Thursday, 26 February 2015

Thurs Threads With What I know

“You think these bonds are enough to hold me!” Sarah hissed. “You know nothing of what I can do.”
“Why don’t you tell me?” offered yet another doctor, pen poised despite his look of boredom.
“With what I know, I could destroy all of you.”
“Why would you want to do that?”
“Because that’s what I’m made to do.” She watched him scribble away, flexing her wrists. A restraint snapped but she didn’t move. “Dr? If I were you, I would leave.” She felt he deserved a warning, and she was feeling generous or playful; much like a cat with a mouse. “Only one of us is walking out of here you know.”
He ignored her, looking through his papers before meeting her wild gaze. “Sarah, we all have choices. For instance, I could sit here, listening to your idle threats, pretending to write up my notes . . . Or I could just do this.”
In one stride he was at Sarah’s side, his pen plunged in her free arm. His hand smothered her face, stifling her scream.
“You see Sarah, I’m just like you. Made to destroy. Made to kill. Except, I work for the other side.”
He yanked out the pen. Crimson flowed freely down a limp arm. “And yes, only one of us is walking out of here.” He shut the door quietly behind him.


Thursday, 19 February 2015

Thursday Threads If They Stay, I stay

Innocence Lost

There are two types of people in the world.  Raiders. Survivors. If you don’t fit in either, you’re a Biter. This was Casey’s world now. Gone were the books, revision for exams. Now, she helped ration food and cook for the small community.

The camp was good. Crops grew. Biters were few. No Raiders for ten days now until throbbing engines could be heard in the distance. There wasn’t panic as everyone knew their role. As Casey ran to hide, counting the children in, her father came running up. He handed guns to Jack and AJ; boys  Casey’s age.
“We need you. You up for the job?” he asked. The boys nodded vigorously, itching for the opportunity to show they were now men, and get their hands on the guns.  
“What about me?” Casey asked.
“Go inside.”
“If they stay, I stay.”
“I don’t want you to see this Casey. I’ve got to protect you.”
Casey stood before her father, laying a hand on his rifle. “You can’t shield me from my responsibilities. This is my world now Dad. I gotta get used to it. I gotta start fighting for it. You’ve got to let me fight.”  She saw pain in his eyes as he loosened his grip on the rifle. “I’ll be fine, I promise.”
“I know,” he whispered as he watched his child run to the boundary, shedding her innocence with every step. “That’s what worries me.”

written for Siobhan Muir's Thursday Threads over at The weird, the Wild and the Wicked

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

MWBB Snowdrops in the Dust

Snowdrops in the Dust

For sixty eight years Caleb’s body clock never let him down. He knew when the sun rose, when it was noon and when it was time for bed. Clocks never meant much to him . . . but time did. The less of it he had, the more it mattered. He rose from his bunk, coughing as he shuffled across the dusty, wooden floor, his eyes adjusting to the dark.

Caleb opened the door to the morning, and closing his eyes heard the morning song of the blackbird, the coo-coo of the wood pigeon, next door’s dog barking at the cat who sat on the fence out of reach as he taunted the dog silly.

If Caleb concentrated hard enough, he could smell morning dew and feel the dampness on his feet as he walked across the garden. The faint smell of roses permeated his nostrils, filling his mind with memories of a lost life.

A single tear trickled down his grubby cheek as he took a deep breath and opened his eyes. He would never get used to this world now.




The sooner he left it, the better.

Walking across a land of ash and dirt, Caleb stoked the embers to the fire, thinking about breakfast. If his Isabel was here, she’d tell him to snap out of it, tell him he was lucky to be alive.

Lucky? She always looked on the bright side, saw good in everyone, everything. Even when the world burned, she just rolled up her sleeves and got on with it, doing whatever was necessary.

He coughed, a deep, hacking cough, breaking the ghostly silence. He pulled away his grimy hanky, now with fresh crimson spots.

He’d underestimated his amount of time.

Gentle footsteps approached and a child sat down next to him, holding a book. He looked up to Caleb. “Can you read me one of the stories?” Kai asked.

“Sure.” Caleb recognised the book; his Isabel’s book of fairy tales, read to their grandchildren. Now, he was reading it to children he didn’t know, children who called him ‘grandpa’, children of the new world who either couldn’t remember the world or knew no different.

He opened the book, flicking through the pages. Something fell out;  innocent white from a past life, now in a charcoal world.

“What is it?” asked Kai, his eyes wide with wonder.

“This, this is a snowdrop, your grand . . . my Isabel’s favourite flower.” Caleb closed the book and turned to face Kai. “Let me tell you a story, a story more fantastical than any fairy tale.”

“With wizards!”

“Better than wizards. A place where flowers grow, birds sing and everywhere you look is green. Where warmth shines down on you. Where life is a rainbow.” He coughed, his hanky now sodden.

