Signs of life and musical adventures begin again

After a long hiatus, I have decided to try and post some regular music or writing content to see if I can revive my interest in the world of blogging.

I suppose before we set up our own company I was possessed with a wealth of creative energy to put something out into the world and show people what I could and can do in terms of creativity. Sadly, I had to suspend these dreams due to an ever growing number of responsibilities, i.e. co-running our company.

However, I feel the need to get back into the saddle and try to rediscover that potential for creative energy, whether it be short stories or sound snippets.

Over the weekend I set myself the task of creating background music for some Facebook posts. Everything started well. However, what started life as a short piano piece turned out to be the foundation for a piece that goes in a totally different musical direction to what I had planned.

Within the realms of creativity, one must strive to let ideas flow, and in this case I heard another song take shape. Thus, I began layering up synth sounds to bring forth a groove, somehow reminiscent of industrial bands. This led to me taking out the NS-Stick to develop a rich heavy sound to compliment the groove: Bliss was the result.

Even though it is only a sound space idea, I will use it to develop further ideas in this direction.

I hope you like it. DO feel free to comment and offer any advice as to changes that could be made.



Peter Gabriel live in Cologne

He’s still at it, and doing it very well.

Peter Gabriel is one of the all time masters of emotional and rhythmic music. He’s been pushing the boundaries of modern music for many years, and last night’s concert in Cologne was a prime example of his mastery of music and staggering stage presence.

For many people, he is known for combining western music with an array of tribal rhythms to give his music that special something: derived from around the world, these imbue and enrich his music with a diverse tapestry of beats and harmonies. It is fascinating to see the band execute trance-like rhythms – often in the intros – that get the audience gyrating to the grooves.

Last night, the band were on form and delivered a breathtaking performance.

However, I had one minor criticism with the overall sound: for me, the bass was not high enough, and was very often “consumed” by Manu Katché’s bass drum and other low frequencies. The more quieter elements, however, where Tony Levin’s upright came into play, were perfect: his passion for the instrument came to the fore when married with Peter Gabriel’s piano pieces.

David Rhodes (who celebrated his birthday yesterday) was in great form too. Even though he is a more “subtle” player, tending to layer sounds and embellish the music with funky chops and blistering sustained notes that hang in the air for an eternity, he is a master of grooves and effects.

Peter’s voice was amazing: all I had to do was close my eyes and he transported me back to the 80’s again. I find it satisfying to see him in action and am pleased that he hasn’t lost any of those vocal nuances. He may have put on a few pounds, but his vocal prowess still holds it own.

Accompanied by two ladies from Stockholm, Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson, he delivered what everyone has come to expect from him. In fact, the two ladies opened the show with some of their own solo material.  Snowstorm, the opening song, was ethereal and had a very “Gabriel” feel to it. Check it out:

When they played Don’t Give Up, Jennie Abrahamson’s voice was a perfect substitute for what Kate Bush had created so many years ago. The crowd went crazy when she sang the chorus.

I would encourage everyone to check out the two ladies.

Here are some photos that Linnea Olsson uploaded form last night’s gig:

This is one of her songs:

All in all, a fantastic evening.

Summer music

This is my daughter at the fun fair last year.

We had a great gig in Bonn yesterday evening: small venue but had a cool atmosphere.
Due to the good feeling I had to get some ideas down on the old computer. Here is one.
It’s simply called Summer Groove:

Revenge: the conclusion

Revenge: the conclusion.

