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Sean J Halford

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About Sean J Halford

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    Cape Town, South Africa
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    pretty much a lot...

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  1. Sean J Halford


    Glad you liked it! I think I may expand it into a novel...
  2. Sean J Halford


    Haha, I'm not sure even I know what happened. What did you think happened?
  3. Sean J Halford


    Thanks was a little diversion to get rid of some writer's block. I was challenged to write erotica without a single expletive and keep it oblique. Never underestimate the importance of negative space, as it were, I guess...
  4. Sean J Halford


    As Alfred Hitchcock said, "Torture the audience as much as possible". 😂😂 Thanks for reading.
  5. Sean J Halford


    You like me when I'm on you without warning. You like me raw, rough, unbidden. You like me straight after I’ve come back from a run, from a game, from a day in the fields, the sweat still streaming down my face, so that when my skin touches yours there is that second where our bodies are in free-fall, sliding, slowing, stiffening, sticking together. You like me folding my arms around you. I like that too. But lately you don’t let me explore the way I like to, tracing the veins trailing down your neck down to the crevasse where your throat plunges into your chest. You don’t let me plough my thumbs across your curves into the little empty pool of your navel, halting there as my fingers reach down without thinking to read the parts of you I cannot see. No. You curl your fingers into my palms so fiercely your nails leave marks for days. My hands are pushed to your sides, all I can do is hold, and hold I do, because even as you push yourself against me I feel something pulling you away. I cannot caress. I cannot touch. I cannot stroke or play or cuddle. Even when I lean in to kiss, you only let me brush against your cheek, the rasp of my stubble marking you like a stain as your skin flushes. All you want is the rhythm, the rhythm, the awful rocking rhythm, it’s an infernal gallop to a place that’s at once hell and heaven and no-one knows who is the horse or the rider. It’s then when I sense her on you. Sometimes its a phantom scent of the strangest of things: ink and chalk; a teacher, did you say? But you’re so clever, you’ve got me; even as the thought begins to me paralyse you’ve guided me into that space where I might as well never feel anything ever again. Harder, you say. Faster, you cry. Don’t let up. Don’t stop. I don’t want it like this, but I want you more, so I do what you say. I close my eyes and imagine it’s slower, and softer, and still, so still, like the very first time, all those years ago... but now I have to latch on for dear life onto this thing we’ve become, this thing that’s bigger and uglier and can break apart into so many pieces at any moment. It’s then when I find my hands travelling up again, up, up, up, until they’re again around your neck, and I know I could squeeze right now and all this rush would come to an end... there, just as the horror starts to gnaw at me you’re crying do it, do it, do it, and I know there’s no point but to yield to the rush because you’re already gone, arching and screaming and shuddering as my knees give in and I slump into a pool of sweat and drool on the damp cement floor, and then—and only then—am I the way you love me.
  6. Sean J Halford


    The collisions of minds are far dangerous than those of our bodies.
  7. Sean J Halford

    Chapter 6

    I'm as interested as you are lol as I have no idea where it's going to go! But that's part of the joy (and terror) of writing... very chuffed though that people seem to be enjoying things!
  8. Sean J Halford

    Chapter 5

    Thank you, I'm glad you like it. I was worried my style has been a bit more experimental with this story—I've been trying to achieve a balance between stream-of-consciousness and deep point of view, which may seem two conflicting approaches, but can dovetail very effectively in some of the YA novels I've loved. Stephen Chbosky does this really well in "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" for example. Put it this way: Jake has a lot of growing up to do, but his default narrative voice is set as an adult one who is looking back, if that makes sense.
  9. Sean J Halford

    Chapter 4

    Glad you were able to follow the breadcrumbs! It's always a balance to keep it subtle and not too obvious.
  10. Sean J Halford

    Chapter 6

    Thank you. Jake has a lot of growing up to do, as I'm sure you've surmised. Now to sort out plot threads before I write myself into a corner!
  11. Sean J Halford

    Chapter 6

    Probably two weeks *runs and hides* perhaps. I'll PM you the reason why.
  12. Sean J Halford

