Daily Prompt – Sing

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Sing
This prompt really “pushed me off” initially as I never liked singing and expressing my feelings by the act of it.
I think singing is really statement of confidence when you go from someone who periodically hums and whistles a tune to someone giving a full blast concert in a shower…
I like certain musicians and their skill of singing. I don’t like hearing myself sing. It is just not me.
Perhaps I need to build my confidence up a bit.

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Daily Prompt – Vision

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I couldn’t yet understand what was in front of me as my eyes were covered with a mist of fear and uncertainties.
Each day, you open your eyes and try to understand what is happening around you but each day you forget to look at what inside you.

Vision

The House that Jack built – Graham Masterton

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When I read “The Home that Jack built” by Graham Masterton while leaving in Poland, the book was titled “Valhalla” which gave me a first impression of something else than I kept thinking about while getting ready to read it. Well the title is not the most important matter in the book and a bit of misleading isn’t a crime when it comes to fiction.
The story starts quite bluntly by gripping your crotch tightly and quite painfully too. We meet Craig, an arrogant, very confident and a bit stuck up his arse lawyer who appears to have everything- a beautiful and loving wife, a great job, a very attractive lover, loads of money that he can spend on any type of caprice he can think of.
One evening he gets thrown out of a cab during an argument with a taxi driver. While looking for a shelter as it is pouring down, he gets interrupted by a troubled girl who is covered in blood and asking for assistance in rescuing her friend who got attacked. The whole scene turns out to be a trap and Craig gets attacked but stealing money won’t be enough for Craig’s attackers; they’ll also brutally scare him with a help of a hammer. A scene that takes me back to ‘Black Angel’ and some other earlier novels by the British author.
Craig loses not only his money or physical health in the attack but his personality takes a great deal of beating and he loses his confidence and usual self. He tries to find himself and the biggest help he is receiving is from his wife. During one of their escapades they discover a huge, neglected and abandoned home named Valhalla.
Our protagonist falls in love with the building and believes that owning such huge house would cure his insecurities. He is sure to buy it despite the fact that this type of money required for repairs and renovations would lead him to near sure bankruptcy. He stays firm on his decision even despite the fact there is a bit of history behind Valhalla. It used to be owned by an obsessive gambler, very rich and very vengeful man that used to hate women.
The house turns out to be haunted, although not in the classic type of haunting horror fans are used to. The way the house was designed, allows it to be simultaneously in the past, the presence and the future together with any people that used to live here.
It doesn’t take long until people start dying and Craig starts transforming into someone else, scaring slowly his wife with the unavoidable fact that he appears to becoming the previous owner of Valhalla, both physically and mentally. The wife starts to look for help in nearby occultist shop where the owner might be able to help her…
Reading “The House that Jack built” doesn’t shock you with the uniqueness of the story or the strangeness of events or characters but the atmosphere around the house, the few brutal scenes in the book as well as plenty of colourful and well constructed dialogues makes up for the fairly simple idea of the plot.
For those using e-books, the kindle edition can be found here.

Flesh and Blood – Graham Masterton

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One can not be mistaken if the plot of “Flesh and Blood” by Graham Masterton sounds like a cheap screenplay to a very cheap class B or even C horror movie but somehow the British author makes it all work and actually makes the read a worthwhile.
The story starts from a scene of a brutal murder; a father beheads two of his children with a sickle, in order to try to save them from “bad blood” and a horrible fate. A third child manages to escape crazy dad’s ideas and the dad gets arrested.
The oldest daughter that survived hides inside of her genes an unbelievable secret; the girl possesses genes of a half human half plant creature, originating from some ancient times. Coming all the way from Slavic myths, Janek the Green, also known as the Green Traveller travels with his minions from house to house offering poor farmers great harvest for the price of him having sex with the farmers wives.
The human-plant creature fulfills its fate through centuries and then comes back to collect his due in his bloody vendetta. It kills siblings, impregnates another woman and the blood line is preserved through centuries. The Green Traveller also consumes insides of his descendants, to preserve human characteristics and avoid being defeated by the plants world…
There is also another shocking twist to the story. Part of the brain of the youngest child that was beheaded gets stolen and is later transplanted in Spillman institute into a body of gigantic, genetically created pig that goes by the name of Captain Black as the group working in the institute tries to prove that it is possible to transport human’s consciousness into body of an animal.
The scientist are unaware of the fact that the little boy was a far descendant of the Green Traveller, and can not link the sudden onset of the pig’s aggressive behaviour to anything they know… The worse thing is that the pig is freed by an ex group of eco terrorists and Captain Black, or perhaps the Green Traveller comes back to collect his due…
As crazy and as cheesy as it sounds the action happening in “Flesh and Blood” is really interestingly presented and it creates actually a really good read, as Masterton skilfully mixes Slavic myths with the explosion of genetic field and science that became so popular in the nineties… Or perhaps I really enjoy whacky stories.
It is quite rare to get Masterton’s book as e-books so for those on kindle device, the copy of the book can be found here.

