My problem with perfection…

Hello my little demons! 😈

So, as you have probably noticed, my blog has changed a little over the past few months, it’s gone from soley about my books, to incorporating posts about travel and history (I’ve had other ideas too, but I’ve refrained for now!)

Anyway, I’ve been going back to my favourite book lately; Rose Garden Sanatorium, since my career is back on track and I’ve had some spare time.

My problem with perfection

But, I get a lot (okay, not a lot, but a few at least!) of people asking me when it’s coming out. I cannot honestly answer that, as I’ve been waiting to save the money to hire an editor.

I also went back to it after a long time – while doing my Masters – and I not only have fresh eyes to see the mistakes, but I’ve also come up with a few changes. Yeah, some are only small, but others are big – like a whole new prespective in the book.

I have a problem… with perfection.

This book is my baby. It’s been developing and growing for years, and I want it the best it can be.

I want the characters to be interesting, the plot to be believable, add in the little details that I like.

I’ve recently been watching a bit of Amazon Prime, not only been watching Supernatural, because of course, angels and demons! But also been getting into the Sci-Fi ones (I’ve always had an interest in space and space travel). I watched most of Dark Matter and then went onto The Expanse…

and, oh my goodness, the difference! The Expanse is so much better. The detail. The laws of physics. The plot as well other little stories off it. It gave me the inspiration to make my book better!

So, I’m sorry it’s taking a while to publish… but trust me, it’ll be better for it!

