Derek Acorah is Great

ac1Yes, he really is great. Great at being a money-spinning mental-case.

The following isn’t really a book review. It’s a reproduction of selected text from ‘Derek Acorah’s Amazing Psychic Stories’ along with reproductions of some of the things I scribbled in the margins of the book after reading the populist, hocus pocus pish-fest for the first (and – unless there really is a hell – unquestionably the last) time.

The format is easy to follow. Derek ‘says’ something, and then my defacements follow in bold. I wonder if you can tell which emotion dominated my thoughts as I read Acorah’s delightful little book? Let’s do this:

‘However we think of these beings, we all have guiding influences in the heavenly realms who have been allocated to us from birth and who will remain with us for as long as we live on this Earth plane. We may not be aware of their presence, and indeed, some would say there is no such thing, but I can promise you that there is.’

very empirical, asshole

‘You may not be able to see them or hear them, but I doubt that there is anybody alive in this world today who has not at some time or other been inspired by spirit to make a decision which has altered their life quite radically in some way.’

vodka, certainly

‘Guardian angels, spirit guides and family members in spirit do not of course reserve the right to make their presence felt in our lives only when we are in mortal danger or when we need reassurance. Our guides and guardians are designated to us at birth to ensure that we conduct our lives in the manner chosen by us prior to our incarnation into this physical life. Because we have free will, our God-given right, we may put ourselves in danger of choosing the wrong pathway and veering away from our chosen life’s experience, and it is the job of our guardians and guides to make sure that we do not stray.’

so it’s their job to ensure that we can only exercise free-will insofar as we follow a pre-arranged pattern? sounds more like fucking Quantum Leap to me

 ‘I was allowed a certain amount of success as a footballer, but did not achieve the standard that I wished.’

i.e. you were shite!!!

‘I was feeling depressed. Life was not being kind to me. Nothing was going right. I had deep financial problems and my emotional life was in a catastrophic state. I felt that I had nothing left to live for. Ending it all and taking myself over to the spirit world seemed a very appealing option.’

(I’d underlined deep financial problems and simply wrote) BINGO

‘As I walked towards the murky waters I thought how easy it would be just to keep on walking and to disappear completely from this earthly plane. ‘What do I have left to live for?’ I asked myself.’

Good question

‘Physical circles are meetings of a number of mediums, usually between six and eight, who sit with the sole purpose of assisting one of their numbers to attain physical mediumship. Physical mediumship is the point where a medium goes beyond the gifts of clair-audience, clairvoyance and clairsentience and develops the ability to produce ectoplasm in substantial enough quantities to enable a spirit to be viewed by those who do not have the ability to see clairvoyantly.’

aka a bukkake wanking circle (I also underlined the name of one of the mediums in this circle – Ray Pugh. Classic.)

‘It is true to say… (continues for a long paragraph)’

no it isn’t

‘Although it may sound terribly appealing, I am afraid that there are no banks of winged angels heralding our arrival into the spirit world with celestial tunes played on long golden bugles. There is no heavily bearded Saint Peter, guardian of the pearly gates, waiting with a large book in hand to hold us accountable for all our earthly deeds.’

yeah, cause that’d just be fucking stupid, wouldn’t it, Derek?

‘As the spirit form gently rises, a silver cord linking them to their body becomes taut and then breaks, leaving the spirit free to float upwards and on to the realms beyond from whence it came.’

like a balloon. Neat. You horse fucker

‘Astral travel is where the spirit self leaves the physical body to travel through the astral planes. This is achieved through deep meditation and should not be attempted by everyone.’

OK, thanks for the fucking warning.

‘When we have experienced everything, both good and bad, then we remain in the world of spirit, dwelling in the higher realms forever.’

EVERYTHING? Like being stabbed to death by a man dressed as a clown? Obliterated by shoving a high-pressure tire pump up your bum? Being flattened by a steamroller while having a distracted wank at some roadworks?

Note to self: How does Acorah filter out hoaxes or separate genuine paranormal events from instances of stress and psychological disturbance. Or is his criteria: if people write to me, it’s ghosts.

‘Some people may undergo a number of serious accidents or dangerous incidents and will survive to carry on with their physical lives. The results of those incidents may impair their physical ability to live their lives as before, but that is what they have chosen to undergo on their life’s pathway in order to achieve soul growth in the next life. Other people may experience just one accident and will pass to spirit as a result. It is all down to our own personal choice, but at the end of the day we pass on to the spirit world when the time is right and no sooner.’

(flicks through catalogue) Mmm, I think I’ll have four minor accidents and a fatality this time, please. What do you have in the way of chromosomal deformities? I want to treat myself for my 80th incarnation.

