Archive for May, 2012

It’s all in the mind …
May 31, 2012

Sometimes we’re not sure what we believe. We hear so many people’s different opinions and so many views on what life is all about, it’s difficult to decide for ourselves. We just know what is right and what is wrong with human behavior – and that is a good enough start for me. Here’s a little story all about what is wright and wrong from several viewpoints, and how they tackle it …

It’s all in the mind

The cloud of dust above the city eddied and gathered density. God was not pleased with Gabriel. ‘Time to kick some ass’, he thought.


Jed Jenkins stretched his legs out in front of him and lit another joint. The Saturday afternoon game was nearing its conclusion and his team was losing as usual. His temper was bad. He scowled at the TV and swilled the dregs of his can round before tipping it into his mouth. ‘Stupid sods’ he shouted at the TV. ‘You’re feckin’ useless!’ The empty can followed the abuse, hurled angrily at the TV screen. In reply the TV flicked off, refusing to respond any more, like one of those signs in the doctor’s waiting rooms, ‘…we’re not here to take abuse so anyone doing so will be removed.’

‘Shit!’ He fumed. Now the sodding TV didn’t work either. He hauled himself out of the chair, and stomped out the kitchen, looking for a replacement for his displeasure. He didn’t have to look far. Sally was at the sink, washing the lunch dishes. She half turned as she heard him approach, and quickly turned back to her chores, knowing what would come next if she came under scrutiny. It made no difference; she’d drawn his attention already.

‘What’s the matter? Got a problem? Cat got your tongue?’ He grabbed a handful of her hair, until now loosely tied in a ponytail behind her head, and twisted it in a circular motion, forcing her head to twist with it if she didn’t want clumps of hair to be pulled out.

‘Ahh,’ she moaned. It just made him twist harder.

‘Please don’t, Jed, please – you’re hurting me.’

He loosened his grip, and pulled her around to face him, ‘aw, I wouldn’t want to hurt you, pussy cat,’ he said smoothly, smiling lopsidedly at her. Still holding her by the ponytail, he slid one grimy finger round the curve of her cheek, ending up on her slightly trembling lip. Her mouth turned down miserably at the sides, and fear pulled her full lips tight, but as his finger lingered, she relaxed slightly. Sex, she thought. If he wants sex, that will be alright. The finger stayed poised on her lips, and the lopsided smile broke into a grin, showing broken and cracked teeth with nicotine stains.

‘Huh,’ he laughed like a cough. He slid the finger across her lips and then rammed it so hard up her left nostril that the nail sliced into the delicate inner skin, bursting it. Sally winced and expelled another breathy high-pitched ‘ahh’ of pain. Blood trickled out of her nostril and over her lip. He let her go, pushing her away from him so hard she slammed the small of her back against the edge of the sink and her body folded in half. She knew what was coming now. She just had to close her mind to the physical pain and hope he wouldn’t go so far he killed her this time. She briefly hoped Darren wouldn’t come home in the middle of it then the rain of blows robbed her of consciousness.

Darren hid behind the allotment sheds. He was scared to go home. He’d got to the back door just in time to hear the first ‘ahh’ of Sally’s pain. It stopped him short. He wavered for a few excruciating seconds of indecision before backing away until he reached the yard gate and then turned and ran like hell was after him, not stopping until he’d reached this place of relative safety. He didn’t want to think what was going on in that kitchen. But he knew when he finally steeled himself to go home, he’d find his mum, beaten and bruised, mouth split, eyes blackened and swollen; like a deformed monster from a horror film, edging her way slowly round the house, trying to stay upright despite the agony of her pulped body. He shook his head in futile rage and buried his head in his hands, weeping hot bitter tears. At fourteen he was on the edge of manhood, but his slender body wasn’t sturdy or hardened enough yet to stand up to the rough brawn and vicious aggression of Jed.  Year after year he’d watched his mother beaten, bruised, and now he was starting to understand  the sounds and smells of sex, he also suspected, abused and raped – and he stood by and let it happen. He hated himself almost as much as he hated Jed.

