Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Anatomist

The clock had struck ten and the study room in the faculty was dimly lit, fallen silent from all the hustle and bustle of the day. A sudden tap on the shoulder had wakened Steven. He looked up in a daze, still confused, wiping the drooling from the opened textbook page.
“Hello? Anyone there?” He said gathering his notes. Something or someone must have woken him up. But no one answered. He had been left amongst the voluminous medical textbooks and the dimmed lamps. He went past the corridor and stairs to reach for the main door but it was locked. He was stuck, how could the porter have missed him?
He sighed and then thought to try the fire exit. He had seen it by the Anatomy Demonstration room so he retraced his steps down the corridor. At the end, he pushed the door opened, greeted by the clinical coldness of the dissection room and the overpowering smell of formaldehyde. There was always something fascinating and mystical about this room and it looked even creepier at night. As medical students they gathered in groups of four per body every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Steven always stood in awe of the retired surgeons and teachers who skillfully navigated the surface of the human body. He still remembered being told not to be afraid and to touch the dead body. A few in the class went a colour resembling pale green at the time. He had a few nerves at the start too but it is remarkable how quickly one adjusts to something as surreal as dissecting a body and accepts it as normal.
Steven was actually quite fond of the body he had been given to practice, an old lady who had died of old age and blocked arteries. Even the body, which lay next to their group, had a pleasant rose aroma and a coin was found in his right antecubital fossa just last week. They did put it back as it had obviously been there for a reason and clearly wanted to take it with him to his final resting place.
However there was something about the deceased man across the room. Steven just could not bare the putrid smell as soon as he approached when summoned by the lecturer. Perhaps it had been cancer or even the mark of a lost soul? Nonsense, he thought, he didn’t even believe in that kind of stuff. He needed to find an exit before he lost his mind too.
He went through a narrow entrance and tried a door to his right, which easily opened. He flicked the light switch on and his eyes immediately caught the two large steel freezer compartments standing side by side and a faded three quarter length white coat. He suddenly felt this urge to try it on and could not explain it. He had seen plenty of white coats; he had a medical student one himself. Perhaps because it wasn’t his? Curiosity and impulse got the better of him so he tried it on.

“It’s a perfect fit.” A firm man’s voice said.
Steven jumped on his feet; a man was stood right behind him just a few inches away.
“I suppose you have come for the body?” The stranger said, his breath bitter and stale, his grin old and broad. He was no more than five foot, his hairline receding into a patch and his eyes dark and impenetrable.
A bewildered Steven tried to speak but no sounds came out.
“Well, which parts were you looking for?”
“Well, you are a student doctor, aren’t you? Which part have you come for?” the man asked
“Oh, of course, sorry. For a moment there…” Steven said, still trying to work out who the man was.
“Well I don’t have all night, come on” He proceeded towards one of the freezers and opened it for Steven.
“We have got upper and lower limbs over here. Now here, are the more delicate specimens such as the brachial plexus and the branches of the inferior aorta.”
“Wow, they are incredible, almost textbook like. How come we don’t see these in class? “ Steven said moving closer to examine them
“No son, not almost, they were precisely cut and measured. I am constructing the missing parts before it is ready to be shared. Want to see where we get them from?”
“Constructing, I am confused? But sure!”
“In a moment, yes…. I see you are wearing my white coat.” The man said pondering.
“Oh so sorry, just could not help it. Here, please, let me give it back to you” Steven said.
“It suits you, as I said earlier a perfect fit. Plenty of memories, you know, it seems to bring me good luck. It seems to bring me exactly what I need when I ask for it”
“Oh? It does?” Steven said in a dubious tone.
“Yes, you see. I am the Anatomist.” He presented Steven his right hand and shook it.
“Steven Trousseau. Pleased to meet you. How come I have not seen you before?”
“Ah, the department keeps me working at night, no distractions from the likes of you. But in your case I shall make an exception. You see you have the most perfectly structured hands. Dare I say, hands of a surgeon?”
“Well, thank you. Not sure what to say to that. I hope I can do them justice one day.” Steven replied.