Prey – Graham Masterton

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Another good and a climatic read for early autumn nights is “Prey” by Graham Masterton, a book that is one of the most mysterious and puzzling works by the author and I never knew if I got it ‘right’ or not, if that take on books really exist.
Fortyfoot House is an abandoned, ruined Victorian orphanage on island Wight, which hides a horrible secret inside of its walls. Over hundred years ago, more than sixty residents died in unexplained circumstances. People living nearby to this date try to avoid discussing any matters around that empty Victorian building.
David Williams, freshly divorced parent of a seven years old boy decides to renovate this building. David and his son are accompanied by a young girl who is going to stay with them and shortly after, a series of strange events will take place…
The book starts in great style with a scene where our protagonist is looking through the loft of the residence which he wants to restore to its original beauty. This scene sets a great atmosphere of dread and fear and from this point onwards it is going to be getting darker, stranger and scarier as David will have to face a whole wave of unexplained phenomenons which he’ll understand finally when he learns the secret of this old orphanage.
But before it all takes place we will witness scary events including a strange man wearing a hat that appears and disappears at random, or photographs that are hang on the walls but keep on changing what they depict, and then we will face strange sounds coming from guts of the building all the way to blood freezing scenes of deaths of people living nearby.
In order to work out all this oddness, David will have to find out the history of the building and also get acquainted with some old Sumerian myths and rituals that might led him to leaving the present to move back in time…
As I mentioned earlier “Prey” by Graham Masterton is one of those strange and slightly confusing books that leave you a bit puzzled and not quite sure if the horror you just faced was actually there or if it is something you’re quite unable to fully comprehend. Regardless of this ending, that to date left me a bit insatiable, the novel was a great set of pages worth turning over during some creepy evenings to add some spice to already atmospheric nights around me.

Buick 8 – Stephen King

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Picking up “Buick 8” by Stephen King had me convinced I was about to experience the magic rebirth of another blood hungry car. First thought didn’t really result in the hit and instead of story about splattering blood everywhere I got story that mainly was kept as a conversation about the past and a car that just appeared in some lives out of nowhere.
Ned, a young man, sometimes acting more like an awkward teenage boy, loses his father in a car accident. His father, lieutenant Curtis Wilcox dies during his working hours, killed by a drunk driver. That sees Ned joining the D district where his father used to spend most of his life working as a policeman.
Ned, starts off by doing some cleaning duties, as he just isn’t ready to let go off his father presence. One day he discovers, a locked up in one of the barracks, unusual car and he asks the policemen working there to tell him more about it. So the gents starts spinning a yarn and the story moves back over twenty years ago…
At a patrol station, a perfectly kept Buick, appeared. Its driver asked the station worker to fill the car up, he then left the car, supposedly to use the toilet and… never came back and there doesn’t appear to be a reasonable explanation as to what had happened.
Ned slowly starts to be obsessed about the history of the car, almost identically like his father did. Every time the coppers try to tell the young man a story not related to the car they meet a wall of resistance from Ned. So the knowledge about the car that Ned possesses is filled in by the station captain and a long friend of his father, Sandy Dearborn.
Ned is constantly unsatisfied with any explanation he is given regarding the strange incident at the patrol station and slowly he starts coming to a conclusion that the drunken guy that knew his father and caused his death was not the only reason it occurred and that the case surrounding the mysterious Buick or the car itself had led his dad to a premature death…
“Buick 8” is a book about an attempt to find someone who left, in a completely different light to what our protagonist might had been used to. It is also great story about a secret and a mystery. What the car really was? Where it came from? Who drove it?
It is a great story with a slow build up of facts that makes a reader to go through the pages as quickly as possible in attempt of finding out the answers to the mystery. It serves as a great example of how pure interest can become an obsession and what consequences it might lead to.
For e-book fans, the Kindle version of “Buick 8” can be found here.

Day 491. When it rains, it is boring.

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Nick, fairly bored in an empty prison.

