Monday, 22 December 2014

The Ben Chatham Xmas Special: "Darkness at the Break of Noon": Part 1

OK, part 2 of this will be the New Year special. Enjoy.


Part 1

Ben Chatham gazed forlornly out of the window of the Royal Huntsman Coffee Shop in Cambridge, as the Christmas shoppers passed busily by outside. He swirled the dregs of his coffee around and around in the cup, his dark eyes filled with anger tinged with anguish. Sitting opposite him was Kyle Scott who eyed Ben with a look of some concern.
"Ere Ben, should'nt we be gettin' goin' like? We've got the prezzies and its a long drive to Wiltshire."
Ben scowled:
"Yes thanks for reminding me Kyle... not. *sighs* I'm not sure I can face going out and pushing through those wretched shoppers to get back to the car, let alone drive to Wiltshire and face my parents."
"It might not be the nightmare you think its gonna be Ben," Kyle replied. Ben shot him a look of disdain:
"Oh I'm sure it won't Kyle. It'll be ten times worse. I'm only spending Christmas with them in order to try and salvage something of my inheritance after the Emma disaster. She really displayed her true colours when she told them about the divorce. Why are women so immature about relationships?"
"Ere you did treat her badly Ben. I ain't excusin' everything she's done but you did provoke her like."
Ben flicked his hair out of his eyes and downed the dregs of his coffee.
"Oh yes. If by treating her badly you mean spending a fortune on setting her up with a nice house then yes you're right Kyle. *sighs* I hope you behave appropriately when you meet my parents. No foul language in their house."
Kyle grinned:
"Well I could always stay in Cambridge and look after your pad while you're away".
Ben shot him an angry look:
"I'm paying Luigi to do that. You're coming with me, I'm not facing Christmas alone with them and Katie has gone to her relatives. Oh well I suppose we'd better brave the vulgar masses. Come on."

As Ben and Kyle made their way through the busy Cambridge streets they failed to notice the strange, dark, unnatural  clouds that were forming overhead and covering the sky. As the light faded, Ben looked at his watch:
"Now this wretched watch seems to have stopped. Its getting dark but it still says 12.05. We must've taken an inordinate time choosing that perfume for my mother."
Kyle looked at Ben:
"Er no Ben. Mine says 12.05 an all. Summat's up."
As they looked up at the increasingly dark clouds, a man pushed into them.
"Look where you're fucking goin' mate," the man shouted at Ben.
Ben was about to admonish the man when a woman ran out of a shop screaming, blood spattered on her clothes:
"Help.... my boy... help... "
Kyle and Ben ran into the shop and were horrified to see people running from the Santa's Grotto area as the Santa stabbed at them with a large kitchen knife. Several small children lay motionless on the floor, covered in wounds. A man rushed forward to try and help them but the Santa stabbed the knife right through his neck, a strange gurgling sound emanating from the man as he sank to the ground in a heap. Kyle managed to get behind the crazed figure and smashed a till grabbed from the counter over its head. As the police arrived there was more frenzied screaming from outside and they went to deal with the new threat. Ben and Kyle rushed outside to see a woman wearing a Santa hat stabbing randomly at anyone who came hear her, a body at her feet with gaping wounds. Then people started running out of McDonalds screaming as one of the young male staff , wearing a Santa hat and false beard, ran after them holding a bloodied chisel.
"What the hell is going on? People have gone mad," Ben shouted. By now it was completely dark apart from the lights from the shops and car headlights. Ben and Kyle ran towards Ben's car and lept in.
"Ere Ben shouldn't we stay an' 'elp?" Kyle shouted.
"No. We need to get to the Operation Delta hub as fast as possible and consult with colleagues," Ben decisively stated.

As they sped through the streets and out into the countryside, they witnessed many scenes of knife fights as crazed people wearing Santa hats tried to stab others.
"Where the hell are they getting the knives from? Is our society so degenerated that this number of people carry them? I mean I can envisage it being like that on your council estate but not everywhere," Ben said. They arrived at the new Operation Delta Hub in Cambridge, a converted former office which Ben had bought from the council who were selling off their assets to keep the council tax down. They were met by a worried looking Paul Farraday:
"Ben you need to see what is happening now on the news." They rushed inside the hub and stared at the plasma screen tv in the reception area. All channels were now broadcasting images of violence happening in major cities and towns all over the world. In every scene the perpetrators were wearing Santa hats.
" I suspect that there is no coincidence that they are all wearing those hats. We need to find out how they invoke violence. Also what is behind this unnatural darkness", Ben stated. He took out a lunchbox from his bag:
"I think its time for a mince pie to calm my nerves. I made the mincemeat myself as I can't abide those cheaply made shop bought mince pies. They key to an effective mince pie is getting the amount of suet right. Everybody, please try one."
Ben passed the lunchbox around and Paul, Kyle, Corinne Shaw and the receptionist lady all took one.
"This is delicious Ben," Paul commented. As he spoke, Corinne handed Ben a report:
"I agree with Paul, wonderful cooking Ben. Anyway, this is a report from Keith Smith. He says that he has used Torchwood technology to identify the Santa hats as mind control devices operated by signals emanating from one single source, namely a space vehicle currently situated in Rendelsham Forest."
Ben was concerned:
"Rendelsham Forest has been the site of rumored alien activity for years. I think we need to put an action team together and go straight there. In some ways this is fortunate as it gives me the excuse I need to avoid spending the whole of my Christmas with my parents. Lets get moving."

...... to be continued.

