Saturday, 18 May 2019

Londinium No 1: Gluttony: Victor Von Stroganoff

Welcome back. The short story below is the first in series that grew out of the challenge I set myself as a writer. The challenge was a follows, 1) write a series of seven stores each based around a different one of the seven deadly sin 2) Have a set of recurring characters 3) have the stories be superhero teamed and 4) Make one of the superheroes disabled.

Setting this challenge meant I had to have idea form the direct of each story before I start and give my self the flexibility to adopt and evolve it as I created the world (more on that as the series progresses). As I wrote the stories I tried to have fun with superhero norms and settings drawing a lot from 1960s Batman and Batman 89. 

I have give the series of story the umbrella title of Londinium, Naming the collection of stories after the name of the city (which I never used) not the hero's themselves.
Below is the first story Londinium No 1: Gluttony: Victor Von Stroganoff
if you like this story and want to read the rest of the series please like and comment below o via twitter @TheLifeDyslexic

Gluttony: Victor Von Stroganoff

 As the phone rang Hamish O’Holiday replaced the coffee pot and plonked his cup down on the unit and jogged across the office to his desk. he paused to press the voice distorter button before picking up the receiver.

 'Eve North's Hero's Incorporated;Top of the morning to you, how may we be of service?’ Hamish jotted notes down as the voice on the other end of the line relayed the sequence of events in somewhat panic tones. Within minutes the rugged Irishman had suited up in his camouflage boiler suit, orange mask and matching white gloves and boots. He had now transformed into his wheelchair bound alter ego Rollerball. 

 The abandoned underground station that had become the heroes’ base of operations gave direct yet discreet access to the centre of the city.  As Rollerball rolled out into the park he encountered a crowd hurtling towards him. As they stampeded passed one of them shouted, ‘The Glutton, the Glutton.’

 The Glutton was once the oboes restaurant critic Victor Von Stroganoff. After eating his way through a smorgasbord of renowned establishments he had grown tired with food and longed to taste new flavours. To expand his palate Victor had worked with a mad scientist to develop a formula to enable him to digest any inanimate object of his choosing. However, in his hunger ­­­­­to get started he had taken too much. Now each time he ate anything that excited his taste buds he transformed into, the supersized, all-consuming slob known as the Glutton. 
Rollerball had faced the ravenous blob before and knew all he needed to do was deliver the antidote, but it was only effective if mixed with custard.

 Rollerball returned to his base, collected his trifle-rifle and headed for the multi-storey car park. The stairs would have been quicker, however, the technologies that allowed, the retired Sargent O’Holiday too walk also provided another level of anonymity to his superhero exploits. The incidental music which accompanied the lifts ascent struggled to be heard over the failing speakers. The lift shuddered as it reached its requested destination. The doors wheezed open.

 Rollerball made a bee line to a low-slung sports car in the far corner, he hopped himself up on the bonnet and rolled up over the windscreen on to the roof, from there he reached across to the neighbouring white van hauling himself on top of it he now had access to the precipice that circled the car park. Wheeling around the wall Rollerball had a perfect panoramic  view of the city below. From his vantage point he watched as the Glutton emerged from a corner shop devoured bags of crisps and handfuls of chocolate bars with gusto. Taking aim Rollerball fired, a projectile of cream, jelly and custard shot through the air landing with a splat on its target. 

 As Victor Von Stroganoff arose from the dessert that have covered him Rollerball watched as the frightened crowd turn into an angry mob. He jumped down from his perch and raced back down the multi-storey car park like a marble down a helter skelter run. Hurling himself through the streets Rollerball ploughed into the hordes pushing them aside like bowling pins.
‘Stay back’ he bellowed in a deep resonant voice ‘This man requires our sympathy and assistance with his condition’
As Rollerball awaited with Victor for the authorities to collect him the hero asked what had brought the Glutton back.
‘I had to have something spicy’ the shrilled man whimpered his voice weak and dry.
‘You know you have to be on a strict diet of bread and rice or the Glutton takes over.’
‘I know but I craved greater flavour, the temptation was strong, and I was weak’

Written By Owen Kowalski

Thursday, 7 March 2019

The Sixth Floor

I was hoping to get this story post for last Christmas, not that it's a Christmas story or set at Christmas, I wrote it to be a 'ghost story of Christmas' story however writing it got way from me and it took longer than expected and once you build in the time to get is spell checked and amended it's now March. That said, it does seem more appropriate to be post now as was approach Brexit, not this a comment on Brexit or  writerm to push some political agenda surrounding Brexit. This story is just about a career of a would be government minister pulling on tropes and traits we have all seen before in the corridors of power.