‘Remote viewing is travelling astrally to a place with the sole purpose of viewing that place, be it an office, a home, etc. People may claim to practise it, but great care should be exercised when listening to such claims. I have heard of many where the remote viewing is basically a combination of guesswork and cold reading.’

Oh, NOW he’s a sceptic! Priceless. This is like when Scientology pisses all over psychiatry. Destroy the competition.

‘I am often asked why innocent babies and young people have to go through horrendous events in their short lifetimes here on earth, why some young lives are cut short by either accidents or acts of malice or cruelty by another person, why some children succumb to illnesses which take them back to the spirit world at an early age, why hundreds of thousands of young lives are cut short due to famine, disease or natural disaster. The answer is simple: those young souls chose to undergo those experiences before they incarnated here on Earth. And why? To take their spirit selves further up the spiritual ladder, and closer to the ultimate heavenly state.’

So, dead babies are really just angels about to get their wings? Fuck you, Acorah.

‘In subsequent incarnations they may choose an easier lifetime here on Earth. They may choose to be born into a loving family, wanting for nothing and with a relatively trouble-free and long lifespan. After such a life they will still become closer to the Godhead when their time comes to pass back to the spirit world, but they will only have climbed one rung as opposed to the many rungs they climbed in their harsher existence.’

How many rungs are there, you scientific bastard?

(on the death of a child) ‘It is, however, true that the spirit of their child chose to experience that particular method of passing. They chose it for their soul growth, just as the spirit selves of the parents chose to experience the loss of a child in a violent way.’’s got nothing on Heaven’s sick-ass soul matching service. “Ah, little Timmy, I see you’ve put down on the form that you want to be matched with a set of nice, affluent parents, and you’ve stressed that they must have a good sense of humour, and also be keen to see their child brutally murdered before their very eyes. As luck would have it…”

‘I’m sure that everybody has at some point heard the statement “Oh, they’re an old soul” or “They’ve been here before!” being made about a small child or baby. And it is true.’

Hmmm, people use these largely meaningless non-literal expressions, so this must be empirical proof of the existence of the afterlife. WATCH OUT DAWKINS, ACORAH’S FUCKING COMING AND HE’S GOT SCIENCE!

CHAPTER 11 – A Joint Message

So THAT’S how he does it!

‘The people in the spirit world are no different. When they see a loved one in the depths of despair or worrying over a situation, they will draw close and give as much physical comfort as they possibly can.’

Is a hand-job from a dead ex-girlfriend out of the question??

‘”Was it my guardian angel, Derek?”

I was able to tell her that it was most definitely a loved one from the world of spirit placing a hand of reassurance on her shoulder.’

You fucking Scouse scumbag.

‘Sean breathed a sigh of relief. “So I’m not about to pop my clogs then?”

“No,” I told him with a smile.’

Is that ethical? Sean, mate, get on to NHS 24. Never take medical advice from a failed footballer whose best mate is a ghost.

‘Sean’s experience is unusual but not unknown. I have heard reports of people who can give such detailed information of events in a previous lifetime that it has been possible to check and confirm what they have said is correct.’

Then why not put these examples in your fucking book?

‘Sometimes when children are ill and have a high temperature they may start to hallucinate, as the medical profession calls it, and see beings who frighten them. They are not hallucinating at all. What they are seeing is spirit beings who are unfamiliar to them and so they are frightened, just as I was frightened as a six-year-old boy when I saw the spirit form of my grandfather in my grandmother’s house.’

Every doctor in the world on line 1! I hallucinated bees as a child, Derek. What were they? Ghost bees? 

ac2So there you have it. Like I said, not really a review. If you would like to see a review, here’s a five-star recommendation for the same book courtesy of Amazon…

This review is from: Derek Acorah’s Amazing Psychic Stories (Paperback)


So there you have it.
If you want to read some more about how much I love Derek Acorah, have a click and a flick at the links below.

The Tail of the Christmas Canine

A very lovely lady at work gave me a her-dog-themed Christmas card, which was sweet and thoughtful. Here it is:


Isn’t it nice? Isn’t the wee dog really cute?

This is how I repaid her:


If any of you out there with too much time on your hands are up for creating pictures that whisk this adorable little quadruped into other places in time and space, then whip them up and drop me an email with the blighters attached. Let’s make Brody the most famous dog in the universe after Lassie, the Littlest Hobo and Hitler’s dog.

I’ll collate the pictures and we’ll give them their own hashtag on Twitter or something, because that’s modern as fuck and I’ve very much got my finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist, whatever that is.