Also, watch this space! I’ll be updating the pages on my blog too! 🙂

Feel free to read the prologue here!

~~~~

As always, don’t forget to check out my other posts!

My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper

No one likes you! – A short story.

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1 – UPDATED

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

I’m moving to the Highlands!

Living in Australia – Part 1: Breakup from hell and Brisvegas

The HALO Trust: Safe Steps – Challenge Complete!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Chapter 5

Note: If you’re new to the story please read the Prologue here!

Chapter 5

Officer Jennifer Finley

Finley stared into the darkness of the van, trying to concentrate on the noises she could hear. She listened to the hum of the engine, the tires rolling along the tarmac, the occasional squeak from the van’s suspension, the traffic noise outside which she unfortunately couldn’t see and the sound of the pedestrian crossings after the van had come to a stop at a set of lights. It was an attempt to ground herself, to overcome her fears and to slow her beating heart, but it wasn’t really working. There might have been noises outside, even the occasional noise inside from one of her colleagues giving a cough, but they were unsettling her even more. The silence inside the van was eating away at the inside of her head, the world outside was going about its daily business not knowing the potential storm that may eventually hit them.

She had started to consider the option of bolting for the van door to her right, deciding that she wasn’t cut out for the job after all. But she had a feeling Director General Ryan wouldn’t even let her get that far. She wouldn’t put it past him shooting her right in the face to contain her.

“As you may already be aware by now,” started Captain Stroud, his accent a deep Scottish from within the dark confined space of the van. “This is not a drill.”

Finley could feel the ripple of silent panic within the metal cage. The van had come to a stop, possibly at a set of traffic lights, she wasn’t sure. She was glad for Captain Stroud to break the silence but was also dreading what would come.

“This is a Code 139,” he continued. Someone let out a small gasp somewhere in the van, she wasn’t sure who it was, and neither would Captain Stroud and the Director General, but she knew they wouldn’t be happy.

“This is indeed the real thing!” beamed a voice next to her; the Director General had started to take over, a hint of annoyance in his voice. “This is…” he paused as the van lurched forwards again, a rather unfortunate time to move. “This is what you are trained to do!” If it was even humanly possible for it get even more nervously silent in the van, it had. “We are headed to a site of a possible Code 139. We do not know how many we may face or what type. But this is why we have drills! Remember the Rules!”

There was silence in the van again, the silence that Finley now welcomed more than the Director General speaking.

“Is that clear!?” The Director General made Finley and the man sat next to her jump.

“Yes, sir!” everyone spoke in unison.

“Just like every Code 139 drill, the mission is to secure the site,” continued Director General Ryan. “The road has been cordoned off by police, both civilians and the police have been told it’s a gas leak. No one except us are allowed in or out. The shops and flats above have been evacuated. It is my responsibility and my responsibility alone to close it, you all will sweep the area. Is that clear?”

“Yes, sir!” everyone said with a little more confidence.

Finley wasn’t sure what she was expecting after that little speech, words of encouragement maybe, but the sudden silence afterwards felt even worse than before. She resisted the urge to speak out or hum to fill the silence. She instead went over the Rules in her head and mentally recalling every item that was on her person.

***

A black unmarked van stopped outside an old building. A building that appeared to have been boarded up and unused for years. The sign that ran the length of the front door read ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’.

The group hidden inside filed out of the back of the van one by one. Director General Duncan Ryan was first out of the van, who looked up at the building while waiting for his team, followed by his Captain. Each of them dug into their utility pouches to dig out a small air-tight plastic box, took out a pair of two specially designed ear-plugs and put them in their ears.

The front of the Sanatorium sported a very Victorian style front; with its large front arched door and large arched windows boarded up, the exterior mainly a red mason brick, the window frames painted white, parts of them were falling apart due to the years of neglect, ivy climbed up the side of the building, right next to where there was a black mesh fence that hid the back garden from the street and snaked its way up until it hit the moss covered slate tiled roof.

Officer Finley had read about this Sanatorium in old secret government files. It was a typical Sanatorium really, but with a bit of a dark history. A dark history that resulted in its early demise. Most derelict buildings gave her the creeps, but this one in particular raised the hairs on the back of her neck. Standing in front of the Rose Garden Sanatorium now, seeing it in person, she felt an unusual disgust for the old abandoned building. It might just look like an ordinary building, with an unfortunate history, but it was the current situation that made her nervous.

She looked back at her superior and noticed he was just standing outside looking like he was composing and preparing himself for what may lie on the other side.

Or did he know something they didn’t?

Click here to read the next chapter!


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

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

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

Samhain, All Hallows Eve and Ghost Stories – Halloween Special!

Some of my close friends will know, Halloween is my favourite holiday! It’s the one time of year that the majority of people dress up as something ‘scary’ and in a way celebrate the dead and all things weird yet wonderful. Why do I like this? Well, only a select few will know that not only have I got a few ghost stories of my own, as well as been able to predict a few things, but I have a fascination with parapsychology.

For those who don’t know, or probably think they know but are a little misinformed, parapsychology is a study of paranormal psychological phenomena (such as telephathy, psychokinesis and clairvoyance). It’s not to be confused with paranormal investigators! (But ghosts and spirits can be a part of it). And, as far as I am concerned, parapsychology is a little more ‘science’ based than paranormal investigators. There are even legitimate research laboratories set up around the world for the study, one of my favourites is the Koestler Parapsychology Unit based here in Scotland, at Edinburgh University (link at the bottom of the blog post). I am interested in one day completing at least the online course for interest, but have also been considering a PhD and conducting real research (plus, wouldn’t it be a cool talking point to say that my PhD was in parapsychology? I’ll call myself Dr Spooks!)

Continue reading and there might be a few spooky stories of my own!

Where did Halloween Originate from?

Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31st. This year it falls on a Thursday. Many people around the world celebrate it; United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Greece, even China and Japan.

Some people believe Halloween originated from the pagan religious festival ‘Samhain’, others, however, believe that Halloween is a solely Christian celebration.

Samhain

Let’s start with Samhain.

the-festival-of-samhain-is-celebrated-in-glastonbury

Photo from: https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/samhain

Samhain (pronouced “sow-in”), is a Gaelic word for “summer’s end”. It is a typically ancient Celtic spiritual tradition, possibly originating in Ireland 2,000 years ago (the Celts also lived all over the United Kingdom and parts of northern France), celebrated from the 31st October to 1st November (the mid point between autumn equinox and winter solstice) to usher the “dark half of the year” and to welcome the harvest. The Celtic New Year was November 1.

After the harvest, the community began celebrations around a wheel that, due to friction, would create sparks and flames. This is said to represent the sun. Cattle were sacrificed and people would take a flame back to relight their fire in their own homes.

The Celts also believed that a barrier between worlds was breachable during Samhain, believing that this time of year was associated with death and also believed the dead would cross over during this time.

By 43 A.D., the Celtic territories were conquered by the Roman Empire, and over 400 years, two Roman festivals (Feralia, a day in late October for commemorating the dead and day to honor Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees – probably where the tradition of bobbing for apples came from) were combined with Samhain.

