Lost Expectations

One of the people in the room was a murderer, I realised, as the dust floated down from the musty ceiling that was far too old and far too dim. No matter the outcome of this fateful night, my life would never be the same. It was time to think.

It all seemed rather suspicious, considering the circumstances. A cruel millionaire, who previously delighted in terrorising the village below, inviting the four people he truly hated the most to stay for the weekend. “I’m sorry”, he said. “I’ve changed”, he said. “Born again”, he said. But I could see it in his eyes, the dark truth within. Nevertheless, we all decided to go, and it was only at dinner that the story truly began.

The arrow flew through the crisp winter air at what seemed like the speed of light, but a simple click from many metres away was the only thing that told the party someone was dead. The blood spurted out from the millionaire’s head, soaking the mash potato in a sickly red. The night had begun, and in the brief moments after the brutal murder a mere pin could have dropped and echoed throughout planet earth. But then all hell was raised.

Screams, blood, panic – the mansion in the middle of nowhere had it all. And there was no signal, so the only hope of saviour had disappeared in a puff of smoke. Who would do this? And why? It then dawned upon me that every one of us had a motive; a day did not go by that failed to involve ex-millionaire Peter Jones. Thoughts ran through my mind, a thousand a second. Heirs? None. Money could not be the motive, not unless there were agreements behind closed doors. And in a mansion as secluded as this one, secrecy was hardly unheard of. But these people… they’re family. They’re friends. They’re neighbours. I had lived in the village of Leadworth for ten years, and with a meagre population of around one thousand you either knew everybody or nobody. Peter Jones fell into the latter category. The murder just didn’t make any sense.

The brightly lit room suddenly fell into darkness. There were screams, unlike anything heard before. I barely had time to shout “don’t panic” before they turned back on again, as sudden as they had disappeared. I looked around, afraid, and counted one less person than before. Nothing remained, just a trail of blood and a fresh eyeball rolling around on the shiny, ancient floor. I didn’t know the dead girl, who was just thirteen at the time. She’d wanted to become a doctor, they said. Great expectations, they said. “Our little angel”, they said. It stopped now.
Procrastination is both a student’s favourite and most hated thing, ever. It’s nice at the time, putting off that Maths homework, and watching Sherlock instead, but later the decision comes back to bite me, with only regret remaining and a promise that it will never, happen again, which obviously fails the next day. But, for once in my life, procrastination helped. All those episodes of Luther might just save some of our lives. If I was lucky.

Group discussion time. Every single one of us seemed convinced that it was someone else. Anybody else. Just not them. My delightful wife had the idea that it would be best to split up, to walk around the biggest house I’d ever seen, to find whoever was the murderer. And so I was alone on the worst night of my life.

2 hours passed, and the house was empty. Too empty. All the rooms were blank and whitewashed, even Jones’ bedroom; he had lived a lonely life and you could tell. No sign of a blood stained murderer with a scary mask like you see in the movies. No flesh covered knife dripping on the wooden floor. And no corpse minus an eyeball from poor little Lucy. I decided to return to the dining room.

The sight I was greeted with remained with me for the rest of my short little life. Three corpses, throats slit, hanging from the ceiling with their eyeballs missing and blood dripping. My life – all that was worth anything, anyway – ended at that moment. My beloved wife, Isabelle, only a body after our little time together. Poor little Lucy, with her shattered dreams. And her father, the kindest man I’ve ever known. My own life was torn apart at that second, and by the looks of things the statement would become literal any second now. Before I came on this hellish trip, my life’s pieces had been falling into place, like a jigsaw. I had just reached my dream career, after working my way up the ladder for what seemed like forever. But what is a career worth now, when the person you love is dead? We had just bought a new house, ready for children, but that is useless now. There’s no point living in a mansion if there’s no-one to share it with, though Jones may have disagreed. All I’ve done is worked and loved, and this is what I get. Thank you God, for ruining my universe. What use is a greater being if they just sit around and throw your life at a wall?

Only then did it occur to me that these murders were practically impossible. Unless people can slit their own throats, pop out their own eyeballs and hang themselves up… it just didn’t make sense. Isabelle may be dead, and my life may be over, but I at least owe her an explanation. Only then will my life have closure. I saw a slight movement in the distance, and figured that something didn’t add up. The angle that Jones was shot from… it came from a book case! I looked, and sure enough there was a crossbow, aimed and timed. Next to it, the novel Great Expectations, with some paper sticking out of it. A plan. I took a picture, gave one last bow, blew one last kiss to my love, and walked away forever.