The Sixth Floor

Dark clouds thundered in the young woman’s head as she stomped through the floor of Government House, ranting at the pot plants and kicking the walls as she went. She had made up her mind to head to the roof, but still found herself wondering the building’s endless identical corridors. The building was an old stately home that had become swallowed by the modern world, it’s grand ornate brickwork and imposing entrance looked out of place against the sanitised grey concrete surroundings. It’s interior was lined with white washed cold stone walls and high  arched ceilings. 

Stopping by a large window to get her bearings the agitated office administrator was momentarily distracted by a distant siren. The lashing rain had brought darkness early again, and the headlights from the vehicles below looked like fireflies as they darted around in all directions making way for the flashing blue lights. As she watched the approaching vehicle a figure appeared reflected in the glass behind her. The tall thin man who was dressed  in a deep purple suit with slicked back  grey hair was distorted by the down pour.

‘What’s the matter Ms Atwell?’ He said 
Atwell didn’t recognise the voice  but was sure it was someone she must have met at some stage and was misremembering.
‘Tell me your troubles’ the stranger continued. His voice crafted every syllable of each word with precision and care.
Feeling the pressure burst within her Atwell began to unload her frustration to the man.
‘They’re all incompetent,’ she snapped  ‘I could run this government better than the lot of them, I ve been here years but they still treat me as if I know nothing.’ Atwell thumped the window and slumped her head against the glass ‘but they won’t promote me or give me the opportunities, my face doesn’t fit.’
Atwell felt a cold touch as the shadowy man placed a bony hand on her shoulder as it to offer comfort.
‘Maybe they need a little incentive, you have access to certain material, certain important documents, don’t you?’ the figure didn’t wait for an answer as he lent in and whispered. ‘A little blackmail here and there can go a long way.’

 As she shivered in her shoe box sized office Atwell thought long and hard about the conversation she had had with her colleague and took a look at the confidential files. If certain information got out certain people’s careers would be over, so she began to approach them with what she now knew with the understanding if she wasn’t given a promotion the scandals would be handed to a national newspaper. Soon Atwell found a new position suddenly becoming vacant.

 Sometime later after the novelty of her new role as junior minister had worn off  and disillusion had set in Atwell found herself once more wondering the sixth floor.
‘I have a department of my own, but I can’t get anything done, the real power is held by those further up the chain of command.’
‘Maybe they need a little incentive, to place you in a position where you can effect real change.’ said Atwell’s colleague in a honey coated tone as he twitched his fingers as if conducting the very words he spoke. He continued, ‘You have access to budgets and funding in your current role, don’t you? a little bribe maybe? to grease the wheels, to set things in motion as it were.’

 The rain lashed down as Atwell walked home that evening. There was a commotion coming from one side of the building with police and paramedics  in attendance but like the weather Atwell ignored it,  lost in thought as she was about how to reassign certain monies at her disposal and the logistics of covering her tracks. By the time she returned to work the next day she had formulated a plan to put into motion and soon found that doors opened along the corridors of power.

 Rising quickly up her career ladder, Atwell’s work as a cabinet minister kept her too busy to return to the sixth floor. As she sat in her new executive office,  a room large enough for its own conference table and window with a view, when it wasn’t raining,  she aimlessly shuffled reports lost in thought. She was contemplating an offer she had been handed, when the phone rang, picking it up a familiar voice spoke ‘Come up and visit me, we need to talk.’

 The man’s office was large and more lavish than Atwell’s and she wondered what authority and influence this civil servant held. As she relaxed and sunk into one of the plush high-backed  arm chairs, she explained the proposal she was taking under consideration.
‘He wants me to run as his deputy.’
‘His second in command, none of the responsibility but all of the wrap, as it were.’ said the ageing man as he rocked back in his chair, his frame too long for his seat he placed his feet up on the desk and formed a pyramid with his spider like hands 
‘He wants you to be his scapegoat. Maybe they need a little incentive to vote for someone else.’
‘There is no one else’
‘Come, come,’ the man chuckled as he smiled a long narrow smile, ‘surely you are not beyond a little political backstabbing to aid in your vaulting ambition?’