It’s possible that Samhain was merged with these two days to eradicate the original pagan festival, as there was a Persecution of paganism under Theodosius I in 381 A.D., who reigned as co-emperor of the Roman Empire. Theodosian created “Theodosian decrees” which meant practicing paganism was banned, visits to temples forbidden, and remaining pagan holidays were abolished, among others. He also declared that pagan feasts that had not yet been rendered Christian ones to now be workdays.

Christian Halloween

The name “Halloween” comes from “All Hallows’ eve”, which, “hallows” means saints. November the 1st was a day to celebrate all the saints and martyrs, originally called All Saints’ Day. October the 31st just so happened to be the eve, which, of course, was also important day of celebration.

But, All Saints’ Day was originally on the 13th of May, originally to celebrate Martyrs, but Pope Boniface IV changed it to the 1st of November and incorporated a celebration for all saints.

In 1000 A.D. the church also made November the 2nd “All Souls’ Day” a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain.

All three days are collectively called Allhallowtide.

Pumpkin Carving

On Halloween, pumpkin carving is a tradition, sometimes called Jack O’Lanterns in America. This is where a pumpkin is hollowed out, a face calved into it’s side and then a candle being placed inside to light it up.

This tradition originated from Ireland, but it wasn’t pumpkins that were originally used, as they weren’t native. Originally turnips, potatoes and other root vegetables were used, it wasn’t until Halloween made it’s way to America that pumpkins were used, as it was found they were easier to calve than root vegetables.

images

Original Jack O’Lantern, Turnip Carving.
https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/jack-o-lantern-turnips-ireland

The name ‘Jack O’Lantern’ is also from an Irish folktale. According to the story, a man called Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him, but Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so Jack could use to buy their drinks. But Jack decided to keep the money and put it in his pocket, next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing.

The Devil was eventually freed, under the condition he would leave Jack alone for one year, and should Jack die, he would not claim his soul.

The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing a tree, Jack carved a cross into the tree so the Devil could not come down until he promised Jack he would not bother him for another ten years.

When Jack died, God didn’t allow Jack into heaven for his actions, but the Devil also didn’t allow him into Hell. Instead, Jack was sentenced to roam Earth with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved out turnip and became a ghostly figure called ‘Jack of the Lantern’, which eventually was shortened to ‘Jack O’Lantern’.

Trick or Treating

It is suggested that the practice of trick or treating originated from the custom of “Souling”, baking and sharing soul cakes for all christened souls. Groups of poor people, often children, would go door-to-door during Allhallowtide, collect soul cakes in return for a prayer for the dead.

Soul cakes, or soulmass cakes, were often market with a cross, much like the Easter/Lenten hot cross buns.

FDS8G00JN3HULF7.LARGE
Picture from: https://www.instructables.com/id/A-Witchs-Afternoon-Tea-Celtic-Style/
(includes a receipe if you’d like to recreate them yourself!)

Of course, the phrase ‘Trick or treat’ wasn’t used back then, the first mention of this phrase can be dated back to 1951 from a Peanut Comic Strip, but the actual origins are unclear.

Now, trick or treating has become a tradition for children to go knocking on local doors in exchange for sweets, usually dressed up as something scary!

Dressing up

The act of dressing up on Halloween can probably be dated back to Samhain, where villagers would disguise themselves in costumes made of animal skins to drive away unwanted visitors/spirits.

It was also a tradition shared with Christians, who believed Allhallowtide was the last day for the dead to seek vengeance on their enemies before moving on. People would dress up to avoid being recognised from being a target of this vengeance.

Now, the act of dressing up is left to parties and children who take part in trick-or-treating.

My Own Spooky Experiences

Something doesn’t feel right

A few years ago, probably around 2013, I took a trip to Conwy, Northern Wales (home to the smallest house in Britain) with my partner at the time. We both lived in Warrington so getting to Northern Wales was easy.

It was a cold day, which made for a good day exploring as there weren’t many people about, and so we took a trip to have a look around Conwy Castle.

conwy01
Photograph from www.castlewales.com/conwy.html

At first, it was great, hardly any tourists, because it was the wrong time of year, it was cold but dry and I always love my little days out visiting new sites, so I’m happy exploring too. We had just seen the smallest house in Britain and now we were having a wander around the castle, I was snap happy with my camera. As always.

But as I got closer to one of the towers, I had a very unsettling feeling towards it. I hadn’t had that feeling anywhere else so far in the castle except that one tower. I told my partner I couldn’t go near it and he just looked at me oddly. He was a sceptic (I didn’t hold it against him, but I did hate the looks he used to give me). But he started to read out the board next to the tower, and told me why couldn’t go near…

…it was the prison tower.

Imaginary Friend

This is a story that I will be turning into a book eventually, so I won’t go into too much detail, but I will explain a little about it.

My experiences with all things paranormal started when I was a child. When I was very young, probably still at primary school (ages 5 to 7), my brother and I had an imaginary friend; Sammy.

I don’t remember much about this because I was still quite young, so most of my memories have gone, the only memories I do have was remembering telling my mum that my missing hairbands were probably lost because Sammy hid them.

My mum told me that this imaginary friend, Sammy, used to live in the corner of our ceiling and would hide things for fun.

My mother at the time was a sceptic, and she believed my brother and I were just blaming things going missing on an imaginary friend, not wanting us to get into trouble. My brother also had a very vivid imagination when he was young, mum would get teachers from school worried about some of the stories he used to tell. Mum still to this day remembers the story about the Tiger in the backgarden. I’m suprised my brother never followed in my footsteps and became a writer!

But her scepticism quickly vanished after what she thought my brother and I had outgrown our imaginary friend became a lot more than just an imaginary friend…

She used to work at the primary school my brother and I went to, and because of such, became friendly with a few of the other mothers. One lady had approached my mum asking her for advice, asking if my brother and I ever had imaginary friends. After my mum gave her advice that “don’t worry, they grow out of it.” The mother proceeded to tell my mum that her son had an imaginary friend…

…called Sammy…

…who lives in the ceiling…

…and hides things.

My mum told me this a few years ago, and I can’t say I was surprised, after all the other things that had happened to me over the years… she also explained that the other mother’s son told her that Sammy was looking for his parents. Somehow we figured out that Sammy had died in an accident, car accident or something similar.

But I have tried to search for information on such an accident in the area I grew up (near Laws Woods/Park, in Swindon, Wiltshire) and I couldn’t find anything in any records. Although, a lot of locals have had ghostly encounters in Lawns Woods, my mother and I have heard a few stories in the area, a woman in white searching for something, ghost animals, even amature ghost hunters went to the area and believe they saw a woman in white being carried.

Lawns Woods used to be home to the Goddard Family, with remains of an old church and graveyard apparently for the family’s pets, an old ice house up on the hill, remains of an old sunken garden, a site where Tutor Mansion used to sit, then an 18th Century Mansion, both no longer there. But with so much history in the area, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few ghostly goings on in the area. Including the ghost of Sammy that used to haunt the children in the area. I just wish I could find more information about it.

References:

Here are a few links if you’re interested in reading more about some sites I mentioned in this blog post:

Koestler Parapschology Unit

Lawn Park

Goddards in Swindon

Paranormal activity in Lawns Park

History of Halloween

History of Samhain

