dark | side | thursday | eleven

Do you need, desire or crave a new challenge?  Are you open to sharing your dark side?   Then read on.

atownend_2015_05_16_7246-Edit


Do you have a dark side?

Or, think you may have one. Or indeed worry that you might have one. Or, for that matter, worry that you don’t and would like one? If so,  join me here each week for dark | side | thursday.

Over a period of 52 weeks, I am writing a story. A dark story that will unfold as the weeks pass. Each Thursday, at 13:00 UTC, I will post a new chapter. Each chapter will be exactly 500 words long, and will be accompanied by a photograph. You can catch up on the story so far by clicking here on dark | side | thursday

Share your dark side?

I invite you to join me either by writing your own dark story, week by week, or, if that is too much, by dropping by, now and then, perhaps when the mood suits you or, perhaps, when it doesn’t, and by sharing a photograph, poem or a suitably dark piece of prose. To cross over to dark | side | thursday create your post, tag it dark side thursday and link to it by clicking on the dark | side | thursday badge below, where you can also find all the contributions so far. Or you can simply share your link in the comments section of my weekly post. And, should the mood take you, you can add the badge to your post.

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dark | side | thursday | eleven

He stepped into the tiled hospital room, walked slowly toward the woman laid out on the metal hospital cot. The acrid, cloying, sweet, smell of the anaesthetic, lingering in the room, caught in his throat.

The metal door stood open behind him. Damp, chilled air rolled across the tiled floor.

Watching him approach, she struggled to breathe, her eyes fixed on his. Hope began to bloom inside her. Hope, or perhaps fear.

He walked across the room to the metal cot, stood over her, leaned forward, his hand reaching out, slowly.

For a moment, as his hand moved toward her, she was afraid, pulling away from the approaching fingers, the needle digging in to her. She felt him gently brush a strand of hair away from her eyes. Strong fingers, yet warm, soft, comforting. He leaned further forward, she could feel his warmth, smell his skin, and she felt his lips brush against her cheek.

He pulled away. Walked around the metal cot, toward the humming machine. He reached down behind it, found the cord, pulled it out and the humming stopped. Moving back to the cot, he gently pressed his thumb down over her skin where the needle pierced her, and, in a swift, smooth and practised movement, pulled the needle from her flesh. Reaching down, to a shelf tucked in below the machine, he found a small white bandage and pressed it gently against the spot of blood which had welled up as the needle was released. He taped the bandage in place, stood back for a moment. He had not spoken since entering the room. His movements as if in a dream, someone else shifting levers, pressing buttons, sending instructions to his limbs.

She felt his arms move over and around her, supporting her, helping her sit. He sit beside her on the narrow metal cot. His arm around her, her head, heavy, weary, collapsed into his shoulder. She felt his arms envelop her, comforting, protective and strangely familiar.

Tears spilled from her eyes, her breast heaving as powerful sobs racked her body, the pain in her belly twisting and growing, she pressed herself closer to him. Heedless of the what, the why, she felt safe, protected, and hope began to course through her body.

He had stopped thinking when he entered the room. His mind, for now, a blank, his actions measured and precise, his mind distant, dislocated, absent.

He felt her warm body against his, felt her shaking, pressing against him, seeking comfort, answers. For now he had no answers. All he could offer was comfort and for the moment, silence.

Then, they heard it.The harsh sound of stone on stone. Grating. The room grew colder still.

Turning their eyes to the open door, they froze as they saw what stood, unmoving, at the threshold. The comfort they had shared drained away as they looked into the featureless frozen face that was turned towards them, stone hands held out, palms open.

It began to speak.


The portal to dark | side | thursday opened on the twenty first day of may in the year twenty hundred and fifteen and will remain open for fifty two weeks.

eleven | fiftytwo

poetry 101 rehab: connection

Do you miss the Writing 201 Poetry course by the Daily Post? Then join this blogging challenge, Poetry 101 Rehab, that will provide your poetry fix!

IMG_1126

How does it work?

For several weeks now, each Monday at 01:00 pm UTC, Mara Eastern has published a poetry prompt along with her response to it, you can see them all here. On 30 June, Mara announced that she is taking a blogging hiatus this Summer to focus on her dissertation. I am serving as locum “poet in residence” at the clinic until her return – and hope that I don’t lose any of her patients! I will continue to publish a weekly prompt exactly as before.

You are invited to answer the prompt, twist it or ignore it; write a poem of your own or share a poem by another author.

We would love to hear about your inspiration, your creative process or other poetry related thoughts, but this is in no way obligatory. Nothing is obligatory in this challenge, the idea is to get together, talk poetry and have fun!


How can you take part?

