Strange Tales of ExtraOrdinary Comeuppance/Poetry Samples
Strange Tales of Extraordinary Comeuppance
A themed collection of twenty one short stories for the adult reader with great potential for a television series.
The inspiration came from having to cope, as we all do, with nasty vindictive people who, it seems, are never brought to justice. Or break a leg. Or suffer boils.
There is humour, sex and some violence but only written about those who deserve it. The violence that is.
Anger towards male dominance and the subjugation of women is a recurring theme.
Metaphors are sometimes subtle but more frequently as obvious as one of the aforementioned boils on a nose.
The nature of the comeuppance maybe hinted at but would be difficult for the reader to predict.
There is also a ‘and then’ addition to each story that adds an unexpected and amusing plot development.
The short verse and one line statement before the story adds fun with a hint to the comeuppance as well as presenting the overall work in an unusual more dimensional way.
The last two stories present a possible comeuppance for the human race and the frightening conclusion from the great battle between good and evil.
A sample story below.
Incey Wincey Spider
Said the Incey Wincey Spider, ‘neath a darkening sky
Respect the Mother Mighty, or I’ll come crawling by!
Beware of certain web sites …
Les Achil could never believe in the supernatural! "Ghosts, spirits, all that stuff, its just mumbo jumbo," he lectured Ken his next door neighbour. "These things only come alive at night! And only in the imagination of bloody fools," he added assuredly.
"I don't know," replied Ken, reluctantly removing his pipe. "There's much in the world we don't understand. I reckon there's more to life than meets the eye."
The two neighbours, both portly of frame and bald of the head, often chatted when having a break from gardening. They would take time out to lean on the wooden fence separating their smart, identical suburban houses. They agreed on most things but, when it came to the supernatural and spirituality, Ken and Les had agreed to disagree. But, perhaps, they both enjoyed the friendly banter.
"Not a bit of proof ever!" asserted Les. "Come on then Ken! If you're a believer, then prove to me that the supernatural and such gobbledegook exists.” Then, as if tempting fate, “Just one tiny example will do!"
Ken smiled patiently and replied, "Listen Les. You believe what you want! And I'll believe what I want. Just don't be so sure of yourself is all I'll say. Anyway, how's the little beauty?" Ken sometimes would want to change the subject when talking with Les. The welfare of last season’s gift was always a good excuse.
Les replied wearily, "It's fine. Still coming along nicely thanks."
Without any interest he looked to the small golden conifer growing from the cutting that Ken had enforced upon him. He wished Ken hadn’t bothered and felt irritated with his regular concern about such an insignificant plant. But he humoured him as he knew that coping with the loss of your wife must be very difficult.
However, they chatted in good humour for another few minutes until the forecast rain began to fall and they both rushed inside. The sky continued to darken as if driven by an old anger and a new determination.
"Well, I agree with Ken," voiced Missie, Les's wife. She sat next to him on the sofa waiting for the television film to begin. "We're only human beings after all. We don't know everything."
"Now just watch this film and see how you feel afterwards," teased Les. "You'll believe in vampires after watching this rubbish. And I'm not sleeping with the light on again!"
Les, as he anticipated, was correct. Missie enjoyed being scared whilst watching the old Bela Lugosi film, but she remained unnerved even after a late night coffee and cigarette. Climbing into bed she knew she would fall asleep to his usual words of derision.
"See, I told you!" he chided. "It always down to imagination and the darkness. How many times do I have to tell you? It’s all in the mind!"
The next morning the sun returned to shine an enthusiastic welcome through the patio windows whilst Bing Crosby serenaded lazily from the radio. The day had begun full of reassurance and Les asked Missie, "Now do you believe in vampires? This is the real world! Nothing's going to hurt you! And particularly not on a grand day like this!"
Missie smiled and, placing his breakfast in front of him, joked, "Oh, be quiet and get your fangs stuck into this!"
Missie's weak attempt at humour irritated Les as did the toothy smile on her small, imp like face. He was pleased she was going out shopping with her mother for the day. Their shopping trips were becoming much more frequent but it suited him. He would enjoy being alone, doing whatever might take his fancy.
He then remembered, with some disappointment, that Ken was away on another fishing trip. So, after a moment’s thought, he decided to weed the vegetable patch. Then he could enjoy a deserved rest, under a lazy sun, and from the comfort of his favourite deckchair.