“Well my boy rest assured they will take pride of place. Follow me and I will show you how it’s done”
As Steven followed him into an adjacent room, the temperature dropped abruptly. A tray of finely set sharp blades and different sized saws set neatly on a silver trolley. The Anatomist closed the door behind and click was heard. He stared at Steven for a few seconds, which made him uncomfortable.
“So where are the bodies?” Steven asked.
“We are a bit short at the moment. You see random bodies won’t just do. Oh no, if you want perfection you have to find it first. This is my life’s work after all. But I am sure you will do just fine.”
Steven stood frozen, confused, thoughts racing through his head. Everything inside him told him to run and when he tried to reach for the door, it was locked. Again he was stuck, but in a far more dangerous position with a man holding a knife and wearing a horrific grin.
“Not so fast son, I have been waiting for you for a long time, now. The door locks on itself, didn’t you hear the click?”
“Why?” Steven barely managed to utter the words as the Anatomist had already crossed the room and blood was pouring from the right side of his chest.
“Easy now, don’t fight it. Your right lung is punctured, the air will run out soon. Shush don’t struggle. You see, you will be remembered for eternity. I will make sure you are my finest work. I promise.”

The End

Janete Cabral Copyright 2003-2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

New York in November

Dedicated to Louise Cabral Jackson

A beautiful lady enters the lobby Of the Waldorf Astoria.
And it is you. You stop to look at the grand chandelier
And the black and white prints of a golden era.
Sparkling pearls and beaming smiles
Frame the walls, stolen moments captured in time
Such as flawless Gershwin tunes Serenading old lady Manhattan.
You carry yourself gracefully,
Hand in hand with me, your adoring wife

As champagne on ice awaits us, Early days in our charmed life.
Mahogany lifts and fur coats
The forty-first floor overlooks Tall skyscrapers and neon lights
As the full moon rises above the Hudson.
We lovers smile and our reflections dance
In long corridors with mirrors
Past bellboys and tipping waiters;
Caught in our perfect dreamland.

We are enticed by New York
Guess handbags, Borders and Tiffany’s
And the company of its gentle giants,
And the shores of Ellis Island. You pause again to take it all in
The constant hum of yellow cabs
The season’s bells and Broadway shows,
Pretzel vendors and Times Square.
It’s Macy’s Parade and Thanksgiving Dinner,
We walk past the animated crowds,
From the sinuous streets of Chinatown
To the grandeur of Park and Madison Avenues.
We stand on Terrace Bridge Amongst the fallen leaves in Central Park.
As runners and carriages and tired horses go past
And the city breathes, air filled with promises.

The city has known many fates
Of highs and lows, much given and much taken
Of lovers and warriors, of hopes and broken dreams.
And yet she still stands proud, unshakable.
You befit the city my love
As you are kind as you are beautiful
Pale blue eyes which smile with so much love
Nurturing and wanting, forever in mine captivated.

Janete Cabral-Jackson

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"The House", a horror short story

