Nikola Tesla was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer,mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system. Born: July 10, 1856, Smiljan, Croatia Died: January 7, 1943, Manhattan, New York City, NY.

Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before immigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York City. He soon struck out on his own with financial backers, setting up laboratories and companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented AC induction motor and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla for a short time as a consultant. His work in the formative years of electric power development was involved in a corporate alternating current/direct current “War of Currents” as well as various patent battles. Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs and made early (1893) pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. He tried to put these ideas to practical use in his ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission, which was his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project. In his lab he also conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He also built a wireless controlled boat, one of the first ever exhibited.

Tesla was renowned for his achievements and showmanship, eventually earning him a reputation in popular culture as an archetypal “mad scientist.”His patents earned him a considerable amount of money, much of which was used to finance his own projects with varying degrees of success. He lived most of his life in a series of New York hotels, through his retirement. He died on 7 January 1943. His work fell into relative obscurity after his death, but in 1960 the General Conference on Weights and Measures named the SI unit of magnetic flux density the teslain his honor. Tesla has experienced a resurgence in interest in popular culture since the 1990s.

 Interview: 1899 Nikola Tesla and John Smith (From the American magazine “Immortality“)

N.TeslaJOURNALIST: Mr. Tesla, you have gained the glory of the man who got involved in the cosmic processes. Who are you, Mr. Tesla?

TESLA: It is a right question, Mr. Smith, and I will try to give you the right answer to it.

JOURNALIST: Some say you’re from the country of Croatia, from the area called Lika, where together with the people are growing trees, rocks and starry sky. They say that your home village is named after the mountain flowers, and that the house, where you were born, is next to the forest and the church.

TESLA: Really, all it true. I’m proud of my Serbian origin and my Croatian homeland.

JOURNALIST: Futurists say that the 20th-and 21st centuries were born in the head of Nikola Tesla.

They celebrate conversely magnetic field and sing hymns to the Induction engine.Their creator was called the hunter who caught the light in his net from the depths of the earth, and the warrior who captured fire from heaven. Father of alternating current will make the physics and chemistry dominate half the world. Industry will proclaim him as their supreme saint, a banker for the largest benefactors. In the laboratory of Nikola Tesla for the first time is broken atom. There is created a weapon that causes the earthquake vibrations. There are discovered black cosmic rays. Five races will pray to him in the Temple of the future, because they had taught a great secret that Empedocles elements can be watered with the life forces from the ethers.

TESLA: Yes, these are some of my most important discoveries. I’m a defeated man. I have not accomplished the greatest thing I could.

JOURNALIST: What is it, Mr. Tesla?

TESLA: I wanted to illuminate the whole earth. There is enough electricity to become a second sun. Light would appear around the equator, as a ring around Saturn. Mankind is not ready for the great and good. In Colorado Springs I soaked the earth by electricity. Also we can water the other energies, such as positive mental energy. They are in the music of Bach or Mozart, or in the verses of great poets. In the Earth’s interior, there ie energy of Joy, Peace and Love. Their expressions are a flower that grows from the Earth, the food we get out of her and everything that makes man’s homeland. I’ve spent years looking for the way that this energy could influence people. The beauty and the scent of roses can be used as a medicine and the sun rays as a food. Life has an infinite number of forms, and the duty of scientists is to find them in every form of matter. Three things are essential in this. All that I do is a search for them. I know I will not find them, but I will not give up on them.

JOURNALIST: What are these things?

TESLA: One issue is food. What a stellar or terrestrial energy to feed the hungry on Earth? With what wine watered all thirsty, so that they can cheer in their heart and understand that they are Gods?

Another thing is to destroy the power of evil and suffering in which man’s life passes! They sometimes occur as an epidemic in the depths of space. In this century, the disease had spread from Earth in the Universe.

The third thing is: Is there an excess Light in the Universe? I discovered a star that by all the astronomical and mathematical laws could disappear, and that nothing seems to be modified. This star is in this galaxy. Its light can occur in such density that fits into a sphere smaller than an apple, a heavier than our Solar System. Religions and philosophies teach that man can become the Christ, Buddha and Zoroaster. What I’m trying to prove is wilder, and almost unattainable. This is what to do in the Universe so every being is born as Christ, Buddha or Zoroaster.

I know that gravity is prone to everything you need to fly and my intention is not to make flying devices (aircraft or missiles), but teach individual to regain consciousness on his own wings … Further; I am trying to awake the energy contained in the air. There are the main sources of energy. What is considered as empty space is just a manifestation of matter that is not awakened. No empty space on this planet, nor in the Universe.. In black holes, what astronomers talk about, are the most powerful sources of energy and life.

JOURNALIST: On the window of your room in hotel “Valdorf-Astoria”, on the thirty-third floor, every morning, the birds arrive.

TESLA: A man must be sentimental towards the birds. This is because of their wings. Human had them once, the real and visible!

JOURNALIST: You have not stopped flying since those distant days in Smiljan!

TESLA: I wanted to fly from the roof and I fell. Children’s calculations could be wrong. Remember, the youth wings have everything in life!

JOURNALIST: Have you ever married? It is not known that you have affection for love or for a woman. Photos from the youth show you were handsome man.

TESLA: Yes. I did not. There are two views: a lot affection or not at all. The center serves to rejuvenate human race. Women for certain people nurtures and strengthen its vitality and spirit. Being single does the same to other people. I chose that second path.

JOURNALIST: Your admirers are complaining that you attacking relativity. The strange is your assertion that the matter has no energy. Everything is imbued with energy, where it is?

TESLA: First was energy, then matter.

JOURNALIST: Mr. Tesla, it’s like when you said that you were born by your father, and not on you.

TESLA: Exactly! What about the birth of the Universe? Matter is created from the original and eternal energy that we know as Light. It shone, and there have been appear star, the planets, man, and everything on the Earth and in the Universe. Matter is an expression of infinite forms of Light, because energy is older than it. There are four laws of Creation. The first is that the source of all the baffling, dark plot that the mind cannot conceive, or mathematics measure. In that plot fit the whole Universe. The second law is spreading a darkness, which is the true nature of Light, from the inexplicable and it’s transformed into the Light. The third law is the necessity of the Light to become a matter of Light. The fourth law is: no beginning and no end; three previous laws always take place and the Creation is eternal.

JOURNALIST: In the hostility to the theory of relativity you go so far, that you hold lectures against its Creator at your birthday parties.

TESLA: Remember, it is not curved space, but the human mind which cannot comprehend infinity and eternity! If relativity has been clearly understood by its Creator, he would gain immortality, even yet physically, if he is pleased.

I am part of a light, and it is the music. The Light fills my six senses: I see it, hear, feel, smell, touch and think. Thinking of it means my sixth sense. Particles of Light are written note. A bolt of lightning can be an entire sonata. A thousand balls of lightning is a concert. For this concert I have created a Ball Lightning, which can be heard on the icy peaks of the Himalayas.

About Pythagoras and mathematics a scientist may not and must not infringe of these two. Numbers and equations are signs that mark the music of the spheres. If Einstein had heard these sounds, he would not create theories of relativity. These sounds are the messages to the mind that life has meaning, that the Universe exists in perfect harmony, and its beauty is the cause and effect of Creation. This music is the eternal cycle of stellar heavens. The smallest star has completed composition and also, part of the celestial symphony. The man’s heartbeats are part of the symphony on the Earth. Newton learned that the secret is in geometric arrangement and motion of celestial bodies. He recognized that the supreme law of harmony exists in the Universe. The curved space is chaos, chaos is not music. Einstein is the messenger of the time of sound and fury.

JOURNALIST: Mr. Tesla, do you hear that music?

TESLA: I hear it all the time. My spiritual ear is as big as the sky we see above us. My natural ear I increased by the radar. According to the Theory of Relativity, two parallel lines will meet in infinity. By that Einstein’s curved will straighten. Once created, the sound lasts forever. For a man it can vanish, but continues to exist in the silence that is man’s greatest power. No, I have nothing against Mr. Einstein. He is a kind person and has done many good things, some of which will become part of the music. I will write to him and try to explain that the ether exists, and that its particles are what keep the Universe in harmony, and the life in eternity.