~~~

Keeping in theme of the spooky, check out these links below.

New Story idea! – Butterfly House
Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue
New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”
My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper

If you’re interested in my other travel/historical posts, check these out:

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November…
Douglas, South Lanarkshire – A Hidden Gem
Best places to visit in South Lanarkshire
Living in Australia – Part 1: Breakup from hell and Brisvegas

Don’t forget to like this post and follow me!
And feel free to comment with any of your spooky stories!

I’ve enlisted help! I have a marketing manager!

So, after the 1st of October, I will be super busy (super hooper!) with university work, so yesterday I asked my very good friend Robert (Checkers) to help with marketing my work.

He will have access to my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and website and will be, not only be researching new ways to get exposure, but he will be posting on my behalf.

Hopefully it’ll work out well!

And after the year doing my Masters Degree, I will look at building myself a real writing business, I will invest in more advertising, and attend book events!

If you have any other suggestions, please do let me know, I might not have already thought about it!

Copy of Rose-Garden-Sanatorium-full

My FIRST rejection letter! It needs a frame!

So, I sent off my book; Rose Garden Sanatorium to another literary agent last week! And, while I was busy out in Glasgow doing some shopping for my graduation and having a meeting, I got an email come through just as I was sat waiting!

rejectionletter

My very first rejection letter from a literary agent! How cool is that!

I know… it’s not been accepted… which is a bit of a bummer! But, you know what… I’m not overly bothered, I was expecting some rejection letters from literary agents. And it’s cool that it was my first!

New parents always celebrate a baby’s firsts; first words, first steps, etc. And, since I have a bit of faith in this series… or at least, I don’t really care if others like it… I like it and I’d be happy to just have a whole copy of the series just for myself on my book case… this will be a bit of history one day!

I was actually thinking about it the other day… I’d much prefer to just self-publish my work, I like the idea of just doing it myself, not being tied down to contracts, sharing profits, and it encourages others too… why should we HAVE to go through traditional publishing routes? Andy Weir (The Martian) started off self-publishing (I think he did mostly blogs to be honest) but now look at him! One of his books is now a film (I think it was even nominated for a few awards, and I know Matt Damon even won for his role, didn’t he?)

But… as I’m introverted, and terrible with marking and selling myself… I could do with a bit of help! Professionals who do the selling for me, who already have the contacts!

Going to print this out, I think, get a frame for it and stick it up somewhere next to my book case when I’ve finally moved. Haha!

Onto the next one! Small steps! 🙂

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

The Girl Who Whispered – The Next Chapter

A few of you may already know about my history (and why I call myself The Girl Who Whispered), and I won’t bore you with the details now. But the jist is, I was a very shy girl growing up and as a result I was so shy at school that I became very quiet. I was bulled because I was an easy target and to communicate with friends, I would whisper quietly to them to avoid being heard by the bullies. This progressed into secondary school and I became The Girl Who Whispered.

