Here’s the next character, from my friend Martin Allen!
Rodger Nicholson is the hapless protagonist in “Residents of Caer Bannog Need Not Apply” and the forthcoming “ Dr Strangeclock (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bunny-Rabbit)”, a failed author, part time alcoholic and professionally qualified in blaming everyone else for his problems. Yet despite this he has managed to go where no man has gone before. He just can’t get back…
My name is Rodger Nicholson, and I a reside in an alternate reality, I can’t complain. The people are nice enough, extremely nice; infuriatingly nice.
I hate it…
Do you know they didn’t have the Crusades? No, they had a Islamic migrant crisis on the Eastern Borders of Christendom. Pope Urban II gave a rousing speech about the common rights of man and most of the continent marched over to the Byzantine Empire to donate food, clothing and build shelters for the refugees. This was in the medieval period, half of the volunteers were starving themselves and they gave all they had to the immigrants. The immigrants in turn, when they found out about the starvation of the peasants in Europe pooled all the donations, redistributed everything in common and established the Red Cross and the Red Crescent some 677 years before our reality.
I came here in the hope of finding some source material for my writing career, which was years ahead of its time, if only I had had the opportunities the other writers had I would have never needed to leave my own dimension. I just wasn’t appreciated by the publishing industry.
The rift opened in my bathroom after a night relaxing with a drink. A drink or two, maybe three. I may have had another after that. There was a bottle and not much was left the next morning, but I probably started it some time ago. I’m almost certain I started it weeks, no months, beforehand.
Anyway, I came through the rift and there was this bloke walking a bunny rabbit! Of all things, a bunny rabbit. I was in my nightwear, I had just woken up and I certainly wasn’t expecting to travel to the outer realms of the ether from inside my bathroom.
I immediately recognised this place for what it was. A vast untapped source of new stories, they would have their own history, which I could research and base my own creations upon. It was research, it certainly didn’t cross my mind to just grab every book I could find from the nearest bookstore and attempt to sell the premise as my own. If you happen to talk to Joshua Fletcher, remember that he refused to print anything. He’s just jealous.
I returned through the now somewhat unstable tear in space and pitch these new ideas to Joshua, the only publisher now willing to meet with me thanks to my precocious writing styles, only to find out that these people had not an ounce of drama in their veins, there were no cliff-hangers, no daring deeds or intrigue. There was just cloying overwhelming niceness, amiability beyond measure and a societal obsession with bunny rabbits. To my horror, there was nothing to capture the imagination in their entire history.
So, after that humiliation I figured that I would be better off trying my luck over here, in this reality. The people were nicer so they should be willing to publish all of my works one after the other. Stopping at my flat to gather my works and a few belongings I stepped through the rift and into my new life.
I found the “nice” version of Joshua with little difficulty and procured a meeting with him. He seemed enraptured by my work but even here he would not publish it. I was completely devastated. I’m not proud of this but I did pitch the plots from a few of our classics. I would have updated them, I swear. It’s not like I was going to simply sell the complete works of Shakespeare under my own name. Other writers have updated and adapted other works for centuries. I’m not the first one to think up that scheme.
He turned them down. All of them! Shakespeare, Chaucer, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, all of them. Every single classic text I had brought with me was rejected as too violent, dark or depraved.
I am stuck now in this hell. The inhabitants are nice enough to let me continue to write what I like as long as I produce at least once per quarter a work that details the lifecycle of rabbits at various points in their history. I once tried to bring some realism into play by telling the story of a warren of rabbits threatened by extinction from some outside source. Joshua, the nice one, vomited. He actually expelled his lunch when he got to the first fight between the rabbits. He had already turned an uneasy shade of green when faced with the visual premonitions of doom of one of the protagonists.
I must now return to the work upon which I am commissioned, the delineation of the effect of the 2nd Punic War on the treatment of elephants in Hannibal’s travelling circus. Hannibal to be fair had not intended such a journey, aiming to travel instead to Paris, but had held the map upside down when he had finished a performance at Dijon and turned right instead of left, resulting in the unfortunate detour. It’s symptomatic of the history of this place, at once familiar, and yet ultimately a more boring version of my own.
There may be a bottle of whiskey around somewhere. I’m the only one here who drinks it, but they make it for me anyway. I think they’re slightly disappointed in me, their only trans-dimensional visitor and I mostly sit around drinking. I can’t help it, it’s just so dull, dull and cute around here.
The inhabitants here have just discovered how to transmit messages by radio waves. This is going straight out into space in the hope that there are other life forms out there. I don’t care if I never get back home to my own reality. Just get me out of here!
Rescue me, for the love of all that’s holy get me the hell out of here!
About the Author
Martin Allen graduated from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle in 2003 with a Law LL.B (Hons) Exempting L.P.C. Degree. He has worked in many different areas of the Legal Sector and built up a wealth of experience.
Martin enjoys reading and writing Science Fiction but has taken the time to wrote a few Legal pieces, one of which is available in E-Book format through Amazon (The Prosecutor’s Fallacy: The Reliability of DNA and Fingerprint Evidence).
The Phoenix Series is a Science Fiction series set in a world where a Theocracy has come to power. “Phoenix: Penitence” is a short story set in this world. The first Novel “Phoenix: Rising” charts the rise of a new interpretation of the theological teachings of this Empire and the lengths this Empire will go to protect itself from it. The story is told from the point of view of an Imperial Investigator caught in the middle of the Empire’s manoeuvrings. The Prequel, “Phoenix: Ashes” tells the story of the Seven Thousand, part of the mythology of the Empire in Phoenix: Rising and tells their story. “Phoenix: Dark Eagle”, first published by Muddy Boots Press in “6 Points of Contact: An Anthology to Benefit Wounded Veterans” is the origin story of Terenitus Catilina, who will return in the forthcoming “Phoenix: Deliverance”.
Photograph courtesy of http://www.jagjohal.co.uk
Other titles by the Same Author
Phoenix: Penitence (short story)
6 Points of Contact: An Anthology to Benefit Wounded Veterans (An Anthology Containing Phoenix: Dark Eagle)
Residents of Caer Bannog Need Not Apply (short story)
Beorma (short story)