 After a long and dirty campaign Atwell successfully obtained the highest position in the government leaving humiliated rivals and tattered careers in her wake. Having ascended to the position of Prime Minister Atwell moved out of Government House to the official residence, although she still retained an office there as a refuge from the stuffy hustle and bustle of parliament.

 However, her joy in her new  position of power was short lived. She soon found herself butting heads with the formalities of government as the complexities of management alluded her and ministers questioned her ability to lead. Atwell started to find herself spending more and more time escaping to her old stomping ground.
Feeling isolated and powerless she felt as if a vice was tightening in  her mind so she returned to the sixth floor in the hope that the man upstairs was still there, and he would be able to provide some much-needed advice and guidance.

Her jaw dropped to the floor as she entered, office 66 was empty, no fixtures and fittings, the high-backed chairs where gone, the large thick wooden desk had vanished, and the wallpaper showed the shadows where paintings once occupied. As she stood there, she heard footsteps approaching. Atwell recognised the silhouette that formed in the doorway.
‘I am moving on, my services are…’ the figure flicked his figures as if searching a phrase book ‘… no longer required.’ 
‘I need your advice, no one respects me, I feel my power slipping away.’
‘There is nothing I can do’ The words oozed out of the man’s mouth ‘I do however have sympathy with your predicament, your meteoric rise came at the cost of gaining the relevant knowledge, skills and experiences to do the role justice.’
‘There must something you would suggest.’ 
‘You got there via blackmail, bribes and back-stabbing, my work here is done’ With a click of his heels the figure turned sharply and walked away.
Atwell ran after him, but the man had disappeared out of sight.

 Atwell ran down the corridor and stormed down the stairs, but he was nowhere in sight. Half way down she stumbled into the caretaker bent double, scrubbing the steps.
‘Has he come past you?’
‘You what?’ asked the Caretaker in a tone of confusion.
It was now Atwell realised she had never known the strangers name. ‘The…the..’ She stammered ‘the man from the 6th floor, he works in office 66’
A puzzled look fell across the old caretakers face ‘Sixth Floor? I ve been here 25 years, never been a sixth floor in here’

Atwell raced back up the stairs she had recently descended and bashed open the door and found herself on the roof, it was still raining. At the far end she saw a figure standing on the precipice, Atwell called out and the young woman on the edge turned, losing her footing, Atwell caught sight of her face, it was her younger self.

 Before Atwell fell, she felt a hand grab her by the arm, an icy chill ran through her.
‘They say, on the way down your life flashes before you,’ said the grey-haired gentleman as he pulled her back from the brink. ‘Maybe you have had a glance at what it took for others to advance in this cutthroat town, maybe you have seen the moral compromises they have had to make too become the top dog as it were, and maybe you should…’ As he paused his face twisted with anger and Atwell saw the rage burning behind his eyes, then he snarled  ‘…maybe you all should be better than that’
‘Who are you?’ asked Atwell but the man had gone.

Friday, 8 February 2019

The Body of the School

I ve recently been experimenting with longer short stories. This story was based on a idea I ve had for sometime but couldn't make work as short one page story. It also  pull on various elements from my school day, which was an interesting place to revisit in my head.

If you enjoy this story, there maybe a follow up if I can only get it's ending to work.

The Body of the School

‘Welcome back,’ said the colossal squared shouldered man as he passed two envelopes to the withered prune of a person behind the reception desk, ‘see that they go out this afternoon Mrs Mackenzie,’

‘Yes, headmaster’ replied Mrs Mackenzie as her bony hand grasped the letters. The headmaster turned his attention back to the rotund trilby wearing man to his left. The man was a picture of peculiarity, dressed in an all-white suit with a pale blue shirt, a lime green waistcoat and pink bow tie over which he wore a well-worn black frock coat.

 ‘Would love to stay and chat Mr Smith, mountains of paperwork you know.’

 Over the last few weeks serval teachers had resigned claiming  the school was haunted, this had left the school very short staffed. The Headmaster had called in a number of different supply teachers, but none had stayed long once they had encountered the headless body that stalked the halls. Mr Smith, however, was different, he specialised in dealing with the strange and supernatural in schools

 A big cheer went up from the students as Mr Smith entered the science class. The room had no desks, instead there were rows of high benches, five students per bench, each student was perched upon a rickety wooden stool.