(I already know I won’t receive a single picture of this fucking dog, not even a shit one where he’s at the pyramids, but please let me have my little deluded Yule-fuelled moment. I’m crying now. But my tears are for the dog. He could’ve been somebody. He could’ve been a contender. Goodbye.)

The Tell-Tale Fridge

 By Jamie M Andrew

I’m trying to watch the television and I can’t concentrate because of the racket coming from the kitchen; the guy just won’t shut up. It’s too cold, it’s too dark, it’s this, it’s that, blah blah blah. And it’s really annoying me, because it’s a good programme. It’s really interesting, but I’m not taking it in because this inconsiderate bastard is giving it all that. I put up with it for so long – because patience is a virtue as my dad used to say – but you have to draw the line somewhere, don’t you? It’s all good and well being patient with people, but if they lack the common courtesy to respect your right for a little bit of peace and quiet now and again then what use does your patience serve? That’s why you don’t let people take a loan of you, as my dad also used to say. He’s right – on both counts. Right now, this chattering swine in the kitchen is taking a loan of me, and I don’t like it.

I get up from my comfortable armchair and storm through to the kitchen. He’s still at it. I open the fridge door and give him my most reproachful look, and he seems to shut up for a moment, because he can see that I mean business.

It’s cold,’ he says, looking rather sorrowful.

I’m trying to concentrate,’ I tell him. We’ve been here before, as well he knows.

But it’s cold. And dark. And I can’t feel my legs.’

Is that supposed to be funny?’ I ask him, pulling my mouth into a snarl.

Can’t I come out? Just for a little while?’

I’m watching television.’

I could watch it, too. Honest, I’ll be quiet.’

There’s no reasoning with him when he’s like this, so I slam the fridge door shut and march back to my armchair. Not three seconds pass before he’s at it again.

Wanker!’ he shouts. ‘Fucking wanker!’

And that’s it. I can’t take him anymore. A man has the right to expect respect in his own house, doesn’t he? Well, I give him what for this time. I don’t miss him and hit the wall, as my dad used to say. I hit him against the wall; I open the fridge, grab a clump of his freezing brown hair in my hand, yank him out and throw him with all of my might. He acts as if it’s my fault.

What did you do that for?’ he whines, and I can tell he’s choking back tears.

You know fine well,’ I tell him. I’ve no sympathy. He brings it all on himself.

How many times have I had to tell you and still you act up?’

He doesn’t know what to say to that one, because he knows I’m right.

Can I stay out here now?’ he pleads.

Maybe he forgets his little outburst, but I certainly haven’t. I take some masking tape out of the drawer under the sink and stretch a tough length of it across his blue lips. He doesn’t like that one bit. I carry him back over to the open fridge like a hairy lettuce and slide him back in next to the margarine. You’d think he’d have learned his lesson, but, no, he’s still at it. I can’t understand what he’s mumbling about, but his muffled rantings are irritating nonetheless.

Still, there’s no harm in giving somebody a second chance, as my dad said the once. But that’s it. I know if I hear him one more time I’m going to kick him out of the window like a football. I tell him that’s what I’ll do, and he seems to believe that I’m serious, because he shuts up for a few minutes.

I’m just watching this bit where a lion’s sinking its teeth into the rump of an antelope when, surprise, surprise, what do I hear? Somehow he’s managed to chew through the tape, and his mouth is motoring away again, spouting out the filthiest language yet, well… I did warn him, didn’t I? I did tell him that I was going to punt him out the window, and you can’t make promises you don’t follow through on, as my dear old dad would often say. How will people learn that you’re serious if you go back on your word all the time? No, you’ve got to be consistent. Firm, fair and consistent. And definitely firm. That’s the most important.

So, that’s it. The gloves are off, but you know… I don’t feel like a baddie, far from it, no, because I’ve given him every chance to repent – more chances than he deserves – and it’s still vulgarity and ingratitude I’m getting.

Come on, can’t we talk about this?” he snivels as I’m walking over to the window with him clasped in my hand. I’m deaf to him, you see, because it’s too late for words. The time for talk has passed, so now its action that’s got to speak. He’s really crying now, but who’s he got to blame? I unlatch the window, push it open wide, position myself, toss him into the air, and take a strong, steady aim at his skull with my swinging foot. He makes a kind of a cracking thlump sound as he begins his trajectory upwards then earthwards. It’s three storeys down.

FUUUUCCKKK YOOOOOoooooooooooooooooo,’ he says.

