Reflections – The Girl Who Whispered… and kept fighting!

Hello, my little demons! 😈

I just want to say thank you.

Bare in with me as I explain why.

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

Today it hit me how far I have come. A few weeks ago I got verified on Google and bought my first domain thegirlwhowhispered.com. Six months ago I started my new career and moved to the highlands. Nearly a year ago I handed in my thesis for my master’s degree. Two years ago I graduated with a BSc and published my second book; “I Fell in Love with a Psychopath“. And, three years ago I published my first book; “It’s My Mistake“.

It had it’s ups and downs, not quite passing my master’s degree, break-ups, health scares, cancelling trips, blood, sweat and tears. A few times I questioned what I was doing, if I was on the right path, if I was wasting my time. But I somehow kept going.

It doesn’t stop there either, as you may know, I had selective mutism as a child (hence ‘The Girl Who Whispered‘) and I was diagnosed with depression after coming back from Australia. And I will admit, I was suicidal at one point.

(c) Penny Hooper

Now, I am waiting for my start date on my new contract, moving yet again! This time to a different country! I will be (finally) finishing my Master’s Degree in the next month or so. And my thesis is being published in a research journal! I am working on getting another book published (editing isn’t fun, guys!) I am planning on setting up a YouTube channel (this is a big deal, for someone who had selective mutism!) I am also planning a charity tour down Route 66 with a good friend of mine (I already have an invite to the Harley-Davidson Museum!) filming it for my new YouTube channel, and I have plans on setting up my own publishing business!

I’m damn proud of myself. Proud that I kept fighting on the bad days. Proud that I finished my BSc (which took me 5 years!). Proud that I fought to contest my master’s degree (and won!). Proud that I have two books published.

I’m also excited about my future!

From that little shy girl who whispered, and who only wished for happiness.

Not to be rich.
Not to be famous.
To just be happy.

I wish I could go back in time, to tell little Penny… keep fighting! One day, you will be proud of yourself!

Now, why do I say thank you?

Well, I say thank you to everyone who had my back. To my close friends who stuck around. Who had my back on the bad days. Who made me laugh. Who supported me when I felt no one ever would (Lee, Gabi, Dan, Dave, Mozz to name a few, and of course, my mother too!)

I also say thank you to those who didn’t have my back. As weird as that sounds. Those who said I was a nobody, those who didn’t believe in me, who bullied me and belittled me, who went out of their way to send me nasty messages. Thank you, for giving me something to prove you all wrong.

