Sunday, 22 October 2017

Artwork for "A GHOST FOR EMILY"

The Ben Chatham Halloween 2017 Special: "A GHOST FOR EMILY"

Ok people, here is the 2017 Ben Chatham Halloween story:

[B]"A Ghost For Emily" Part One[/B]

Ben laughed uncontrollably as the cool autumn air blew through his golden hair. He was driving at speed through the narrow country lanes with Julian by his side. The sky was blue, the sun was blazing down and Ben was happy.
"This will be our first proper break together Julian, away from Operation Delta and anyone associated with work. God I need it."
Julian smiled and stroked Ben's leg:
"You work too hard Ben. You have a team so let them deal with the hassle. "
Ben reached down to the stereo and turned up the music, which was David Bowie's 'The Next Day' CD. It was two months since he had belatedly found out about Bowie's death and he had been devastated by the news. However Julian had helped him through the pain by being close and making him nutri-bullets. Ben laughed again as the car sped on towards the isolated cottage that they had rented for the Halloween week:
"Hopefully we will see no one else for the whole week. I've had all of our food exclusively delivered by Feltham & Porter, the finest delicatessen I know, and the owner of the cottage has ensured me that we won't be disturbed. I need to be away from people", Ben stated emphatically. Julian smiled and replied:
"It is dreadful how the more people are around you the more lonely you can feel. They intrude on your life with their petty demands, their pointless concerns and their incessant talking about trivial things. And that is the relatively well educated ones."
Ben gave Julian a hug:
"We are saving each other from mediocrity Julian".
They laughed.
The car sped round a corner and into the driveway of a large six bedroom 17th century cottage called 'Courtsworth Cottage" Ben slammed on the brakes and the car skidded to a halt on the gravel. knocking over several plant pots. Ben laughed:
"I've always wanted to do that. If anyone complains about the damaged pots I'll just toss them a wad of notes. I feel like being free and irresponsible for once."
They leapt of the car and up to the door, Ben opening it with the keys that he had been sent. The cottage was clean but cold, however there was a large fireplace with plenty of logs. Going into the kitchen they found it well stocked with food, six bottles of wine , exclusive Welsh gin and a bottle of imported Slovenian absinthe. 
Later when the fire was roaring and darkness had fallen outside, Ben and Julian lay on the soft rug by the fireplace feeding each other strawberries and sipping white wine.
"Do you think you will stay running Operation Delta forever Ben?" Julian asked.
"I don't think so. I'm tired of the same old routine and same old people. But they need me to function and......"
Ben was interrupted by the sound of movement upstairs.
"What the hell was that?" he exclaimed.
"Didn't the owner expressly state that we would be the only tenants in the cottage?" Julian replied.
"Yes. If they've let one of the rooms to someone else they have broken the agreement and I will raise hell".
Ben got up to go upstairs as the wind howled outside. They heard more creaking floorboards from upstairs.
"I don't like this Ben. I've gone cold suddenly" Julian exclaimed.
"It's okay Julian. We'll go up together."
Slowly they ascended the stairs until they came to the landing. As they did so a young girl of about 12 years old came out of one of the rooms:
"Did mummy send you? I'm frightened" the girl exclaimed, tears flowing down her face. Ben was bemused:
"No, your mother did not send us. Why are you staying in this cottage? Where are the adults, I want a word with them?"
"Mummy and Daddy have gone away. They said they'd send someone but it has been days. I'm frightened. Don't like it here. I've seen things."
Ben frowned:
"It is a damned disgrace that your parents have left you alone here. Are you from an estate? And didn't the owner of the cottage see you when he sorted out our food delivery? What it your name?"
The girl was sobbing now:
"I'm Emily ....don't understand.... frightened of this place. Not alone here......"
Julian went up to the girl:
"It will be all right we will sort this out. What do you mean though that we are not alone here?
"The ghosts. The ghosts come at night....."
Suddenly the lights went out and the house was in darkness........... be continued.