                                                     THE HOUSE

“So thanks again for letting me stay here the night, sir. “ John said
“Yeah, you are not the first one to get lost. I am known as  Mr. Fishwick around these parts.” The old man replied shortly. 
John took his rucksack off his shoulders and smiled. Well it wasn’t any fancy room, but it would do him alright. One last assignment, damn it, that’s all, he told himself. 
Outside the rain was falling short on the pavement as the old house creaked and shrieked through its pores... John lit a cigarette and looked at his watch, a few more hours till dawn. He put his cigarette out and laid on his back, eyes shut. At first he thought that his mind was playing tricks on him. But there was a continuous whistling sound coming from one of the corners.
He got up to get closer to it and there it was behind the wall, getting stronger and stronger.
“Anyone there?” John asked
“SIN!” it whispered.
“Look, this is not funny.” John said in a firm tone but unable to hide a degree of fear.
A pause and then nothing, just deafening silence. Until the creaking noise restarted and the wall started to shake and break in places...John placed the palm of his right hand against it and felt the vibrations opening small cracks in the wall and then a dripping sound commenced. In the dim light John touched the wet floor and followed the traces which were filling the cracks on the wall.  In  bloody red ink it spelled.
“ S...I...N” 
"What the hell!" John cried in a muted scream, his voice closed in on itself. 
Outside a loud knock on his door made him jump. The door opened not waiting for a reply. 
“What have you done son?” The old man asked, stood at he doorway. His expression was somber and sad.
“Nothing, I was just lying down and... “ John never finished the sentence as the old man interjected.
“No, I meant what have you done? What crime?” He voiced accusingly.
John's face became expressionless. The sigh of relief had been replaced by a haunting feeling of desperation. How could anyone know?
“I.... I didn’t do it.” He simply said.
“You must have done something son, otherwise you wouldn’t be here” the old man muttered.
John said nothing. 
“I am the Keeper. The guardian to this house. It claims all the sinners. The house of failed penitence some call it." The old man said breaking the silence. " Repent or the house will claim you."
John shook his head, nothing but nonsense he thought. He had taken precautions, made sure he was not followed. It was in self defence that was all. The old man was trying to pull some tricks, that's all.
"I will say it again, son. Repent or..." 
"If you are threatening me mister you have another thing coming." John menaced.
"Son, there isn't much time." The old man said in a tone of subtle sorrow.
The words were shortly followed by a loud roar. Mr. Fishwick stepped back and stared at the young man before him.  "Too late" He whispered.
John stared back in horror, leaning against the wall trying to find support as the ground threatened to open and swallow him. The house shook violently.
John let a loud scream  "Shit, help me man.Please."
The old man lowered his eyes, retreating back to the front porch.
"Help. I have done nothing wrong. Shit... All I did was hit back in self defence. I did not mean to leave him to die. Please, I am sorry!  Help...." 
John's cries quickly disappeared as his body sunk into the floor and the house growled and then fell into silence.
Old Mr. Fishwick nodded to an invisible force. His eyes had watered, perhaps this time,  he had hoped in vain. He did not like his job but that was his own act of contrition. He had confessed his sins and the house had let him live all those years ago, taking the place of the previous in keeper. 
"It has been a busy season. A very busy season indeed." He sighed walking back to his room on other far side of the house. An old sign covered in dust and worn by time and erosion read "Redemption". It hung just by the street light rocking back and forth in the light evening breeze.
As the man prepared himself to lock the door, the sound of an engine stalling outside the house stopped him. Another car had pulled in front of the house. It had run out of petrol. 
                                                     THE END
by Janete Cabral Copyright 2010

Note: I write poetry, short stories and currently writing a novel. However every so often I dabble in other genres experimenting. I apologise in advance if I fail miserably in this horror genre for all the fans out there,  but then what is life without taking risks?

Saturday, January 10, 2015



The chair rocks back and forth,
Wooden floors creak keeping pace
As the fresh breeze picks up,
And the first leaves sweep the porch.
The colours of summer are fading
Into brilliant red and yellow tones,
As dark skies of rain threaten in the distance.

The fields have been harvested
And plot-by-plot the farmer plots the land.
Fresh soil unearthed carrying the wishes
Of new hope and abundance.
This is the year, the farmer whispers
As a tear rolls down the hardened cheek,
I will be able to provide for us all.

The house stands alone,
The windows rattle in the wind,
And an old woman waves back.
The smell of fresh coffee fills the air
As she sets the table and reaches for her journal
These are the words you will read one day,
Before time erases them.

She has lived through it all.
The love, the losses, the uncertainty of our times
Still I would do it all over again,
Her frail hand spells, no regrets.
She smiles as she puts the ink to rest.
Autumn is here, time to lit up the coal fire
And step into this secret world of dreams.

Janete Cabral-Jackson Copyright 2003-2015

Monday, July 14, 2014

The sea by Janete Cabral

I have been writing poetry for a long time, but I have always been shy of reading it to friends and strangers alike. And I certainly do not like the sound of my own voice. However there is always a first, so I thought I would place it here. I used some footage and photos I took whilst sailing the South Pacific Ocean. Hope you like it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Paris in March

Dedicated to Louise Margaret Jackson

The bells toll in the high sun
As gentle waters of the Seine
Bathe the old cathedral of Notre Dame.
The large Rose window invites us in,
Amongst candlelight and incense;
And whispers of old, wandering souls.

The cold stonewalls are lined by statues
Of Saints, Green Men and ivy.
Promises and prayers, as pilgrims to and fro,
In traditions of new and old,
In this eternal play of light and shadow.

Then a sudden turn
And the purple light blinds us.
There is so much love in the detail,
It just takes our breath away.
And in that moment, I want to hold your hand.

