#ExcerptWeek – The Siren and Other Strange Tales by Sheila Williams

the sirencover

THE SIREN AND OTHER STRANGE TALES is a collection of six short stories spanning the twentieth century and each one has a spooky twist.

  • Double-dealing care assistant Mandy Robinson meets a mysterious cat. The cat knows when death approaches but does Mandy?
  • On a lonely road in France, self-absorbed artist Gavin is given some ghostly marriage guidance.
  • A holiday in France proves to be one life-lesson too far for rebellious teenager Sukie.
  • In German-occupied France collaborator Jean Fourrier pays the price for his betrayal.
  • A simple game of cards between four respectable middle-aged ladies. Nothing could be more natural…could it?
  • A stranger comes to a remote seaside village in the middle of winter. What haunts him? Is it grief or guilt…?

 

Extract From ‘The Siren’ a story set in England in 1903

“Haldane stooped to pick up a handful of the wet muddy sand that sucked at his boots with every step taken. He sat on one of the huge boulders that formed part of the outcrop remembering other times, other beaches where he had worked laboriously, delicately chipping away at a fossil. That was when he had met Sophie. He was working on a large ammonite when he became aware of being observed and of a voice behind him explaining what he was doing. Slightly exasperated by the interruption he had stopped working and, with hasty words on his lips swivelled round to face his unwanted audience; father and daughter, a dainty fairy-like creature whose sweet expression captivated his heart, so long immune to feminine charms.

Introductions were made. Sophie’s father posed intelligent questions to which he had provided explanations and it had not mattered to him that she took scant interest, wrinkling her brow as she struggled to follow his words. He knew that women had not the same intellectual capacity as men. It was against their nature and particularly in one so young and beautiful.

All that summer invitations were exchanged, followed by visits and by his return for the Michaelmas term at the University he was in thrall to Sophie. Their marriage followed and despite the shock and, for some, the amusement, of his colleagues who considered him a confirmed bachelor, he knew he would be able to mould her into a conformable wife.

But no. The disparity in age, upbringing and education defeated him. She was delighted with all the attractions that London offered. She charmed his colleagues and students. She held little soirées beguiling the company with her singing for she had a light melodious voice. But he never succeeded in making her the wife he desired. His older colleagues shook their heads and whispered behind their hands.

Haldane resumed his walk. He had not taken many steps when he heard singing, light, fluting, a lilting breath on the wind. He trembled. His voice cracked as he called out.

‘Sophie, Sophie is that you my darling? Where are you?’

He broke into a stumbling run, heart pounding as the breath was torn from his body. He stopped abruptly, listening again. ‘Sophie my dearest, where are you? I have to see you…to tell you how much I love you…that I forgive you.’

Silence.

‘Sophie.’ He gave a cry of anguish.

The singing drew him onwards across the sands. As he ran, a damp cold mist swirled around him, slicking his face. He tripped and fell to his knees – the sweet singing loud in his ears. At that moment, there was nothing else – the beach, the cliffs, indeed the whole world around him disappeared into the mist as he came under the spell of that enchanting voice. He tried to rise to his feet but it was as if his limbs were entwined by a hundred silken threads, pulling him under the sand.”

The Siren and Other Strange Tales is available as an e-book from Amazon: Amzn.to/2qhDTYf

About the Author

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Sheila Williams, author, slipped into this world on Guy Fawkes night, under cover of fireworks and bonfires. Outraged to find other nurslings in the nest, she attempted to return to her own world but found the portal closed.

Adopting a ‘make the best of it’ attitude she endured a period of indoctrination to equip her for her place in society. This included learning a language that no-one ever speaks and making complex calculations of no perceivable value.

Freeing herself as soon as possible from such torture, she embarked on a series of adventures – or to use the vernacular – careers; hospital manager, business consultant, life coach, sheep farmer. She attempted to integrate into society by means first of marriage and then partnered before setting out alone to discover another world, known as France, where she now resides.

Always fascinated by these humans amongst whom she dwells, she has developed an interest in psychology, magic, the supernatural, ghosts, Ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. Dark thoughts and black humour lurk within her.

In her quest to understand this world she pursues knowledge of its history; not of kings and queens but of its ordinary people and how they lived and worked. To this end, she haunts events such as boot fairs, vide-greniers and sales rooms where many ancient artefacts can be uncovered.

