thumbnail_sense-pre-made-2018-Samie-Sands
Have you read Living on Borrowed Time yet? Want to see through Charlie’s eyes? Read on…

What the hell am I doing here?

That thought swirled around and around in my brain as I glanced my eyes around the room, drinking in the slow descent of what promised to be a very legendary house party. As I looked at everyone I could see in turn, I quickly realized that they were all faces I barely recognized—sending me back to another time in my life. One where I spent most of my time at parties with people I didn’t know.

I clutched the bottle of beer tightly between my fingers, recalling how it didn’t matter back then because I would always manage to find a way to get myself so wasted that I didn’t care. I thought the screwed up, off-my-face version of Charlie was a whole heap of fun.

Now I could see that he was just another fuck up with no future ahead of him.

I wasn’t sure why I had allowed myself to get talked into this night, but the more that time passed, the more I regretted it. The home belonged to one of my old school friends, someone that I bumped into randomly a few days ago. At the time, I thought it would be good to reconnect with some of my old crowd, the ones I knew before everything went wrong, but since I’d been here, I hadn’t actually managed to see a single one of them.

I sighed deeply to myself, making the smart decision that this one drink would be my only one. After I finished it I would make my way back home, where I could reflect in peace about the prospect that I had finally reached that grand old age where I was too old to party—where it wasn’t as much fun anymore. I’d probably gotten there much quicker than everyone else because of my past, but they would eventually catch up to me and see that this lifestyle was pointless.

It was time to move on, to start thinking about settling down and really carving out a future for myself. Everything else was futile…pointless.

I hadn’t done bad, considering. As soon as I discovered that Olivia—my much older girlfriend who had been integral in setting me down the wrong path in life—was cheating on me, my crappy life crashed around me leaving me with only two choices.

Did I take the easy way out and carry on down the shitty route that I was currently traveling down, or did I really put in some effort and clean myself up, to try and achieve something more? After all, I had been filled with a whole heap of potential and promise not that long ago—everyone told me that!

Sticking to the difficult option was not a simple one. In fact, I almost went back on it more than once, but now that I’d seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’d dragged myself through it, I could see how worthwhile that journey had been.

The only problem was I’d been left with some quite serious baggage. I didn’t like to let anyone in too close anymore, and I’d purposely made decisions to help me with that. I started up my own graphic design business, which after a slightly rocky start was actually starting to do well. It was great to have something so intense to throw myself into, but it isolated me too. It kept me locked in my office, in solitary confinement, while I completed very intricate, time-consuming jobs. It gave me a whole heap of my own company, and no headspace to think.

At one time, that had been perfect, but as time went on I started to realize just how lonely that was, and now I wanted more. I wanted to meet someone, to start a future with her, to get over the trust issues that Olivia had left me with.

But I was utterly terrified to take that first step.

Maybe that was why I’d agreed to come here, maybe I was hoping that it would help lead me back into socializing in a normal way, rather than what I was used to.

Sighing dejectedly, I slowly made my way towards the kitchen to chuck my bottle away. There was an intense disappointment crushing down on my insides, hurting me because tonight hadn’t gone the way that I wanted it to. I allowed it to consume me for a few seconds, knowing that I needed to really feel it before I could brush it to one side. I had gotten into plenty of trouble in my life by trying to ignore all of my issues, so I was perfectly aware that this was the only way…

Woah.

As I stepped into the kitchen, my eyes instantly fixated on the lone girl gripping tightly onto what I knew was a bottle of very strong whiskey. I stared in fascination as she poured three glasses of the stuff, wondering how the hell someone so petite and waifish would be able to handle something like that.

Maybe she didn’t know what it was, maybe she was just about to make the hugest mistake of her life—one that would lead her to throw up all over someone’s home, completely humiliating herself.

Warn her! I tried to tell myself, by my racing heart and my bone-dry mouth was too scared to speak out. Tell her, she needs to know.

“Strong choice,” I eventually managed to blurt out, in a nervy-sounding voice that I was certain would put her off me forever.