Later, sitting back, with feet resting on an upturned bucket, he felt at peace. He was satisfied with his world. He quickly dozed off and was soon in a deep sleep. The gentle caress of the summer sun and a slight, warm breeze encouraged his contentment. It began an hour later.
He awoke with a start! He leaned forward in the chair to cough and splutter violently.
"Rubbish dreams!" he said aloud in great agitation.
He quickly stood up to stretch his back. Tentatively he looked around the garden. He felt relieved to see the familiar well maintained lawn and carefully pruned shrubs. The light, blue sky was reassuring as its sun began to disappear behind a small, wispy cloud. But his dream had unnerved him. He grimaced as he fought to prevent its imagery from returning.
He feared spiders intently. Those large, obscene, bulbous monsters that would crawl on countless, wriggling, hairy legs over his deep pile carpet. And, always, always, towards his chair! It was as if spiders sensed terror believing they could feed on it!
"I can’t stand the way they move their legs. Grotesque little buggers. What’s the point of them?” he had asked Missie.
She had known Les to gasp aloud and put his hands on his head, as if trying to cover his gleaming baldness, if he spotted a motionless spider hanging to a wall and in his house! They were hideously menacing, evil and definitely unwelcome in his house! Les would become as still as the spider itself. He would stare fearfully as it clung threateningly and with clear intent to suddenly rush and attack. Missie would pretend to kill them before releasing outside. But she knew Les well enough not to tease him about it. He perceived this fear as weakness. It was no longer discussed. She helped him. And that was that!
He had dreamed of being covered by dozens of squealing, black, very hairy spiders. They had bitten him ferociously as they fed greedily on his clammy skin. He lay unable to move. He had felt the slight, unfamiliar weight of each beast run mischievously over him. They tickled his tightened cheeks with the small, soft hairs from an over-abundance of caressing legs. He felt several enquiring limbs reach into his equally hairy nostrils. He had woken up violently as they tried to squeeze into his tightly closed mouth. It was an unknown sadistic force that was trying to lever his lips apart. His fear had easily dominated him. Once again it was triumphant.
Les shivered uncontrollably in the coldness of his paranoia. He spat onto the lawn in annoyance as if trying to remove the bitter taste from the foulest of personal nightmares. It felt like a personalised invasion of a dark primeval horror that reciprocated his hatred.
Les felt very angry! Here he was, surrounded by the beauty and order he alone had created, and there was nothing to which he could direct his torment and venom!
He stood for a while and cursed and cursed again. But then he decided to return to his work and hoped no one had been watching.
Soon, frowning in deep concentration, he was attracted by the movement of an orange spider. It crawled slowly around a web it had meticulously constructed in the small conifer. Immediately he stood back.
Then, bursting with a furious resentment, he shouted aloud, "Enough is enough!"
Les despised his phobia, regarding it as his only character weakness. He despised relying on Missie. And he most certainly despised spiders, in his home or garden, whether in dreams or not!
Even though Missie was not there, Les felt he could deal with this himself. Spiders in the garden were still seriously unnerving, but they were, perhaps, less threatening within the availability of space to retreat. And the returning sun did offer some kind of warming reassurance once again!
With anger and loathing now slightly outweighing his fear, Les cautiously approached the conifer.
"Horrible, disgusting, useless little beggars" he snarled, as he observed dozens of tiny eggs lodged in the smaller branches near several webs. "I never wanted this bloody conifer anyway! Why the hell did Ken give it to me?"
He was wearing new gardening gloves Missie had bought for his birthday. He quickly seized the conifer's base. With muscles filled from the strength of anger he pulled it easily from the powdery soil. Then, smiling triumphantly, he threw it onto the fire he had started earlier. Les's lips tightened. He watched the small community quickly burn in its once safe world.
He muttered through clenched teeth, "Don't mess with me, you foul creepy little buggers! And there’s going to be no rain to come and save the day. You can be sure of that you bloody, sick losers!" That evening after supper, Les curtly told Missie, "Look, I'm having an early night. Must have done too much in the garden."
She frowned and looked at him to plead, "Are you sure you don't want to stay up and watch the film with me? Its Christopher Lee tonight."
Les exploded with agitation.