JOURNALIST: Tell me, please, under what conditions angels can adapt on the Earth?

TESLA: I have ten of them. Keep good records vigilant.

JOURNALIST: I will document all your words, Dear Mr. Tesla.

TESLA: The first requirement is a high awareness of its mission and work to be done. It must, if only dimly, exist in the early days. Let us not be falsely modest; Oak knows that it is oak tree, a bush beside him being a bush. When I was twelve, I have been sure I will get to Niagara Falls. For most of my discoveries I knew in my childhood that I will achieve them, although not entirely apparent … The second condition to adapt is determination. All that I might, I finished.

JOURNALIST: What is the third condition of adjustment, Mr. Tesla?

TESLA: Guidance for all the vital and spiritual energies in labor. Therefore purification of the many effects and needs that man has. I therefore have not lost anything, but just gained.

So I enjoyed every day and night. Write down: Nikola Tesla was a happy man…

The fourth requirement is to adjust the physical assembly with a work.

JOURNALIST: What do you mean, Mr. Tesla?

TESLA: First, the maintenance of the assembly. Man’s body is a perfect machine. I know my circuit and what’s good for him. Food what nearly all people eat, to me it is harmful and dangerous. Sometimes I visualize that chefs in the world are all in conspiracy against me … Touch my hand.

JOURNALIST: It was cold.

TESLA: Yes. Bloodstream can be controlled, and many processes in and around us. Why are you frightened young man?

JOURNALIST: It’s a story that Mark Twain wrote a mysterious stranger, that wonderful book of Satan, inspired by you.

TESLA: The word “Lucifer” is more charming. Mr. Twain likes to joke. As a child I was healed once by reading his books. When we met here and told him about, he was so touched that he cried. We became friends and he often came to my lab. Once he requested to show him a machine that by vibration provokes a feeling of bliss. It was one of those inventions for entertainment, what I sometimes like to do. I warned Mr. Twain as not to remain under these vibrations. He did not listen and stayed longer. It ended by being, like a rocket, holding pants, darted into a certain room. It was a diabolically funny, but I kept the seriousness.

But, to adjust the physical circuit, in addition to food, dream is very important. From a long and exhausting work, which required superhuman effort, after one hour of sleep I’d be fully recovered. I gained the ability to manage sleep, to fell asleep and wake up in the time which I have designated. If I do something what I do not understand, I force myself to think about it in my dream, and thus find a solution.

The fifth condition of adjustment is memory. Perhaps in the most people, the brain is keeper of knowledge about the world and the knowledge gained through the life. My brain is engaged in more important things than remembering. It is picking what is required at a given moment. This is all around us. It should only be consumed. Everything that we once saw, hear, read and learn, accompanies us in the form of light particles. To me, these particles are obedient and faithful. Goethe’s Faust, my favorite book, I learned by heart in German as a student, and now I can recite it all. I held my inventions for years  ‘in my head, ” and only then I realized them.

JOURNALIST: You often mentioned the power of visualization.

TESLA: I might have to thank to visualization for all that I invented. The events of my life and my inventions are real in front of my eyes, visible as each occurrence or the item. In my youth I was frightened of not knowing what it is, but later, I learned to use this power as an exceptional talent and gift. I nurtured it, and jealously guarded. I also made corrections by visualization on most of my inventions, and finish them that way, by visualization I mentally solve complex mathematical equations. For that gift I have, I will receive rank High Lama in Tibet.

My eyesight and hearing are perfect and, dare to say, stronger than other people. I hear the thunder of a hundred fifty miles away, and I see colors in the sky that others cannot see. This enlargement of vision and hearing, I had as a child. Later I consciously developed.

JOURNALIST: In youth you have several times been seriously ill. Is it a disease and a requirement to adapt?

TESLA: Yes. It is often the result of a lack of exhaustion or vital force, but often the purification of mind and body from the toxins that have accumulated. It is necessary that a man suffers from time to time. The source of most disease is in the spirit. Therefore the spirit and can cure most diseases. As a student I got sick of cholera which raged in the region of Lika.

I was cured because my father finally allowed me to study technology, which was my life. Illusion for me was not a disease, but the mind’s ability to penetrate beyond the three dimensions of the earth. I had them all my life, and I have received them as all other phenomena around us.

Once, in childhood, I was walking along the river with Uncle and I said: ”From the water will appear the trout. I’ll throw a stone and it is out.”

That’s what happened.

Frightened and amazed, my uncle cried: ”Bade retro Satan’s!”

He was an educated and he spoke in Latin …

I was in Paris when I saw my mother’s death. In the sky, full of light and music floated are wonderful creatures. One of them had a mother’s character, who was looking at me with infinite love. As the vision disappeared, I knew that my mother died.

JOURNALIST: What is the seventh adjustment, Mr. Tesla?

TESLA: The knowledge of how the mental and vital energy transform into what we want, and achieve control over all feelings. Hindus call it Kundalini Yoga. This knowledge can be learned, for what they need many years or is acquired by birth. The most of them I acquired by birth. They are in the closest connection with a sexual energy that is after the most widespread in the Universe. The woman is the biggest thief of that energy, and thus the spiritual power. I’ve always knew that and was alerted. Of myself I created what I wanted: a thoughtful and spiritual machine.

JOURNALIST: A ninth adjustment, Mr. Tesla?

TESLA: Do everything that any day, any moment, if possible, not to forget who we are and why we are on Earth. Extraordinary people who are struggling with illness, privation, or the society which hurts them with its stupidity, misunderstanding, persecution and other problems which the country is full of a swamps with insects, leaves behind unclaimed until the end of the work. There are many fallen angels on Earth.

JOURNALIST: What is the tenth adaptation?

TESLA: It is most important. Write that Mr. Tesla played. He played the whole of his life and enjoyed it.

JOURNALIST: Mr. Tesla! Whether it relates to your findings and your work? Is this a game?

TESLA: Yes, dear boy. I have so loved to play with electricity! I always cringe when I hear about the one also the Greek who stole fire. A terrible story about studding, and eagles peck at his liver. Did Zeus did not have enough lightning and thunder, and was damaged for one fervor? There is some misunderstanding … Lightning are the most beautiful toys that can be found. Do not forget that in your text stand out: Nikola Tesla was the first man who discovered lightning.

JOURNALIST: Mr. Tesla, you’re just talking about angels and their adaptation to the Earth.

TESLA: Am I? This is the same. You could write this: he dared to take upon himself the prerogatives of Indri, Zeus and Peron. Imagine one of these gods in a black evening suit, with the bowler hat and wearing white cotton gloves prepares lightning, fires and earthquakes to the New York City elite!

JOURNALIST: Readers love the humor of our paper.  But you confuse me stating that your findings, which have immense benefits for the people, representing the game. Many will frown on it.

TESLA: Dear Mr. Smith, the trouble is that people are too serious. If they were not, they would be happier and much longer would have lived. Chinese proverb says that the seriousness reduces life. Visiting the inn Tai Pe guessed that he visits the Imperial Palace. But that the newspaper readers would not have frowned, let’s get back to things which they consider important.

JOURNALIST: They would love to hear what your philosophy is.

TESLA: Life is a rhythm that must be comprehended. I feel the rhythm and direct on it and pamper in it. It was very grateful and gave me the knowledge I have. Everything that lives is related to a deep and wonderful relationship: man and the stars, amoebas’ and the sun, the heart and the circulation of an infinite number of worlds. These ties are unbreakable, but they can be tame and to propitiate and begin to create new and different relationships in the world, and that does not violate the old. Knowledge comes from space; our vision is its most perfect set. We have two eyes: the earthly and spiritual. It is recommended that it become one eye. The Universe is alive in all its manifestations, like a thinking animal. Stone is a thinking and sentient being, such as plant, beast and a man. A star that shines asked to look at, and if we are not a sizeable self-absorbed we would understand its language and message. His breathing, his eyes and ears of the man must comply with breathing, eyes and ears of the Universe.