All I want is to watch the rest of my programme, is that too much to ask? I think it must be, because I hear a quick chorus of cracks, a little yelp, a thud, and then that little bastard is shouting – shouting! – from outside, causing a scene and embarrassing me in-front of the neighbours. I really think that I’m going to trap him in a vice and squeeze him until his glassy little eyes pop out from their sockets, because I saw it in a movie once and it looked like it really hurt, and I think that’s kind of what he kind of deserves now that he’s making me the laughing stock of the whole street.

I head-butted somebody!’ he’s shouting. ‘They’re unconscious on the grass! Look what you made me do! Look what you did! Look what you did! You’ve killed her! YOU’VE KILLED HER!’

This really is the last straw. The very last straw, the last straw in the box, you know, the one that broke the camel’s back, as my dad used to say? How dare he shout things like that in broad daylight, outside, with so many people around? Who does he think he is?

I go over to the window and look out, and he’s right, because there’s a woman lying next to him on the grass, out cold, the contents of her shopping bags spilled out like guts. I can’t believe he’s done this to me. Can’t believe he would aim himself directly at that woman and knock her out like that. It’s so typical of him to get me into trouble like this and, as usual, it’s me that’s going to have to sort this mess out. Well, it’s like dad used to say, isn’t it: that you can’t count on anybody but yourself in this world.

He used to say that movies and TV made us think that the world’s a good place, but in real life the Lone Ranger would have shot Tonto just for being a dirty Indian, or Tonto would have scalped him and cut him into bits and ate him just for the sake of it. That’s why Dad kicked the TV now and again, or threw it out of the window.

Still, maybe some company won’t be too bad – just for a little while. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a whole friend to talk to, to share things with, to watch my television with. Just for a little while. We could have cups of tea together, and a cake, and maybe talk about the weather, and football, and what our favourite programmes on the television are. It’d be nice to have a friend for a while.

I grab a black bin-liner for him, and my rag and chloroform for my new friend. I know you’re thinking that I sound bad for doing that, but I’m not bad, because I’m only trying to make sure that she feels better, see? She might be scared when I get to her, so I’ve got to make sure she sees I’m trying to help, you see? I don’t want her crying out and making a scene, because that’s not what friends do, is it? Get friends into trouble – especially when they’re only trying to help. Ungrateful bitch.

So I run down the stairs and I scoop him up first, dropping him into the black bag like a shit down the toilet, making sure I hold it at ground level so he hurts himself as he hits the bottom.

Ow,’ he says, amongst other things, but I’m really not listening to him anymore; he may as well be speaking Dutch or German for all I know or care, because his existence is no longer of any concern to me – as if it ever was.

No, so I lift the woman up and take her weight across my shoulders and I sort of drag her into the block and clump her up the stairs, and she only scrapes her legs a few times in the process. Never matter, she’ll be fine. I put her straight into my special chair for visitors and sit her up straight, but her head keeps sagging down towards her chest, and her arms keep flopping. I don’t want her falling on the floor while my programme’s still on, and disturbing my peace, so I fetch the masking tape from the kitchen and stick her arms to the rests, actually lifting up the chair to roll the tape underneath it, so it sticks all the way over her arms, and all the way under the chair in a tight, secure loop. I do the same across her clavicle and run the tape around the back of the chair, nice and tight and safe. I see a bit of blood matting the left side of her head, so I draw a bit of tape over that too so she doesn’t stain my furniture and I have to scrub it.

Now I can sit down and really enjoy my programme, see? I mean, I’ve only been looking forward to it all day, because it’s circled in the TV guide with a black marker and everything, just so I wouldn’t miss it, and I must only have seen about five minutes of it between him giving it chat, chat, chat and now this stupid bitch spoiling my plans by getting herself hurt like this, I mean, is it too much to expect, has the world gone mad? You know, I don’t ask much, not much at all, and a man’s home is his castle as dad used to say, and he’s right again, because if I ever made a sound while he was watching his news programmes then it’d be fifty lashes of the belt and a night in the cellar, so I don’t know what that bastard was complaining about earlier, because it’s not as if I did that to him, and it’s not as if I didn’t want to at the end of the day. It’s just that I cut him a break, see, and tried to be nice to him?

So I’m just getting comfortable again when I hear the bitch on the chair mumbling, and then I feel bad for thinking she’s a bitch when I haven’t really given her a chance so I try to think nice thoughts about being in fast cars or eating ice cream or feeding the ducks. I look round at her and catch her opening her eyes, and then I realise that I’ve forgotten to put the tape around them; but then it’s not really very nice to have a friend round to your house to watch telly with you if they can’t actually see the telly, is it? Ha ha! I’m giving her a little smile, but nothing too over the top, because I don’t want to excite her and miss even more of the documentary, do I? I want her to know that I’m happy having her here, so long as she respects the rules of the house and doesn’t take liberties with our friendship. I’ve already had enough of that today, by the barrel load, and I don’t think I could take anymore.