“You can tell him later. You need a rest,” Kai’s mother said, gently helping Caleb stand.
“Can you do me a favour? Look after this snowdrop. It is so precious to me, us. Everyone.” Kai nodded. “I’ll be back later, I promise,” he said, walking away, hunched and still coughing.  Kai looked down at the pressed snowdrop, now stained with a tiny speck of red.

Caleb lay on his bed, his chest aching with every breath. He felt Isabel  nearby and a shallow laugh escaped his lips as he heard her chastise him.

“Not so soon!” she said. “ You have stories to tell that boy. You promised.”

Despite the coughing, Caleb felt a new sense of purpose; his mission to fill young heads with his real rainbow world would not be defeated by time. It wasn’t how much time he had left that was important, it was what he did with it.


Written for Jeff Tsuruoke's Mid Week Blues Buster to Faded Flowers by Shriekback which you can listen to here: Youtube

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Horror Bites #15

They don’t listen.
Time after time they’ve been warned of building on sacred land. But we have been ignored. Our heritage trampled. Our resting place desecrated.
Distant rumblings above us vibrate our fragile bones as rats scurry, no longer able to gnaw at our rotting flesh as we rise from eternal sleep.
Earth crumbles, our ancestral home falling around us. We are their dead. Do they not wish for peace for their dead? Was the suffering we endured through death not enough? Faint voices echo through the mound, punctuated with laughter.
Pinpricks of light seep through the once rich, organic soil; rich from blood that fed this land for centuries. Fed us. Now, the arteries have been severed, filled with cold concrete while asphalt burns.
As one, we claw our way towards the surface, their voices clearer, their smell . . . A new feeling engulfs us . . . a ravenous hunger urges us.
Guttural groans unconsciously escape our rotting lips, reverberating  around us, through us . . . above us.
The tools stop. The laughing is no more. But we hear them, their beating hearts, their blood coursing.
Pounding feet throb inches above our heads as clay falls, revealing daylight. We reach up, our arms flaying for flesh, screaming only enticing us further to rise.       

Friday, 19 December 2014

Mid Week Blues Buster The Black House

I’d heard stories. A place where anything goes and no questions asked. A place called The Black House. Although the building was dark and uninviting, I guessed the name stemmed from what went on within the walls rather than its decor. A young boy came for my horse and a flicker of excitement twitched on his face. I smiled, tossing him a ha’penny before entering where no decent man would tread.  

Everything stopped. Not even a breath was heard. It seemed my reputation beat me as every eye followed me through the smoky haze. I sat in the darkened corner by the rear exit, at a small wooden table and immediately a tankard of ale was placed in front of me, shaking his head at my offer of payment. A large oaf of a man, fuelled on ale and stupidity stumbled towards me. His speech was slurred but I think he was telling me not to hide behind my mask, to reveal who I was. I think he insulted me. I’m sure I made out the word ‘coward’ before he was dragged away by two very sensible, apologetic men, and my hand released from my pistol. I hated killing, really I did. But kill or be killed in my game and I obviously had a reputation to uphold.

I sipped my ale. It was warm and not the best I’d tasted and everyone carried on with their business, mainly getting drunk but plotting and exchanging of maps, money and weapons went on in huddles across the room. The odd fight caused excitement until they were thrown out.   

The door opened and I saw the cloaked figure approach. I didn’t care for people being late.

“I don’t have long.” Her voice was unmistakable.

“What do you mean?”  This wasn’t the plan.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered.

“What have you done?” My voice was on edge. Control was leaving me, taking me to unknown territory. I reached for her hand. It trembled. With the other hand, I removed her hood. Her once beautiful face now smeared in blood as a cut ran deep across her cheek.

“I was ambushed, betrayed. You have to leave now,” she said with anguish. Terror filled her dark eyes, her skin pale. She winced, slumping towards the table. Jumping from my chair, I was at her side, gently holding her up when  I saw the spread of red on her white tunic. “Leave me, save yourself.”

“No,” I hoisted Emma from her chair, kicking open the rear exit. A redcoat stood, his gun aimed. Stillness descended on the bar as redcoats burst through the front. My pistol was trapped between me and Emma, my knife wouldn’t beat a gun. I was running out of time. I could not die here, or be arrested, for the gallows was my fate, the fate of any highwayman and his accomplices.

The redcoat advanced. I could see he was already thinking of glory at my capture. But I held my ground. A shallow moan left Emma’s lips. I couldn’t leave her. Maybe this was meant to be, dying together, here, right now. What a legend that would make. If I knew these drunken men, they’d embellish my fight for survival. Shame I wouldn’t live to hear it.

A flash of silver sliced across the redcoat’s throat, his life spilling out as he slumped to the floor. The horse boy stood, the knife in his hand.

