Two worlds. One Emma.
Buy in our store
Images on this page: Courtesy of the author, and Louise Pike.
Emma exists in two dimensions: a reality in which she struggles at college and in coming to terms with her family's situation; and her dream time in a castle.
But she's a victim in both worlds. She's bound by belief, by convention, by confusion and by the mind control of (king) Cole, who is anything but a merry old soul.
Can Emma emerge from her dreamworld? Can her reality give her the peace she needs? And can her friends in both dimensions give her the help she needs to escape?
Who is he?
"My bedroom was the only place where I was able to be myself."
I am Cole.
I hadn’t realised how late I had been out - not until I walked through door. I made sure that I was completely silent, Mum and Dad would kick off again if they knew I had crept in late again.
They did the last time.
I had the violet and blue bruises underneath my skin to show for that, but they hadn’t faded at all and it had been a few weeks. It was normally Dad that did it, Mum just stood there and watched or ran upstairs, not wanting to look at my figure being beaten and kicked down to the floor.
It was understandable in a sense, but I wished she would just stand up for me.
Just once, that was all I wanted.
Sneaking into the kitchen and grabbing a drink quickly, I made sure I remained deathly silent while heading upstairs into my bedroom that had been my safe haven ever since I was a child, and all of this started happening for the first time.
Well, the first time I witnessed all of it anyway and was old enough to understand it. Pushing back those thoughts, I slipped into bed, not really caring that I was still wearing the clothes that I’d been in all day.
I spent most of my time outside of the house. It was totally the opposit of what most people loved to do.
I was searching endlessly for a job but couldn’t find anything that either suited me or wanted to take me on as a steady part of their team.
I’d dropped out of school, so being a full-time member of staff anywhere suited me just well enough - the more I was out of the house, the better it was for me. I just needed a concrete reason to be out of the house all the time, then my parents couldn’t say anything to me about going out too often or staying out too late. What could they do about it if they knew I was at work?
Even if I did get a job, they would probably want a cut of the money to pay for rent, or alcohol, or whatever my Dad needed, most likely. So even if I wanted to lie to them, I couldn’t, because they would need all of the money as proof of the fact that I had a job and was actually working, whether that was full-time or part time.
I took a sip of the drink sat innocently on my bedside. My bedroom was the only place where I was able to be myself, like it was my little corner hidden away from the rest of the world. In it, the world couldn’t touch me or hurt me for as long as I stayed inside my personal bubble.
I wasn’t going to get any sleep tonight; it was either going to be the nightmares that claimed me, or it was going to be my parents arguing that woke me up in the end.
Tips for writers
If I can do it, so can you!
Keep writing - No matter what you do,keep going! It doesn’t matter how often you write,as long as you’re doing it occasionally and frequently that’s all that matters!
Scheduling a time and a word limit for your day –This is something that I always do as it prevents burnout, fatigue and extra stress. Normally, my writing tends to be done when I am not studying at university or working shifts for my part-time job and I normally set a limit of a chapter a day. This way,something still gets done and you are not feeling overwhelmed and overworked.
READ – Reading is one of the key things that helps you become a better writer. After reading a handful of books you will know what you like in a book and what you don’t like in a book - this can include layout and even writing style.
Create a dream journal or an ideas journal - Writing down and recalling your dreams and nightmares along with your ideas,can be important for any writer to draw upon in your writing. Dreams and nightmares have inspired me a countless number of times when coming up for ideas for novels and little writing pieces!
The story behind 'Bound'
Why I was compelled to write this tale
"I decided to write this story after stumbling across the idea after a nightmare ."
I decided to write this story after stumbling across the idea after a nightmare that I had. Funnily enough, most of my ideas originate from dreams or nightmares. After following my nightmare up, I began starting in-depth research on the subject of Stockholm Syndrome and how it originated as an idea but also how the feelings of love and dependency originated within the captives.
I wrote this novel originally when I was sixteen, but didn’t really feel like it was good enough, so after around three or four edits, I decided I would try and publish it and see what happened! I never thought that it would end up being published at all!
It was the first novel that I ever had enough focus on to complete, I had tried other ideas beforehand and none of them were working out, but I might potentially be reviving them in future novels that I write and sticking to them this time.
I took part in a few competitions with my class. One was called, ‘Around the World in Eighty Words’ and the winners would get published in an anthology along with getting a few paper copies of their own piece sent to them. I was one of the winners with my piece, ‘Violet Inception’ all about a haunted house that somebody was drawn to and didn’t feel like they could prevent the pull of this one house in particular. I wrote and won this for my secondary school when I was 13!
I am currently working on a new novel that I hope will be finished soon, which has a bit of a happier tone with themes of love, risk taking and freedom.
The trials of...
a new student
"I’ve found that escapism is quite a good way to keep the pressure and also loneliness down."
Trials and difficulties of being a new uni student, especially when you are reserved and not much of a drinker:
Meeting people -This difficulty is definitely the main one of the whole university experience. During the first year most of all,when you have just joined and the first few weeks is based around exactly that - meeting people. In particular, it is quite hard when most of the events are drinking based and it’s almost an expectation that is there for all first years.
Groupwork - This is another thing that really becomes an issue when you are shy and reserved. Groupwork is tough when some people don’t communicate or just do none of the work at all and then somebody else has to take all of the weight of this. It normally ends up being the shy, reserved one that struggles to say no to things.
Isolation and Loneliness - When you don’t have anyone to talk to or study with, or even to sit with in lectures and seminars, it can get extremely lonely. Even though you might be on top of your workload, it doesn’t make being alone or feeling alone any easier to deal with.