I also want to thank myself, for being so strong and badass… because my success means I can continue to help others!

~~~

Don’t forget to like, reblog, share, comment and/or follow! 😈

thegirlwhowhispered.com

facebook.com/TheGirlWhoWhispered
instagram.com/thegirlwhowhispered/
twitter.com/penny_hoops

Virtual Challenge

A while ago I mentioned I was going to do a virtual challenge, run through ‘Race at your pace’… well, it’s now July and I am still signing myself up to the challenges!

I have only been doing the walking challenges so far, but I hope to work my way up to the running and swimming. Maybe in the future I will do cycling too… when I have the money to get a pushbike. But so far I am happy with walking, as it encourages myself to get out and not be lazy staying in doors all day.

They’re relatively easy too, the website is pretty straight forward, you can submit your evidence through the website, you get email reminders but not too many (a half-way point and a submit your evidence email) and you can submit different types of evidence. Send in a screenshot of your fitbit app or other health app on your phone, or you can just simply keep tabs in a document and send that in. I had an old Windows Phone for a while where apps just didn’t work on it, so I would keep track using my (cheap) fitbit, taking photos of it after each night and then add it to my excel spreadsheet. Luckily now I have an old Samsung which is a little friendlier with apps and connected an app to my (cheap) fitbit.

There is a Swimming pool not far from me, and I’m starting to wonder if I should do a swimming challenge one… maybe I’ll do a running one first. Just to get out of the walking medals.

But I’d definately recommend the company. There are others too, which I am curious about, especially ‘The conqueror’, but right now I’m happy with Race at your pace.

Here’s the link for Race at your Pace: www.raceatyourpace.co.uk

Here are a few others (not reviewed, so don’t know what they’re like!):

Virtual Racing

Virtual Runner UK

The Conqueror

(the last one sounds interesting, as you can run/walk a certain distance that matches a length of a particular area, such as Hadrian’s Wall, Aples to Ocean, English Channel, etc. and the medals match these).

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P.s. Check out my website, it’s had a small update, and more updates will soon follow! Some big changes are going to happen soon!

thegirlwhowhispered.wixsite.com/pennyhooper

Also, check out my 34km walk I did for charity here!

I fell in Love with a Psychopath – Chapter 5

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 5

Just before the guy was even able to even think about what to do in that moment, Xander lunged for him. I didn’t really see much, only really a flash and a loud gasp from someone, because I had fallen onto one of my knees and held onto my foot instinctively.

When I looked up, I just caught Xander punching the guy in the face who was knocked to the ground by the force of Xander’s punch. I saw Xander pick something up from the floor and then walk over to the guy, now in possession of the knife.

“Now let’s see what your intestines look like,” Xander sneered.

He was about to bend down when his mate rushed over to him in a panic. He looked white as a sheet. Unlike Xander who looked red from rage. “Leave him, mate, just let him go.”

“Like fuck will I, after trying to steal my watch?” Xander replied, not even looking back at his mate. “Do you even know who I am?” he sneered again at the guy on the ground. He pointed the knife at him like an extension to his own arm.

“Please don’t hurt me,” the guy started to whimper.

“Listen to yourself, you’re pathetic!” Xander huffed and shook his head in disgust.

At this point I had noticed that my foot was actually bleeding, and I cursed under my breath. The rock had caught two of my toes as they had broken its fall to the floor. One of them had started to bleed and I was worried the other one, my little toe, was broken because it was excruciatingly painful. So much so that tears were starting to appear in my eyes. It took a lot for me to cry.

Because I had muttered though, Xander looked over at me and must have only just noticed I was hurt. At this he stood up a little straighter and appeared to talk to the guy on the floor; “Leave.”

“W-what?” said a small voice from the floor.

“Leave,” Xander repeated, looking back round at him. “Just go before I change my mind and cut you open from your throat to your naval.”

The guy clearly got the message as he stood up and rushed away, without even taking his knife. At first he tried to scurry away on all fours and then managed to stand up properly and made a decent run for it, nearly tripping over as he was in a panic to get away.

“Are you hurt?” Xander asked, walking over to me suddenly, not even watching the man run away. He walked passed his friend who was standing stock still in fright and passed him the knife. He took it without hesitation and just stared down at it in his hands as if shocked he now had possession of the offensive weapon.

I laughed. I was laughing at myself. I felt stupid for what I had just tried to do. “That bloody rock fell onto my foot.”

“Why are you bare footed?” he asked, as he towered over me from where I knelt. I was starting to wish I had sat down on my backside rather than kneeling. My knee were hurting as the road was digging into it. Not to mention I was worried about flashing anyone who stood in front of me. Luckily Xander was standing by my side, otherwise it could have been a lot more embarrassing.