Well, that shy girl has changed so much since then, she’s no longer shy and she certainly doesn’t whisper anymore. In fact, I am now more confident and willing to speak up for myself. I do so by proving to myself that I am not stupid, like my bullies told me, and I use my writing as a way to express myself and important topics.

Yesterday was my very last day as an Open University BSc Psychology student, I handed in my very last assignment (I actually handed it in on the 30th, as I was worried about the internet going down in this isolated village! But technicalities!). I eagerly and a little impatiently await my results.

I hope to gain a 2:1 grade overall, because if I do. I will be heading to my next chapter of my educational path… a Master’s Degree!

I also am progressing with my writing, I have had a few people comment on my published book (It’s My Mistake) saying that they really enjoyed reading it (I’ll add a link to the bottom of the post if you’d like a copy), I have also had comments about my first draft of ‘I fell in Love with a Psychopath’ which is up on WattPad (also at the bottom) and I am currently in the process of sorting a cover letter and 3,000 word synopsis to send my ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’ series to a literary agent. I have one already picked out and plan to do more research to find others.

Someone said to me today, my luck is turning around.

I hope so. ❤
Here are the links:
It’s My Mistake (UK Paperback): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-My-Mistake-Penny-Hooper/dp/1985376709

It’s My Misake (US Paperback): https://www.amazon.com/Its-My-Mistake-Penny-Hooper/dp/1985376709

It’s My Mistake (Ebook): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/744287

I fell in Love with a Psychopath (WattPad Draft copy): https://www.wattpad.com/story/137106427-i-fell-in-love-with-a-psychopath%7E-complete

WattPad profile: https://www.wattpad.com/user/penny_bones16
(Where you can read my other written works)

Also, please check out my other posts for sneak chapters of Rose Garden Sanatorium).

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Chapter 4

Note: If you’re new to the story please read the Prologue here!

Chapter 4

Carlos Hayek

In another time zone, half-way across the world, Carlos Hayek had been flicking his stress-ball up in the air when that little, daunting light came on. He hadn’t noticed it first, not only was his attention on the little ball, but he was extremely tired and not much usually ever happened in that room. Although, he knew his job was important. He knew it was a matter of national security. Even if he wasn’t allowed to ask questions about it.

He was content not to ask questions too. He got paid pretty well not to. He had enough money to live in the city and send money back to his distant family in Mexico, and New York City certainly wasn’t the cheapest city to live in. He probably would have been happy even if the work wasn’t moral. He was that sort of person. He didn’t know if it was or not, but he couldn’t promise the thought hadn’t crossed his mind once or twice.

The room he was in was modern. It was windowless, with lights bright enough to simulate day even if it was just past two in the morning. There were a mixture of mostly warm light colours of earthy tones on the walls, yet with sharp lines. There were sounds playing through speakers to simulate the outside world; birds, wind, running water, leaves rustling, sometimes it changed too, depending on the time of year. Although it was a huge contrast to what was outside, as the building itself faced East River with the bottom of Roosevelt Island could just be seen. As soon as Hayek stepped outside he was greeted with the sounds of beeping horns from the traffic, distant sirens, chatter from passing walkers and traffic lights. The room was specifically designed to be both warm and inviting, yet stimulating. They wanted those employed inside the walls to be alert yet comfortable.

It was well equipped, with a coffee machine—although it was currently out of order and Hayek and his other colleagues who did the other shifts had been emailing and emailing to get it fixed—there was fridge full of different drinks; water, cola, lemonade, orange juice to name a few, that was stocked daily—of course, alcohol was categorically forbidden—cookies and other assortment of candies were always stocked in the fridge too, there was also a wooden fruit bowl on top of it, stocked with apples, bananas, oranges and pears, to encourage workers to stay healthy. As well as foods and drinks, there was a modern desk with a modern touch-sensitive light probably only for decoration, a basic computer, functional for only his role and a simple black chair.

On the wall in front of him there was a large board with one hundred and ninety-three various LED lights, all next to a corresponding label. When one of those lights started to flash, the computer would pick up on it and display the category it corresponds to. It was a simple system, there wasn’t any need to over-complicated it. It, and the room in general, had one function; report which label or labels were flashing.

Other than the fridge, the desk, the fruit bowl and the wall with LEDS, the room was considered bare. There was no TV, radio, not even a telephone, no electronics were allowed inside the room. No magazines, newspapers, books, or writing equipment were even allowed. Hayek and his colleagues who worked solely within the room were only allowed to bring in a limited amount of items in with them; their clothes on their backs, reading glasses and medication. Other items were seen as a distraction from the important role they had. Even windows were seen as a distraction; the possibility of seeing a bird, a butterfly, a leaf, even a cloud was too much. The items inside the room were of course a distraction, but when they designed the room, they knew it was impossible to remove all distractions, especially if you wanted to keep your employees happy. So, it was designed to limit the risks of distractions and this was their best effort to not only keep the employee happy and effectively disseminate their important role. The only reason why Hayek had been allowed a take-away coffee cup was because he had pressured his boss into it after the automatic coffee machine had decided to give up on life—probably from the overuse—and his ball he was currently throwing up in the air was deemed as a stress reliever and was unfortunately allowed. Of course, his boss was reluctant to allow both, the ball more so, and Hayek clearly demonstrated the reason why his boss was reluctant.