Monday, 27 October 2014

"Whistle and I'll Slaughter You" : Part 2

OK people, here is part two of this spooky Halloween adventure for Ben:

Part 2

Concerned for Fabian, Ben dressed quickly, put the whistle in his pocket and went downstairs. He found a fortysomething man behind the bar, wiping glasses.
"Excuse me. There is a dead bird in my room. Also I'd like to know if you saw my friend leave," Ben stated.
"Ah you must be Mr Chatham. The wife said you were here. What friend wqould you be talking about? The wife said you were on your own."
Ben looked puzzled:
"But she saw my friend Fabian arrive with me. He was wearing his railway guard uniform and looked captivating in it. And what about the dead raven in my room? When I book into a public house or hotel I do not expect to be greeted by the sight of dead birds when I wake up."
The landlord's frosty wife emerged from the side door as Ben spoke:
"You were alone when you arrived here Mr Chatham. And birds get down the chimney all the time round here. You're in the countryside," she said coldly.
"What with a stick through their heart? And you saw Fabian, you know you did," Ben shouted, flicking his hair out of his eyes defiantly.
"You were alone Mr Chatham. Dora here will remove the bird from your room. Now would you like some breakfast. We have apple and cinnamon pie served with our home
brewed ale".
Ben felt a real sense of unease and reluctantly ate the breakfast before going back up to his room. He then p;icked up his rucksack, had a quick look at the road map before setting off to walk to the archaeological dig site. As he walked along the Somerset lanes he took deep breaths of the sweet autumnal air and tried to forget the mystery over Fabian. He decided that the landlord's wife must have been drinking at her own bar and that Fabian had only been after a one-night stand. "His Loss", Ben told himself.
As he walked along, Ben took out the whistle, gave it a wipe with his handkerchief and began to play it. A strange, etherial sound emenated from the whistle like the sound of a long-distant, otherworldly flute. Ben smiled.

After a while, Ben seemed to sense that someone was following behind him. He glanced around and saw a figure, dressed in black, a fair way behind. Ben stopped walkiing amnd the figure stopped as well. When Ben started walking again, so did the mysterious figure. Glancing around again, he saw the figure hold up a large knife. Ben was disconcerted and felt a strange sense of deep dread. He began to run and the figure started running too. Fortunately it was not far to the iron age dig site so Ben ran rapidly down the lane and turned a corner however he was shocked to see that the field where the dig was taking place was deserted. He saw the remains of the iron age hillfort, topped with a row of eerie old oak trees, however there were no signs that any dig was taking place there. Ben looked behind him, however the figure in black had disappeared. A strange, creeping fear enveloped Ben and he jumped over a stile and ran up the slope of the ancient hillfort, however there was no one to be seen at all. Suddenly he felt a shiver and he turned around. He was shocked to see the landlord from the pub, his wife Dora and a group of other people. They were dressed in dark robes and carried knives.
"Welcome Ben Chatham. You have come of your own free will to the appointed place. My name is Maxwell Aston. The game is over." Ben thought for a moment.
"I have heard of a Maxwell Aston. An author of occult novels of a rather lowbrow pulp fiction type. I read one and thought is was complete drivel. I presume you are he", Ben stated in a bemused tone. Aston scowled:
"Your insolence is borne of ignorance Mr Chatham. You came here hoping to search for ancient artefacts. But it is we who have found you. You uniquely are the one we needed. A child would have been ok. One of the tourists who come to this place even better. But not nearly as effective as someone who has travelled in time and space."
Ben flicked his hair out of his eyes:
"What do you mean? How do you know about my travels with the Doctor?"
Aston pointed to to a figure who had appeared in the distance. It was the figure who had followed Ben earlier:
"You have summoned the great one by playing the sacred whistle. He comes for you: All Hail Asfaroth, Lord of darkness, great god of the underworld!"
The figure stepped forward and removed its hood. The creature had the features of a goat combined with those of a crocodile, with an elongated face and huge teeth. Ben winced at the sight:
"I feel that you are a group of crazed and deluded fools of limited cognitive abilities. That is clearly some kind of alien and is certainly no god. Think what you are doing. Think!"

Two of the men grabbed Ben and a golden knife was held to his chest:
"You will be sacrificed to Asfaroth. He will feed on your soul and renew our crops," Aston shouted. He ripped open Ben's white shirt to reveal his perfectly smooth and muscular chest. However before he could plunge the knife into Ben, the sound of gunfire erupted all around. UNIT troops surrounded the crazed occultists and Aston was shot dead. Asfaroth opened his mouth and breathed a strange, red gas at some UNIT troops who collapsed choking to death. However from behind their ranks, dressed in a black, leather skin-tight uniform and combat boots, stepped Katie Ryan. She shot at the creature with a strange alien looking gun and it froze, encased in an ice sheet covering. She strode forward:
"We clearly arrived just in time. After you left, we were contacted by UNIT, warning us that they had been investigating alien sightings and a UFO in this area. Clearly this creature here has landed some time ago, possibly its ship ran out of fuel or something" Katie said with a feisty toss of her hair.

Later, Ben and Katie were enjoying a drink in the pub and discussing the case. One of the locals, Sam, was acting as temporary new landlord and dishing out free drinks to everyone.
"So there was nothing supernatural going on here at all Ben, just some alien who fed on the life essence of other creatures conning a bunch of dimwit yokels into providing him with sacrificial victims ie food" Katie said, sipping her martini. Ben looked up sadly:
"But what about Fabian? Did they kidnap him first? Or kill him?" Sam, listening behind the bar, overheard:
"Ere did you mention someone called Fabian? We had a Fabian lived 'ere in the village. Young chap he were, nice looking fella with dark hair. He worked for the railway company serving drinks and refreshments on the trains. Bit of a fantasist he was, always dreaming of owning a sports car. Bit of a lonely young chap though. He kept getting depressed and ended up throwing himself off the bridge into the path of the train to Winchester. Aye it were a sad business."
Ben suddenly felt very cold. He gulped down his glass of absinthe and stared at the halloween pumpkin, flickering on the bar.


"Whistle and I'll Slaughter You": The 2014 Ben Chatham Halloween Special Part 1


The last days of October, when the darkness of night drapes the sky like a shroud and the crisp air grows sweet with the aroma of fallen leaves. Magic and mystery abound, the shadow realm beckons and the veil that separates the world of the living from the world of the dead grows thin. The great wheel of the year has completed its cycle and the time of endings and beginnings has arrived. This is Halloween.