“I took my heels off so they wouldn’t draw attention to me.” I gasped in pain as my toe twitched. “Are you going to help me up or what?” I accidentally spat, half in frustration and half in pain.

I heard Xander laugh slightly and he held out a hand for me. Just as I placed mine into his, he turned to his friend; “Get some ice from Mario’s.”

“W-what?” the guy stuttered.

“Ice, Devon, from Mario’s,” Xander demanded, just as he helped me effortlessly into a standing position. “It’s not a hard request.”

“Oh, sure,” the guy called Devon said and then went to wander off down the street back to where Mario’s front door was waiting.

“Devon, don’t take the bloody knife with you!” Xander snapped at the guy.

“Oh!” Devon stopped, turned round, looked at Xander and then at the knife and just placed it on the floor carefully like he was handling something that might explode and just walked away.

He wobbled slightly as I watched him. I was worried he was going to faint and collapse on the hard floor, but he disappeared round the corner and out of sight, and was momentarily forgotten about. Xander was just shaking his head at his friend as he had just placed the knife in the middle of the street.

I gasped again as a pain shot up my foot and up my leg like an electric bolt. It reminded me of when I once been bitten by an ant in Australia. Although double that pain – no, probably triple it. I remember sitting drinking a small bottle of beer the Australians called a ‘stubby’ under a slight canopy in my rented house. I hadn’t noticed there was an infestation of ants right next to my bare feet – what is it with me and bare feet? They were these huge things with blue abdomens, horrible little buggars they were. One had bitten me on my big toe. The pain had shot right up my whole leg. My toe even throbbed for at least an hour afterwards.

Although the pain I felt after dropping a rock on it was worse, the idea was still the same; the pain travelling right up my leg. Although unlike the ant, I was suddenly feeling a little sick from the pain.

“It’s probably best you move out of the street, Jo,” Xander said, his voice seemed to have gotten softer in a matter of seconds. Although I was mostly concerned with the fact Xander had taken his hands out of mine and I was now standing on one leg.

“Yeah, before I fall over,” I snorted, and put my foot down. But as soon as I did, I wobbled dangerously because I didn’t want to put pressure on it and the pain had made me a little dizzy. Xander had to grab me to stop me from falling over.

He had quick reflexes, but he didn’t seem too bothered where his hands landed when he grabbed me. Although, luckily he didn’t grab anywhere inappropriate, but he did have one hand on my arm and the other on my waist.

“I’ll help you,” he said.

I muttered a thanks and allowed him to guide me over to the side of the street.

Just as we reached the side and I was able to lean against a wall – Xander taking his hands off me again – he asked me a strange question.

“Did you not care that guy had a knife?” he asked.

“What?” I asked, looking back at him in confusion, unsure I heard him right.

“The mugger,” he said, “he had a knife. Did you not care?”

“Err… I guess not,” I shrugged. “My main concern was stopping him, I was worried he was going to hurt you.”

“You didn’t have to step in like that, you could have been hurt yourself.”

“If I didn’t, he could have hurt you. Were you not scared?”

“I’m used to it.”

I laughed. “You’re used to people attacking you with knives?”

He looked at me, his deep green eyes seemed darker for some reason. “I’m sort of used to-,” he paused as if choosing his words carefully, “people trying to threaten me.”

I stared at him for a few seconds wondering what that meant. He was used to people threatening him? Why?

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

If you’re interested in buying the book, here’s the links:

Psychopath-2 (2)

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

If you’re interested in buying the book, here’s the links:

Steemit – Blog and Earn!

I wrote a post about Steemit a while ago, probably months ago now, and I was really excited about it.

That fizzled out a few months ago, back in the summer, because although I became popular quite quickly on it, I had no way of cashing out.

Steemit uses cryptocurrencies, and although I was 100% committed to giving it a go and trying to learn a thing or two at least to cash out and earn some money writing, I was faced with lots of issues.

But since I have finally managed to get a cryptocurrency style account sorted (CoinBase) I can now cashout on my well-earned Steem Dollars!

Steemit

Here is a view of my Steemit account. It takes some time getting your head around it, but as a blogger, you can blog and earn money by people upvoting!

You too can contributing by upvoting other works. Even comment and interact. So come meet me, follow me, and I will certainly help upvote any writers, poets, photographers and artists alike, I only ask you help out in return!

Find me here: https://steemit.com/@penny-rose

(If you need any advice on setting up a Steemit account or a cryptocurrency account, don’t hesitate to ask!)

 

Drumlanrig Castle – Photography