‘What brings you back sir?’ said a boy in the front row.

‘Are there vampires in the library again?’ said another over enthusiastically, ‘Is it Mrs Mackenzie? Have you discovered she’s a zombie?’

Mr Smith gave a deep laugh ‘No, no she is not a zombie, she’s just very, very old.’

‘What monster is it this time sir?’ said a girl at the back of the classroom who was busy throwing sharpened pencils in to the ceiling tiles.

Mr Smith’s cheerful demeanour suddenly shifted into serious tones.

‘Not a monster,’ he corrected with a sharp point of a finger ‘they are creatures, always creatures, who remembers why?’

Out of a class of twenty-five only half a dozen hands went up. Mr Smith surveyed the room and picked the small girl in the centre. ‘Rosie’

‘Monsters are evil sir, creatures are not.’

‘That’s right Rosie. Monsters are inherently evil whereas creatures work on instinct, they are rational and can be reasoned with. So, until we know differently, they are always creatures.’

He moved to the blackboard and began to write in the middle of it.

‘Now, what can you kids tell me about the headless body’

Hands went up everywhere.

‘It’s a myth’, ‘It’s a legend’, ‘it’s a ghost’ various voices shouted at once.

As Mr Smith went around the classroom, he wrote each response spiralling out from the central word to form a large spider diagram of information.

 The story told how over the past term there had been growing sightings of a headless spectre roaming the school corridors after all the children had gone home.  The apparent apparition would make its way down the central staircase, through the corridors and into an empty classroom. There it would appear to teach before returning up the stairs to the second floor. Where it went after that no one knew, with all the lights out on the second floor none of the teaching staff or caretakers had been brave enough to follow it up into the darkness.

 ‘Whose available after school for some paranormal investigations again?’

‘No can-do Sir got detention’ a loud voice shouted from the back.

 ‘Football, tonight sir.’

After further reasons, commitments and excuses Mr Smith was left with only a handful of companions for his headless hunt.

 Mr Smith positioned his team of three in the caretakers’ office which allowed them to survey the corridor which gave direct access on to the main hall and ground floor classrooms. They watched and waited for a site of the apparition. The school was a monument to a different age, wooden panelled walls, with hard stone staircases and narrow corridors pock marked with creaky floor boards. The modern world had begun to encroach in places, but the technological upgrades looked out of place and uncomfortable in such a historical setting. Far off in the distance they heard a creak and then another, a large shadow appeared from around a corner followed by a sharp suited lumbering body. They watched as it made its way past them and went into a classroom.

 ‘At least we know it’s not a ghost’ said Mr Smith as they exited their hiding place ‘now who can explain why?

Only one hand went up.

‘Go ahead Robert’

‘A ghost would float not walk and they go through walls and not doors.’

‘Correct on all accounts, come on let us see what it’s up to’

 Looking through the window they could see the headless body standing at the front of class articulating his arms as if demonstrating an experiment without the necessary props. Mr Smith knocked loudly on the door but there was no change in the behaviour of the headless teacher. Opening the door Mr Smith and his companions entered.

‘Sorry we are late sir’ he said as the group ran in and sat down at the back of the room.

‘He didn’t see us sir’ said Robert who had now converted his school tie into a bandanna.

‘Of, course not Bobby’ said Rosie ‘He has no head, therefore has no eyes’

‘He is just going through the motions’ said Mr Smith in hushed tones more to himself than the others.  He ran a hand through his thick black beard as he thought.

‘Now any of you good at throwing pens.’

The children looked at one another, no one willing to incriminate the other.

‘Come on Polly, we have all seen your handy work embedded in the roof of the science lab’

Mr Smith pulled out a green board marker from his inside suit pocket, ‘Do you think you could hit his shirt from here?’


‘You won’t get in trouble.’

‘If you are sure sir.’

Polly took the pen, took aim and threw. It hit its target on the collar and smudged as it dropped down to the floor.

‘Now we wait’ said Mr Smith

 Some indeterminable time later the headless teacher appeared to dismiss his invisible class, packed up his non-existent belongings and headed out of the classroom. Mr Smith and his gang followed, as it retraced it’s route back along the corridor towards the main staircase and began its assent. At the top of the stairs the corridor split into two directions, having been to the school before Mr Smith knew the corridors went around in a circle and divided his team in two. Robert and Polly would go one way round he and Rosie would go the other, then meet in the middle.

