Thursday 23 April 2015

Winter Wind

By JB Lacaden 

The only rule in order to stay alive was to never stop walking. 

The snow had stopped pouring down from the rag colored sky but the wind continued to blow relentlessly - howling from morning to night. Its cold fangs pierced through our thick clothing, into our skin, and dug deep into our bones. It drained away what little strength we had left. But we continued on walking. To stop was death. 

We dragged ourselves through snow that reached up to our knees. Everything was a blinding white and the vastness and emptiness of the landscape did little to improve how we felt. 

Our army of three thousand was reduced to a mere twenty survivors. Battle-worn, starving, broken, we shuffled along in a straight line. Survivors from a battle we knew to be doomed from the start. Still, we fought. We charged with swords raised high even though we were outnumbered ten to one. We fought and we lost. Was it wrong of us to flee? Was it wrong to not stay and die for the sake of what we believed? 

The captain, Marcus, led the group. I was positioned in the middle. All of us had only one destination in mind: Home. That’s where we were all headed. The feel of a warm hearth, the taste of good ale, the sound of the sweet, sweet laughter of our children. For these reasons we put one foot in front of the other. By the end of the fourth day, we lost two. One from the wounds he had received another from the cold. They were near the front. I passed by their bodies, crumpled on the ground. Stains in the pristine snow. I offered no second glance, nor a prayer, nor a farewell. I feared if I gave them recognition that Death would set his sights on me. 

We rested huddled together in a tight circle, a small fire burned in the center. Our water came from melted snow and we ate in our dreams. 

We encountered the wolves upon reaching Crichton Woods. Towering redwoods clothed with snow loomed over us. When night fell, we heard a different sort of howling. We first only saw one. Stark, red eyes which hovered in the darkness of the night. Then came another pair, and another, and another. We were surrounded by a pack of twelve. Howling. Growling. Snarling. It took only one of us to panic to set the wolves into a frenzy. Madness ensued. Swords were drawn. Some men reached for swords that were no longer there - long lost in the battle or left in the snow to lighten weight. Some reached for rocks. I saw one or two men running deep into the woods. Others didn't have any time to react as their throats were torn open by yellowed fangs. In the chaos that broke out, I managed to kill two of the beasts. With a dagger tucked in my left boot, I stabbed one in the eye while another in the belly. 

Six of us died. Three went missing. Not one of us mourned. Marcus wordlessly, with heavy breaths, started a fire. We knew what needed to be done. We began skinning the dead animals. 

Our bellies were filled that night. 

On the third day, after getting through Crichton Woods, we were faced with a decision: To continue following the road or to take a detour through a mountain pass, Deadman's Path. The road would take us another twenty days as it snaked around the mountain while the latter would not cost us more than a week. Many were reluctant. We've all heard of the stories. Tales told in pubs. Tales of malignant spirits that guarded the mountains. People took sides. Our group was split. I chose to go through the pass. 

I discovered that the tales were true on the second night in the pass. 

They were there. Lurking at the edge of our senses. 

Never stop walking. 

To stop was death. 

To stop was to be with the wraiths. 

They were the faint voices that whispered to us at the edge of our hearing, they were the stench on each passing of the winter wind, they were the shadows that we saw on the periphery of our vision. They took on many forms. Sometimes they looked like a friend from home, other times they looked like one of our dead brethren, then there were the rare times when they looked like themselves—demons of the mountain. 

We decided to turn back. To follow the road instead. But the wraiths...they had not the opportunity of a meal for quite a long time. They did not allow us an escape. Darkness swallowed up the path behind us. One of us, Garth his name was, looked at us with eyes filled with terror and suddenly ran down the dark path. It didn't take long for us to hear his shrill screams. They echoed off the dark walls of the pass. They were screams pregnant with fear and death. The captain ordered us to continue on marching forward. We followed warily. 

I placed one foot forward, followed by the other one. Each step seemed to be my last, but I pushed on. I pushed on. Then I heard her voice. We all did. It was faint at first but it grew louder with each step I took. 

“Keep moving! Do not look at them!” Marcus shouted. 

We moved on. Still, she continued to call me to come to her. She beckoned me to come home. She begged me to finally rest. Tears slid down my cheeks and they froze on my skin from the wind. My heart wanted to go to my wife but my mind knew it was a lie of the wraiths. I felt so tired. I wanted nothing more than to stop, for everything to be over. 