JOURNALIST: As you say this, it seems to me like I hear Buddhist texts, words or Taoist Parazulzusa.

TESLA: That’s right! This means that there is general knowledge and truth that man has always possessed. In my feeling and experience, the Universe has only one substance and one supreme energy with an infinite number of manifestations of life. The best thing is that the discovery of a secret nature, reveals the other. One cannot hide, there are around us, but we are blind and deaf to them. If we emotionally tie ourselves to them, they come to us themselves. There are a lot of apples, but one Newton. He asked for just one apple that fell in front of him.

JOURNALIST: A question that might be set at the beginning of this conversation. What was Electricity for you, Dear Mr. Tesla?

TESLA: Everything is Electricity. First was the light, endless source from which points out material and distribute it in all forms that represent the Universe and the Earth with all its aspects of life. Black is the true face of Light, only we do not see this. It is remarkable grace to man and other creatures. One of its particles possesses light, thermal, nuclear, radiation, chemical, mechanical and an unidentified energy. It has the power to run the Earth with its orbit. It is true Archimedean lever.

JOURNALIST: Mr. Tesla, you’re too biased towards electricity.

TESLA: Electricity I am. Or, if you wish, I am the electricity in the human form. You are Electricity; too Mr. Smith, but you do not realize it.

JOURNALIST: Is it thus your ability to allow fails of electricity of one million volts trough your body?

TESLA: Imagine a gardener who is attacked by herbs. This would indeed be crazy. Man’s body and brain are made from a large amount energy; in me there is the majority of electricity. The energy that is different in everyone is what makes the human ”I” or ”soul”. For other creatures to their essence, “soul” of the plant is the “soul” of minerals and animals. Brain function and death is manifested in light. My eyes in youth were black, now blue, and as time goes on and strain the brain gets stronger, they are closer to white. White is the color of heaven. Through my window one morning, landed a white dove, which I fed. She wanted to bring me a word that she was dying. From her eyes the light jets were coming out. Never in the eyes of any creature had I not seen so much light, as in that pigeon.

JOURNALIST: Personnel in your lab speak about flashes of light, flames and lightning that occur if you are angry or into kind of risk.

TESLA: It is the psychic discharge or a warning to be alert. The light was always on my side. Do you know how I discovered the rotating magnetic field and induction motor, which made me became famous when I was twenty-six? One summer evening in Budapest, I watched with my friend the Sigetijem sunset. Thousands of fires were turning around in thousands of flaming colors. I remembered Faust and recited his verses and then, as in a fog, I saw spinning magnetic field, and induction motor. I saw them in the sun!

JOURNALIST: Hotel service telling that at the time of lightning you isolate into the room and talk to yourselves.

TESLA: I talk with lightning and thunder.

JOURNALIST: With them? What language, Mr.Tesla?

TESLA: Mostly my native language. It has the words and sounds, especially in poetry, what is suitable for it.

JOURNALIST: Readers of our magazine would be very grateful if you would interpret that.

TESLA: The sound does not exist only in the thunder and lightning, but, in transformation into the brightness and color. A color can be heard. Language is of the words, which means that it is from the sounds and colors. Every thunder and lightning are different and have their names. I call some of them by the names of those who were close in my life, or by those whom I admire. In the sky brightness and thunder live my mother, sister, brother Daniel, a poet. Jovan, Jovanovic Zmaj and other persons of Serbian history.

Names such AsIsaiah, Ezekiel, Leonardo, Beethoven, Goya, Faraday, Pushkin and all burning fires mark shoals and tangles of lightning and thunder, which does not stop all night bringing to the Earth precious rain and burning trees or villages. There is lightning and thunder, and they are the brightest and most powerful, that will not vanish. They are coming back and I recognize them among the thousands.

JOURNALIST: For you, science or poetry is the same?

TESLA: These are the two eyes of one person. William Blake was taught that the Universe was born from the imagination, that it maintains and it will exist as long as there is a last man on the Earth. With it was a wheel to which astronomers can collect the stars of all galaxies. It is the creative energy identical to the light energy.

JOURNALIST: Imagination is more real to you than life itself?

TESLA: It gives birth to the life. I have fed by my taught; I’ve learned to control emotions, dreams and visions. I have always cherished, as I nurtured my enthusiasm. All my long life I spent in ecstasy. That was the source of my happiness. It helped me during all these years to bear with work, which was enough for the five lives. The best is to work at night, because the stellar light, and close bond.

JOURNALIST: You said that I am, like every being, the Light. This flatter me, but I confess, I do not quite understand.

TESLA: Why would you need to understand, Mr. Smith? Suffice it to believe it. Everything is light. In one its ray is the fate of nations, each nation has its own ray in what great light source we see as the sun. And remember: no one who was there did not die. They transformed into the light, and as such exist still. The secret lies in the fact that the light particles restore their original state.

JOURNALIST: This is the resurrection!

TESLA: I prefer to call it: return to a previous energy. Christ and several others knew the secret. I am searching how to preserve human energy. It is forms of Light, sometimes straight like heavenly light. I have not looked for it for my own sake, but for the good of all. I believe that my discoveries make people’s lives easier and more bearable, and channel them to spirituality and morality.

JOURNALIST: Do you think that time can be abolished?

TESLA: Not quite, because the first feature of the energy is that it transforms. It is in perpetual transformation, as clouds of Taoists. But it is possible to leverage the fact that a man preserves consciousness after the earthly life. In every corner of the universe exist energy of life; one of them is immortality, whose origin is outside of man, waiting for him. The universe is spiritual; we are only half that way. The Universe is more moral than us, because we do not know his nature and how to harmonize our lives with it. I am not scientist, science is perhaps the most convenient way to find the answer to the question that always haunt me, and which my days and nights turned into fire.

JOURNALIST: What is matter?

TESLA: How are your eyes brightened! … What I wanted to know is: what happens to a falling star as the sun goes out? Stars fall like dust or seed in this or in other worlds, and the sun be scattered in our minds, in the lives of many  beings,  what will be reborn as a new light, or cosmic wind scattered in infinity. I understand that this is necessary included in the structure of the Universe. The thing is, though, is that one of these stars and one of these suns, even the smallest, preserves.

JOURNALIST: But, Mr. Tesla, you realize that this is necessary and is included in the constitution of the world!

TESLA: When a man becomes conscious, then his highest goal must be to run for a shooting star, and tries to capture it; shall understand that his life was given to him because of this and will be saved. Stars will eventually be capable to catch!

JOURNALIST: And what will happen then?

TESLA: The creator will laugh and say: ”It fall only that you chase her and grab her.”

JOURNALIST: Isn’t all of this contrary to the cosmic pain, which so often you mention in your writings? And what is it cosmic pain?

TESLA: No, because we are on Earth … It is an illness whose existence the vast majority of people are not aware of. Hence, many other illnesses, suffering, evil, misery, wars and everything else what makes human life an absurd and horrible condition. This disease cannot be completely cured, but awareness shall make it less complicated and hazardous. Whenever one of my close and dear people were hurt, I felt physical pain. This is because our bodies are made as of similar material, and our soul related with unbreakable strands. Incomprehensible sadness that overwhelmed us at times means that somewhere, on the other side on this planet, a child or generous man died. The entire Universe is in certain periods sick of itself, and of us. Disappearance of a star and the appearance of comets affect us more than we can imagine. Relationships among the creatures on the Earth are even stronger, because of our feelings and thoughts the flower will scent even more beautiful or will fall in silence. These truths we must learn in order to be healed. Remedy is in our hearts and evenly, in the heart of the animals that we call the Universe.


by Iain Cambridge

[Continuing the celebration of the works of Iain Cambridge]


It was a warm spring day in 1948 that I first made the acquaintance of the young lady known to me only as Miss Harmony Reigns after having moved into the small two-bedroom house in one of the more affluent suburbs of Paris. I had recently acquired the residence at a bargain price due to the misfortune of another poor soul, for it had been part of a bankruptcy sale. On entry to my new home it was plain to see that some major decoration was needed as its previous owner had clearly fallen on hard times long before his home was taken from him. This was of no matter to me as I relished the chance to stamp my own personality on to this new abode, and so took to reshaping the rooms to my own design as soon as possible, and with great gusto.