He yelled, "A horror film! When its dark! Now you answer this you stupid woman! Is that your recipe for a good nights sleep?" He stood up to push his fists into the roll of fat around his mature waistline. He then scowled angrily, "Stupid imagination and bloody darkness! Put them together and what have you got? I've told you before! You'll be unable to sleep and you'll lie there praying for the sun to come up to feel safe again! Enough! I'm out of here!"
Les slept well, after cautiously checking under the bed! He felt foolish when doing so but at least no one could see him. He had no nightmares. He awoke feeling wonderfully refreshed. Les felt good! He was ready to take on the world!
The morning happily presented itself as the promise of another sunny tranquil day. Les and Missie sat comfortably on a fat sofa in the lounge. He frowned into a newspaper and made frequent criticisms about yesterday’s political events. She drank coffee quietly.
"Would you mind if I nip over to see mum this afternoon?" Missie asked eventually. She blushed and added, "I want to take up that skirt she bought yesterday."
Les continued to read his colour supplement.
Then he replied casually, but uncomfortably, "Yes, OK then. Mind, you seem to be seeing a lot more of her these days." He suddenly felt strangely uneasy and stuttered, "Not that I’m bothered. Anyway, I'll probably just finish off in the garden."
Later, he sat back in his deckchair to admire his work. Les believed his striped lawn was the smartest in the street. His disease free roses would surely win awards at any local show. He admired the variety of colours that was the proof, as far as he was concerned, that a free use of modern pesticides and chemical fertilisers could attain high horticultural standards. Human intellect and experience could always improve upon nature.
"Nature’s not the strongest or cleverest force in the world!" he had once argued with Ken who had stood open mouthed at such despairing ignorance. As Les walked away he mocked in a hushed voice, "Aye, and you can shut your big mouth now Ken. Or something nasty will fall into it!"
Les looked over to the fence to see if Ken was gardening, but there was only the top of the large golden conifer. Its needled leaves rippled slowly in simple contentment as the gentle breeze caressed with seasonal love. Les, resting with hands behind his head, mused over the notion of a Mother Earth. He pictured her with the rough hands of podgy Ken and the withered bosom of skinny Missie. What a sight she must be! He smiled in smug enjoyment of his own humour. An aircraft droned above a peaceful listlessness. Les began to fall asleep.
An hour later he quickly opened his eyes but squinted under the fierce glare of the confident midday sun. Again he had dreamed of his greatest fear. But this time it had been remorsefully brief. He had coped bravely when just one small, quite insignificant spider had crawled over his naked toes to bite his heel. He killed it with a single slap of his hand but the pain from this had woken him. Les smiled at such realism within a dream. Then the warmth of the sun continued to soothe his tired body. With such reassurance he was easily persuaded to sit back and relax without a care for anyone or anything.
He turned his head to sigh with feelings of simple pleasure. Once again he took in the familiar sights and sounds that offered extra reassurance from the dying memory of only a dream.
"Silly old sod," he muttered, with untypical self-deprecation.
Soon the sun disappeared behind a community of gathering clouds that seemed intent on spoiling the day. The temperature began to drop. Les decided it might rain after all. He heard the telephone ringing. But he knew it would be Missie confirming she wouldn't be home until later than they'd agreed. Normally he would just let it ring but thought he would answer it. He was aware he'd been particularly short tempered with her recently. He briefly considered if this was because they had not made love for several months. But she had not seemed interested.
Initially, he attributed the stiffness in his legs as punishment for working too hard. But then he cursed. It felt odd.
"What the hell" he shouted aloud.
Suddenly it seemed to be moving! He thought his heart missed a couple of beats. He began to feel hot and anxious. The movement was like a slow, burrowing mole. Then there were other feelings. It seemed a small army of insects were crawling through his veins and arteries. It was as if an invasion of biting nerves, in pursuit of something, had replaced his blood.
He tried to stand. But his legs refused. They submitted to an abrupt numb heaviness. He looked down at them with some confusement. A rhythmic pounding in his head was the crude introduction to heavy sweating and the birth of very real terror. Then his heart began to beat very quickly and out of rhythm with his cranial throbbing.
Les tried to lean forward to feel his legs, but an unfamiliar force prevented him. His chest tightened. His spine began to lock. He slid slowly back into the chair. He became overwhelmed by horror. It was a complete physical and emotional petrification.
"Missie, Missie!" he tried to shout but his throat was too dry.