‘But it’s dark’ muttered Polly

With much of the building needing rewiring many lights had failed but none had yet been replaced.

 ‘Luckily I brought torches’ smiled Mr Smith ‘One between two’

 The corridors seemed narrower and more enclosed in the darkness. The beams of light from the ineffective torches cast long shadows as they bounced off unseen objects. Reaching the half way point, there was no sign of the headless body or the others so Mr Smith and Rosie continued their walk, it wasn’t long before they came upon Polly and Robert frozen outside the headmasters office.

‘It went, in…’ stammered Robert ‘Thought it best to wait for you sir.’

‘We’re not going to follow, are we?’ said Polly as she stood transfixed on the door.

‘I will’ Said Mr Smith as he knocked on the office door

After a delay a request to enter was forthcoming.

‘Coming?’ Mr Smith said to his companions, only Rosie answered yes.

  The large room of the headmasters office had a stuffy dusty smell, the shelves that lined the walls where full of books, box files and piles of paper covered the floor and the furniture. The headmaster sat at a large desk at the far end illuminated only by the moonlight that shone brightly through the arched window.

‘Mr Smith, how may I help you?’ asked the headmaster as he looked up from his reports.

‘Has someone just come in here?’

‘No, no one’ said the headmaster as he returned to his work.

Mr Smith and Rosie began to discreetly look around the room, there were no cupboards for it to hide in and it was unlikely to have gone out through the window. Mr Smith stopped to examine the several ties hanging over the back of a chair when he felt a nudge in his side.

‘He has green pen on his shirt’ whispered Rosie.

Mr Smith looked, it was hard to make it out in the half light, but a quick shine of the torch confirmed there it was.

 ‘Have you been here all evening headmaster?’ enquired Mr Smith as he picked a tie from the chair.

‘Yes of course’ came an indignant reply ‘Got all these reports to write you know’

‘Not stepped out once or twice for a break, for a coffee?’

‘I wish, the only break I had was when I nodded off for a bit’

‘How long for?’

‘I…I.. don’t know really…’

‘You are wearing a red tie, was it not blue this morning?’ said Mr Smith as he circled behind the headmaster ‘Why do you have so many ties headmaster?’

‘Leave at once’ the headmaster shouted as he pushed back is chair and stood up, the sudden movement and jolt upwards caused a wobble on the headmasters shoulders.

‘Do you want to tighten your tie headmaster?’ said Mr Smith as calmly as possible, but it was too late, there was a thud followed by a short scream as the head dropped from the headmaster’s body, landing in front of Rosie. The body sprang to life, its arms reaching, searching for its head. Rosie reached down and passed the head back to its owner. The body carefully placed it back on its shoulders, there was a click as it slotted in to position and then the headmaster tightened his tie to hold it in place.

 ‘What’s happening to me Mr Smith?

‘Its simple headmaster’ replied Mr Smith, he went on to explain that as the headmaster spent all day sat at his desk writing reports that his heart wasn’t in, his body finally started to object. So, each evening when the headmaster had slumped over his work his body removed his heavy head from it shoulders and went off to do what it really enjoyed doing, teaching.

Mr Smith removed a small note pad from his inside pocket and scribbled something on it and handed it to the headmaster.

‘I prescribe you one lesson of teaching a week to keep your heart happy, oh and give a few of your older students some work experience to help you with all this filing’ he said as he swept is hands around the stacks of paper.

‘Thank you, Mr Smith’ replied the Headmaster in low apologetic tones.

‘Come Rosie, let’s find your friends, our work here is done.’

As Mr Smith began to walk towards the door the headmaster called after him.

‘As you are here Mr Smith, could you look into Mrs Mackenzie, I think she might be a zombie.’

Saturday, 5 January 2019

The Wolves of Jericho

Happy New Year. 
New year new story. This short story was based on the How Wolves Change Rivers documentary (click HERE ) and wanted to take this complicated issues and make into a accessible children's story. I find myself posting this blog at a time when it has become strangely topical and has the opportunity to act as an allegory. If you do see political parallels please remember what you bring to story is what you see not necessarily what I intended to write.

The Wolves of Jericho

The meeting was already in full swing when Joshua entered. Lady Jasmine,chief administrator  of Jericho National Park ,was stood at the head of the long oak table, ranting loudly as she jousted at the pictures on the projection screen behind her.