She was between worlds; rising up through landscapes of memory.
Cloud-like forms carved from a million instances of her life, all bunching together, folding, metamorphosing, blending, and pirouetting through the void.
As she pushed herself up, fighting the current pulling her down, fighting to leave this storm, she finally broke surface, passing above the sea of chaos.
And, as she looked down, amazement shook her, making her forget what she had to do… for a moment.
For, in that split second, looking down at the brilliance, looking down at what tapestries of beauty her subconscious could weave, she was breathless from longing.
All around, scattered beneath her were the lost memories, a brooding storm of sights, each one rubbing shoulders with the next. Sights from childhood, womanhood, all clinging together, dancing beneath her, showing her a past she missed so much.
But it was not what it seemed.
For, as she rose higher, she heard their deceitful sniggers, and she knew what they were: the hounds of longing.
These were the memories that wanted her to stay, wanted her to take the plunge, stay in wonderland; taunting her to follow them down, down to memories that would smother her sanity, drown her existence in a multiplicity of pasts, leaving her trapped below in the caverns of a sleep that she would never arise from.
“No!” She screamed. “Not today.”
She pushed onwards, ignoring their subterfuge.
But, they tried, one last time, sending a cloud swirling up to encircle her, test her composure, her will.
A face appeared in the grey mass, tenebrous lips whispering her name.
As it spoke, clouds pieced themselves together, forming a screen, a beloved cinema from childhood.
Left and right she spied glittering mermaids carved in the walls. And up above, a starry dome with spotlights suspended between velvet curtains. Below her, curving out like a little cove, row after row of satin seats, and like landing lights beckoning her down, soft moody lights were embedded in the carpet.
Then came a voice: it was the old woman who’d serve ice cream at the interval.
“Come down. It’s your favourite film,” she waved as the projector sprung into life behind her.
Shouting at it, she punched out, kicking with her feet, trying to get rid of the scene; a past she dearly missed, but would not want to stay.
She pulled up, banishing the vision.
Heeding her words, the dream catcher stole away, the screen shimmering into chaos once more, diving away into the depths.
Breathless, she watched it. First it turned into a skipping girl who promptly split into a bizarre pattern of twirling Chinese dragons that quickly scattered like spooked fish, seeking sanctuary, disappearing behind sunsets of doubt, and swimming down into vortices of lust and longing. One by one, they melted into another scene then another, then another, without beginning, without end.
It was hideously mystifying.
Hideously tempting.
Above her, she saw it: a reminder of life; a beacon of light revolving high above her, a sunray piercing down through the grey and sullen clouds in a hemisphere of storms.
She pushed up.
With thunder snapping at her heals and subtle flashes of lightning spreading across the surreal boundaries marking the gulf between her mind and intangibility, she rose up, a human balloon.
Floating onwards, she remembered what she had to do.
The name.
Jesus! It was still out there; a willow-the-wisp conglomeration of sound.
She had to get it before reality took her beck.
Reality…, that aspect of life she would rather reimagine.
Piecing together fragments of reality and memory, she recalled what had transpired above her, in the oncoming flickering brightness.
For a brief second, she pondered the chaos below and a question.
What would it be: the blade of a raving lunatic or die looking for a name cried out across a bleak square?
Flailing, she desperately struggled to hold onto a vital piece of information, a lifeline, and a clue to her rescue.
“No…!” she struggled, the void smothering her movements, hindering her escape.
“The name, I need the name.”
It had been screamed across a moonlit market square. The secret they had wanted her to know.
But…, now, her journey nearly over, and reality knocking at the door of this world, she screamed out for help across the mists of memories.
But there was no reply.
Too late…
The final destination.
She sensed the air around her, its cold embrace, the pungent stench of lavender, old books and…, still faint, beyond it all, the soft fluttering of moths continuing their dance against the glass, unabated.
Eyes still tight, she gently took in air, letting the cold trickle into her, the steel still nipping at her neck.
A hard reminder.
But this wasn’t right.
No, she screamed within her.
It wasn’t time to face the old woman yet, not yet.
Just one more second.
Please…, one more second, she begged.
Speak to me! She screamed into the grey.
“Show me!”
Concentrating, she put together the scene.
Behind her eyelids, the image of what she had seen appeared: the vast shadow overlooking the market square.
A shadow so familiar. So full of hate and tragedy.
It was slipping away.
“Wait! No! I need to know.”
The more she spoke the quicker it folded into the darkness, a timid creature of the forest scampering away from the hunter, becoming a mere after image, fading from the retina of her subconscious.
“Speak to me, goddamn it!”
She reached out one last time.
Speak to me!
And out there, out there in that barren world, a cry…, so faint, like that of a lost child.
“Focus, goddamn it!”
Fighting against the blade’s edge, she reached out into the void, ignoring the cold, ignoring the slither of death at her neck.
“Let me be!”
But it was drawing her back, a cold hearted fisherman snarling at his catch, drawing her back to the room, and the hiss of reality filling her ears
She swam down into the void, one last time, snatching at the tiny echo, trying hard to fathom its meaning.
“One last time… Please!”
But, as it became a soft whisper, dwindling away, sinking back into to that bleak world, she caught its meaning.
And, like a radio locking onto a lost station, her mouth opened:
Her eyes were wide, she gasped for air.
Cold breath across her eyes.
Time standing still.
But it was there.
The name was there, before her.
Shimmering across the table, piercing the freezing air, filling the room.
She could see it, her breath, twisting and curling in the golden light, dancing above the flickering candle.
As it formed a multitude of formless shapes, she could have laughed, laughed out loud at what she saw. For, as that insubstantial body of air crept through space, its billowing motion brought back a fond childhood memory: a book, old and battered, showing Victorian ectoplasmic apparitions, cleverly spun charlatan spectres depicted in sepia, a world full of half-light, cut-out entities populating a long lost world.
