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suzannebowditch

Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)

Monday Fiction : The Latch

art dark eerie hands
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As part of my Masters degree we have to study fairy tales. These tales have been passed down from generation to generation, and in each retelling there are differing versions that pertain to the historical context, culture and the values and nuances of the time.

So we have to pick a fairy tale, then retell it. I’ve chosen the classic story of Red Riding Hood. It has been retold for hundreds of years, from Charles Perrault’s original tale in 1697 for French aristocracy, through to the Grimm Brothers in 1812, and modern versions such as Roald Dahl’s ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf.’

The stories are essentially for children, but the original message in them is much darker, the reality not so sweet and childlike. For the message is the peril of a young woman who is stalked by a predator; a ‘wolf.’ The themes of the tale include sexuality, rape and the dangers of talking to strangers.

With that in mind, here’s my version of the story. I’ve set it in contemporary times, in a bleak unidentifiable landscape that could be anywhere; does the setting resonate with you?

The Latch

The bus came to a rumbling stop and the doors opened with a soft screech. Eleanor looked up from the paperback she was reading – a dystopian tale of love and war – and glanced outside. The window was smeared with mud, steamed up so that the figures outside were blurry. A large lady struggled to climb onboard, sat down in front of her. Eleanor gagged at the smell of cheap perfume and hairspray, the underlying stench of stale sweat. She turned to the window, pressed red painted fingers against its coolness.  Her breath curled and she drew a love heart into the glass, smiling.

A man looked up at her from his spot on the pavement, then jumped on board. His eyes barely brushed hers as he sat down. She saw the side of his face, his hooked nose and greasy locks. She knew him, of course she did; he was the teacher she’d once had, many moons ago.  He’d aged since then, had become skinnier, but the coat remained the same. He slouched into it now, a thick dark fur that smelt of lifeless animals. This one was faux and cheap, torn at the elbows.  Eleanor shuddered, studying his pants, his low-priced shoes. He looked around nervously, played with the catch on his briefcase, papers bulging from its interior. She pulled her coat around her, tried to get back into her book.

The bus carried on, its engines filling the air with smoke and oil so that everyone looked pale and nauseous. They drove past factories, turned corners where smoke rose from huge stacks, until the housing estate came into sight. They were on the edge of town, driving past houses built purely for industry. Every house looked the same; tones of grey, fences around them. It looked plain and unbroken, a mass construction of walls and rooftops; even the cars were a mix of greys and blues. The bus slowed down, jerked to a stop over a huge pothole in the road. The bus driver cursed, his voice sharp in the icy chill.

Eleanor glanced across at a road sign, saw it was her stop. The sign was partly hidden by a huge oak tree, overgrown and neglected. Someone had thrown a car tyre around a lamppost and there was graffiti daubed in red. Weeds filled up the cracked tar and the air held a sense of despair and decay. Eleanor stood up, held onto the seat in front.  Her paperback fell into the aisle, lay there with its pages marked and torn. The teacher reached down to pick it up.

‘Ah, I like her new one,’ he said, studying the cover. ‘Is this what youngers are reading nowadays?’ His voice was deep and throaty. Gruff like, just as she remembered.

She nodded, took the book off him. He grinned up at her, large teeth under grey whiskers, green eyes that shone in the dull light. Eyes that glanced at her legs, at the top of her stockings where her skirt had risen. They seemed to devour her. She pulled at her skirt, pushed the book into a pocket of her leather bag. It poked out from there, hanging out over the torn thread. Then she made her way to the front of the bus.

*

It was a ten-minute walk to her grandmother’s house. She glanced at her watch, saw the sun disappear behind the trees. The forest loomed on her right, the houses on her left. She passed a broken car engine, its parts thrown onto the scrub of grass in front of a house. In the next garden, the toys lay muddy and discolored; a broken dolls head, a bicycle upturned so that the wheel moved silently in the wind. Her grandmother lived in the end house, set off from the road by a long driveway. It had once been a woodcutter’s cottage, back in the days when wood was the main trade before the factories took over. Her dad had built a high wall a long time ago; to keep out the bad men he’d said. Grandmother had laughed at that.

