the answer machine told him his options, pressing buttons to save, delete, and so on. He rushed up to the machine and pressed the delete hurriedly. He wanted to pretend he never heard her voice. Pretend she never existed. Pretend she never came into his life, tore his heart out and stamped on it. He’d find the passport alright, but he wasn’t sending it to her, it’ll go straight to the station and he’d report it as lost. She had no chance leaving the country. It’s the least she deserved anyway.

He threw the rest of the apple in the bin, no longer felting hungry, grabbed his keys and left his flat, his already bad mood had worsened.

New Chapter coming soon!


Please check out my other written works! 😀

If you like what you read, please do check out my WattPad account here: https://www.wattpad.com/user/penny_bones16

I also have a few ‘samples’ on my other works here:

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1 – UPDATED

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

Butterfly House – Chapter 2

Note: If you’d like to read the Prologue and Chapter 1, please find them here:
Prologue
Chapter 1


Chapter 2

The sound of music filled the air as a red Aston Martin Vantage convertible drove down a relatively busy road in the city centre of London, its roof down. The owner of the car, a young pretty woman with long brown hair tied back into pony tail, sunglasses and a large smile on her face, tapped to the beat of the song on her car door as she rested her arm out the window.

The car gave a bit of life to the street for a few minutes, the happy song filling everyone with joy, and the bright beautiful car turning most men’s heads, even a few of the women who either appreciated the car too, or were hoping to see a hot rich guy in the seat instead.

The woman grinned as a set of pedestrian lights turned red, signalling her to stop. She grinned because stopping the car was sometimes the best bit, being able to concentrate on the people around her and not the road, taking in their looks and agape faces as they stared. She winked at a young lad, no older than eighteen, but realised he probably couldn’t see her eyes behind her glasses so gave him a cheeky grin instead.

But just as the lad stumbled across the road, his cheeks going red, the music dulled and her car speakers were filled with a ringing sound instead. She sighed, looked down at her mobile which was on the passenger seat, recognising the caller ID, she pressed the answer button on her steering wheel.

“Hello, beautiful,” she said, making a balding middle-aged man look round in shock as he walked passed the car, and suddenly looking embarrassed when he heard another voice come from the speakers, knowing instantly that that hot woman in the expensive car wasn’t talking to him.

“Al, next Saturday!” said a woman’s voice.

The woman in the car, just as she started to drive off now the lights were green, gasped and said, “Have you realised you love me, so you’re leaving Dillon and running away with me?”

The woman in the speakers laughed. “Lunch, babe.”

“Ah, that’s the next best thing I suppose.”

“Is twelve okay?”

“Midnight?”

Another laugh. “Lunch at midnight?”

“You know me, I like to live life on the edge, thought maybe you were taking a leaf out of my book?”

“I’m in bed by nine these days!”

“That’s usually the same time I get up!”

“At night, babe.”

“Exactly!”

Another laugh. “Then what are you doing up this early?”

The woman in the car looked round at the time on the screen in her car, it read nine-thirty in the morning. “Haven’t gone to bed yet.”

Another laugh. “I can’t tell if you’re joking or not!”

“Sometimes I can’t tell either.” She laughed.

“So, you free next Saturday?”

“Will Dillon be there?”

“No, he’s working, just you and me.”

“That’s a shame, I’d quite like a threesome.”

“Allison!” her friend groaned, and she could almost see her friend going red from embarrassment.

The woman called Allison laughed, just as she saw a disgusted look from an old lady who was walking down the street as she drove past, clearly having overheard Allison. “I’m kidding!” she said, and gave a small pause before saying; “It’s all about foursomes now! Much more fun and no risk of someone missing out.”

Her friend groaned loudly. “I’m regretting booking this place now.”

“Where have you booked?”

“It’s that new place the other side of the city, beautiful willow trees in the gardens.”

“My house?”

“No.” Her friend sighed. “I can’t remember the name of the place.”

“Sounds exciting.”

“So, you free?”

“I’m always free for you, baby,” Allison replied. “I’ll even wear my kinky outfit.”

“I wonder why we’re friends sometimes, you know.”

“I pay you well.”

The woman on the phone laughed again, and then was cut off by sirens as an ambulance drove past.

“Where are you?” her friend asked.

“Victoria Street.”

“Oh god, you’re talking to me on hands free through the speakers with your top down again, aren’t you?”

“Yep,” Allison said, a huge grin on her face, as she stopped by another set of traffic lights. She glanced to her side as another car rolled up next to her. A rather plump looking couple in a beat up Volvo glared at her from within, the passenger; a woman with greying hair and a large mole on her chin, had her window down in the sun. “Oh, toats hot couple right next to me in traffic!” Allison yelled deliberately loud. “Shall I ask them if they want to have a foursome with us?”

