I write this looking at into my garden, as the sun beams down on the garden. The cat lays languidly. The tomatoes ripen in the heat. Life is generally good.
I just got very angry with the dishwasher and it reminded me of my post on balance and my recent readings of the Tao. The part where you stack the plates keeps falling over and I cant seem to correct it. It caused a gigantic wave of frustration and I had to take a moment to myself. Nothing is ever going to be perfect - 'perfection = death' in a number of philosophies around the world, so I sit, tap away and feel progressively better.
Our recent holiday was very calming but it reminded me that trying to travel in a post-covid world is very different and for me, anxiety-inducing. We were nearly stranded at an international airport at 2 am, with no hotel, means of travel or way home.
Luckily after extreme panic we resolved it and again, I remember to be grateful. Life is generally good.
I am giving away excerpts of my novella, Blood Betrayal, and the first follows below. I hope you like it. It is found at the end of Sunny Sands although chronologically it precedes it, with Crimson Cross being in effect the third novel of the series. The fourth and potentially final book of this series will come later in the year.
I will also release my first children's book before 2020 is out. Life is good, life is good. Keep promoting the positives. Keep trying to love yourselves in these crazy times. Here is a freebie, I hope it brings you some joy.
For what it's worth I think I arguably write as well as a teenage girl from Folkestone... than I do as Charlie Stone. Not sure what that says about me, but as I get older, I am learning to roll with the punches. Peace and love until next week.
By Trevor Twohig
The Final Days of Amy Green
Blood Betrayal: A Charlie Stone Crime Novel
Copyright © Trevor Twohig
1st Edition 2020
The moral right of Trevor Twohig to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998.
All rights reserved. This book is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way expect as specifically permitted in writing by the author, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the authors rights.
Amy watched his hands as he wrote the title of today’s lesson on the board.
Mr. Wood was not her regular English teacher, he was filling in for Miss. Grainger who had been sick since the middle of last week.
Most of the girls thought she was pregnant, she seemed to get a little glow whenever babies were mentioned in the lesson; Amy couldn’t think of anything worse than being pregnant. Well not for at least ten years anyway. How could she travel across Europe, and then through the heartlands of America, if she was stuck in Folkestone with a screaming baby?
That said, when she watched Mr. Wood put the pen down with his big hands, she felt a warm, tingly feeling inside of her. His hands were strong, tanned and the large vein that ran through the back of his left one was entirely alien to her; yet attractive.
Her dad had small, soft hands that he moisturised regularly. They always joked at home that mum was really the man of the house. Amy tried not to make fun of her father, she was not sure he really appreciated it, despite laughing along.
Amy looked up, as Mr. Wood introduced the first poem they were reading today. They made eye contact and Amy’s heart raced, before she looked back down at her selection of poems.
‘Miss Green? How would you like to start reading for us today?’ Amy looked up from the page nervously, her face flushed and she stuttered over the first few lines.
At break time Amy often went with her best friend Mina behind the bike shed at the back of the school.
Mina took out a packet of cigarettes and lit one up. She offered one to Amy, but she shook her head and leaned against the corrugated metal.
‘So, it seemed you enjoyed English this morning, Ame?’ Mina said, a wry smile passing across her face.
‘Oh my god, it was embarrassing, being asked to read first up…’ Amy replied.
‘You don’t normally mind reading though, do you?’ Mina said, as sharp as a tack and quick as a flash.
‘Of course not. It was just…’
‘… sexy Mr. Wood…’ Amy said in mock-seductive tone.
‘Oh, leave it out!’
‘Yeah, but you know I’m right. You couldn’t stop blushing. Even after if you weren’t watching his bum as he wrote on the board, you were staring out the window, at your dream wedding with dear Troy…’
Amy thought that sounded rather nice if she was honest. Yet as soon as she let the warm rush of dopamine wash through her brain, she felt a pang of guilt and stopped herself. This was her teacher and he was married.
‘Don’t feel bad,’ Mina said, as if reading her mind. ‘I think he is incredibly fuckable, if I’m being honest.’
‘Really, Mina? Don’t be so… gross.’ Amy recoiled at Mina’s use of language, but she was undeterred.
‘Which reminds me. Are you coming out with me tonight? Harry and the boys want to head into town. I need a wing-woman,’ Mina asked
‘Yeah, I guess. I have to work tomorrow though, so I don’t want to be out too late.’ Amy replied.
‘That’s cool. What time’s your shift?’
‘I start at 9am.’
‘Bummer. I have got the late shift tomorrow, so all day to chill…’ Mina said, feeling very pleased with herself.
‘I never get the bloody late shift. What do you need to do to get those anyway?’
The colour drained from Mina’s face as she took a long drag on her cigarette.
‘Hm. You don’t want to know, Amy Green.’ She said, throwing her fag on floor and pulling out a packet of spearmint chewing gum.
Amy looked at Mina, assuming she was joking, but something inside of her made her worry.
‘Come on babes. We’ve got Maths with Miss. Walker!’ Mina said, snapping out of her trance, and placing her arm around her best friend.
Troy Wood took a deep breath and felt that slow relief, when the bell goes and the students disappear.
