“Echoes From The Past”, the past doesn’t necessarily stay there

What happens when your past finally catches up with you?

Christmas is just around the corner, a time to be with family. For Will Mason, an orphan since he was fourteen, it is a time for reflection on what his life could have been, and what it could be.

Until a chance encounter brings back to life the reasons for his twenty years of self-imposed exile from a life only normal people could have. From that moment Will’s life slowly starts to unravel and it’s obvious to him it’s time to move on.

This time, however, there is more at stake.

Will has broken his number one rule, don’t get involved.

With his nemesis, Eddie Jamieson, suddenly within reach, and a blossoming relationship with an office colleague, Maria, about to change everything, Will has to make a choice. Quietly leave, or finally, make a stand.

But as Will soon discovers, when other people are involved there is going to be terrible consequences no matter what choice he makes.



The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to see the planets – Episode 11

Perhaps we are not alone…

I guess there was more to be worried about than a few scorch marks on the side of a ship.

It did beg the question, in those milliseconds I had to pull myself together, that the agreement everyone was a party to on Earth was that we were not going to have ships with weapons, and the ability to attack one another in space, was just that, between nations on Earth.

What if there was life other than on Earth?

The person I was looking at didn’t look like an alien, or at least not one of our endless stereotypes, but what if there was life other than us, and this was a representation of it?

I guess it was time to take the first step.

“I’m assuming this is some sort of dispute over cargo, or perhaps interstellar freight lines, and if it is, there are proper channels to resolve your issues, not at the end of a laser.” I looked at the weapon in the person’s hand and it looked nothing like anything I’d seen before.

Well, not outside our weapons lab, our there on the edge of space where the occupants were not likely to get snooping visitors.

The helmet with the reflective glass panel gave no indication who was behind it.

“It is not an issue over freight.”

OK. A humanised voice, spoke slowly as if by one feeling their way around the language. Yes, English, but why didn’t they pick French or Spanish, or even Japanese? English was not exactly universal, and the translators in our ears reduced everything to our native tongue. Myrtle’s language was Italian, so she would not be hearing this in English.

“Space lane violation?”

Yes, there were lanes in space so ships didn’t crash into each other. There was some degree of civilization out her in no man’s land.

Time for a different tack.

“Just exactly where are you from?”

In that same moment I heard the Captain’s voice coming over my private communicator, in a very uncaptain like manner. “What in God’s name is that?”

© Charles Heath 2021-2022

“Sunday in New York”, a romantic adventure that’s not a walk in the park!

“Sunday in New York” is ultimately a story about trust, and what happens when a marriage is stretched to its limits.

When Harry Steele attends a lunch with his manager, Barclay, to discuss a promotion that any junior executive would accept in a heartbeat, it is the fact his wife, Alison, who previously professed her reservations about Barclay, also agreed to attend, that casts a small element of doubt in his mind.

From that moment, his life, in the company, in deciding what to do, his marriage, his very life, spirals out of control.

There is no one big factor that can prove Harry’s worst fears, that his marriage is over, just a number of small, interconnecting events, when piled on top of each other, points to a cataclysmic end to everything he had believed in.

Trust is lost firstly in his best friend and mentor, Andy, who only hints of impending disaster, Sasha, a woman whom he saved, and who appears to have motives of her own, and then in his wife, Alison, as he discovered piece by piece damning evidence she is about to leave him for another man.

Can we trust what we see with our eyes or trust what we hear?

Haven’t we all jumped to conclusions at least once in our lives?

Can Alison, a woman whose self-belief and confidence is about to be put to the ultimate test, find a way of proving their relationship is as strong as it has ever been?

As they say in the classics, read on!



In a word: Not

You will not go outside, you will not go to the movies.

The word not, when used by your parents when you are a child is the key in the lock keeping you from having fun.

It is the very definition of everything negative, and much harsher than just a plain no.

That you will ‘not…’ has been the gateway for many an exploit or adventure, because anything you have done contrary to the ‘not’ is all that much sweeter.

Until you get into trouble, but, then, isn’t that how you learn life’s lessons?