I have posted a lot about my writing, giving you a few chapters, even given the new improved updated version, I have posted about my struggles with WordPress and the issues of being an author. But there is two other things I am interested in that I have not yet blogged about here and that it; travel and photography.

I love travelling and photography. I don’t always get to go to exciting and exotic places, but I do try to get out to new places in and around the area in which I live; Scotland.

Here is an idea of where I have been recently; Drumlanrig Castle (the “Pink Palace”).

It’s a beautiful Castle located in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. It is/was the home of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry. The castle has 120 rooms, 17 turrets and four towers. Constructed between 1679 and 1689 from distinctive pink sandstone.

I haven’t been inside, as it was winter and it wasn’t open, but it is certainly somewhere I want to go back.

Here is a great page for it, if you’re interested in knowing more: https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/thornhill/drumlanrigcastle/index.html

Even the grounds are great to have a walk around and maybe take some snaps with a camera (I have a Nikon D3200).

By the way, that tree, in full-frame second photo in, is a 300+ years old Sycamore Tree and the largest in Britain!

I fell in Love with a Psychopath – Chapter 2

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 2

It must have been over an hour before I started to relax slightly around this guy. Or it could have been the alcohol. We sat chatting for almost two hours in total, while he tried to figure out where he knew me from. Well, he chatted, I mostly uttered one word answers or the occasional small sentence.

He at first asked if I came to the bar often. I didn’t, it was the first time I’d been there. Then he asked if I had heard of some restaurant. I hadn’t. He mentioned some place with a strange name. I didn’t even know what it was let alone heard of it. He mentioned a company. The name sounded vaguely familiar but I wasn’t sure from where, so I said no. The questions continued one after the other, all the while he sat there watching me curiously.

That was the first hour anyway. The second hour, or what was left of the second hour, was a little different. It wasn’t until I noticed he had gotten a little bored with the conversation and something changed. I remembered thinking at the time; he must have a short attention span.

The conversation had suddenly become weird too. He had given up asking questions that required closed single answers and seemed to start asking a different type of question. Questions that was a little odd in nature, ones I couldn’t possibly answer.

“So, who are you, Jo?” he started after taking a small sign and catching me unaware.

“Sorry?”

“Who are you?”

“You know who I am,” I said. One of those rare sentences I had managed to string together.

“No I don’t,” he replied and took a long pause. It was the pauses that made me nervous. Like I was waiting for him to do something spontaneous in that time frame. I don’t know what, but I had a feeling he was the spontaneous type. My thoughts ranged from him dragging me out of the bar and having his wicked way with me up against a wall, or dragging me out of the bar and murdering me in a dark alleyway. “All I know is your name’s Jo and you interest me, that is it,” he said again. His deep penetrating eyes surveying me.

I literally gulped. I wasn’t yet relaxed at that point. I was still nervous. It was the ‘you interest me’ that set me on edge slightly.

“What do you want to know?” I asked, trying to remind myself that it was just a conversation. A slight sense of confidence suddenly appeared. There was no harm in a conversation. I’ve done it loads of times. It’s not like I’ve never spoken to a guy before.

“I don’t know.”

My confidence vanished. What did this guy want me to say? Was he interested in knowing where I was from? Where I worked? Who my friends were? What?

“Err, well…” I started, “I’m from England–”

“I know that, I can tell by your accent,” he interrupted and then paused again, waiting for me to continue. Waiting for something interesting.

“Okay, well… I moved here a few years ago. After travelling and working a little. I have a Master’s degree in History, I’m mostly interested in ancient history though, not the world wars or anything. I…” I paused, I ran out of things to say. My mind drew a blank. “I don’t know what else to say really.”

“You were on a roll,” he said and smiled again. A smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

I didn’t know what to make of that. I had never met a guy like this. Not one that actually cared enough to know anything about me. I’d met the odd guy who asked certain questions, but more of a formality than anything; “Where are you from? Where do you work? How old are you?” those sorts of questions. But this guy didn’t ask those questions. He asked who I was. A vague question. A question that was difficult to answer. A question that seemed to require an interesting answer otherwise he wouldn’t be interested.

“Well, tell me about yourself?” I asked. Trying to take control of the situation, but not sure I really wanted to know. I was worried about what I might find. Although at the same time, I did want to know. He was mysterious and judging by the watch on his wrist, rich too. I know, thinking back to it, it was an extremely weird interaction. He just wandered over and started talking to me uninvited. He was demanding to the point of arrogant.