Anyone can participate, anytime you want. Publish your poetry post and add a link to it by clicking on the Poetry 101 Rehab badge below or share your link in a comment. Use the tag Poetry 101 Rehab, so we can find each other in the Reader.

badge-rectangle

I will act as your host, and I’ll be here for you to reply to your comments, read your poetry, like and comment. While this post is the starting point for the challenge, do visit fellow poets in the link-up and chat to them on their blogs!


This week’s prompt is CONNECTION.

CONNECTION

baggage tags time lags

wireless timeless

this way that way (which way)

time lags baggage tags

remove belt coins shoes watch (dignity)

laptop (must go) on top

baggage tags time lags

liquids no go must go

(come this way please)

time lags baggage tags

rushing pushing

duty free wifi

baggage tags time lags

this way that way no way (they say)

final call

for us all


My response, CONNECTION was inspired by my recent flight to Belgrade from Brussel via Wien. What will your take on the keyword CONNECTION be? Blog about it in a poetry post and share your link in the comments section of this post and by clicking on the Poetry 1o1 Badge above.

project 365 mobile | mono | square | week 6

On Sunday, 14 June 2015, I launched my Project 365.

You can see all the images as they are posted to the mobile | mono | square album on my flickr account.

My plan, let’s see if I can stick to this, is to post a weekly update here each Sunday.

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dark | side | thursday | ten

Do you need, desire or crave a new challenge?  Are you open to sharing your dark side?   Then read on.

atownend_20140906_000037 - Version 2


Do you have a dark side?

Or, think you may have one. Or indeed worry that you might have one. Or, for that matter, worry that you don’t and would like one? If so,  join me here each week for dark | side | thursday.

Over a period of 52 weeks, I am writing a story. A dark story that will unfold as the weeks pass. Each Thursday, at 13:00 UTC, I will post a new chapter. Each chapter will be exactly 500 words long, and will be accompanied by a photograph. You can catch up on the story so far by clicking here on dark | side | thursday

Share your dark side?

I invite you to join me either by writing your own dark story, week by week, or, if that is too much, by dropping by, now and then, perhaps when the mood suits you or, perhaps, when it doesn’t, and by sharing a photograph, poem or a suitably dark piece of prose. To cross over to dark | side | thursday create your post, tag it dark side thursday and link to it by clicking on the dark | side | thursday badge below, where you can also find all the contributions so far. Or you can simply share your link in the comments section of my weekly post. And, should the mood take you, you can add the badge to your post.

AJT_6650-Edit


dark | side | thursday | ten

The lift shuddered to a grinding halt.

Pushing himself away from the graffiti covered wall, against which he had been leaning, he felt heavy, old, faintly nauseous.

The stench of days old over-cooked cabbage again assailed his senses. The odour of cheap floor polish, mixed with rotting vegetation, aggravated his feeling of hopelessness.

There was another smell. Familiar, one which he could not quite pin down, which felt out of place. A faint odour that made him shiver, something sinister twisting inside. Memories, bad ones, stirring.

Pushing open the creaking wooden door, he stepped into the dimly lit corridor, reached into his pocket, took the flask and again drank deep, the familiar feeling flaring, burning, inside him. Not enough though, he took another draught, this time gulping the burning liquid down his throat so hard he almost choked. Screwing the cap back tight, he replaced the flask in his pocket and walked towards his room, his eyes fixed on the cold cracked tiles beneath his feet. The damp concrete walls closed in on him. Closing his eyes, the effect of the burning liquid, still turning inside his belly, accentuated the nausea he had felt since the lift had shuddered to a halt.

She lay motionless on the metal hospital bed. Breathing thready, pulse unsteady. The pain in her arm, where she had pulled on the needle, had eased a little, the pain in her belly had not. She slid her hand under the plain white cotton shift which barely covered her. Fingers tracing the bandage taped over her belly, she flinched as pain threatened to engulf her. She lay back, her mind racing. The emptiness inside her roiling, black, pitiless.

He reached the door to his room. A chill feeling of dread settled over him, the pain in his arm intensifying, as if his elbow had been wrenched out of its socket. Or shattered with a hammer. He shivered, reached out to the door, turned, and slowly, with trepidation, pushed.

Her eyes blinked open, her body shivering. She had dozed off. The light in the room unchanged, the machine to her side humming. Moving her arm, the needle shifted in her tortured flesh. Mind racing, she tried to sit, pain ripped through her belly forcing her to stop, to lay back on the metal bed. Then, she heard it. A faint noise, a metallic scraping sound. Struggling to locate the source of the sound she turned her head towards the side of the room away from the humming machine, the needle again digging into her.

She saw the door opening slowly.

Something felt wrong. As he slowly pushed open the door to his room, everything felt very wrong. That smell, the familiar odour that had caused him to shiver, intensified, acrid, sweet, lingering uneasily in his nostrils.

Her eyes opened wide, breath caught in her throat.