The train rolled swiftly through the countryside of southern England as Ben Chatham sat gazing languidly out of the window of the first class compartment. The Autumn leaves glowed yellow and orange in the sunshine and Ben reached up and opened the window slightly, allowing some of the fresh, cold autumnal air to flow in. He couldn't face the hassle of driving and was pleased he had taken the train instead. He felt relieved to be getting away from Cambridge for a while and from the continuing stress and pressure of running an organisation such as Operation Delta. Katie Ryan had offered to accompany him on this trip to Somerset however she had changed her mind due to being asked to spend the weekend canvassing in Cambridge for UKIP. Ben didn't mind, he was pleased to get away from her and to get away from everyone. He sank back into his seat and thought of his upcoming divorce from Emma and the stress of dealing with the financial implications and also with his parents. He felt trapped in a  dull, routine-filled life in which lurching from one crisis to another provided the only variation from the drudgery of work and loneliness. A sudden burst of frustration caused him to slam his hand down on the table hard, causing his coffee cup to spill over. An elderly lady in the seat opposite frowned annoyingly at Ben, who secretly wished that she would suffer a heart attack and die. As he tried to mop up the coffee with a tissue, the train guard approached:
"Its ok sir, I've got a cloth here. I saw your accident. I'll replace the coffee with a fresh cup."
The guard was young, around twenty, with dark hair and Greek looks. Ben had enjoyed looking at him earlier as he had brought the first coffee and had watched his smooth buttocks as he had flounced down the carriage with the tea tray.
"Thanks for helping me. What is your name?" Ben asked.
"Fabian", the young guard replied, blushing.
"Why don't you take a break, Fabian and join me for a coffee."
Ben felt a pang of excitement as Fabian brought the coffees and joined him.
They sat talking and Ben soon discovered that Fabian lived in the same village as Ben was heading to, Lower Binningfield.
"I've been invited to see the iron age burial site excavation site and give a lecture to the archaeologist team on hill forts and the religion and rituals opf their inhabitants", Ben explained.
"Hey my car is at the station, I could give you a lift to the village if you like. Where are you staying?" Fabian asked.
"At the Green Man Inn", Ben replied, smiling as Fabian stroked his hair.

Arriving at the station, Ben and Fabian got into Fabian's open top sports car and drove through the fading evening light towards the village. Ben let the cold air blow through his golden hair:
"You know, I wish I could just walk away from my life and stay here. Never go back. Say goodbye to all the boring life and dreary familiar people that are holding my back, like my father and insufferable wife."
"You are married?" Fabian asked. Ben smiled:
"Don't worry. It was a marriage of inconvenience that will soon be over." They laughed.
They arrived at the Green Man and Fabian carried Ben's suitcase in for him . The bar was deserted, apart from a stern looking landlady with a beehive hairdo.
"I'm Ben Chatham. I'm booked in for three nights here." The landlady scowled and threw a key across the bar:
"Upstairs, second room on the right", she stated tersely.
"Could you bring us up a bottle of your finest red wine please and two glasses," Ben asked her.
"No drink in the rooms. Drink here in the bar or go elsewhere", the landlady replied.
Ben was bemused however he and Fabian went upstairs to the room:
"What an icy female. No wonder the bar was empty," Ben exclaimed as they entered the room and Ben threw himself on the bed.

Ben spent the night with Fabian and fell into a deep sleep. When he awoke he could see the light shining through the curtains and reached over to the side table for his watch. As he did so his hand felt something else and he lept up in horrified shock. It was a dead raven with a sprig of woodbine through its heart. Ben turned around to wake Fabian, however the latter was gone. On Fabian's pillow was an old wooden whistle, covered in dried mud. Ben picked the object up and examined it. It was very old and had Celtic inscriptions down the side which were partly worn away......

to be continued.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

"A Rose For Miss Farnley" Act 1 Scene 2

[B]Scene 2[/B]

[I]The Waterman Wine Bar. Amelia is out with Cresselda Markham and her husband Alex. She is upset.[/I]

[B]Amelia:[/B]*Head in hands* My life is in a complete rut Cress. I don't think I can take another week in that bank, all those ghastly plebians shouting at me through the glass because they've run themselves into debt and the dreary people I have to work with. Its too much. I want more out of life.

[B]Cresselda:[/B]Hey that's like so so sad Am. You should marry a rich man like my Alex *squeezes Alex's hand*.

[B]Amelia:[/B]Yeah right. But where are they Cress? Where are all the decent guys? You know earlier tonight I had that nerd Joe from the bank come round trying to take me out.

[B]Cresselda:[/B]Euuggh poor you. What kind of self-respecting girl would go out with [I]that[/I]. I'm glad I found Alex *strokes Alex's face*. He's excellent in bed and more importantly rich. He's brilliant at football and coaches the junior team.

[B]Amelia:[/B]I bet you know how to make a woman feel special don't you Alex.


[B]Amelia:[/B] Has he bought you anything recently Cress?

[B]Cresselda:[/B]*stroking Alex's knee* Yes, here look *shows Amelia her new gold watch*.

[B]Amelia:[/B]Thats utterly beautiful. I feel bereft. I'm lost in a world of mundanity where I'm taken for granted and tossed about by life. I may die. Or have a valium.

[I]Miles Ashfordly enters and goes up to the bar. He is a young man of around 21 and dressed in expensive casual clothes.[/I]

[B]Cresselda:[/B]*Nudges Amelia who spills some her drink* .Now what about that? He's like gorgeous. I wouldn't mind him giving me a night of passion. Get in there Am. Ask him how much money he has.

[B]Amelia:[/B]I don't dare approach him. I feel like a kitten in these situations.

[B]Cresselda:[/B]OK, watch the expert Am, watch the expert.

[I]Cresselda put down her drink, gets up and goes to the bar. In the distance she immediately strikes up a conversation with Miles and fondles his hair.[/I]

[B]Amelia:[/B]She's certainly got the gift of confidence hasn't she Alex?


[I]Cresselda leads Miles back to their table.[/I]

[B]Cresselda:[/B]Miles I'd like you to meet my husband Alex and my best friend Amelia. Alex runs a highly successful computer software business and Amelia is stuck in a dead end job at the bank.

[B]Miles:[/B]Hi everyone.

[B]Amelia:[/B]Hi Miles.


[B]Cresselda:[/B]Miles has been telling me all about his family's investments and how he is independently wealthy. *To Miles* Here go and sit next to Amelia. She's desperate for a guy. I know she's not as attractive as myself but she's still a bit of a looker and she'd do anything you want given how desperate she is.

[B]Miles:[/B]Hi Amelia. You ok babe or can I get you another drink?

[B]Amelia: [/B] Hi Miles. I'll have a vodka and soda, with ice.

[I]Miles goes to the bar to fetch the drink. He plucks an ornamental  pink rose out of a flower display near the bar[/I]

[B]Cresselda:[/B]He has a lovely bottom Am. Wouldn't mind getting my hands on that. But Alex might get jealous.