Stress – Stress is a common thing and can affect people in all different ways and for many different reasons. Being alone, isolated and having nobody to turn to can lead to even more stress on top of balancing your work life and social life. The workload at university can be intense most of the time and everything that you do is mostly independent, which means even more time alone than usual.
Ways to overcome these difficulties could include:
Finding a hobby - From writing in journals,to painting,to undertaking photography, a hobby can help relive all sorts of stress and provide you with some type of comfort and a feeling of belonging, which leads me on to my second point!
Groups and societies – Sometimes it’s a lot easier to meet people and ease into university life if all of the people you are talking to are taking similar courses or have similar interests to you. It gives you something to talk about and also gives you a sense of belonging.
Counselling/Talking to someone you trust - This is an important part of university life and also daily life;it helps to watch your mental health and make sure that you are keeping yourself on your feet. Talking to someone doesn’t necessarily mean a therapist, it could be your parents, someone on your uni course or even your lecturers – they are there to help after all.
Escapism - I’ve found that escapism is quite a good way to keep the pressure and also loneliness down. Films and books are brilliant ways of forgetting all of your issues and delving into somebody else’s life or a new world with different rules and regulations. This is also provides you with some skills in empathy and putting yourself in someone else’s position!
They wouldn't, would they?
"Missing? Since when?"
'You’re needed on stage.'
It was the first thing I heard and bothered to pay attention to. Most of the noise was coming from the other girls around me. They were fussing with their outfits, hair and obscenely bright coloured make-up in the lit-up mirrors scattered around the walls.
The room seemed way too bright for this profession. If we hadn't been dressing ourselves in these facades of contentment, the room would have been tainted and dipped in dark colours: shades of greys and shades of black.
Letting out a groan as I put my cigarette out on the floor, I unwillingly crept over to the door and checked myself out in the mirror before I left the room.
I looked like a whore.
That’s what they wanted to see.
Shaking my head and painting a sickly-sweet smile on my face, I stepped out of the door and waited for them to call my name so I could perform my nightly routine for my adoring fans.
'Angela, you look like shit.'
I raised a thick eyebrow at one of the other girls, wondering what she was going on about.
We all looked like shit, no questions asked.
We were all underpaid and only really started earning when the tips came in. Besides, I didn’t understand the concern of Ruby, who was sitting next to me patiently waiting for an answer to the comment that she had made.
'Don’t we all?' I responded, as she offered me a cigarette and helped me light it.
'Kayleigh’s gone missing,' Ruby said. She said it casually, as if it was just an afterthought, but her throwaway statement hit me like a ton of bricks.
Kayleigh was my on and off girlfriend and had been working here for years long than I had, I always knew she had a strong inclination to leave and find something else, at least that was the case when I last spoke to her.
'Missing? Since when?' I demanded, my voice rising. I knew that she hadn’t been feeling well for a while and that was why she hadn’t been at work, at least that was what she had been telling me.
Maybe that was all lies, hiding the fact that completely different events had been going on in her life for the past few months.
'Since she’s supposedly been ‘off sick’ according to the company, but I don’t believe that for a second, especially since she’s been sick before and never for this long. It’s only when she brings up leaving to the company that this ends up happening.'
'So, what you’re saying is…' I trailed off, not even wanting to admit it to myself, but the thought was already there and implanted into my brain.
'That’s exactly what I’m saying,' Ruby responded, licking her scarlet red lips and staring into space.
I shook my head, not wanting to believe it. Surely they wouldn't do that. Surely they couldn't? Just because she wanted to leave?
They wouldn't kill her? Would they?
They just might.
How did they meet?
Mia and Ben
"I had always liked blind dates. If nothing else, it was an interesting way of discovering what people thought of you" - Jonathan Carroll, from AZquotes
I sat in the dingy and secluded bar and sighed heavily. Why had I agreed to do this?
Online dating wasn’t my typical method of finding new people to have at least a hook-up with.
I would be in trouble then, especially when my phone was on its last leg of battery and I had nobody to call, not after the argument that I had with my friends the other day.
“Can I get a coke please? Thanks.”
My voice that was normally strong and confident, wavered slightly as I pushed some change in the bartender’s general direction. One thing that I had definitely made a good choice about was the time that we were supposed to be meeting. Plus, I had enough time to make a run for it if I needed to.
Turning immediately as I heard the door open behind me and then slam to a close, I noticed a figure walk in, the flash of yellow hair striking me all at once. But the main thing I noticed about this person in particular was the way they surveyed the room and everything in it with brightness in their green eyes.
The bar was practically empty after all, and I wondered what someone like him was doing in this place to begin with. But now I had to force myself to avert my eyes as he was making his way over and had most definitely noticed me studying him as he walked around.
“Sorry to interrupt,” he started, “...but are you Mia?”
Those green orbs were now focused on me and me alone. I wasn’t sure what he was interrupting, considering I was sitting all alone at this table with a glass of drink in front of me that I had hardly touched since I’d been here.
“Yeah I’m Mia, who exactly are you and how do you know my name?” I fired back instantly, knowing that being short and snappy was a good defence mechanism to use in any situation.
“Online dating app,” he muttered, glancing up at me, and that was when realisation hit.
Of course, he was the guy from the app, how else would he know me?
It wasn’t like he had a picture on his profile to begin with – he could have been anyone.
But I was more than happy with the person he’d turned out to be. He was attractive, and along with that, he seemed quite genuine.
“Oh, that was you!” I replied in sudden and happy realisation.
We had been talking for weeks beforehand so it was quite nice to actually meet in the flesh and talk face to face with him.
“So, are we ordering food, or are we just going to sit here and stare at each other?”
Ben gave me a wry smile as he handed me a menu.
“Let’s order food,” I decided, a grin appearing on my face.
I already knew I was going to enjoy this night.