‘These wolves come into our park, unwelcomed, frighten our animals and scare their young. There are packs out there waiting to swarm in and take up residence in our parkland. We are guardians of this park, we are not doing our job if we do not protect the wildlife within.’

 Jericho National Park was a large expanse of protected wilderness, ranging from open moor land to heavily wooded forest, it was home to a diverse spectrum of life from the Red Moose to the Small Tailed Wren to the Oakwood Otter.  

‘The problem with this park is that it has open borders to the untamed hostile wilds that’s full of savage beasts, and we don’t want them roaming around here destroying our paradise park’ continued Lady Jasmine.

Park rangers had been sent to patrol the outer limits to try and turn back the tide of wolf packs that streaming into Jericho, but still the wolves come.

‘I vote we build a wall to keep the vermin out’

Joshua raised a hand, but before the apprentice had the opportunity to object, to the growing controlled management of Jericho, the motion was carried and the meeting adjourned.  So, it come to pass that a huge wall was built to keep the wolves out, any that were still found with in park where placed in cages and removed.

 As the years turned Joshua rose up through ranks at the National Park and he watched in horror as the Red Moose population rapidly grew. They openly grazes, without fear, on the lush riverbanks and valleys, where they stripped backed the grass and prevented saplings  taking root. Over time there was a significant drop in species diversity in the park and both the Small Tailed Wrens and Oakwood Otters disappeared from Jericho. No one could understand why such a transformation had fallen across their green and pleasant land, Joshua had his theories but no  one would listen.

 Finally, after decades Lady Jasmine  retired and Joshua  was in a position to make changes. As the new Chief Administrator, he tabled a controversial conservation plan to save the now decaying national park, the plan was simple, bring the wolves back to Jericho. So, it  was the wall was knocked down.

 There were still those that where against giving the wolves such unrestricted access to the park. However, they soon found it difficult to  ignore the positive impact they were having on the eco system. With predators now on the lose the Red Moose stayed away from the open grass plains, they retired to the protection of their old stomping grounds within the woodlands.  Free from the presence of moose the grass in the valleys began to grow once more. With the tall grass for cover the ground nesting Small Tailed Wrens started to return. With saplings given time to take root, the mud banks down on the river lived stopped being washed away in the autumn floods, and the Oakwood Otters returned to set up home.

 As more and more species began to flourish, and Jericho bloomed with wildlife once again Joshua decreed that the park should always have open borders, to the wilderness beyond, and that the wolves should always be welcome in Jericho.

Written by Owen Kowalski

Thursday, 20 December 2018

The Woodcutter’s Daughter

Happy Christmas everyone. This story is one I re-wrote to have a more Christmas theme. This story gained a deeper meaning as during December as during December my brother and sister in law where both moving has and expecting their first child.  If you would like to read the original version it click HERE.

The Woodcutter’s Daughter

The woodcutter lived in an old dishevelled dwelling in the clearing on the edge of the King’s estate. The building was slowly sinking into its muddy foundations, the icy winds of winter howled through the hole ridden walls and the roof provided no escape when the rain came. The woodcutter and his wife would have liked to move but the cost exceeded their income.
 One day there was a knocking that echoed around the old ramshackle cottage. Opening the door, the woodcutter was greeted by the Kings head gardener.

‘Good evening sir’ said the short stocky man ‘I am in much need of your services.’ The gardener went on to explain that the King was requesting the largest Christmas tree that could be found to fill the great hall for the coming festive season. ‘Could you help, in locating such a tree?’

 ‘Of course,’ the Woodcutter said ‘In payment for my skills I ask for a tree from the Crown forest’

 The Crown Forest housed the best trees in the land, they grew so tall they punctured the clouds above, the trunks were as thick as the castle’s battlements and from root to canopy they teemed with life.  However, to protect the forest from poachers and loggers the King had classified it as a nature reserve and its borders where heavily guarded, entry was forbidden without consent from the royal household.

After much thought the King’s gardener agreed to the woodcutter’s request as long as he only took a tree that had already fallen.