A book of lies and swindles, the worlds she would one day crush.
But not all of them.
She breathed in.
But this was no parlour room play, no childhood fantasy.
It was the here and now.
And, as she stifled the laugh, putting the memory away, she heard the voices; not from outside, but from within.
Massing together, deep within her, screaming, rising up from that bleak world: thousands of voices, all screaming to be heard.
No. It couldn’t be!
They’d found a way out.
Channelling. They were channelling through her.
Voices from within her, all rushing out as one. A crowd running headlong for one opening, looking for the one who had hurt them so long ago.
Desperate for justice, they clawed at her throat.
But…, the knife, hanging at the junction between life and death.
It still hung there. Waiting for the single movement.
But no movement came.
The old woman was frozen.
Only her soft breathing, rhythmic, and her skin, laced with lavender, was the sign of life.
Was a name so powerful?
But her concentration was needed elsewhere: the voices were struggling to get out.
If they forced her to speak?
What then? Would the old bitch ignore them? Or simply cut her, bleed her like a sacrificial lamb?
Is that what they wanted?
Did they care for her existence or just their own pitiful revenge?
She couldn’t let them out, not yet; she had to control them.
Keep them in check.
Hold them back.
Her eyes focussed.
The knife hadn’t moved.
The old woman was a statue, shocked from the name circling the room.
How long did she have before the beast within her shook away the trance?
Breathe in. Keep it in. Don’t let it out, she thought; it was the only mantra that would hold it all together.
In the freezing air, her skin ashen, she held her breath in, the only weapon she had against them.
She closed her eyes.
Her lungs burning, skin awash with the kisses of death’s lowly demons, she saw them beneath the rippling water, her hands holding them down, tiny bubbles rising up. And in one giant glassy bubble she could see them, a mass of ghostly faces, grey, full of hate, full of rage.
Seeing her plan, they sank down, dragging her with them.
The water encircled her head, washing over her body, pulling her down.
Twisting around, she stared up at the shimmering light of freedom, taunting her in this hopeless struggle, distorting the life above, still in sight, her air running low.
The water was gone.
Only cold air all around.
Keep them in, she told herself.
Keep hold.
She tried so desperately to control them, keep them in. But the knowledge of what she had become had weakened her: she was the conduit, the doorway. They could reach out and take the old bitch.
Please…, not now.
Not with so much danger around her: the knife that could so quickly end her life.
She counted the heart beats, marking out time in her chest, beating, still beating.
“Keep them in,” she whispered in her mind.
Screams thronging in her throat now; so many curses, so many lives cut off too short.
Voices, pushing, pulling at the gate, pushing, pushing, looking for that way out.
She opened her eyes once again, looking around, looking for a point to concentrate on.
The window.
The books.
The figure.
The ghost.
There, she’d seen it.
A movement?
Something caught her attention.
The wispy breath, which had come up from so deep, which had manifested itself before her eyes.
What was it doing?
Why hadn’t it dissipated?
It was circling the candle, a comet trapped in the gravity of a glowing star.
But it looked strange, this dimensionless form shifting in space, fighting forces that would dissipate its simple life.
As it drifted, forming misty rings around the flame, it reached out to the light, like the moths at the window, seeking the light, yearning.
Her heart pounded.
The voices were near.
“Keep them in! keep them in!”
From the corner of her eye, in the third chair, the ghostly figure moved.
Heat pounding.
Bump, bump…, bump, bump…, bump, bump.
Her heart beating the rhythm of her life.
Seconds stretching out.
But…, the figure. What was it doing?
Raising an arm?
Across the table, it touched the cloud, and with it, the candle light intensified.
It couldn’t be.
She stared at the shadowy form, her heart about to burst.
The figure was changing, taking on a new visage.
A woman.
It could only be…, the name.
This is what they wanted from her.
She could fight no more.
Her strength gone, they ripped up through her, gushing up, free at last: seeking the figure, the ghost.
The vacuum within her sucked at the air, her lungs filling with life.
The knife at her neck, for a second, gently cut her skin, but withdrew.
Behind her, she heard steps, moving away.
The ghostly figure in the chair manifested itself.
And, for brief seconds, she was there.
And then, as if someone flipped a switch, she was gone.
All that remained was soft flickering candlelight and a quiet wail in the darkness.
The old woman stood back, the knife hanging in the air.
“Lily,” she said, despondently, followed by that chilling wail again.
She finally drifted back into the half shadows. Her shoulders hunching back down, her back rounding, her eyes sinking away, she became a lonely old woman once more.
As that name hung in the air, she shuddered.
Her head dropping, she spoke. Her voice lost, broken, alone.
“Lily, was my mother,” she said. “But…, she… was…..”
Her voice trickled away.
She put her tongue across dry, chapped lips, contemplating her words.
Only the brushing of wings upon glass.
In the hallway, the clocked marked the hour, a prompt for the hunched figure to move into the semi-light.
“He made me do it. My father,” she stammered, words coming in short bursts. “It was my father. I remember,” she said, her words slowly gathering clarity, momentum.
“I remember.”
Looking up, her eyes twinkled in the candlelight and she let go of the knife.
“I remember now. I remember his obsession. I remember the books, the pain. Lily knew something was wrong with him, something violent, malevolent. Why do I remember it now?” She turned to the bookshelves.
As she did, Mademoiselle Clements clutched at her neck. She felt a tiny rivulet of blood and the sting of pain.
It wasn’t deep. So just needed to hold her hand there.
She had to listen. The old woman was back.
Was it nearly over?
Had they done it, the spirits?
They’d called her here to find the woman and now they’d forced the old bitch’s memories back.
Now it was time to listen.
Mademoiselle Clements let her body relax.
She’d got away with it.
In the corner, where she’d left it, the sensor device was still on, still transmitting, still blinking.
A confession was all she needed.
A confession.
It was all she wanted.
The confession.
At the window the moths were at rest.
A calm entered the room.
The voices had set the arena.
Judgment was to be done.
But they needed to hear it from her lips.
Mademoiselle Sanson stood at the bookshelf.
Her voice sharp now.
