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Welcome, friends old and new, to my blog. This is the place where I can share my scribblings and thoughts on loving life. I hope you enjoy them, make suggestions and come back to read more.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Stamp- the final installment

Happy Wednesday! Or not, depending on how attached you've become to Ben. Today will be the last installment of Stamp on this blog. But don't cry into your cocoa yet! I have good news too!

Strange Ideas: Death, Destiny and Decisions is almost ready and, seeing as Ben is a major player in it, I thought it best not to let him peak too early- ahem- so have decided to cut him off in his prime, in order to give you a chance to miss him. My apologies. I hope that when the first book in the Strange Ideas Series is released in May (squeee! I'm counting the days!) you will agree the wait was worth it. My faithful beta-readers have assured me the ending is something special...


So, without further ado, here is what you've been looking forward to all week- enjoy.

Stamp- the final installment

Tim sat up ramrod-straight and stared at the screen, the whites of his eyes showing. Ben’s eyes flicked back and forth between the TV and his friend; Tim had a sheen of perspiration on his top lip and looked like he might faint in a very unmanly way.

The presenter finished speaking and invited the guest, some bloke from a talent show that Ben only vaguely recognised, to push the big button. Tim made a gurgling sound and stopped breathing, his eyes still locked on the screen. Ben punched his arm again until he inhaled. He wondered if anyone had ever had a heart-attack from seeing their numbers come up. He glanced quickly around the pub; no one was paying any attention to them.

The coloured balls whirled around the glass sphere, hovering playfully. Ben couldn’t bear it. His leg bounced until it jolted the table. Tim had one hand on his heart, held over the pocket where the winning ticket lay. He looked like he was about to stand up and sing the national anthem. Ben snorted, almost hysterical with tension. Tim didn’t move an inch. The first ball dropped into the chute and rolled lazily into the tray.

A number flashed up on the screen. A six. Ben looked quickly at Tim for his reaction. He’d turned a funny shade of fuchsia. He missed the second ball as it settled into place next to the first. He knew it was the right one, though, as Tim’s eyes had opened wider than he thought was possible. Fifteen. Ben felt a bubble of excitement build inside him, and it wasn’t just for Tim. It was real. The next twenty seconds seemed to pass in a flash, until all six balls were lined up neatly in the tray. There was a moment of silence as it sunk in.

Suddenly, Tim let out a huge yell, his face purple. His hand curled into a fist as he clutched the ticket through the material of his pocket. He took a deep breath and turned to Ben, grinning at him despite tearful eyes.

“I’ve won!” he whispered in awe. Ben stuck out his own hand to congratulate him, but Tim pushed it away.

He stood up quickly, overturning the low table and knocking their glasses to the floor. He began to jump up and down, whooping and yelling. Ben jumped up to join him and they bounced together, hugging and laughing, as the bemused onlookers watched. Eventually, Tim stopped to catch his breath. He held Ben at arm’s length and beamed at him. Ben’s smile, for different reasons, matched his friend’s.

“I’ve won!” Tim shouted again, before rushing to the bar and ordering a round of drinks for everyone, including the barman who, fittingly, poured himself a small bitter. He was soon surrounded by a crowd of well-wishers and new friends, eager to slap his back and get his phone number.

Ben let Tim revel in his new-found popularity and sat back down, righting the table and sweeping up the glass with his foot. He had reason to celebrate too, but more privately. Tonight was proof, if more proof were needed, of the numbers’ power. They made things happen. Looking over at Tim’s ecstatic expression, Ben had no doubt that his friend’s dearest wish had been granted tonight.

Ben knew what his dearest wish was. Just as the stamp had remained stubbornly visible on his skin for all these months, Cassie’s name had been tattooed invisibly on his heart. She was the one; he’d never met anybody like her and, soon, he would see her again. They had a date. He grinned gleefully, a secret smile, and prepared to reclaim his friend from the throng. They had a long night of celebrating to enjoy...

And celebrate they do! But, as you've probably guessed, this is not the happy ending...

Read Strange Ideas: Death, Destiny and Decisions to find out if Ben ever sees Cassie again, and what significant and life-changing event he will experience. To borrow a phrase from one of my pupils, it's going to be EPIC!

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