Where his desk should be, a woman, clad in a white shift, on a metal hospital bed, turned her widening eyes toward him.


The portal to dark | side | thursday opened on the twenty first day of may in the year twenty hundred and fifteen and will remain open for fifty two weeks.

ten | fiftytwo

Promocija knjige Belgradestreets u Dvorištancetu

Join me next Thursday evening, 23 July at 19:00 at Klub Dvoristance, Brace Krsmanovica 14, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia to see Belgrade through my eyes courtesy of Klub Dvoristance and publishers Komshe.

belgradestreets

Join me next Thursday evening, 23 July at 19:00 at Klub Dvoristance, Brace Krsmanovica 14, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia to see Belgrade through my eyes courtesy of Klub Dvoristance and publishers Komshe.

Would be great to see you there!

2015_06_03_02121

Now thrilled to announce that that the team at the Belgrade Foreign Visitor’s Club have decided to combine their popular “Thirsty Thursday Event” with my exhibition at Klub Dvoristance this Thursday evening, 23 July at 19:00 .

Do hope you can come and thanks again to Dimitrije and Branko and all their colleagues at Komshe!

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poetry 101 rehab: deadline

Do you miss the Writing 201 Poetry course by the Daily Post? Then join this blogging challenge, Poetry 101 Rehab, that will provide your poetry fix!

2015_07_01_02658-Edit-Edit-Edit

How does it work?

For several weeks now, each Monday at 01:00 pm UTC, Mara Eastern has published a poetry prompt along with her response to it, you can see them all here. On 30 June, Mara announced that she is taking a blogging hiatus this Summer to focus on her dissertation. I am serving as locum “poet in residence” at the clinic until her return – and hope that I don’t lose any of her patients! I will continue to publish a weekly prompt exactly as before.

You are invited to answer the prompt, twist it or ignore it; write a poem of your own or share a poem by another author.

I would love to hear about your inspiration, your creative process or other poetry related thoughts, but this is no way obligatory. Nothing is obligatory in this challenge, the idea is to get together, talk poetry and have fun!


How can you take part?

Anyone can participate, anytime you want. Publish your poetry post and add a link to it by clicking on the Poetry 101 Rehab badge below or share your link in a comment. Use the tag Poetry 101 Rehab, so we can find each other in the Reader.

badge-rectangle

I will act as your host, and I’ll be here for you to reply to your comments, read your poetry, like and comment. While this post is the starting point for the challenge, do visit fellow poets in the link-up and chat to them on their blogs!


This week’s prompt is DEADLINE.

DEADLINE

deadline
no time, no time
deadline
must work, must work
deadline
no time, no time
deadline
can’t slack, can’t slack
deadline
no time, no time
deadline
keep typing, keep typing
deadline
no time, no time
deadline
can’t think, can’t think
deadline
no time, no time
deadline
can’t sleep, can’t sleep
deadline
no time, no time
dead____________


My response, DEADLINE was inspired by the feelings we can all too easily endure when working up against a deadline, so it’s a very personal, blunt, take on this week’s prompt. What will your take on the keyword DEADLINE be? Blog about it in a poetry post and share your link in the comments section of this post and by clicking on the Poetry 1o1 Badge above.

dark | side | thursday | condensed:one:nine

Do you need, desire or crave a new challenge?  Are you open to sharing your dark side?   Then read on.


Do you have a dark side?

Or, think you may have one. Or indeed worry that you might have one. Or, for that matter, worry that you don’t and would like one? If so,  join me here each week for dark | side | thursday.

Over a period of 52 weeks, I am writing a story. A dark story that will unfold as the weeks pass. Each Thursday, at 13:00 UTC, I will post a new chapter. Each chapter will be exactly 500 words long, and will be accompanied by a photograph. You can catch up on the story so far by clicking here on dark | side | thursday

This post is an “extra”, a condensed version of the first nine chapters, for those who wish to catch up with the narrative so far or who are new to dark | side | thursday

Share your dark side?

I invite you to join me either by writing your own dark story, week by week, or, if that is too much, by dropping by, now and then, perhaps when the mood suits you or, perhaps, when it doesn’t, and by sharing a photograph, poem or a suitably dark piece of prose. To cross over to dark | side | thursday create your post, tag it dark side thursday and link to it by clicking on the dark | side | thursday badge below, where you can also find all the contributions so far. Or you can simply share your link in the comments section of my weekly post. And, should the mood take you, you can add the badge to your post.

AJT_6650-Edit


dark | side | thursday | condensed:one:nine

My story began with fragmented recollections of a walk through a cemetery. The narrator had gone there to learn, his past is not revealed, the background to why he was there is not yet clear. He was shocked by what he saw, what he felt.  He is a photographer, he is losing his hair. Maybe he is also a writer, of sorts. He feels things, injustice, fear, emotion. He finds an open tomb filled with water, its opening covered with rough hewn boards. He is said to hear, feel what had been there, it is not clear how or what he hears and feels.