OK folks, here is part 2 of this spooky Halloween tale:

[B]"A Ghost For Emily" Part 2[/B]

The house was plunged into darkness and Ben could hear Emily screaming with fear. Suddenly there was another voice, a male voice, deep and animalistic:
"We will be avenged... we have come...."
Ben grabbed hold of Julian:
"It's ok Julian, lets get downstairs slowly, the front room should still have some light from the fire".
Julian was shaking:
"What was that voice?" he said in a panicked state.
"Try not to think about it. Come on, one step at a time."
They slowly descended the stairs in total darkness. Suddenly Ben thought he felt an icy hand sweep across his face and he lost his footing sending himself and Julian tumbling down the stairs. They both stumbled to their feet, bruised and in pain. However as they did so the lights flickered back on.
"Ahh, I think I've twisted my ankle. I can hardly walk", Julian shouted.
"Come on, I'll help you to the sofa and then we'll crack open a bottle of red wine. That will dull the pain a little. " Ben replied.
"I'd rather you just drove me home Ben. I'm not staying in this house. There is something from beyond the grave here" Julian shouted as Ben helped him to the sofa.
"Ok Julian, I'll get the car ready and we can leave if you want. However if this house really is haunted and we can evidence that fact by recording phenomena on our phones then at the very least there could be a bestselling book in this. There is a very large market for true life ghost stories".
Julian looked up and his expression changed into a grin:
"Oh well if you put it like that. Of course I'm filthy rich already but I wouldn't say no to more. You were saying something about cracking open the wine?"
Ben laughed, kissed Julian and then went to fetch the wine from the kitchen. As he returned with the bottle and two glasses, Julian flicked back his hair languidly:
"I was just thinking, shouldn't we check that the girl is all right?"
Ben frowned:
"Oh god, I'd forgotten her. You stay here, I'll go and bring her down. I'm really annoyed about this. Some irresponsible people have left their child here alone and unless they come back for her it could ruin out first night here."
Slowly Ben ascended the stairs again. He had taken the precaution of lighting a candle from one of the kitchen cupboards in case the lights went out again.
"Emily, come here. It's ok, it is only me, Ben. Come on, I need to find out about your parents so we can get rid of you and have the place to ourselves."
Ben searched the first few rooms however there was nothing. Then he heard the faint sound of a girl or woman whimpering.
"Emily, come on, it's ok. Don't cry, come out and we'll sort all of this out".
Emily didn't appear however the crying got louder and it was coming from the furthest room down the landing. Ben suddenly felt very cold, chilled to the bone and there was a strange smell, like that of rotten fish. He reached the furthest room then turned the door handle. As he looked into the room he was horrified to see a woman standing before him with empty eye sockets save for gouging wounds. Her skin was grey and putrefied and she lunged towards Ben  who ran down the corridor, clutching the candle. Ben bolted downstairs to find Julian sitting by the fire playing draughts with Emily:
"There was this thing... upstairs.. with no eyes."
Julian looked up and grinned:
"I suppose you've no eye-dea what it was".
They laughed and Ben slumped down on the sofa:
"You know we'll have to go up there with our phone cameras on the ready as soon as your foot it a bit better. *To Emily* All that hassle just looking for you and you were down her badgering Julian to play draughts with you."
Emily looked up:
"I'm winning. Julian is rubbish."
Ben stuck his tongue out at her:
"I don't care. What I want to know is why your parents left you here on your own. Then I'm going to phone the police. Unless you call your parents sharpish on your phone and tell them to come and get you immediately. "
Emily went on playing draughts:
"I don't know what you mean. I'm happy playing games with you. I have a chess set as well. I like Julian, he's nicer than you are."
Ben sighed:
"Yes well I like Julian as well and three's a crowd, especially if the third person happens to be a rude child."
As Ben spoke there was a strange tapping on the front window.
"What the hell was that?" Julian exclaimed. The tapping came again.
"Sounds like someone knocking. Why don't they use the door?" Ben angrily stated, getting up and going to the window.
"Don't go, it's them" Emily shouted.
"What do you mean...them?" Ben asked.
"Them. The ghosts" Emily replied.
Ben went to the window and pulled back the curtain. To his horror he saw a figure standing before him with half of its face eaten away by maggots leaving the skull showing........
.............. to be continued.

OK folks it's HALLOWEEN. As the witching hour approaches, here is the chilling final part of this classic Ben Chatham adventure:

[B]"A Ghost For Emily" Part 3[/B]