“What?” said her friend on the phone, she must have not heard her or was momentarily distracted at work.

“Hot couple, three o’clock, say hi, Kathy!”

Just at the same time as Kathy groaned on the phone, the woman in the passenger seat of the Volvo went red and rolled her window up. Allison just burst out laughing.

“I have to go,” Kathy said, her voice sounding absolutely horrified.

“Don’t worry, you can have the guy, I’ll have the hot chick. Her mole is a strange turn on.”

“Allison,” Kathy groaned. “I have a meeting in five minutes, I’ll ring you later or something to give you the details for next Saturday.”

“Bollox do you have a meeting, you have an awful lot of them when you’re on the phone to me.”

“I was being polite.”

“Don’t be,” Allison said, as she started to drive off again. “Just tell me to fuck off, I don’t mind.”

“Alright, fuck off.”

“Well, I say!”

“Bye, Allison.”

“Love you, sexy.”

There was another groan before the line went dead and the music started to run back up, Allison just drove, singing along without a care in the world, as she drove towards the Wellington Arch.

***

Click here to read the next chapter!


Thanks for reading!
If you like what you read, please check out my other works.

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

I also have a book published, “It’s My Mistake” with 5-star reviews!

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1 – UPDATED

It’s also out in paperback where you can get a physical copy here!

Another 5 star review!

Admittedly it was a friend of mine who bought and read my book, but I am extremely thankful that he has taken the time to buy it, read it and review it. 🙂

Another 5 star review is on Smashwords!

review2

It’s currently up for sale at 50% off! 🙂

www.smashwords.com/books/view/744287

If you’d like a paperback copy rather than an e-book, you can do here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-My-Mistake-Penny-Hooper/dp/1985376709

 

 

 

Butterfly House – Chapter 1

Click here to read the Prologue

Chapter 1

“Hey, big guy, you keep the house safe for me while I’m gone, yeah?” said a brown haired man with glasses and a crease on his forehead. He walked through his kitchen while his fourteen month old baby boy was sat in a highchair and gave him a big grin when his father kissed him on the head, trying to avoid getting the baby food that was smothered around his little pink cheeks onto his suit.

“Will you call me when you land, Dave?” said a woman at the sink, washing out a cup with a bright purple dish-cloth.

Dave turned around from his son and looked round to his wife. He was a handsome man, although slightly rounded on the stomach after letting himself go a little over the years. But he knew he was still attractive to the ladies. “Signal might be a big patchy, but I’ll try my best,” he said, as he walked over to her, wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her on the neck. The woman smiled.

“You do that and I might actually miss you,” the woman said.

The guy chuckled slightly as he kissed his wife on the neck again, before running his hand from her stomach and down her abdomen.

“Do you really have to leave now?” she whispered back, closing her eyes.

Dave broke away from her, placed both hands either side of her waist and span her round. She managed to let out a small gasp before he pressed his lips against her lips, pressing his body against her body, so she was pinned against the large deep sink behind her.

When she let out a small groan of pleasure, Dave automatically pressed his body harder into her, his own body reacting to her, and kissed her passionately. He moved his hands up the hem of her shirt, his fingers starting to wander up her sides and finding the bottom of her bra.

Dave was about to unclasp his wife’s bra, finding himself caught in the moment, when there was a small clatter behind him and the shrill wail of his son. He groaned when his wife pushed him away to check what was wrong.

“Leave him, Jan!” Dave groaned, feeling frustrated for being interrupted. “He’s fine.”

“No, Dave, he might be hurt!” she snapped, and peered around her husband.

“Hurt?” he snapped accidentally, pulling away from his wife and looking round at the red face of his baby boy, noticing a small plastic spoon in his hand, but the green bowl he was originally eating from was now on the floor, the contents of the disgusting baby food now all over their expensive kitchen floor.

“It’s okay, baby!” said his wife, slinking from between her husband’s body and the sink, drying her hands on a tea-towel she grabbed, and rushing over to her son to comfort him.

“See, he’s just dropped his food, he’s fine!” Dave said, resting his hands on the sink and trying to control himself; mostly his frustration, he knew he could snap if he didn’t control it.

“I know,” his wife muttered absentmindedly before she started annoyingly cooing to her son.

Dave rolled his eyes, took a deep breath and decided to try again. He turned around and walked over to his wife as she wiped her son’s face with the tea-towel she had in her hands and gave him a kiss on his forehead, much like what Dave had done moments before.