She’s pissing the chair, isn’t she? I can smell it, and not only that but she’s wriggling and rocking from side to side and making the chair clang off the floor, scuffing up the wood flooring and making a right old racket, what with my neighbours downstairs and everything. You’d think she’d respect that if nothing else, but no, clearly she doesn’t. What a noise she’s making! She’s screaming now, too.

Don’t you want to see this?’ I ask over her shrieks, pointing at the television, trying to keep calm, but she’s really irritating me the more of a scene she makes, and I know I’m not going to be able to hold onto my temper for much longer.

The first time it happens, it’s their fault; the second time it happens, it’s your fault. That’s what my Dad always told me about people and how they take advantage of you, and something just seems to click in me because I can see this whole situation turning out just like it did with that snivelling, ungrateful ratbag in the fridge. Now, I’m clever, see, so I’ve got to put a stop to this now before I end up looking like a fool. It’s not like she’s going to calm down, and if she manages to tear up any of that masking tape she’ll rip the fabric off of my good chair and I’ll have to upholster it – that’s if she doesn’t get me an ASBO with all the disturbance that’s going on under my roof. My neighbours aren’t the most understanding and I wish they would get gassed to death in their sleep sometimes because I can’t see what good they do to anyone but themselves.

I walk past the bitch into the kitchen and on the way give her a slap across the back of the head to teach her a lesson, but the chair’s rattling like a penny that’s stopped spinning and is about to fall flat onto the floor, and she’s still screaming herself hoarse. Maybe I should have taped her mouth, too, but stupid me I thought I’d give her a chance? Forget that, in future.

I pick up my favourite knife from next to the microwave, clean some steak juice from it with the dishcloth, and then just as I’m walking back into the living room to quieten her down so I can watch the…


I’ve left him down there, haven’t I? I’ve left him there because this stupid, ungrateful bitch in the chair distracted me and all I was trying to do was help her, and, yet again, all I’ve got is disrespect and ingratitude and…well, let me tell you, dad wouldn’t have stood for something like that, no way, because he would have thrown her down the stairs like mum and really taught her a lesson she’d never…


I can’t believe he’s saying this to me after everything I’ve done for him, so I run over to the window and prepare myself to give him what for, but he just won’t be quiet, he just won’t shut his mouth for one second and I can’t believe that I’ve been so…


I’m crying now, because everything’s just been building and building and building up, and I can’t believe that all I was going to do was watch some telly and maybe read my comic book later on, and everybody’s being nasty to me and calling me names and shouting at me and telling me that I can’t do anything right, and making me look like an idiot in my own street, in my own house, in my own living room, and I just can’t take it any more, can I?

And then there’s a groan and a scream from behind me, and a noise like a Velcro strap ripping up off a shoe, and I turn to see the woman with her hair all wet with sweat, and her eyes all wide and angry, and she’s running at me with bits of tape flowing from her body like black snakes, running towards me like she’s going to hurt me. I just manage to swing my knife round to defend myself, because Dad always said strike first and ask questions later if somebody’s trying to hurt you, and that’s all I’m doing, because this woman, this BITCH, is trying to hurt me, and I don’t know why, because I invited her into my house and everything and maybe I didn’t make her a cup of tea, but there’s no need to go all crazy and run at me, so I take the knife and stab it into her side and its slides into her like she’s a sack of ripe melons and she screams again and there’s dark red blood and a kind of thick, warm smell in the air, and she’s hitting my face with the palm of her hand and slapping some masking tape into my eye, and I get to the point where I think…

THAT’S IT,’ he’s shouting, and my head is spinning so much I don’t know what to think about anything, because all I can hear are her shrieks and moans and his shouting from outside, and my own breaths and yelps as she struggles and fights me till I’m almost deaf and blind from rage, but not quite because I can see the knife in my hand and her blood, and I can feel the knife slurping out of her plump flesh and the muscles like putty under her warm skin as I drive it back in, and she strikes and strikes and strikes and strikes at me, and I’m dizzy and ill and angry and hot and hurt and hurting and ready to kill, and…