But if you are a programmer like me, not takes on a whole new meaning in a language like,

‘If not like …. then’

meaning in layman’s terms if something isn’t like a specific value then do something else.

Hang on, isn’t that a bit like reality?

This is not to be confused with the word Knot which is,

A blemish in a piece of wood

The speed of a ship, winds, and sometimes a plane

But basically,

Something you tie to keep your shoes on, or around your finger to remind you to tie your shoes before getting on the 36-knot high-speed ferry made of knotty wood.

It is also something you find in tangled hair and is very painful trying to remove it.

It is also an unpleasant tightness in body muscles and you need a masseuse to get rid of them.

In a word: Air

Yep, another of those interesting little words that mean more than it appears.

Aside from the fact it is the air that we breathe, it can also be used to describe music.

It can be a breath of fresh air, though it’s hard to say where in this ever increasingly polluted atmosphere than we could literally draw one, except on a mountain top, where conversely it would be hard to breathe at all.

Have the air sucked out of us, well, that literally isn’t possible unless some madman comes up with a weird sort of vacuum cleaner, but that might be an episode for the X-Files.

He had an air about him, or her, as the case might be, which might refer to a sort of deference or manner.   There again that air might be one of boredom, which is what a lot of students seem to have in class.

Sorry, been a teacher, and know well the expressions on their faces.  Had one myself once, and finished up on the end of a chalkboard eraser.  Yep, in the good old day’s teachers used to chuck stuff at us recalcitrant students to get our attention, and not undergo a storm of protest from irate parents.

These days those same parents would most likely air their grievance, opinion, or view to the headmaster.

I’m guessing that same headmaster would be wishing those same parents to vanish into thin air, though I’m not sure how that would be possible.

And lastly, television stations air shows.

Weird, eh, how such a simple word can be used in so many contexts.

Searching for locations: Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg, Austria

Hohensalzburg Castle sits atop the Festungsberg, accessed by a cable car.

The castle itself dominates the Salzburg skyline.


Below is a view down into Salzburg from the castle walls.

We had lunch at a café, the Salzburg Fortress Café, that overlooked the countryside.  This was where we were introduced to Mozart Gold Chocolate Cream added to our coffee.

The square below featured in the Sound of Music.


Among the more interesting objects to be seen, the gun below shows what some of the castle’s armaments might have been.  These cannons, in the ‘Firing Gallery’ date back to the thirty years war in the early 1600’s.

The cinema of my dreams – I always wanted to write a war story – Episode 30

For a story that was conceived during those long boring hours flying in a steel cocoon, striving to keep away the thoughts that the plane and everyone in it could just simply disappear as planes have in the past, it has come a long way.

Whilst I have always had a fascination with what happened during the second world war, not the battles or fighting, but in the more obscure events that took place, I decided to pen my own little sidebar to what was a long and bitter war.

And, so, it continues…


It was a good plan.

Wallace, once he discovered his search team had gone missing would send another group to find them, and we would dispatch them in the same manner.

Each foray would reduce his group at the castle until it became, for us, a manageable size.  Currently, it was 35, with four already killed.  There was also the Leonardo factor, and his men, according to Martina, numbered seven.

If I was Wallace, who would realize once he discovered the body on the road to Chiara’s, that sending his own men out to be picked off was a bad idea, would eventually send Leonardo and his men as the first foray to resolve the problem.  

That, of course, would present the same problem as Wallace’s men, there would be deadly retribution.  The villages had all hated Leonardo, and he had dislike them for not selecting him as the local head of the resistance.  That had fallen to Martina, a more popular person, and one more capable.

It seemed to me, from what she had told me, Leonardo was more a mercenary, one who would work for the highest bidder, and that was the sort of man Wallace would have no trouble employing.

Martina was right to round up the villagers to keep them safe

But, for Carlo and I, we needed to pre-emp their strike, and the safest assumption was that they would return to Chiara’s, looking for her, and for answers.  

There was some discussion as to who would be in the attack group, and I agreed that the more we had the better chances we had of beating them, but in the end, we also needed people with the villagers, just in case the worst-case scenario happened, Leonardo knew of the underground wine storage facility and came there instead.