Dave stuck his tongue out at his son, crossing his eyes as he did, and getting an instant reaction from his son; his wails suddenly turning into a fit of giggles. Exactly what he wanted, so his wife didn’t have to fuss over him and could get back to concentrating on him instead.

“See, he’s fine!” Dave said, wrapping an arm around his wife much life last time by the sink.

Jan sighed and stood there while her husband kissed her neck and rubbed his hands down her body.

“Don’t you have a flight to catch?” she said a little too harshly, but Dave chose to ignore it.

“I do, but I can be a few minutes late,” Dave whispered, trying desperately to get his wife in the mood again.

“Dave, not in front of Charlie.” She sighed.

Dave closed his eyes, stopped kissing his wife’s neck but continued to hold onto her waist. He took in a large breath and then let it go, hoping his frustration would go with it. It didn’t. “He’s a year old, Jan, he doesn’t know what’s going on.” He kissed her again, almost determinedly.

“Maybe, but I don’t feel comfortable,” Jan explained.

Dave groaned into her hair. “Then put him in his cot or playpen for a minute?” He kissed her on the neck again and pressed his body into her back.

“Dave, please stop!” Jan snapped, pushing her husband’s hand away from her stomach again before his hand wandered downwards again.

“Jesus Christ!” Dave finally snapped, raising his voice, and his son suddenly started to wail again.

“Well done!” Jan snapped angrily, and pulled her son out of the highchair.

Dave groaned angrily and ran his finger through his hair. “I’m going away for a while, Jan, I just wanted some alone time with you before I leave.”

“We had alone time last night, after we put the kids to bed,” Jan said, trying to rub her wailing son’s back to sooth him. “We have children, Dave, we have responsibilities now.”

“You were too tired to have sex last night!”

Jan frowned at him. “Is that all you think about?”

Dave shook his head at her. “Don’t start!”

“No, I am starting, Dave!” she said, frowning angrily at him. “I’m too tired because I have to run around after our children all day every day. I know you work, and you work hard, and I am forever appreciative of that. I don’t complain when you come home late, I don’t complain when you go on business trips away for days or weeks at a time, because you support this house financially, but I do require a little bit of respect! Do you know how hard it is to look after two children?”

“One, you put the other in day care,” Dave muttered, walking away from the woman and into the living-room in their open-plan living-space.

“That’s not fair!” Jan said, looking teary eyed. “It’s good for her.”

“Good for her, or good for you?” Dave snapped as he put on his blazer.

“Fuck you,” she whispered.

Dave looked up at his wife in shock, she hardly ever swore, and she never did around the children. “What?” he said, not sure if he had actually heard her correctly.

“You heard me!” she said as a tear escaped down her cheek. He knew he should be feeling bad, but his frustration and anger was too much and it clouded his judgement. “I’m trying my best here, and I’m sorry if it isn’t good enough!”

“I didn’t say…”

“No, you did, but you might as well have!”

“Jan, I am just frustrated, that’s all!” he said, trying to keep his voice calm, but was unsure how well it was working. “It’s been a while since we were intimate, you’re either too tired or something happens to one of the children.”

“You have hands!” she snapped, just as Charlie’s high-pitch wail pierced through their ears again, clearly picking up on the tension in the room that was expanding.

Dave laughed and shook his head at his wife. Without really thinking about the consequences he accidentally snapped; “Allison always appreciated my needs.”

Just before he slammed the front door shut, he heard another wail, but it wasn’t his son this time. It was his wife.

~~~

Click here to read the next chapter!


Don’t forget to check out my other works!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Prologue

THE SEARCH CONTINUES AFTER BMW FOUND!

  • Authorities located the car of missing man, David MacLeod, found parked in Notting Hill five miles from home.
  • He was last seen leaving home at 7:00am Monday 19th of June to catch a flight.

By DEENA RICHARDS
PUBLISHED: 09:22, 15 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:12, 15 July 2019

David MacLeod, husband to Jan MacLeod, father to Charlie and Margaret MacLeod, ages 1 and 4, is still missing after three weeks. Supposedly having left for a business flight, but never making it to the airport.

Authorities have responded to a report of an abandoned car, which has been confirmed belongs to that of David MacLeod. It is not known why David’s brand new BMW was parked in Notting Hill when he was due to catch a flight at 08:00 that Monday at Gatwick Airport.

Jan MacLeod is appealing for witnesses who may have seen or heard from David or knows any information to his whereabouts, to come forward as she “extremely worried” about her husband. She says “this behaviour is very unlike David, he normally finds any way to contact me and wouldn’t abandon his children!”

His ex-wife Allison refused to comment but is believed to be working closely with authorities to find David.

Click here to read the next chapter!

woman s face
Photo by Isabella Mariana on Pexels.com

~~~

Don’t forget to check out my other works!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

No one likes you! – A short story.