I closed my eyes. 

“I am sorry, Captain! It was an honor to fight alongside you.” I raised my voice loud enough to be heard over the howling of the wind. 

“Keep on walking, boy!” Marcus replied. “Your wife’s dead! It is not her!” 

I stopped. The men behind me passed me by, their faces hidden by thick hoods. I looked to the side and there she was - Nissa, my wife. She smiled at me and beckoned me to come closer. I did. I ran towards her  and grabbed her in my arms. She smelled of summer and home. I  was home.

From some far off place, I heard someone shouting. Screams of pain and agony tangled with the winter wind. He sounded very much like me. He shouted for help. I did not look to see who it was. I was home.

Thursday 9 April 2015


By Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga

Amid the reeds we watched him strap on his belt, drooping with dagger sheaths, and swing his large sword sheath over one shoulder. It’s when he also lifted an arrow quiver that I made the mistake of letting out a low whistle, promptly leaping out of my hiding place to avoid the fatal thud of an arrow in the muck. Lifting my arms up, I appealed to him with my eyes, wide with genuine fear and the regret of thinking it would be fun to observe him for a while.

“Child spies,” he spat.

He aimed his arrow at the spot I’d erupted from.

“Spies,” he repeated.

Reluctantly, Jenya stood as well, shooting me a glare of scathing reproach before hardening its defiance in the face of the mercenary.

“Who sent you?” He asked.

“Ourselves,” I answered.

Jenya made the faintest of sounds, as if she was being strangled. Her silent scream strummed in my ear. Idiot!

“Right,” the man answered cautiously. Slinging his bow over his other shoulder (so many weapons), he unsheathed a knife and took one step forward, then paused.

“They don’t care about you, do they?” He muttered at length.

“Our parents? They-”

Jenya coughed, a signal that I should stop.

The man glanced from Jenya to me and back again, raising an eyebrow.

“Alright, who’s first?” He asked.

Jenya stiffened, making that faint strangled yelp again. My mouth took this as a chance to test its limits.

“I am! My name is Grin and my friend Jenya and I were venturing into disputed land because I remembered that there was this incredible spring my brother told me about when-”

“-you ran into me and decided to hide?” The mercenary asked with a slight smirk.

“Exactly!” I exclaimed. “And I was wondering just now how you could carry so much on you-”

“That’s enough. Thanks,” the mercenary dismissed. He lifted an eyebrow at Jenya, “Anything to add?”

She muttered something I couldn’t catch. “Speak up,” the soldier ordered.

“He’s an idiot,” she replied.

“Is that so?” The hint of a smile played on the man’s face but it quickly hardened. “Take me to this spring.”

Taking care not to turn my back on him with arms still up, I led him crabwise, asking about his weapons on the way but never getting anything more than a nod and a vague statement.

“How do you carry so much?”

“Yes, they train you.”

“Which one is your favourite?”

“Yes, they’re all useful.”

“Are they heavy?”

“Yes, it depends.”


“And no.”

I shot a confused glance at Jenya but she turned away. The mercenary’s knife loomed closer in warning.

Finally, we parted tall reeds to emerge onto a smooth slab overlooking a large spring, as clear as it was dark. All around it a cascading bank made of jutting slabs of rock and the naked roots of amphibious trees reached into the water. From our vantage point as well as tree branches, we could swing and dive into the depths, emerging when we only had air enough to giggle elatedly at the feat. Hoping to convey this glee, I grinned at the mercenary, “Isn’t it great?”

He lunged with his knife. I was surprised, but quick to slip along the length of his arm and guide it towards the edge while Jenya slunk behind him and kicked him into the water. He landed with a resounding splash, followed by the twittering of startled birds and the whizzing of a dozen arrows amid their rustling feathers. I watched to see how long the bubbles would take to disappear.

We are at war, I remembered my brother say.

Pop went another bubble.

Therefore we are all soldiers.


“This one only lasted five minutes,” I grinned.

Yet Jenya turned away.