As far as Martina was concerned, he didn’t.  Very few people knew of its existence. 

In the end, it was decided that Carlo and I should go.  He had no doubt he could take Leonardo’s seven by himself, and I didn’t doubt him, so I went along just in case he needed some help.

I took the distant ground with the sniper rifle, and when I saw them, I was not to hesitate to shoot them.  Carlo would be closer and clean up what I missed.  We had enough ammunition to take out at least twenty.

And that’s where we were, from dusk until the following morning, waiting for the search team to arrive.  It did not occur to Carlo, or me, that there was a possibility they might not come, or that Leonardo might have something else in mind.

Alone, in the dark, and surrounded by what could only be described as an eerie stillness, it was hard to imagine that a deadly war was being waged.

In this part of the world, it was not so intense, that according to our intelligence, the Germans were getting stretched very thin on the ground, and were withdrawing soldiers from the extremities of Europe to bolster the fighting closer to home, and the imminent attack in France by the allies.

Of course, there was no way the Germans could know where and when, even I didn’t know that, but it was coming.  It seemed odd to me, by way of contrast, that the Germans high command had basically wasted a formidable and hitherto undetected group of double agents to rescue a rocket scientist which, in my mind, was hardly going to save or lose the war for them.

Perhaps that’s why it had not been up to me, and I hoped that our people knew exactly what they were doing.  Those that had been filtering through the castle were not exactly the sort of people Thompson had been expecting to defect, but once he learned of Meyer’s desire to leave, that assessment had changed.

It also caused a reassessment of the operation at the castle, which led to the discovery people were not making it beyond that point and became the reason for my mission.  The fact I’d been attacked before I reached my objective was coincidental, but it didn’t take long to realize why.

From that to here had been the proverbial hop, step, and jump.

I had not anticipated having to join the resistance, not be involved in becoming a guerrilla.

Not had I expected a dog for a companion.  Jack was lying on the ground next to me, and it looked like he was getting a well-earned rest.

Then he heard something, and lifted his head, ears pricked up.

Then I heard it.

The sound of an airplane passing overhead, but some distance away.

It was not the clearest night so all we could do was hear it, not see it.  A patrol?  A plane that had lost its way.  It was a bit south of where the action was, or where I’d expect the Germans to have either fighters or bombers.

Perhaps the allies then, but late at night surrounded by darkness, there would be little to see.

A minute later, nothing.

Jack put his head down, and I was struggling to keep my eyes open.  Something had better happen soon, or I would miss it.

© Charles Heath 2020

The cinema of my dreams – Was it just another surveillance job – Episode 45

I’m back home and this story has been sitting on the back burner for a few months, waiting for some more to be written.

The trouble is, there are also other stories to write, and I’m not very good at prioritizing.

But, here we are, a few minutes opened up and it didn’t take long to get back into the groove.

Chasing leads, maybe

“Silly question, what were you doing in the hotel with this ‘operative’?”

Yes, it sounded odd the moment I said it, and, if it was the other way around, I’d be thinking the same.

“We joined forces, thinking we were in danger, at the time, not knowing that she was working with Dobbin.  I discovered that later, by chance.  She doesn’t know I know.”

“And she’ll be waiting at the hotel?”

“Dobbin wants the USB.  She believes we’re collaborating, after telling me she works for MI5, on a different mission involving O’Connell.  She had apparently been undercover as a fellow resident at the block where O’Connell had a flat, and a cat.  The cat, of course, had no idea his owner was a secret agent.  The flat was sparsely furnished and didn’t look lived in, so it may have been a safe house.”

“Wheels within wheels.”

“That’s the nature of the job.  Lies, lies, and more lies, nothing is as it seems, and trust no one.”

“Including you?”

“Including me, but keep an open mind, and try not to shoot me.  I’m as all at sea as you are.  And, just to be clear, I’m not sure I believe Quigley that the information is lost.  People like him, and especially his contact, if he was a journalist, tend to have two copies, just in case.  And the explosion might have killed the messenger, but not the information.  Lesson number one, anything is possible, nothing is impossible, and the truth, it really is stranger than fiction.”


