Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose and poetry

January’s Guest Storyteller, David Milligan-Croft

David Milligan-Croft
David was shortlisted for the Independent on Sunday Short Story Competition in 1997. His short story, Woman’s Best Friend, also appears in the IOS New Stories published by Bloomsbury. His poetry has been widely published in Ireland, Britain and the US in anthologies and poetry journals. David is the author of six feature-length screenplays, a collection of short stories, a poetry collection, two stories for children, and his first novel, Love is Blood. He has just finished his second novel, Peripheral Vision.

Blog: http://thereisnocavalry.wordpress.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thereisnocavalry
Love is Blood is available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

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Sarah says: Welcome to my blog, David, and thank you so much for being my first guest storyteller for 2015. This January is somewhat of a celebration, as it’s exactly a year since I began this  monthly guest slot, which started out as an experiment but has really taken off.

Below, you can read an excerpt from David’s latest novel, Peripheral Vision, about a young boy blinded by his father and his subsequent descent into a life of crime and drugs.

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When I came round, the smell of detergent seared my nostrils. I was looking up at a white, paint-peeled ceiling and a buzzing neon strip light. But something wasn’t quite right about this picture. As though I could only see half of it. Gently, I put my fingers to my left eye and felt soft fabric.

“Hey, here he is,” said my mother, in a voice as soft as the bandages. “How you doing, champ?”

I made a small smile but I felt very drowsy. There was a rakish ringing in my left ear and a burning sensation like someone had inserted a red-hot needle into the left edge of my eye socket.

“You’ll be right as rain in no time.” It was my dad’s voice but I couldn’t see him as he was standing at the left hand side of the bed. I saw my mum cast him a malevolent glance. I caught a glimpse of the side of her face. Her left eye was purple and yellow. She turned back to me and her expression immediately returned to one of radiance. Her beautiful long, black hair was tied up in a bun on the top of her head. She was a vision, my mother. Her cobalt blue eyes sparkled, glassy with tears. She reached out and took my right hand between her palms. They were warm and comforting.

“As soon as we get you out of here we’ll go off on a day trip. How does that sound?” she whispered.

It sounded fine, I thought.

“How about Blackpool? Or Bridlington? Which do you prefer? It’s your choice,” she said.

“How come he gets to choose?” It was Jed’s voice. I didn’t realize he was in the room.

“Oh, shut up!” Mum spat, as she turned to a space over to my blind spot. Is that it? Am I blind? I was trying to remember what happened. There was an argument, I think. Dad – moving fast toward me. My legs like jelly. Nothing.

“What happened?” My throat hurt when I spoke. Like I’d swallowed broken glass.

“It was an accident,” Dad said a little too swiftly.

There’s that glance again from Mum.

“You fell and banged your head on the sideboard,” Mum said.

Oh, yes, now I remember. “Dad hit me,” I slurred.

“No I didn’t!” he snapped. “You’d pissed your pants!”

A snigger from Jed.

“I shoved you to get you up to the toilet. And, and when you turned around, you slipped and fell.” This was Dad’s defence.

Perhaps it was because I couldn’t see him that I felt brave enough to defy my father, but something didn’t quite stack up in my confused mind. “If I turned to go upstairs wouldn’t I have banged my right eye on the sideboard?” I said, directing the question to my mother.

She smiled sweetly and closed her eyes in a slow, slow blink, inhaling deeply. When she opened them again they were cast toward Dad, awaiting a response, but none was forthcoming. I could tell by my mother’s smug expression that she was pleased with my question and the lack of response it had elicited from my father.

I spent three weeks in hospital while they monitored my fractured skull. Well, it was my eye socket really, but they classed it as my skull, which made it sound a lot more dramatic than it actually was. To be honest, I was glad to be out of the place. I had a numb bum from being in bed all day and there’s only so much jelly and ice cream a kid can eat.

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You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at https://sarahpotterwrites.com/guest-storytellers-2/

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27 thoughts on “January’s Guest Storyteller, David Milligan-Croft

  1. Thank you for having me, Sarah. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great excerpt, this really hooked me in to the story and the character – he seems to have great spirit, which leads me to wonder what happens to him to lead him to live the life he eventually does.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah, delighted to see David featuring. One of my super heroes!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for introducing David to us Sarah, I really enjoyed reading his excerpt from his novel which leaves me wanting to know what happens next, the cast of characters already formed in my mind! Great writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • David’s a great writer (and character!) heralding from Yorkshire. Over the course of 2014, he ran a series of posts on his blog under the title of “Things for which I’m Grateful” of which there were 365! It was such an interesting series and so good to read the words that expressed gratitude in a world where so many people take things for granted.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What a great idea, it really is so important isn’t it remember to be grateful for all those so-called small things we so often take for granted. I must get over to David’s blog and had meant to before now but now that I’m back to blogging and writing hopefully I can do all those things I said I was going to do 🙄 Yorkshire is a wonderful part of the world, I’ve visited a few times (my mum was born in York but moved down south when she was an infant). I look forward to paying David a visit 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Nicely written and well chosen excerpt with just the right amount of intrigue and character play. I like the idea of a blog titled “Things for which I’m Grateful” and I’ll have to go check that out. 365 is quite an achievement too.

    And congrats on your Guest Storyteller slot 1 year anniversary too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The blog itself is titled “There Is No Cavalry” but the series of posts were to do with gratitude. I think you’ll find plenty to enjoy reading on his blog, so well worth a lengthy visit!

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      • I’ve been browsing David’s blog posts and I’m impressed at the dedication, and inspired by the thanks he’s given, and though I couldn’t hope to pen 365 posts, perhaps a weekly gratitude post isn’t such a bad idea.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I guess you write quite lengthy posts, Dave, and I admire you for having so much to say! So if you wrote 365 of that length in a year, you’d probably have a word count equivalent to a novel 🙂 My posts are usually quite short, therefore there are a lot of them. David’s posts falls somewhere between the two in length. It’s really down to what you feel comfortable with doing and what fits around the rest of your life, time and commitment wise. And how fast a writer you are, which I am not (used to be super-fast, but have become more ponderous with age).

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  6. it’s a powerful piece that makes me want to know what will happen to them!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Many, many thanks for your kind words of encouragement. As writers, you’ll all know how important that is. Thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Would anyone mind if I quoted their comments on my own blog in the near future? Obviously, I’d put a link through to your blog, Sarah, to say where they came from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You could reblog the post onto your blog and then refer to other people’s comments here, in a comment of your own that’s attached to the reblog. The majority of my guest storytellers have reblogged, so their own followers don’t miss the novel extract or piece of flash fiction posted over at mine. I know we share quite a few followers, David, but probably not all!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on Thereisnocavalry and commented:
    Hear’s a sneaky peek excerpt from my latest novel, Peripheral Vision, which appeared on the blog, Sarah Potter Writes, a couple of days ago.

    Feel free to get your orders in early! 🙂

    Thank you to Sarah for asking me to be this month’s guest storyteller.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Giving Thanks # 1 – My genes | Dave Farmer

  11. I’ve read this excerpt from Peripheral Vision several times — by the way, thank you to Sarah for introducing all these talent writers to me and your other readers — and it seemingly gets better, darker, more masterful and more harrowing each time. Wow, Mr. Milligan-Croft, you’ve deftly painted a narrative with an economy of words where I, honestly, would struggle with multiple paint cans, palettes, canvases and brushes. Love is Blood is a darn good title as well. Would love to read more of the novel(s).

    Liked by 2 people

  12. A wonderful excerpt. Dark, edgy, yet a light within young “Champ’s” spirit. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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