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(Contains: strong language)
He wasn’t there, but the tired looking landlady, who’d served me that first night, told me that he was lodging just upstairs. She let me behind the bar, and led me upstairs to my brother’s room.
‘I’ve never had no problems with him.’ the lady said, with an echo of an Australian accent. ‘He keeps mostly to himself don’t he your brother?’ I nodded. ‘Always nice though. Always polite.’ She smiled.
I walked into his room. The yellowing walls reeked of nicotine. His coat was strewn over an armchair, and on the coffee table, an unfinished glass of Scotch, and an open leather book.
‘We talked some,’ the lady had followed me into his front room, ‘’bout anything really. He always seemed so tired though, like he’d had enough. But he never grumbled.’
I went to the table, and picked up the book. It was a photo album. A familiar one.
‘Our photos.’ I breathed.
‘Sorry?’
‘Uh, nothing.’
I flipped through photos of my family. Relatives I had either never known, or just forgotten about. My mother, my father before he left, and me.  The running team at school, me in the top right- hand corner. And finally, just a couple of my brother. Just enough to show he existed, but never alongside my mother. Just him standing on his own, sometime before his face, and he himself, had changed.
I looked up at the landlady.
‘What happened to him?’ she asked.
I looked past her, to his coat hanging over the armchair. Everything that had plagued my mind came flooding back, just from that one question.
I remembered my father leaving, and how my mother had blamed my brother and his crippling. I remembered how she would ignore him for days on end. And he would look to me. We were friends then. Until the fight – that stupid fight where I lost my brother for the first time.
We were walking home after school. It was cold, and I wanted to be home quickly.
‘Hurry up!’ I’d yelled. ‘You’re gonna freeze if you keep at that speed.’
He grinned at me, and started hopping frantically, laughing as he went. I smiled back, and shoved my hands deeper in my pockets.
‘’Ey spazza! Oi! Forget y’ cane or somfink?’
We turned round to a crowd of kids from school. The kind that stood by the lockers and stared at you while you got your books. One of them had something silver in his hand.
‘Shit! Run!’ I yelled.
I heard him call back. ‘Wait!’ he screamed, ‘I can’t!’ but I kept running. I threw a look over my shoulder, and saw him being dragged and kicked to the floor.
‘I’m gonna get help!’ I ran to the nearest house I knew. But my the time we got back, there was no one there.
When he got home that night, a slash down the right side of his face, covered in blood and bruises, he just locked himself in his room. He didn’t come out for days. I tried to explain that I’d gone for help, but he either didn’t hear me through the door, or chose not to listen. Either way, he was never the same. I think I was the only one who missed him when he ran away. Not that I ever tried to find him. I was too ashamed to admit that I’d ran out of fear.

I shook my head. I didn’t know how long I’d stood there, but when I looked at her again, a tear ran down her cheek.
‘Things that shouldn’t happen to a kid,’ I said, and brushed past her into the hall, clutching the photo album to my chest. It was then that I felt indents in the leather. I turned the book over, and saw, etched into the leather, the words, ‘CHARLIE WAS HERE’.
I caught a train back to Nottingham that night. I went home to my Molly and my girls. I would tell them about Charlie another day, maybe another Christmas. It took me until I was back in my own bed, Molly curled up next to me, to realise that that brash Santa sack was still in the corner of a hotel room back in London.
'Charlie Was Here' part 8

This is the final instalment of my short story 'Charlie Was Here'
It focuses on two brothers, one desperately trying to reconnect, the other struggling to do so.


Thanks for reading, if you have, and I hope you don't hate it!

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Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: strong language)
Parts of that night are still quite a blur to me. I think I got back to my room at about ten o’clock. I don’t remember if the receptionist smiled at me, or whether that couple were in the hallway again. I do remember managing to get into my room though – and that I had the worst headache of my life.
The showy Santa bag was dumped in the corner, spewing its contents onto the floor. I stared at it, and rubbed my eyes.
All that had been going through my head, as I sat in that dingy grotto, was his face when I made up that pathetic excuse. All that pain, rushed back into his face, as I let him down again.
I wanted to call Molly. I reached over to the phone, and was just about to dial the number, when I noticed the red light flashing on the answering machine. Puzzled, I pressed the button, and lay back on the bed to listen.
‘Andy.’
I sat up – it was him. He was drunk.
‘I was uh, lookin’ at our uh, “family photos” last night. Back in Bristol, remember? “Family photos”. Sure they were, huh?’ He sighed. ‘God that woman hated me.’
‘I was always pissed you were more than me. Even before…I mean, you could play, you could run and what the fuck could I do? Stand still and shut up. Shit.
‘I know what y’ thought y’ were doin’. Just don’t try again ‘k? Just go ‘ome and leave me alone. You’ve done for fifteen years – keep it up.’
He was quiet for some time after that. I could hear him breathing.
Then he said, ‘Shit. This is shit.’ And then, more to himself than the phone, ‘That’s enough.’
The machine beeped as my brother stopped talking. I sat, lent forward on the bed.
I had to find him. I didn’t know where he lived, but I knew where he drank. I just grabbed my keys and ran downstairs and into the night, hoping he was back at that little bar.
'Charlie Was Here' part 7

