Not Reported Missing

A short taster from Not Reported Missing.

The pathologist’s table was clinically clean and the ghost watched dispassionately as she began her work. She spoke into a microphone.

“Male, approximately sixty years old, well nourished. Scars to chest and leg denoting a heart bypass operation at some time.”

He was unmoved as she sliced open his torso with her scalpel and began to remove his internal organs. One by one they were thoroughly examined, all of those vital components of his body that had kept him alive for so many years but what he had no need of now.

“Stomach contents, some vegetable matter, some alcohol but doesn’t seem to be excessive.”

Alcohol. Yes he’d been drinking. Why? He’d been alone, always alone. He had a daughter he remembered but it was so long since he’d seen her.

Well nourished was he? He must have fed himself then. What had he eaten? What had been his last meal? Would he have known it was his last meal? Why couldn’t he remember? Had he been suffering from dementia in life? If only he could remember his name. A thread of a memory about the bypass operation penetrated but didn’t take root.

The pathologist continued her work, taking blood samples for toxicology. Another ribbon of memory weaved out. He’d enjoyed watching those programmes on TV, Autopsy, where causes of death were investigated. Perhaps that was why his spirit was lingering now, or was it because it couldn’t rest until he knew who he was?

Why had no-one come to meet him? He’d always thought that when your spirit passed over that a loved one was waiting for you in a white light but there was nothing. He’d experienced none of that, his spirit was earthbound for some reason unknown to him and he hoped he wasn’t going to remain in this kind of limbo state. He felt it all hinged on finding out who he was. Once he knew that maybe he’d be able to move on.

The pathologist had done what she had to and his body with its anonymous tag on his toe was wheeled back to the storage cabinet. Strange how it was shut in there yet he felt nothing. He was just floating free around the room and wherever he liked.

~

Theo Stanyer was in the police station in the town of Hartford, the closest town to the village of Willow’s Dip, waiting to make a statement. He’d seen the news item on the previous evening’s programme about the body discovered on the common and thought he might have something worth reporting.

“We are appealing for anyone with any information that might be relevant within the last week to come forward,” said Detective Inspector Wilson, a broad, grey haired man. “All that was found on the body was a wallet containing a few pounds, a key and a photograph. It doesn’t appear that robbery was a motive and at this time we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the death. No-one of this description has been reported missing and if anyone has any information that will help identify the people in the photograph we would urge them to come forward. Thank you.”

A photograph of a smiling dark haired young woman with a child was shown on the screen. It was difficult to tell if the child was a boy or a girl. It had its mother’s dark hair, shoulder length, and was wearing blue dungarees and a white T shirt. It looked to be about four years old. The photograph looked old, Theo estimated around 1980s but he couldn’t have been sure. The same photograph also came round in the local newspaper’s Facebook post when he checked later and also that of the police. Surely someone would know who these people were from that?

“Mr Stanyer?” A young policewoman called his name and he followed her through to an office where D.I Wilson rose from behind a desk to shake his hand.

“You have something you think might help us?”

“Well I don’t know,” Theo replied, “but I thought I’d better come in and tell you in case it did.”

“Take a seat.”

Theo sat opposite the desk to him and began his story. “It was Thursday last week. I was driving home from my girlfriend’s house and I noticed a man in the headlights weaving all over the road as if he was drunk.”

“Where was this?”

“Mill Lane, Willow’s Dip. Heading towards the common.”

“What time?”

“It would have been between 10.30 and 11 p.m.”

“Did you stop?”

“No. You never know who you’re dealing with. If someone’s drunk or drugged they’re unpredictable or aggressive and I didn’t want to get involved. I just gave him a wide berth to avoid hitting him. I just wanted to get home.”

“Could you describe him?”

“It was difficult in the dark and it was drizzling, the wipers were on and the windscreen was spattered with raindrops but dark clothing, hard to see, nothing reflective, all I saw was a flash of grey hair.”

“Anything else?”

“Not that I can think.”

“I’ll just take your details in case we need to contact you.”

Theo gave his address and phone number. D.I Wilson looked at it quizzically. “Your address is Handwell.”