The work was arduous and took more hours out of my day than I freely had to give. The lack of sleep, due to an enthusiasm to complete my new home, was sometimes reflected in my performance at work. Fortunately my superior was a genial man who understood the urgency of youth and allowed me, at such times, to regain the focus needed for my tasks, and to complete the work at my own pace.

During my renovations I would sometimes break for a light lunch, and would take to the little garden out back in order to enjoy the birdsong and silence that only this side of the noisy metropolis enjoys.

It was on such occasion that I first encountered Harmony Reigns.

As I sat, enveloped in the sounds of spring, there came on the wind the sound of a woman singing. Her voice seemed to mix in with the world around us, as if it had always been a part of the call of nature – heralding in the summer.

There was an old wooden fence at the end of the garden that separated my property from the one opposite, and it was from behind this that the singing originated.

Years of unkempt weeds had grown over the barrier between houses and had set themselves in such a way as to dislodge a part of the fence.

It was from here that I attained my first view of the owner of such a beautiful voice.

Sitting on the ground, below an oak tree that grew mighty and strong was a sight that would stop the beating heart of most young men.

Long red hair fell over a pixie-like face and flowed down her back like liquid fire and served as to frame her features that were pale in their complexion. Her eyes shone green and seemed to light up whenever she smiled. Unfortunately, this was not something she did a lot – for reasons that would become clear later in our relationship.

So as not to seem rude, I called over to her in order to initiate an introduction.

“Bonjour Madam,” I said. On this she looked up and around, seemingly confused as to where my voice was coming from.

“Over here Madam — the other side of the fence.”

Having located the broken panel she got up and walked over towards me and, bending at the knees, she peered though the hole.

“Oh! Hello,” she said. “I wasn’t aware that anyone lived over there any more.

I smiled and replied.

“I have just taken possession not two weeks since – pardon, but is Madam English?”

Her smile remained.

“Oh dear, is my French that bad”

“Not at all, but your accent gives you away.”

She laughed and said, “May I know your name, Monsieur?”

I blushed at my apparent rude behaviour at not introducing myself.

“Excuse me Madam; I am Phillip Rencall – at your service.”

“Harmony Reigns,” came her reply “pleased to meet you.”

“And I you.”

The fashions in Paris of late had dictated that young women should be of a slight build and enjoy a demure personalty that borders of the aloof. But Miss Harmony Reigns was not such a woman that would conform to another’s views and wishes.

She was confident in her manner and solid within her build and was a refreshing stray from the norm. We spent an enjoyable hour or so talking of many things of interest to both her and I. Sometimes we would find something mutual and dwell on the subject for a while. At other times we would spend a short time discussing a subject that was of interest only to one.

For example — Miss Reigns, it appeared, aspired to be an actress and a dancer, and longed to perform in London. I commented that she should also add singing to her repertoire, as I was quite enraptured by her earlier song. I told her of my work in the library, which by comparison to her lofty dreams of fame appeared quite dull. But the way she seemed genuinely interested in my work made me feel a little taller and less unimportant. That afternoon was as special a day as I have experience in a long time – if ever, and I would have happily spent my last day on Earth in this way.

The sound of a man’s voice shattered the air and ripped the placid calm that had encompassed the day. It was a brutish sound, filled with anger and violence. At his call, Harmony’s face drained of the little colour it held. She jumped almost in fear. “I am sorry” she said weakly “I have to go”

With that, she stood and almost ran to answer his call.

I could not feel but cheated of my pleasurable time with this most engaging woman, but I figured that this man had clearly laid claim to her affections long before I arrived and I was therefore in no position to complain.

This rational did not stop the feelings of jealousy though.

The next day, and the three days that followed were filled with images of her face.

Her voice echoed in my thoughts and dreams. I feared that my affection for Miss Reigns had crossed the line of decency and would not be seen as appropriate. I scolded myself for having such a childlike crush on this woman, of whom I had met only once. I washed the thoughts of her from my mind, buried myself in my work and lost the memories of her within my home making.

Until one week later.

On taking a break from my renovations I found myself back by the broken fence once more. I dared to sneak a look in case by some chance I would see her sitting under the oak tree.

To my utter delight – there she sat.

“You have been gone quite a while Monsieur,” she said without looking up.

“It does seem a long time, Madam Reigns, but after your hasty retreat on our first encounter I felt it would be only good manners to leave you to your business”

Her head remained bowed as she spoke once more. “Did you not enjoy our afternoon?”

I knelt down a little further, in order to gain a better view of the woman that had caused so many sleepless nights. A woman that had called into question as to what I would deem “decent behaviour” from a gentleman”

“Indeed I did Madam”

She laughed gently to herself.

“I think we know each other well enough for you to address me as Harmony”

I smiled to her unseen face.

“Then Harmony it is”

At this she turned to me and smiled.

As her hair fell away, the smile that I had reciprocated with left my lips, for, on the left side of her face was such an abrasion that could only have been caused by an aggressor. My exclamation caused her to raise her hand to her wound and turn her face from me once more.

“Miss Reigns – Harmony, what on earth happened?”

She lowered her hand and turned slowly to me again.

“Sometimes I speak too loud, and too candid.”

“And this is his answer?” I exclaimed, more in anger than I meant to. But to be fair of the situation, it did demand a reaction that would show disgust for any man that would raise his hand to a woman. I composed myself a little so that I might continue.

“I am sorry, Harmony, but violence is never the answer.”

She smiled at me and tilted her head a little, as if addressing a child.

“I am of the opinion that it depends on what the question was.”

I was a little shocked at her statement. “You surly do not condone his actions?” I said.

“I do not – but then I do not condone mine either.”

The pause in the conversation was such that it drew compassion from Harmony as to my struggle against what was clearly out of my control.

“Do not worry my friend, I have handled a lot worse and I have grown to live with his moods. He is not always like this, it’s just that sometimes the demon drink takes him over and I am not quick enough to recognise the signs.”

“Signs?” I inquired.

“Signs that I should start to curb my loose tongue.”

It angered me so much. Not only that this kerr of a man had spent his anger on a woman of such devotion, but also that her devotion had now caused her to defend his actions. She had obviously sensed my discomfort and chose that moment to change the subject.

“And what of you Monsieur?”

I looked at her face in question. Even with the swelling and the angry purple bruising, she still held my heart captive with her beauty.

“How have you filled your time during our hiatus?”

I smiled at her joke.

“The making of a new home – work. Nothing that would hold the interest of anyone but myself.”

Harmony looked at me for a few short seconds, a small measure of time that seemed to last a lifetime under her gaze.

“Tell me Phillip – is there someone in your life that you would share your affections with?”

I took my time to answer the question, a pause that evoked a small gasp of exclamation from Harmony’s lips.

“Do I presume too much as to ask such a personal question Monsieur?”

I smiled. “Not at all Madam — there is someone of whom I care deeply for, but alas she is betrothed to another.”

“Is she beautiful?”

“She is the spring and summer dressed as one. She is joy and happiness, sadness and woe. My minds eye sees nothing but her, and my heart beats only within her presence.”

Harmony Reign held my gaze for what seemed an eternity.

“Does she know of these feelings?”

“Alas, she is unaware of the effect she has on my soul.”

We left each other shortly after, as it was getting late. I could see that she was getting increasingly distracted by the oncoming hour that marked “his” return.

But there was many a time after when we would meet by the broken fence and talk of things and of people. She would expand on her dreams of fame. I would sit and listen, totally enraptured by her presence, bathing in her beauty.