I called the police, but the night was not yet over. A pregnancy test was on the kitchen table, reading positive – Isabelle was pregnant with my unborn child. I broke down in tears for the first time that night, and even when the truth about the evening was revealed I felt no better. Jones had killed himself, and set up an assassin to kill everyone else but one, who would be framed for the murders in a genius plan. I was just unlucky enough to be that person.

I have never really moved on, or grew up. Never re-married. Never had children. I’m old now, close to my death, but I still visit her grave every weekend without fail. My life ended that night, and I will never forgive Peter Jones.

4 characters that TV shows would’ve failed without

4. Sherlock

Obviously the character is necessary, but Sherlock wouldn’t have been successful without Benedict Cumberbatch’s version of the character. Yes, there have been other successful Sherlock Holmes adaptations – Elementary is ok, and the recent Sherlock Holmes movies are somewhat reasonable – but none have been as successful as the BBC TV series, and the casting is the only reason that’s happened.

3. The Daleks

The Daleks appeared in the second episode of the series, and the first was hardly unsuccessful, so the show may well have survived without them. But the Dalek’s unique design and repetitive battle cry – exterminate! – made them popular with adults and school children alike and helped the show become the success it is. That said, I think the Daleks need a break now – they’ve appeared in every series since the 2005 re-launch and of course they’ve been defeated every time, so a break from the next couple of series would be welcomed, along with a big return in a new years. Unfortunately, rumours suggest they’ll be in the next series.

2. Stewie Griffin

Family Guy would be a nice show without Stewie, but it just wouldn’t be the same. The rest of the family have their funny parts, and Peter is himself an essential character, but without the posh psychopathic baby (and his time machine, which is unfortunately gone now) Family Guy would have been less popular and less successful.

1. Sheldon Cooper

Without Sheldon, popular show The Big Bang Theory would really be just another sitcom. Yes, there’s the Penny/Leonard on/off love story, and Raj’s inability to talk to women (until about season 6), but the show would be no different to the dozens of other American sitcoms without Sheldon.

The Enemy Within – draft one, part one

I’ve started a book! Yeah, it’s probably going to end up half quarter finished, but here’s the beginning. At least at the moment. So, here it is, and let me know your thoughts!

In a world full of sorrow and solitude, one last hope glinted in the darkness. A sliver of gold, minute in the vast, empty space. No oxygen. No sound. No life. The final remnant of life that once was, in the universe that never was. The final remnant of the greatest battle time had ever known. The final remnant of everything and anything.

1 day earlier

I’ll never forget the children’s screams. They could have made the deaths quick, easy, painless, but no. They enjoyed the torture and while the battle was clearly over, so very clearly one sided, they continued if only for the screams, and nothing could make them stop.

The main issue with WordPress.com

WordPress is brilliant. But there’s one big, big flaw and issue that just makes writing new posts annoying, and I’d like to see it fixed.

It’s the many different ways of adding a new post. Click “New Post” on the front page of WordPress.com, and you get a basic editor, with no easy way to get access to a full editor. In your blog’s dashboard, there’s a slightly different post creator. And there’s a full featured creator in another section of the dashboard.

This probably won’t happen, but it would be awesome to have one post creator and editor, which is shown whenever I create a new post. Think the full featured editor with a cleaner, simplified UI.

Also, it would be great if markdown support was added. You know, like Ghost has?

PRISM: what is it and is it really that bad?

There’s been a lot of fuss in the media lately about PRISM, “a secret program [that] capture[s] the private data of citizens who are not suspected of any connection to terrorism or any wrongdoing”. But is it really that bad?

Well, it’s open to interpretation. Yes, the US government can collect private information about you from Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft. Yes, that includes information that you haven’t chosen to make public – conversations in Gmail and Facebook Messages for example.

But the information they collect won’t be made public. And conversations about your cat and what’s for your tea shouldn’t be worrying for the government.

If you really are concerned, use an ‘anonymous’ search engine such as Duck Duck Go, and don’t use Gmail, Facebook, Yahoo!… don’t use anything, basically.

PRISM isn’t exactly great. But it’s nowhere near as bad as the media are saying it is.

Check out this Verge article for more information: http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/17/4517480/nsa-spying-prism-surveillance-cheat-sheet