There’s a metal taste in my mouth and my head feels like it’s got a bowling ball inside of it spinning and banging and crashing and cracking and she just won’t give up, or stop it, and I’m crying cause she’s hurting me, really hurting me, and the more she hits the more I stab and I’d stop if she’d stop but she won’t stop, because they never stop once they start hurting you Dad said, so that’s why I keep thrusting and stabbing and crying and screaming and trying to make her stop, but she won’t, she just won’t, she just keeps coming at me with bloody hands and those scary eyes and now she’s grabbing me and pushing me and I feel my legs starting to buckle and my shoulders touching the edge of the balcony and I can’t get a good enough swing to get her again and I’m scared and angry and blood is running from my nose, MY NOSE, and falling on my shirt, and she’s trying to stick her fingers into my eyes, and the railing’s cold and she’s pushing and all I can see as she pushes into me with her body and my legs swing out from under me is the satellite dish on the roof and the moss growing on the tiles and then an upside-down view of the cars in the street as my stomach does a jump and I’m…


I feel like I’m in a tumble dryer but there’s no sound, like somebody’s pressed mute on the television, and the seconds are stretching like minutes so it feels like I’m spinning in space like an astronaut, tumbling over and over again, so smooth like a ballet move; but not, because I know I’m going to hit the ground. I see blood, and then the woman screaming silently, then green, then blood, then green, then blood, then green, then blood, then…

Nothing. I feel nothing as I hit the ground. Nothing. I know that it’s happened because I’m not spinning anymore, but I can’t feel anything. Nothing, like it’s not really happening, but I know it is because I can’t move very much and I can’t breathe.

My circle of sight is shrinking like the fading standby light on my television when I go to bed, but I can see him there, right next to me, lying on the grass not far from where I left him, slipped out of the bag, and he’s staring, looking, laughing, the lines around his mouth alive in a final, wicked smile, because he wanted this, he wanted me dead, he wanted this all along and all I ever wanted was for him to love me like they do on television, like they do on those happy, funny shows from the fifties when a mummy and a daddy all sit together on the sofa and eat their dinner and don’t push each other down stairs or beat each other with lengths of belt, and he’s happy that I’m fading, that I’m groaning, and dying, because it’s all there in his evil, laughing, fucking eyes. So I look down and see the knife sticking into my heart and the blood seeping through my shirt and down onto the grass, and I grab the hilt but I haven’t the strength to yank it out – not that it matters now – but I’d like to kill him a hundred times more before I go.



Article for Paranormal Magazine (2009) – Fear and Lothian


This is a short story I wrote a few years ago THAT NO FUCKER WILL PUBLISH EVEN THOUGH MY CREATIVE WRITING TUTOR GAVE ME 98 MOTHER FUCKING PER CENT!! WHAT, DOES SHE KNOW NOTHING, IS SHE A FUCKING IDIOT OR SOMETHING? But I’m not bitter about that in the slightest. I’ll just publish it here, so it can be read by those who matter. All five of you. This story hopefully proves there’s a heart behind all of the quadruple amputee jokes I do.

All locations in the story are a blend of different places, but anyone from Falkirk reading this may be interested to know (but probably won’t be) that the park at the beginning of the story is based on the top park in Wallacestone (apart from the water), and the industrial town in which most of the action takes place is modeled on none other than my dearly beloved Grangemouth.

Trench is a The Road-esque tale of a grandfather trying to do right by his grandson in a time of great horror. Excuse the shite formatting; this site’s not conducive to the smooth and proper publication of fiction.



by Jamie Andrew

The old man gave the boy a gentle shove; the swing’s chains creaked.

‘Higher, grandpa,’ said the boy. ‘Higher.’

      His muscles stiffened with the effort, issuing a few creaks of their own. He moved just in time to avoid the back-swing and a pair of boots in his chest.

‘I can nearly see past the town!’

‘Not so loud,’ said the old man, drawing out and lighting a cigarette.

      The boy propelled himself ever higher into the blank and cloudless sky; normally it would have been alive with jets cutting white scars across its marine canvas.

‘I’m going… to jump…’ said the boy, wrestling himself higher still, ‘…and jump… over…’

‘Take it easy, now,’ said the old man.

‘…the whole… town…’

      He landed on the grass, his supple little legs soaking up the impact as if he’d done nothing more than step off a kerb. Fearless. Or oblivious. It amounted to the same thing.

      The boy tumbled and somersaulted over the grass; and ran like a greyhound around the rusting relic of a roundabout in the centre of the park.

      ‘Come to my side,’ said the old man firmly, moving hurriedly past the gently rocking swing to reach him. He too felt like a relic: his body ached. He’d outgrown the world, or it him. There was nothing more he now wished except to see his grandson safe.

‘We’ll need to get going, son.’

      It was crazy to have taken him there by himself, especially given what he was carrying. He guessed the play-park visit was as dangerous as it was selfish. But if this was to be the last day their last day together then he wanted something with which to remember the boy, and a memory for the boy to hold on to that didn’t weigh heavy with sorrow or infection.

