The Tormenter

Short Story
By Stephanie Geary

Sitting outside the school gates, I wait nervously for Stan Foster to come out of class. My mind whirls at the prospect of seeing him, knowing what I must do. Nerves and fear play a part in making my decisions. I can see a crowd forming, they have heard about what will be happening shortly. Hands in pockets, I glance at the growing audience, knowing that I am about to be put on display and that I must perform. My hands are clammy, and I wipe them roughly down my school trousers. I pull a handful of change from my pocket and count the coins.

Not enough, I need more.

What will he say about that?

I see him making his way out of the school, a group of friends surrounding him, offering him encouragement. They all look this way, none of them wanting to admit that they play a part in this scenario. As they get closer, I feel my heart racing, adrenaline kicks in and I feel ready. My eyes never steel away from his, I stare him down and gulp down on the salty saliva building up in the back of mouth and throat. I feel nauseous, but I know that is due to the fire burning in my gut.

Racing towards Stan, I see the fear in his eyes as he sees me, his secondary school bully approaching him. He looks at me, tears ready to spill from his eyes and I feel the raw fear that comes from his every pore.

And I love it.

I wish that I didn’t! I feel the hold that I have over him and the feeling of being powerful is like a drug I can’t get enough of. I clench my fists eagerly.

My audience waits as I approach my prey; all eyes are on me. I cannot let them down.

 

Featured post

I’m back….

Hi All

Yes, I know it’s been a while, but I promise that I have a very good reason for why I have been absent. 5 weeks ago, I was in hospital giving birth to my adorably, cute son, Aaron. Needless to say, my days and nights have been filled with feeding, burping, nappy changes, sleep deprivation and recovery. But I am very eager to get myself back into the writing game. So what better way to do that then to introduce you to my youngest and FINAL addition to our family. I am the very proud mother of 3 boys now… Ethan, 9, Oliver, 5, and now Aaron. I am surrounded by males. My husband and Pug, Harry, contributing towards the testosterone! But I couldn’t be happier.

Welcome to the World, Aaron

But, some of you may have noticed that I have been a bit quiet prior to having my son. When I found out I was pregnant late last year, I was torn between my emotions. I was excited but completely nervous and scared at the same time. Knowing that my previous pregnancy had ended so traumatically at 17 weeks, and knowing how that had had a profound effect on me as a person, I was a nervous wreck from the moment I saw that positive sign on the pregnancy stick.

As many of you have probably read in previous posts of mine, then I have had a pretty rubbish time of it in the past 3-4 years. Starting with my husband being badly injured in a road traffic accident, to me losing my baby and then to losing my father in law. And so, I had struggled to feel like myself for such a long time. Sure, I plastered a smile on my face when I saw my friends and family but for a long time I felt numb inside. I tried to focus on my boys and get past each day, but I struggled to find anything that made me feel positive. I love my family, but I just felt lost. It came to a head when I felt like I couldn’t get the right support at work. My sickness record was affected as the stress and anxiety came to a head, but I felt like nobody really understood how I was feeling. There is a silence when depression is discussed, as nobody really understands it unless they have been there themselves. It is an invisible ailment and most people struggle to see it as an illness. I tried to concentrate on my work, but often found myself feeling more and more lost. I never got the right support, I never felt like I was listened to and eventually I decided to leave my job. It wasn’t the easiest decision, I had been there for almost 15 years and I loved the people I worked with and the work I did, but I needed to make a decision for me and my family. And I chose them over financial security. We were far off being destitute so I knew we would be okay until I figured out what I wanted to do.

My pregnancy brought up so many feelings within me. I was a nervous wreck, I had deep paranoia over every stage. I questioned my own body and the symptoms or lack of that I was experiencing. I felt on edge from day 1 of the pregnancy. I questioned the sickness days, I worried over lack of movement and I lay waiting for hours to feel something….anything. I did what midwives and doctors tell you not to do. I brought a Doppler and I listened obsessively every night for the babies heartbeat and even when I did find it then I questioned how it was beating, whether it was beating hard enough or strong enough. Nothing reassured me. As I sailed through each scan, I looked away from the screen, convinced that I would see a lifeless baby again. Nothing dulled my sense of worry. Even in the last few weeks….