Eleanor heard his footsteps before she’d even reached the cottage, had smelt him from a distance. His was a confident walk, reassured by the headphones she wore; little did he know that they were switched to off. Grandmother’s gate swung open with barely a squeak, the latch well-oiled. She walked up the driveway, her boots crunching on leaves, cracking dry old kindling. The trees reached for the skies, their bare branches adding to the gloom. She sensed him at the gate, fiddling with the latch, clumsy fingers of excitement. Grandmother’s cottage loomed in front of her, a higgledy mass of chimney stacks and ivy that choked its thick walls. The windows were cloaked in darkness, just one dim light above the porch way. She looked at the sky, the deep red reflecting her hooded coat.  A storm was brewing, thunder clouds racing, a streak of lightening in the sky.

He’d hidden himself now, just behind the huge oak in front of grandmother’s gate. His smell was overpowering; earthy and feral. She smiled to herself; when had it gotten so easy?

Grandmother was at the doorway. Eleanor could see her silhouette, the bulk of her body encased in an apron. She quickened her pace, her hood falling over her shoulders, dark red hair, wild and curly. She could see down the hallway, straight through to the kitchen and the warm glow coming off the huge oven. The leather bag felt smooth against her stockings as she pulled back the zip. Inside, the tools gleamed in the muted light.

‘You’ll like this one, grandmother,’ she said, looking up. Grandmother’s eyes flashed red, her mouth dripping saliva and blood.

Eleanor grabbed the axe, held it up.

He was on top of the porch now, huge and wolf-like. Further down the driveway, she heard the latch give a resounding click shut.

*

Suzanne Bowditch 2018

 

 

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Sunday walks at Coomera Lake

We took our terrier Billy to Coomera Lake this afternoon. The lake is north of us and was used for water sports during the Commonwealth Games, where hundreds of athletes competed along its waterways. Now its back to normal, used for fishing, bird watching and dog walking.

I took my camera and snapped a cormorant sunning itself just as we walked by. It didn’t move for at least 10 minutes but kept a beady eye out for Billy!

I’m busy finishing up an assignment due this week, in which I have to write a YA story. Its turning into an actual book now, heading for over 10,000 words so I may carry on writing it! Its my first venture into YA fiction/fantasy/adventure and I’m really enjoying writing of Sammie’s adventure – I’m surprising myself…

What has surprised you in your writing? What inspires you to keep on writing?

Please share!

Happy creative weekend. 😊📚

#writer #writerslife #creativity

A List Of Mystery Resources [Mystery Month]

Rachel Poli

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

I’ve gone through many books and websites researching the craft of mystery writing and also just research for mysteries and crime in general. Here are some of my favorites.

A list of mystery resource books | Mystery writing | Creative writing | writing craft | RachelPoli.com

Books

1.Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron
2. The Writer’s Guide to Weapons by Benjamin Sobieck
3. Now Write! Mysteries by Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson
4. Police Procedure & Investigation by Lee Lofland
5. Book of Poisons by Serita Stevens and Anne Bannon
6. Forensics by D.P. Lyle

Websites

1. Writing World – They have a great mystery section.
2. Writer’s Digest – A well known site that has articles about writing mysteries and thrillers.
3. Mystery Cozy – Not really updated anymore, but a great place…

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Blues on Broadbeach

There’s definitely been some excitement in my house lately, with the Royal Wedding (well, from me anyhow! ). Prince Harry is officially off the market, and his bride looked beautiful.

It was also the weekend of a Music Festival on the Gold Coast. Blues on Broadbeach this year featured my son Liam on guitar with the band Mescalito Blues. They’re a rocking blues band with original music and bags of musical experience. I took a run to the coast to see them on the Friday, but my hubby mozzied on down on the Saturday too.

I stayed at home, pots of tea to hand, with a batch of freshly baked scones and cream.