      His wife would have given him hell for this, but owing to the trifle of hard and soft contrasts stacked inside her large heart loved him more because of it. The old man allowed himself a smile.

      Twigs snapped. He hadn’t seen them coming. Two men stood on the opposite bank of the stream that fringed the park, a hundred yards away or less. The town had been in quarantine for only days (was it ten? twelve?), but the men’s grimy, ragged clothes looked like they’d been worn through an apocalypse. Dark and dirt sat on their faces, and seemed reflected in their glazed eyes. Many unsavoury things, especially natures, had been brought to the surface since the sealing of the town and the removal of law enforcement; like rats after a flood.

      ‘By my side,’ the old man barked. The boy did as he was told, slowly and without panic. The old man softly placed his leathery hand atop the boy’s head, then trod out his cigarette on the grass.

      The old man stood a silent statue. The men stared; wolves that smiled.

      ‘Are you sick, old man?’ hissed one of them, the taller and more toothless of the two.

      ‘Want us to take care of the boy?’ croaked the other, the fatter one, his voice blending into a rackety cough, which in turn became a rasping laugh.

      They wore their illnesses like tattoos. Bruise-like legions and weeping sores peppered their faces.


      The old man replied by way of opening his jacket and drawing out his Webley Mk IV revolver; a souvenir from his war years trading bullets in the deserts and trenches.

      ‘This gun’s killed worthier and less deserving than you,’ said the old man, steadily raising his gun level with the taller one’s chest. His mouth felt dry, and his words scratched like flesh against gravel as they worked up his throat. The water rationing had done it. And the cigarettes, his long-departed wife would’ve reminded him. ‘Don’t make me prove that this old thing still works.’

He felt the boy push against his right leg, thread an arm above and around his calf.

      ‘Your old thing stopped working years ago,’ rasped the fat man, which caused the tall one to cackle like he’d a lungful of wasps. ‘We’ll teach the boy what he’s missing out on.’

      The gun-shot made the boy jump. It made the men jump too: blasted the smiles from their faces. But they didn’t leave. The old man felt the boy’s hands clamp tightly around his leg.

‘The next two bullets will cure you of your sickness, gentlemen, I can guarantee you that.’

      His hand trembled, but only because adrenalin had become more and more a stranger to his bloodstream since the beginning of his bus-pass days.

      The men stared. The old man stared back at them. Whether it was the gun itself or the look in its owner’s eyes that repelled them, within seconds they were gone; vanished back into the dense fronds and bushes from which they’d slithered.

The old man led his grandson through the streets. Most of the windows in the blocks flanking them were smashed, and people’s possessions lay strewn on the grass and pavements like carcasses. Wardrobes, clothes, chairs, televisions. All smashed and broken. Derelict and spilling out. The old man caught the scent of smoke from a nearby fire.

      He watched the boy surveying the destruction, a look of fascination relaxing his delicate features. The old man’s chest tightened. His hip felt like it had been sculpted from granite. He squeezed the nape of the boy’s neck then reached up to ruffle his shaggy mop of hair.

‘Will we get sick, grandpa?’ the boy asked, looking up at him.

‘We’ll be fine, son.’

      For some reason the disease, whatever it was, had spared the very old and the very young: two groups of people contagion usually fell and fed upon with unrelenting ferocity.

      There was a medical unit in the town square where people were taken once they became sick, or died. Its reek made the town smell like a hospital that had caught fire. The healthy and symptomless could submit themselves to the unit’s care voluntarily, but rumours persisted that those who entered it never returned. Nor did they seem to win their freedom beyond the makeshift razor-wire fences and military sentry posts that bordered the town.

      He’d heard the stories. People had tried to escape. Others had simply tried to climb or walk out, refusing to believe that in our golden age of human rights a civilised government had the authority to pen them against their will. All had been shot. It was said that a middle-aged man had scrabbled a few feet up one of the fences before a far-off sniper’s bullet had pounded through the fabric of his suit, leaving a raw, bloody wound through his chest. The next day his body was gone.

      They always came like phantoms in the night – in full bio-suits, he’d heard – to retrieve the terminally sick and the dead. It mattered little whether or not the tales were true. They stopped people trying to escape.

‘Grandpa, look,’ said the boy, squeezing his hand.

      The old man turned to see three young lads shuffle out from the entrance to a block of flats. They stood and stared from the opposite side of the street, each of them wearing police hats too big for their heads. One of them clutched a kitchen knife, which drooped menacingly from his grip like a pendulous limb.

‘What do they want?’ asked the boy, staring back at them.