Looking back, it feels like those 10 months went super fast. March saw the start of lockdown and social distancing and this helped to super speed those final months. But during that time, looking ahead at the pregnancy time ahead, it felt long and scary.

And yet here I am….I have come out the other side. I am sitting watching classic eastenders, a glass of cold wine in one hand (just one mind) and an ear on the Moses basket, waiting for Aaron to wake for his feed. I feel like I am a completely different person to what I have been living with the past 4 years. I am happy. I am looking positively ahead for the first time in ages and I feel ready to start getting myself back on track healthwise, career wise and happiness wise.

This cutie is healing my heart

Tomorrow is a new day. I am eager to get myself in a better frame of mind. I will eat better, I will allocate my time better, I will work towards my future and I will take tips from brilliant instagrammers like Mrs Hinch and make my home somewhere to be proud of 🙂

I will post again soon!

Don’t go anywhere

Watch this space 😀

Is writing…

Computer turned on, headphones on, music sliding through my ears….let’s whip out another chapter of my book!

These two on my desktop make me want to try to reach my dreams! Who knows if I will ever be successful, maybe I will just have a written book which nobody wants to publish, but I want to teach my kids that no dream is out of there reach, and that should at least always try!

I have spent way too many days of this lockdown floating around the house and wasting the time I have. So this is me, making a stance, getting in front of my keyboard and letting the words slip away from me.

Let’s do this

Maybe I will have it finished sometime this century 🤩 🙃🙂

#Blogtour – The Memories We Bury by H. A. Leuschel

Blogtour – Wednesday 22nd April 

the-memories-we-bury

Morning Peeps,

Welcome to another fantastic review. I love being a part of Rachel’s Army, because she introduces me to some of the best reading experiences. The books I have introduced to have been amazing every single time. I can’t remember a time when I have come across a book that I haven’t liked. With every book I read and review, comes a new author that I follow. This book is no exception. The writing flowed so easily, and I dived straight into a story involving complex, characters. I am not ashamed to admit that I missed a mealtime, because I was so engrossed in the story. Each character was different, there were those that I liked, those that I was curious about, and those that I didn’t like. What I encountered was a story which spoke to me on some levels. The hard, first few days of parenthood, the insecurities as a new mom, the turbulent relationship and not knowing if you are good enough. I always enjoy reading books with differing character angles. We jumped from one character to another, finding out about both of them, and I was kept intrigued and my curiosity was peeked from the very first page.

Before I dive head first into my review, I would like to say a big thanks to the author and the superb blog host, who invited me to take part in this tour.

Rachel – Rachels Random Resources – https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com

H. A. Leuschel – http://www.heleneleuschel.com/

the-memories-we-bury-cover


About the Author

Photo-Helene-edited-25-May-17


​Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy, specializing in the study of the mind.

Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first book, Manipulated Lives, a collection of five fictional novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists.

She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.

Website
http://www.heleneleuschel.com/

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/HALeuschel/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/HALeuschel


About the Book

the-memories-we-bury-cover
An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood, from the author of Manipulated Lives.

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, who’s own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

​Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

Purchase Links
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B084SN5KV7/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084SN5KV7/

Amazon CA – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B084SN5KV7/

Amazon AU – https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B084SN5KV7/


My Review

This book was easy to get into from the very start. I threw myself into the book, eager to read how the characters developed. From almost damaged, and unconfident Lizzie to controlling and manipulative Markus, and her caring, yet, mysterious neighbour, Morag. The character development was well written, I enjoyed getting to know both Lizzie and Morag on a more personal level, as we read from both perspectives. 

This would be the first time that I have read work by this author, and she is definitely going onto the list of people to follow and watch out for. Her work and words took on a life of their own and I found myself believing the characters that I was reading about. The anxiety, the loneliness, the need for acceptance, they were all emotions that I recognised when I read through each page. An author has to have a real talent for writing to be able to speak to the reader on such a level that they believe in the people that they meet on a page of a book. And Leuschel is one of those authors.