In the second chapter, the scene shifts, to a time long before the narrator opened his eyes. A man and a woman, as yet unnamed, no details given, walk together on a warm spring evening, they are described as being free, free from something yet to happen. Something terrible. The narrator’s perspective is weaved into the future, he knows the story and is recalling it, there is a reference to knowledge he has acquired. The concept of time and space is blurred and ambiguous. The man and the woman might have seen what was to come, there is a suggestion that things might have been different. The narrator is at his desk, there is a reference to a box on his desk. Both he, the man and the woman feel cold. The narrator is writing with pen and paper. He recalls finding the hole in the ground.

The narrator opens the box in the third chapter, removes a key and remembers discovering the box containing the key in the open tomb introduced in the opening chapter. Shifting in time, it is revealed that the couple also came across a key during their walk on that long ago spring evening. The key provokes powerful feelings, both in the narrator, and in the man and the woman. Again there is a reference to how things might have been different; if the characters had chosen, or acted, other than as they did. Holding the key, the woman sees something in the man’s eyes.

In the fourth chapter the key again plays a crucial role. This time the man’s eyes undergo a terrible transformation, turning from sparkling blue to black, as the woman holds the key and looks at him. She feels cold and a terrible emptiness, an emptiness that she will always feel. The story shifts back to the narrator who continues to write at his desk, he seems, somehow, to sense the woman’s emptiness, it is not clear how or why. He drinks a harsh shot of slivovitz and remembers ‘all of it’, before walking out into the corridor. The man’s eyes return to normal, the man and woman kiss, she still feels cold and empty. The narrator seems seduced by the power of the key in the box, a key that seems somehow to be alive, conscious.

In chapter five the narrator walks down the corridor, thoughts of the key, of release haunting him. There is a reference to things being lost, a sense that the narrator has been here before. The narrator is in terrible pain, the corridor collapses around him. The man and the woman kiss, the eyes of the man again change, turning black, she feels empty. The narrator awakens in a blackened wood, how or why is not clear, he is pain. The woman runs away, the man does not follow, she discovers a flight of stone steps leading down. The narrator, struggling with his pain, drinking slivovitz from a flask, sees a flight of stone steps rising ahead of him. Then he hears her.

At the opening of chapter six, the narrator awakens back in the corridor, cold, wet and in pain and feeling somehow the emptiness the woman feels, he recalls hearing her voice speak these words “Don’t let him, don’t let him take it, not now, it’s so close. Please…hear me…”. He returns to his room, there is a reflection here about how things might have been different, he walks to the desk, he picks up an old, leather bound, journal and reads words which are apparently both terrible and familiar to him. The woman wakes at the top of the flight of stone stairs and in pain tries to speak, uttering the words “Don’t let him…”. Time and space again seem distorted and confused.

Chapter seven sees the narrator reading a passage from the leather journal with this stark message “When the time comes, there will be no time, you will know what to do, inside, you will know, as I did. I tried, I wanted to stop it. It was too strong, she was too strong. I had no time, so please for Hid’s sake, when the time comes, don’t think, act, or you too will have no time…”. The woman is alone, she cries out the words the narrator had heard. She endures a traumatic nightmare in which she is being burned alive, the man returning to her as she wakes. He picks her up, their bodies close, there is tension, a dark passion between them, she feels an emptiness inside her. The narrator again opens the box, takes the key, once more walks out into the corridor.  The man and woman descend the stone steps, they hear footsteps approach. The time is said to have come.

At the opening of chapter eight, the woman finds herself in darkness, her fingers slipping out of the man’s grip after they had reached the bottom of the flight of stone steps. The narrator walks back out into the corridor, expecting to be transported once more to the blackened wood. He is not.  The woman falls into a dark void, screaming silently. The narrator walks to the end of the corridor, descends the staircase and walking out into the rain, filled with despair, he screams and screams.

Chapter nine opens with the woman alone in an empty, tiled, room, she struggles to regain consciousness. Her painful sensations on waking are described in some detail. It becomes clear that she rests on some kind of hospital bed. The narrator sitting in the rain in the street, seems confused and afraid about what has happened. He returns to the building, takes the lift, he is exhausted. The woman feels a pain in her belly. Touching her body she then realises they had taken it from her.


The portal to dark | side | thursday opened on the twenty first day of may in the year twenty hundred and fifteen and will remain open for fifty two weeks.

condensed:one:nine | fiftytwo

project 365 mobile | mono | square | week 5

On Sunday, 14 June 2015, I launched my Project 365.

You can see all the images as they are posted to the mobile | mono | square album on my flickr account.

My plan, let’s see if I can stick to this, is to post a weekly update here each Sunday.

Desktopmms-Edit