If you like pina coladas…

My brother did this weird thing with turtles.

I wasn’t quite sure if he was mad, or I had lost my mind, trapped in an Alice Through the Looking Glass world of drug-induced hyper-clarity.

He had been such a cute little boy, although quite ordinary, I grant you. His talent for building a super-computer from scratch (because, why not, when you are ten?) and his unnerving ability to pluck the very soul from a  guitar that could make you weep, well, that wasn’t the stuff of an ordinary child. But in a family of not-quite-fitting-in, it was ordinary enough. For us.

But this? This was… unnerving, even to me who lived most of my days in my imagination, even when filing forms, completing paperwork, catching the bus, the train, the underground to my ordinary job in an ordinary world. I retreated to my fantasies because, dark as they were, they gave me comfort. They encouraged me to believe that there really was more to life than – this.

But, I wasn’t sure if I wanted this irridescence in my world. I wasn’t sure if this level of craziness, this shifting-sands hovering above reality gave me peace or traumatised me.

I decided that the only solution was to seduce him. No, not my brother (eugh!). The turtle. Of course, the turtle. The lead turtle, the main man (if you will), the one who my brother had been working on (or maybe, with) since the beginning. Like the children that followed the Pied Piper of Hamlyn, all his turtly friends had followed him to my brother’s door to see what all the fuss was about. If I could just get under Sir Turtle’s skin, or shell, then maybe I’d find out what was really and truly going on.

You see, my brother’s neighbours had all started coming to me for The Answer to all the confusion. And when I say neighbours, that’s kind of a loose term. Bro lives in a ramshackle house in the middle of a field in the depths of nowhere. The nearest village is 10 miles away – not close, right? Plus, he’s nowhere near the coast, so nowhere near turtles. Not normally. I’m pretty sure that they don’t inhabit the sleepy River Mord, especially as ‘river’ is a grandiose term for a brook that only babbles properly in February. “What in God’s name is he doing?” demanded Joseph Wheelwright, wheezing down the crackling phone line. Old codger Wheelwright out-aethiests the most fervent aetheist I know, so his calling on God for enlightenment was a warning to me that there was severe angst in the locality. A sleepy, backward, insular locality that didn’t take well to strangers.

Or strange people, like my brother had apparently become.

When I turned up at his mouldering old clapboard monstrosity of a house, the stain on the wall outside told me something wasn’t quite right. The tide mark ran all the way around the house at about hip height, once you stepped up onto the veranda. The swing seat was no longer swinging but seemed frozen in space as if dipped in aspic. In fact everything was damp and somewhat slippery to the touch, like oily jelly.

I ventured inside. The entire ground floor smelled like the ocean. The entire ground floor was the ocean, in fact. Waves were lapping at the walls. Thousands of turtles were gliding through turquoise water and boy, it was beautifully, tropically warm. It was perfect, if unnerving. I felt like I’d stepped into a marine version of the Tardis, it was so vast in there. My brother basked on a lilo that bobbed lazily as the tide swelled, wearing cool shades, khaki shorts and flip-flops, sipping a cocktail complete with a cherry and pink umbrella (really, bro?!).

“Hey babe, come on in! Say hi to my besties, wontcha?”

(Like, really, he never, ever talks like that).

So, it was true. He had started a one-man mission to save the turtles of the world, just as my recently-seduced (and very well seduced, if I say so myself) Sir Turtle had revealed to me late one night. Pillow talk, you know. The oceans were slowly dying, and this was his salty, singular crusade.

Oh, you want to know how me and Sir Turtle hooked up, how he spilled the beans?

Like, haven’t you heard of online dating?

Everyone does that now, don’t they?

Especially turtles with a shell to die for.

 

Gossamer – Magpie Tales

escher m c bond of union 1956

No matter the distance between us, you are always present.

You could be a solar system and a lifetime away, but you are here, with me, in me, always.

I imagine a glistening gossamer thread spanning eternity, ethereal, almost invisible.

Delicate it may be, but it is indestructible.

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Here’s my latest entry into Magpie Tales. I’ve been an admire of Escher’s art since I was a teenager, so couldn’t resist putting something together this week.

Please visit Magpie Tales for more creativity – you know you want to!

Jessica can be purchased – it’s the kind of girl she is…

Hello, dear readers! As promised yesterday, here is the big reveal!

If you have been itching to purchase your own, honest to goodness copy of Jessica whether in e-book or real, live gorgeous paperback, here is how you can delve into the dark side…

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In October 2014 seven writers came together to create a meta-fiction project entitled JESSICA.

What was it all about? Here’s what Helena had to say:

“There are rumours that I keep a writer trapped in my basement… but I assure you… Jessica is and always was here of her own free will. Until one day she disappeared, and I began to realize that everything I thought I knew about her was wrong. Everyone has a terrifying story about Jessica B. Bell. Some of them are even true.”

It first appeared on Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, beginning HERE.

If you read JESSICA, you may have noticed that there were pages torn from the journal. The complete JESSICA (with over 50 pages of new material – THE MISSING PAGES) can now be found on Amazon in PAPERBACK, or as a Kindle e-book.

There’s also a special, Deluxe Edition exclusive to iTunes (you will need an iPad or iMac/iBook to read – sorry, it won’t work on your iPhone).

JESSICA