As for creativity, my book The Zeeland Girl is almost complete! Its had a proof read (by 2 good friends of mine) plus has been edited several times. I will be posting an excerpt of it over the weekend.

Have a great week and keep creative!

#creativity#writer #writerslife 📚 #thezeelandgirl #bluesonbroadbeach

Winter in Queensland

My son is up for a few weeks from the colder nether regions of Melbourne. There were storms and a thick layer of fog when he left on Monday, to fly into vast blue skies and warmer climes.

He’s playing all this weekend at Broadbeach Blues Festival ( lead guitar ) so we tagged along this week to suss out the venue. It’s an open air gig, right next to the beach…breathtaking.

Have a creative week, I’m getting my plotlines in place for a re-telling of Red Riding Hood….I may set it in contemporary times in a horror genre, for the older tales are much darker than the picture books reveal!

#creativity #writer #lifestyle #redridinghood #broadbeach #broadbeachbluesfestival #qld

Happy Mothers day

Its Mothers day here in Oz, so here are some images of Surfers Paradise that I took recently. We spend a fair amount of time down at the beach, and this spot is one of my favorites. Its early morning and the only people on the beach are fishermen and joggers ( and dog people, like us! ).

Definitely jumpers and joggers weather, even the dog is glad to get back into the car…

Happy Mother’s day wherever you are… ❤I’m currently addicted to watching The Handmaid’s Tale on TV, snuggled up with hot chocolate and popcorn!

Have a great creative week !

#creativity #writer #lifestyle 💙

Pelicans on the Gold Coast

Winter has well and truly arrived, and temperatures have plummeted here. We took a run to the beachfront this week, and I captured some local wildlife. The pelicans have becone something of an icon here, waiting for the trawlers everyday, for the fishermen throw them fish scraps from the boats. They’ll never go hungry, whatever the weather!

Haiku:

Pelicans

Wings flapping with joy

They wait, a sight to behold,

Seaside revelry.

On a more personal note, I’ve been busy working on my book The Zeeland Girl, that’s taking me longer than I thought it would. I’m also working on three assignments, all creative work that I love to do…..one has me re-telling a fairy tale!

Have a great creative week everyone 😊📚

#writer #writerslife #creativity #haiku #poetry

Haiku

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Image Courtesy of Glen Carrie: Unsplash

I’ve been looking at poetry this week, particularly Haiku poetry. I studied its forms last year, but poetry itself has always had different connotations for me – namely that it is part of a loftier genre than fiction writing, with its syllables, and emphasis on structure and lines (Shakespeare and his iambic pentameter springs to mind), that make it harder to understand.

So, I was pleased that my poem, a Haiku, was received quite warmly by my lecture at the time, and by the visiting poet. They encouraged the class to dig deep into our inner psyches, enjoy the world around us and to embrace the simplest things, especially  Nature at its best.

With that in mind, I found this lovely image on Unsplash. The black and white style appealed to me, and the image itself – of three little birds – summed up a Bob Marley tune that hummed in my head as I wrote this poem:

Three Little Birds

Three beaks in the air,

A delight for the senses,

Can be Nature’s Joy.

Suzanne Bowditch, 2018

It’s just Monday lunchtime here – have a great creative week wherever you are !

#writing #creativewriting #haiku #poetry

Street Art

My daughter’s graduation ceremony is not until the end of 2019, but she’s already making huge plans. We have to pick the dress of course, plus hair, make up, shoes, accessories….the list goes on.

Needless to say, its exhausting. I’m hoping next shopping day she’ll take her friends instead, for I do have a book to finish and edit after all! Not sure if I trust her with my credit card tho…!

Here’s a few art pieces that are on display at the shopping center. Called ‘Street Art,’ the art has been designed and painted by local schools as well as artists. I snapped a couple I really liked.

Have a great weekend – hopefully its a creative one! I’m taking said daughter to a Harry Styles concert…may have to prepare myself for the screaming girls if the internet is anything to go by! Reports are he’s pretty good. 🙌

#streetart #weekendvibes #creativity #harrystyles #brisbane #lifestyle 💙

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