Once the first flush of frustration subsided, he wiped the tears away from his face. He sat, squatting on his heels, back balanced against the rough timbering of the shed. It was Mr Hughes shed, he knew that, despite not having really looked where he’d run to. He knew it was Mr Hughes’ shed because it was painted green and Mr Hughes had this thing about green and trying to make this tiny bit of soil and plant life in the middle of the urban jungle look like being in the country. ‘Stupid bugger’ he said, and took a deep breath in, expanding his chest and squaring his shoulders.  He knew he was going to have to face it somehow. His heart thumped and he felt sick. He closed his eyes, as if trying to blot out the picture of what his mother would look like when he got home.  He couldn’t do it. By closing his eyes he gave himself a blank canvas to paint the picture on. It was red and distorted, not like his mother at all, but yet underneath, there was something …

This time he didn’t blot out the picture. He let it come, almost willing it to be the most terrible, the most battered he’d ever seen her. His throat constricted. His mum; his kind, lovely mum. This shouldn’t happen to her. It shouldn’t…

More to follow next week …

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where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

Debbie Martin


A sweet little tale – ‘The shed’
May 24, 2012

The shed

I woke with a jolt from the dream about the shed. I can describe it from memory as clearly now, at well over 80, nearly blind and stuck in this chair in the drawing room, as I could at 18. The foliage around it was lush and verdant, spilling over the doorway and down the timber walls; spreading like a rampant green carpet around its base. His chair was the bright red one. The kitchen chair painted shiny red like a post box. Mine was the softer blue cane armchair – he always said ‘softer chair for my soft sweet lady.’

Inside the shed is the mattress, taking over the whole of the shed floor, spread with a pink and blue check sheet and an old cream horsehair blanket on the top. The horsehair scratched my back and legs as I lay on it, but I didn’t care.

I feel warm and happy and YOUNG as I remember those times we spent there. Young – and vibrant and rebellious; making my own choices for once.  Mother disapproved of Harry – of course she would – the gardeners son; ‘but he’s just a servant’ she’d spat at me once when I’d tried to defend him against a charge of letting her prize rose bush wither in the frost, without letting her see how much my emotions were engaged in the defence too. If Mother had ever known we were there, curled together, warm, drunk with love, she’d have been apoplectic with rage – speechless for once! That made me laugh – it would have been a bubbling girlish giggle then, now it was the rasping hiccup of a cackle and I suddenly felt sad I had come to this.

I looked out of the window towards the shed again and felt its proximity, even though it was barely visible to me. It was lonely sitting here, alone. The sadness lingered around me. There was no mother to chide me now. No giggling little sisters to pry and annoy me as I tried to slip surreptitiously away to my trysts with Harry. No ramrod stiff father, sporting the luxuriant moustaches he was so proud of, collar turned over so sharply at the corners, I wondered sometimes that it didn’t cut into the skin on his neck. And then, as my mind wandered on from my childhood and teens, into my twenties, no harum-scarum children of my own racing around the house, playing hide and seek and snuggling Fanny, our cat, in baby clothes and pushing her around the garden like their own baby.

2012 was a far cry from the year I was born. The world was a strange place to me now, and I a stranger in it. If I could just get to the shed, maybe I would be near Harry again, and his nearness would make me feel less of a stranger here. Maybe the years would melt away and all the dreams and possibilities we’d hoped for then would not be so long gone and far away. I would no longer be an old, blind woman, sitting solitarily in an empty room.

I struggled to my feet, and shuffled awkwardly out of the room and into the hallway, to the back door. The garden was just a fresh green blur to me but I knew if I walked straight ahead, the shed stood sturdily in front of me, like Harry had all those years ago. I reached the edge of its shingled base. The ivy still crept off the now cracked and peeling timbering of its walls, and right in front of me – no further than a fingertip away, a heart beat’s distance, would be the red chair. Harrys’ red chair – and Harrys’ strong reassuring frame perched on it, turning as I approached,

‘Harry, oh Harry – how did you get here, I thought it all went such a long time ago…’

The firm deep voice, answered me gently,

‘What are you doing?’ You’ll trip and fall, and then everyone will be cross with me! Come on let me take you back in. I was just sitting out here having a crafty read of the newspaper …’

The strong, warm hand held mine, guiding me kindly back to the house.

‘Were you dreaming again?’