On occasion the sleeve of her dress would ride up and I would catch a glimpse of the bruising caused by the grip of a man’s hand. When she adjusted her position, in an attempt at a more comfortable seating, her skirt would fall away from her knees.

I would turn my head away naturally at these times as to save her modesty, but not before catching a glimpse of more bruising to her upper thigh.

I said nothing as this subject seemed to be taboo between us, but it still tore at my heart.

The day came when I had completed the project that had kept me busy between work and my secret liaisons with Miss Harmony Reigns.

My small house had become a home.

The night drew in on that day as I made my way to my bed with the full intention of inviting her to lunch the next day. I would offer her of a tour of my new home. I wanted her to see what I had achieved. I craved her approval and sought deeply her praise.

As I lay awake, making plans for our lunch date, I heard the most terrible scream.

I sat bolt upright and the blood in my veins froze in fear of what I instinctively knew to be.

Another scream caused me to throw back the bed covers.

I ran down the stairs, through the kitchen and out of the backdoor that led to the garden. I could see a light streaming through the broken gap in the fence and so made my way toward it. Through the hole I could see the lights from her house – a light that illuminated both her and the object of my jealousy. As I watched I saw her run from him, calling to him to “stop” and to “calm down.” He, in turn, was yelling at her and calling her names that would have drawn me to defend such vile comments.

Instead I sat and watched the dark play unfold itself in front of me.

When she reached the oak tree she stopped running and turned towards him with her hands outstretched, pleading for him to stop and think. This was to fall silently on deafened ears as he continued his ranting, and his relentless pursuit.

When he reached her he pushed away her hands and clamped his own rough hand around her throat. I nearly called out in anguish, but my cry caught when I heard her strangled cry of, “Papa – please!”

Papa. This man that I thought as her husband — was her father.

This realization caused a feeling of elation within me, for my love was attainable and not locked within a violent marriage. Her loyalty was that of a daughter and not of a wife. With this revelation came the resolve to stop this madness that had come between us, and put an end to this mis-understanding that had stopped me from opening my heart.

At that point my soul found its voice and I called to her, hoping that this would cause a distraction long enough for me to scale the fence and interject myself between my love and her assailant.

On hearing me, both Miss Reigns and her father turned toward me. Harmony looked directly at the hole in the fence, whilst he turned this way and that, trying to locate the owner of the demands for him to stop.

I used this time to find something to stand on as an aid to climb the fence. I looked around frantically until I saw the small stepladder that I had used to reach the higher points whilst hanging the wallpaper. I ran to retrieve it and returned to the broken part of the fence. Having erected the ladder I climbed so that I could see over and into the garden of Miss Harmony Reigns.

What I saw though mystified me – for I saw nothing.

No house, no garden – nothing.

All that was to be seen was miles of open fields with not another house in sight.

Unsure of how to process this I jumped from the ladder and looked back through the hole. There was the scene that I had encountered earlier, only this time it had the pleading face of Harmony looking directly at me. Her hair hung limp and damp with perspiration and her eyes, that once shone so bright with laughter and happiness, now grew dull with fear and pain. I leapt to the ladder once more in the hope that what I had seen before was nothing but my imagination.

The scene was the same and yet the screams of Harmony Reigns still echoed within my skull. I dropped to the other side of the fence and ran aimlessly around in circles, trying to locate what could be so clearly seen from the other side. I spread my arms wide in the vain hope that I would touch what had become invisible, whilst all the time her cries for help became more strangled as they were forced though an abused airway.

Then, abruptly, there was silence.

I jumped at the fence and dropped to into my own garden again.

As I looked back I could see that my love lay still and lifeless beneath the oak tree, in much the same position that I had first encountered her.

This time there was no singing, no laughter.

I turned and sat with my back to the fence, my heart as broken as the fence that allowed this impossible view.

I wept for a loss I would never have – for a woman who had never been.

My reports to the authorities were met with ridicule. My story of a murder – taking place as it did at a location that did not exist, and with the victim being that of a mere phantom – was treated as madness on my part.

A question spun around in my mind. Was I mad? Had I joined the ranks of the insane? For as I am talking to you now, I would have sworn that she was no trick of the light, no mysterious entity.

She was real.

*  *  *

Twenty-three years had past since that strange time in my life, and since then I had faired a little worse because of it. Solace for me was sought at the bottom of a bottle. As a result, I lost my job having tried the patience of a good man too far.

With no income to speak of I fell to the same fate that befell the previous owner of my home and had it sold from beneath me. I began to imagine that this place was cursed and counted myself as just another victim of its evil.

I wandered the streets for many a year, alone and invisible to society, ignoring all, and ignored by all.

Fate is a fickle mistress, however, and salvation came to me in the most unlikely of packages. Whilst sleeping under a railway bridge just three miles from the Gare du Nord I noticed a small child playing on the railway tracks.

She was nothing but a street urchin, a parentless ragamuffin.

Her long blonde hair was matted and greasy from years of neglect, and her face was smeared with the grime of the city. Her clothes did not deserve the title, as they were mere rags, arranged merely to cover her modesty. She seemed healthy enough having grown a trade of begging and theft, as was necessary to stay alive.

I watched her playing for a while as she walked the rail tracks, involving herself in some sort of balancing game. The poise and grace she adopted in order to stay on the rail-line was a small marvel to watch and provided me with both a little afternoon entertainment and a distraction from the half empty bottle that never seemed to leave my lips.

“You seem sad Monsieur,” she said.

I was so involved in her play that I did not register that she was addressing me.

“I am sorry, little miss, were you talking to me?”

Oui, Monsieur,” she replied. “I come here most days to play and I have noticed that you have stayed longer than most. Is it your sadness that keeps you here?”

I smiled at her forthrightness, and at her broken French. It indicated to me that this was not her first language, but a gutter speak derived from a life amongst the human flotsam and jetsam of Europe that had washed up in the streets of Paris.

“You are correct, little miss, but for a brief while you have made me a little happier.”

She stopped her play and hopped off of the rail track.

“I am glad,” she said and proceeded to sit next to me.

I looked down at her for a while and wondered what had invoked her interest in me, until a thought suddenly struck me.

“Are you hungry?” I asked. With that, I fished around in my bag for some bread and cheese. She looked up at me with bright blue eyes. “No thank you.”

She looked down, and at the source of my comfort contained in that half drunk bottle.

“Are you thirsty?” she inquired. I followed her gaze and then looked back at her.

“Sometimes a little too thirsty,” I said, and placed the bottle into my pocket.

“Then maybe it is time to be hungry now?”

Her words were as an ice shard plunged deep into my soul. Had I become so worthless that I could incur pity from a child? The shame of the image I presented to the world was thrust back at me through the eyes of this innocent young girl. Her comments were not meant to be malicious, but their truth spoke to a part of me that I thought long dead, along with the spectre of Miss Destiny Reigns.

I removed the bottle from my coat and examined its contents.

Another derelict shell of a man, such as I had become, shuffled past at that moment and I thought for a while before offering it to him.

“For you, sir.”

He looked at me with suspicion.

“Your need is greater than mine, my brother,” I said to him.

He took the bottle tentatively and with a slight nod of his head carried on his way toward whatever hell was to be put to him on this path.

I, in turn, took the first steps away from mine.

The young lady went by the name of Monique, and from that day seemed never to leave my side. It was as though she had taken pity on this lost soul and had adopted me as one would do with a stray puppy. We would stroll together along the banks of the Seine talking of life and of the events that led to our current situation.

Hers was not as selfish a reason as mine, for unlike myself – who had given up on my sanity and had allowed my weak mind to fold in on itself –  Monique had been given no such choices in her short life. With parents of limited means, and of limited health, Monique soon found herself out on the streets begging for food in order to feed a hungry family, until one day there was a family no more. With both her mother and father taken by illness she left her home and sought out an existence with the underclass and the forgotten.

*   *   *

Years past and so did my responsibility to this ever-growing young lady.