 The following week the Captain of the Kings guards came knocking at the woodcutter’s home requesting assistance removing the fallen branches that had come crashing down on to the castle’s parade ground during the ravages of the recent snow storms. The Woodcutter asked if he could keep the wood as payment, however the Captain replied that was impossible was they where to be used as fuel for the fires that heated the caste. So once again the Woodcutter asked if he could take a tree from the Crown Forest as payment. The Captain agreed on the condition the woodcutter was accompanied through the forest by his guards, who would supervise the work.

 When the woodcutter returned home with another giant tree, his wife questioned her husband about his unusual method of payment. ‘We are so poor, my dear payment in gold sovereigns, is needed much more than these trees you bring.’

‘Don’t worry’ the woodcutter reassured her ‘These trees have a value beyond gold sovereigns.’

A few days later Woodcutter took urgent work from the King’s cook, chopping up the remaining large branches, that had fallen on the parade ground, so they could be used in the castle’s ovens.

With the Kitchen staff so far behind baking Mice Pie and Sausage rolls, the head chef had little time to barter over price for Woodcutter’s work. ‘What do you want in payment?’ she asked.

So again, he asked for a tree from the Crown Forest for payment for services rendered.

 The pattern continued for the remaining weeks of advent, then on Christmas Eve his wife was surprised and relieved that the woodcutter brought home gold sovereigns.

‘No Trees today dear?’
‘I have all the trees I require’

 With every spare hour of daylight, the Woodcutter worked on the timber he had brought home. The wood was thick, smooth and flawless and far surpassed the quality of the wood available throughout the Kingdom. He sawed each tree into planks of various shapes and sizes, He then set about his work patching up the roof where the rain come in, fixing the collapsing walls where the winds blow through and replacing the rotten floorboards that crumbled under foot with every step. The snow was returning, and the darkness arrived with alarming quickness the woodcutter worked on.

 From the very last tree the Woodcutter craved out a crib, for his wife had been with child and now his daughter had arrived she had a house the woodcutter was proud to call her home.

Written by Owen Kowalski

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Salem’s Plot

A poem for Halloween. I wasn't going to post anything for Halloween, the  I miss heard Salem's Lot as Salem's Plot and an idea sprang to mind.

Salem’s Plot

Time moved on and our cousin’s forgot
What we buried on the land called Salem’s plot.

We buried it deep with the dark,
For without the light it had no spark.

We told our cousin’s what we buried there
But they did not listen, they did not care.

After taking ownership of this land
Our cousin’s dug a hole by spade and hand.

And in that pit, they placed a tree
To grow up tall for all to see.

It’s roots went down deep into the ground
And feed on the evil that they found.

The fruit it bore was a devilish red,
Which upon our cousin’s feed.

But the food was poisoned, infused with hate
They saw the signs, but it was to late.

As bigotry blossomed and suspicions grew 
The Salem’s Witch Trails began a new.

And town that was once full of life,
Turned on brother, sister, husband, wife.

Crowds cheered and other cried,
As liberty wiped and freedoms died.

Then one person did what they could,
To tear that tree down from where it stood.

How they preach a lesson, that’s not to be forgotten,
The fruits of hate taste something rotten.

Written by Owen Kowalski

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Ooo I do like Jelly

Welcome back, to this month's blog. This is not the blog I was planning on posting, but I was doing some re-filling of my written work putting them in different topic and subject when I stubbled on this poem that I had forgotten about. It fun like poem called Ooo I do like Jelly.
There may or may not be a blog in November, I am working on a story I am considering serialising over December in the lead up to Christmas. 
Ooo I do like jelly I eat it all the time
I like orange jelly and jelly that taste of lime
I like jelly with rhubarb I like jelly with Ice Cream
I like to swim in jelly. That is my favourite dream
Ooo I do like custard I have it on everything I eat
I have it on apple crumple, pancakes and roasted meat
I like custard that’s bright yellow, instant or from a tin
But if it goes cold I don’t like it, it goes straight into the bin

Ooo I do like cream, I eat everyday
That may sound unhealthy but I don’t care what they say
I have a dollop on cornflakes but the way I like most
Is having it spread thick with upon a piece toast

Ooo I do like to bake, and I do like a cake
When I see gateau a slice I have to take
I like chocolate cake I like a flan
And I like Victoria sponge piled high with raspberry jam

Ooo I do like jelly and custard they are so great
Sponge and cream is delicious when served upon a plate
Ooo I do like trifle which must be plain to see
But as much I like trifle, trifle does not like me

Written by Owen Kowalski