Sunday, 16 September 2018

Postcards From Another Life by Andy Paulcroft


Buylink: Amazon

Have you ever had a dream where it seems like you are watching a movie?

When Peter Abrahams first goes to university he feels alienated from his fellow students.

Then he meets Sam Morris and his life changes dramatically.

When Peter spends his summer at the Morris family hotel, he starts experiencing dreams – strange dreams – about a man who worked in the same hotel forty years before.

Peter discovers that the man existed, the events he is witnessing really happened, and is drawn deeper into the mystery of what occurred in 1977.


I'm not sure when it began. I had become slightly aware of the fact that Sam would sometimes disappear to his room when I appeared in the lounge, or he would turn away just slightly when I caught his gaze across the dinner table.
When I had first moved into the house, he would appear in my room and we'd chat, laugh and listen to music for hours – that all suddenly stopped.
Of course, I did the worst possible thing anyone could do. I over compensated. I became nervous in his presence and would babble on like a Teletubby on amphetamines. Even Chris and Dan looked bemused sometimes. I would try to grab moments with him alone. Then, I’d be devastated when he made an excuse to leave the room quicker than Lewis Hamilton had flown around the track at Monza.
The only person who understood how I was feeling was Chloe. We spent more time than was prudent, cuddling on the sofa while she tried to persuade me to let her talk to Sam on my behalf.
Poor Chloe, she had started off the term thinking she might have found herself a boyfriend. She ended it with the same man using her painstakingly crafted wardrobe, as a box of tissues.
One Saturday morning, early in December, matters came to a head. We'd all been slouching round the breakfast bar eating cereals and enjoying the fact that no-one had to run off for a lecture. Chloe, Chris and Dan were taunting Sam about a girl on his course. She had made rather over obvious suggestions, in his general direction, whilst we were at the pub the night before. For once, I joined in, rather than defend him in my normal manner.
“Pete, why don't you just fuck off!”
There was a stunned silence. I felt like he'd just stolen Foz's BB gun and shot me in the face. Point blank.
Sam jumped off his stool and ran out of the room before anyone had recovered enough to say anything. Chloe went to follow him, but Chris put his right arm out to stop her.
“Leave it Chlo, we were getting a little carried away.”
“We were,” Chloe was angry on my behalf and I loved her for it. “Pete only made one little comment – he didn't deserve that!”
“Agreed, but I've never known Sam to lose it before. Shall we just let him have that one?” He touched me lightly on the shoulder. “You all right with that Pete?”
I nodded, but I wasn't. I was as far from all right as it was possible to be. The man I loved most in the world had looked at me as if I was the man he hated most. I managed to mutter that Sam could turn his early morning grumpy persona into a speciality act for “Britain's Got Talent.”
They laughed more than the joke deserved, mostly out of relief, I suspected.
I took my bowl of cereal and slumped in front of Saturday morning television. I wasn't really watching it though, I went through the brief exchange about a hundred times and made myself more miserable with each review.
The lads went out to the gym, Chloe set herself up at the dining room table with some work and I half watched a minor celebrity face food hell on Saturday Kitchen. I then watched some pundits talking bollocks about football on Football Focus, some dealers talking bollocks about antiques on Bargain Hunt. Finally, I watched some famous for fifteen minutes members of the public talking bollocks about the pluses and minuses of parquet flooring on Escape to the Country.
I think you could possibly say that I wasn't in a very good mood.
Just as potential buyers were coming to the end of their moments of fame and were deciding, surprise, surprise that they didn't like any of the houses they were offered, Sam reappeared. He looked dreadful, he had been crying I think, I just wanted to hug him, but I was scared to do so.
He glanced at me and muttered an apology, but before I could say anything Chloe looked up and said, “Oh Pete would you mind searching online for that reference we were talking about?” As we had said very little over the last few hours, other than her asking me numerous times if I was all right, I realised I was being dismissed so that she could have that word with Sam after all. I ran upstairs on the pretext of using my computer, then opened and closed my door to make them think I'd gone inside.
“Sam, what was that all about?” I heard Chloe say as I settled myself silently on the floor behind the bannisters where I could eavesdrop without being seen.
“He was taking the piss out of me, or did you miss that?”
“Oh, for God's sake Sam! It wasn't just Pete, it was all of us and we always take the piss – it's our way of letting you know we love you.” I couldn't see the loppy-sided grin, but I knew her well enough by now to know that there would have been one.
Sam wasn't to be placated however. “Just sometimes you know, it gets right on my tits.”
“But why did you lose it with him Sam? I mean, he is one of the nicest blokes I've ever met, and he’s barely ever given you stick before. Chris, Dan and I have given you grief for a year and a bit, and you've never once lost it with us… why him?”
“Look Chlo, I did have my reasons.” Chloe obviously had given him the look because he continued, whilst I waited crouched behind a bannister with my heart beating frantically, “but I can't even tell you, not now, maybe not ever.”
“Come on Sam! We're soul mates! You can tell me anything you want to…” But it was wasted breath, and I heard Sam running up the stairs. I froze, in case he was planning on coming straight up to apologise and my eavesdropping would be exposed.
But he didn't climb up the second flight, he disappeared into his room and closed the door gently. I did the same on the floor above his. As I lay on my bed I was sure I could hear the sounds of sobbing drifting through the floorboards…
What did he mean? I could only think that I irritated him beyond belief and he was only putting up with me as he knew the others quite liked me. I lay on my bed and as silently as I could; cried my heart out.

Author bio: Andy Paulcroft was brought up in Weston-super-Mare and his love of books started when he borrowed his sister's copy of “Five run away together,” and exaggerated a minor illness in order to finish reading it. He has since worked as a chef in France, Switzerland, Corsica and the North Highlands of Scotland before settling as a catering manager at a boarding school in Dorset. Plotting “Postcards From Another Life” eased the boredom of many a commute from his home in Salisbury. He is currently working on his second novel.

No comments:

Post a comment