My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper

My Proof copy arrived!

I got a lovely surprise this morning, the proof copy of my soon-to-be published book ‘It’s My Mistake’ arrived this morning! 😀

I’m so glad it has, because that means that I can now review it properly and finally put it up for sale!

Before I opened it though, I set up my camera and decided to film myself opening it. 😀

You can watch the video here:

Opening my first published book!

Will post a link to where you can buy it from once it’s live, so watch this space! Let me know if you’d like a signed copy. 🙂

Also, feel free to check out my other works here on WattPad:

https://www.wattpad.com/user/penny_bones16

I fell in Love with a Psychopath – Chapter 4

If you’re new to the story, please read the prologue here.
This work is my first draft and thus unedited, so may be subject to changes.


Chapter 4

The next week and a half went by in a mess. Or was it that I was a mess?

Later that day, after Liam had asked me out – well, sort of. He finally managed to ask if I wanted to go out on Friday. I was already busy Friday, I had made plans with Leah to go out with a few of her friends for a meal. It was a favour for her. She had found out her ex-boyfriend was going to this meal because he was best friend with her best friend’s fiancé or something and she needed someone to back her up. It was an interesting night actually. Her ex-boyfriend was actually really lovely and didn’t hold any grudges against Leah and was quite happy now with his new girlfriend. Even Leah went away – albeit a little drunk by the end of the night – a lot happier knowing that there was no bad air between them.

Liam then asked me if I wanted to meet up at the weekend, but he was busy Saturday and I had already arranged to skype my friends back home and do some well-needed cleaning on Sunday. I had a pile of washing and ironing and my apartment was a mess. I hated it being a mess. But I counter-offered next weekend, so as to avoid it sounding like I was brushing him off, and he agreed.

So, I had a date with my crush, Liam, on Friday after work.

That was in two days.

When Wednesday came, I found myself sat in my apartment fiddling with my thumbs. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I was too nervous about Friday evening. I had tried reading a book, but when I read the same line about five times I gave up. I tried to watch TV, but everything just reminded me of Liam and I was a nervous wreck watching it. Even this silly advert about a super-power man with kitchen clothes that is able to scrub away any tough bit of dirt reminded me of Liam – he was always sneaking up to people and blurting lines from the advert. I tried to clean more of my apartment, I hoovered my floor again, even though it didn’t need doing. I washed all my dishes, put a load of clothes on to wash, dusted, cleaned the windows, even gave the kitchen a good scrub. But by about half seven, I had done everything and was bored – and a nervous wreck.

I plopped myself down on my sofa and stared at my blank TV screen, just about seeing my reflection in the mirror. For some reason my own reflection reminded me of a poster I read. The poster had these girls on the front of it drinking cocktails. I think it was because one of the girls looked a little like myself and my mind decided to bring it up now. The poster itself – although not very well done from what I could remember – was trying to advertise a deal on cocktails. Every Wednesday evening they have a two for one deal on cocktails at the bar. It was as if my unconscious was trying to tell me something: go to the bar.

The only problem was; the bar was Xander’s local.

But was that a problem? It’s not like I was going there on a date. I was just hoping to pass the time until Friday without going crazy with nervousness.

Before I was able to talk myself out of it, I was out of the shower, dressed in my favourite red dress and out of the door heading for Mario’s.

***

“Can I have two Mojitos, please?” I yelled to the bar man about the unexpected busy noise. I couldn’t help but think the extras were back in place. I just needed to figure out where the main star was again.

“Two Mojitos coming up,” said the bar man, before he wandered over to the drinks shelf to grab the white rum and pour a two shots into a large metal mixing decanter.

As soon as he poured one shot in though, I turned around to face the bar to scan the faces.

I huffed under my breath as I couldn’t see who I was looking for. I had caught the attention of a few guys because of my red dress, but none of them interested me.

Last time I was at Mario’s, I had worn jeans and blouse. This time, I had made an effort. My red dress always got me attention. I had read somewhere once then men were attracted to the colour red. So not only did I have my red dress on, I had deliberately accentuated my eyes in dark make-up and wore a deep red lipstick.