Wednesday 8 April 2015


By: Michael Carta

Forty moons have passed since we set out on our voyage. This is the longest that I have ever been at sea. My legs feel weak and ache for land, as does my heart. I strive to prove myself in battle and earn honor as my father and brothers have done before me. Though, fear slowly creeps within like winter’s chill each day I spend rocking back and forth. It is not because I am not afraid to die; I look forward to the day I earn a seat with my ancestors in the halls of Valhalla. Even though to do means that I must die a fearless death in battle. No, I fear that my strength is leaving me and that when the time comes, I will crumble like the waves beneath our ship. This is the life of a soldier for our people, for our legacy. When we reach landfall I pray that the Valkyrie hear our shields clash and watch over us, for they are the angels of death that will carry those worthy to the afterlife. Those worthy… what happens to the others; the unfortunate, the weak? Father’s stories do not speak of them; I will do my best not to find out.

My older brother Hagen, the oldest and strongest of my father’s sons, lead the expedition that founded and established our house in the new northern territory. My father, King Jerrik, believed that Hagen has to earn his inheritance by expanding our dominion to this land known as Finnmark. For several seasons we received envoys packed with goods and livestock acquired from his exploits. Then suddenly, it all stopped and we had no word for many moons. At first we thought Hagen was returning, but as the days passed, father’s face grew colder as his hope faded. There were always rumors of the strange people and creatures in foreign lands, especially in the north. But, Hagen took with him his best soldiers, more than fifty seasoned veterans of battle. A force that some would say could rival Odin himself!  

It was because of the long silence that father decided to send me along with ten others, two of which are my brothers. I am the youngest and the only one not to have tasted actual battle. We are tasked with finding Hagen, or what is left of him and his soldiers. If we do not return from Finnmark, father should abandon this colony and not waste any more lives. Though, his pride is great and he will most likely make the voyage himself with all of our remaining kin to achieve vengeance, or die trying. I doubt his sword will stay idle if he loses his sons before his own passing.  Either way we will be united again soon, as is our destiny.

In a booming voice Vragen shouted, “Awaken!” as he grabbed my shoulders. Instantly, I jumped up as my heart pounded and lost my footing. I landed hard on my back and quickly scrambled to my feet. I was then welcomed by the laugher of the entire crew. Vragen taunted, “You let your guard down by gazing off into the distance while thinking about the warmth of a woman! That will get you eating by the wolves!”  I barked back, “I doubt they would have any appetite left for me after they finished with you. The whole pack would have their fill”. “Hah! You’ve got a quick wit there, keep your mind sharp. Don’t worry; soon your spirit will be as unmovable as Brogiern’s.”  I glanced towards the large shadowy figure of Brogiern towards the rear of the ship; he was as stern and serious as a mountain. He was the oldest out of the group and had silver hair. For a brief moment I think I saw him smirk, that was the only time I ever saw any emotion displayed from him. Vragen helped me to my feet and patted me on the back. “We will make a soldier of you yet, you will see. Try not to lose your sword before we make it to land!” Vragen laughed to himself as he returned to the helm. Soon a wave of seriousness would fall on us all as we prepared for what was to come in our own ways.

Brogiern would solemnly chant in an extremely deep voice prayers of the ancient tongue. Vragen would drink mead until sleep took him. Most of the others either joined Vragen, or sharpened their weapons. I chose to lay back and look up at the sky while listening to Brogeirn’s voice. There was something calming about his voice that helped me to relax. That was when the rain started. For the next two days it would persist, it was impossible to stay dry. I spent my time at the bow of the ship peering onward through the gloom of the sea’s mist. The days were nearly as dark as night and with the rain it was hard to tell the difference. My heart stopped when a thick blankness began to emerge in the distance. Was it real? Was it Jormungandr, the sea serpent father warned about that took his brother and all of this ships many years ago? A swift breeze swept away the fog and the blankness doubled in size. I stood up quickly and reached for my sword.

Vragen’s hand caught me at the wrist as I gripped my sword. Before I had a chance to shout, he covered my mouth with his other hand. As I struggled, he sharply whispered, “Quiet, my brother! –not yet! It’s just land, but it would be best for us to remain unnoticed… there are more dangerous things than man in these parts.” His grip released as a wave of relief and anticipation rushed over me. We made it, finally, land.   