But as she span around, and our eyes connected, a burst of electricity bolted right through me, so powerfully that it almost knocked me backward. I smiled—or at least, I tried to—while I soaked every inch of her in. That sleek auburn hair, her pale, almost translucent skin, the body language that seemed to scream ‘fear’. But what drew me in most of all were her eyes. They were a deep, ocean-like blue—a color that I had never seen before—and they were windows to her soul, and what I could see in there was a reflection of myself. That deep, intense sadness, that hollow, empty feeling, that sensation of being lost.

I knew at that moment that I had found a kindred soul, one that needed me, one that I would do just about anything for.

This is the one, I decided as she finally forced our eye contact to break. The one that will change me forever. Maybe I was being naive, maybe not, I wasn’t sure—but for the first time in my life, I was willing to find out…

 

 

 
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From a glance history will tell you the 1980s in Zimbabwe was a time filled with great hope for independence under Robert Mugabe’s government. But like anything else, dig a little deeper and you will find skeletons and learn that the decade was a time of unimaginable fear, dread and death. Families were killed, children tortured, and women raped.

Meet Dots. Dots is a product of rape by Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade army – Gukurahundi. As a walking reminder of Gukurahundi to her family and community, she’s enslaved as a child and finds herself desperately searching for an identity unmarked by The Gukurahundi. Childhood life taught her to think about her survival first, and by hook or by crook she finds her way to England, leaving her tainted history behind. But when she reaches the Promised Land and is in the midst of starting all over again, she is threatened by deportation back to Zimbabwe. Panicked by the fear of being separated from her new-born baby and the thought of going back to her Gukurahundi-stained life, she fights from a place unthinkable to avoid her fears materialising into reality.

About the Author


Daniel Sebata was born in Zimbabwe and he relocated to the UK with his family in 1998. He spent about ten years as a secondary school teacher in Zimbabwe and he later trained and worked as a registered mental health nurse in the UK. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Mental Health Nursing and he uses that knowledge as an immigrant to tell stories about how child abuse compromises the child’s mental health resulting in sociopath, stalking and antisocial behaviour tendencies in his writings.

He is an ardent writer and reader, and Too Many Steps Too Far is his second novel. In his first novel entitled Why Rock The Boat When You Don’t know How To Swim, Dots, the main character is his second novel, remained in the shadows until the last minute. In Too Many Steps Too Far Dots tells her story.

Daniel taught as a temporary teacher (supply teacher) in 1984, in his home area in Zimbabwe, Gwanda, before he trained as a secondary school teacher in Gweru Teachers’ College. His home was under the control of the notorious Fifth Brigade, the Gukurahundi at the time. These soldiers raped women and children, and maimed and killed the locals. Living under the Gukurahundi inspired him to write Dots’ story.

Daniel is a bit of a traveller too. In 2015 he temporarily relocated to the USA, South Dakota, when his 14-year daughter moved to the USA to pursue her studies and tennis.

Excerpt

Armed with my father’s details and directions, I boarded a bus in rural Gwanda that took me to Bulawayo, where I took another one to Harare. At a bus terminus called Mbare Musika, in Harare, I approached vendors as I had been advised to by bokokoMaPalesa. There were many of them there, selling various dried foodstuffs, like ground nuts, dried vegetables, biltong including roasted rats. It was the first time I had seen roasted rats on sale. BokokoMaBuang used to ridicule me by saying that my people ate rats, but I never believed her. At Mbare Musika it dawned on me that they were delicacies to my father’s people. They had been salted and peppered and hung on improvised laundry like lines as grains of coarse salt and red pepper clung to their skin and teeth.