I realised as I was sat in a cab that I was being stupid. I told myself that I was only going for the cocktails that was it; I was bored and wanted cheap drinks. But as soon as I saw my reflection in the cab window, I realised it was more than just me being bored and wanting cheap cocktails. I wanted to see Xander again. I felt guilty; I had a date with a perfectly nice guy on Friday. Liam. I was looking forward to it, I was even nervous about it to the point of feeling sick. Unless it was because Xander had been a distraction from Liam last time, that I wanted him to take my mind of Liam again?

Or was it something else?

But whatever was going through my mind. Conscious or not. Xander wasn’t in the bar.

“Here you are, love,” said a voice from behind me. The young barman had made me my Mojitos already and had placed them on the bar top. I smiled and took out my purse from my clutch. After I paid for them, I wandered over to a free booth which appeared to be wet where someone had clearly spilled a drink, and slumped down in disappointment.

***

I was there for an hour and a half, sipping my Mojitos. I only had two. I decided it wasn’t worth getting another two in fear of drinking too much and having a hangover at work tomorrow. It wasn’t until I was trying to drain the remainder of the melted ice in the bottom of my glass that I realised there wasn’t much point staying there either.

I sighed and stood up from the booth, taking the glasses with me and putting them on the bar top. The bar man giving me a small nod in appreciation as he noticed me, and I just smiled back and left feeling hugely disappointed, both at not seeing Xander and with myself for even thinking this was a good idea in the first place.

When I got outside and started to sulk away, I noticed there was a bit of an incident happening down a side street. The side street was actually down the side of the bar. It wasn’t an alley; unlit, dark and smelling like urine, like back at home in the UK, but it was definitely a little darker and less populated. I noticed there was a guy yelling in the distance as I walked past the street, my phone out in my hand ready to call a cab. I stole a glance down the street and saw there was a guy in dark clothes yelling at another guy. Another was present but was holding himself back away from the scene a little.

But I gasped and stopped in the middle of the street when I seemed to recognise one of them.

I stared down at the commotion and realised finally what was going on. Someone, the guy in dark, held something in his hand. I had a feeling it was a weapon. I wasn’t sure if it was a gun or a knife. But the thing that upset me to the core was that he was clearly threatening a guy in a grey suit. It was a mugging. And the guy in the suit, even from this distance, I knew who it was.

I rushed into the shadows of the street and took my shoes off, now bare footed I walked down the other side of the road and towards the issue, hoping and praying that the attacker didn’t hear me and didn’t attack before it was too late.

Not that I knew what I was doing, but I was hoping that coming up from behind him I could find something to whack him across the head and knock him out. I’ve had my fair share of incidences to be able to protect myself, although none have involved a gun. But me, walking barefooted down the street, looking for something to use as a weapon, was their only chance.

“Just give me the watch, Rich Boy and no one will be hurt,” I heard the guy in the black hoody. Now realising he was in a filthy hoody that was up over his head. His posture was bent and I could see a glint of a knife in his hand.

“I’m not giving you the watch, so either you stab me or fuck off,” said the deep booming voice that went with the masculine bulk in a suit.

“Just give him the watch, Xander,” said the guy holding back. Looking apprehensive.

I didn’t realise at the time, as I was too busy looking for something large and heavy, that Xander really didn’t give a shit the guy in front of him had a knife in his hand.

“No, this watch was a gift from my grandfather, I’m not…,” he paused, his green eyes suddenly fell on me, just as I reached down and found a large rock on the floor next to a large bin. I put my finger to my lip to signal him to stay quiet. His eyes flicked straight back to the attacker in a matter of seconds. “I’m not handing it over. Over my dead body!”

Xander’s friend hadn’t noticed me yet, but the attacker had noticed he paused and went to turn around to see behind him. He would easily have seen me. I held in a gasp as I had straightened up, putting myself in a position to run if I could. But Xander took a step forwards as if to go for the guy and he stopped and held up the knife in his hand at Xander. “You move and I’ll stab you!”

“And you move and I’ll kill you,” Xander said, his voice sounded a little menacing.

The guy seemed to falter slightly, suddenly unsure whether to pursue this idea of mugging Xander and must have been weighing up his options. In the meantime, I had started to slowly make my way towards the guy now armed with – hopefully – a weapon in one hand and my heels and clutch in another.

But just as I made my way slowly and quietly across the street, hearing my own heart pound in my ears and my head yelling at me to leave Xander and save myself, I stood on something and gasped in pain.

Unfortunately, however, the guy with the knife had heard and swung round, knife swung round with him, still in his hand. His emaciated face sunken and pale, his grey eyes fixed right onto mine. I remember seeing pure madness deep within them.

I gasped again and accidentally let the rock in my hand slip from my grip. It landed painfully on my bare foot and I screamed in pain.

Check out the next chapter here!

~~~

If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

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