“No, we’re not talking about me yet, we’re talking about you,” he said. And I could have sworn I saw him looking disinterested suddenly.

“I… I don’t know what to say.”

“Okay, where in England are you from?”

Easy question, I can answer that one. “From a little city called Bath in South West of England. You might not have heard of it, it’s–”

“In Somerset. South-east of Bristol. Known for its Roman baths. Became a World Heritage Site in nineteen eighty seven,” he said, interrupting me.

“You know Bath?” I asked in shock, feeling my nervousness slowly ebb away.

“I do. I’ve travelled to England a few times.” He nodded. But he didn’t linger on the subject for long, to my disappointment. “Next question; what University did you study at?”

“I got my undergrad at Oxford and my master’s at Edinburgh.”

He gave a small nod. If he was impressed by my qualifications, he didn’t say. Most people did when I mentioned Oxford at least, and those that knew Edinburgh were equally impressed.

“And why move to Chicago?” he took a sip of his beer.

“Err, a number of reasons; I like travelling and I wanted to further my career.”

He didn’t seem too interested in that answer. Like he was expecting me to say something remarkable about how I had got my big break and it was only here in Chicago.

“Where do you work?” he asked.

“Oh, I don’t currently work in anything to relate to history. I just got a pretty boring job working in an office.”

His eyes narrowed. Wrong answer. “So, you got your master’s degree in ancient history but you’re working in an office that doesn’t relate to it?” he quizzed suspiciously.

“Err, yes?” I said. I made my reply sound like a question, not an answer. I felt suddenly concerned that this guy was disappointed in my life choices. I had said something wrong. I needed to fix it.

“Why?”

“I…” I paused and thought for a few seconds, what was wrong with the truth? “I moved here temporarily, I just got a job anywhere just to get my feet on the ground, get settled, before I could apply properly for history vacancies-”

“Why not just wait until there was available and then apply?” he interrupted.

It was my turn to frown. I suddenly realised that I didn’t need to justify myself to some guy. Regardless if he was attractive and possibly rich. I didn’t care who he was, I wasn’t going to bend over for him. It was my choice to move first without my big break, so what if he didn’t approve? How dare he question me? “I don’t know you’ve noticed, but there aren’t many vacancies in ancient history,” I snapped.

“There are lots of a teaching positions around the country,” he replied, not even noticing that I snapped at him.

“Yes, but I don’t want to teach!” I huffed.

“Why?”

“Because I can’t stand people!” I said, raising my voice angrily.

At this the guy raised his eyebrow and smiled at me again. This time his smile reached his eyes a little. “Something we have in common.”

“Then why come over here? Or are you just here to mock me?”

His smile disappeared. “I’m not mocking you.”

“Sounds like you’re questioning my life choices!”

“No, I’m just asking questions.”

“You just asked why I don’t just wait in England and apply for a position when one was available. You sounded as if you were mocking my choice to come to Chicago first without the job.”

“I was curious, I wasn’t mocking you.”

“Right.” I frowned at him. No longer sure what to say.

There was few moments silence between us before the guy in front of me finally filled it. I was mostly aware that he was just watching me. I was starting to get a little nervous again. Plus, I was starting to realise how strange this interaction was; he came straight over and started to ask questions. He didn’t even introduce himself. I started to realise I should probably leave.

“Do you want another drink?” he asked.

I looked at him, looked deep into those green eyes for a moment, trying to figure him out. When I couldn’t see anything there, I groaned slightly before answering, “No, I don’t want another drink!”

“Okay,” he said, apparently unbothered that I was raising my voice and clearly annoyed with him. Instead he just stood up.

“What are you doing?”

“Getting another drink,” he said, and paused as he stood. I was able to appreciate the bulk of his body and his lovely and clearly expensive suit he wore. It looked black in this light.

“What the hell?” I huffed.

He just frowned at me, as if he was confused by the question.

“You think I want to speak to you again after you insulted me? You didn’t even apologise!”

“I didn’t mean to insult you.”

All I heard was; ‘I’m not apologising’. I laughed, which the guy just gave me a funny look, like he couldn’t tell why I was laughing at him. “You come over here, demanding to know why I am familiar, you probe me with questions, then insult me, and I don’t even know anything about you, not even your name, you didn’t bother to introduce yourself.”

“You didn’t either.”

“I did, I told you my name is Jo.”

“I asked you for your name. You didn’t ask me.”

“What?” I laughed again. And he looked at me strange again.

There was a few moments silence between us. He just stood there staring at me while I was just scowling at him. I didn’t want him to leave, I still found him mysterious. But at the same time, I was annoyed with him for being rude.

“Xander,” he finally said, breaking the silence.

“What?”

“My name; it’s Xander.”

Check out the next chapter!