    Chapter 6

    Not too long, I promise. But I need to sort out a few plot threads. Besides, don't all good seasons of a TV series end on a cliffhanger to entice viewers to watch the next one? 😂
  13. Hey there... it's been a while :)

  14. Sean J Halford

    Chapter 6

    As I walked up to the party, it felt like I was boarding a cruise ship. The house floated in the night, a gaudy wedding cake, lit up garishly against the black skies. Three drunk guys, arms linked and stumbling around, formed a moving Cerberus as I entered the vestibule. A Goth girl with purple Doc Martens was slumped against the wall. She looked me up and down while taking slow drags from a roll-up cigarette. I recognised Pearl Jam throbbing from the living room. There must have been at least sixty people at the party. There were a lot of guys with beards, or at least callow attempts at them. The cool crowd formed the body of a starfish whose arms radiated out from the centre of the house to various acmes of weirdness, the back garden; the pool; up the stairs. The music was too loud . I inhaled a fog of stale smoke and beer as a tall young man in a trenchcoat thrust a plastic cup of something warm and fizzy in my hand. “Thanks,” I muttered. “Party on dude!” he whooped. “Haven’t seen you on campus!” “I’m not at varsity,” I muttered. “Way out,” he said, not listening, and disappeared into the throng. I took a sip: the beer was warm and bitter; it made me gag. I craned my neck about, trying to see if Graeme or Liam were somewhere. I hadn’t been able to get hold of them earlier, and I felt lost. I heard a series of squeals in the distance, a squeal that sounded strangely familiar. I followed the noise, pushing my way past staggering partygoers and couples shaking their heads to the music. The pool was lit with floating candles and half-submerged leis of frangipani. And, there, in the cyan water, surrounded by flowers, was the goddess. Elaine was in an actual swimsuit this time, shrieking with laughter as a large hairy boy splashed her with water and grabbed her by the waist. “Bevan! No!” Bevan guffawed, the sound a bear might make if it could laugh, and launched her towards the deep end. A couple of people sat around the pool, nursing cocktails as their feet dangled in the water. Elaine surfaced and wiped her wet hair out of her eyes. She caught my eye, and I raised my hand in a limp wave towards her. She squinted, then turned around and swam towards Bevan. I felt betrayed. Maybe she was so drunk that she couldn’t remember. Perhaps she and Bevan would crawl upstairs and have sloppy sex she’d only have a dim memory of the next day. It might be something that might come up years later in therapy, when the big water-bear had raked up double-figures of vodka-soaked girls before marrying a teacher and fathering three strapping boys. I huffed and sat down at the edge of a deck chair in the corner. “Cigarette?” The Goth girl I’d seen at the entrance held out a packet of Gitanes. “I’d roll you one but I’ve run out of half-zware. I only have these.” “No thanks. What the hell is half-zware?” “Dutch tobacco. You sure you don't want something? "I don't want to get cancer." "Aren’t you a well-behaved one.” “I’m...” She leaned towards me, eyes angelic, in stark contrast to the pale demons that possessed her complexion. “We’re outsiders, you and me. I just come to watch the people.” “Do you know anybody here?” “Not really,” she said. “I’ve seen some of them on campus. Something tells me you’re not a varsity student.” “Is it that obvious?” She sighed, then held out a black-clawed hand. She brushed a cold finger across my left cheek, and stared at a drying smudge of blood that contaminated her fingertip. “You nicked yourself shaving, little fish.” “Little fish?” “Your shirt.” I was wearing a T-shirt with a Japanese goldfish print emblazoned on the front. “You know, if you were in the ocean now you’d be toast. Sharks can smell one in a million parts of blood.” I bristled a bit, and chugged down more of the beer, a last-ditched attempt to display my masculinity. “I’m not going to eat you,” she said in a bored voice. “I’m Cassie, by the way. You? Something Biblical, I bet.” “Jacob,” I said, wide-eyed. “Why are you here, Jacob?” “Some girls invited me and my friends. That girl in the pool, Elaine...” “Oh, that chickie? She’s in my economics class but not too bright. Though everyone’s stupid these days. How does she know a schoolboy?” “I, um…” “You don’t fool me. I know you’re still at school.” I wondered how to relate the whole naked swimming malarkey to this kohl-smeared oracle of the underworld, when she spoke again. “It’s nice out here,” I