“Yes that’s right.”

“Mill Lane is the opposite direction. Why were you driving that way?”

The Author, The Gardener and The Woman What does – a humorous excerpt

I think we can all relate to the feeling of nervousness around someone we’re attracted to but Rokki, Tess’ niece, is overcome by attacks of clumsiness, usually inflicting some injury on the object of her desires. Here’s her first meeting with Lee.

The Author new poster

The garden gate opened and in walked Rokki, Tess’s niece and she cast her eyes round the garden before opening the back door, then Kacey heard the sound of voices but they were too far away for her to hear what was said.
“Wow he’s fit!” Rokki was saying to Tess. “Who is he?” She gazed lustfully through the kitchen window as Tess washed the potatoes to bake for lunch.
“I take it you mean the younger one. It’s Lee, Billy’s son, helping his dad out.” Lee was the image of Billy, showing what Billy must have looked like in his youth and she could appreciate Rokki’s interest, she’d be interested herself if she were ten years younger, in Billy that was.
“Has he been here before?”
“Sometimes, it depends on his college timetable. He usually comes in the holidays.”
“Why haven’t I seen him then?”
“You just mustn’t have been here when he was. Anyway, never mind Lee, how did it go with Mike? Oh, before you tell me, are you staying for lunch? I’ll put you a potato in if you are.”
Rokki looked at the four potatoes in the glass ovenproof dish, rapidly assessing the situation and decided yes please, she would, she’d be able to see more of the gorgeous Lee if she had lunch with him.
“Are you off today?” asked Tess.
Rokki shook her head. “No but it’s one of those stupid days when I have a lesson from nine to ten in the morning and don’t have another til three so I’ve got all this time to kill. I’d thought I’d come over and give you an update.”
“I’m looking forward to hearing it. When you’ve told me I’ll make us all a coffee and you can go and take the men theirs.”
“Woo hoo, what a good idea!”
“So go on then, what happened with Mike? Is he speaking to you or did he blow you out?”
“Well,” Rokki warmed to her tale, “I didn’t see him til yesterday, I wondered if he was avoiding me, and we came face to face as I was going out of the refectory and he was going in. I went hot all over – my face must have been crimson – and I just muttered ‘Hi.’ He answered me and looked a little wary – bet he was glad we were well away from the stairs! I sort of stuttered and stammered something like, ‘I’m really sorry about your lip. How is it?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, it’s OK. ‘Was it really bad?’ I asked. ‘Did you have to have stitches?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, a couple, but it was OK.’ It was still bruised but the swelling had gone down. Don’t think he’ll be kissing anyone for a while though, least of all me.”
“You never know. What happened then?”
“He just said, ‘Well see you,’ and walked off with his mates. I didn’t get the feeling he wanted to linger round me for long.”
“Oh that’s a shame but never mind, onward and upward. I’ll go and make the coffee and you can take it out to Lee.”
Rokki took a mirror out of her bag and inspected her reflection. She bared her teeth making sure there were no bits of food stuck there; she didn’t want to make a fool of herself when she took the coffees out, she’d done more than enough of that with Mike, she didn’t want a second shot at it with Lee. She added a touch more lipgloss and ran her fingers through her hair to make it look fuller and more bouncy as Tess set the two mugs of coffee and a plate of biscuits on a tray.
“There you are, go and take that to them.”
Rokki took the tray, heart hammering like a blacksmith on an anvil and Tess opened her the door.
Rokki took careful steps across the patio, up the first step to the lawn, then the second. She looked up, lips poised to shout, ‘Coffee boys,’ and that was her fatal mistake, losing her concentration. She tripped on the top step and the word that came out was an involuntary ‘Oh!’ bringing both Billy’s and Lee’s heads up from what they were doing to see Rokki, stumbling at a headlong gallop across the lawn in an effort to steady herself, knees knocking, feet crossing, hands holding up the tray like a trophy, in a balancing act to rival any circus performer with spinning plates, and the coffee a swirling tempest sloshing around in the mugs.
Lee ran across the lawn to rescue the tray just in time before the whole lot descended to the ground, and Rokki managed to regain her balance without scalding either herself or Lee.
“Oh I’m… I’m so sorry,” she stammered. “I was coming to bring you a drink. You must think I’m such a dork. I’m Rokki by the way, Tess’s niece.”
Lee’s amusement lit up his honey coloured eyes, so like his father’s but he kept any hysterical laughter well and truly in its place.
“I’m Lee, Billy’s son, and no I don’t think you’re a dork, anyone can trip. Good thing I was around to catch the tray.” He allowed himself a wry grin.
“Yes um… well, enjoy your drink,” and she turned and headed back to the house with as much dignity as she could muster, cheeks flaming.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3z8dGAWsKY&feature=youtu.be