[I]Miles returns with the drink and the rose[/I]

[B]Miles:[/B]Hey babe, I got this for you.

[B]Amelia:[/B]Oh Miles that's so sweet of you. Ravish me later.

[B]Miles:[/B]Cool babe, I'd love to.

[B]Amelia:[/B]Can I just ask about your income. What would you say your monthy income is once you take the overheads out.

[B]Miles:[/B]You mean net babe?


[B]Miles:[/B]Oh I'd say around £10,000.

[B]Cresselda:[/B]£10,000? That's more than Alex brings in. You must be lying.

[B]Miles:[/B]*laughs* Hey babe its no lie. My parents made a fortune investing in Eastern Europe after the wall came down. None of us have to work.

[I]Cresselda gets up and sits herself down in between Amelia and Miles. She strokes Miles' leg.[/I]

[B]Cresselda:[/B]Hey Miles, how about we go to a club together after we've finished these drinks.

[B]Miles:[/B]But Amelia...

[B]Cresselda:[/B]Oh you don't want to worry about Am. She likes sitting here and thinking about what a dreary failure her life is as it reinforces her sense of identity.

[B]Amelia:[/B]*Distressed* But he's my date Cress.

[B]Cresselda:[/B]Don't be so possessive Am. It simply reinforces in people's minds that you are desperate and does your image no credit.

[B]Amelia:[/B]What about Alex?

[B]Cresselda:[/B]He can go home and watch the football. If I play my cards right tonight they'll be a divorce then you can have him.


Monday, 28 July 2014

"A Rose For Miss Farnley": A Play For the Theatre

OK, here is a play for the theatre.

[B][U]The Main Characters:[/U][/B]

Miss Amelia Farnley: A 21 year old unmarried bank assistant who dreams of a better life.

Cresselda Markham : Amelia's wealthy schoolfriend.

Alex Markham: Cresselda's husband, a successful businessman.

Don Farnley: Amelia's father, a retired brewer.

Sarah Farnley: Amelia's mother, an alcoholic stamp collector with violent tendencies.

Rupert Farnley: Amelia's 19 year old brother.

Joe Hanning: A young bank clerk who is in love with Amelia.

Rob 'the Knob' Torregan: A young roofer who is also in love with Amelia.

Hubert Slurriman: A farmer in his sixties who is also in love with Amelia.

Miles Ashfordly : A wealthy young socialite in love with Amelia.


[B]Scene One: The Farnley House[/B]

[I]The interior of an average middle class house in suburbia. The decor is modern and well furnished, although with a strong impression of IKEA vulgarity. Don Farnley is reading the Times newspaper while his wife is watching an antiques programme on daytime TV. [/I]

[B]Don Farnley:[/B] Can't you turn that damn thing off. You're not watching it.

[B]Sarah Farnley:[/B]*shaking her head and wiping a tear* Is it any wonder I have to take solace in the television. Married to an insufferable bore like yourself all these years.

[B]Don Farnley:[/B] Oh change the bloody record. Amelia will be home in a bit. At least she inherited my discipline and get up and go.

[B]Sarah Farnley:[/B]*pouring a vodka* Those are Sansom traits not Farnley traits. She gets those from my family. If she had a surfeit of your genes she'd be walking the streets.

[B]Don Farnley:[/B]What are you on about?

[B]Sarah Farnley:[/B]Sex mad your family. All of them sex mad. Like your mother and all those sailors *knocks back vodka*.

[B]Don Farnley:[/B]How dare you. My mother worked hard all her life.

[B]Sarah Farnley:[/B]Yes, on her back. How your father put up with it I've no idea. They say he always had an itchy groin as well.

[B]Don Farnley:[/B]What a crude and disgusting woman you are. I worked hard creating a successful business for you. I gave you a nice home.

[B]Sarah Farnley:[/B]Yes paid for with my money. You had no idea how to run a business. Daddy had to bail you out time and time again.

[B]Don Farnley:[/B]Yeah whatever.

[I]The front door opens and shuts and in walks Amelia. She is in tears and flings herself onto the sofa.[/I]

[B]Amelia:[/B] I can't stand that wretched bank any longer. I just can't. I've been shouted at all day and one woman called me a pasty faced little whore because her card had been swallowed by the cash machine. Its all too much. I may die. Bye.

[I]Don rushes to his daughter and embraces her[/I]

[B]Don Farnley:[/B]There there my princess. Its ok. Daddy's here.

[B]Sarah Farnley:[/B]*Knocking back another vodka* Oh pass me the sick bucket. Put her down for Christ's sake. Amelia, pull yourself together, you're overdoing it dear.

[B]Amelia:[/B]*Suddenly sitting up*. Do you think so mummy. OK, deep breath, fine now. Whats for tea.

[B]Don Farnley:[/B]Your mother's foul shepherd's pie that tastes like she's used the dog's faeces in it.

[I]The dog, Dionysus, wags his tail and gives a little bark[/I]


[B]Don Farnley: [/B]Shut up.

[B]Sarah Farnley:[/B]That's right, take it out on a harmless creature. Pig.

[B]Amelia:[/B]Oh daddy, I'm sure mummy hasn't put Dionysus' poo poo in the shepherd's pie. It would make it go gooey.

[I]The doorbell rings. Sarah gets up, knocking over a glass of vodka, belches and goes to the door (off set) She opens it and lets someone in then returns.[/I]

[B]Sarah Farnley:[/B]Amelia, there is a young man to see you. Weedy looking specimen.

[I]Joe Hanning walks in. He is a bespectacled youth with a nervous twitch.[/I]

[B]Joe:[/B]Hi Amelia. I followed you home from the bank as I've become rather obsessed with you. I wondered if you would like to go out with me later to a wine bar or to the chamber music recital at the arts centre. Afterwards I could make love to you. I've brought you a rose.

[I]Joe hands Amelia a red rose.[/I]

[B]Amelia:[/B]Oh Joe. I'm touched, really touched. However I can't get past the fact that you look like a creepy nerd and have no personality.

[B]Joe:[/B]But we get on ok don't we? As colleagues at the bank? I really like you Amelia.

[B]Sarah Farnley:[/B]Take a hint boy and piss off. You aren't rich enough for Amelia. She has ambitions.