He could only cough. When the probing stiffness reached Les’s neck, it unhurriedly, but determinedly, pulled his head backwards. His mouth fell open in a noiseless scream. Les felt like a reluctant child waiting for some foul tasting medicine! He could not make a sound. He stared up to a darkening, revengeful sky.
It began to rain. It rained lightly but soon fell so aggressively it even bounced off Les's carefully manicured lawn. It continued to bounce off him for two hours. It was only for the first hour that Les was able to swallow.
Thousands of emotionless eyes linked to form the invisible web of justice from which he could not be released. They watched a gargling, spluttering Les experience his first daytime nightmare. The terror was now adult in its vengeance.
The bite continued to take affect. Finally his tongue stiffened. It reached out in a grotesque, swollen blueness as if trying to satisfy the driest of thirsts, despite his bloated, water filled gut.
As the rain fell more violently than ever, Les's last thoughts were a confusion of images. Conifers, dark clouds, the sun and large, crawling spiders merged to form the final vision. It was one, perhaps, exclusive only to a dying soul. He accepted that she was a strangely beautiful mistress and with a commanding presence.
She bore no resemblance to Ken or Missie!
Its task completed Araneus Diadematus scurried back to the safety of the conifer in Ken's garden and to its work of protecting its many children. It had followed primitive instinct, a community sense of outrage, and a desperate need to revenge a murdered family. It was an instinct boosted with an extraordinary venomous power for a vital mission of determined, obligatory retribution. It had crawled from a dark and sometimes misunderstood world. The existence of which Les Achil never accepted. That was, until the last few choking moments of his life.
And then …
Missie poured Ken another glass of red wine.
"Thanks for doing the garden again Ken," she said demurely. She decided not to ask when he’d be ready to permanently move in.
He smiled and, for the first time, didn’t feel embarrassed to be visiting her so late at night. He decided he would stay for supper, even if it meant watching yet another horror film with her. And, if he could sleep over for breakfast, then what a bonus!
"It’s something called Arachnophobia," she mused. "Haven’t a clue what its about."
New fur, old feathers, tasteless stuff,
Instinctive lives, living the rough.
Unable to change, break the mould,
Limited hope, food is their gold.
He…, was a young fox, keen to kill,
Hunting for food, a chase to thrill.
She…, was an old hen, ambling slow,
Pecking for food, nowhere to go.
Energies to burn, wanting more
Night is his cloak, his darkened claw.
Her eyes closed tight, yet not to sleep,
To know his silence, feel him creep.
Yet…, on this night…, a magic reigned,
Spirit unknown, but love unchained?
She watched his approach, without fear,
Eyes so large, his motive unclear.
No hunger this - nor instinct true,
The stars smiled down on something new.
He brushed her gently, taking care,
Her silent calm caressed the air.
New fur, old feathers, souls apart,
Yet bonding now, with friendship’s heart.
And thru’ the night goodness did bloom,
Born again from the warmest womb.
Then, the rising sun - shining bold!
Unlimited hope! love is gold!
The magic slept, what could they do?
For soon around the mocking few.
From broken moulds grow new born friends,
But life’s absurdness never ends.
The fox, the hen, with stronger wills,
Still, couldn’t warm those older chills.
Instinctive lives, who eat the bone,
Remain as beasts, Loves seed ungrown.
The threat was great, both kills were crude,
They ate their gold, such greed for food.
New fur, old feathers, tasteless stuff,
The fox, the hen, weren’t just enough.
Your scented presence
Lists on a warmed breeze
To caress my heart
With comforting ease
Like an angel’s whisper
As gently you breathe
Each smile bears a kiss
Of wisdom and love
Such heavenly bliss
Like an angel’s promise
And asleep you smile
In dreams of reason
Where flowers of truth
Blossom each season
Like an angel’s garden
Oh Closest friend, eternal hope
The brightest eye in darkest days
My heavy heart, our greatest weight
Depressing now to welcome fate
And brother you heroic soul
I cry once more my faith has died
Saviour of love and goodness true
I see the sun but dark the view
Once more I fall at Satan’s door
The beast inside its venom known
Despair uncurls with ease and skill
Hungry again for this man’s will
I’ll fight no more this life is done
Alone it seems I’ll end my days
A field of dreams ... a nightmare sins
I need to sleep... the monster wins…
I need to sleep…
From Vincent - a musical dramatising Van Gogh’s last few days