~~~

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

If you’re interested in buying the book, here’s the links:

Fifty Shades of Life

Life isn’t black and white. There is no good and evil. Everyone has the capacity to be good. Everyone has the capacity to be evil. We all lie somewhere on a scale between good and evil. Some are more good than evil, while others are more evil that good.

I have struggled with this notion for a while. One day I might pride myself in being good. Another day I might feel crushed by how unfair the world is and say ‘fuck it’ and dabble in the world of evil.

But I cannot truly be evil. It isn’t within my nature. I cannot sit by and watch someone suffer. I cannot play a part in such suffering myself.

I see a world that is tainted with negativity and hate. A lot are selfish with a thirst for power – whether this is power in riches, power in popularity, power in knowledge. Everyone wants power.

It’s easy to fall into line and follow like lost sheep. It’s ingrained into us when we’re young to compete over each other. We compete in sports – one team against another. It’s seen as okay to do so. We compete against our classmates for either recognition from the teacher or to get a gold star. We see it in the work force, with employee incentives.

It’s probably human nature to do so. Before humans became civilizations, before we cultivated farming, we were simple hunter gatherers. We learnt to survive for only our own benefit, or at a stretch; our small immediate families. Outsiders were threats. But as we became more complex ‘thinking’ beings, we grew into this huge web of civilizations. We had to learn to get along, but all the while this ingrained desire to dislike the ‘others’ is within us.

But we are ‘thinking’ humans, we are able to think, to creative, to learn, to evolve, to philosophise. We should be able to see past our ingrained human desires to hate the others. We should find ways to work together. If we cannot work together, then the world may as well go back to being simple hunter gathers.

Doctors work with nurses, work with scientists, work with the maintenance staff, work with the people who invent and make new tools. We work alongside strangers in our community to keep the space the way it is, to fix issues, to keep the place clean and safe. We work with the police, the fire department, the tax man (sometimes we don’t, but the majority of the time we do until something threatens us). We have come together to create technology, art, public spaces, road networks, other transport networks, even trading foods and materials to our distant neighbours.

If we don’t work together, all this fails.

Life isn’t black and white, there are those of us don’t want to work with the guy next door because his views are different, or he looked as us funny, or he’s from a different land. We don’t want to work with the police officer because we believe he isn’t doing his job properly for no fault of his own. We don’t want to work with a person because of something that he did a long time ago and has since paid his dues. We don’t want to work with a person because of what a collective body has said and we have decided we believe it.

Sometimes there are parts of life that don’t work well. Whatever it is you believe. It might be that you believe the police force doesn’t work well. It might be that the NHS doesn’t work well. It might be the government. It might be something ethical or moral, like a homeless persons on the street, or a pet being abused, or our sisters and brothers in a foreign country do not have a decent quality of life whether that’s from hunger, thirst, safety or other.

We should do something about these. We should come together and make them right. We should stop making excuses, we should stop our ancient human prejudices get in the way, we should stop thinking ‘someone else will do it’. WE should do it. Not the guy next door. Not the guy with lots of money. Or the woman who is popular. We ALL should.

If you do not do your part in society. I see this as negativity. I see this as being just as bad as pushing someone down or hurting a helpless animal. If you want to live in a world that has better quality of life, better policing, better NHS, better government. YOU should be doing something about it. Don’t just make excuses. Actions speak louder than words.

How many of you can say that you did something selfless? How many can say they gave money to a homeless person? How many can say they helped in a charity? How many can say they didn’t put aside their particular anger and just be nice to a stranger who didn’t deserve to be shouted at for no reason?

This world runs on all of us. At the moment it has become a popularity contest. Who is most popular, who is the richest, who is the brainiest, etc. “How many likes can this post get?” “How many retweets can this post get?” Games require you to be popular for others to help you out. Being creative requires you to have friends to help you out. If you don’t run the race of popularity, you lose.

Back to the idea of life being a scale of black and white. I used to think that because I wasn’t popular, because I didn’t have many friends and family supporting me, I was obviously a bad person. People didn’t want to know me because I was bad. No one was helping me out because I was bad.

Yes, I agree. I’m not a saint. I’m not 100% good. No one is. I’ve said nasty things, I’ve cut people out, I’ve been selfish in cases. But does this mean I am a horrible person? Does this mean I am evil? No, it means I am human. I make mistakes. I have probably said nasty things because I was in a bad place. I have probably cut people out because I was upset (I have cut people out because they were bringing me down, that was for my own sanity), I have been selfish because the world has made me selfish.

I’m not always nasty. I’m not always pushing people out. I’m not always selfish.

I try to be there for people when they need it. I try to support my friends when they need support – whether literal support or emotional support. I give money to the homeless. I try to buy charity items instead of new. I offer a stranger a chair to sit.

I am not evil. I am human.

I am trying. I am trying to stay happy in a world that is full of hate, fear, and violence. I am trying to inspire people to do good or do what they love. I am trying to avoid these ingrained human tendencies to dislike others that are not like me, or who are different, or to avoid angry outbursts when I am upset. I am trying to fill this world of hate with as much happiness and love as possible.

I have hardly any support. I have hardly any friends. I have family that don’t talk to me, who don’t support me. I don’t have a lot of money. I’m not popular. I am struggling through life. I try to make the most of it.

I will get back up again when I am pushed down. What other choice do I have?

I will try to make a difference in this world.