Friday, 27 September 2013

High School Drama

The morning of her first day in high school Mary stood in front of the mirror, dabbing her face with the latest formaldehyde face cream. She had her favourite wig on, a blonde bob with golden highlights. She was nervous. Going through school she had been popular and studying had been easy. But now she was starting at the new high school in town. New school. New people. What if she didn't get any friends? What if the workload turned out to be too much for her? Those new hormone treatments made her struggle enough as it was, without the added responsibility of studying.. What if there would be no other ZBs?

The ZB virus always hit unexpectedly. And silently.
The silence was the first sign. The deadly quietness. An absence of life.
Mary had only been a two year old baby when her mother had walked in on her lying in the crib with her eyes wide open and a smile on her lips. But without making a single sound. No rustling around in the crib. No gurgling or laughing. No breathing. Her dad always made jokes about how her mothers screams probably scared half the neighbourhood into ZB on that very day. Mary hated him joking about it, but didn't have the heart to tell him. It was his own way of dealing.
In panic they had taken baby Mary to the A&E. The hospital staff were used to it happening. Gave them coffee, showed them all the flyers. With regular treatment ZB victims could be just like any other person. Their regular routines would have to change obviously, and Mary would have to get used to plenty of hospital visits, but with care she would be able to lead a normal life. She would however loose her hair and teeth fairly quickly and, sadly, she would never be able to have children.
Mary knew her mother had cried at the news of never being a grandmother, but she couldn't see what the fuss was all about herself. But perhaps later she would.

Mary had changed a lot lately, and didn't like it. Ever since that day back when she was two she had been going to the local ZB clinic for weekly treatments. Regular inter cranial injections of epigenetically manipulated stem cells for her brain. A few electrical shocks to avoid the heart muscle from rotting completely, combined with blood transfusions to make up for the lack of blood flow. She also went for monthly physiotherapy sessions where she was taught a set of chest exercises to get into the habit of filling the lungs with air, even though she had no need for it. In combination with the daily injections of trioxane for normal nerve function she thought she had more than enough to go through. But on her 13th birthday she had been given yet another prescription. The customary cocktail of hormones served to all ZB victims to simulate puberty. It tasted vile, and she had to take it every morning until the age of 20. She knew it was needed to go through to adulthood properly. But she still hated it. With a fierce passion.

On the way to high school Mary was in a state of near panic. She had never been this nervous in her life. Her father tried to comfort her the best he could during the drive to town. She wished he wouldn't. He left her mortified at the school gate after having given her a very public hug. After waving good bye she rushed in to the building. She was sure she would have been out of breadth if she had had one, and used some of her chest exercises. Partly to get something to occupy her terrified mind with, and partly to try to fit in as best she could. It took nearly twenty minutes for her to find the right room for her first class, and she was one of the last of the students to enter.

There were no other ZBs. No one but her who had perfect hair and teeth. No one but her smelling faintly of formaldehyde. As she walked to an empty seat at the back of the classroom she could almost feel the eyes on her. Hear the hiss of whispers travelling across the room. She wanted to die. Again.

When the physics teacher entered the room, the class suddenly went silent. Everyone stared at the striking woman who had just walked through the door. Professor Cho gave the class a blinding smile with her false teeth, flicked a strand of hair from the wig out of her face and said; 'All right class, lets get started!'. As she turned to wipe the whiteboard Mary smiled. It was going to be alright.

Friday, 20 September 2013

What a Perfect Night!

The gothic architecture of Edinburgh closed in on her as she turned down the small close just off the High Street. Her heels echoed between the narrow walls. She had strong ankles, developed through years of wearing high heals on the 17th century cobbles of city.
What a perfect night! A meal out with work had turned into a bar crawl in Old Town. One of those impromptu events that you never realised was going to be great. She smiled a little to herself when she thought of her colleagues. Like the Edinburgh story of Jekyll and Hyde her somber, and somewhat boring, work friends turned into right beast after taking their magical potion, in this case; lager. For once she was looking forward to seeing everyone again on monday.
Suddenly her smile froze. Heartbeat raised instantly. She concentrated on walking at the same pace whilst listening intently. Thought she had heard someone. After a few more paces she was sure. The steps were not just an echo.