Due to my reputation in Paris, being that of a madman and a drunkard, Monique and I both made our way across the channel to England, in the hope that I would gain employment under a new name. We assumed the guise of father and daughter and whilst I worked my days in the shipyards, she attended school, funded by what money I could earn during nightshifts taken in the local bars around town.

She had become my atonement for a wasted life, and a salvation for my own lost soul.

As she grew into womanhood I began to notice that she had started to gain the attention of several young men. This troubled me greatly, as it would do for any protective father. As a way of steering her away from temptation and from the admiring glances of varying gentlemen, I moved us to a small village close to the sea, just outside the main city. It was a small dwelling and suited us both. Monique loved to tend to the gardens and stroll along the beachfront, and I, once again, had started to involve myself with my books in the hope that further learning would lead to better employment, and a secure future for my adopted daughter.

All was well. We were happy.

*   *   *

“Who is Harmony?”

Her question came out of the blue one morning as we were enjoying breakfast.

Such was my surprise at hearing a name that I had not heard for some thirty odd years that I nearly choked on the piece of toast I had already started to swallow.

Having coughed myself to a halt, I wiped the tears of excursion from my eyes and said, “Where on Earth did you hear that name?”

She smiled as she sipped her tea. Something had defined her as quite the English rose of late.

“When you fall asleep after the nightshift, you tend to talk in your sleep”

“I do?”

“Indeed, and the name “Harmony” comes to your lips on the occasions when you are very tired. Was she very special to you?”

I stood up and started to clear my plate from the table. I looked at her pale face, with those big blue eyes that seemed to look into your soul.

“Not as special as you, Mon Amie.”

She returned my smile and tilted her head in such a way as to suggest that, for her, this was not an answer. I sat down again and refreshed my coffee cup.

“I do not know who she was,” I said sadly, “but what I do know, is that she only lives within my fantasies.”

I proceeded to tell her the whole story.

From my first encounter with Miss Harmony Reigns within the gardens of my new home, to the witnessing of her murder, and onwards to madness and depravity. After I had spent my sorry tale, Monique stood and walked to my side of the table. She knelt down in front of me and put her arms around my neck. She hugged me for such a long time that I felt hot tears of joy run down my cheeks as the weight of all those years fell away. Never in all our time together had she shown such affection, but this simple action secured forever the bond between father and daughter.

*   *   *

Monique came to me a few weeks later with a request to join the school drama club.

As she was now at the age of eighteen I was in no real position to refuse, nor would I have done so. Yet, her request showed me that she valued my opinion and felt the need still to run decisions past me. She had opted to stay on college for further education as she had missed a good six years of schooling, before had decided to start our new lives together. She felt the need to catch up. The drama classes were her way of becoming a little more social and to express herself in a way that would be restricted by living with an old man such as myself. Now, at the age of fifty-eight, I was starting to think more and more of my retirement.

My body was older than my age, as I had abused it terribly over the years. I was starting to feel the complaints it had started to make in protest to my unforgiving lifestyle. As an aid to dull the aches and pains of the day, I had started to take of a little port at the end of the night in order to ensure a good night’s sleep.

But this folly was to ignite old habits. Before too long, I had retreated back to my old ways of drunkenness. On occasion, I had seen fit to defend myself against varying protests from those around me.

Unfortunately, sometimes this defence would be physical in nature.

At this time Monique had been offered a part in the school play, and had even gone as far to as to be given a singing role. She would come home of an afternoon in order to sing to me before I had to go to work.

Her voice was that of an angel. It would bring me to shed tears of joy and of pride.

She explained to me that the part that she had been given was that of a young woman who had been spurned by her lover and the song she was to sing reflected her loss and sorrow at his actions.

“There is not a man foolish enough to let you go and not a woman in the world that could compete against your beauty,” I said one afternoon.

She smiled at me. For the first time, I saw that she was coy at my remarks.

“Oh, Papa,” she said, “you are bias.”

“That does make it untrue.” I said.

She hugged me and kissed me on the cheek.

“Go to work foolish old man.”

At that I left for the evening, but not before explaining that I would not be returning until the next afternoon. I would finish late tonight and would start the early shift tomorrow. I would sleep at the dockyard bunkhouse, as it was easier than coming home at that late hour.

“I will have a surprise for you then,” she said.

“Do tell.”

She seemed so excited at holding in the secret that I thought she would burst.

“We will be doing a full dress rehearsal tomorrow, and so I will be in character when you return.”

I kissed her on top of her head and said my goodbyes.

“I will look forward to it,” I said as I left for the night.

Things change – but not always for the better.

My night had been long, with the temptation of the demon drink ever present. With the following day being harder still I felt the need to stop on the way home in order to dull the pain that had worn away at me all through those long hours.

On my return, I was a little the worse for wear. The liquor inside of me bubbled like a witches cauldron with the same promise of a darkness to come.

As I entered the small parlour I looked out into the garden to see if I could locate Monique. The sound of voices wafted in on the warm spring breeze. I assumed that maybe she had asked someone back to the house, to rehearse her lines, and the discovery of the script on the kitchen table seemed to confirm my thoughts.

I picked up the manuscript and flicked idly through it until I came across her character, at which point – my heart froze.

On seeing the name “Harmony Reigns,” the anger inside me rose and I bellowed at her to come into the house.

She ran to me with panic in her eyes at what could have caused such outrage.

“What is this?” I shouted as I waved the script at her, but words caught in my throat as I suddenly saw what she had done to her appearance. In a bid to make herself look more like the woman in the play, Monique had dyed her hair a bright red.

Old memories flooded back like a poison within my veins.

“Why would you do this?” I asked.

She looked at me with questioning in her eyes.

“Why would you betray my memories with this cheap imitation?”

“It was meant to honour your memories,” she said. “When I told my teacher about what had happened to you …”

“You did what?” I interrupted. “Do you know how long I had to wear the stigma of madness because of that time? You of all people know what I had to go through to get us to this place – why would you jeopardise our lives here?”

At this, she riled against me.

“It was our journey and we both had hardships to endure. I have jeopardised nothing. You, on the other hand, seek to drag us back again by revisiting your old ways. You stink of port and rum. This is our betrayal, not my homage to a lost love.”

At this, I am ashamed to say, I lost what little control I had and struck her across the face with the back of my hand. From some inner room in my mind I watched in horror as she spun with the force of the blow and dropped to the ground. I ran from the room and locked myself in my bedroom in an attempt to hide from my shame.

What had I become that I would seek to destroy the one beautiful thing in my world?

What monsters lay within me?

I passed out into a fretful sleep only to wake again in the small hours. I had missed my shift at the tavern, but I did not care. My mind was awash with the image of Monique, and of the act of cowardice that had dealt her such a savage reprimand.

I crept from my room and made my way downstairs in order to find her – to throw myself at her mercy and to beg for her forgiveness.

On the table I found a bottle of Iodine and blooded swabs as evidence of her attempts to repair the damage to her face.

My heart ached, and jumped at the sound of her voice from behind me.

“I will clean that up in the morning”

“Monique- I …”

She held her hand up.

“Please don’t,” she said.

“But I …”

“ No!” she said. With that, she left me alone in the room with only my shame for company. This sickness of mine had poisoned what we had. I feared that it would never recover.

The mood of that day hung in the air like a malignant spirit for more weeks to come, casting a shadow of despair over each day. The more I tried to explain and resolve the situation, the worse it became. With each rebuttal against my attempts to receive forgiveness, the more I drank.

Until that awful day.

On my arrival home from working at the tavern I stumbled into the house and called to her. She opened her bedroom door and stood, silhouetted in the doorway. Her newly-dyed hair shone like fire when illuminated by the light from her room.

But now there was something different, something I had not noticed before.

“Your eyes,” I said.

She looked down at me with the scorn she had adopted since her assault.

“What of them?” she asked.

“They are green.”

She laughed at me – at the drunken clown I had become.