With each chapter I read, I was brought closer and closer to the shocking twists that had my heart racing. The friendship between Morag and Lizzie which I was rooting for in the beginning quickly changed into something else, and I found myself willing Lizzie to abandon the relationship, which was quickly becoming controlling, like other relationships she had had in her life.

I really want to tell you all what happened, but I wont be the person to spoil it for you. Go ahead, follow the links above and purchase this book for your kindle…you will not be sorry! It really is a fantastic page turner!


Conclusion
This is the part of my blog where I say how much I liked a book and leave me rating… All I will say is this… 5 out of 5! Buy it! Give it a whirl! Take Lizzie’s journey and lap up those pages, I could not recommend this book anymore!

Writing again…

After months of not being in the right head space due to one thing or another, I have abandoned the work I was doing on my book. Yeah, yeah….some of my followers and social media readers may think ‘to write a book’ is to ‘dream’ – but it’s my dream. It may not happen! I may be sat on an unpublished book at the end of it, but I am determined to give it a go. Rather try than not!

So I finally opened up the story I have been working on today, and managed to knock out a whole chapter. It’s not great yet. It’s a first draft, there will be many rewrites after this, but I am writing!

And that’s all that counts right? I am giving it a go! 🙂

Another day during lockdown

Today was like most of the other days since I have had to take on the role of Mother, Housewife and Teacher. We have got up, had breakfast, tidied out some of the boys room, done a bunch of school work, including crafts and ate at all the right meal times. The only difference was that I actually got out to the shop today. Conveniently, Tesco Express is a 5 minute walk from where I live. So I took a walk and picked up a few essential items. By essential I mean, not really TOO essential….not unless you think 4 bags of sweets and Pringles essential! These were obviously not the only things I brought! I am not a savage! I also picked items to make meals out of. The whole experience was surreal. The queue when I got there was pretty small, and I stood on the ‘X’ as marked. A One out, one in system was being used in the shop, and before long I was one of the few walking the aisles to buy supplies. The floor inside was marked with tape, placed 2 metres apart. This gave shoppers an easy way of maintaining a healthy distance from one another. That didn’t stop one fella from brushing against me on more than one occasion as he swiftly gathered what he needed to buy……knob jockey!

I got home, feeling particularly chirpy. The shop experience was one that I hadn’t been looking forward to, having seen all of the bad news on social media…but I got what I wanted, and got a tiny bit of fresh air to boot. I have to admit that it was kind of refreshing seeing how quiet it was out there. The roads were clear and there were hardly any people around. I felt quite peaceful actually…

Anyone else feel that the hours in these days are rushing by quickly? It feels like the days are rolling quickly into 1! I can’t complain, because the alternative would be painfully frustrating. I just hope that these days or months ahead of us go just as quickly…..I have been thinking about how we as a country might celebrate New Years 2021! All this should hopefully be behind us, and we can finally get back to a bit of normality….and possibly have a party to mark all parties!

Finally let out of Isolation

Hi all, today was the day when I could get let out of isolation! Did I go anywhere I hear you ask? The answer would be No! Well, that is a small lie as I did drive my car around the block for an exciting 5 mins, as it hadn’t been started up in a couple of weeks. The streets were empty! It felt surreal being out of my tomb, but I was eager to get back again quickly….

Today has been like any other, apart from it sucking arse a little bit more! I have dropped nearly everything I have picked up (a condition known as ‘dropsies’) and I have walked into a few things too! I burned the potatoes meant for cheese and potato pie, which filled the house with a lovely burned spud scent! Beautiful aroma! Beautiful! And I feel on the verge of crying….

Has the lockdown got to me? Am I suffering from cabin fever? I can not honestly say what is wrong with me today….hormones? I don’t know, but today has been one of those days where nothing wants to go right!

The boys (and in boys I mean children, husband and pug) have all been happy. Ethan has completed the build of his Lego city which he proudly showed off to us all. Oliver has been stuck into homework today, and he has been super keen on learning his time’s tables. He has done amazing! Ethan wrote another page in his diary about how the isolation is affecting him and those around him. I have to admit that I have found a nice stride when it comes to home schooling. I can’t fault the teachers at all with how well they have been with sending home work for them to do. We do a lot of lessons in the day, followed by a workout with Joe Wicks and then reading.

