Saturday, 7 November 2015

Shea & Johnny: Bonfire Night II

November 1988, Hackney Central
It's him. 

The paramedic said my sixteen year old self was okay as he scorched white light through my eyes. Okay? I felt like my heart had ruptured, my soul shattered, my brain blown. He eclipsed me. Me, Shea Winters, I was his little shadow and now there was nothing left, a mere reflection to mirror his destroyed existence. That night where it all really began. November 7, 1988. That night. That fateful party. The music. It was meant to be our life changing night but it became the world's for all the wrong reasons. Our party crashed to a raving, manical halt. My twin brother died forty two minutes and thirty seconds later on a hospital stretcher.  Wear a seatbelt, kids. You might just shatter through a windscreen and die on cold concrete like my cells, like my DNA. I escaped with a split lip and a scratch down one cheek. At the hospital I had to tell him, had to tell Johnny. He went fucking mental; said I was playing a sick joke. He'd only broken his arm, hadn't he? Something along them lines? He started collapsing into walls, thumping on hospital wards, yelling Ben's name. 'Where is he?' Crazed, he fell through the whole hospital backwards, wondering where the hell my brother was, where his best, best mate was.

He found him, eventually. He wished he hadn't.
God, I wish he hadn't.

Benjamin "Ben" Winters
Beloved brother, son, friend
31 August 1972 - 7 November 1988

Our world smashed to a silent standstill.
Remember remember the seventh of November.
We were guilty, he said.
Our fault. Us. We couldn't cry. The grief evaded us.

So we ran away, packed our bags. Left the invasive mourners and the practical strangers at the wake and found this skirted little house with smashed up windows and damp floorboards. We talked about him all night. About his promising football career, about his charm, about his favourite song "Everybody wants to rule the world". The last song he would have ever known.
We talked about my brother until our throat's were raw.
The bonfire blaze blew out.

Wish I'd never met him again as an adult. Johnny. Wish I'd not found the teenager transformed to a man. The memories moulding back through his veins and seeping to my subconscious. We have destroyed each other, there is nothing left. I told him it was over. Over, over. That I never wanted to hear or see from him ever again. Part of me meant it. Part of me knows now it's too late to tune things differently. Southend came into my sphere. A fresh start; supposedly. Supposed to be.

Christmas Day 2003, Leeds

Imagine if you will, a cottage; petrol and fume. Blazing fires resonating with revenge. Blood boiling and anger acidly drenched along the smoke screen walls. Dreams are always damaged, destroyed and blasted apart by nostalgic segments and misplaced memories. And I'm re-living my life like I never lived it before. Like it was all one blazing day of doubt. My life. The monitor looks pretty critical, green lines depicting a fateful, fazed outlook. I realise I am all but a character in some mindful mast; eclipsed by brother's shadow, lightened by brother's best mate, guilt-ridden and guilty of brother's death. Left and leaving. Scars and bruises scattered along me like blazing butterflies. Hospital. My lifeline; him. My lifeline, a lie. A new life, from London to Leeds and back to London and now, finally, back where I belong. I remember your return. Remember the fuel and the smoke and the ash clouding over me until all I could taste was metal. All I could breathe was your smoke, that toxic nicotine so ubiquitously you. You could kill us both. Why him? Now the three of us are along the same corridor, separated from each other by white washed walls, stripped lighting. I loved you both once. You, who I left after promises proved pointless. And you, who left after promising you'd stay. And what becomes of him? Him who always seems to escape. Him who looked at me. 
Him who started this story. Him who can finish it. 

December 2003, Hackney Cemetery 

Johnny Goode, his name was. Off his head, he was. Screaming and yelling and smashing his fist to stone. 'Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!' the night had burnt to black but as soon as the car had spluttered and the gates crashed and the screams started, his dad knew. Grief, the delayed kind. The kind that dated back years, not just since yesterday when he'd been informed of Shea's state. Since Ben's death Johnny hadn't ventured into the graveyard. Even at the funeral, even at that heart-wrenching affair filled with all those guttered teenagers and the hysterical mother and the fearful father and the ghost like Shea he'd hung around outside, green and black checked arms clutching onto the glimpse gaps; dead as the deadened boy he'd lost.