Ben pulled the curtain back over the window and turned to the others:
"Something is not right here. It is completely irrational to accept that ghosts and zombies could possibly exist. Yet this is what my senses are telling me. I do not like the fact that the irrational is encroaching on my empirical approach to these cases."
Julian gazed at Ben sympathetically:
"I understand Ben. Come and have a glass of wine."
Ben sat down next to Julian who hugged Ben and handed him the wine. Emily stared at them:
"Can I have a glass of wine too?"
Julian laughed:
"No. This is extremely expensive wine because I am an extremely rich Cambridge student and I have the best of taste. We do not have any bottles of cheap plonk suitable for letting children have a swig."
Emily pulled a face at him and he and Ben laughed. Ben sipped his wine:
"Look I really think we need to leave. Let's take Emily to the nearest police station and then go and book into a nice hotel."
As he spoke there was a scream from upstairs. Ben and Julian stared at each other.
"We'd better take a look I suppose", Ben stated.
He slowly ascended the stairs, followed by Julian, and as they got to the landing they saw a flickering light coming from one of the bedrooms. They nervously walked along the landing towards the bedroom door, which was ajar, and pushed it open. To their horror they saw a woman in 1920s clothes sprawled across the bed with her eyes gouged out. On the bed next to her was a blood-soaked screwdriver.
"Oh my God! "Julian exclaimed. They ran out of the room but as they ran back across the landing, Emily appeared at the top of the stairs and in her hands was a blood soaked axe. There was a strange, unnatural grin on her face.
"What the hell are you doing with that?" Ben shouted at her. Emily laughed:
"Ha, ha, fooled you. You two are so silly. You thought that they were the only ghosts in this house. Don't you see? This is my house. I hated my mummy and daddy. All they cared about was their stupid rows. So I killed them both. I gouged mummy's eyes out with a screwdriver, it was so funny the squelching noises that it made. They put me in a madhouse so I hanged myself so that I could come back here and haunt it forever. Please let me kill you now, it will be fun."
Ben and Julian gazed at her in horror:
"You vicious little tatar", Julian exclaimed.
"What a vile, nastly little girl you must have been" Ben shouted.
Emily raised the axe and took a swing, just missing Ben and Julian who ran up the landing and into the far bedroom. They ran to the window and pushed it open. It was a 20ft drop to the ground put they could hear the ghostly footsteps of Emily approaching:
"We'll have to jump. Better a broken ankle than being killed by that spectral abomination", Ben shouted. He and Julian stood on the window ledge and then they jumped.......................

Slowly Ben awoke. He was lying on the grass outside of the cottage. It was a cold, autumn morning and he felt cold and bruised. The sun was shining brightly in the clear, blue sky. Nearby Julian was also waking up, cold and moaning. Surrounding them on the grass were six empty wine bottles, an empty bottle of welsh gin and an empty bottle of Slovenian absinthe.........


