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Can’t Live Without

“We forget the things we should value the most.

Too busy seeking those shiny things to boast.”

Have you ever been asked what you would find difficult or even impossible to live without if you were stuck on a desert island? No? Well consider this my putting the question to you.

Internet seems to be incredibly important to people these days. It’s a way to research and keep in touch with friends and family so let’s assume for the sake of this pondering that it was taken away. What then? Maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself and the internet is one thing that you would most definitely not live without. After all, whats the point in being on a sun kissed island if you can’t send those snaps to insta? But let’s assume phones, tablets and their ilk are not possible. What then?

PEN and PAPER

Even in this day and age with all the streaming devices I would be content just to have a pen and paper to scribble away. I would document my thoughts, fictional stories or maybe a detailed description of the conversations I’m having with a favoured palm tree on this imaginary island. To me if you are able to do that there is no amount of isolation that could get to you. I’ve always been a weird kid with a nose in a book though.

MUSIC

life on that deserted island would be pretty dull without music, wouldn’t it? I live my life by music. It wakes me up, it follows me throughout the day and it puts me to sleep again. I’m not exactly sure how this would work without modern conveniences to play music on but one way or another I’d need to have music around. Maybe the crashing waves could provide the music …

A WAY TO TELL THE TIME

For as long as I can remember I have always been a little anxious when there is nothing around that is able tell me with some degree of accuracy what time it is. A clock, a watch or even a home made sun dial would be something I would need. Although time keeping is a man made construct and being on a desert island would be an opportunity to learn to not live your life around the clock.

A COMFORTABLE CHAIR

Whether it is for resting, dozing or pondering I would need to have my favourite shady spot. I guess it is in human nature to try and find that little space we can call our own. Give me my comfortable chair and I’ll be content.

THESE GUYS

My niece and my nephew. They are as close to me as my own babies. It would be a struggle to be without them. I guess I’m not as good with isolation as I thought …

So what about you? What would be those things that you just couldn’t live without?


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My Best Gift

For me the best gifts are those given with real thought in mind. I have always valued sentimentality in presents over monetary value. I mean, precious gems, fancy holidays and the likes are not to be sneezed at but for me it is far more important that someone gives some thought to why the one receiving the gift would love it. This is something I try and keep in mind when I’m buying gifts for others. With that considered it made me think of some of the beautiful gifts I have been lucky to receive over the years.

There was a time in my life when I needed that sentimentality more than ever. I was in my second year of medical school, I was battling depression, exam stress and was isolated hundreds of miles away from my family and friends. Christmas came and on the morning in question my dad presented me with a hand drawing he had made for me of Frankenstein’s monster. To put you in the picture not only is my dad an amazing artist but Frankenstein is also my favorite novel, favorite movie and – dare I say it – one of the reasons I was inspired to study anatomy in the first place. Not only was this incredibly thoughtful but it was also something I could take back to medical school with me, pin to my wall and remind myself of what I was working towards (the degree I mean not the ghoulish experiments …)  

You see for me it really doesn’t matter how much was spent on a present. It doesn’t need to be expensive or flashy. Some of the best gifts are those little things that you see and think, ‘so and so would love this.’ It’s a cliché platitude but it really is the thought that counts. A gift should be something that shows a person that you were thinking of them. When it comes to big events it is too easy to get swept up moving from shop to shop to find something that meets a financial expectation. Birthdays, holidays and general moments of sharing should be about what the other person means to you. In my humble opinion the best way to show that is to show that you have been listening. I guess what it all boils down to is showing how much you really know them and want to make them happy with your gift.  

So, what was some of your most thoughtful gifts? Are you a sop like me and love the sentimentality or is it the shiny things you enjoy most?   


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My Earliest Memory

I have a terrible memory at the best of times so why, you may ask, have I chosen to write about my earliest one? Just how far back can I go?

Despite having a shocking memory there are those moments that just stick. One such memory is of something that happened to me when I was about 5 years old. It’s probably not as far back as many of you can go and probably not technically my earliest memory but it certainly did stand out for me.

My mother had explained to me that she was going to visit an aunt. Letty her name was. I had never heard my mum mention this aunt before and I had certainly never met her. I was in and out of hospital a lot as a kid so I was familiar with all the hospitals in the area. The one I was taken to to see Letty wasn’t so much a hospital as a care home. It was private, beautiful with elaborate gardens. The lighting wasn’t as harsh as a hospital normally would be. The nurses weren’t wearing NHS uniforms. There was hospital beds though. That was when I was introduced to Letty. As I said I had never met this woman before in my life. Mum seemed to know her real well though. She was incredibly sick. She had an oxygen mask on and kept drifting in and out of sleep. Mum spoke to the carers but I watched Letty, comfortable, clean and surrounded by people.