Hayek had a personal competition with himself, to see how high he could get the ball. At first, he wanted to see how small the ball would look before the forces of gravity—which Hayek wouldn’t admit, he never understood—would hurl it back, sometimes smacking him in the face. He then tested how high the ball could go by lining it up with certain points in the room, how high up the LED board could he get it—without touching the board of course, he did that once, the ball smacked the board nearly knocking out the LED light for a label he couldn’t even pronounce, he got threatened with being fired—how high up past the curving lines to his left could he get it. He also tested both hands, he was left-handed, and wanted to know if he could get the ball as high with his right.

Before his variety of vertical-ball competitions, he had another competition to see how much pressure he could assert on the ball before it broke. He tried with his right hand first to test his right-handed strength. But the competition was short-lived when he accidentally got too confident and did the hand strength test with his left hand and split it, which was why he changed to the vertical challenge, he had of course sewn it up when he got home that day.

Before that, his competition was to see if he could get the ball to rotate in the air and land in his hand with a certain colour facing upwards. His little stress-ball had six sides; two were red, two were blue and the last two were yellow. It was old and faded as he’d had it since before he could remember. He had a small fascination with the yellow colour as it wasn’t that far off the yellow that was on the lamp shade; a dull yellow or daffodil.

Before he was allowed his stress-ball, he had made the most of the contents of the room, being amused by the touch-sensitive daffodil-coloured lamp, seeing how quick the lamp’s reactions were, counting the ceramic diamond shapes on the body. He amused himself with the label off the bottles in the fridge, the chocolate bars—it was in that room he realised Reece’s had an apostrophe in it, he’d never even cared to notice before—even the half-peeling sticker on the bottom of the fruit bowl. He amused himself with the light in the little fridge, the strange dent on the fridge’s left side, and the small kink in the seal it had, which he was very pleased with himself the day he fixed it.

And of course, he amused himself with the LED board. He counted the LEDs, almost always counting one hundred and ninety-three. He counted the labels he recognised, then counted the labels he didn’t. He attempted to find patterns in it, or inspecting the LEDs and wondering if the damn board even worked.

He noticed the red flickering LED when he stopped his little competition to take a drink of his coffee. Unbeknown to himself it had been flickering for a whole two minutes before he noticed. When he did, he nearly coughed it back into the cup. He sat, with the take-away paper cup to his lips, staring at the red blinking light for a few seconds trying to work out whether he had finally cracked, the room making him go mad, or if that little red light really was blinking. After what felt like years getting paid a small fortune to amuse himself in the strange room, he almost forgot what he was actually in there for.

But then he remembered the procedure. He bolted upright, his stress-ball that was originally on his lap where it was resting and momentarily forgotten was catapulted up onto the desk and knocked the lamp, making it wobble. He had also slammed the paper cup on the desk, the contents having sloshed over the desk and trickled over it, and now dripped onto the floor.

***

Deputy Secretary-General Editha Kalumuna

“Your Excellency…” said the voice on the other end of the phone. It sounded nervous and slightly hesitant.

The Deputy Secretary-General Kalumuna had been fast asleep only moments ago before the phone rang, she rolled over in bed to answer it as quickly as possible before it disturbed her husband. She wasn’t necessarily expecting a phone call, but it wasn’t out of the usual to receive a call this early in the morning, considering her position. But, when the phone rang, she was expecting a different voice on the other end, one from her boss, not the one she heard. She knew the voice of course. She dreaded hearing that voice.

“Hayek?” Kalumuna asked, nervous of the answer.

“Yes, your Excellency,” Hayek said. “I’m sorry, but… a light has come on.”

Kalumuna suddenly sat bolt upright, very awake. “A light?”

“Yes.”

“Who?” she asked.

“United Kingdom, ma’am.”

“Why in the hell are you telling me?” she snapped before she realised what she was doing.

“I… err…” Hayek wavered. “I cannot get hold of the Secretary General, ma’am.”

Kalumuna frowned slightly, a wave of different emotions went through her. She’d admit that annoyance was her first emotion, the fact the Secretary General wasn’t answering his phone and she had to be the second in line to take it, then worry that something had happened to him, considering what this phone call represented, then finally guilt when she remembered where the Secretary General was; he was on holiday.