“Each book, all held together with rusty clasps, tells a story. Not in words. No,” she said, letting her hand wander across the glass the shelves, her voice still distant.
“My mother had known it. She’d seen how they’d affected my father, made him change, especially after starting his research. His job had been to find special books. The “Lost” books, as the museum director had called them. All full of secret histories. He’d found people, all over France, collectors, all with stories to tell and books to sell. My mother could remember the first one he’d brought back. It had fascinated him. It was a book that should have been burned in the Revolution, but had somehow survived.
Night after night he would sit in the study, reading under candlelight. Hour upon hour, only the sounds of swishing pages and a fountain pen hard at work, dipping into ink, scrawling his thoughts, his fears. She would often find him asleep at the table, his head resting on those vile pages.
She’d pitied him, thinking work was causing his obsessional work.
But then came the dreams.
He would wake up shouting and screaming. Names, places, strange words of unknown origin.
She said it was often the voice of another.
It was this that had struck fear into her heart.
Fearing the worst, she’d sought medical counselling.
After seeing my father in one of his darker moods, the doctor had proclaimed the book had a hold of him, manifesting another in his body. It could only be the work of powers we never speak of, was his answer. He decreed that my father should receive help of the psychiatric nature and that we should speak to no one of his ailment.
Lily was advised to get rid of the book immediately. Take it to the museum, he advised her. Let them take care of it. Get my father help for his troubled soul.
But when she called the museum, they’d told her that my father had handed in his notice weeks before.
Lily could take it no more.
Who was she living with?
The following evening, when he was in the study, she confronted him. Asking him to put the book aside.
But, as she’d feared, they’d waited too long, and the “other” was behind those eyes.”
The old woman moved to the centre of the room.
“I can still see her, back there, in our old home. I can remember what she told me. She saw what he had become: a haggard shadow of his former self. Eyes sunken, skin yellowed like the pages of the book, his energy had been sapped away by those pages. And now it was being used to resurrect something else.
I remember waking up, running into the study, seeing them both there, I saw her trying to take the book, and this gaunt figure lashing out at her, striking her to the ground.
My mother screaming out.
I saw her on the floor helpless; my father standing at the table. Not trying to help her.
I was frozen.
But then, I saw her reach for something on the floor. She picked something up, a knife. Getting up, she lunged at my father, plunging it into his chest.
He fell next to the table.
Prone against the table, a pool of crimson spilling out from between fingers, he clutched at his belly, as his life trickled away.
I was frozen in shock.
Gasping, crying, barely understandable from hysteria, she tried to tell me why. Tears streaming down her face, she told me my father had died inside months ago and that a stranger had been living with us. The book had changed him.
Thinking only of staunching the blood, I ran to him.
However, in those few seconds, as I touched him, the life finally ran away from him.
And I remember the cold. His skin, so cold.
It was only then that I realised my mistake.
But it was too late.
Why hadn’t I listened? The words of my mother.
For, in the seconds his life expired, his madness entered into me.
That monster entered his flesh and blood.
I’ve done its bidding. The puppeteer holds me for its performance.”
She looked at the rows upon rows of books. Tears now streaming down her face.
“I buried my mother in our cellar. He’s there too.
I suppose they are still there today.
He made me kill her.
She knew too much and I had so much work to do, he’d said.
Who’d believe a young girl had done it, the voice had told me. He’d forced me. Every time. It was him.”
The old woman studied the books.
“I remember now. You’ve made me remember. I remember that it wasn’t me. Never was me. The books, it came from the books, feeding on their suffering, always seeking more. He said they had to pay for hiding that which had to be burned. Purge those who hold onto the old values, hiding from the guillotine.”
She banged her fists on the glass.
“Purge? What do you mean?”
“Kill them. Kill them all. Take their books. That’s all he ever wanted.”
The confession?
Did she finally have it?
She couldn’t believe it.
“Yes. Blood on my hands. Blood everywhere. Screams. All their screams ringing in my ears. But he wanted it,” she held out her hands. “He said they’d never find me. Never suspect me.”
Turning to the shelves, she banged her fist on the glass.
Now…, now. You must take them. Take the books. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? Take them all.”
She pounded on the glass. “Take them all. Burn them. Just take them.”
Mademoiselle Clements simply shook her head.
“No. I’m not here to take any books,” her voice soft, calm, in control. “That’s what you wanted to believe. The truth is…, I’m here for you. I’m here for what you’ve done.”
The old woman looked at her incredulously.
“Done? What have I done?” Innocence in her voice. “It was him. He did it. It was always him. I’m his puppet,” she whimpered, pointing to the books. “Don’t you see? Haven’t they shown you, your spirits? It’s in the books. He wrote it all down. He had control.”
But the young woman remained calm, watching the old woman.
“It was him. HIM! I tell you!”
“It’s wasn’t him, was it?” Her voice calm.
“Mademoiselle Sanson, you’re wanted for the murder of fifty three people, and perhaps countless more. I‘ve been working with the police to try and find you. The only information I had were the voices of thousands of people who suffered at the guillotine. People killed hundreds of years ago. All my life I’ve heard them. I never believed them; I thought it was just some crazy dream about some strange books. But slowly, over the past six years, their voices crystallised into something tangible: they told a story even the police didn’t want to believe. I tracked everything they told me, every single detail, every single avenue of evidence. It was those voices who led me to you.”
“Then outside, the old wood they found was…”
“People were executed here. Decapitated. It’s the reason the moths were attracted to this place. That was the breakthrough we’d needed. The voices focussed on this place. And then, I met the priest.”
“Then…, you are not of the cloth?”
“I’m a medium. Helped the police on a lot of cases.”
“Then…, they will arrest me? Take me in?”
“They’re waiting.”
The old woman sank to her knees.
