Mister Kreasey’s Demon is a psychological suspense with an underlying romance. Tormented by his students there is one exception, Amy, who tries to be his ‘passport’ to her teacher-bashing classmates who dares to teach them poetry.
The book cover was designed to suggest that the trust which Kreasey places in Amy and her growing tenderness of feeling for him ( in the foreground on the steps) is threatened – at least in Kreasey’s paranoid mind if not imminently about to happen – by the gathering of those amongst his students ( distorted faces at top of book cover ), Kreasey’s ‘demon’, who want to finish the job of breaking him.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Having once served as a classroom teacher in a peaceful village school and then experiencing the contrast with a post as a college teacher in an Inner London college where a much thicker skin was needed to adjust to the needs of a much tougher breed of students, I drew on this experience to inform the fiction, Mister Kreasey's Demon; the demon partly the product of a classroom-broken paranoid mind and partly a real, sharp, metal threat to Kreasey's 'well-being', courtesy of his disenchanted students, who didn't want to chew on, still less digest, the metaphysical poets.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I can say that my research was done truly, if not painfully, on the job as a college teacher in a tough area of London. Survival taught me a lesson but gave both an insight and even an empathy with those from deprived backgrounds whose anger against society, though difficult to cope with, was still deserving of my spending 2 years exploring through fiction the motivations of London's street-toughened students.
A breeze carrying a hint of damp earth, newly mown grass and a faint beery odour from the Hare and Billet lightly brushed Matthew Kreasey’s face. His eyes watered as he stared through his open car window at the distant glow of street lamps along Shooters Hill, fields sprawling to the gaunt twelve foot walls of Greenwich Park. Something urged him to start the engine, drive away while he could, but he needed the street lamps' glow, the fields’ freshness breathing into him, their space, their quiet, the anonymity late evening brought to the heath.
Waitin’ for you teacher, even on your heath…Class 12d…
The glow, the freshness had gone.
His ex-students, he was sure, were gathering from the wrong side of town with the only thing their breadline households didn’t deny them, tantos and long-bladed hunters, bush rangers, like the one staff-room chatter claimed to have pricked, pierced and slid as a blade through butter eight inches into colleague Margaret Fielder’s lower back. She’d misjudged, turned to the blackboard to kindle a spark of enthusiasm in them for ‘Marvell & The Metaphysical Poets’ but it had been their last lesson on a Friday and they’d wanted out – out on the streets.
Gently, Kreasey ran his hand along the frame of his car window, longing for it to be the window of his rooms in the Old Rectory again, near the quiet village school of Padbury. It had overlooked a cottage garden from where once he could breathe the perfume of night scented stocks. If only he could hear the breeze whispering once more through the copper beeches of ages past, not the horns of that flash coupe and the juggernaut vying for supremacy on the tarmac of Shooters Hill. That tarmac led down Blackheath Hill to run-down backstreets… to those youths in History 12d for whom, in a moment’s missionary zeal, he’d chanced teaching. He bit his lip. At forty-five, he shouldn’t need the sixteen-year-old who’d so far been his passport to them.
He could hear Eddy Fallows’ voice. It had to be Fallows… telling him to forget Amy and that Amy was “theirs”, which seemed to reduce her to no more than class 12d’s mascot. He could even see those same burning eyes searing into their prey, the eyes of “Thickneck” as he’d privately christened the tallest. And Thickneck’s voice would always haunt, carry in it calculation; the incessant calculation of how he and his class sycophants could best pull the carpet from under teacher’s feet.
‘Mix the sleepers with them in the brown bottle, mister Kreasey,’ Fallows had said. ‘Eat them all up, then you won’t need no cuttin’ up.’ That loud assertive laughter… he could hear it… anyone could hear it – if they listened… swelling from the chorus who always sat in their rows of chairs and grinned when Fallows grinned… yes, they were laughing and now their volume was ramming its way through the shell of his car, its message forcing its way down his ears in their warm moist breaths.
‘Remember them corridors Kreasey? Night time if you like, even when you don't see us, we’re here. Come on! Don’t be anxious,’ the class, now Fallows’, seemed to insist; their invitation carrying their hate.
But a distant, gentler voice whispered… Matt? You can be amongst them – with me!
‘Amy? Amy, is that you?’ he called towards the heath, his hand touching the window pane as if it might have touched the smooth face of his student lover. But she was still a girl. He shouldn’t rely on her. He’d shut 12d’s voices out, just as he’d shut all his doors and windows. And one day he’d be able to drive to the college again, get out of his car, even enter those corridors. But for now he could still hear Fallows’ voice ringing in his ear, telling him to take himself back to his ‘nice quiet flat’ where he’d be ‘safer’.
Don’t listen, Matt… came that other softer voice… And remember the little diary I said I’d keep for you – “Mister Kreasey’s Demon” ? I’ll keep it Matt. I’ll keep it until, one day, we’ve found the demon and killed it.
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