      It still unnerved the old man how quickly the veneer of society could crack and peel. He recalled the words uttered long ago by a commanding officer: ‘The road to Hell isn’t just paved with good intentions, sergeant: its slabs are cemented by the blood of Samaritans.’

      ‘Keep walking, son,’ said the old man, focusing on the sensation of the pistol that rested against his heart.

      They weren’t far from the fence. As they passed by the local pub, its elderly landlord – an acquaintance of the old man – was standing on the pavement outside. The landlord leaned on the butt of a shotgun that was doubling as his walking stick; he called them over.

      Even though the old man knew he was a few years younger than the landlord, he felt twenty years’ younger by comparison. A life of free booze and second-hand smoke had produced a face barely one step ahead of the mortician’s easel. His barman’s apron was spotted with dark-red and brown stains, which made him look more like an over-enthusiastic butcher than a bar tender.

‘Look over to the east,’ said the landlord.

      The old man looked out towards the town square. He couldn’t see the square itself, but behind the rows of streets and factories he watched the first of the military helicopters rise to the sky. The boy looked up at him. He smiled back as best he could.

‘Where are they going?’ asked the boy.

      The sky thundered with an orchestra of blades and engines, its music reassuring the old man that this course of action was the right one. Once the helicopters had climbed high enough above the buildings, they dipped their noses and swarmed off towards the horizon like giant insects.

‘Can I pour you a pint?’

‘Maybe later,’ said the old man.

The landlord’s eyes were fixed on the empty sky. ‘Last orders.’


The soldier waited for them by the hole in the chain-link fence. He wore a balaclava, only his glazed, blood-tinged eyes visible. The last time the old man had seen him the soldier had been proud and erect. Now he hunched and twitched like a vagabond, his uniform ripped and smeared with dirt.

‘Keep the boy well back from me,’ rasped the soldier. ‘Do you have it?’

      The old man reached into another of his pockets and withdrew two thick rolls of bank notes.

      Throughout the long, happy years with his wife he’d maintained the illusion of every Wednesday strolling to the square with their bank book, even though their savings had been locked in a chest in the attic. She wouldn’t have approved. Until today.

      The old man held out the rolls for the boy, who received them with a look of puzzlement.

      ‘You give one of these to your mum, and the other to the nice lady who’s waiting at the other side of that field.’

      The old man nodded towards the hole and its jagged fringes. In the field beyond, tall blades of grass swayed in the breeze like waves on an ocean. The ground dipped downwards after about five hundred yards, above which green mop-heads of trees were visible. No sign of the military, or the road, or the soldier’s wife that would drive him to safety. The boy would be running across no-man’s-land.

‘Aren’t you coming, grandpa?’

      The old man bent down to place his palm on the boy’s cheek, and looked at him; really looked at him. In those shimmering blue eyes he could see his wife, his daughter. In the heat of the boy’s skin he could feel the future.

      ‘I’m coming later, son,’ he whispered, ‘I’m too old to be running through fields.’

      ‘Keep low in the grass and don’t stop running until you reach my wife’s car. It’s red.’

      The soldier wrenched an envelope from his jacket and threw it down at the mouth of the hole.

‘Give her this letter,’ he said, his head hanging earthward like a scarecrow’s.

      The old man looked down at the boy. He’d thought about writing a letter to his daughter, but affairs of the heart had always been his wife’s department. Besides, those clear blue eyes looking up at her would be the only message she’d need. He bent down to clasp the boy’s tiny hands in one of his, and kissed him on the head.

‘Your gran and I love you very much.’


The automated message boomed from the loudspeakers the old man knew were bolted like chain-guns to the town’s many sentry pillars.

‘Citizens. Proceed to your homes. Remain indoors.’

      He stood on the small balcony of his top-floor flat and looked past the town. He lit his last cigarette. A few minutes later the first group of bombers appeared over the horizon. From that distance they looked like a flock of birds, swift and silent. When they whistled, he closed his eyes; his grandson on his lap, his wife by his side.

      Maybe the bombers would follow the boy; but today, the old sergeant’s blood had cemented something no disease could curdle, nor government extinguish.



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Welcome to my website: part vanity project, part unwarranted self-promotion, part ‘stops me drifting towards my natural inclination for murder’. I hope you’ll find something in these pages that makes you laugh, or leak some description of bodily fluids. I write about a broad range of nonsense, but find myself most often drawn to chronicle the absurdity of existence and parenting, with some TV & film reviews thrown into the mix.

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Here you’ll find excerpts from my primary school jotters, complete with ‘expert’ self-analysis – and shit drawings and angrily scrawled short stories that reveal me to have been a terrible artist, but a promising latent serial killer.