said instead, looking about, relieved to feel a slight breeze on my face. “I wouldn’t go into that crowd if someone paid me. And the music’s become… I don’t know. It’s just creeping me out.” I frowned. Nirvana was on again, the same song I’d been mainlining for a week now. With the lights out, it’s less dangerous “Don’t you like grunge?” “I do, but he’s not gonna be around for long.” Here we are now, entertain us! “Who?” “Cobain. Give it a few months.” “Don’t talk like that,” I said, stifling a shiver. “Believe me, don’t believe me, you’ll see. I’ve got some Tarot cards. Would be interesting to read yours.” All my Catholic genes engaged themselves. I imagined my chromosomes folding into pointy crosses, not the usual flouncy X's we’d seen on rickety 16mm film during biology class. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea.” I knew of only a few cards in the Major Arcana. When I was nine, I’d thumbed through some of a Rider-Waite deck at the esoteric bookshop on Sullivan Street. The first card I picked was The Tower, followed by The Devil, and then The Hanged Man. I panicked and ran out, reciting Psalm 91 over and over in my head. It took a while to stop obsessing about the picture of the horned man with the glowing eyes. “It’s just a suggestion,” said Cassie. A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido I thought back to Grandpa reciting the story of how he and some friends tried playing glassy-glassy during the war. He swore a mirror cracked in the house and they stopped immediately. He’d even written a rhyming couplet about it that for once freaked me out – Oh what a smiling demon might portend / When you predict a lone soul’s messy end – “No thanks.” When the two kids drowned themselves in the lake, there had been a general panic about Satanism. Under every bridge wayward children were said to be holding black masses and sacrificing small animals. We never saw anything, and in the whole town only our neighbour’s cat went missing for a few days, found safely in the branches of a plane tree and rescued by yes, a fireman. “Suit yourself,” said Cassandra. “But I’m always right. And I know you’re worrying about your friends now.” “Stop that,” I said. “It’s weird.” “Let me put you out of your misery. There were two other boys I saw earlier that looked as lost as you. Maybe those were your friends?” “A red-haired guy and a bigger blond one?” “That would be them,” she said, lighting up one of the Gitanes and blowing the smoke out through her nose so that she looked like a monochrome dragon. My eyes widened and I got up. “I wish you wood stay though. You seem more intelligent than all the other morons around here.” “Um.” “Come back later, then, if you want.” I had to get away from this witch, this Queen of Sharks, this Umbriel that orbited Neptune. I was a little comet about to be sucked into her gravity. I had to get out. “I think I’m going to find them.” “I saw them go upstairs earlier, if that helps.” “Thanks.” “Bye, little fish,” she said, as I walked away. “Be careful now.” I turned to face her. “The sea is deep, Jacob. Deeper than you think.” My hand went to the spot where Cassie had touched me, and the little spot stung. Elaine and Bevan were still horsing around in the pool. As I entered the house the crowd of people was denser now. I squeezed myself into the labyrinth of sweaty bodies. It seemed like an age before I found purchase on the banister and pulled myself up. I was giddy, even though I’d only had one beer. I felt unsteady as I ascended; each step was like the rung of a ladder. The crowd thinned out by the time I was halfway up, until I turned into a corridor. Two girls, giggling and holding hands, flitted past me. I walked up and down. “Graeme? Liam?” I called, but even here, my voice had to compete with Kurt Cobain’s. They were playing all of the Nevermind album and they were now at Come As You Are. There was no answer. I sighed, feeling deserted. Then I noticed a weak light splash onto the carpet from a door at the end of the corridor, only just ajar. I walked towards it and hesitated at the threshold. “Hello?” I heard a series of guffaws and mumblings. Screw it, I thought, and walked in. They were on the bed, kissing. Liam’s shirt was off and Graeme was rutting against him. “What the fuck?” “Shit!” Liam yelled and sprang up. He shoved Graeme away so hard that he toppled back and hit his head against the wall, coming to a rest slumped on the carpet. “Fucking faggot!” Liam hissed and ran out of the room. I stared at Graeme, who was alternately rubbing the back of his head and staring in stupefied wonder at the blood on his hands.
  15. Sean J Halford