This is part seven of my short story 'Charlie Was Here'
It focuses on two brothers, one desperately trying to reconnect, the other struggling to do so.
I'll be uploading the story in instalments, so, if you're interested, please keep your eye out for my next upload.

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Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: strong language)
We sat in silence with our ciders; he was slumped in his chair, his right foot at an obscure angle. I watched him use his left hand to grab the coat sleeve of his redundant right arm, haul it onto the table, and wrap his motionless fingers around the steaming plastic cup.
He looked out at me from under his greasy hair, and I turned my attention to my drink.
The rest of the Grotto was filled with portly, middle- aged men, most discussing, loudly, the state of the government, football leagues or the strain of Christmas shopping with their wives. I heard one man wishing that this time of year never came at all. I looked at my brother, his eyes cast down, glazed over with thoughts I couldn’t reach. He took a slug of the cider, and seeming surprised by its taste, threw down nearly the whole cup.
‘Not bad that,’ he said.
‘Yeah. They should do it all year.’
He nodded towards the bag at my feet. ‘Buy y’self Christmas stuff do y’?’ He grinned at his joke, then, as if only just remembering the state of his face, he stopped, and looked at the floor. I felt guilty again.
‘Uh, no, they’re for my girls. I have two little girls now. And a wife, Molly.’
His eyebrows jumped up for a second, then he frowned. He shifted in his seat, and his arm slipped off the table. He grabbed it, staring at me all the while, daring me to stare. I just looked into the bottom of my cider. Still staring, he shoved his right hand into his pocket, and took out a cigarette with his left. He stuck it in his mouth, and took out his lighter. He flicked it a couple of times, then shock it – it was out of gas. I handed him a book of matches from the hotel. He took them and nodded his thanks. Then we both noticed the problem.
‘Give it here.’ I said, not waiting for a reply.
‘’Ey!’ he protested. But I had already lit the match, so he leaned toward me, keeping his eyes down. ‘Ta,’ he mumbled, and took the matches back.
We sat there for a while. People, men mostly, filed in and out of the Grotto, complaining about the snow, and frosty paths. ‘Someone’ll fall – you mark my words!’ one of them yelled. I looked at my brother. He just sat, unkempt hair hanging in his eyes.
‘What’s she like with them?’ he spoke softly, with his eyes shut, as if the thought hurt him.
‘Uh, yeah, she’s good. She’s nice. A good mother.’
‘Hmm.’
‘You want to see them?’
He sniffed, and looked around the grotto. Then he looked back to me and shrugged.
I smiled, and took out my wallet. The photo was folded up, and I passed it to him without thinking. He looked at me, and took it in his hand, fumbling for a while with the folds. I held my hand out to help, but the glare I received told me to back off.
He looked at them for a good minute. I could see his eyes moving from face to face, from smile to smile. ‘They look pretty,’ he whispered.
‘Yeah,’ I said, taking the photo back. ‘Yeah, they are.’
He put out his cigarette on the table, to the annoyed scowl of the bar tender, and sighed. It looked like he wanted to say something, so I sat quietly, looking up at him from time to time.
‘You uh…’ he coughed. ‘You doin’ anythin’ for Christmas?’
I hadn’t expected that. ‘Oh! Um, well no, but, uh, Molly doesn’t know about your uh, and, I mean, it might be hard on the girls - ’
‘ – Yeah. Fine. Whatever,’ he snorted. He grabbed the cider and downed it. ‘Thanks for this shit.’
He slammed the glass down onto the table, and limped away, pushing himself through the throngs of shoppers.
‘Hey wait!’ I called after him, leaving my cider half- finished.
He turned back to me, and pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. It was my card. He looked at it, and then, looking straight back at me, crunched it into a ball and tossed it over his shoulder.
'Charlie Was Here' part 6

This is part six of my short story 'Charlie Was Here'
It focuses on two brothers, one desperately trying to reconnect, the other struggling to do so.
I'll be uploading the story in instalments, so, if you're interested, please keep your eye out for my next upload.