Ethans Lego City project

Bad parent of the day award goes to me! Ethan has been grafting away since yesterday to crest this masterpiece above – clicking each piece together and following the instructions meticulously. And then the time came when he could try it out! Only problem was that it needed 9 AAA batteries! Who on earth has that many of those batteries lying around? I searched the battery box, found a mix of AAA batteries that probably were half used ages ago and with hardly any juice left in them….Ethan watched eagerly as I placed the batteries where they were needed, but alas, the train and controller wouldn’t work! Damn it! Any other time I would throw my coat on over my PJs (not really, I wouldn’t be seen out and about in my frayed Friends PJ bottoms…..although I did wear them when I was out on my drive earlier today) and drive or stroll to the shop to purchase more, but it’s not that easy now with everything that is going on…..for one, I wasn’t sure they would even have enough of what was needed, and for two, I would be buying from the local shop, meaning the prices would be criminal! I have watched my son push that train around the track today and make the engine noises by mouth! Part of me laughed inwardly, but I also berated myself for not having enough batteries in supply….

After I burned the potatoes for the boys cheese and potato pie, they were given random potato shapes (waffles, alphabets), chicken nuggets and beans. Our freezer supplies are running low, which is why I must try to venture out tomorrow. I am not looking forward to it at all. I have seen the stories and don’t want to be on the receiving end of abuse from any disgruntled shoppers but needs must….and added to the list, are AAA batteries!

Day 14 – final day of isolation

Originally when I started this self isolation lark, I really did think that the end day would be reason to celebrate but back then (you know, all those 14 days ago) things were different out there. Kids were still in schools, people were still in work and Maccies was still open! Little did I know how different things would be whilst I was locked away.

The cough I had is slowly starting to disappear. I feel drained still and I have a blocked ear but I am starting to feel better in myself. I’m not going to hot tail it out of here tomorrow just because I can. I know that these symptoms are still with me, so until anything else changes then I won’t be venturing outside just yet. I am hoping that a few more days and I will be back to 100%, meaning that I can be the person to do grocery runs, and help others out.

The boys have had a very productive day of learning and play today. Times tables, art, writing and creating. Ethan has been tasked with keeping a diary of how lockdown is for him, we were a bit late with starting it, but he has successfully wrote a few pages today about how he feels about it all and how much he is missing school. Oliver has been reading well and has been working hard on his times tables. After all there hard work they were out in the garden where they let off some steam.

Meal times are always stressful at the minute. Always having to be one step ahead of meal planning just in case I need to defrost something. Today we had cereal for breakfast, followed by sausage baps for lunch and a fruit smoothie, and jacket potatoes and salad for tea. Boys never complained with their meals, and both gave their appreciation in words as to how much they enjoyed what I had done for them. I think they were creeping so they could get a treat afterwards but I will take the sucking up! 😀

The boys are now safely tucked up in bed, Ethan has started building his Lego City set which he had 3 Christmas’s ago….and he has made steady progress on it. This is now in parts around the living room and it is taking all my will power not to tidy it away. He is still working on it and looking forward to continuing tomorrow….it’s just, it’s everywhere!

Every night before bed, I read to the boys. I have been doing it since Ethan was a few weeks old, then Oliver came along and we carried it on. Just one book, every night….Pip and Posy, Gruffalo, Roald Dahl books – Harry Potter – we are now on Grandpa’s Great Escape which I think I have mentioned in previous posts. To be fair to David Walliams, he knows how to create a story that intrigues and pulls a child in. Both of my boys are riveted and can’t wait to listen as I read a couple more chapters to them before they go to sleep. It’s one of my favourite times that I have with them. Lying on my bed, cuddled up, I read the pages and they hang onto every word. Ethan is eager to finish this book quickly so that we can start on the next Harry Potter book. We have been reading the illustrated books by Jim Kay, and have read Phillosophers Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire. After each book is read, we watch the film….and both are eager to see what happens next. (spoilers) Neither of them know (spoilers) that Dobby, Dumbledore or one of the Weasley Twins die. I am loving how excited they are about each book that we get to read. I remember being that excited as each instalment was released (all those years ago) and waiting for J k Rowling launch dates to come around. I remember the late night queuing to get the book before anyone else and lapping up each page greedily. I am so glad that they have got the bug too.