Well. We only managed to reach a small police station before the skies broke down in an emotional downpour of radiating rain. I have never seen anything like that. The drops of that toxic rain appeared to be tiny biological bombs full of destruction. In places you could notice burning slightly as the drops touched suitable stuff.
Raining weather was never fun in Commonwealth. It just wasn’t. Rain was something to avoid and pray for it to pass quickly…
Ah… The good old rain of olden days was brilliant. It was a great time for reading or walking down the park protected by an umbrella… Nowadays, if you were lucky to find an umbrella it wouldn’t protect you from the toxins included in every drop of the greenish lookin rain. It was deadly. Hence we were stuck in this tiny police station and Nick was bored…
After the recent discovery and all the fun Nick had finding out something about someone who he indirectly knew, it seemed like some new life was sparked into his rusty cables, wires and processors. He seemed happy and alive…. Well as happy and alive synths can be really.
We talked about loads of stuff while we searched through the station in hope of finding anything remotely interesting that could keep our minds busy. All we had left was talking as the station proved to provide us with noting but plenty of dust and empty cells…
So we talked about our feelings mainly as for some reason it felt like a good time to reach inside of your own self to bring plenty of ‘unimportant’ matters to the surface, one of which would be the so often neglected feelings…
Wasteland was no place for feelings. It was a brutal place where instincts and survival mattered the most. Not the depression, sadness or total hopelessness that would wrap around you like a sticky scarf full of dirt and misery wrapping around your neck… each day, tighter… Just tighter and tighter… Not even happiness had really place here or anywhere out there.
As strange as it sounds, Nick had plenty to say about what was bugging his insides. As bizzare as it sounds it was soothing to hear complaints coming from… a machine. It was like who ever took time to assemble Nick and put his chips and stuff in, coming from beyond the grave telling me how it all was meant to happen, how the ‘advanced’ society meant for our future generations to live and evolve…
And funny enough it wasn’t actually that far from what I’d like to see happening to the world around us where each of us mattered and where accomplishing common goal was the objective as opposed to being better than my neighbour or having more stuff than my friends…
Anyway. Nick got talking and talking how the experience he missed the most was that so common for us (and yet so neglected) feeling of being loved. Feeling of belonging somewhere and it struck me, all of sudden that we all ended up being thrown into this strange scenario where no one told us where we came from and where we are meant to be heading. Kind of journey to find…
Well, I didn’t know what I was meant to find in this world where everyone I had known was dead and everything i cherished, simply disappeared with the bombs falling down on the world. We and our forefathers built with our hands and heads, sweat and blood, we built something and it was all gone
Yes. Rain in Commonwealth was not a good thing. It gave us too much time to pause and idle in our struggle, simultaneously giving our brains that much needed breath of that dirty air to start thinking and feeling… And I started realising feelings were not a good thing in this gray world.
Someone, somewhere, sometime… Anyone really needed to put some plan to action and make sure that feelings where important and that everyone had the chance to express them…
Firstly though. Someone had to find a way to put the feelings on the map of the Commonwealth and I realised that it might be me that needs to kick start it all.
I wasn’t ready. All I wanted was to look for more skeletons, dig in the faded past trying to see if I can find a link to something that had already happened, something that probably wouldn’t happen again….
Rain in the Wasteland was a bad idea. And Nick somehow knew when he looked at me for a long time before I fell asleep…
First time since I ‘landed‘ here the rain didn’t seen to be stopping…

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Hearts in Atlantis – Stephen King

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“Hearts in Atlantis” by Stephen King was my first ‘adult’ book that I read in English so my take on it probably feels different as to what it’d feel if I read in Polish. It’s hard to describe the bilingualism really. Anyways…
Another book from our author is made of two novellas and three shirt stories all connected to each other by recurring characters and all roughly presented in the chronological way. It is really hard to say what this book is really about but it takes us for a confusing ride and it starts with ‘Low Men in Yellow Coats’.
We meet 12-years old Bobby who is a witness to traumatising events and who finds out a lot about past of his mother, a committed feminist, who not only appears to be greedy but also quite stupid- knowing that something horrible might happen to her, she insists on continuing with her plan.
Then the mother realises her mistakes but it is too late for Bobby, who as he grows older he stands up for one of his friends, Carol who was attacked by older boys, and beats one of them badly. And that is the beginning of ‘bad’ Bobby…
We move on and ‘Hearts in Atlantis’ takes us to a university in Maine where students protest against the war in Vietnam. That story narrated by Pete Riley slowly exposes us to threat and danger in moments of explosion of the rebel action.  Main character here is Carol who we met in first part whose boyfriend is Sad John who we met in first part as well.
‘Blind Willie’ sort of takes us back to first part when we meet one of the boys who attacked Carol. Titled Willie is shown to us in three parts, where first we see him as a grown man, living happily with his wife, then next we see his transformation into younger version of himself when he wants to redress the mistakes he made when he was younger and finally we meet Willie as ex soldier of Vietnam war, living on street as a beggar; a wreck of his younger self.
The story is happening through one day when we see how different versions of Willie try to make up for his previous mistakes, helplessly trying to change the past.
‘Why We’re in Vietnam’ presents us with a story of Sad John who met in the first part of the book. The same John who was Carol’s boyfriend… This time, John can’t escape all the thoughts and feelings the war in Vietnam brought to his soul. He nearly died there. His friend is haunted by thoughts of an old woman he killed while being in service. The killed lady accompanies John’s friend as a ghost through this surrealistic story where the end is quite strange.
Eventually the whole book ends with ‘Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling’ takes us to a time when Bobby comes back to his old home town after so many years to attend John’s funeral. He manages to find Carol who is so much changed by the experiences of life. Bobby explains he returned here as he received a copyrighted copy of a book, and despite the book coming from many years ago, the page being in pristine condition…
And that’s how we somehow arrive to this fairly confusing end of “Hearts in Atlantis”. As much as the beginning of reading was really involving and created the right, intriguing atmosphere, the closer to end I was, the more murky and complicated it was becoming, to some point slightly putting me off finishing the whole story.
I’m pretty sure many readers will find the whole five stories nicely connected and written in the right fashion but for me, something was missing there.
For those who are on Amazon Kindle and would like to grab an electronic copy they can find book here.