“It was always him. Always,” she sobbed. “I have no way out. He trapped me.”
It was over.
Or so it seemed.
Was it too easy?
Had the voices accepted her confession?
The moths.
Something had disturbed them.
“What is happening?” sobbed the old woman, staring at the window.
The tiny insects were going crazy, their bodies banging against the glass, a raging storm battering the glass.
“The spirits they’re…,” the young woman looked confused.
Cold wafted around again.
Within her she could hear their footsteps running across the cobblestone market square, all shouting…, and screaming. But what were they screaming?
“Revenge? Are they screaming for revenge?”
Her throat was dry again. Within her a storm was churning in her stomach, in her mind they were shouting, over and over again.
The old woman was hysterical.
“Oh, please take me to the police. Please! It is so cold. They will….”
Her eyes glazed over.
She clutched at her chest, falling to the carpet, her legs kicking out, her head thrown back in agony.
“Mademoiselle Sanson!” God!” The young woman got up, going to the now still body.
She stopped herself at the last second,.
In that instant, that terrible sound began again.
The booming from the bowels of the house thudded into the floor, sending out ear-splitting screams as the foundations slid beneath her feet.
Thunderous roars shuddered through the room, sending ornaments flying.
Ominous sounds buffeted the floor, the walls, hammering, unrelenting, deafening.
As it built up to a crescendo, the lights flickered on; pulsing white light blinded her, turning the room into a vision of unreality.
Her mind in confusion, she struggled to stay on her feet, grabbing the table.
Above her, the chandelier rocked from side to side, driven on by the quake.
As the roar started a fresh assault, she saw the damage.
Spiralling out from the chandelier, long cracks shot across the ceiling.
As plaster drifted down, the wave of sound thumped into the walls, into the floor.
Something had to give, she thought.
And, as the sound became unbearable, and the cracks reached the window, her silent fear was confirmed: the windows warped, then…, exploded.
Glass sparkled in the air, tiny fragments flying inwards.
“Jesus,” she screamed, diving down beneath the table, her only option.
As the glass came to rest, a new noise filled her ears.
A shrill, high pitched scream, all around.
Thousands of tiny shadows fluttered before her vision, smothering the light.
Above her, the air was alive.
The night air rushed in, bringing with it the storm of moths, frantic wings beating, furry bodies swirling around, all coming together, forming a spiralling cyclone, a twisting funnel revolving around the room, a blur of bodies encircling the prone body of the old woman.
“No!” she screamed out. “Leave her alone. You don’t know what she is!” She screamed out.
But it was no use. The spirits were in the tiny creatures, this hurricane of insects.
She knew what they wanted, and there was nothing she could do to stop them.
A moth landed on her arm, its body bloated. A hazy blue glow shimmering around its body.
“What energy do you carry?”
A tingle shot through her.
“Oh no. It can’t be!”
She got up, heading for the doorway to the hallway.
Running fast, she had to escape.
But it stopped her.
An invisible energy shot out and held her.
“Leave me alone!” She screamed, fighting the force.
An invisible hand pulled her back by her hair, dragging her painfully into the side of the table, making her lose balance, fall over.
Her skin crackled with the blue energy.
From the body lying close by, she heard a laugh.
“Thought you could outwit this old bitch, did you?”
What had been Mademoiselle Sanson turned over to stare at the petrified woman, its eyes streaming blue crackling energy.
“Keep away from me. The police. They’ll be here. They’re waiting. They’ll shoot you if you try and…”
“What do you think they’ll do to this bad old bitch? Oh yes, I know. You told me. Thank you for that piece of information.”
The old woman stood up, hitting out at moths, bright light leaking from cracks in her pasty skin.
Through the storm of bustling creatures, she slowly opened her mouth, releasing a thick beam of blue light. It shimmered up, twisting in the storms of insects.
“I think it’s time we said hello to your friends outside? Time for some action!” Her voice vile, hateful.
“Get away from me.”
Mademoiselle Clements started to crawl backwards, to the door, a way out, tiny fragment of glass cutting into her back, her hands.
“Get away from me!”
The old woman looked down at her, her face now a mass of blue blinding light, sparks of iridescent light spilling out into the air, swirling around in the storm of insects.
“Oh, you think I want to touch you. That’s it,” she laughed. “No. I can let these foul creatures do all the work for me,” her laugh was obliterated by the hiss of wings. “It was nice meeting you, Mademoiselle Clements. But now I’m afraid you have other business to attend to. All I can say is adieu.”
The glowing blue light shot from her mouth and eyes, enveloping the moths, turning their tiny bodies into glowing stars flying around the room.
The vortex of energy hit Mademoiselle Clements, knocking her back into the carpet, pining her down.
As she tried to get up, she felt energy seeping away, and as consciousness left her, she was being sucked down a tunnel, her vision dimming, until only darkness.
But wait, she wasn’t dead.
She felt her feet on the ground.
The moths all around her.
She opened her eyes.
All around were stars, blue stars, the moths.
She was being lifted.
Looking down, she saw the thousands of moths, circling around her, their tiny bodies blurred in her vision.
No, wait!
They weren’t moths: they were hands.
Grabbing her, lifting her, propelling her forwards, taking her outside, through the window, into the road, into the night.
And there, under the street light, the tall shadow of the guillotine awaited her.
Her body was so weak, powerless, arms dead, legs like lead.
She tried to struggle.
But it was to no avail.
She looked back at the house, and saw with horror, leaning out of the window, not the old woman, but a vision of herself.
Around the corner, she saw the laser sights of the police.
So close. So close.
They would never know.
All around her were voices: shouting, guns being cocked, radios chattering, boots beating down on cobbles tone, engines charged.
But she was still in their clutches, held in the air.
Now they were lowering her.
Above, she saw it, the grotesque shape high above. A ghostly shadow version of what had once stood in the street.
And, there at the top, a sliver of metal, ready to fall.
As she strained to look up, she felt cold damp wood encircle her neck.
The hands let go.
She was trapped.
She could hear them screaming at her:
A thousand voices.
All wanting one thing.
And finally.
The hiss of the blade.