The Secretary General was half-way into his annual holiday to Hawaii, he went every year to the same spot. Kalumuna never understood his interest in going every year, she preferred to try new places or visit her hometown, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to visit relatives. But the Secretary General, although his ancestors were Ghanaian decent, he had been born and grew up in Boston, USA and was a typical American who liked his usual holiday spots. It wasn’t his only holiday spot either, he was also frequent to Fiji, Thailand and St Andrews, Scotland for the golfing.

It was, however, unusual that the Secretary General wasn’t answering his phone. He always had his phone on him, in case of an emergency. It didn’t happen often, of course, ringing him and disturbing him for an emergency. Normally Kalumuna could deal with it herself. But then, this was a particular type of emergency. She just hoped the Secretary General was busy and missed the call, it was about nine in the evening in Hawaii.

“Sorry, Hayek,” Kalumuna said, and sighed. “I’ll deal with it. Keep an eye on that board. Call me if anything changes.”

“Yes, ma’am!” Hayek said almost military-like, making her wonder for a moment if he had been drafted at some point in his past, but couldn’t remember, and then hung up on her.            

Without hesitation—and ignoring her husband’s half-awake questions—she got out of bed, slipped on her night robe and rushed into her home office to make some very important calls.

Click here to read the next chapter!


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

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

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

Making slow progress…

I’m going to make this blog post short, as I appear to have acquired a rather large headache after my hospital appointment…

But I just wanted to update everyone on my progress with my books…

So, I have finished editing my book ‘It’s My Mistake’ and it is going live on Amazon! I have a proof copy heading my way, which I will need to check before commiting it to going live.

I know it hasn’t been professionally edited, and believe me, as a perfectionist, it’s something that is really bugging me! But I just want to get something tangible and real. Something that I can put on my book case and push me to continue writing more…

It’s my first book, I’m not expecting it to be perfect (although I did try!)

But now that that has been finished, I can focus on my next project; my book ‘I fell in love with a psychopath’.

Which is a story that I’ve really enjoyed writing and I had to put aside, not only due to lack of time because of all my commitments, but I wanted to focus on getting ‘It’s My Mistake’ done first.

But my main project, the one that I have been developing for well over a year now, that one I will be going back to very soon too! And I’m itching to get into it!! But I’m trying to give enough time between the last time I looked at it and when I get back to it, because I want to read through it with fresh eyes. It’s my main one, the one that I want to be perfect, because the idea is just too good to mess up.

And that’s right, I’m talking about my Rose Garden Sanatorium Series! 😉

So, that’s all for now.

My apologies for my lack of posts, I’ve been extremely busy with university work and trying to get a job for after I graduate this year. Been having a few issues with uni (there was a strike last month and my tutor has been a little ‘difficult’ to work with lately).

Now I’m off to update WattPad with a few edited chapters of ‘I fell in love with a Psychopath’.

Feel free to check out my work here: https://www.wattpad.com/user/penny_bones16

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

Copyright © Penny Hooper 2019

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior permission in writing from the author.

Penny Hooper has asserted her right under Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

***

Prologue

Sam Chaudhary

A large swarm of pigeons suddenly flew up in a panic, disturbing the long since settled dust. Their wings echoed as they clapped in the vastness, as if they were applauding the perpetrator that spooked them. Most vanished out through the large hole in the roof, a few others nestled atop of an old door or the other side of the room bobbing along the floor in fear.

They were originally hiding safely in a derelict building. A building that many years ago once held many people; doctors once walked around in white coats, holding patient records while stethoscopes hung from their necks, looking important. Nurses would have rushed around with bed pans and other equally rudimentary items, wearing aprons with large red crosses on them and with their hair pinned back into tight buns. Patients would be seen in straitjackets screaming at the top of their lungs when they were due for more sedatives.

The building now, however, was eerily silent—yet if you listened close enough you would swear you could hear a distance ghostly scream. There were scattered red bricks from the broken walls, broken windows boarded up from the outside and graffiti clinging helplessly to the peeling walls. It was obvious the building was no longer in use.

The pigeons made the boy jump as he walked into the open hall. He had accidentally spooked them while he side stepped past a weed, a bit of nature that had decided to reclaim the building, his foot knocked a loose brick which had caused a loud noise to echo. He stopped to regain his breath and slow his beating heart.

The boy was young, his round slightly tanned Asian face still had a hint of baby fat lingering in his cheeks and his short dark hair complimented his dark brown eyes. He stood holding the zipper on his jacket, close to where his beating heart sat pounding in his chest. His jacket was slightly dirty from months of use and not seeing the inside of a washing machine. It was his favourite and deemed lucky jacket. It was dark red with black trim around the collar and cuffs, contrasting with the blue in his jeans. His jeans were slightly too long for his legs, evident from the fraying at the bottom, where his brand-new Nike trainers would catch them when he walked.