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Little over half an hour later, I had bought a beautiful cashmere cardigan for Molly, and a few traditional, wooden toys and dolls for Jenny and Kate. I had asked the stall holders to wrap them for me, and the three brown paper bundles were tucked away in a large, garish Santa bag. I had already decided that the bag was going in the bin when I got back to the hotel.
I had surprised myself with my discoveries, so decided there was no harm in treating myself to a little of the mulled cider from “Rudolph’s Grotto”. I was starting to look like Rudolph myself. I looked into the sky, and saw a white, clouded sky – it was going to snow again. I looked back down, blinking from the glare of the sky, and caught sight of my brother.
His hands were in his pockets, and he seemed less steady on his feet than last night, even though he had less drink in him. I suppose he was nervous about the crowds. He was dirtier, scruffier – he’d had a rough night.
He sighed when he saw me, his eyes tired and sore. ‘Y’ just don’t get it do y’?’
‘You Christmas shopping?’
He smirked – well, one side of his face did. ‘No. I just like bein’ out.’
A hooded man in far too much of a hurry, rushed past us, knocking my brother sideways. ‘’Ey, watch it!’
The hooded man, still on his phone, turned to him, as if to say something. Then he looked him up and down, taking in the scar and the crooked foot, and just turned away.
I pushed through the river of shoppers to get to him, and touched his shoulder, ‘Hey, are you ok?’
He shrugged me off. ‘I’m used to it.’ He looked me right in the eye, unblinking. I looked away.
We stood there a while, amongst crowds of panicking shoppers, me clutching my bags, and him smoking his roll- up.
I looked at him and nodded towards “Rudolph’s Grotto”. ‘Do you want a cider?’
He looked genuinely surprised. I thought he could even have smiled or laughed if he wanted to. But I think he was worried about how that would’ve looked. That scar plagued his mind, as well as his face.
He took a deep breath of smoke, puffed it into my face, and nodded, ‘Yeah, sure.’
'Charlie Was Here' part 5

This is part five of my short story 'Charlie Was Here'
It focuses on two brothers, one desperately trying to reconnect, the other struggling to do so.
I'll be uploading the story in instalments, so, if you're interested, please keep your eye out for my next upload.

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They told me London was brilliant for Christmas shopping. They told me that, even though it wasn’t cheap, it was ‘the place’ to get the best gifts. Well, obviously the guys at work didn’t have a wife and two girls to buy for.
I wandered from shop to shop, from Hamley’s to Harrod’s. I ended up staring too long into the window of a jewellery shop, being greeted by a curt voice from the door, ‘May I help you?’ I stammered an excuse about ‘merely window- shopping’, put my head down, and walked away.
Then I remembered something someone back home had said about Hyde Park. They had a German market there – or something like that anyway. With new- found purpose, I headed off to find the right tube line to Hyde Park, my brother, for now pushed to the back of my mind.
'Charlie Was Here' part 4

This is part four of my short story 'Charlie Was Here'
It focuses on two brothers, one desperately trying to reconnect, the other struggling to do so.
I'll be uploading the story in instalments, so, if you're interested, please keep your eye out for my next upload. 

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Hullo!

After a long thought about it, I'm gonna post a story of mine that's quite close to my heart. It's a piece I wrote at quite a dark time for me, but it's the closest I've gotten to being happy with a piece of my own writing.

It's a story about two brothers, Andy and Charlie.

I'm gonna post it in instalments, mainly cause I reckon people can be daunted by massive pieces of text, and I don't know how much text you can upload at once!

If you could give it a read, I'd really appreciate it.

Cheers.

----
Ryder out.
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: M83

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:iconuplover:
UPlover Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You have been tagged![link]
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JohnRyder666 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
Done :)
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linnyxito Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012
Super-thanks for the watch, you amazing person, you! :aww: And thanks for the comments you left. :nod:
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JohnRyder666 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012
You're welcome :) You have some great art here, so giving you a watch seemed like the logical option :)
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UPlover Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday!
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JohnRyder666 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2012
Thank you very much :)
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UPlover Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome! Did you have a good birthday?
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JohnRyder666 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012
Yeah I did thanks - had a nice BBQ in the sun :)
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BrightElixir Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks for favoriting my Little Beast
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JohnRyder666 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012
You're welcome - I loved it :)
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