I approached one of the vendors and asked for directions in broken English because I did not speak the Shona language. But just mentioning my father’s name attracted more than half a dozen vendors. They congregated around me, talked over each other as they gave me the directions. Speaking in what sounded like broken English, like mine, they told me where to board the bus at the terminus and where to disembark. The attraction I generated was not only because of my father, but also due to the fact that I could not speak the Shona language and how I dressed. I was wearing this woollen dress, which was originally a grown-up person’s jumper. It went down to well below my knees. My height made it look oversized. From the attention I generated at the terminus, one would be forgiven to think that an argument was taking place among us. What surprised me the most was that most of the vendors in Mbare Musika knew my father. Even as I sat in the bus on my way to Zvimba, some people kept glancing and pointing the fingers towards my direction and whispering in Shona. It demonstrated my father’s fame. I assumed the vendors passed a word around of my destination as I boarded the bus.

At Mbare Musika, they told me that even a blind girl would not miss my father’s home, as it was the biggest in the area and it sat on a hill very close to the bus stop. When the bus stopped at my final destination I realised why the vendors had fought to give me the directions and why some passengers were whispering and pointing at me during the journey. My father’s homestead was like a gated community. It stood on a hill with four big houses at each corner of the homestead, the main house, a two-storey building, sat in the middle of the residence. The two-storey house was bigger than many houses I had seen in Gwanda and Bulawayo. At the entrance of the gated community, a woman met me. I told her that I wanted to see a man called James Chigwindiri and she led me onto the veranda of the two-storey house and told me to wait while she went inside. A short fat bald-headed man came out of the house, followed by a woman who I suspected was my stepmother. He just stared at me and said nothing for a while. It was an unbearable, drawn-out, thunderous pause that was unbefitting of a father coming face-to-face with his long-lost twelve-year-old daughter for the first time.

“Who’re you?” he asked, finally breaking the uneasy silence. No greeting, no manners – bokokoMaBuang would have called him all those names she showered on me.

I faced up to the man, who appeared stunned. He recognised me straightaway. For me to look like my father in that way was very unfair.

“I’m Doti.”

“Dhoti?” he repeated after me and the woman smiled. I understood later why she smiled at the mention of my name. “Dhoti” in Shona means faeces, so my father saw me as poopie, just like bokokoMaBuang in Gwanda had.

“Yes, sir,” I responded politely. The woman could not hold back her laughter anymore; she burst out laughing.

“Dhoti, from where?”

“From Ntalale in Gwanda, your daughter…”

“You’re shit for sure,” he thundered, interrupting me, then continued, “yes, you’re my shit, my past, the rubbish I thought I had swept away. You have no reason to come here. I had nothing to do with you then and I have nothing to do with you now. Get out of my home!” he shouted at me. “Go back to Matabeleland – to your people. Don’t dig up the past, unless you want to meet the devil that ate your mother. Don’t be a hero!”

I remember those words now as if they had been said yesterday. I stood there, transfixed.

“Go back to Gwanda now!” he screamed at me, pointing towards the gate and I turned and walked away, wondering if he was my real father. But we didn’t only look similar, we were a similar height too. He reminded me of bokokoMaBuang, who never got tired of shouting at me saying, “Follow your father to Mashonaland, to your horrible people.” That day I was told to go the opposite direction. It was clear that nobody wanted me. I was a bloat, a stain in people’s lives and they wished me away.

Haunted Tales is #free!

Posted: May 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

Haunted Tales by [Sands, Samie, Hall, Kevin, Doldan, Cecilia, Boving, Nicholas, Downes, Stephen, Dibble, Kody, Lundgren, June, Pacini, Amy, Rachelson-Ospa, June, Beeman, Justin]

Find out what’s going bump in the night with stories and poetry from the most terrifying horror writers; Kevin S. Hall, Cecilia H. Doldan, Nicholas Boving, Stephen Downes, Kody Dibble, June Lundgren, Amy S. Pacini, June Rachelson-Ospa, Justin R. Beeman, Martha Jette, Debbie Johnson, Giselda Woldenga, Anthony V. Pugliese, Matt Mesnard, Rick Eddy, Michele Jones, Linda H. Gerald, Linda Jenkinson, Jake Elliot, Kally Jo Surbeck, Etka Rawat, Mathias Jansson, Will Zeilinger, Delaina M. Waldron, Kimberly Klemm, Trisha Sugarek, Rae Desmond Jones, Jon Ospa and Samie Sands.