A half-hour later I’d parked the car in a parking lot near Charing Cross station.  The plan, if it could be called that, was for me to go back to the room, and for Jennifer to remain in the foyer, and wait.  If anything went wrong she was to leave and wait for a call.  For all intents and purposes, no one knew of her, except perhaps for Severin and Maury, but I wasn’t expecting them to be lurking in the hotel foyer, waiting for me.

As for Dobbin, that was a different story.  It would depend on how impatient he was in getting information on the whereabouts of the USB, and whether he trusted Jan to find out.

I’d soon find out.

The elevator had three others in it, all of who had disembarked floors below mine.   As the last stepped out and the doors closed, it allayed fears of being attacked before I reached the room.

As the doors closed behind me, the silence of the hallway was working on my nerves, until a few steps towards my room I could hear the hissing of an air conditioning intake, and suddenly the starting up of a vacuum cleaner back in the direction I’d just come.

 A cleaner or….

Remember the training for going into confined spaces…

The room was at the end of the passage, a corner room, with two exits after exiting the front door.  I thought about knocking, but, it was my room too, so I used the key and went in.

Lying tied up on the bed was a very dead Maury, three shots to the heart.

And, over the sound of my heart beating very loudly, I could hear the sound of people out in the corridor, followed by pounding on the door.

Then, “Police.”

A second or two after that the door crashed open and six men came into the room, brandishing weapons and shouting for me to get on the floor and show my hands or I would be shot,”

© Charles Heath 2020-2021

A photograph from the inspirational bin – 14

I’m always rummaging through the endless photographs that, if you were to ask me, I would vehemently deny I took.

It’s like the camera on my phone takes them itself, you know, the latest upgrade they didn’t tell you about, the artificial intelligence.

OK, so it’s simply a ferry crossing a wide stretch of water. You ask, why didn’t they build a bridge? A good question, and not one I can answer.

But, what does the thought of a ferry conjure up?

It brought to mind the film Jaws, and the summer visitors to the island, or should I say, shark hunting ground.


Perhaps a little less sinister…or not.

To me, at this point, it suggests the possibility of a get away, depending on what side you’re on, mainland, or island. I’m going to say, you’re on the island and going back to the mainland.


The island is like one of those remote places, with one way in and one way out. a place where people go to try and breathe life back into a marriage that’s falling apart under the stresses of city life, but it failed.

The problem wasn’t the fact you didn’t see each other enough, it’s just that you had grown to dislike each other, and going into a small isolated situation only made the problem worse.

It was just easier to blame everything else.

But going home, well that’s a whole different kettle of fish, because bridges were burned before you left, and going back, well, there was going to be grovelling involved.

Or not.

There’s a story here, but not right now. Perhaps in a day or two.

It’s late, very late, and I need some sleep … well, thinking time.

It’s a long hard road I’m still on…

Self published authors are fully aware that perhaps the easiest part of the writing journey is the actual writing.  Well, compared to the marketing aspect I believe it is.

I have read a lot of articles, suggestions and tips and tricks to market the book to the reading public.  It is, to say the least, a lot harder to market eBooks than perhaps their hard or paper covered relatives.  This is despite the millions of eReaders out there.

Then there is that other fickle part of the publishing cycle, the need for reviews.  Good reviews of course.  As we are learning, reviews can be bought.  Currently Amazon is out there seeking out these reviews and reviewers and it will be interesting to see the result of their actions.

All the advice I have seen and read tells me that reviews should not be paid for, that reviews will come with sales.  It might be a difficult cycle, more reviews means more sales, etc.  And getting those first sales …

Therein lies the conundrum.  It is a question of paying for advertising, or working it out for ourselves.  I guess if I were to get more sales, I could afford the advertising … yes, back on the merry-go-round!

And yet, the harder the road, the more I enjoy what I do.  It is exhilarating while writing, it is a joy to finish the first draft, it is accomplishment when it is published, but when you sell that first book, well, there is no other feeling like it.

I am inspired.

Now, where are those notes for the next story …