by Karen J Mossman
I love that pictures can tell stories, and this one is about my novelette Play the Game.
At the time I was reading about a footballer and his new girlfriend and I wondered what she thought about going out with someone famous. Did she know him when they first met? Frm there, the beginning of my story came.
Choosing names for the characters came from a TV show Chicago Fire. It was the beginning of the love affair between two characters Stella Kidd and Kelly Severide. Stella is played by Miranda Rae Mayo, and so I named my character Stella Rae because it had a nice ring to it. The male lead I simply called Kelly Ambrose, as that is the middle name of my uncle who I had just spoken to, and it jumped into my mind immediately.
Kelly meets Stella in a hotel. They get talking and he asks her out. The third photograph shows their date. Stella hadn’t been at with anyone for a long time and went into a bit of a panic on whether she could go. She did, but when she glanced at the menu realised she had made a terrible mistake. It was too expensive even when they split the bill. What on earth was she going to do?
The next picture is of a call centre. Many years ago, I worked for an insurance company, taking claims from drivers who’d had an accident. It was a big open plan office where we worked in teams. As I wrote, I based it on the office layout and a team with a mixed bunch of people. Although, I must add, I never suffered the bullying Stella did. It just seemed a good premise for a storyline.
A passion close to Stella’s heart is people who live on the streets, the homeless with nowhere to go, and specifically no money for food. A few times a week, she buys up the cheap bread from supermarkets and makes up sandwiches to hand out to anyone hungry.
It’s dangerous, especially at night, and one day she meets the man in the next photograph and has a terrifying encounter.
Kelly is a footballer and doesn’t want to tell Stella immediately because she seems to like him for who he is, and not the person everyone thinks they know. It is a mistake because when Stella finds out she feels betrayed. It’s another easy excuse for the bullies at work to do their worst once more.
The final picture tells of Stella’s state of mind. Life has not been kind or easy for her. Existing day to day causes her anxiety. She also lives in the hope her dad will return to her and be the dad he always was. Finally, love is what Stella wants to find with Kelly, but when he finds out the real truth about her life, it might just send him running.
This is a brief excerpt about the man with a beard and the encounter in the dark back streets of the city.
“Hello little girl,” said a voice as I tried to wrench my arm back again. He was wearing a tatty black woollen coat with sleeves that were too short, revealing grimy hands. His hair was thick and matted, sticking up like a perm gone wrong. His beard also matted, and his wild eyes told me he was on something. I gasped, my heart racing, my mouth suddenly dry.
“I eat little girls,” he said, stepping out of the darkness as I stepped backwards.
“Let go, please let go,” I whimpered, knowing he wasn’t going to.
“Come with me, little precious.” He pulled me to the black shadows of an old building.
“No, please. Stop! Let go! Let go!” My pleading fell on deaf ears.