Of course, that was it – I’d been dreaming. We reached the back door and another voice called to me, similar, but older, and frailer.

‘Beth, Beth, my soft sweet lady – are you alright?’

Harry, my Harry; I’d married him after all, you see, despite mother and father’s disapproval. The war had changed so much. My beloved old Harry; and my beloved young Harry too – my grandson.

Suddenly I was no longer alone or old, or sad.

‘Just a silly dream, ‘I said, as I settled back in the softer blue cane armchair and watched Harry ease himself onto the bright red one. ‘This is the real thing.’

More stories to follow next week …

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where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

Debbie Martin

In the belly of the whale – part 2
May 17, 2012

..and it continues …

The whole secret gave Sandra such satisfaction. And it had insidiously changed so much for her too. Just the exercise itself had made her slim down, and that weight problem that he thought she had? Well it had simply melted away, replacing her low self-esteem with a sense of admiration, for her now sleek but voluptuous body, but also for having been able to master the subtle arts of the dance. Of course he didn’t even notice the change. He saw nothing but what he expected to see in front of him and she kept up the persona for him, refusing to share even the smallest part of her new self with him. He might share the same bed with her, but his hands never touched even the top layer of the shapeless old nightie she wore so even the most intimate moment they might share didn’t betray her.

The mantra of ‘stupid , fat and useless’ which he’d instilled in her over the years was replaced with ‘lithe, skilled and able.’ So, what else could she do?  Maybe she wasn’t so useless after all. She’d looked in the ‘sits vac’ column, something she hadn’t done in years. She’d ringed the ones she tentatively wondered if she could manage and been amazedly delighted when she’d been offered a job.  She started it next week.

The next evening she had to wait for him to go out before she could leave herself. She’d already carefully packed her costume in a bag and hidden it behind the shabby brown suitcase in the wardrobe. When she arrived at the venue, the other dancers were bustling around in the dressing rooms. Marie, the class teacher fell on her breathlessly,

‘Oh Sandy, thank goodness you’re here now. I was starting to worry…You’re our star… Everything is alright, isn’t it?

Sandra smiled at her. ‘Just a little delayed.’

She slid into her costume and swiftly completed the transformation. Looking in the full length mirror, she barely recognised herself. Not fifty, fat and frumpy as she’d used to joke ruefully to her friends, but a sibilant siren, skirts slipping softly to her ankles, swishing as she slid gracefully onto the dance floor. It was a ‘hafla’, a Turkish dance party, with other troupes and classes joining in the demonstrations and the audience made up of the class members, their friends and partners. Her class was hosting it. The audience sat at tables around the dance floor, cabaret style.

As soon as she was on the dance floor she spotted him. He was sitting on the far side of a table towards one side, trying to be insignificant, yet watching the movements of the dancers with hard, hungry eyes. She felt a moment of panic as she felt his eyes slide over her. Not yet, not now, she silently prayed. The eyes stayed on her, but not out of recognition, out of desire. He shifted his position, straining forward to get a better look from his deliberately slightly obstructed view – probably cursing he’d chosen this half-hidden seat now.

She stood in position, shrouded in the seven veils of her dance, eyes masked with vibrant, sumptuous sequins and feathers so only her full mouth could be seen, curved slightly in a mysterious smile. Cool spiritual blue was the top layer, peeling down through turquoise, green, yellow, orange, cerise to deep pulsating red; the red of blood coursing through a body that was revealed in its transformation from spiritual to sensual as each layer enveloping her unfurled, coloured the room and dropped like shimmering pool to the floor; another layer of self discarded. All restrictions removed. Sandra whirled and  gyrated, entreated and enticed, withdrew – and the metamorphosis happened  in front of their eyes – from a cool blue nymph to a scarlet siren, climaxing by throwing herself in abandon across the floor with a gesture that flung her body open in its’ entirety to any would be possessor – ‘take me…’

The room was transfixed, and so was he.

Sandra escaped to the dressing room, exhausted with the effort of portraying the emotions as much as following the right choreography. The class crowded round her, congratulating her, expressing their delight in her, and the class teacher was enraptured, holding onto her hand and grinning like a clown. The bustle swathed her in a sense of having finally arrived. Her exhaustion dissipated as their energy and enthusiasm trickled into her, until all of a sudden, the moment was now. Now was right. She allowed them to lead her back into the dance arena for a general round of applause for the whole class for having put on the show, and then she was being whisked into the crowds to say hello here, have her hand shook there, be introduced to this person or that.

