top of page
  • Writer's pictureAlan Dale

Yes, There Are Two Ways To Catch A Dagger – But The Better One Can Still Hurt.

I was lying on the stairs, my head hanging downwards, several treads below my feet. Below me, out of sight, came a terrible, persistent metallic clattering, like several pneumatic road drills. Flames began to lick up the stairwell towards me. I couldn’t get up, for some reason – it felt like the paralysis of sheer terror. The house was sunlit, but despite the brightness, when I looked downwards, through the white-painted bannisters, I couldn’t initially identify the fire seat or sound source.

Then I saw it. I can only describe it as some kind of hellish fire-breathing reptile with T-Rex-like teeth, slithering along on its belly. It reached the foot of the stairs, saw me and began to slither up, accompanied by a crescendo of clattering. Somewhere, a voice, possibly mine, possibly someone else’s, said “the burning drill”, in a tone that implied worse was to come. I awoke, gasping and petrified.

I was six.

Our primary school class had recently acquired a form mistress who illustrated her concept of God’s anger in terrifying terms, with which she demonstrably empathised.

Years later, Mother recalled how, learning of my terror, and, as I thought, correctly identifiying cause and effect, she went nuclear. Going immediately to the school, she rollocked the Head Mistress to within an inch of her life.

Later still, having started writing and joined Woking Writers Circle, I was interested to find dreams sometimes featuring as subject material.

Further along my writing journey, I came to plot my début novel, Theta Double Dot. I reached a point where I needed something horrendous for one character to have carried, as a lifelong psychological and spiritual burden.

Only having written it did I slowly realise what had supplied the subconscious inspiration.

It still frightens me. Sixty-two years hence, I guess it always will.

Yes, “if fate throws a dagger, you can catch it by the blade or the handle”. Yes, grab the handle and you instantly turn the weapon to your advantage. Realising what my subconscious had done was empowering. I’d turned a horrible childhood experience to positive adult use.

It’s just that even catching the handle can still hurt for ages.

My first novel, Theta Double Dot, a thriller, has been published by Austin Macauley and may be purchased from them, or Amazon.

Click on the links below, for the Austin Macauley or Amazon website page. I hope you really enjoy it – if you do, please leave a review on Amazon. Many thanks!

Base of the staircase in the Monument to the Great Fire of London, London.

Photograph by Mike Peel (

The Monument, London - Staircase base.jpg [[File:The Monument, London - Staircase base.jpg|The_Monument,_London_-_Staircase_base]]

This is an animatronic fire-breathing dragon, suspended above the concourse at Scotiabank Theatre in West Edmonton Mall, Alberta, Canada.

West Edmonton Mall-Fire Dragon.jpg [[File:West Edmonton Mall-Fire Dragon.jpg|West_Edmonton_Mall-Fire_Dragon]]

March 28, 2007

1,600 × 1,200


7 views0 comments


  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook Social Icon
bottom of page