“Your horse is ready!” he shouted before fleeing. It was a heroic gesture but the redcoats behind me would gun me down. But that boy, he awakened those men of The Black House, showed them what we all were, why we were there and they bore down on those redcoats with bloodied fists as I rode into darkness with Emma.




Thursday, 18 December 2014

A Few More Hooks and they'd be done Hanging Thurs Threads

A few more hooks and they’d be done hanging, observed Delany before switching off the monitors. He didn’t need to see it being done to know it would be done and done properly. That was the art of delegation and he knew it would be ready by morning.   

Delany was last to arrive at the table, not uttering a word as he sat before the seven men gathered before him. He sipped on a glass of iced water, seeing a couple of the men squirm in their seats. He liked that. Already, he was winning.

“You know why you’re all here,” began Delany. “What’s it to be?”

“You can’t run everything. We fought hard for territory,” said Frazer, the one Delany had to convince as the others would follow like sheep to the slaughter. He liked the pun.  

A vague curling of Delany’s thin lips passed for a smile. “This will change your mind.” He picked up the remote control, turning on the large flat screen. With his back to the screen he watched the faces in front of him, all focused, trying to make out what they were seeing.  Then the rapid realisation took hold, their faces contorted in spasms of shock, the colour draining to leave a grey mask. One fled the room, his retching echoing along the hallway.

“My boys must have done a good job.” He inhaled deeply, pausing the image. “Now, I’ll ask one more time. What’s it to be?”  


Written for Thursday Threads over at The Weird, the Wild and the Wicked hosted by Siobhan Muir. x

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Mid Week Blues Buster Changing Winds (judged 2nd place)

This story won me second place. Yay. xx

The whispers were true. Rosalind was back. As John watched from his high, stone walls, Rosalind rode in, escorted by his guards who made sure she was brought immediately to him. She stood before John, silently staring at him. It was happening again; he was losing himself in her green eyes, vibrant like an early spring morning promising excitement of the hunt.
  “Aren’t you going to offer me anything?” she asked. “It’s been a long journey.”
  “Rosalind, I banished you from the kingdom. Knowing upon your return you would be sentenced to death, why on earth are you here?”
   “I do not question where the winds take me, nor do I fear the consequences,” she replied, taking the goblet of wine offered to her.
    “It’s that kind of talk, witch talk that got you trouble in the first place.”
    “You haven’t changed much,” Rosalind said, walking towards the window. “Neither has the condition of your townspeople.”
    “There is a war to be funded.”
    “A war in a place these people know nothing about.”
    “You haven’t come back to discuss my taxes?” he asked, standing close behind her, his fingers entwined in her long raven hair. “I’ve missed you.” Rosalind felt his hot breath on her neck as he scooped her hair away, revealing milky white flesh. “I can over turn your death sentence Rosalind,” he murmured.
     She turned to face him, cupping his face in her hands and softly kissing him. “I will not change,” she whispered. “I am who I am, a free spirit who cannot be tamed. Even by a king.”
     The grip on her wrist tightened, his eyes dark and cold. “Then the people you care so much about will continue to suffer as I suffer, unless you renounce your ways.” His grip loosened.  “I love you Rosalind. And offer you everything.” His lips pressed on hers, demanding a response but none came. “You have sealed your fate,” he spat, his hand forming a vice around her neck. Rosalind, remaining calm, tried to pull his hand away, her nails digging in his flesh, breaking the skin.
   “And you have sealed you’s she panted as he released his hand, blood trickling down his arm from her nail mark.
    Rosalind didn’t know why the winds lead her back to John. And as she lay on the cold stone floor, her ankles in shackles, she didn’t question why. Even when she heard the stacking of wood outside, she didn’t question. She accepted everything, even meeting an apothecary along her journey who insisted her nails were painted with a clear liquid, to protect her from harm.  
      That now, was clear to Rosalind. Everything was done for a reason. Now to find the reason for her death as she was lead to the pyre. A muted crowd watched as she was tied to the steak and more wood was piled up around her.
    The flames licked and danced around her, spreading and growing, crackling and spitting. Soon, a wall of fire ate away at her as smoke drifted up and carried on the wind.
     The wound on John’s arm sent him into a fever. From his bed he smelt burning, could see the smoke swirl up high. He cried out as the pain in his arm spread throughout his body, until too weak to even moan. As life ebbed away, a breeze rolled over him, whispers surrounded him. The voice of Rosalind echoed in the air, her sweet voice, gentle laugh. “I am free,” she sang, “free to roam wherever the wind takes me, where you can’t harm me.”
   “Rosalind,” said the hoarse voice of John. “What have you done?”
    “You were right about sealing my fate John. My fate was to be free from you forever and to free the people from you.”   Stillness and silence enveloped John as the breeze, the wind and Rosalind left him to die alone.   
Written for Mid Week Blues Buster over at .