What happened next, I can only remember in pieces. We reached the shore which was only a few yards leading up to a thick, dark forest of wretched old trees. I remember how strong my legs felt once they finally stood on solid land, I felt so grounded that I could not help but lunge and jump a few times. Next, I remember my head throbbing with pain and Brogeirn charging past me at an incredible pace. He had several black arrows protruding from him; the one in his neck was very wet from his thick blood. The arrows were like flies on a horse, he paid them no mind. I then remember blackness and hearing Vragen shouting my name, I could not respond, my limbs were too heavy to move. His voice was drifting farther and farther away until I could only hear the sound of footsteps around me. That is all. I then awoke in this moody pit with my hands bound in a poorly crafted wooden cage next to you, stranger from a distance land. You mumble and sleep often and I know you cannot understand me, but I must tell someone of my journey; so that I will not be forgotten like the failed crop discarded. They toss scraps of food down once a day, what will become of us? Or, is it that I am already dead, but failed to gain the Valkyrie’s favor?  Have I missed my chance for Valhalla and to see my brethren again? Hah, such is the life of a soldier for our people, for our legacy…

Wednesday 1 April 2015


Diana Gitau

I couldn't wait for my book launch party. It had taken me six years to write a second book and this party would be a celebrations of those years. My editors were excited and assured me that it would be a bestseller like my first book.I couldn’t wait to be on the spotlight again. My first book had brought me recognition, TV and radio appearances, speaking engagements and travel around the world for book signing. The fame had given me a high that kept me longing for my next fix.

After the success of the book, people asked or rather demanded for another book. My editor kept pushing me and the fans asked for more. After a while, they got tired of waiting and turned against me. I read online comments where I was referred to as a one hit wonder. People asked whether I had written the first book or used a ghost writer. By the third year, the attention stopped. Nobody recognized me on the streets anymore. I thirsted for the attention and wanted to have the fame back. Still, I couldn’t get my second book out fast enough.

Five years after my first book, I met Marco and we got married. Shortly afterwards, I published my second book. I had found my muse in Marco. He was older, well traveled, exotic and he inspired me. Marco was the only man that I had ever been with and he opened my eyes to the world. With this awakening, I got back to the keyboard and words just seemed to flow effortlessly. Rebirth was the new book’s title. It was my ticket back to fame. My life seemed perfect at that moment.

A week to the book launch party, I got this nasty persistent cough that made me feel weak. I tried all the home remedies but it still wouldn’t go away. I rushed to the doctor’s office eager to get rid of my little problem. Little did I know that my life was just about to take a huge turn?
I remember sitting at the doctor’s office after my tests were back. I absentmindedly stared at him as he sympathetically tried encouraging me. He said something about medication for the rest of my life but I was hardly listening. Living positively is what he called it.

“Your spouse will need to be tested too.”For the first time since the test, I thought of Marco, my handsome husband, my muse.

 HIV had such finality to it and this being a society that stigmatized everyone with HIV, it really did sound like the end for me. The doctor explained that I could have gotten it through numerous ways but I still couldn’t believe that I had gotten it. Things like that don’t happen to people like me. Life seemed so unfair; everything that I had worked for meant nothing at the moment.

At home, I couldn’t bring to tell Marco but a million questions ran through my mind. Did he know? If he didn’t know, am I the one who had brought it to him? Where could I have gotten the infection from? I couldn’t bring myself to thinking that he had strayed out our marriage and brought home the infection. I started thinking about his travels, could it be that he was bored? We had only been married for a few months. I watched him prepare our dinner as usual. All I saw was Marco, my muse who had brought me back to life. How could he be the one who was taking that life away at the same time? He was cheerful as usual, going about life oblivious to the fact that we had just received what I considered to be our death sentence. 

Zombie-like, I went through the motions of preparing for the party. Nevertheless, no matter what the doctors said, I couldn’t stop thinking about dying. I assumed that everyone saw the same thing when they looked at me. Rebirth may turn out to be a best seller after all because it will forever be that book written by that writer who had HIV.

I felt people staring at me a little bit longer than usual. They must have known my status and just like me were probably trying to guess how I got infected. I could feel the pity from their stares and their fear. I was contiguous with a deadly disease. People probably thought that any contact from me would get them infected.

I remember going to my favorite coffee shop a day after finding out about my status. I had always been fond of the attendant at that shop but that day, I noticed that she was a little too quick in serving me. Did she see it too? Was it the only thing that everyone saw?

On the day of the book launch, I chose not to wear the beautiful expensive red gown that I had bought for the occasion. It felt futile to dress up whistle having one foot in the grave. I thought that everyone would see through it all and laugh at my attempts at being normal. I had lost a considerable amount of weight since my diagnosis because of the stress. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to take my medication. It was pointless to try and get better, I was dying anyway. 