    Chapter 5

    The grandparents didn’t say anything when I stumbled into their hallway half an hour later. Someone must have called and told them, because Grandpa just gave me a hug and walked back ito his study and put on some Mozart.I ran back into my dad’s old room and starfished myself on the bed, trying to inhale the linen. It smelled musty, of my sweat from the previous night and the mothballs that lived permanently in the closet. I could smell Graeme's awful hair gel too, and something else... something at once bright and dark. A little while later I felt the door creak open and sensed someone standing over me. Grandma was holding out a mug of tea and a plate of rusks. I rubbed my eyes. “Come, Jakey, have this. You’ll feel better.” I sat up, and took the tea and rusks from her in silence. She sat down beside me. “Do you want to talk?” “I don’t know.” “I know this is hard for you, but you should know that your mom and dad love you very much.” I was furious that there wasn’t any tone of anger in her voice. “How can you sound so calm?” I snapped. “Dad’s your son. And now my mom’s gone and—” “Of course I love your father; he’s my child,” she said slowly. “But it’s not for me to judge. I… I’ve been in a place where… well, people have problems. And none of this is your fault.” Problems. My mother and father were officially having Problems. A fucking huge Problem. People were going to be talking. I was living in one of Grandma’s stupid soap operas. “Can I be alone, please?” “Of course, sweetheart.” Twilight crept through the louvres. Part of me wanted to go and bash my head against the wall so I could wake up in an alternate universe. I knew this was not a dream, but some shitty fork of space-time I’d been unlucky enough to end up in. There were other versions of my life where Mom hadn’t gone and had an affair, where I was captain of the lacrosse team, and where Dad was home early every day. I dived under the covers and tried to hide. The dark-bright scent hit me again, and I flinched. I'd recognised Liam—the citrus of his cologne, the salt of his sweat. I shot up and walked downstairs to the phone in the hallway and dialled Graeme's house. Mrs Solomon answered in her nicotine-cracked voice. “Hello Mrs Solomon, it’s Jake. Is Graeme there?” “Jacob, dear. I’m sorry, you just missed him. He went out with a friend of yours. I thought you’d be with them?” “Oh? Who?” “Some boy called Liam. Is everything all right?” “It’s fine... thanks.” I tried not to slam down the phone. My brain twisted with fury: what the hell was Graeme doing with Liam? And why wasn’t he there for me now, when my mother had had an affair with someone and was now carrying his child? Why was a jock associating with two of the biggest nerds in the school? And why in God’s name was I feeling so pissed off that the two of them were hanging out together? It never bothered me when Graeme hung out with Jess Fulham with her eyebrow ring and patchouli incense even though fuck knows why they had anything in common. I forced down scrambled eggs and toast, trying to watch TV in the lounge. Grandpa had passed out with Pish-Tush in his lap, snoring loudly, while Grandma worried away at some sewing. Everybody was acting like they were munitions experts trying to defuse a bomb as delicately as possible. And nothing exploded, which was a million times worse. I stayed on the couch when they eventually went to bed. As silence washed over the house my eye settled on the drinks cabinet, a bowl of lemon slices slowly withering where Grandma had poured her customary gin and tonic earlier in the evening. I stared at the rows of bottles, most of them unopened, gifts from visitors over the years: Cointreau, Chartreuse, Benedictine, Advocaat. A dusty bottle of Jack Daniels nestled in the corner. I picked it up. It was heavy. The amber liquid inside was a viscous oil. Manly, grown-up, distilled testosterone. Why not. It was right at the back of the cabinet and I doubted they’d miss it. I slipped out through the kitchen door and walked slowly to the edge of the woods. I opened the bottle and raised it to my mouth. The whisky was a liquid dragon. It burned in all directions, blinding me, igniting my throat and mouth and