His dad knew. This news of her had sent Johnny into a twisted turmoil of thunderbolt. His son; first the cheeky teenager, guttered grievance, successful Southwark executive with designer lapels hanging off his coat and a string of sluts tagging along behind.  He had a girly glass house with panoramic views over London, favoured Diesel jeans and Timberland jackets and Armani aftershave. Said "Babe" often. Too often, actually. Often so he didn't have to remember which girl to call what. He was a bit of a womaniser, was Johnny. He had a successful job, shedloads of cash and a pyramid of popularity, sociality and sexuality. He was a right laugh, was Johnny. Everyone's favourite lad. But he wasn't happy. The tears had stopped. 3am. Mitch could go talk to his son, now. Fifteen years of grief and guilt and resentment and bitterness and blame. Finally, today had come. A long story was grinding to a halt.

The fire had been blazed up in a trail of terror. It was going to be a critical Christmas. The truth was tormented in the three lives that hung precariously in the balance, every green mark on their monitor delaying time, punishment and death. And the one girl who knew everything, was headed towards it.


What do you make of the characters? The plot? Your thoughts mean the world! <3

For everyone who has supported me & this story, first and foremost my beau artist. I love you so bad. 
And for my dear friend Yaz, who always makes me remember why I'm writing this. I love you girl!


  1. Wow! This is such amazing work, Sophie! I loved it! Your writing style is so authentic and beautiful, it really captured me! I so hope you'll publish the other parts because I'm very intrigued now. Such an outstanding talent! <3 xxxx

  2. Please do write and share more, you are so super talented! x

  3. You have a wonderful talent Sophie, please do keep writing xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

  4. Oh my gosh- Sophie!!! As soon as I saw you'd written some fiction on Instagram, I had to check it out! It is absolutely incredible! You write with such raw emotion and intriguing description, it really draws me in and makes me want to keep on reading. It made me pretty sad at one point too. WRITE MORE :)

    Rachel xx

  5. I've told you this before Soph, but you have such an amazing way with words and you always leave me wanting to read more and more!! You know just how much I love your writing and I think you really are a true talent!!!

    Thirteen Thoughts

  6. What a great read! Enjoyed this post, thanks for sharing!

    - Cielo
    Mermaid in Heels

  7. Sophie you are so talented. Your words are like poetry and this story is so intriguing. I'd love to know if it's your plan to make a novel out of it? Because you can sign me up for an advance copy! x

    Kate Louise Blogs

    1. Aww thank you so, so very much Kate! Honestly that means the world to hear! This spin off story is based on a book I've been writing for a good few years now... so yep you're totally right! :)

      That's so sweet, I will do for sure :D Your encouragement means a hell of a lot, and I forever admire your stunning way with words too, trust me when I say you have a real gift <3

  8. Somehow, I either didn't know or had forgotten that you are a writer! Of fiction, I mean. I am so excited to see you sharing this piece and really, really enjoyed reading it. Please share your words more often!

  9. I love seeing this type of post on your blog- keep it up, we are impressed!

  10. Oh Sophie! Gosh! This is absolutely amazing! I love your writing style, it's beautiful, unique and interesting all the way! I am so proud of you and definitely impressed!

  11. Really nice photos! I like bonfire nights ♥

  12. Sophie, your writing mesmerises me. The thing I enjoy most about reading is when an author is able to articulate a feeling or moment you feel alone in feeling, and you achieve it so accurately. The words just illustrate the scene so magically, I feel at the heart of all of the characters emotions and the need they feel to escape a world inside their own troubled mind. I am of course looking forward to reading more <3

    // xx

  13. This is so well written Sophie, really, you have a serious talent - I'm looking forward to seeing your name lining the bottom of various books in the future! I particularly enjoyed the closing paragraph, very intense :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice

  14. Wish I could write like this, but I'm no where near this. Great choices of words, Sophie.
    Great post and guess what, I live in Leeds. Ha!!
    All the best, beautiful.

  15. This is great and you are so talented. I cannot wait to read much more of your writings.

  16. Oh my goodness Sophie, this is your work?? I only realized in the end, when you mentioned this is your writing! I always knew you were good with words, but this is simply fantastic, honestly! You're such a talend, and I can't wait to read more of your hand! So proud of you my love <3
    XO IMKE | Pastellics

  17. My you are one talented writer...but I already knew that! I've actually read this 3 times now and just realized I haven't left a comment yet! Your work needs to be published! <3 That's all there is to it.