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Fuel Your Faith: A Practical Guide to Igniting a Healthy Spirituality by [Wise, Jean]

Does your faith need rekindled? Do you spend your days disconnected from God and yearn for a closer relationship with him? Too often Christians live a lukewarm existence mired in a rut of unfulfilled restlessness. How do we live with a vibrant faith?

Fuel Your Faith – a Practical Guide to Igniting a Healthy Spirituality is a guidebook to fan the flames of your faith. This book is not a deep theological discourse about spiritual disciplines, but a quick resource for ideas to stir the embers of belief God gives each of us.

In Fuel Your Faith, you will:
•Discover a potpourri of spiritual practices to move you from stuck to unstuck.
•Gather ideas applicable right away to your life to awaken your spirit.
•Learn ways to pray, study, connect, and celebrate God’s presence.
•Find inspiration, encouragement, and courage to explore your faith.

Fuel Your Faith will empower you to move from the chilliness of shallow faith to the warmth, power, and comfort of a blazing fire.

We can cultivate a healthy spirituality. God wants our faith to grow and our lives to glow with his love. What a marvelous gift God gives us – let’s fan the flames of our faith.

About the author

Jean Wise is writer, speaker, and retreat leader. She is spiritual director, RN, and a Deacon, living in northwest Ohio. Her passion is to help others deepen their walk with God. She writes weekly on her blog at: www.healthyspirituality.org and is the author and contributor of a growing number of books.

Amazon Link

 

This Does Not Leave This House by [Coons, Julie]

How does a little girl survive an abusive mother, Catholic school, rape, and a near-death experience?

Raised by an abusive, narcissistic mother (who once tried to trick her into having an abortion), Julie Coons was also raped in college by a stranger and later married an abusive man who threatened to kill her if she ever tried to leave.

Suffering from physical and mental torment resulting in very low self-esteem, Julie often felt so completely alone during the many struggles of her life that she tried to take her own life.

This book is her true story—telling all the secrets she was never allowed to tell to encourage and motivate others to heal their own lives and break the cycle of abuse.

Her story shows that there is hope and life after abuse.

Now that the secrets are finally out, Julie has found freedom.

So can you.

This Does Not Leave This House is a raw, poignant, and secret-revealing memoir written to lead a movement to break the silence of abuse and finally end its vicious cycle. With strength and resiliency, Coons provides a voice for the silent abused, letting them know they’re not alone. Justice and hope can prevail. The abused can become victorious.

Read the heartbreaking true story of her journey to triumph above overwhelming obstacles.

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True Fiction (Ian Ludlow Thrillers Book 1) by [Goldberg, Lee]

#1 New York Times and Amazon Charts bestselling author Lee Goldberg hits the ground running in a breakneck thriller where truth and fiction collide for the unluckiest writer alive.

When a passenger jet crashes onto the beaches of Waikiki, bestselling thriller writer Ian Ludlow knows the horrific tragedy wasn’t an accident.

Years before, the CIA enlisted Ian to dream up terrorism scenarios to prepare the government for nightmares they couldn’t imagine. Now one of those schemes has come true, and Ian is the only person alive who knows how it was done…and who is behind the plot. That makes him too dangerous to live.

Ian goes on the run, sweeping up an innocent bystander in his plight—Margo French, a dog walker and aspiring singer. They are pursued by assassins and an all-seeing global-intelligence network that won’t stop until Ian and Margo are dead. Ian has written thrillers like this before, but this time he doesn’t know how it’s going to end—or if he will be alive to find out.

Amazon Link

 

Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel by [Sullivan, Mark]

Soon to be a major television event from Pascal Pictures, starring Tom Holland.

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, the USA Today and #1 Amazon Charts bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

Fans of All the Light We Cannot SeeThe Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.

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