[B]Amelia:[/B]I have ambitions. I want to lie on the back of a luxury yacht with the sun on my face and millions in the bank...

[B]Joe:[/B]But I'm just a bank clerk.

[B]Don Farnley:[/B]Exactly lad. I'd give up if I were you.

[B]Joe:[/B]OK. Back out into the wilderness I go. But I will win you Amelia.Someday, somewhere there is a place for us.

[I]Joe exits. Don gets up and strokes his forehead.[/I]

[B]Don Farnley:[/B]Are you quite sure that he doesn't have money in  his family? I mean he may have an inheritance due one day from his parents.

[B]Amelia:[/B]He doesn't. They bank at our branch and I took a look at their balance when I first saw him looking at me goggle-eyed. They're mortgaged to the hilt and have a couple of grand savings that's all. I have dreams. I want more.

[B]Don Farnley:[/B]Fair enough. Lets have that foul shepherd's pie before the cack goes cold.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

LEAKED: Ben Chatham spoilers!

1) At the end of 'The Crystal Skulls of Halsinar', Ben gets divorced.

2) Ben will enter a rural retreat for counselling.

3) Katie Ryan is to become a UKIP election candidate.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Crystal Skulls of Halsinar : Part 4

Part 4 : Deeper into Terror

Ben Chatham parked his vintage car outside Cambridge police station and he and Katie Ryan strode up the steps towards the entrance doors.
"I've no idea what they want. As if I'm not busy enough," Ben complained, flicking his blonde hair out of his dark, dreamy eyes. Katie frowned:
"Well it must be important or they wouldn't have been so hush hush on the phone", she replied.
As they entered the station, a drunken black man was being manhandled out of the reception area and towards the cells:
"I ain't done nuffinck, leggo a me ya bastards", the man shouted. A policeman punched him in the stomach:
"Stop whining, or you'll get more of that in the cells", the policeman shouted. Ben walked up to the desk:
"I'm not impressed with your interview technique here. It feels like one has crossed a time loop interface and gone back to the 1970s," Ben observed. The officer behing the desk slammed his pen down hard:
"You'll get nowhere being arty tarty in here son. What do you want?" he said tersely.
"I'm Ben Chatham of Operation Delta. I have an appointment with Chief Superintendent Ashton."

Shortly afterwards, Ben sat in Superintendent Ashton's office as Ashton poured them all a glass of Laphroaig single malt.
"I apologise for my shortness on the phone Mr Chatham, however when you hear the details of the case I'm sure you'll understand the motive behind my discretion. Here, get this whisky down you, water the brain cells *knocks back his glass in one*. The simple truth is that our MP Sir Basil Colley has been kidnapped. A fine man and a personal friend, both on the golf course and down at the lodge *winks*. Furthermore the body of an academic Dr Jeremy Lenton was found in his office, burned to death. The reason I called you is because the witness to the events, Sir Basil's secretary Miriam Keeler, suggested that the killer used a bolt of energy from his hand to kill. Clearly the floozy could be exaggerating or mistaken however this maybe a case that relates to your organisation's remit."
Ben flicked his hair out of his eyes:
"Oh yes, I'm sure that it is. I met Dr Lenton only this morning. I believe that this is connected to some stolen alien crystal skulls and a supernatural goblet. I fear the complex, myriad strands of an alien plot and therefore will have a Fox's Glacier Mint to calm my nerves, " Ben stated, taking a packet of mints from his pocket and unwrapping one. Its cool flavours soothed his spirit and a pulsating web of crystalline colours enveloped his mind. Superintendent Ashton poured Ben another single malt:
"Wash it down with this Mr Chatham, you'll soon be fine. The killer and kidnapper was a scruffy youth according to the floozy. He left a note which demands an audience with the PM or Colley dies. Needless to say I've contacted the undertaker *chuckles*"

Joe Hannigan stumbled along the pathway near the river cam, his mind racing with the energy of power. He had killed Colley and buried him in some woods that he had driven to using a stolen car. In the distant recesses if his usurped mind he knew that this was not what he wanted to do however the power of the crystal skulls was too strong. He must bow to their will, and part of him needed to do this as the skulls offered him his chance of revenge on the world which had all his life treated him as an outsider. As he neared Grantchester he heard music and dimly remembered that this was the week of the Grantchester V76 Festival, a music festival popular with Cambridge University students celebrating finishing their exams. Joe felt the sharp white barbs of wild hatred as he thought of the students and their well ordered lives.
He crossed several fields and approached the festival perimeter fence. It was too high to climb, however Joe raised his hand and a bolt of green energy shot into the solid metal fence and melted a huge hole in it, which Joe climbed through. Walking through the crowd, Joe overheard a group of students talking:
"I'm like so looking forward to the Killers. They're like so awesome", a posh-voiced girl said.
"Oh but they're rather passe, don't you think Arabella? One just adores neo-punk" her boyfriend replied.
Joe was filled with fury. What did these priviledged people know about real music or punk? He asked himself. To him they were imposters, playing at being radical. Angered, he raised his hand:
"Hey you two, fancy dying today?" he shouted. The two students looked puzzled:
"Are you talking to us?" the boy asked.
"No, I'm killing you" Joe replied with a grin as he raised his hand and a bolt of green energy shot into the students and their hair burst out in flames, crackling and spitting. Passers by screamed as Joe raised his other hand and bolts of energy shot out in all directions, reducing people to smouldering heaps. He shot a bolt at the stage as a band called The Future were playing their set. The stage exploded and Joe grinned:
"The future are in the past" he muttered to himself  Yet inside, another Joe, the real Joe, knew that what he was doing was wrong, that his hatred and frustration was being grossly amplified by some outside power. But this power was too strong.  As the crowd stampeded for the exits, trampling each other in the frenzy, Joe slipped away and out of the hole in the fence. As he did so he felt a hazy light all around him and collapsed onto the ground, a wall of smoke in front of him. Out of the wall of smoke stepped a figure dressed in armour. The figure walked towards him:
"You must not waste your energy on such trifles as this. There is more serious work to do," the figure said.......