“They have been green for weeks now. I have been wearing contact lenses, but you have been hiding at the bottom of a bottle for so long that you fail to notice what is in front of you.”

She laughed again as if mocking my stupidity – a laugh that seemed to burn my very soul. The rage inside me grew, fueled by the demons that hide behind a drunkards cowardice, until I lashed out once again in a bid to wipe the past from my mind and rid my life of the ghost that had tormented me for so long.

Everything from that moment was a patchwork of fog. So horrible was the result of my anger, that my mind would not put together a solid memory. It was as though I was protecting myself from the madness that had taken me all those years ago by denying my actions as being the truth. As the mists cleared and my temper retreated, I saw the results of my insanity, my obsessiveness and my pride.

For there at my feet lay the ruined body of Monique.

I knelt by her corpse.

I wept at what I had done.

I had everything, and destroyed it all.

A wail of anguish left my lips as I called to the winds in sorrow. For a moment I could have sworn that they called back to me as if to answer my cry.

Through my tears, I became aware that there was another who seemed to be sharing my woe. From the end of the garden, through a break in the fence I could hear the inconsolable weeping of a young man.

Long distant memories began to spark an impossible realization, and so I made my way slowly to the fence and dared to look through the gap.

There, sitting on the floor, with his back to his side of the fence, was a young man who was – but could not be – me.

I sat back and placed my hand over my mouth to save myself alerting this echo of my past to my presence.

How was he here?

How did a simple wooden fence connect our time and distance in such an impossible way?

Fate, as mentioned before, presents us with choices to make, and paths to choose. At that moment, I suddenly saw, with the clarity of a grief filled insanity, a way to end my suffering, the pain of a young man and that of my beloved Monique.

I would make sure that Harmony would indeed Reign again.

I thrust my hand through the hole in the fence and clasped my hand around the young man’s throat. I squeezed with every ounce of strength I had, ignoring the pain of his fingernails racking at the back of my hand. I felt blood spill from the wound, but still I kept my hold on him as he writhed and fought for his life – for my life.

As the last of his air gurgled through his crushed windpipe I spoke softly to him in our native French.

Je suis désolé , mais elle vaut plus que vous et moi.

His struggles became less and less as his fight for life left him. After a time he stopped moving. I kept my hand in place for a while in case of trickery on his part, but he had breathed his last and I had begun the end of our torment.

From where I speak from now, and to where I am going is not known to me.

Since taking the young man’s life – my life, I can feel the threads of my existence becoming undone, and as my tale becomes unwritten I cannot help but wonder what will become of my little Monique in this — her new story.

I fantasize that the little gutter snipe that gave an old man a new hope, became the actress she wanted to be, and I sneer at fate for making her the reason for me needing salvation. I see her now, standing on the rocks by the sea, her red hair blowing in the wind and sea spray wetting her pale skin. The same wind blows on me and starts to take apart what was broken, in order to build what should have been.

I leave now having righted what was wrong, but I have the feeling that the universe has not finished with me yet.

It mocks me still.


This is the third story published in Helios from Iain Cambridge. If you enjoy them, please leave a comment.





By Julia Proud ©2015

Waking up after a night of rough sex, booze and weed abuse wasn’t fun. Waking up after all that and going straight to a crime scene at the outskirts of the city was almost impossible. So impossible, in fact, that Detective Hank Groves felt the need to tweet all about it.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t mention the female body that had been found beside the highway, in the shadow of a thirty-five feet billboard.

“Hey, Stan! How’s the wife?” Hank greeted the officer on the scene.

“I’m not married,” the young officer replied uneasy.

“Good stuff!” Hank winked with a finger gun click in the policeman’s direction as he approached the body.

His partner was already there taking a closer look at the woman sprawled all over the grovel.

“Hey, Nick. How’s the wife?”

“I don’t know. I was too busy fucking yours.” Good old Nick. Always the cheery one.

Hank lit up a cigarette and scratched his head, holding back a yawn. His weary eyes looked over the victim. Her face was froze in an odd grimace, with an empty blue gaze staring into nowhere through the blond locks of hair covering her cheeks. She seemed familiar but he couldn’t quite place her. The red dress and stilettos looked classy but she wore no jewelry. Her legs were smooth and long, a birthmark spotting her right thigh. That also rang a bell to Hank, yet still he couldn’t quite remember where he’d seen her before.

“Coroner’s here,” Nick announced and stepped away from the body.

But Hank approached ignoring his partner. Squatting down, her face was but a few inches away and he finally recognized her lips, the button nose and her tall forehead.

“The fuck…” Hank mumbled and stepped away from the body.

He took out his phone and began to scroll through his Twitter timeline.

“Forgot to update your status to complicated shit head?” Nick asked with a grin.

“That’s Facebook, you asshole. And I think I knew the victim.”

Nick merely perked a brow.

“Fuck. She was my TC,” Hank uttered under his breath and then glanced at the victim before looking back at his phone where he had opened Jane’s last posted selfie on Twitter. “CuteAssSweetness.”

“Excuse me?” the coroner blinked at Hank placing a hand on her waist.

“Not you, cutie. It’s the victim’s Twitter handle.”

The coroner raised her brows staring Hank down for a moment, before she shook her head and got back to examining the body.

“So you were friends?” Nick asked a little more serious.

“Yeah. As much as anyone can be friends with a complete stranger on Twitter,” Hank shrugged and lowered his phone looking back at Jane’s lifeless body.

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“It means I didn’t really know her. I just liked her tweets… And we may have exchanged a few sexy DMs at some point.”

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“It means our victim here was a hot woman on Twitter.”

“I think she’s a jumper,” the coroner cut in.

“Where the heck would-” Hank looked up and realized what the coroner was saying. Jane might have jumped from the top of the billboard.

“Oh, that’s fucked up,” Hank grunted. 

The ad on the billboard featured Jane in a red dress, winking playfully. Nick and the coroner also connected the dots.

“Wow. Suicide jumping from your own face,” Nick observed.

Hank looked back down to the victim then at his phone. He looked for CuteAssSweetness’s last tweet. “Block me Tony… so I know It’s real,” Hank read it aloud.

The coroner and Nick exchanged a glance and shared a shrug.

The victim’s timeline was full of subtweets and from what Hank guessed, all of them could have been aimed at that Tony guy. No sign of depression – not that tweets were the most reliable source to assessing someone’s state.

Hank looked back at the body. He noticed her left leg still had a stiletto on and that just didn’t feel right.

“How does she like Green Heights?” Nick was speaking to the coroner.

“Fine. You know how kids are. They don’t tell you much, except when they wanna complain.”

“Sounds like my wife.”

“So you want to kill yourself,” Hank started.

“My wife’s not that bad really,” Nick said with a smirk.

“And you get to shitty I64,” Hank glanced annoyed at Nick, “Just so you can climb a damn billboard with your face splattered all over it, but you leave your high-heels on because they make climbing more exciting? And where the heck is your car? How did you get here?”

The scent of cinnamon and freshly brewed coffee made his headache bearable. Hank scrolled along his Twitter timeline, going back to Jane’s last tweet, over and over again.

“Black, no sugar, no milk, no foam, no…”

“Yeah, that’s what black means,” Hank cut off the guy that was handing him his coffee.

That coffeehouse was Jane’s favorite, or so her morning tweets suggested. But aside from an uninterested ‘Yeah, I think I’ve seen her around here,’ Hank had gotten nothing useful out of the staff.

The apartment was small and cozy – the type you’d expect a single young woman would be living in. Her clothes were all over the place, but he’d seen that before in her selfies.

“Blood spatter here and here.” The crime scene technician waved his UV light over the wall and on the side of Jane’s dresser.

“Enough to suggest repeated blows to the head?” Hank asked placing a cigarette between his lips.

The tech took his cigarette away with one swift move. “Yes. And these damn things will…”

“Kill me?” Hank cut him off with a smirk.

“No, stupid. They just make for a messy crime scene.”