I am now settled happily on the sofa, glass of water in hand, blankets, snacks and watching Stranger Things. All this lockdown is a new ‘routine’ to get used to, but I am enjoying it so far

Day 13 – isolation

Technically tomorrow should be our last full day in isolation, but in reality we don’t have anywhere we can go anyway so we might as well stay home. We can’t visit family, we can’t go to school, we can’t go for days out, etc….so nothing really changes. When I first showed symptoms of Covid-19, we made the decision as is advised to self isolate, but the kids were still in school, restaurants were still open and there weren’t any restrictions as there are now….although shopping had taken a turn for the worst.

It’s strange to think how much has changed in the space of a couple of weeks. It’s nice to think of when life goes back to normal, but it feels like such a long time off. I can envision street parties and celebrations happening once that ‘normal’ is back, but for now we have to be patient and wait. I miss my family, I miss seeing friends and I know my husband and children feel the same as me. We are all doing the right thing by socially distancing ourselves but it does show you what is most important in life. I can give up restaurant meals and days out to the zoo, etc….but I can’t give up the people I love….and that is why we stay in, that is why we only go out when it is essential.

My cold/virus is still evident. My throat is sore, my chest is full and I have now got blocked ears and earache. Whilst I still feel rough then I won’t venture out, but I know the pull is there. When I cook at home and I am missing an ingredient, it was convenient to just pop round the corner and pick it up….but that is now out of the question. If I am missing an ingredient, I have to make do….trouble is, beans on toast without beans is just toast! And doesn’t quite have the same punch to it! 😫

We have been back in the Geary School today with the boys doing maths, speed words, work on romans and music lessons. This was followed by reading by both of them. I know my boys do better having some of the day structured with learning and activities, and so far they have been doing so well. They don’t complain when I give them something to do and they get stuck in. I know they are both missing school and their friends, but it’s nice to have some structure in the day instead of them wasting the days on pads or tv or games….they do that on the afternoon/evening enough 🙂

I do have to admit that all this spare time with the boys is nice. Lots of cuddles, tons of fun. No, we can’t go out anywhere but we are altogether so we must count our blessings. Some households have it a lot lot tougher than us, with parents out at work or families split up to protect one another during lockdown.

I was shocked and saddened to hear the number of deaths that we have had in the UK due to this virus 😦 – over 1400 people have died. That is awful. All those people, not all all elderly, not all unhealthy didn’t need to die yet….and they have contracted a virus which some of us are denying is even real. It angers me that people can be so flippant in their views. We are living through a pandemic and still people think that they are above the law, above the virus….and they act like this whole thing is nothing at all to worry about. It really is something to take notice of, people are dying of this….yes those who survive will get through this and move forward but we have a few weeks/months to go before go back to what we deem ‘normal’ and it will take even longer if people refuse to listen to the guidelines stated by the government.

Tonight’s tea was burgers and potato balls. Potato balls were brought pre-lockdown, possibly before Xmas but we are completely out of fries, so these will do! 😀

Our evening was capped off by cuddling up on the sofa and watching Christopher Robin. A great family fun film. Our days may be a little bit repetitive at the minute but I am so glad that my little family are all with me.

Day 12 – isolation

Sundays are for lazy days in aren’t they? Well that’s alright then, because I wasn’t able to go out anyways. Day 12, and I am starting to enjoy the thought of going to the shops, taking a walk and even getting petrol – we have been told the guy-wrenching news that this state of social distancing and lockdown could go on for another 6 months! It’s both daunting and scary to think how much a virus can change how we all live our lives.