.............. to be continued.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

"The Crystal Skulls of Halsinar" Part 3

OK folks, here is part three of this dark adventure for Ben:

"The Crystal Skulls of Halsinar"

Part 3 : Labyrinths of Pain

Kyle lept back in horror, although Ben's features quickly returned and the goat-like image faced. Kyle luncged forward and knocked the goblet out of Ben's hands. It flew across the room and smashed in to the wall, wine splattering the wallpaper. Ben held his head in his hands:
"I feel... kind of faint...what's happening..."
He looked up and saw the wine splattered wall:
"Hey, what the hell has happened to my wall? That wallpaper cost £30 a roll and the exclusive decorating company charged £550 per wall to decorate this apartment. Not that I make a habit of the vulgar practice of considering the financial cost of things, however what the hell have you done Kyle?"
Kyle grinned:
"Whew, that's more like the Ben I know. You was under the influence of that goblet thing Ben. You wern't yourself."
"Nonsense Kyle. I mean, I don't remember clearly..."
"Well you was. And summat else, your face started to change into summat none human..."
As Kyle spoke the door buzzer rang. Kyle jumped up and answered it as Katie Ryan flounced in:
"What's all this about you getting divorced Ben? I can't say I'm surprised, in fact I'm stunned it lasted so long," Katie exclaimed.
Ben sighed, his golden hair falling down over his eyes:
"News travels fast. How the hell did you find out?" He asked.
"Oh I was out delivering UKIP leaflets near Trinity College and your wife virtually ran straight into me. Then she started shouting about you and crying. Frankly I told her to pull herself together and she barged off in the direction of Fulton & Howe's office, you know the solicitors. I hope you've got a good lawyer yourself."
Ben lay back on the sofa and stared at the ceiling:
"I really don't need this. No doubt my father won't lend me the finance to hire the very best legal advice. I'll have to use the Operation Delta reserve funds."

Meanwhile Dr Jeremy Lenton walked up the steps to the constituency office of Sir Basil Colley, the Conservative MP for Cambridge. He rang the doorbell and was shown inside by Miriam Keeler, Colley's secretary, a young woman of about 23 with long blonde hair.
"Its Dr Lenton come for his appointment Sir Basil" Miriam said, showing Lenton into Colley's office.
"Ah Dr Lenton. Sit down man, sit down. Not sure what it is you want but its always good to see an Oxford man round here. One gets rather isolated stuck here on enemy turf so to speak."
Lenton smiled:
"Oh I hope that you'll soon be feeling less of a fish out of water. What I want you to do is to get me in to one of the Prime Minister's little dinner parties. You know the ones with senior business leaders and so forth. Make sure its one with the Deputy PM and the Chancellor present as well."
Sir Basil frowned:
"I don't understand. Are you having a little joke with me Dr Lenton?"
"Oh I assure you I'm not joking", Lenton replied with a grin.
"Then there's nothing I can do for you. I can't just wave a hand and get you into the Prime Minister's exclusive meetings. Why on earth would he want a ruddy Anthropologist there? Its not as if you do anything important."

As Lenton and Colley talked, Joe Hannigan stumbled through the streets of Cambridge, his consciousness battling through the dense fog of confusion that surrounded his mind like a vice. He heard the voice of the armoured King, whispering directions to him. Joe arrived at Colley's constituency office and, seeing the sign, a sense of his old hatred and resentment surfaced. Joe hated politicians almost as much as he despised the police and academics. To him they represented the jackboot of the corrupt and selfish middle-aged continually stamping down on the hopes and dreams of the young. To Joe the likes of Sir Basil Colley had been handed their easy path in life by their social background and lacked the imagination to even conceive of the life that Joe had led. They could never walk in his shoes, not even in their dreams... or nightmares. Joe remembered how one of his mother's boyfriends had used to punch him across the room and then lock him in the shed all night with only the wooden floor to sleep on. These thoughts ebbed and flowed through the confused labyrinths of his mind as he rang the door bell. Miriam Keeler answered the door:
"I need to see Colley" Joe stammered out.
"Er, you don't have an appointment and Sir Basil is with someone right now. I suggest you ring in and formally book a time."
Joe shoved her violently out of the way and barged in.
"Hey, come back, you can't just barge in here....." Miriam shouted. He started to ring 999 on her phone, however Joe grabbed it and stamped on it. He bounded up the stairway and flung himself into Colley's office.
"What the devil...." Colley exclaimed. Lenton looked at Joe bemused.
"I suggest that you leave now young man. I am talking to Sir Basil about some very important business. You would not want to cross me." Joe heard the voice inside his head whispering to him. He placed his bag on Colley's desk and took out one of the crystal skulls. It glowed with a strange, green light. Lenton stood up sharply:
"So you are the other thief. I suggest that you hand over the other skulls immediately. You have no idea what you have got yourself involved with boy" he shouted at Joe. Colley gave him a puzzled look:
"Just what on earth is going on here Lenton?" He asked. Joe stared at Lenton:
"I know what you are involved with old man. He spoke to you but now he speaks to me. The King is speaking to me now. I am the King's servant now. He needs no other!"
Joe lifted up his hand and a bolt of green light shot out from it and into Dr Lenton's torso. His face writhed with agony as his hair and skin caught fire, the flames hissing and spitting. Lenton's eyeballs frizzled and melted as he collapsed onto the floor in a smoking heap. be continued.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