I just can’t seem to get enough of Jess Cope and Steven Wilson – what a collaboration.

I just love the song and the animation!

Check out the making of the video for “Drive Home”

Revenge… part three

The Séance



I would like to thank vladimm for letting me post this image. I must admit I saw this image after completing the story; however, it summed up so much for me. If you want to see more of his excellent dark and surreal creations, you’ll find him lurking in the virtual shadows at:

OK, on with the show:

From the dimness of the hallway, a cold, ebbing wind swept into the study, bringing forth the stench of rotten, damp wood and foul roots, those tangled blind serpents that ravaged the tenebrous depths of old houses.
Unbound from those depths, the howling flurry raced through the room, forcing the two women to huddle into a corner.
As the unnatural tempest roared, the room became an arena for the spirits to play.
With the air crystallised, charged with unseen energy, the curtains swirled and billowed, ornaments danced upon their shelves and books upon the shelves pounded the glass doors.
But, of all the strangest things to be seen, thought Mademoiselle Clements, was the single candle upon the table: how it remained steady, its flame unmoving as the room became the victim of this charging force.
From the corner, the two women stood their ground, too scared to move, fearing the wind and the foul stench filling their nostrils.
The old woman closed her eyes – her lips moving in silent prayer.
But, as quickly as it had started, the wind slowed its dance.
Around the room, everything steadily became still as the wind pirouetted into silence, bowing back to the recesses from whence it had emerged.
With its passing, however, came that singular sensation, a presence, and a tangible perception that they were not alone.
Mademoiselle Sanson stopped her praying, and, face drained of colour, turned to the table and the three chairs.
“Why has it chosen me? This house? Tell me,” she said, clinging to Mademoiselle Clements, her face distraught, her voice that of a desperate, lost child. “Why? Tell me!”
But there came no answer.
The young woman focussed on the table and the farthest chair.
Had it moved?
It was unbearably cold now.
On the table, the candle flickered.
At the window, the moths danced even livelier – a captive audience waiting for the show to begin
And then…, she saw the farthest chair gently rock.
It slid out, just enough for someone to sit down.
Foreboding passed across the young woman’s face – there would be no running now.
For, from deep within the house it had risen, seeking her.
She’d already felt its mind, ancient, cold, full of hate, like all of what she’d encountered in her life’s work.
She’d recognised it before as she stared down into its abyss, at the window, as the moths had gathered around. It was a darkness that sunk deeper than any fetid roots that clung to the wretched foundations of the house.
It was from those depths that it had sought her, probing, touching the books, and finding the words that had been frozen in time.
It had been called and it had answered.
The chair moved again, ever so slightly.
The old woman stirred next to her, a whimper crossing her lips.
Mademoiselle Clements wanted to say something but her lips could only twitch, no words would form.
Her eyes froze on the chair.
She tried to speak, tried to control her tongue, but it was frozen, like her lips, dry and cracked, and her throat, a searing dryness now constricting her breathing.
Panic gripped her.
As she focussed on the words, the cold flooded over her lips, flowing like icy water moving in her mouth, filling it with the taste of putrefied matter. Then, oozing onwards, it dipped down into her throat, into her stomach, filling her with biting, nauseating cold.
Every part of her inner being was drowning now in whatever the presence was.
She was powerless to this incomprehensible force; invisible fingers pawing inside her, opening her like a book, flicking through her memories.
Each touch freezing another part of her soul.
Then she felt the pull, like a steady change in the tide, an undercurrent drawing her down, clasping her legs and tugging. It was smothering her.
Looking down she could see the seething roots, coiling around each other beneath the floor, their tips testing the air ready to reach up to catch her, ready to choke the life out of her.
She pushed the vision away. Struggling to gain a mental foothold in reality.
But her sight dimmed; the space around her drifting outwards, extending into space: the table, chairs, the bookshelf and old woman were moving down a long concertina of darkness.
She tensed to hold onto reality, but that tide encircled her body again, pulling down, her control fading.
As light slipped away, her thoughts were only of what they would do.
Those that waited down there.
The spirits who’d visited the old woman so often.
God they were strong. So strong.
Would they listen to her?
Her conscious being was falling into the depths of the house.
As she twisted, she reached out, feeling roots, soil passing swiftly, crumbling in her fingers, no chance to hold on, spinning around, helpless, falling…
Then.., she felt it.
A frozen finger touched her lips.
Opening her eyes, the spinning stopped.
There was no hole, no abyss.
She’d been freed. The spell broken.
Everything returned.
The room was before her – her lips could move.
As she focussed, the candle flickered and the lights finally went out.