Critiques and Opinions

Following my recent blog tour, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I’d like to thank all the bloggers who took part and welcomed me onto their blogs. I appreciate the time you took on my behalf, and to Rachel at Rach RandomResources @rararesources for organizing it. There were some lovely reviews and some of you have very attractive blogs.

That brings me onto critiques and opinions. They’re something we all have to face as authors and they are often quite difficult to accept. Those wonderful reviews whose glow we bask in really lift our day but that one negative comment festers and makes us question our abilities. We all know why we write the way we do, why we choose our particular genre, how much of ourselves comes through in the writing etc, but everyone is different and just as we all feel drawn to different people – or not – so it is with writing. Our stories won’t appeal to everyone; what pleases one irritates another.

I’m not much of an actor so there is a lot of me in my books and my author voice. I’m not confrontational unless crossed, then I can give as good as I get. I generally like a peaceful, quiet life but that doesn’t make for a good story in either fiction or memoir. As far as memoir goes I’ve had plenty of struggles: loss, relationships, ill health, and in fiction I’ve given them to my characters, but I’m wary about inflicting misfortune upon them as so many times with aspects of my stories life has mirrored art.

Whether it be reading or writing my own particular preference is for a lighthearted easy read with dashes of humour and a hint of the supernatural. I wouldn’t purposely choose graphic horror, violence or sex; I’m a gentle person, I like gentle stories, even the crimes in my books have been gentle, if you can call a crime that; maybe less savage would be a better description. I don’t do blood and gore or Christian Grey, my love scenes have to mean something, they are sensual not steamy, so if this is the style of story you like mine might seem a bit quiet; I like a conversational tone and a family saga. I think my stories fit the cuppa and a cake book, something to curl up on the sofa with beside a roaring fire on a winter’s day or lie beside the pool in the hot sun in summer. They won’t scare you witless but I hope they’ll keep you wondering and feeling a kinship to the characters within the pages.

N.B. I am in the process of reformatting all of my earlier books. I have only just discovered The Book Khaleesi who have formatted the three books featured below and I am going through my others one at a time so it will take a while; I hope you will bear with me.

http://www.sherrielowe.co.uk/

Free Promotions? Or not?

Free promotions. Do they bear fruit? It’s so long since I ran one I can’t remember so I thought I’d give it another whirl.  I’ve recently revised Angel Breaths and A Lapse of Sanity to publish with Smashwords and Draft2Digital when my KDP Select enrollment expires so time to give them a little outing methinks.

Angel Breaths was inspired by a news item on abortion laws that asked the question, ‘At what point does a baby have a soul?’ It set me thinking. Was it as soon as the two cells met and began to divide? If so how would it feel about being rejected or miscarried?

Angel Breaths is narrated by Angelique, the spirit of a miscarried child as she watches over the earthly family she can never be a part of. She also watches over her soulmate Louis as he treads his earthly life, connecting to him on a spiritual level.

A spin off from this is my award winning short story Into The Arms of Angels which was runner up out of 900 entries in our local newspaper The Sentinel’s Too Write competition in 2017. It can be found in my short story collection Just A Moment, priced at just 99p

Angel Breaths is free from 24th-28th August 2018 so enjoy a read on me. A Lapse of Sanity to follow shortly.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Breaths-Sherrie-Lowe-ebook/dp/B00AET1KRE/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1535016608&sr=1-7&keywords=sherrie+lowe

If you do enjoy it I’d be very grateful for a review please.

Many thanks.