"The Crystal Skulls of Halsinar" Part 2

Part 2 : The Goblet

Ben overheard Dr Lenton's offer to make him a wealthy man and he strode towards the door:
"Its alright Kyle, I'll take over from now on. Please come in Dr Lenton and sit down. I do apologise for my initial nonchalance, it has been a very tough day. Can I offer you a coffee, exclusive Columbian blue ridge?"
Ben let his hair flop down over his eyes and then gently flicked it back, coquettishly. Dr Lenton smiled:
"That would be very nice Mr Chatham, truely."
"Kyle, go and prepare the coffee for our guest. Go on, chop chop" Ben firmly stated. Kyle shot him an angry look before going to the kitchen.
"Now what is it I can do for you Dr Lenton?" Ben asked, giving the academic his best seductive glance. Lenton noticed that the newspaper on the sofa was open at the section devoted to the death of Steve Fletcher:
"I see that you have been reading about the death of that burglar in the grounds of Balliol College. The matter I wish to raise with you pertains to this incident. You see I was the victim of this young man's last 'job', as I think the criminal fraternity refer to their exploits. My house was broken into and three valuable items were stolen, crystalline skulls. They have yet to be recovered as it seems that this Steve boy had an accomplice."
"Isn't this a matter for the police? Let us discuss your comment about making me a very rich man" Ben replied.
"Mr Chatham, the two matters are interconnected. I have it on good authority that you and your associates have experience in investigating matters of an esoteric or paranormal nature. There are issues here which I do not want to discuss with the regular police. The crystal skulls to which I refered have certain properties. They are extremely valuable. Unique. I want you to recover them for me."
As he spoke, Kyle returned with the coffee on a tray:
"Ere, are you sayin' these skulls are alien in origin or summat? What's your game mate?" he interjected. Dr Lenton was bemused:
"I made no such claim young man. The Department of Archaeology and Anthropology have no explanation for the properties of these objects. However they are of great importance to our institution and we are prepared to reward Mr Chatham and his organisation very generously for their recovery."
Lenton pulled a cheque from out of his top pocket and held it before Ben. It was a cheque for £1million made out to Ben.
"All this needs is a date and my signature". Lenton put the cheque back into his pocket.
"But for now I'll just leave you with a little something as a token of Oxford's appreciation of you." As Lenton spoke he lifted up a bag and pulled out a silver goblet which he placed on the coffee table:
"This is Edward Longshanks' goblet. Unique. When the tomb of King Edward 1st was opened in 1774, this was found within the coffin. It is inscribed on the bottom with the design of his personal seal. It is yours to keep."

Joe Hannigan sat in the corner of his damp, cold bedsit room, his head resting on his knees. His nerves were shot and he shook uncontrollably. He stared with horror at the bag he had thrown down as he rushed into the room the previous night. He had drifted in and out of either sleep or unconsciousness, he did not know which. He kept seeing flashbacks of Steve burning up inside and felt the horror over and over again. Unable to stand he had unrinated himself where he sat and the dampcarpet around him exuded a pungent odour. As the darkness fell again, the room was bathed in the shimmering light of a full moon, which shone through the window. Joe drifted in an out of dark dreams, where he faces from his past, of people he hated, his father, teachers and girls that had rejected him. He sensed a presence in the room with him. Waking quickly he turned his head sharply to the right and saw a figure emerging out of the far wall. The figure was dressed in the mail coat and metal helmet of a medieval knight and carried a long sword. The figure approached the shaking Joe and reached out its hand to him. It spoke no words and yet Joe sensed that he was being offered power and renewal of some kind. He felt as if the anger inside of him was returning and that the powerlessness that had fueled this anger all of his life was about to be replaced with a chance for recompence. The figure before him seemed to be offering him a bargain, a pact of some kind. He had nothing to give and nothing to lose. Through the dark emptiness of utter hopelessness Joe reached out his hand and touched the figure......

Ben lay sprawled across his leather sofa eating a tub of dark olives and smiling to himself. Kyle was annoyed:
"Look Ben you can't trust that creepy geezer no way. Why does he need us to like find his skull things, why not the old bill? What if they are alien in origin?"
Ben lay his head back on the cushion and laughed:
"Oh come on Kyle, your indignation is so plebian. I very much doubt that a senior academic of Dr Lenton's pedigree is involved with alien plots. I have had experience in the past of crystal skulls of alien origin but these sound quite different. For one thing they were found in England, which is unique as most cystalline skulls originate from the Americas or the far east. Think of it Kyle, £1 million of Oxford University's money coming to a Cambridge graduate." Ben laughed and sipped his red wine from Edward 1st's:
"You know what Kyle, I feel so good that I'm going to phone Emma right now and tell her that she can serve me her wretched divorce papers. The tide has turned at last."
"Ben you ain't thinkin' straight. Are you sure you should be drinkin' from that rancid thing? Look I know we ain't talked much lately but I want you to know that I really respect you ok. What you've done for me , well I can't say how much it means, I've learned so much like from bein' here an' part of all this. I want you to know that Ben because for your own good like I'm gonna tell ya that you're behavin' like an arsehole. Not just with this skulls malarky but all the Emma shit as well Ben. How you've treated 'er is rank."
Ben looked up and smiled:
"Oh don't lets spoil the moment. I'm happy Kyle and I know that you could be to. Why be uptight and irritable?"
"I don't get you Ben. Why ain't you angry an' makin' condescendin' remarks at me? Didn't you hear right, I called you an arsehole."
Ben smiled:
"Its ok Kyle, I don't mind. Have some wine"
Ben held the goblet towards Kyle. As he dis so his features seemed to fade and change into those of a goat-like creature.......

............... to be continued.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

"The Crystal Skulls of Halsinar" Part 1

The Crystal Skulls of Halsinar

Part 1 : Death of a Thief

The cold breeze blew drizzle into the eyes of Joe Hannigan as he climbed onto the top of the garden fence and dropped down the other side. He was shortly followed by his friend and accomplice Steve Fletcher, a dark-haired and rather overweight youth of nineteen.
"This is daft Joe. I mean like how do we know there's anything worth 'avin' in there?" Steve moaned.
"Shut it whingin'. All you ever like do is bloody whinge an' whine. We're doin' this job because I'm sick of playin' it small ok? This could mean some serious dosh as well as gettin' one over the gownies of this shit hole town" Joe whispered back angrily.
"You an' that chip on your shoulder" Steve moaned.
"Fuck off, I ain't got no chip just a  whinging great slob next to me" Joe spat back.
However Joe Hannigan did have a massive chip on his shoulder and he knew it. A tall, slim youth with cropped blond hair, he burned with the strange, unfocused hatred of doomed youth. His father, whom he had met only once, was gas boiler fitter who had walked out before Joe was even born. His mother worked for a food packing company. Joe had a quick, agile mind yet his short temper had prevented him from aquiring the skills and discipline necessary to use this intelligence to get on. He had been expelled from one school for fighting, having glassed a boy in the corridor, and later from college for punching a Maths teacher. Joe hated the academics and university students of Oxford, where he lived. He despised their privileged backgrounds, assured confidence and aura of success. To Joe these people had never had to struggle or to cope with and real problems or issues in their lives. Joe was a loner, prefering the certainty of his own company to the compromises necessary to form friendships with the coseted and the shallow. The one exception to this was Steve. Bullied at school for being overweight, lacking in social skills, Steve was his comrade in outsiderdom. Steve was a highly skilled petty thief and Joe admired this greatly, despite Steve's lack of ambition and imagination.