Sunday, 16 July 2017

The New Ben Chatham Series: TRILOGY


Ben Chatham woke up in his Cambridge apartment to the sound of starlings chirping outside the open window of his bedroom. A warm, sultry morning breeze blew through the window and the sun blazed through like a welcoming hand. Ben smiled as he gazed down at Julian, asleep beside him whose arm rested on Ben's smooth chest. Ben was happy. He and Julian Le Farge had been together for two weeks now and life was good. He had taken indefinite leave from his role as head of Operation Delta,  telling Katie Ryan, Kyle Scott and the team that he had to put his new relationship first for the sake of his sanity.
Julian woke up and kissed Ben slowly on the lips:
"Morning Ben. You know I can't believe how perfect it is to wake up next to you." Ben smiled:
"Same here Julian. Two weeks ago I thought my life was in an inescapable rut. But now that endless night has turned into bright morning. Let's have some Vivaldi".
Ben reached over for the stereo handset on the side table and switched on the CD player. Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons" started playing.
A short time later, after a shower, Ben and Julian were enjoying a continental breakfast while lounged across Ben's expensive sofa. Kyle had moved out to give them some space and Ben had set him up in his own apartment, paid for out of Operation Delta funds before handing over the running of the organisation to him and Katie jointly. Ben sipped his glass of chilled white wine and smiled:
"I think we should visit the Fitzwilliam this morning followed by lunch at the Mermaid....."
He was interrupted by the door buzzer and Luigi, Ben's house servant, went to answer. Katie Ryan flounced in angrily and slapped a wad of papers down on Ben's exclusive glass coffee table:
"Ben, I really need you to go through this stuff with me. It is all cases that you were working on yourself and we really need to complete the reports for funding purposes. Corinne is tearing her hair out as she needs to submit them to the Ministry."
Ben gazed at her languidly:
"Katie I asked you not to bother me with any of this. I'm on indefinite leave."
"To be with me", Julian added, smiling.
Katie scowled:
"This is none of your business, twink boy, I was talking to Ben."
Katie placed her hands on her shapely hips and fixed Ben with an icy stare:
"You have responsibilities to the organisation Ben. And exactly why did Kyle get given a new apartment and not me?"
Ben sighed :
"Look doll there is no need for irrational female jealousy. Kyle has never had his own apartment before, however you have. Furthermore I am no longer in charge of Operation Delta, you are. If you feel that you are not up to it then say so and hand the role over to Corinne or Paul Farraday. I will however take a brief glance at these papers if I must. Meet us in the Mermaid at 1.30."
Julian glared at Katie:
"I think that Ben would like you to leave now. And I think you might find that calling me twink boy does not endear yourself to him. Oh and I'd like to emphasise that I am richer than you."
Ben and Julian broke out into spontaneous laughter. Katie flounced out, slamming the door.
Later, Katie was sat in the Mermaid wine bar sipping a cappuccino when Ben and Julian walked in laughing. She looked up at them icily:
"I see that you two have been enjoying yourselves. I give it another two weeks before it all goes wrong as usual."
Ben went up to the bar to order food and drinks. Julian sat down opposite Katie and grinned:
"I'm young, I'm beautiful, I'm cultured and I'm rich. But most of all I am male. Ben prefers me to you. "
Katie gave him a knowing look:
"You are very young and very foolish. I will still be here for Ben when you have gone the same way as all of Ben's previous follies. You will let him down."
Ben arrived and sat down next to Julian, laughing.
"I haven't looked at your paperwork Katie. I couldn't be bothered. Please don't be angry." As he spoke, Barry Tuck, the waiter arrived with the drinks:
"Hey up , here's yer booze. And another borin' coffee for Miss Ryan, she of the gorgeous jugs. One day you'll let me have a squeeze won't yer love."
"Just serve the drinks and go Tuck or you get my stiletto in your eye" Katie snapped.
"Ok love, only banter, only banter", Tuck replied, sloping off.
After a tense meal, Ben, Katie and Julian left the bar however as they stepped outside they were shocked to see that it had gone dark:
"What the hell? It's only 3pm and it's pitch dark. What the fuck is going on?" Katie shouted. They turned to go back into the Mermaid however they found that the place was deserted. Only a candle flickered in the corner for light and there were cobwebs hanging down from the ceiling. Ben was concerned:
"This is disconcerting. We seem to have gone through some kind of time shift".
Suddenly a strange, translucent, disembodied arm floated through a wall. It glowed with an unnatural silvery-white light and moved slowly towards them. They rushed to go out of the door but it slammed in their faces and Ben turned in horror as the arm flow down and touched him........
Ben awoke lying on the ground, cold and damp and in pain. He saw Katie and Julian waking up beside him and groaning. They were lying in a filth-strewn alleyway, littered with assorted rubbish and wooden barrels.....

Sunday, 1 January 2017

The Ben Chatham 2017 New Year Special: "DEATH AND ROMANCE"

OK folks, here is the New Year special:


It was New Years Day in Cambridge and the fog hang heavy like a dulling wine. Ben Chatham gazed languidly out of the window of the Blue Angel Jazz Café at the distant spires of King's College chapel. He sipped his absinthe and sighed:
"Another year gone, another year closer to death". He gave a sad smile as the small jazz ensemble in the corner played 'Melancholy Mood'. Kian, the waiter, approached Ben's table:
"Happy New Year Mr Chatham. Can I get you anything else?"
"No. I don't feel like eating today and please don't wish me a happy new year. How can it be a happy new year when A level Archaeology has been dropped by the examination board," Ben replied sadly. Kian stroked Ben's shoulder:
"I'm sorry to hear that Mr Chatham...." His reply was cut short by the sound of screaming coming from outside in the street. Ben looked out of the window and saw a young woman covered in blood running down the cobbled street waving her arms and screaming. She ran into a student who was carrying a large pile of books, which went flying as both of them fell to the ground. Ben rushed out of the café and went over, comforting the student and helping him to his feet:
"Hi, I'm Ben Chatham. Are you ok?"
" Well I was until this person just knocked me off of my feet. Just look at my books, they've got mud off the street on them now. This is a first edition of E.M Forster's 'A Passage To India'. Thanks anyway, my name is Julian. Julian LeFarge." The student held out his hand and Ben shook it.
"Pleased to meet you Julian, although this is hardly an auspicious start to our acquaintance", Ben replied and they laughed. The young woman meanwhile had staggered to her feet, a middle aged lady having gone over to assist her. Suddenly the young woman launched herself at the other woman, biting deep into her face. The crazed woman then started laughing in an hysterical way before collapsing onto the ground. Ben rushed over and examined her closely as other passers by tended to the injured older lady. Julian went over to Ben:
"What on earth is wrong with that person? he asked.
"I'm afraid that she's dead Julian. And I have a good idea why as well. I need to act quickly. I run an Organisation called Operation Delta which investigates all kinds of paranormal and alien activity. I am the head of the organisation, I emphasise. You are a very attractive young man, how would you like to join this investigation?"
Julian smiled:
"I'd love to, it should be a hoot. Oh and I'm also a highly intelligent and wealthy scholar of literature Ben. I may as well emphasise my range of positive qualities."
They laughed as Ben flagged down a taxi:
"Take me to number 18, Rygate Street. There is a man there whom I need to see about a fish."
The obese taxi driver looked puzzled and huffed:
"...mumble mumble.. get all ¤¤¤¤ing sorts on New Years Day... mumble mumble..."