She kept walking down the narrow close at a pace as even as she could make it. But when she reached the main road by Waverley train station she turned the east corner as quickly as she could. She felt her own heartbeat at the base of her throat. And as she glanced over her shoulder she could feel, rather than see, the shadow exiting the close behind her and follow her up the street.
Her pace was very fast, almost running, as she finally reached the top of her own street. The shadow was still behind her. Her heartbeat was a heavy drum inside her head. Her breadth shallow and fast.
When she could see her own front door she broke into a full run, and fumbled with the keys inside her pocket. The steps behind her sounded too close. Too fast. She reached the doorway and, as by a miracle, got the door opened on her first try. As she entered the stairwell she slammed the door behind her. Leaning against the wall catching her breath she could see the outline of a dark figure behind the stained glass of the door. She quickly unlocked the door to her flat and ran up to the front room window without turning on the lights. Peeking out behind the curtain she could see the figure walk back to the other side of the street. He turned around. Looked right at her. Watching.

She quickly kicked her heals to the other end of the room and ran through to the kitchen and her locked cupboard. Everything was ready. She was excited now. The black soft leather trainers felt heavenly after those heals.
Her kit slung over her shoulder, she went up to the front window and carefully parted the curtain. He was still there. She realised he looked surprisingly handsome. Dark hair and eyes. Agreeable in a sinister way.

After a couple of minutes he turned, and walked down the street. She gave him the customary 40seconds head start. You can't be too eager! She then snuck out the door and started following him on soft rubber soles. When she caught up he was nearly back at the train station. She hoped he wouldn't take the route back to the busy city centre, and got lucky. He walked down towards the car park in the garage behind the station. She snuck in and kept low behind the row of cars that separated her and the man. The sharp yellow sodium lamps in the ceiling made him look even more striking. Her heart skipped a little and the warmth spread from between her legs. Excellent.

He slowed down by an old mondeo. As he started rummaging around his coat pockets for his keys she was already behind him.

She smiled. Breathed in the heavy air, thick with the smell of fresh blood. She licked the knife. What a perfect night!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

THAT feeling.. a.k.a The future scares the shit out of me

Whilst writing my latest short story, which is a small scene from a futuristic setting (check it out here), I obviously started thinking about the future... (Or The Future, as I like to think about it, with the accompanying sound effect: duhn, duhn, DUUUHN)

Ok, so the thing is this:
-- I am a researcher, so my very occupation has a time limit to it, as decided by my grant funding.
-- The field I am in, as any academic branch I guess, is competitive
-- I have moved around a fair bit when I was younger and so have sadly lost track of many of my close friends
-- I am in a relationship where my partner is from a different country, and used to a different culture, than my own
-- I have a tendency to think... A LOT

All of the above (... ok.....mainly the last one.....) forms crucial parts of a puzzle that adds up to a very stressed individual indeed. As soon as I start to think about my own future (The Future) in any way - perhaps when writing a story, making a plan for a nice holiday, or just write a shopping list - I instantly develop a feeling of dread, and go straight into a loop of crazy thoughts.

These include: will I ever finish my thesis, will I ever get the time to get a decent haircut, will I ever get postdoctoral position, will I ever be happy being myself, will I ever be able to afford a new phone, will I ever get time to spawn some mini-Tees, will I ever enjoy exercise, will I ever feel content with my life, will I ever get to do my own research, will I ever....

Tee working away in the office
Tee pondering over The Future

WHY oh WHY, do I have to analyse every little possible aspect of my future, all the freaking time??!!!!
WHY can't I just sit back, be content in where I am at the moment, and enjoy the ride???!!

And finally: WHY oh WHY do people have to write a facebook update as soon as they are think they are so bloody happy and so freaking content with their lives???????........................

Oh. Ok. Problem solved. I'm just jealous.
Sorry about the rant.

//  Tee  --  Thinks that anyone who actually has ANY suggestions or tips, as to how to deal with stress about the future, should leave a comment below. Or, alternatively, cash out a Noble Prize. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Weirdo-moment of the day..

Just went for a coffee in the staff room of my uni and decided to nip into the ladies on my way over. Suddenly i got struck in a completely paranoid thought pattern;

What if someone sees me walking into the bathroom with my coffee cup, and thinks I am drinking my own wee????!!!


Or, perhaps nice and salty? It might be lovely! At least whilst its still warm... 
........... Yikes, nearly threw up a bit in my own mouth ........

//  Tee  -- No, I have no idea what on earth is going, and am fearing a mental breakdown. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

A feeling of being ahead

The adverts woke her up at her usual time. Happy tunes chiming away, promoting the latest in facial reconstructions and insurance policies. She got out of bed as soon as she could, and the adverts stopped automatically.
She had always loved getting up early. Having finished the latest news reports, gone for a jog on the treadmill and had an acid shower before anyone else in the house woke up filled her with a sense of superiority. Of being ahead.

