Defeatist- Chapter 2, part 1

December 2013 :

God, I’ve missed her! It has been far too long. I’ve wanted to call her so many times, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I peer through the open front door and smell a warm aroma. She always bakes and when she’s not doing that, she cooks. I hear the pitter-patter of footsteps and my Mother, Violet Reed comes to see who it is. She pauses, raises both her eyebrows and folds her arms. I must look like an idiot, stood on the doorstep I remember so well. She looks me up and down.
“Oh, hi.”
She doesn’t sound best pleased to see me. I expect the ‘why didn’t you call me?’ lecture, but she says nothing.
“Um, you’d better come inside.”
I follow her in sheepishly and sit down on the distasteful green leather sofa which clashes horribly with the red wall paper across the way. I hate red, I will never understand why she decided to do that. My hands are shaking with the cold. It took me over an hour to pluck up enough courage to ring the doorbell.
“You look thin.”
I force a smile. I was never a big eater. It’s true though, this shirt doesn’t fit me any more and my jeans are being held up by my belt which is secured on the last belt hole.
“Uh, do you want something to eat? I made some biscuits this morning.”
“No thanks. But coffee would be nice.”
“Good, then we can talk.”
“Okay.” I whisper, as she switches on the kettle and closes the blinds. It’s late. I sit down at the white-painted kitchen table and glance up at her as she makes our drinks. The kitchen hasn’t changed one bit.
“Just talk away.” Her voice is firm. I clear my throat, taking a sip of the coffee which immediately burns me. I inhale and place it down on the mat.
“I’m sorry for not calling.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“I dunno.” I whisper. “I’ve been really stupid, haven’t I?”
“Okay, well you’re here now.”
I have reasons, but I don’t want to admit to my Mother that I haven’t been very stable lately. She doesn’t know, not yet.
“How’s work?”
“Oh, average. It pays the bills.”
“Hmmm, you look really tired. Have you been looking after yourself properly?”
My heart skips. Do I? Having said that; I haven’t been sleeping well, my anxiety has been bad. Half the time, I lie awake for the majority of the night worrying. It’s getting late I should go, but this is one of the few places I actually feel safe.
“Thanks for letting me come in.”
She smiles and nods, I think she wants me to talk more freely but the words won’t come.
“Christmas is in two weeks, I’m hosting it this year. Everyone is gathering here at midday, I want you to be there.”
My mouth spreads into a wide smile. “I’d love that.” I’m lying. The house will be packed with people I don’t know or haven’t seen for a long time. They will see a change in me. It will only lead to me being asked endless questions. I shouldn’t go.

-Here is the link to my ‘Authors page’ on Amazon:

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Defeatist- Chapter 1, part 4

Our local emergency services don’t mess about. Within 5 minutes a police car pulls up at the scene, and what a scene I’ve caused.
“Gosh, he’s not very old, is he?”
“Late 20’s- early 30’s.”
I think they must be checking what’s left of the car and to my surprise, the passenger side is accessible. He finds ID in the glove compartment.
“He’s called Jude Reed and was born in 1984. He’s only 30. I’m looking for substances in the car, but there doesn’t seem to be any. What is the extent of his injuries?”
“The impact of the steering wheel has crushed his ribs, we have no X-rays but you can tell. There’s a bad dislocation of his left shoulder blade and there’s extensive bruising and cuts.”
“What actually killed him?”
“That’s hard to say, but probably the impact. His poor family, I don’t suppose they know yet?”
He’s not married from what I can tell, but I wonder if he had a girlfriend or partner? Were there any witnesses at all on hand?”
“Yeah, she’s over there in that house keeping warm, she’s pretty shocked.” He glances at his watch. “We need to question her, because she’s our only witness.”
“Are there local surveillance cameras?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
There isn’t, believe me. I’ve researched this within an inch.
“Then we’ll have to rely on her, come on.”
They knock on the door of the house. I follow them inside. It’s very old fashioned, with high beamed ceilings and wooden floorboards covered with rugs. I can hear someone crying, I wonder who it is?
“This is Grace Winter. ”
Oh God, she’s only young. They introduce themselves, but I don’t hear them. I feel guilty; it can’t have been pleasant to watch. She sniffs and wipes her eyes with a tissue.
“I-I didn’t know Jude personally, but I knew of him and saw him out and about. He seemed nice.”
“Could you tell us what happened?”
“He’s dead, isn’t he?”
They’re reluctant to tell her, my family don’t even know yet. They cannot get hold of my Mum, she’s abroad.
“The accident was fatal.”
“I know. I saw it all.”
“Start at the beginning.”
She leans forward and runs a hand through her shoulder length, curly blonde hair as another tear falls down her cheek. Grace adjusts her dressing gown.
“I was getting ready for bed. I just happened to go over to my curtains to draw them when I heard a car screeching, it skidded. He-he must have been going at some speed when he hit the tree, I saw the tree branch go right through the guy’s windscreen. I was terrified, but I rang an ambulance right away, I-I wanted to pull him out of the car, but it had crumpled so much that….”
“You did the right thing.”
“Did I? He’s dead, perhaps I should have gone with my instincts and tried.”
“Grace, you did everything you could. There’s no way that you could have manually pulled him from the car, we had to cut him out.”
“Was he dead then?”
“We think so.”
“His poor family! Why are you talking to me? You should tell his partner, parents and….”
“We cannot get hold of them, Grace. Do you mind being called that?”
She doesn’t seem impressed at all. “It’s 2014, I certainly don’t want you to call me Miss Winters.”
Grace folds her arms and sighs. “Does he have a brother, sister or friends you can get hold of? Please tell me that you’ve tried to contact his next of kin!”
“We’ve checked the glove compartment of his car, his wallet and all of his pockets. His phone was out of battery, it won’t charge very well. We’re using a universal charger.”
I don’t think Grace is taking in what he’s saying, she’s shaking uncontrollably. Poor girl. I do feel guilty. Seeing something like this, messes with people’s minds.