As with most Sunday mornings, my boys joined me on the sofa with their breakfast whilst we watched cartoons and chatted. They really are the most wonderful little boys to be around. And I know I am a little biased with them being my children, but I enjoy being around them so much. All this time off school is going to be hard for them, with not seeing their friends and feeling uncertain about what is happening, but any extra time I have with them is going to be treasured.

Ethan, 9, has a wonderful sense of humour. He is always smiling, always happy and he is the joker of the household. I can never stay mad at him for long because he has this way of reciting quotes from cartoons and films, which makes me smile. The dances he pulls off are amazing and he knows he can get himself out of trouble easily by playing the fool. But underneath that cheeky joker character is a sensitive, caring young boy who has a lot of love in his heart. He is also very intelligent and absorbs information quickly and effortlessly.

Ethan playing the joker 🙂

Oliver, 5, is still learning who he is as a person. He follows his brother loyally, always wanting to be in his shadow, but never afraid to let himself be heard. He is the opposite to Ethan but just as enjoyable to be around. Oliver has his own mind, he knows what he wants. He has a cheeky, inquisitive mind and is always questioning the world around him. There is a fiery side to Oliver, but he is also loving and sensitive – he finds empathy towards other people’s pain, and cries at sad films. He has a keen learning spirit and absorbs information readily and easily. He has a great memory for numbers and facts. Both of my boys are brilliant at talking your head off. They are happy and thriving and I love to see how they grow and interact with one another. Being brothers they are arguing probably 60% of the time, but there are also those moments when they are sat with one another, cuddled up and happy to be in one another’s company.

The days are going by quite quickly really but I still have a bit to cough left over. Today I work feeling rough. Chest was hurting, throat was on fire and the cough was back sounding like a bark. Am I ever going to be rid of these symptoms? I appreciate that I have to stay in until I am past our isolation period( which is Tuesday) but I won’t be let myself go out whilst I am still coughing my lungs up. Sorry for the graphic description!

So today, I cleared around some more stuff. I cooked a Sunday lunch out of what we had around the house (food obvs) – chicken breasts, a handful of potatoes to boil, veg, Yorkshire puds. The boys enjoyed it, and it turned it quite well, apart from me overcooking the yorkies.

The rest of the day has been spent watching Toy Story 4, which I cried at. Video calling a friend, and chilling. Tomorrow is back to home schooling, and back to me being teacher.

Day 11 – isolation

Another weekend day, another day in. The weather hasn’t been as good today, the winds been a bit blowy and it’s been chiller than it has been. We started the day with breakfast sandwiches. Sausage for the boys, and sausage and egg for me and Stew. After a week of making sure that veg and fruit was in or with every meal, we decided to start the day with something naughty…..and it felt great!

We have been quite chilled today. Watched a couple of films, played some games, and then we went upstairs to have a declutter. 3 black bags of clothes for recycling later and the wardrobes and cupboards are no longer heaving with unnecessary garments that we will never wear again…. we move onto the other side of the room tomorrow. Anything, even tidying up, is welcomed when it kills a bit of time. The drag of being in every day is starting to get to me. I am willing my cough away, which seems the only thing lingering from the cold/virus that I had. If that goes then on Wednesday I can finally venture out – even if it is just a 5 minute walk to the shop and back.

Having spent a fair few hours upstairs, giving out my orders to the boys and getting rid of bags of rubbish, I came down stairs to a request for takeaway. Saturday nights are always for ordering in food and watching Saturday Night Tv. Looking on Just Eat and Ubereats was dire. There aren’t many places out there that are still delivering – so I was about to give up, but then I saw that our sushi restaurant delivered. So making the decision to cook for the boys but order for me and stew, I put an order through and it came exactly when it said it would, delivered to our door by a lady who was gloved and masked up. The food was delicious as always! I enjoyed every single bite!

Sushi and chicken satay
Chicken Katsu and Chicken Teriyaki with noodles and rice.

The rest of the evening has been spent with the boys. I am glad that we had a clear out of things upstairs – it makes me feel like I have accomplished something from the day. All I need to start doing now is writing. I have all this time and a writing course and my own books that I want to write! I just need to start doing it!

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