We walk the spiral stairs
To the dizzy heights in the crisp air,
Overlooking the ancient city,
Guarded by giant gargoyles and lost chimeras.
There is a serene calmness, which guides us
As there is not much need for words,
Such is the comfort in knowing
It will stand against the test of times,
Always elegant and strong, above the skyline.

And so in the lazy afternoon
We find ourselves in its shade
In the dusty courtyard, amongst lovers
And passers by, dreaming of a different life
And what it would be like; and you my love,
The keeper of Notre Dame.

These are languid times
And we do not want to leave.
So we follow the bridge to a nearby café,
Sitting by the window as the white wine is poured,
And the palate meets the light taste of soft bread and fromage.

Night is falling with such ease,
There are brandy glasses and red velvet chairs,
Verdi’s Opera and Champagne coupes
And the opening night of Luisa Miller.

Such is the lyrical chant of voices past
As I sit, in rapture, by your side.
Stealing a look, unseen, as I watch you
Beautiful and poised in the Paris night.

Street lamps and headlights
Colour the city in this March night.
It still feels cold, and yet I am lost in your gaze
As it meets me halfway, smiling.
The piercing eyes, I am learning to navigate.

Like everything in this city
You seem to know the way.
Leading through the maps and long corridors
Of the Metro and my adoring heart.
I am vulnerable and whole,
And yet caught in your embrace.
And though I have sailed past many ports
In yours I will stay, my anchor, my city of lights.

Janete Cabral Copyright 2003-2011

Sunday, March 16, 2014



Of a need that searches
How to fill the void.
Of the old that nurtures
Both wish and solace.
Of the new that writes
Both real and promise.
Of a presence that teaches
How to miss the real losses

Janete Copyright 2007



That feeds a heart
At loss of a stronger beat

That humbles a life
Grander than its planted seed

That unveils the passion
Behind all blinding truth

Janete Cabral Copyright 2007

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Wedding Day

 Dedicated to Louise Cabral Jackson

On this nineteenth day in November
Early tide washes ashore, as seagulls
Fly past the large bay windows
Of the grand old Midland Hotel.

I watch you sleep, a still beauty
In silk lingerie, peaceful in the quiet hours
As the morning light bathes us whole;
There will be a wedding today.

There is a touch of frost in the balcony
But we dare to venture out in nervous laughter
Looking across Morecambe Bay
To the first of the snows on the hills.

The hours pass and the hairdresser
Sculpts your hair, as we sip Champagne
And speak of black and red dresses,
Ring bearers and long stemmed white roses.

I sit at the edge of the bed
As you kneel beside me gently
Applying the lipstick and foundation
Like a lover and a painter, studying my face.

I pause and close my eyes, overwhelmed,
Taking in each delicate intimate brush
In this play of touch and colours
You my love are the beautiful bride.

A couple of knocks on the door
And friends start to gather with gifts
And sparkling wine flows tempering the nerves
As three o’clock is fast approaching.

The winter sun is high in the sky now
A quick spray of perfume and we are ready.
Walking down the spiral stairs, hand in hand,
Under the expectant gaze of family and friends.

I am caught in a daydream
As the wedding singers play Halo
And we follow the cue to walk in
In this white room filled with so much love and light.

Please wear this ring as a token of my love
And affection, now and always.
I promise to love and care for you
For the rest of our lives together.

 Janete Cabral-Jackson Copyright 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

As the sentence printed on the cover reads, Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" is a fable about following your dream. It is the story of an Andalusian shepherd who decides to follow his dreams after a chance encounter with a Gypsy and a King and the subsequent trail of omens which lead him to his Treasure. They take him from his Spanish home to the markets of Tangiers and across the desert to the Great Pyramids of Egypt.

In his travels he meets those who inspire him to move on and those who have forgotten to listen to their heart. It is a cautionary tale of the dangers of following prey to fear. However this is not a story of bitterness and sorrows but an inspiring and uplifting fable of a man daring to understand his heart. It is in the simplicity and the mystical lyricism of the story that Paulo Coelho's work translates into a modern classic. The theme is universal and knows no boundaries across language, culture or faith. As such it is no wonder that it is has captured so many people's hearts and imagination across the globe.

"So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you."