-Here is the link to my ‘Authors page’ on Amazon:

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Defeatist, Chapter 1, Part 3

What? God, this is weird. I look at him once more and he nods, motioning for me to go forwards. I don’t want to look at my body in too much detail. I crouch down by my own head and find my ear. Well, what’s left of it.
“Uh, Jude?”
Why am I doing this? Thank goodness only he can see me, because I must look like a prize idiot. I can hear an echoing in my own head. Apart from dying, this is the second weirdest thing I have ever experienced. What am I supposed to say?
“Jude, you did this for a reason. You can die now, your heart rate and breathing is being artificially stimulated by machinery and the people who are trying to save you. You didn’t want to make it.”
I’m not listening to myself. Shit! Why am I being so ignorant? I glance over at my Granddad for some advice.
You might have to intervene.”
Oh, I understand him. I reach out a shaking hand, and untie one of the sides of the non- rebreathing oxygen therapy mask from my face. Immediately, it slips out of position and my heart rate dips on the portable monitor. They are so quick to put it back into place again. I am going to have to try much harder than this. I eye a pair of scissors carefully tucked into the side of their first aid pouch. Do I have the power to unwrap them? I reach out a hand, but-but this isn’t working. I cannot get hold of the object. This is horrible, oh God! Something beeps, falters and goes off again. I glance over at the heart monitor; all I see is a singular flat line. There are no more jagged lines, and a red light is flashing. Red lights and beeping noises are never good, but in this instance, they are. They think they’re losing me. I am already gone.
“You got your way then?”
I really am dead, the paramedics look like they are close to tears. I wonder who rang them, because there doesn’t seem to be anyone else on the scene. Just as well. I am so relieved, and wait for them to stuff me into a body-bag or something, but they don’t, not yet. I’m not religious, I don’t care what they do with my body and neither will anyone else. The problem is, what do I do now?
“Granddad, what’s next?”
“That’s up to you, Jude.”
“Well, I stay around a lot because I like to spend time with you all. You can’t stop me from joining the family on Christmas day.”
They’re trying to use a defibrillator now, but I am long gone. I suppose they have to try anyway, to cover their own backs. I cannot watch anymore, I turn on my heels and proceed to walk away. I glance down at my clothes: they’re in a bad state. I need new ones.
“I’ll see you again soon, take care of yourself.”
I look up, and by the time I do, he’s already gone. I stand alone in the darkness, trying to get my head around what has just happened. There is a thin layer of frost covering the ground, but I’m not cold. No, I don’t feel that anymore. Finally, after a painstaking 20 minutes they do accept it, they let me go and pull a white sheet over my body.
“Time of death: 1.05am. We need Manchester Metropolitan police.” One of them says, as I sit unseen next to my own body. “They’ll have to identify him if they can. Do you think he’s local?”
The other paramedic shakes her head. “I have no idea, I have the police on-hand. They should be here any minute now.”

Here is the link to my ‘Authors page’ on Amazon:

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Defeatist- Chapter 1, Part 2