As she sat down to start work she noticed a weird redness on her forearms. Perhaps the acid dose in the shower was a bit too strong for her? She had always had sensitive skin. She went to the bathroom cupboard and injected an extra dose keratin. Soon her new skin would be smooth again.

The keyboard hologram flickered a bit before it came alive in front of her. The projector was ancient. Not many people bothered with typing these days. The new clever dictaphone apps had certainly changed the life of a journalist! But she was of the old school, and liked the feeling of her fingers typing. It somehow gave her just the right amount of time between forming the message and moving her fingers over the letters. It kept her from making no where near as many mistakes as when she dictated her stories. She thought about what music to listen to as she typed out the interview she had held with the manager of TeleTub from the day before. Chopin. Her implant instantly translated her needs and she was soon engulfed in the sweet notes of a Nocturne. Just what she wanted.

It was nearly two hours before the adverts from the implant interrupted her in her writing. She had been enjoying her interview so much time had passed without her knowing! She loved that feeling of 'flow'. Journalism was her calling. The adverts sang out their messages of various new food replicators, TeleTub travel insurance, and new coffee brands. She realised she must have subconsciously been feeling a bit hungry and went into the kitchen.

Whilst waiting for the replicator to figure out what type of flavours she wanted she thought about TeleTub. The interview had been fascinating. She had no idea that the science behind human teleportation had finally caught up with them! That TeleTub transported goods like this was old news, and it was well known that the transported items sometimes came out a little worse for wear. The entangled photonics messaging that was used to transport the information were supposed to be impossible to decrypt, but it still happened that the products appeared at the receiving end with more than a few items missing or broken. Hackers were getting cleverer by the day, and TeleTub stocks had been losing their value steadily for months. No one would ever risk teleporting themselves and appearing at their destination with your arms missing. Or, as the anti-teleportation activists kept pointing out, the perhaps more sinister version where you arrive at your destination with a changed political view, or without empathy..

But her interview with the TeleTub manager had been a real eye opener. The new encryption algorithms had been tested in secret for months and seemed unbreakable. She had even succeeded in getting the manager to hint that a big publicity test was being done very soon. It was a real scoop, and she hoped she would get the opportunity to witness the first manned teleportation event! It would feel like science fiction!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Packing day...

...  and I really can not be arsed..

Moving into a new flat is really exciting, but the whole packing-up-ALL-your stuff procedure is hell!

Today is wardrobe day, and it is standing there, mocking me....

Baahhaha! I'm too lazy for this shit.
All I want to do is sleep!

// Tee  --  The only thing that could make her want to get out of bed would be the promise of a strong coffee with lots of cream..

Friday, 6 September 2013

Sleepy Hyde

The ring I had put on her finger only hours earlier opened up a long gash along my chin as she hit me square in the face with her left fist.
Dark brown eyes. Empty wells of darkness. No longer the woman I loved. As she tried to hit me again I managed to grab hold of the wrist and stop her. The noise she made was that of an angry animal. A primitive snarl.
Hands bound on her back. Bath robe belt stained by the bloodied ring. Having to restrain her made me hurt inside.

The wedding had been beautiful. Our closest friends all in the same place, celebrating our love. Her dark brown eyes had sparkled with gold and happiness, as she said 'I do'. The skirt of her dress was flowing like the frothy water of a wild river as I watched her dance the evening away. I had hoped all the dancing in combination with numerous glasses of champagne might tire her out. Give her a heavy sleep.

It was three weeks before the wedding when I made my decision. I was not going to tell her. As the big day approached I knew I had to make up my mind. Man and wife. Say it, of forever hold my tongue. I would deal with it. Subdue it. I would love her forever.

The dark empty eyes looked at me with hate. I tried to ignore it. Played with my phone as I laid on the luxurious bed in the honeymoon suite. Pretending not to hear its quiet growl.

It had been going on since the very start. The first time I saw her she was sitting in an old mans pub. Drinking a pint of lager and with her legs relaxed wide she did not look out of place. Until she turned around. Long blonde hair. Almost white. A thousand strands of golden linen that framed a stunningly beautiful face with dark brown lively eyes. I had no idea what on earth she was doing in my smelly local pub, but what ever the reason was, I was going to be forever thankful. From that moment on we were inseparable. The flames of passion had lasted for more than a year, and only barely cooled down since. She was vibrant.