It’s just an old building, he thought to himself, hoping to calm his painfully beating heart as he looked nervously around himself. There are no monsters! he added, sighing deeply.

He remembered what his mother would say to him every night when she would tuck him into bed. That was when he was younger, of course, he was far too big now to be tucked in at night. He was twelve and a half, thank you very much. But his mother’s sweet voice automatically filled his head; ‘Monsters aren’t real, beta,’ she would say. ‘Beta’ being the Hindi word for ‘son’. She would do that occasionally, adding in Hindi words into sentences, she didn’t want him to lose his Indian roots.

After composing himself a little, feeling a little more confident no monsters were going to jump out and eat him, he decided to continue moving onwards and through the vastness of the open hall.

The quicker I get it, the quicker I can get out, he thought to himself as he climbed over a fallen wall, the broken red bricks threatening to pierce the skin on his legs.

He walked as quietly and quickly as possible to the other side of the hall to another corridor, the smell of urine potent in this part of the building, making him a little queasy. As he neared a door separating the hall from the corridor ahead, he also noticed another smell lingering in the air, yet he didn’t think much of it; he had a job to do.

The door, mould threatening to consume it from the bottom upwards, was leaning awkwardly against the corridor wall, only one hinge still attached. He was sure his friend told him he’d have to open a door at the other end of the hall. Maybe it just fell since his friend had been there?

The boy looked down the corridor to another door at the far end. The street light that was originally illuminating his way wasn’t reaching this far, but he could see the last door he needed to go through… he was nearly there. He walked slowly, side-stepping past an old chair left discarded and lonely in the corridor, while feeling proud of himself for getting this far.

But something made him stop. He could hear someone muttering, and it was coming from that room beyond the door. He realised that strange smell was stronger here too. He certainly wasn’t imagining it. He couldn’t place what the smell was, but it reminded him of his Aunt Mysha.

He stood still for a few seconds, in panic. He knew if he ran away now, he’d have his friend telling him he was a wimp for not getting the item he was supposed to get; that damn brick. But if he stayed where he was, and whoever was on the other side of the door was a murderer or something, he’d be dead.

The muttering started to get louder as he stood there, the person was talking louder now, and the boy realised it was a woman’s voice. His panic subsided slightly and was instead replaced with curiosity, he couldn’t help but walk towards the door slowly and quietly. Maybe, if he got close enough, he could hear what she was saying.

The closer he got, the louder the voice got, but not just because he was getting nearer, she was getting louder. Now able to hear her, he started to realise that she was repeating something. Although he could not work out what she was saying, as she was speaking a foreign language. The only word he picked up was ‘mammon’.

What is she doing? he thought. And what language is that?

He crept closer, his curiosity getting the better of him. He was now right by the door, if he just peaked through the gap, he’d be able to see into the room. He could already see shadows dancing across the walls and floor. There was some kind of light and a waft of that strange incense smell too.

The boy shifted his weight slightly on one leg, so that he could peer around the corner of the door, and the room slowly came into focus. There was indeed a woman; she was dressed in all black, she had one hand up in the air waving something burning. She was now shouting, which the boy was grateful for as he was worried she would have heard him by now.

He saw a brick laying in the middle of the room on the floor, it had a very delicate carving of a strange symbol on its side. It was the brick he was tasked to get. It was right next to a strange criss-cross of white lines and circle markings on the floor, directly in front of the woman. He knew there was no chance he was going to be able to go in the room and get it without being noticed. But before he could turn around and leave the building empty-handed, a strange cloud like object started to form before the woman.

Transfixed on the sight, he watched as it swirled and swirled, getting bigger and bigger, until suddenly it somehow imploded and vanished. But it didn’t vanish into thin air, it vanished into a crack, a crack that had formed in thin air. The woman stopped shouting now and the room fell eerily silent. The boy found himself going rigid, not just out of terror, but worried about making a sound.

Suddenly, the crack started to open, ripping like fabric, it was as if something was trying to come through. But he could see the other side, where the room was beyond it, there was no one or nothing there. The crack started to get wider and wider before suddenly a terrifying clawed red hand reached through. The boy’s eyes went wide. He held his breath instinctively as he watched a red hand tear the crack open in one swift movement. He watched in horror as a whole red body attached to the hand climbed through, horns, tail and black leathery wings included.

The boy accidentally let out a squeak of terror and covered his mouth with his hand. But it was too late, the monster and the woman turned around, both staring right at the boy, both with the same horrifying pitch-black eyes. Monsters were real.

Click here to read the next chapter!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!