The old woman was still at her arm.
“Is it here?” asked Mademoiselle Sanson, tugging gently at her arm.
Looking towards the chair.
Had something moved it?
The young woman saw it: a cloudy outline, a shifting shape, dimming, focussing, and trying to hold onto reality.
Was it a memory in the darkness? A character from one of the books?
She didn’t know.
It had to be their messenger.
At her side the old woman persisted.
“Is it here? She begged, oblivious to the presence.
Mademoiselle Clements nodded.
An invisible hand gently stroked her back. Cold lips brushed her ear, her cheek, numbing the skin.
The screams started.
From a thousand miles away she heard voices screaming out, crying for mercy, crying to be freed from their prison.
Then came other voices, chastising, hideous, offensive, jeering out, ignoring their pleas; these were screams from a time that was now only kept alive in the books.
It was a time of revolution and death.
These screams were memories held in ink and paper. Prisoners without souls. Suspended in words that would only awaken when the eye beheld them.
But something else had awoken their sleep.
And they were screaming for justice.
They wailed in her mind, crying for her to listen.
However, that presence in the chair had also heard their pitiful cries and, growing impatient at their madness, silenced them with a terrible sound, one that sent a spasm of fear shuddering through her body: it was the unmistakable sound of sliding, screeching metal and it thudding down hard on wood.
As it hit, the voices sped away – tiny birds whisking away from the hedgerows upon hearing the prowling cat.
Now, only one sound remained.
A cold, dead voice lurking in the vacuum of her subconscious.
It spoke, a whisper on a howling wind, and she fought hard to comprehend its words. Closing her eyes, her temples aching, she listened as it screamed into her subconscious. Listened as it strove to tune into her mind, sliding through the ether.
As the wind lessened, she heard it.
“Write,” it said.
Next to her, the old woman, her face twitching from fear and cold, shook her head, nervous, waiting for an answer.
“What do we do? What do we do?”
Mademoiselle Clements slowly turned to her.
“It wants me to write,” she said, her voice trailing, straining from the freezing river in her throat.
Across the gulf that separated life and death, the voice reached out again.
“Paper. You shall write what I say.”
Icy breath enveloped her body. It was an ancient voice, like stone, cold and lifeless.
“What?” The old woman squinted at her, her voice frail.
“Paper. I need paper. In the cupboard. Have you got paper and a pen? Please.” She begged, her words coming in quick bursts.
The wind returned.
Mademoiselle Clements gasped as it reached down, sliding into her. The spirits were exploring her, finally let out of their deep dark prisons after so many years.
As the wind rose, so did the voices, all screaming together, reaching into her.
They were strong, a heaving throng on the edge of her subconscious, reaching out to her. More than one, trying to speak. She had to hold them back.
Concentrate. Don’t let them through…, not yet.
The old woman finally moved. Shuffling across the carpet, she put her hands to her mouth. Looking back at Mademoiselle Clements, her eyes were dim pinpoints in the shimmering light of the candle. Fear cracking her delicate skin, she remained unaware of the voices.
“Paper. I’ll get it.”
Fumbling around the old writing desk, she found a small pad and a pencil.
“Here,” she said, putting them on the table.
Mademoiselle Clements pointed to a chair. “Sit down.”
The old woman did as she was told.
Mademoiselle Clements couldn’t move.
Her body was paralyzed, caught like the books behind glass.
Now she felt an icy hand upon her. The sinister spectre sat at the end of the table was playing puppet master with her.
As the vague shape moved, freezing fingers played along her wrists.
Without warning, it pulled her to the nearest chair, pushing her down. Icy strings pulled on her hands, making her draw the notepad towards her.
She was powerless. All she could do was fix her eyes on the moths dancing outside.
Her hands began moving.
The pen scratched its way across the paper, line after line, forming a long list.
She wanted to look down, but the dance of the creatures outside was mesmerising.
Her neck cold. Held in place by the spectre.
What were they writing?
Would they remember to wait?
She prayed that they would wait; wouldn’t expose the truth too quickly.
The old woman had to talk to them.
Tell them the truth.
Please, make them be patient.
Please don’t tell the old woman yet. Please…, remember.
She couldn’t see the words.
She so desperately wanted to see what they were writing, but her eyes remained locked on the moths.
The cold lips were at her ear once again, and that voice from so far away, hissing like winter’s bane, callous and uncaring, whispered.
“Look down… read the truths we give to you. Let her see what she has done to us… all of us. Then it shall be complete.”
The wind in her mind, raging, rampaging, tore through her world. She forced her head to move, but it had control, keeping her in its cold grip.
Across the table, the spirit gestured, a smoky hand rising from the table.
As the flame of the candle gently waltzed by itself, the coldness lifted from her neck.
She could move.
Across from her, white as marble, the old woman sat waiting, her eyes wide, her fingers gently pointing to the paper.
“What are you writing? What is it? Tell me.”