The Girl who loved Tom Gordon – Stephen King

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“The Girl who loved Tom Gordon” by Stephen King was a book I had nearly never read as neither the title nor the book’s cover was appealing to me at the time when I came across in a library. The problem was, I had picked three books and I couldn’t find a fourth one to max out my allowance so I gave it a read and I’m glad I did.
Trisha, a nine years old girl is walking around the woods with her mum and older brother. Unfortunately the mum and the brother had recently been arguing a lot and that is the case now. The pair is rowing so badly that they don’t notice when little Trish is taking an off course path to have a wee-wee.
She went there and never came back. And from this point onward the mum or the brother become unimportant and we’re paying full attention to Trisha who has only her wits to rely on and a walkman she can use to listen to broadcast of Boston Red Sox game and the performances of her hero, Tom Gordon, a relief pitcher.
As she travels through the woods trying to find a way out the time is not stopping and what was a daylight, slowly turns into night. Trisha, who was bitten by bees, who is sore, tired and hungry starts to notice more and more things. When the walkman batteries dies she starts to imagine that Tom is next to her and the he’ll help her survive as there appears to be something scary and something dangerous out there, something that creeps up closer and closer as the daylight is fading away…
Trisha has to find strength to fight that something that appears blood hungry and seems to be merciless. She has to survive but with each passing hour, she loses a bit of hope here and a bit of strength there. She starts to lose a battle against her weaknesses and she feels hopeless and lost without a chance for someone to come and rescue her before she dies, or before this something out there comes close enough in order to…
Not everyone is afraid of ghosts, monsters or serial killers but we all are afraid of the unknown – the something that we so don’t want to experience or we don’t wish for this something to happen.
The Unknown… Waiting to attack at the first moment we least expect. And that’s what “The Girl who loved Tom Gordon” is really about. Its a book about the fear of the unexpected even if we expect it. It’s a well written, fairly short story about a girl lost in the woods. What we are afraid while we are reading it, is probably different to each of us. Pick your poison.
For those using Amazon Kindle, the book can be bought here.
Please enjoy responsibly.

Regulators – Stephen King

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I didn’t really plan it out. It was more of an impulse that led me to revisiting “The Regulators” by Stephen King and sticking it here today. Since my last entry was about “Desperation” it looks like we end up having a double look at these two connected titles, that are meant to be happening in two parallel worlds and there’s is a character named Tak, linking both stories.
I reached out for ‘The Regulators’ with a bit of anticipation as there were some elements I liked in ‘Desperation’ so I expected a bit more of that strange atmosphere and I got something along the lines of tiny town (more of a single street really) in Ohio, Wentworth. The citizens of Wentworth are just like us. They work, moan at their neighbours, visit their friends, cheat behind their loved ones backs, get married, have children, get old and die… It easy to grasp the concept to that point. Matters do get complicated one feral day when the inhabitants start dying and these deaths are not of natural cause.
Wentworth is visited by MotoKops 2200 straight from TV screens and they start to sow fear and panic. The very friendly and sleepy street is surrounded by a total chaos and havoc. It’s an absolute nightmare that turned everything into a desert of desperation.
Seth, is an autistic boy who lives in one of the houses, he has a second personality that remains hidden, and will be known to those who read ‘Desperation’, and is named Tak. The boy is looked after by a very anxious aunt who suffers badly from mental health issues and she is the only one that knows the truth about Seth.
Will she be able, with a help from John, an old writer, to deal with the Regulators? Will the Regulators from parallel world to Desperation’s universe be destroyed and put away??? Well you gotta read it to find out.
And here the problem with “The Regulators” occurs. Somewhere along the story it all became a bit boring and really just not interesting that I was happy that it was supposed to be the last book written under pseudonym of Richard Bachman, as mostly the books written under this name were something that one could reflect upon finishing them and while ‘Desperation’ kept me interested, the last title really failed at that job and left me fairly cold.