Obviously mum had just made it her point to say hello to an old relative as she was easing away from life, perhaps not a relative at all but a friend of my grandmother. Either way having never met before I was taken to this strangely caring, friendly place. Now that I’m older I realise it was probably a hospice. The reason this particular memory stands out to me is because it was all so strange as a five year old. As a child you see things in black and white for the most part. I had never before witnessed death and age walk hand in hand with smiles and comfort.

We may have only just met that one time but Letty certainly had a huge impact on me. I could ask my mother exactly who she was and why she was there but sometimes it’s best to allow that little bit of mystery to remain. I sincerely hope that little girl clutching a grey rabbit brought some comfort to you Letty. I do remember it made you smile.

What about you? What was your earliest memory?

#amreading a #blog by @VivikaWidow


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Bring me your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me those that society can no longer cope with for they will always have a home here at Harbour House.

Character Profile: Theresa Crusow

Name: Theresa Crusow

Age: 35

Occupation: Housewife

Features in: KNOCK KNOCK

Wife of reporter, SAM CRUSOW, Theresa had also been studying journalism at City College when she met her husband to be and their friend MADELINE LOWER. After the first year she left, deciding she didn’t wish to pursue one of Coldford’s most dangerous professions. Instead she stayed at home where the danger gathered around her, waiting on the call to tell her her husband had asked questions of the wrong person or knocked on the wrong door.

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But Theresa is more than just a reporter’s wife. She has secrets of her own. However, whilst Sam is Hell bent on chasing a story on the KNOCK KNOCK CLUB and how it connects to the disappearance of Mayor Feltz. Whilst his focus is stolen he fails to see what is happening closer to home.

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Theresa is high maintenance, a little self absorbed and easily swayed by con men and vagabonds. You could say she is easy prey in the Shady City and whilst her husband’s attention is drawn elsewhere the vultures will circle.

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Complete season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to read HERE.

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Taking PRIDE in What I Do.

Since it’s pride month and in light of the celebrations I thought I would give a shout out to my LGBT friends. Hey guys! How are you all?

There’s been a lot of talk of the STRAIGHT PRIDE movement. (Yeah, I know. Have you seen the flag? What a mess right?) and whilst I’m happy to see anyone celebrate who they are they seem to have lost the point of why there is a PRIDE MONTH in the first place. For those in the back you may want to listen up. No one has ever been chastised for being straight, not in the way LGBT people are. Straight people don’t generally feel fear, experience persecution or have been told they can’t marry the person that they love. All this has been brought to the forefront lately and there’s probably nothing I can add here that hasn’t already been said so I will just leave it with this – in a world where love is already so limited I will never understand why we would want to make it even more difficult. In my personal opinion if it’s between two (or more – you never know) consenting adults then who the Hell are we to be telling people what they should and shouldn’t be doing.

Someone said to me lately, “I don’t mind gay people. I just don’t like it being flaunted in my face.” What exactly is being flaunted in your face? Love? Affection? Poor baby. That must be awful. Besides that to me is like saying, “I don’t mind black people as long as they sit at the back of the bus.” It’s an outdated mentality that has absolutely no right to belong in our modern age. Grow up.

I’ve been asked more than once in the past if I myself and am gay because I include LGBT characters in my books. Well no. I include those characters because as an author I feel it is my job to capture as much of the human experience as possible. As a cis straight woman it shouldn’t be beyond me to identify other beliefs and sexual orientations right?

So on that note. Happy Pride Month to my amazing LGBT friends, relatives and readers. Thank you for making the world that bit more vibrant.

Enjoy some of Vivika Widow’s thrilling novels that feature LGBT characters.

 

Click HERE to read MAESTRO and book your music lesson with Mr Baines.

Click HERE to read MUSE and join David as he tries to salvage his reputation in the art community.

 

Transport from Hell!