nose. I didn’t care. I chugged it down until I gagged, which was only a few mouthfuls in. I puked in the delphiniums and collapsed onto my back. The trees became ghouls and the earth a barren crater. I hated even the very act of breathing. I wanted to curse the stars and the oceans and the mountains; I wanted to dissolve; I wanted to fall asleep and never wake up again. I heard a grunt. Startled, I got up, then caught my foot underneath a fallen log. I faceplanted onto the ground and tasted iron in my mouth. “Hard tack is bad for kids.” I looked up and yelped. “Mr Cooper?” He was sitting on his haunches just a few feet away. I got up and dusted myself off and brought my hand to my lips, wincing when I found the small laceration. “Why are you out in the woods?” “I was just taking a walk,” I lied. “With a bottle of whisky?” The last thing I needed was some crazy old hobo worrying me. “Why the hell are you so nosy? And what are you doing here?” “I live here,” he said, and raised himself to his full height. “Where?” “Now you’re being nosy, kid. Go back home. Your family’s gonna worry about you.” “You’re not my father,” I huffed. “Whatever’s wrong kiddo, drinking that stuff isn’t gonna solve anything.” He held out a withered hand. I snorted and gave him the bottle. He took out the stopper sniffed at it. “Thanks. Think I'll keep it if you don't mind. I’ll make it up to your Oma and Opa. Did you give her the... the package?” “Yes. What was in it?” “Something she needs,” he said, and stared at the sky. “Fog’s comin’ in. You should go back inside and get some rest.” He turned around and walked back into the woods. “Wait–where are you…” But he had disappeared. I ran my tongue over the cut on my lip. Fuck my life, I whispered, and wandered blearily back to the house. o0o0o I stayed at my grandparents for the next few days. My dad moved out into a motel a few blocks from the hospital. My mother called several times each evening but I refused to speak to her. The days at school felt pointless. Graeme was pale when I told him at first break the day after the shit went down. “Fuck,” was all he said after I’d vomited out the whole story. “Yeah.” “Who’s the...” “Fuck knows. I don’t really want to know, because I’d probably kill him. And why the hell does my dad need to be the one who moves out? Anyway, she can stew in it.” Graeme squeezed my shoulder. “Dude, it sucks, but I don’t think hating your mom will solve anything.” “I don’t hate my mom. I’m just pissed at her, okay? Fucking super pissed. I’ve never been this angry at anyone.” “I get it. Do you think they’re going to get divorced? Is that even allowed in your church?” I twitched as he said divorced. “I don’t know, dude. I don’t want to think about that now.” “I understand. But… the baby? How far is she pregnant?” The baby. There was a thing growing inside my mom that shared half my DNA. “Jesus,” I said, and felt sick. “That’s too much right now.” “Sorry.” I took a deep breath. “Where were you anyway, last night? I called but your mom said you went out.” Graeme tapped his foot against a leg of the lunch table. “I um, went to...” “To Liam?” I pressed. He widened his eyes and looked away. “Yeah. He was having problems installing stuff on his new computer.” “Oh,” I said, my voice full of snark. “Are you two like best friends now?” “Dude, he asked me, that’s all. Are you jealous or something? He’s not a bad guy.” I squeezed my can of Coke. “I didn’t say that. I just needed to speak to you last night .” “Jeez, bud, I’m here now, aren’t I?” “Fine. What computer does he have, anyway?” I asked, trying to simmer down. “The latest!” Graeme grinned and rattled off a litany of technical specifications that I tried very hard to pretend to understand. o0o0o I didn’t see Liam until later in the day after chemistry. He had a new, ripening bruise above his left eyebrow. “What the fuck happened to you now?” I asked. “Oh... just a tackle,” he said, shrugging. “Never mind that. I’m sorry to hear about... you know." ”How did you know?" He shifted uneasily on his feet. "Uh, Graeme told me... I didn't mean..." “Whatever. It’s okay.” “Shit, man. You ...you...wanna go to the movies or something?” “Movies? Are you asking me out on a date?” “No, dipshit. I