People congratulated me on the new book, they fawned upon me and the reporters milled around taking photos.

“Are you okay?”

They kept asking all evening. I knew they could see it, the concern was feigned but secretly they were all judging me. I was angry at the world and at them all. I didn’t deserve that. I never slept around, I exercised, ate healthy, went to church every Sunday. I was a good girl and I was the one being punished.

“Would you like to sit down, you don’t look so well?”

I couldn’t live the rest of my life like that, people treating me like an invalid one minute and the next; keeping their distance afraid that they may catch what I had. I sat down and watched them. They kept their distance alright and whispered.

At some point, tired and frustrated, I stumbled into the bathroom grateful for the escape. I walked to the mirror afraid of looking at myself and seeing the transformation. Hesitantly, I lifted my head and finally faced the woman looking back at me. Nothing had changed. My hair was still dark, long and silky like it had always been. My skin was the same. There was no label on my forehead identifying me by my illness.
Yet, the only thing that was quite visible was the anger and sadness masking my face. My eyes looked sunken and lifeless. Even I was scared of looking at the woman in the mirror. Her lips curled up in a snarl with an ugly frown which creased her whole face. She looked ready to fight the world though not what was afflicting her. For the first time since my diagnosis, I found out why everyone had changed towards me.

I was not defined by status. 

This realization hit me as I sadly looked back at the past week. Here I was on my big day but instead I was wallowing in self pity judging myself and expecting everyone else to judge me too. I was pushing people away before they turned on me. I had stopped living before my death. I didn’t want to be that weak, defeated person anymore.

I stood up straight, fixed my makeup and went back to the party, forcing myself to relax and smile. Like a charm; I felt the warmth around me. When I smiled, people naturally smiled back at me. The universe was giving me back exactly what I was giving out.

Saving Brodsy

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2015

Dedicated to Ms Louise Dorothy Kathleen Fraser, ‘Brodsy’, the big sister that I’ve always wanted.

I think that my friend of longest standing is slowly becoming mentally ill. In fact I would say that I’m virtually certain of it, recognising in her the same signs that burgeoned into my own schizophrenia at the age of nineteen. She’s twenty-five now, the same age as me. Her name is Layla Demeter Kathleen Frances, but assures me that her name belies her ancient English heritage. I’ve nicknamed her Brodsy because, like Franz Kafka’s editor, Max Brod, she’s always been my editor, since I began writing at the age of five and a half. Indeed, her editing invariably allows me to reasonably compete with my fellow writers in the struggle for publication.
     Whatever has made Brodsy and I close since we first clung to each other outside preschool, upon our very first arrival there, remains unknown to both of us. I guess it’s just one of those things. Like I said she’s twenty-five now, with a husband and two young children, and she remains as my chosen editor. I sometimes point out to her that we’ve always been naturally very close but she usually doesn’t reply, and the times she does deign to do so it’s always with a cliché whilst looking downwards.
     And it’s this very closeness between the both of us that has showed me signs in her similar to those that I had before I first ended up in Rozella Psychiatric Hospital: joking about being telepathic, earnestly arguing bizarre theories or perspectives upon life, talking non sequiturs, having sleep disturbances. This last is the most serious as it can easily snowball out of control, sometimes resulting in suicide. But, yeah, Layla, she too may be developing schizophrenia. It certainly looks like it.
     Thus, the first thing upon awaking this morning, the last day of Sydney’s hottest summer on record, 2015, I’ve decided Layla needs serious help. Layla needs an Intervention. I’ll be back with greater detail.


