Wednesday 13 December 2023

Constantine, "And things begin to change ... and other stories"

Congratulations to University of Leicester MA Creative Writing graduate Constantine, who's just published his book of short stories, And things begin to change ... and other stories!



Constantine is an autistic author and father. He achieved a first-class B.A. At Middlesex University in 2017 and completed his Master’s Degree at the University of Leicester in 2022. Between the two degrees he wrote four episodes of the Children’s T.V. show Pablo, and has written and published the picture book Tiya and the Minotaur and the novels The Cats of Charnwood Forest and its sequel J├Âtunheim




About And things begin to change ... and other stories
This collection of short stories has been donated to Coalville C.A.N., a community project in North West Leicestershire which hopes to encourage and support local authors through ‘Coalville C.A.N. Community Publishing.’ All proceeds from the book go towards that project. Coalville C.A.N. Community Publishing is now accepting submissions from all Leicestershire-based authors. You can see more details about their work here

You can see more details about And things begin to change ... and other stories here. Below, you can read a complete story from the book. 

From And things begin to change ... and other stories, by Constantine

Policeman Pete

Peter headed home. His colleagues were in the locker room getting changed, but not Peter. Peter liked travelling home in his uniform. It made him feel safe, and powerful, though admittedly not quite as powerful as when he walked around St Pancras station with his Heckler & Koch HK416 assault rifle. Of course, being off duty he removed his cap and made sure his identity numbers were well hidden. The Assault rifle and Sidearm were left at the station along with his Taser and CS Gas. Nevertheless, there was no disguising what he was and the feeling of power aroused him.

Tonight, the tube was packed, and even so, he commanded a respectful space around him. The passengers, like cattle in an abattoir crowded away to avoid his gaze. A woman caught his attention; she was halfway down the carriage and squashed in. He made his way towards her knowing nobody would question his movements and as he passed, he squeezed up beside her, his lips almost touching her ear, The scent of her perfume was in his nostrils and he knew she had felt him. She would put this gentlest of violations down to her own imagination or accident, but he knew she had felt him pass.

He got off and walked slowly home. Tucked away in his pocket was the missing ingredient.

*

The kids avoided making eye contact as he passed. Nobody called out to him, no ‘Good evening officer,’ from the locals. It was a ‘sign of the times,’ he told himself, though inside he knew it had started the day Mary had left.

He reached his home, a one-bed flat on the ground floor of a terraced house in Leyton. Despite the lateness of the year the inside of the flat was markedly colder than the outside. Peter barely noticed. He glanced briefly at the usual plethora of bills and credit card applications which sat on the mat and then headed into the kitchen. He poured himself a small scotch and sighed deeply. Then he took the bottle and opened a small door in the main corridor. Here one could access the gas and electricity meters but also a small set of steps went down to a cramped and dank cellar. The walls were lagged and soundproofed but still, the smell of damp chalk came through.

There under a single lightbulb stood a mannequin. Its clothes were demure, its hair refined and respectful. Its face painted, like that of a woman weeping. From his uniform pocket, Peter retrieved a brown paper packet and from this, he removed a pair of stockings. He spent a few minutes lovingly and carefully fitting them and then from his inside pocket removed his ex-wife’s wedding ring and slipped it onto the mannequin’s finger. He stood back and admired his handy work. Then, after taking a few more gulps of whisky, he took out his truncheon and let out a barely human cry of rage.

Outside the rain fell heavily in Peter's backyard. It fell on the overgrown lawn, the uncared-for flowerbeds, and the pile of smashed and disfigured fibreglass figures.


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