The taxi arrived at number 18 and Ben and Julian leapt out, Julian tossing the driver a wad of notes:
"Keep the change, I'm rich" he shouted.
"Like the style" Ben stated, laughing. They hammered on the door of the house and an elderly man answered it:
"Who's that I say. I'm busy.... Oh It's you Ben. How jolly nice to see you, come in."
"Hello Professor Briggs. This is Julian by the way, he's clever, rich and gorgeous. There's no time to lose Professor. The fish, do you still have the fish?"
"The fish? Of course I still have it. As if I'd ever part with such a present Ben. Come and see?"
They went into the Professor's study, where a large aquarium took pride of place at the far end of the room. The Professor suddenly gasped:
"I say it's gone! Oh my. Oh by golly. And there's water all down here as well and on the carpet."
Ben helped the Professor to a chair and gazed at the puzzled Julian:
"Some time ago Professor Briggs helped me on a very difficult case. He is the UK's leading zoologist. As a present I let him keep on loan an Osiarian Zanterfish which had been brought to earth in a crashed Osiarian craft. The fish have certain curious properties, they can live forever, barring physical injury, and their skin if eaten produces bleeding from every orifice followed by a frenzied desire to kill and eat anything in sight. I am well aware how bizarre all of this sounds Julian," Ben explained.
Julian laughed:
"One should never fear the weird, just the mundane". The Professor nudged Ben:
"I say, he's a philosopher this one".
"Professor, what could have done this? Do you have a cat or a dog?" Ben asked.
"No, but I've been looking after a stray cat for the past few weeks. Tom I call him. Big grey thing. He just comes in, has a nibble of food and then goes out again. Quite the vagabond. He was here earlier..... Oh dear, Come to think of it, I did leave him alone in here while I made a pot of tea..."
Ben sighed:
"That was very stupid. However I like you and you are an eminent Professor so I'll refrain from making further truthful observations on your failings."
"Thank you Ben, would you and your friend like some tea and lemon cake?"
"No, sorry Professor, we must fly like the wind. I suspect that the cat ate the fish and then went to some other house in the street where it scratched or bit a woman who was infected. We must find that cat before it infects anyone else."
Ben and Julian ran down the street banging on doors and fetching out the neighbours:
"Have you seen a stray grey cat? It's dangerous and infected with a deadly disease", Ben shouted. Suddenly there was a crazed scream coming from one of the back gardens. Ben and Julian ran down the side passage and saw a crazed man covered in blood hacking a woman's corpse with an axe. His children were screaming as the axe came down on their mother's neck. In the corner of the back garden a savage looking cat sat drooling at the mouth. Ben ran from the garden and back out into the street, followed by Julian. He pulled out his mobile and phoned for back up.
Some time later, the Operation Delta team were loading the man's corpse into a van and Paul Farraday and Corinne Shaw had managed to trap the crazed cat using a neck grabber and an RSPCA animal cage. They loaded it into the van also.
"This will do our image with the police no favours at all", Paul tersely stated as several police cars started arriving.
"You had best let me deal with the police Ben. I have built up some good networking connections with senior officers", Corinne stated.
Ben sighed:
"Do your best Corinne. I can't face them myself right now, I find officialdom so tiresome. Please try your best to save the cat and to avoid having to put it down."

Later Ben and Julian were enjoying a drink in the Blue Angel. Ben was telling Julian about his life:
... and so my family now view me as an embarrassment and I have an ex-wife who still thinks that I owe her something even though she gained a property at my expense. I'm entombed in my life. Look I'm sorry for unloading this baggage and boring you Julian. Julian laughed and grabbed Ben's hand:
"You don't need to apologise to me Ben. I think that everyone has a dark basement where they keep all of their demons. One wants to share them, but one is afraid of rejection if one does. I want to let you into mine but I'm afraid".
Ben stroked Julian's chin:
"You are strangely deep for such a young man. Let's go back to my apartment and start 2017 properly......"