He sat at Miss. Grainger’s desk and pulled an apple from his bag, taking a bite and looking out across the classroom. There were essays on the far wall, critically analysing Pride and Prejudice. A word wall to his left highlighted key words from the Myths and Legends scheme of work.
The sun shone through the large window onto the desks. There were pieces of A4 paper crumpled into balls on the floor.
Is this all there was? He thought to himself? Is this as good as life will get? Am I going to be doing this until I’m 65?
Troy checked his phone. No new messages. He sighed.
He looked through his old messages and there it was, the one he kept thinking about, the one from Jennifer.
Troy finished his apple and went to the staffroom. Along the corridor, he saw Amy Green and Mina Burrows arm in arm, giggling to themselves.
He looked at them both and immediately felt jealous. They had their whole lives ahead of them, to do with as they wished. Troy controlled the pang of resentment and anger that rose in him. He calmed.
The girls had stopped giggling and had unlinked arms. Amy looked sheepishly at Troy, with her big brown eyes filled with longing and desire.
Troy looked back at her and felt warm desire too, a welcome escape from the prison his life had become.
He smiled and she looked away, blushing.
Mina winked at her friend, before dragging her off to the Maths corridor.
Troy got a hold of himself and realised where he was. She was a schoolgirl for goodness sake! That said, she was eighteen… Troy snapped himself out of his stupor and opened the door to the staff room.
He nodded a few pleasantries to a handful of colleagues, before filling his plastic cup with warm, black coffee.
He stirred in two sugars and checked his phone again. One new message, his wife Linda: Please pick up milk and bread on your way home tonight. Thanks.
Troy thought once more about Jenny Green’s proposition as the bell went for his next lesson.
It was 4.15pm on Friday evening, when Amy drifted slowly up her driveway on Pelham Gardens.
She was a little later than normal because she waited around at school to try and see Mr. Wood about her upcoming English assignment. She had built herself up all day to have the courage to speak to him, one on one.
He was her substitute teacher, and that was his job, but he just made her feel nervous. She had felt a strange mixture of butterflies and anxiety all day.
She had rapped confidently on the staffroom door, only for it to be opened by one of the new trainee P.E. teachers, aggressively chomping through an innocent over-ripe banana.
He nodded at me to speak and when I asked for Mr. Wood, the door slammed in Amy’s face. He returned a few moments later, ‘he’s not here.’
Amy checked the English department once more, but the school was like a ghost town on Friday afternoon.
Anyway, Mr. Wood was obviously a busy man. He was married according to the ring on his left hand and given his confidence, he must have lots of friends. Not like Amy, going to her teacher for extra help on a Friday afternoon.
She felt a bit embarrassed as she put her key in the door and entered her large, family home.
The house was quiet, so she checked her father’s study, which had recently become more her mother’s study. Her mum worked as a part-time receptionist, but that was not all she did. Her other work, she kept to herself and was incredibly secretive about.
Jennifer Green was sitting at the desk in the study, shuffling papers away into a drawer.
‘Hello, Amy.’ Her Mother said, packing the papers away now with greater urgency and locking the drawer.
‘Hi, Mum. Where’s Dad?’
‘Work, I’m afraid.’
‘Oh, OK.’ Amy said, lingering in the door.
‘How was school?’
Amy smiled, ‘Yes, it was pretty good today.’ She thought of Troy Wood’s masculine hands.
‘That’s nice. I am going to be out tonight, Amy. Your Dad’s not due back until late either.’
Jenny got up from the desk after locking it and came towards the door.
‘You will be OK,’ Jenny said, planting a passing kiss on her daughter’s forehead as she made her way upstairs.
‘Yeah, I’ll be fine. I’ve got plans anyway.’ Amy said, knowing her mum wasn’t really listening.
‘That’s great, Amy.’
She placed her schoolbag down and put some bread in the toaster. While she waited, she removed her phone from her jacket pocket and texted Mina.
Where are we meeting tonight? Xxx
Amy went to the fridge and poured herself the last of the chocolate milk from the carton. She shook the remnants into her glass, before placing the empty container in the bin.
The toast popped and her phone pinged with a new message.
She left the message for a moment while she lathered a thin layer of flora on her toast followed by peanut butter.
She knew she couldn’t eat like this all the time, but she felt like some comfort food.
She put the phone in her pocket and took the glass and plate up to her room, quietly pushing the door to. Her mum didn’t like it when the door was shut fully.
She checked the message, come over now, I’m getting ready and pre-drinking… xxx
Amy placed the phone on the bed next to her and finished her toast.
She should really study, this was her final year, but she only had one major exam left… Amy felt torn. She wished she could be a little bit more like Mina, a little less uptight.
Her phone pinged again, Stop thinking about it. You don’t need to study. You need to let your hair down! Xxx
Amy laughed to herself. Mina really understood her, she was a true best friend.
Sod it, Amy thought to herself.
She got a bag ready for Mina’s, packed her makeup and grabbed a bottle of vodka from the dining room cabinet. Her mum wouldn’t miss it anyway, she had probably forgotten it was even there.
‘See you mum, I’m going out,’ Amy said as she opened the front door.
There was no response as Amy slammed the door shut.