‘I must introduce you to Frank,’ Mandy said, ‘you know my….’ Her voice trailed off, as she made a coy gesture indicating ‘my lover’ but not actually saying it. ‘He’s always a bit derogatory about belly dancing, but he won’t be able to be now he’s seen you dance.’

Sandra smiled and turned to look into the ashen face of Frank. ‘I know,’ she said,’ my husband’s always been a bit of a stick in the mud…’

More to follow next week  with another little story all on it’s own …

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where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

Debbie Martin

In the belly of the whale – part 1
May 17, 2012

I’m starting a new story this week, but there’s another transformation involved …

In the belly of the whale


Sandra glowered at him with hatred, but he didn’t see her venom. He was buried in his damn Telegraph as usual.

‘Blah, blah, blah…’ she mimicked him, from her hidden position behind the upheld pages, openly making mocking faces at him as she silently mouthed the words. He just continued to drone on about HIS views and HIS opinions and HIS ideas, never, once, ever, asking her about hers. And of course the weight problem came up too – it always did. He called her blubbery like a whale. And the fact that she didn’t work.

‘…and that really is the crux of it?’ He suddenly put the pages down flat on his lap and looked directly at her over the top of his wire –rimmed glasses. Questioning. No. He wasn’t questioning her. He never questioned. He told. He told, criticised, belittled, shamed her. He never questioned, otherwise he might have got a very different answer to the one he got. The question was rhetorical, just saying, ‘I’m right aren’t I?’ It just didn’t have the ‘aren’t I? ‘ at the end of it.

Sandra hastily re-composed her belligerent sneer to a face of polite agreement. ‘If you think so, dear’ she said meekly, not even knowing what she was agreeing with because her mind had been totally taken up with the wonderful release of baring the teeth of her frustration at him in the seconds before the question-statement was posed.

‘Hmmm’ he said, narrowing his eyes at her, not quite sure if the response was satisfactory enough, and then obviously deciding it was only Sandra – it would do. He shook the newspaper pages slightly to remove any crumples from them and withdrew behind them again. The voice was slightly muffled as it continued from behind the barrier, ‘I’ll have that tea now, but make sure it’s not too weak, and there’s only one spoon of sugar in it…oh and I don’t want that flowery mug you gave me last time. You may want to act like a char woman but I drink my tea out of a proper cup and saucer like a gentleman would…’He didn’t even look to see if Sandra acknowledged and obeyed the command. He knew she would.

Once the tea was satisfactorily made and provided in the appropriate format, Sandra escaped to the bedroom. She left the bedroom door just ajar – so she could hear if he moved from his throne and came upstairs to see what she was doing. Not that he was likely to. His interest in her had dwindled to nothing but the odd reprimand and string of orders years ago, once the children were grown. She’d outlived her attraction to him when she no longer provided anything material in his life. He’d already looked elsewhere, anyway. She knew that. She occasionally found the odd hotel or restaurant receipt in his jacket pocket when she took it to the dry cleaners. They were careless oversights on his part which merely told her he didn’t bother to hide anything anymore. Absolute arrogance. She didn’t know who the current one was, but she suspected it was a woman at the office. She’d noticed his enlivened tone when he’d declaimed the woman as a tart for going to a belly dance class – a belly dance class of all things!

The comment had made Sandra pick up her ears – partly because she could tell that his interest was obviously piqued and whilst Sandra had long since ceased to care about his betrayals, she was canny enough to realise that it was wise to keep track for her own self-preservation. But she had also been curious about belly dancing. It conjured up tantalising images of raven haired beauties, barely covered in diaphanous silks, bejewelled and sequined, trailing seductively over the shoulders and sexual appetites of their male audience.  She almost smelt the heady scent of desire, the mystery of decadence, the pounding beat of the drum as the dancer flicked and shook her hips and breasts to its rhythm – the rhythm of sweat and thrust and sex. She shivered slightly in excitement. That was something she hadn’t experienced in a very long while. She crept to the bedroom door and listened silently for a few minutes. There was no sound at all below. He was either still deeply immersed in the stuffy news print or he’d dozed off. Either way, she could.