just meant maybe you could do with like being distracted or something. A day without studying isn’t going to hurt your Einstein brain. I mean, you and Graeme can go, I just thought...” His awkward tone was somehow touching. “Okay,” I said, cautious. "Aren't your jock bros gonna make fun of you, hanging with my species?" "C'mon, Brody. They've never done anything to you, man." "But they have to Graeme." He was silent for a good ten seconds. "I know that's not cool. Just know I've never..." "Never mind, boy scout. You choose the movie, I don't give a fuck." It turned out to be a good idea after all. The film was gory and silly and kept my mind off things. I drank a giant Slushie and didn’t care that it made my chest wheezy. It was still the days when everything had tartrazine in. The world is safer now, I guess, but less colourful. 0o0o0 Classes officially ended on Thursday with Final Assembly, and then we were off until examinations started the next Monday. Assembly was boring as hell, and I ran out of the hall as soon as Mr Turlington launched into a rickety version of “Gaudeamus Igitur”. “Jakey.” I froze. My mother had been waiting for me at the entrance. Her face was sallow, bags under her eyes, her lovely mouth pressed into a thin rictus. “Mom?” “Can we talk?” I tried giving her a death stare, but when my eyes met hers I could only think how I had inherited exactly her irises of speckled hazel, and the rage at the back of my throat evaporated. “Okay,” I said cautiously. “Do you want to go for an ice-cream?” “Whatever,” I said, and followed her to the car. That ride to the mall was one of the longest silences of my life. We didn’t say anything until I’d taken the first spoonful of Mango Madness. “Jakey, I’m so, so sorry.” The words were limp, leaden, and painfully sincere. “Jakey?” Damn you, Mom. Damn you for talking to me in a little girl voice and calling me Jakey like you’ve done since you read me bedtime stories and put iodine on my grazed knees. Damn you for never having a life and doing everything for me and my sister and my father. “What do you want me to say?” I managed. “I don’t expect you to forgive me. Believe me, I wanted to move out, but your father insisted.” “I know. We spoke on the phone.” She put her head in her hands, and I knew tears were welling as her coffee cooled and the sorbet started melting into a sickly yellow pool. “I’m glad you’re keeping in touch. I know this must be awful for you, and it’s exams and...” “Would it matter if there weren’t exams?” I snapped. My tone was bitter and haughty. “No. But I want you to know that I love you.” “I know you do, Mom.” She wiped her eyes. The people at the next table were looking at us, but when I turned around they quickly retreated into their lunchtime specials. “You’ll always be my special boy.” “Were you... were you lonely or something?” I had cornered her. “I know Dad’s like never at home. Like he’s married to his job.” I scrambled for words to fill in the vacuum. My tongue worried around the healing gash inside my lip. I twinged with pain. But it made the next phrase come out easy. “Are you guys going to split up?” “All your father said is that he wants space.” “That’s all he said to me too.” "Have you told Abby?" She opened her handbag and reached for a tissue. In the maw of the bag I saw a host of crumpled-up ones, as if my mother had been collecting clouds. She blew her nose. "I didn't want to tell your sister over the phone. I'll tell her when she comes home next weekend." "I guess that's kinder." “So are you ready for your exams?” I let out a deep breath, grateful for the change of subject. “I think so.” “I know you’re going to be fine,” she said with a half-smile. “You work so hard.” Yeah. I fucking well had to. The better my marks the sooner I could apply to a university far, far away and get away from the freak show that my family had turned into. “Don’t overwork yourself,” my mother said. I felt a pall wash across me. She’d said that to my father so many times. “Make sure you do something fun.” The party. It would be tomorrow night. “I will be,” I said, trying to hide a sudden smile as I thought of Elaine’s boobs.  

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