The first time it happened I had known her for a month. After a night in with some wine and a movie I woke up to the most terrifying scene. Her. Standing in the middle of the room. Head cocked to one side, watching me silently. I realised instantly that something was different. Wrong. This was not just her sleepwalking. The eyes looked deep and empty. Almost questioning me. Like it didn't know who I was. I was not able to make a sound. After what felt like an eternity it left the room and I followed. When she woke up a few minutes later, lying in the sofa she did not remembered anything. She smiled at me, and laughed at her 'sleep walking antics' that had been a part of her life since her early teens.

As I looked over at its bloodied and ripped wedding dress I wondered why no one had ever told her. Surely someone would have noticed what happened to her in the night? Someone would have seen that this was not just a sleep walking woman, but something.. different? But I already knew the reason why. I had battled with the question myself and made my decision. No. I was not going to tell her. Nothing would be worse than knowing you turned into something else, something evil, when you thought you were asleep.

I would guard her, subdue the evil, and love her forever.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Art Deco Fetish

I love art deco shapes. Especially in decorative furnishings and art work, but also in buildings.

On my way to my bus stop in Edinburgh I walk past one of the most gorgeous art deco buildings I have ever seen. The Fountainpark Public Library.

If you have ever been in Edinburgh you will know that Fountainpark is far from the most glamorous of areas in town. It is in fact exactly the opposite. And that has sadly affected the upkeep of this stunning building and what it is used for. The Hall is no longer used for community activities (As I enter I can feel the ghosts of the early 1940s styled youth dancing away to the latest jazz tunes) but holds a citizens advice bureau. The public library is still there, but feels desperately run down and has a vague, yet distinct, urine scented atmosphere..

Entering this place is heart breaking, and I feel a strange need to help! Rip up the 1070 carpets, polish the bannisters, clean the windows, order in an insane amount of new books and organise excellent community events that everyone will want to go to. But there is clearly no cash available for institutions like these in todays Edinburgh. Paying nearly £1000 a year to a council that lets beauties like these decompose in front of your eyes makes me angry! When I get rich (... hmm... positive thinking is good for you I'm sure...) I will want to do things for communities like these. Communities that are known to be rough, communities that are dying and needs a helping hand to pull themselves up to be able to enjoy and feel pride in their historical heritage.

The entrance is on the corner

The stunning shapes and decorations of the old community hall
Above the entrance

The old ticket booth is now used as a pin board

Original fittings. Polished by 70 years worth of use

Fabulous staircase with mint green walls 

//  Tee  --  aka mother freakin' Tee-resa

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

More ramblings.. And a new blog category!

As you will have noticed, the blog has lately mainly been used as an outlet for me and my, somewhat twisted, thoughts rather than short stories. I hope that's ok. The thing is that getting into a proper habit of writing (no matter what that is) actually means I have gotten loads of inspiration! What a relief!
So I think I will keep writing some random posts here, when I feel like it.

For those of you who are actually here for the stories, rather than my ramblings (....I can't for the life of me understand WhY of course....*ahem*), you will be pleased to see a new category by the top bar of the blog, where I've collected all stories (under a heading cleverly named All Stories).

I just realised how incredibly useless this picture
probably is.. Never mind. That's what the new
category-button looks like! *YaY*

On another note, I bought a new awesome book yesterday. It's a fabulously huge brick full of historical facts. HOWEVER..... perhaps I should have thought twice about getting this delivered to my work at the Chemistry Department at the university......................???????......... :-O

//  Tee  --  Promises to post regular blog updates from Her Majesties Prison Service....

Monday, 2 September 2013


I am stuck in a bar.... On the wrong side of the taps!

Was helping out with a few shifts in a wee local bar in the west end of Edinburgh last night. As it was really slow most of the night I mainly spent the evening failing to read some important documents I had brought with me. Instead I ended up thinking. Not always a good thing.
Some of the topics me and my brain have tried to sort out:

  • Why is it that as soon as I want to write a short story, I end up with heaps of texts about my own private thoughts and issues? Have I perhaps got a need to share? Or am I just one of those wanky sort of people who think their own views are superior and therefore deserve their own space? Or is it just procrastination?
  • Why does my awesome low-carb / high-fat foods give me such horrid breadth?
  • Why do my feelings about work, friendship, love life have such a roller-coaster behaviour, switching at an alarming speed between utter despair and extreme happiness?
  • Does it make me a horrible person that I am less interested in the crisis in Syria than figuring out when the new Sherlock series starts, when browsing the BBC web page?
  • Why am I the only one who openly wants gadgets mainly because of the way they look rather than their specs? I mean come on! No one wants to use things that are ugly! The beauty/feel/athmosphere component is so important! 
There. A scraping off the top of the vat of guey, slimy, nonsensical things that has been brewing away in my mind.