Hank lit his cigarette once he was standing in the street. He looked around and found that the pleasant city neighborhood gave him the chills. These people were way too happy for his line of work. He tweeted that insightful nugget and texted his partner, sharing the latest case developments. He got an update back from Nick’s side of things.

‘Talked to the boyfriend. Viable suspect. Shady alibi. Oh, and your mom called.’

‘What’d she say?’

‘She found my underwear in her sofa & wants u to bring it back to me.’

‘It’s alright. You can use mine. It’s under ur mom’s pillow.’

Hank finished his coffee and was about to throw it when he’d noticed the scribbling on the side of the cup. ‘Tony XoXo’.

Nick was still working Jane’s case, grilling the boyfriend, one Ben Stills. Hank didn’t think the boyfriend would have gone to all that trouble – dressing Jane in that exact red dress and dumping her body by that specific billboard. It just didn’t fit. So, after interrogating the distraught boyfriend, Hank just gave up on that lead and let stubborn Nick do his thing. Besides he was in demand.

Only three days later, he got called to another murder scene.

Hank stared at the pale face.

“Are you trying to hypnotize her?” the coroner asked unnerved.

He knew the dead woman. Hank had been following her on Twitter for over a year. Miranda. She had a sexy food blog. Hank looked around the produce flee – one of those all organic, bio only markets. It was now closed on account of the dead woman at the entrance, but he recognized the place, even without the swarming crowd of costumers.

Every morning Miranda posted selfies with the best produce she was going to use that day to cook one of her vegan recipes. Hank had been using her tips on healthy eating every time he had decided to give up on booze, cigarettes and the occasional weed. That happened at least once every three months.

Miranda had even offered to cook for him at some point – and by ‘cook for him’, well, Hank would rather not think about her that way, now that she had been carved open with a kitchen knife.

* * *

Hank got some IT guy to hack into Jane’s Twitter account.

“Jack Daniels. None of that vodka crap,” the IT guy explained to Hank what his going rate was.

“Just get me into the account. Today.”

Hank spend the next couple of hours browsing through Jane’s timeline. Nothing really stood out aside from the subtweets and her last tweet. He returned to his own timeline with a yawn. Scroll, scroll, scroll until Miranda’s avi popped up at him. Her last tweet: ‘Plot Twist: Tony twists the best plots. Don’t you think?’

Hank coughed out his surprise and read the tweet again. That was one big ass coincidence.

Another bottle of Jack Daniels.

As soon as he got access to Miranda’s account he counted the Twitter folk that both Jane and Miranda had in common. Two thousand and thirty one, including his own Twitter persona. So, one of two thousand and thirty accounts belonged to Tony. And Tony was in all probability, a serial killer targeting women by their Twitter accounts.

“What you up to?” Nick asked the moment he sat at his desk facing Hank.

“Just tweetin’.”

“You a fucking bird?”

“I’m a fucking angry bird,” Hank said and was about to tap the tweet button.

“Isn’t that a game? My niece plays it, yeah…”

“Don’t ruin my moment. I’m about to piss off a deranged serial killer.”

Hank drew in a deep breath and tapped the tweet button.

‘Plot Twist: Hey, thanks for the coffee! But I’m gonna get you, motherfucker! Hank XoXo’

This short story has been selected by BNBS to appear in a collection of crime/thriller short stories. To support this project you can pre-order a copy here: https://britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/index.php/book/index/TheGoodGirl

All author royalties go to charity.

Thanks a lot!

Julia Proud was published before in Helios. See her story WHISPERING DESIRES at https://heliosliterature.com/?s=whispering+desires. She is also a frequent contributor to Scriggler, https://scriggler.com/Profile/julia_proud and is found at Wattpad at http://www.wattpad.com/stories/search/?q=julia+proud&ref=1




The pilot announced engine failure a few minutes ago.

Passengers wail and shout and pray all over the cabin. The flight attendant with red hair and blue horn-rimmed glasses is strapped into her rear-facing chair. She is texting and crying. A group wearing orange t-shirts from the First Christian Assembly Tabernacle sings “Amazing Grace” for the second time, and a man in a navy blue suit shouts for them to shut up. He makes a red-faced argument for God’s nonexistence, then makes a lewd gesture to the ceiling, intended for the God he just labeled imaginary.

A couple sit on the last row. The man’s boarding pass is still sticking out of his shirt pocket. They are on their way home from London, where their son has lived for seven years. He rubs his wife’s hand, which she always rests on his right knee. He plays with her wedding ring. Neither has spoken since the announcement.

The wife watches the ocean out the window. It is close enough for her to make out curvy lines. Soon those curvy lines will be identifiable as waves. She gasps, squeezes her husband’s knee as tight as her arthritic hand can manage, and turns her head to face him. There is a tear forming in her eye.

“I’m supposed to eat lunch with Luanne tomorrow. She’s going to think I forgot.”


“She’ll be so angry. You know how she gets.”

“Uh huh. Can’t say I’ll miss her.”


There’s a ditch behind the building-

a concrete trench separating shopping centers.

There’s a liquor store nearby-

with small plastic bottles of cheap booze.

There are men who sleep in the ditch-

kept warm with dirty clothes, cardboard,

wine and spirits.






There’s a church down the street-

it has modern architecture and large glass panels.

There’s a car idling near the entrance-

waiting to drive the reverend to his jet.

There are men who live in the pews-

kept warm with parables, commandments,

and holy spirits.

There are plants here too-

where chickens are transformed into nuggets.

There are neighborhoods-

filled with determined Latin laborers.

There are men who toil their hardest-

fueled by the chance of a better future

for their children.








By lamplight she writes;

Her deliberate strokes

With shaky hand

Generate a smile.

The pen has the words

First Community Bank

Inscribed in green;

So does the check.

On the television

A man puts his hands

On the face of a boy

In a red wheelchair.

Suddenly the chair sits alone

As the boy dances on stage.

At the bottom of the screen

There is an address.

An envelope is stuffed

With trembling fingers

Then sealed by

Ancient tongue.

A walker is pulled closer

To the green recliner

And a small oxygen tank

Gathered for the trip

to the mailbox.














Six years old

I stand in the soft earth-

a large tilled field

Of dry gray dirt.

An old man

Admires my footprints-

Tracks like the moon landing

Made by deliberate stomps.

An old woman

With red bouffant

And black lab escort

Joins us in the dusty garden.

The dog’s name

Is, of course, Blacky.

He brings a long stick,

Probably hoping to play.

The red haired woman

Stays out for just a few minutes.

The treatments drain her strength

And her smile.

Blacky follows her inside

But leaves the stick with us.

My grandfather mentions

He won’t have time to plant.

He meanders to the house,

Shoulders slumped

Like the straps from his overalls

Are pulling him to the ground.

An hour later

They both come back out.

I run to meet them and show

The garden of sticks in bloom.



I’ve noticed my neighbors are great at cutting lawns.

Straight lines shaved into the grass look so neat, and some are perfect diagonals.

I struggle to cut with any sort of pattern or real direction.

My lawn ends up with terrible ovals, rectangles, rhombuses, trapezoids, and whatever shape Nevada is.

I begin with the best intentions, traveling along the driveway and street with precision.

By my third lap, I’m thinking about something like the relevance of religion or T.S. Eliot or the shape of the universe.

Soon after, I’m questioning my choice of career, the job that keeps me from my family, writing, and lawn care responsibilities.

Now I’m mowing in cursive.

The back yard is reserved for sentences that will probably never be written and characters who will never be born.

Settings are imagined and forgotten.

There are massacres—fire ant mounds maliciously destroyed by machine and being

they cannot comprehend.

To them, I am the god of the Old Testament.

Matt StancelMatt StanceI writes flash fiction, the occasional poem, and stories both long and short. He has a novel currently available on Amazon. He tells us that the proceeds from the novelare being given to a friend with huge medical bills, so you should buy two copies.


– See more at: https://scriggler.com/Profile/matt_stancel#sthash.hpcsdUxx.dpuf