Normally I am one for travelling via train but some malevolent spirit must have looked down on me this morning and thought ‘I really need to shake things up’ because that can be the only explanation for my decision to travel by bus.
Of course, I have to get two buses to visit family in Uddingston because having one that ran straight through would be far too easy. However, I know what I am getting myself into… An all day ticket it is… I will be travelling back again after all.
So bus no.1 takes me to Glasgow City Centre … so far so good. With business concluded there I prepare myself for bus no.2 which will take me on to Uddingston. I wasn’t waiting for long when a red monstrosity shudders along. The driver zooms past just staring at me with that vacant expression that tells me I would get a better response from an amoeba. ‘Argggh!’ I yell. The old lady behind me agrees. ‘Ba***rd’ she mutters. I wait another 20 minutes and another comes along. Does he stop? no, of course he doesn’t. It is only then that I realize what the problem is. A Tree Removal Service truck complete with his trailer is parked in the stop and obviously parking in behind him would be too difficult for our conscientious bus drivers. Seriously? Of all the spots in the Glasgow City Centre to need tree removal! So I plod along to another stop and a bus no.2 finally stops and I’m on my way.
Is that the end of my nightmare? Of course it isn’t… I still have to get back home again.
After my visit I bid farewell to the family and hop onto bus no.3. The driver of which decides to tell me that my ticket is invalid because I crossed the boundary. None of the previous drivers thought to mention this little fact? It lucky that I am able to pay another fare because I hadn’t been to the ATM and had just left the shop where my niece was eyeing up a huge dinosaur toy. Luckily she had settled for sweets.
Back in the City Centre I need to change to bus no.4. I see the bus hurtling round the corner. I’m never one for speed but I could have given Usain Bolt a run for his money. I caught that bad boy. I relaxed in my chair. On my way home now? Nope! I’m heading along Pollockshaws road and it occurs to me… ‘I don’t live here’ . I finally reach Queen’s Park and I think again ‘I had better ask the driver’ ….”Are you going into the West End?” of course he wasn’t … he had already been to the west end before I got on and was now on his way to East Kilbride! I had been so busy running to catch it I hadn’t seen where he was going.
So off again and on bus no.5. I was reaching the end of my tether when two lovely young men sit beside me to keep me company. Then they asked me that question that even the most spiritual of us dreads to hear when we are trying to get home. “Have you found Jesus?”
I tried to explain that I was Catholic and happy with my path but they were having none of it. Got to admire their enthusiasm. Short of removing the biggest set of Rosary Beads from my bag they would not give up. Even the man in front swigging his cider was putting his opinion in. I’m not one to debate Theology. Maybe they knew better, maybe they didn’t…. All I knew was… next time… I was getting the bloody train!

Vivika Widow is the author of various thriller and horror books.

The Knock, Knock series is free to read HERE at Vivika Widow Online. Click HERE to check out other titles.

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The Most Ghost (Part of the Myths and Tales Collection)

I bought a lovely new house. It had everything – high celings, lovely gardens and splendid views. My nearest neighbour was not so far away that I felt isolated and yet not so near that I had to see them all the time. You could go so far as to say it was perfect!

Moving day came. I must have been so exhausted unpacking I didn’t even notice at the problem at first. I slept well the first few nights. It was on the fourth that things started to change.

Bump, bump, bump through the night. It was a little irritating at first but I ignored it and I assumed I could sleep through it but continued on and on.

The next morning – after having spent the worst nights sleep of my life – I decided to call in an exterminator.

He came around noon, carrying potions and poisons that would kill on known creatures on God’s earth.

“I think it’s rats,” I complained. I was a little disgruntled that I hadn’t been warned of it before I moved in.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve seen all sorts of things. I’ll take a look,” the exterminator said with his moustache twitching.

He did his checks. There was a lot of banging and clattering. Finally he emerged wearing thick goggles.

“So what is it? Rats? Roaches? I want all the details so I can sue the estate agent.”

The exterminator took his goggles off.

“It’s none of those things,” he said.

“Then what is it?” I asked.

“We’re going to have to bring in specialists.”

“What is it?” I asked again.

“Ghosts.”

“Ghosts! I knew the house was old. I just didn’t realise how old.

“Not just one ghost. There is a whole family of them,” the exterminator said with a knowledgable air. “You are infested with them. I’ve never seen a ghost infestation like that in all my years.”

“How did that happen?”

He seemed to know what he was talking about so I had to ask him.

“It all starts with one lonely ghost. Then they invite their friends before you know it you can’t get rid of them. The government is the cause of this really for not keeping stricter checks on them.”

I don’t know how much the government could do. If the ghosts were lonely maybe they just needed somewhere to go.

“It’s best you just ignore them,” the exterminator went on. “Pretend they don’t exist. More often than not the problem just goes away. Or you can call a specialist to get rid of them. They just want to come here and make us like them anyway.”

I started to feel sorry for my ghosts. What if they needed help?

“If they are lonely why can’t I just give them a place to stay?” I wondered more to myself.

“But what if one goes bad and starts throwing things around and hurts someone?” the exterminator was appalled that I would accommodate the ghosts.

“Even if one of them were bad that doesn’t mean they are all bad. In fact some of them may actually be really good and want to help around the house … you know … contribute.”

The exterminated started gathering his equipment.

“It’s your choice,” he said. “I wouldn’t have them in my house, around my children. In my experience they just want to come to nice places like this and drive out good people like yourself.”

I ignored the ignorance. I wanted to learn more about my ghosts. I wanted to learn their individual stories that brought them to my home.