Thank God! I suppose that I never did do anything by halves. I walk over to my body to assess the damage. It’s bad. From what I can see, my left shoulder-blade is dislocated, it’s about to penetrate my skin. My neck looks wrong, it must have been the sheer force of the crash. It’s bust. Full respect to these paramedics, they’re going all out to save me but they needn’t bother. I died two minutes ago. Perhaps I’m not dead? It could be an out-of-body experience, but I don’t want it to be. Can I do something to hinder their progress? One paramedic goes to feel my pulse.
“There’s a faint heartbeat. We’re getting something!” She exclaims. I shudder, the high-tech equipment is bringing me back. Do they think this was an accident? If they knew what really happened and I survive, I’ll end up in a psychiatric unit for sure. I’ll be a vegetable, a piece of meat which just goes on living. There’s no way that my brain is still intact. With each second that it is starved of oxygen, another cell perishes. Let me go.
“That was a bloody stupid way to go!”
Oh it is him, I knew he’d come! He looks well, youthful actually, considering that he died almost six years ago. He stands there and continues to shake his head at me. I don’t think he’s best impressed.
“I’m um on the donors register.” I reassure him. My Granddad shakes his head once more.
“Why did you do it, Jude?” I shrug, I do know why but…
“Yes you do.”
“It’s a hell of a long story and that’s where I’ll probably be going.”
I glance at my Granddad. He has so much hair. I mean, masses of the stuff when most men of that age have none. It wasn’t at all long, but the hair had been thick and snowy white to match his beard. I cannot help thinking how great it is to see him again.
“No-one goes to hell for that.”
We both observe the crash site as we sit on the pavement. There are shards of metal and glass strewn everywhere, this crime scene is real. It’s mine. Surely the paramedics have to give up sometime soon.
Am-am I going to survive?” I shudder.
“Do you want to?”
“No way!”
“Then you won’t, but you have to tell your body that.”
“Go over to it and whisper in your own ear, Jude.  Say it loud and clear. Give yourself permission to let go.”

Here is the link to my ‘Authors page’ on Amazon:

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Defeatist- Chapter 1, part 1

January 2014 :

Someone is hammering. Somebody is literally pounding at my chest, but I’m numb; at least I think I am because I can only see. Shit, the scene is messier than I imagined. The car is still smoking and no-one is putting it out, all their attention is focused on me. Do they want me to make it? I don’t. People’s voices are muffled and my eyes avert to the spider-webbed windscreen and the large tree branch which penetrates through my car. Smoke plumes billow from the bonnet. How did they get me out? Did they drag me from the driver’s seat before the vehicle burst into flames? If they did, I could be paralysed and wheelchair bound and…. perhaps that’s why I’m numb?
Oh God, my face is fuc- I am unrecognisable. Don’t bring me back, please. Stop! Where am I? I stare at my feet, which are firmly planted on the tarmac pavement and glance over my shoulder.
My body is still there, but-but I’m over here. I succeeded.

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Pit Of Hell

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John :

This bed is my prison; the iron cast frame is the bars

In my semi conscious state, I lie trapped here for hours

I want to be in the garden, but it is not safe for me now

I cannot leave my confinement, my body doesn’t know how

My painful bones are a punishment, alongside my aching chest

It might be will of God. Everyone thinks that he knows best

I am a man of thirty-eight, but it’s as if I am ninety-two

My body is slowly shutting down. Was this God’s plan too?

People fear the fires of hell, and take the up most care:

To study the bible day by day and the word of God they share

Perhaps I should have gone to church and worshipped him as well

I fear I have fallen too far. I am condemned to the pit of hell.


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John :

I see a kind young woman, one who is pretty and fair

Genuine and fine of figure, with a mane of fiery hair

She is support for her Mother and caring as can be

Bonnie is a dedicated worker, I think she takes after me

She is only fourteen years old and so wise for her age

She has a hot temper, but carefully controls her rage

I know she will do well, Bonnie is hard-working and clever

My! Children grow up so fast. We cannot hold their hands forever.

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Peter :

This conman is a crafty one, eccentric and aloof

He has many aliases, his fake passports are the proof

Why would he escape prison, with a matter of months to go?

What were his initial motives? Perhaps he doesn’t know

Neal doesn’t look his usual self, dressed in prison clothes

He seems refined somehow, even though he’s wearing those.

He’s composed and witty: he wants to strike a bargain with me

But why after he ran, does he suppose I should set him free?

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014


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Queen Evangeline :

Who is this pompous child of mine, with his shock of chestnut hair?

He doesn’t possess any self-composure, yet about him every one cares

People say he is a talented boy, but they cannot see through his smile

Theodore is a flighty thing and that side shows once in a while

His paintings are mediocre, but his Father is so full of praise

His newest creation sat in our hall for more than several days

He was more amiable as a little boy; Mr Howard kept him out of my sight

I saw him for under an hour each day, when he kissed me on the cheek at night

Lady Jane seems to have taken to him and she does well to play her part

Yet I doubt that she will even fall for my son and offer him her heart

Oh Theodore, why must you defy me? You’re ignorant and obtuse

On other instances your behaviour turns and your actions are aloof!

I will not hesitate to strike you my boy, if that is what it takes

Mend your frivolous manner. Your crown and kingdom are at stake.


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Kindred Spirits

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Maira & John :

We were kindred spirits for twenty years, but life is leaving you.

Why must God be so cruel, when you’ve endured all you can do?

I want to hold you in my arms and tell you that you’re not going to die

But precious John, you and I know that it does not do to lie.

Do you remember the times in the meadow, when we sat under our tree?

Or we talked for hours on end, and you poured out your heart to me.


Maira back then we were but children, how fast the years have passed

I always feared that we were over-content and things were too good to last

I feel safe as my head rests on your shoulder and Bonnie enters the room

I watch her tears fall once more and fear that I will be gone so soon

I promise to cling on to life, and exist for as long as I can

Thank you both for completing me. You made me the man I am.


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