The Intervention ended two hours ago. It took only three days to get together. It went well. It wasn’t hard to round up mutually concerned friends and Layla has always been a reasonable person. When she saw the plethora of anecdotal evidence laid out against her she was quite willing that we had a certain point. And, she admitted, she’d been feeling often confused herself over the past several months, generally not well, like part of her foundations had been kicked out from under her. And since every family has some level of mental illness in their genes there was possibly schizophrenia in Brodsy’s. The net result is that she’s agreed to see a doctor about it and get any treatment that s/he prescribes. A good result for all.
     But something completely unexpected has happened: Layla has told me that she’s addicted to heroin. Not even her husband, Ovie, a generous Bangladeshi young gentleman, knows this secret. She respects him too much to risk his bad or lowly opinion of her. She’s only allowed me to reveal it to you, dear reader, in hindsight. She asked me to stay behind after the Intervention and revealed the heroin as the real reason she’d been acting flaky lately: she’s been trying to quit it for seven months, on her own, first trying it about two years ago at one of her girlfriends’ place. She tried it because she felt that she could really do with some nice, powerful relaxation as a result of bringing up two boisterous boys. She wanted to seek help through her parents to quit the junk – she couldn’t afford the inevitable more and more regular shots - but it would be a big admission of her immaturity, her short-sightedness. They might also cut off her generous allowance, a Godsend with a young family in expensive Sydney. Her parents would also never forgive the disrepute. And admitting it to our other friends would do nothing but bring up a wall, all parties aware of the fundamentally different mindsets. She could only trust me to help her now in her desperation. I told her she must tell Ovie, getting the aid he avowed her on their wedding day, and that all three of us would fight the heroin with her. She was sure to win now. She looked down again and muttered a cliché.
     And since I’ve always been quick witted I instantly saw a possible solution: Ovie and I will give up the smokes while Layla gives up the heroin. We’ll all fight our good fight with each other at hand, able in any emergency. It should work.
     Layla instantly saw the possibilities and we are now off to collect her husband from work, to tell him all the news and to enlist his sure aid. I’ve never seen Layla happier.


Why Layla found it relatively straightforward to give up the junk is explained by her doctors as a natural desire to look after her children as best she can. She has realised that her young ones are naturally far important than being zonked out to the world.  Quitting the heroin has now made Layla a more properly attendant mother, each child symbolising her conquest of a serious addiction and being extra attentive to them is a wish to revel in that conquest.
     I, on the other hand, am not doing so well, and hereby reveal such to you, Layla. Giving up the smokes was easy enough for the first two days but on the third I made a sneaky deal with myself, one that would allow me to smoke but still keep you on track. I promised myself that if I awoke every morning at 1am I could have just three cigarettes, spaced out over an hour or two. I chose this way for a sneaky smoke because it would leave absolutely no evidence, scent-wise, stain-wise, breath-wise, and I could still have a smoke without endangering you, good Layla.
     I awoke this morning feeling the abomination of this lie and promise to return to you, dear Layla, once I have had a doctor straighten me out.


On a whim at the doctor’s I had had myself checked for emphysema. Boy, was I surprised when I was told the results were positive. I didn’t ask her how long I have to live. I feel sure that I can cheat the odds some way. I’ve always been very smart.
     Actually, as I write this, the solution, the cheating of the odds that I’m looking for, has just come to me. I just need to move into The Blue Mountains and with some regular breathing exercises and a healthy fitness regime I should live as long as expected in the much easier air. And if I don’t at least I will have had a high quality of life before I go. My next entry when I’m in The Blue Mountains.


I’ve been here in The Blue Mountains only three weeks, having smoked only a few cigarettes over that time, and it’s only been honour that made me reveal to Brodsy, yesterday, when she visited me here for the first time, that I’ve got a plan for committing suicide elegantly, opening my wrists in a warm bath. I’ve begun entertaining thoughts of suicide as a way to grab back the hold on my own life, taking it firmly in hand, away from the emphysema, living and ending it where I want. Of course, I could just be very lonely up here all on my own, my life dripping slowly and irrevocably away. Suicide certainly is some control. But no. No.
     And borrowing a leaf from my book, Layla came up with a solution straight away, a way for me to keep from killing myself: her own family and I can rent a place, one large family, with an Uncle who has to chip in nothing but the occasional child minding.
     It sounds like a good arrangement to me. Thus, at a local pizza place tonight, Layla, Ovie, and I are going to plan a new family, one where we’ll all be safe. I’m looking forward to it.


If you've been enjoying Denis' stories here his previous such stories, from September 2013 to February 2015, are also available as a Kindle book, Amongst the Ways of God, at, which also includes several completely new ones. You may also enjoy his debut novel, This Mirror in Me, which tells the story of how Tonia achieves her life's fundamental aim of having her home as a social hub, by staring at herself in the mirror. It is also available as a Kindle book at Denis also has a short non-fiction book available, King Street Blues, which is an encouraging tale of Denis' willfully chosen five years of homelessness in the inner cities of Sydney and Melbourne. It too is available as a Kindle book at If you don't have a Kindle you can download the Kindle app for free onto your smartphone, tablet, or computer through your local app store.