The wispy stranger stroked her arms and she felt herself pushing the writing pad slowly towards the candle.
“Please, take it. I can’t get up.”
The wind was barely audible; but she knew they were waiting, waiting in the shadows of her mind, waiting in the wings.
Mademoiselle Sanson got up and slowly walked to the young woman. From her pocket, she took out old reading glasses.
She picked up the writing block and, putting it near the candlelight, began reading.
“They’re names. You’ve written names.”
As the old woman spoke, the wind stirred, voices hissing, screams from the abyss of Mademoiselle Clements’ mind. Voices caged in.
The old woman read further. When she’d finished she put the writing block down.
Straitening, she took off her glasses.
The voices hissed, louder now, screaming a word; however, they were too loud, the word becoming inaudible in the storm of screams.
Mademoiselle Sanson walked to the sideboard, her voice whining, and the beginnings of tears.
“I didn’t know…, I didn’t know… they would….”
Her voice trailed off and, as it did, she shuffled towards the window, the shadows swallowing her.
Mademoiselle Clements followed her, losing sight of her; but the voices screamed on, a word, a word…, but what were they saying.
She shut her eyes tight, willing one of them to speak; one voice one voice, please…
Her eyes opened.
The cold had returned.
But…, this was another cold.
The voices screamed on.
No…, this wasn’t the wind, this was…
At her throat was a knife, and with it came the overpowering smell of lavender.
A voice.
The old woman.
But not the old woman.
Her eyes caught a glimpse of a twisted, misshapen face.
Hate contorting it into a hideous visage.
“Thought you’d get my books, did you?”
It wasn’t her voice. This was something else. A creature that lived here and used the guise of a frail old woman.
Lurking in the life of another.
“Cheap tricks to get my books. All my beautiful books.”
She screamed out. “My beautiful books! All mine, I tell you. I collected them. Mine!”
The blade dug into the folds of her neck.
“Séance and all… Think you’d outsmart an old woman with your tricks. I think you better tell your spirits that if they want my books they better start praying for your soul.”
But the phantasm was drifting away, far away, swimming out of focus.
The spirit sitting in the corner pointed to Mademoiselle Clements.
With a wispy movement, it closed her eyes.
The world moving.
It was taking her away.
But she needed to know the truth.
That was why it was there.
To talk to her.
Help me, she asked.
Help me.
She’ll kill me.
You know the truth.
Help me…
It took her hand, showing her another place.
Her body frozen; her will under the control of another; all she could do was concentrate, make them listen, make them understand.
They had to listen.
She felt it pulling her away from her body, out into the darkness.
A deep, dark undulating mist engulfed her mind, and she was set adrift in a sea of confusion.
Twisting around, she searched for a foothold, an anchor point, flailing in free fall thought.
But wait!
What was that?
She now saw edges forming, lines taking shape, materialising.
There were…, cobble stone roads, houses, chimneys belching thick smoke, a market place…
She was over an ancient market place; that cold night where they suffered. She had to find that voice, lonely, whimpering.
One voice was all she needed.
One voice and the truth.
She was in the market square.
Full moon overhead.
Frost glittering upon the rooftops.
Another time.
Horses in stables.
The smell of death.
Then the voice.
It came from a house, overlooking the square.
A woman’s voice, and a single word…
She wandered to that voice and the house.
As she approached, a door opened, and candlelight seeped out. A woman stood silhouetted there.
She pointed and shouted.
“Look to the square. It’s waiting.”
As she turned, her eyes beheld the vast dark shape rising up, tall, malevolent, waiting for the one to trudge up the steps to meet their destiny.
The woman at the door shouted again.
“Tell her! Tell her the name!”
And that name rang out across the market.
One name.
But…, as she clutched for that name, she was being called back, called back by the cold steel at her neck.
To be continued…

Jess Cope and Steven Wilson’s “DRIVE HOME”

I’m a huge fan of Jess Cope’s animation work, especially the films she created for Steven Wilson’s songs. And with the release of “Drive Home” from The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)’, Steven Wilson’s third solo album, we are given another glimpse into her beautiful style of animation.

I must admit, her name was unknown to me prior to seeing The Raven That Refused To Sing video; however, since then I’ve been fascinated by her work, especially “The Astronomer’s Sun”.

Here is the “Drive Home” vid:

The images created by Hajo Mueller combined with her animation are mesmerising.

Prog rock has always been one of my passions, and it is a source of inspiration in much of what I do, especially writing.

I love the fact that Steven Wilson is upholding the flag of progressive rock. In my mind, he is taking elements from Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Steve Hackett, King Crimson, to name a few, and he’s giving us a delicate – and at times a more hard-edged – glimpse into a style of music penned by such bands.

Marrying challenging time signatures with thought provoking lyrics as well as writing and producing delicate ballads that are dynamically brilliant, his success is only just beginning.