She stripped her shapeless woollen top off, dragging it over her head roughly, and hastily let her tracksuit pants drop around her ankles like a puddle. Hidden carefully at the back of her wardrobe, underneath an old dress, was the outfit. It was skimpy and exciting. She slid into it, smoothing the soft transparent drape of the skirt over her hips, running her hands down to her thighs, and then swinging them slightly, luxuriating in the way the fabric fell against her bodies outline, hiding it, but revealing all. She sighed with satisfaction, wriggled her shoulders slightly in a shimmy, making her breasts rub against each other exuberantly, bubbling over the top of the tiny sequined bra. She smiled.

She’d joined a class, you see. The lure had been too much and once she’d started thinking about it, she couldn’t put the thought aside, no matter how hard she tried. She’d gone during the day when he was at work or on a Saturday morning when he thought she was doing the shopping. She’d practiced hard. She’d mastered the dips and the drops, the shimmering vibrations of the body layered onto staccato movements of the hips as they flicked and twitched in a wicked invitation to touch, no don’t touch! The fluid undulations and rotations, mimicking the impression of riding a camel, or some other beast, as her body circled and enticed, come here, join, entwine…Slow and tantalising, wild and whirling, graceful and floating, with a myriad of veils divested, one by one as the various layers of the human psyche are divested from the loftiest and most philosophical thoughts – the cool blue veil – to the earthiness of physical desire and need – the red veil…

She dropped the blood red veil to the floor in a swirl. The dance had finished. She breathed heavily. Yes, she would perform well tomorrow evening…

More to follow next week …

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where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

Debbie Martin

…and the conclusion …
May 6, 2012

…the concluding section…


‘Bel, you look beautiful,’ smooth and charming. Not the cold dismissive tone he’d used as he’d tossed the francs on her dresser, telling her not to get ideas of being anything other than the occasional bit of fun, before quickly donning his clothes and striding off into the night, leaving Mary/Bel feeling ashamed and used.

‘Thank you m’sieur’, non-commitally.

‘Shall we spend some more time together tonight, you and I, Bel?’

‘A little more time, m’sieur ? But last night you told me I was only occasional fun…’

‘Ah well, that was last night and I’d overlooked how charming you look in your pretty little costume…’His fingertips stroked across Mary/Bel’s breasts. She drew her breath in – a sharp little whistle.

‘So, you want me again, m’sieur? And will you want me again tomorrow too?’

‘That will depend on how good a little girl you are for me tonight . . . ’

He sneered sardonically at Mary, so used to having his way with these little sewer rats. They were a disposable commodity. When one was used up, you simply moved onto the next one. That little Cerise was pretty, he’d noticed. Perhaps her, after Bel?

‘Oh, I will be a very good little girl tonight, m’sieur,’ said Mary/Bel quietly. ‘I will be so good, I will break your ‘eart.’ She reached behind her and fumbled with one hand in the drawer to her dresser. As she said ‘break your ‘eart’, her hand reappeared clutching a long slim paper knife and she swiftly thrust it deep into Monsieur Jacques chest. His face crumpled in surprise and then agony. A bright red stain spread across his crisp white shirt like a rose blooming and then a small bubble of blood appeared at the corner of his mouth. He desperately grasped at her, then fell away, mouth yawning open as he gasped for breath. He fell to the floor heavily. Hearing the noise, Fifi rushed back in the room, exclaiming ‘as ee hurt you, ma petite?’ only to stop abruptly when she saw the body slumped on the floor.

‘Ah mon Dieu, what ‘ave you done?’

‘I ‘ave broken his heart –with the knife’ said Mary/Bel quietly, before spinning backwards through the vortex and hitting her head hard against the back of the threadbare chair. Red curtains. Like the stain on Monsieur Jacques shirt, but otherwise totally different. A grey suburban spinsters flat in a grey suburban street with a grey suburban spinster clutching a paper knife and a dark rusty brown tooled book with gold edged pages.

More to follow next week …

Follow me on Facebook

and on my website:

where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

A new story starts next week …

Debbie Martin