Deep in thought

//  Tee  --  Has just realised that she might be a shallow, bipolar procrastinator with a need to voice useless opinions through a bad smelling mouth. Bloody great.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Anger - or what I learned from a brief tour into the brain of an abuser

Angry Tee
I always feel the Anger in the chest first. On the exact spot where I imagine my heart is. It starts as a tension. A dull cramp that grabs the heart with a force I can feel all the way through my body, back to my spine. As if I am being impaled. Slowly bored through by a stake of Anger. Probably made out of steel, or blackened burned sharpened wood or something like that. Like one of those stakes Buffy carries along.

But I aint no vampire. I am a normal girl. In fact, I am a NICE girl. One of those girls who grew up without making any fuss. No tantrums as a child, no pre-pubertal mischief or teenage shenanigans. No questioning of authority, no deviations from normality. All nice.

A boy would have had a different normality to live up to. His Anger would have been expected. He would have been assumed to fight for his right to play with the toys in pre-school, be aggressively pubertal in his teens, and defend his woman's honour in adulthood. His anger would have been expected.

But I aint no boy. I behaved just as expected. Always. Well, almost..

The Anger always come in short bursts and strong flairs. Like that time when I was 14 and my new pair of jeans (an excellent pair of stonewashed Crocker's) felt too tight and I suddenly screamed, cried and pulled large tufts out of my hair. Or when I was 17 and cooking dinner and salted the food too much and screamed and threw a plate in the wall. Or that time in my mid 20s, when my opinion was dismissed in discussion at a party and I kicked a man hard on the shins. And now, two weeks ago, when the most moral man I know told me I was behaving ridiculously, and all I wanted to do was to punch him in the face. Hard.
A flair of Anger can be powerful and
completely uncharacteristic of your  own being
Every point in time when this has happened - sudden flairs of chest pain and Anger - have always been followed by a complete sense of misery. I have always hated myself. Completely. For not being able to control my feelings. For not behaving as expected of a nice girl.
But two weeks ago, when I suddenly felt the type of Anger that would have turned me into a domestic abuser, I came to an important realisation.

First, I'd like to make it clear that I do not believe that were as humans are built like pressure cookers - that feelings of sadness or anger can build up inside until we have "a good cry" or "a fight waiting to happen". Our brains are more sophisticated than that. In fact I think it might actually be harmful to always act on our feelings, as it will create a possibly damning behavioural pattern. If there is anything we humans are good at it is getting into habits. There are many people out there with a habit of crying, getting angry, or depressed. And I believe a change in behaviour is the only thing that can help. What was it Einstein said?
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result

However; what my insight into an abusers brain (which at that microsecond happened to be my own) made me realise was the incredible danger we are putting people in by assuming a predetermined behaviour.

I grew up behaving exactly as I was expected to behave. However, that turned out not to be at all suitably to my true being. My Anger was not allowed, so instead of acknowledging to myself that my feeling were allowed I built them up inside and only let them come out in strong flares - which only led me feeling more miserable. Human phycology is obviously exceptionally complex, but I think we can all agree that one sure way of making an unhappy human being is to suppress her natural behaviour.

This leads to a ridiculous situation where little girls are assumed to be all nice and quiet, boys are assumed to be loud and aggressive, teenagers are assumed to be moody and hostile, women are assumed to be vulnerable, have shallow interests and gossip about their friends, men are assumed to be strong and intelligent and have uncomplicated sport-centered friendships.

If we happen to come across an individual whom's true natural behaviour matches all our assumptions, then I think we would be very lucky indeed. We are all humans and our behaviour spans over the whole register to varying degrees no matter what gender, and obviously also no matter what skin colour, background or education we happen to have been blessed with.

Assumptions are likely to make us all unhappy and if we are really unlucky they might make us behave in a way that not only hurt others, but is against our own true beliefs.
Let's do our best to open our minds a little and throw our assumptions away.

I wonder how much things like these help cement our assumptions of children's behaviour?
Will it make girl behave less angrily than she really might feel?
Will it make a boy behave more angrily than he is comfortable with?

Sometimes all it takes is a clever comedian to point
out how much we actually assume about each other, (and our dress sense! :D)

//  Tee  -- Wanted to write a short story, but had a brain full of mess. So thought I'd have a bit of a Tee-rant instead :)