She lives without the box of sound and pictures known locally as television and hence her already limited social skills are further curtailed not having a clue who came dancing with whom or who had talent…or not. She does however have access to something called DVDs and hibernates over winter with a large stack of them. When spring arrives she may be found cherishing the plants in her garden, whistling with the birds and holding deep meaningful conversations with the resident toad who, one day, she hopes may turn into her prince and keep her in the manner to which she would like to become accustomed

Her outlets from this unfathomable world include nature, animals (especially funny videos of), books and writing stories. This latter occupation enables her to create her own worlds, populate them and dispose of the residents as she thinks fit. She finds holding the fate of these poor souls in her hands immensely satisfying.

Links to Sheila:

e-mail: Sheila@writeonthebeach.co.uk

blog: https://writeonthebeach.wordpress.com/

website: http://www.sheilawilliams.net/

twitter: https://twitter.com/SheilawWilliams

f’book: https://www.facebook.com/Author-Sheila-Williams-152163451629149/

Amazon author page:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/sheila-williams/e/B013G9O87C/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Two Weeks and Other Periods of Decay #Excerpt

From the short story Archangel

No one was coming for them.

Lola realized that hard truth right about the time she carved the thirty-sixth notch into the metal plating of her left boot. One hundred and twenty-four days passed. 17.7142857143 weeks. She never liked math, but she didn’t need to be a statistician to know a rescue effort would have found them at least twelve weeks ago.

She smoothed her finger over the ding in the metal, a small burr digging into the skin and drawing blood. She watched the bright red bead drip into the sand, soaking it up until nothing remained but a small spot that would bake in the morning sun and blow away with the next swift wind.

“We’ve been here almost eighteen weeks.”

“Yes,” the assassin said.

Not looking up from the edge of her boot, the pilled metal would wear away on its own. Twenty-six days earlier, she dinged it much the same, though she hadn’t cut herself that time. Twenty-six days of walking, and mark number ninety-eight was little more than a thin, dust-encrusted notch. Most of the others weren’t even visible anymore. They were the thinnest of lines detailing unexpected survival, and sometimes she let herself believe she would expire when she could no longer see them.

“Eighteen weeks,” she sighed.

“And your point?”

“No one is coming.” Continue reading

Happy Teaser Tuesday

Two Weeks Archangel Teaser

 

Tomorrow’s the big release day for my short story collection Two Weeks and Other Periods of Decay, so I wanted to take a moment to share this week’s Teaser Tuesday. From the short story Archangel–A distant descendant of Earth’s humanity finds herself shipwrecked on the dead planet with an alien assassin. Can Lola reach salvation before there’s no turning back from the edge of insanity?

Available for pre-order for just $1.49, Two Weeks and Other Periods of Decay drops into Kindle and Kindle App on April 1, and that’s no joke!

 Amazon, UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, France, Italy,SpainGermany,Netherlands, India

 

Spring is Finally Here…

Which means I am coming out of the long hibernation, during which I grumble and growl and swipe with claws at all who poke and prod me. I get some things done during the long, winter months, but not nearly as much as I do in the spring, summer and autumn. I have also been bogged down with work, which is good for the pocket book, but not always for morale. I’ve been severely remiss on my own blog, too, but I’m hoping things will start picking up now that the weather is finally unclenching it’s icy claws.

Prompted by Marcia’s teaser image, I wanted to drop by and share something I have coming up just one week from today.

TwoWeeks

My short story collection, Two Weeks and Other Periods of Decay, is now available for pre-order, and set to drop into Kindles and Kindle apps all over the world on April 1 (no joke!) Available for pre-order on Amazon, UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, France, Italy, SpainGermany,Netherlands, India, prices vary by region, but it’s still a pretty good deal. Seven short stories for $1.49 USD.

Inspired by the title short story–“Two Weeks”–this week’s Teaser Tuesday image is (a day late,) a little dark and promiscuous, much like of the tales in this collection.

Two Weeks Teaser

I hope you’re all spinning yarns and telling tales, crawling out of your winter caves and basking in the glorious sun… even though it’s rainy today, I’m one hundred percent grateful it’s not snow!