Slowly they crept towards the house. One of thee downstairs lights was on, although the curtains were drawn.
"What if they ain't out after all?" Steve asked.
"Look, you said yourself that they'd probably leave lights on to make it look like someone's in. They do it in these posh houses right? I know what I overheard like. Waiting on the posh cunt and his snotty wife while all the time listening to them planning their weekend break in Rome. Dr Jeremy Lenton of Corpus Christie College Archaeology department. Married to the actress Brighette Jones. Didn't take much research on the net to find out where they live. No kids, no live in housekeepers from what I've like overheard. Dream job. She must have masses of jewellry and shit" Joe replied. It took Steve very little time to prize open the back door with a crowbar and his skill ensured that this made only a little noise. They searched around downstairs:
"Told you they were out" Joe said grinning. He picked up a bronze statuette off a side table and threw it at a large picture of Dr Lenton and his wife, smashing the glass.
"Hey what you do that for?" Steve exclaimed.
"Oh stop whinin'. Search upstairs!" Joe instructed.
Steve went upstairs and searched the main bedroom. He found a safe within one of the cupboards and fixed a small explosive device to it from his toolbag. He soon had the safe open and Brighette Jones' valuables in his bag, Meanwhile Joe had found Lenton's office and was searching around. He found a locked wooden cabinet in the corner:
"Hey, Steve, get here will ya!" he shouted. Steve arrived quickly:
"Get that cabinet thing open."
Steve prized the door open and they saw inside, arranged in a neat row, three crystal-glass skulls.
"Hey its only a load of crap Joe, we've got the jewellry, lets leg it", Steve said.
"Get them in the bag, I've read about these sorts of things. Something to do with lost civilisations in South America, Probably worth loads" Joe replied.
Steve reluctantly loaded the skulls into the bag and they left the house. They ran down the leafy close and took a shortcut through the park,  arriving out onto the grounds of Balliol College, Joe throwing his arms around and laughing:
"Yeah that stuff will fetch a lot of dough. We'll pass it on to Flannigan sell through his Amsterdam connections" he shouted. Suddenly Steve dropped the bag and started to stagger.
"Hey Joe... I feel... faint....."
He fell to the ground and started vomiting. Blood oozed from his ears and nostrils. As Joe tried to help him, Steve's head seemed to glow and change into a crystalline skull with eyes that glowed red. Joe was filled with a strange, visceral horror and he grabbed the bag and ran.......

In the Mermaid Wine Bar in Cambridge, Ben Chatham swirled the wine around in the glass before downing it . He stared at the empty glass, tears forming in his dark eyes.
"I can't believe that you would do this to me" he said with a mixture of anger and despair. Emma Chatham glared back at him furiously:
"Ben do you seriously think that what we have is a marriage? Really?"
 Ben looked up at her and took hold of  her hand:
"I've given you a home haven't I? I come and see you whenever I can. You knew when we started this that my work would mean we'd be apart for a fair amount of time".
Emma was furious:
"Your work isn't the damn problem Ben and you know it, its just the excuse. You're the problem. I don't have a husband, I have an absentee landlord. You sleep with men behind my back, and don't you dare try and deny it again, and refuse even to reply to my calls and texts. Look Ben, I know we kind of used each other in this, I know that. But I want out. I thought I could handle it but I can't. I guess I love you too much."
Ben poured another glass of wine:
"Ok Emma, what if I agreed to go on holiday with you and showed you some attention. The South of France maybe."
"I don't want a damn holiday, I want a husband!"
As they argued, Barry Tuck, the waiter, had arrived with their bill. He leaned over to Emma:
"Not gettin' much attention in the bedroom love? How about I help you out there. I bet you're a right little wriggler" he whispered.
"How dare you say that. Go away you disgusting, crude man" Emma shouted. Barry Tuck held up his hands in a gesture of protest:
"Hold on love. Bit of an over-reaction there. Lovely jugs though. Anyway there's you're fucking bill" he said before walking off. Emma became emotional:
"So are you just going to sit there Ben? Why arn't you going and demanding to see the manager of this place to complain about that creature? You heard him insult your wife and you just sit there."
"*sighing* Its only Tuck. He's like that with all the women. Everyone complains but his managers won't sack him. Don't let him get to you."
"Its not him thats getting to me its you Ben. You just don't care do you? Huh? Its all Ben, Ben, Ben, me , me , me."
Ben sighed:
"Emma you are throwing your toys out of the pram. Overly hostile behaviour on your part is both unfair and unworthy of you. Earlier you suggested that we should divorce. Therefore if anyone has a right to be upset here it is me."
Ben flicked his hair out of his eyes and wiped back tears. He picked up one of the wine bar newpapers from the side table and started to flick through it. Emma was furious:
"I can't believe that you'd sit there reading the newspaper at a time like this" she shouted. Ben ignored her. His eyes focused on a story several pages in:


A burglar has been found dead in an Oxford college grounds with all the signs of being electrocuted. Police have revealed that Steve Fletcher,19,  who had recently been released from a young offenders' institution had injuries consistent with exposure to a very high voltage however there were no signs of the likely source of this and no overhead powerlines....

A short time later, Ben arrived back at his apartment in Cambridge, without Emma. He threw himself down onto his leather sofa and sighed, burying his head in his hands:
"I'm shattered Kyle. I could just curl up into a ball on here and drift into oblivion" he said, languidly. Kyle grinned:
"Oh cam on Ben. You seen Emma I suppose."
"Yes I have Kyle, more's the pity. She wants a divorce."
As he spoke, the apartment door buzzer went. Kyle left Ben to his melancholy and answered:
"Er.hello. My name's Lenton. Dr Jeremy Lenton of Oxford University. Lecturer in Anthropology.  I understand that Ben Chatham lives here."
"Who is it Kyle?" Ben said mournfully.
"Some Dr Lenton geezer from Oxford, says he's a lecturer like in Anthropology".
"Oh I've heard of him. He wrote a book on the Mayans but I didn't think much of it. Tell him to go away, I'm tired." Kyle looked apologetic:
"Sorry mate, Ben gets like this sometimes. Try tomorrer". Dr Lenton frowned:
"Look, I want to see Mr Chatham now on an important matter. I can make him a very rich man indeed......." be continued.