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Talking about my generation

‘We weren’t like that’ is something I’m sure every generation grumbles about the one coming after them. I hear my fellow generation Xers despair about the millennials and how disconnected they are from the world. If it is true what we read we can assume them to be whiny, incapable of looking after themselves and completely unprepared for the harsh realities of life. If could be just that I’m on the wrong side of thirty and my fellows like to have something to moan about. The fashions, the television shows and the obsession with Ed Sheeran (as good a musician as I’m sure he is) are all strange to the genX. Then again, the Spice Girls, gladiators and skousers (skirt trousers) certainly raised a few eyebrows in the 90s and early noughties so who are we to judge?

Is it just a generational thing or is there a lack of understanding in the millennials? I don’t think so.

The millennials get a lot of stick in the media but I for one can see the amazing changes they are bringing to the world. My eldest niece (a millennial) defies what the media has to say about her generation. She is a confident, well educated and independent young woman who has just started her own business and is thriving. Like many of her peers she is ready to take the world on.

Despite the man buns and snap chat second life our millennials are up and coming and sure to do great things for our world. They will always fight for social justice. They work hard despite educations costs rising and getting on the property ladder is more difficult. So to you millennials, your ways seem strange to us but you will change the world for the better. Your contributions are invaluable.

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Zombielicious!

I was just a little kid when I first realised I had the power to bring things back from the dead. It’s not a skill that I would put on a job application or anything but it is definitely something not many people can do.

My beloved gerbil, Flower Pot, died and like most kids losing a pet I was distraught.

“We’ll put him in a nice box and bury him,” mum had said softly.

“Just put him in the bin.” My elder brother was not so sensitive.

I hadn’t been able to bring myself to move Flower Pot. When he started to stink we all agreed the time had come.

I lifted Flower Pot from his cage.

“He was a good gerbil,” I muttered ceremoniously. Then I felt his little foot twitch.

“Don’t be silly,” said dad. “That gerbil is long gone.”

I was almost at the point of agreeing when Flower Pot twitched again. I almost dropped him when he flicked his little ears, opened his beady eyes and turned over.

“He’s alive! He’s alive!”

Mum, dad and my brother all shared a shocked expression that could only have been heightened if it had been me who had come back from the dead.

I grinned. My pet was safe and sound. His furry little body was warm again. He gave a squeak. I gushed. Then he sank his teeth into my finger. I had to shake him off. It took dad and my brother’s strength combined to pull the blood thirsty rodent from me. Flower Pot fell to the ground. He ran across the room. In the commotion the chair was knocked over, landing on the gerbil. Flower Pot still ended up in a box in the yard that day.

When word got out that I could bring pets back to life I was inundated with requests. I tried to explain that Fluffy and Snowball wouldn’t be the same but people were so attached to their animals who was I to stop them?

When Mrs Albot at number twenty four asked me to bring back her boa constrictor George, I had to call it quits. There was already a monster rabbit terrorising the local kids and a vicious goldfish in the pond in the park. We really didn’t need a 7ft reptile with a taste for flesh slithering around.

I hung up my walking dead pet business and life carried on as normal. That was until I met Harry.

Walking home, clutching the straps of my backpack and whistling to myself I passed the church. There was a teenaged boy sat on the steps. He was weeping behind a mop of black hair. His arms were tucked inside the sleeves of his hooded jacket.

“Are you okay?” I asked. I loathed to see a stranger in trouble.

He looked up at me teary eyed. His eye liner had smudged.

“It’s my girlfriend Zoe. She’s gone!”

He removed a photograph from his pocket. It was of a girl who would have been very pretty if it weren’t for the black curtains of hair almost concealing her entire face. Two blackened eyes peered out and black painted lips pouted.

“She was so young. There was so much ahead of her.”

I felt sorry for him. My aunt said my ability was a gift. I wasn’t so sure. She hadn’t seen Flower Pot almost rip my finger off. Then again, I hadn’t tried it on humans before. Maybe this time it would be different.

The boy led me to the open casket that Zoe lay in. She looked peaceful. Her face was as pale as it always had been. She wore her signature black. Judging by the photo the girl had been preparing for her funeral her entire life.

I touched her forehead. Harry gave a gasp that echoed through the church as her eyes opened. She sat up like a villain in a vampire movie. Zoe reached her hands out and Harry helped her out of her satin bed.

It was quite a romantic scene really until she lunged forward and tried to chow down on his neck.

“Yeah, she may get a little bitey,” I warned.

“Are you feeling okay?” he asked her.

“Urrggh,” she replied.

Harry turned to me. “What is wrong with her?”

“Considering she was dead not a few moments ago I think she looks great,”

“Urrrrgghh!” she agreed.

“She won’t make much of a conversationalist and you will have to stop her biting people, but all in all you have her back. She looks zombielicious!”

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