Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Good, The Bad and The Catasphrophic

I have been pondering this blog post for a few days now; should I write it, would people find it interesting, am I wasting my time, no one is bothered about the the ups and downs of a writer. But the urge to write and celebrate a wonderful year took over and here I am.

It has been an amazing year where my writing is concerned and that's thanks to the fantastic writers I have 'met' on facebook who have become wonderful friends. Firstly, there was the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower. Who can forget the crazy goings on in the process of a fairy wedding? Who can forget the excitement of creating a gorgeous story for the anthology? 

Two more anthologies followed (see above pic), both raising money for good charities and my stories were included. I'm in print! Yay!!! (I still look at my name in print and can't quite believe it). Both available on Amazon. 

It was on this high that I went full steam ahead into this years NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) with the support of the crazy community of writers. I was a Nano Rebel as my story had already started but I still had 50,000 in me as did the story. And that's when the catastrophe happened; my laptop just stopped working. I couldn't access any of my work as the little hole where the cable goes was broken or something like that. There wasn't even any power in the battery to boot it up. And do you know the worst of this sorry tale? Despite months of nagging from Hubby about backing up my work, I hadn't. So over 35k of words for my novel was locked along with all my other work. 
I cried.
I spat my dummy.

My writing career had only just started and had come to abrupt halt. Until Hubby's friend rescued my work which is now stored in various places; external hard drives, sky drive and now google cloud. I think my bases are covered. I just need to learn to use them properly.  

And the writing is back as Hubby bought me a Samsung Chromebook for Christmas/Birthday so happy, happy, happy although very different to what I am used to.  No excuses now for writing and joining in more on the flash fiction circuit. 

 That's where the bad comes in. I have been away for so long, I think I've forgotten how to write! I look at flash fiction prompts and have absolutely no clue. My Daily Picspiration pieces are so difficult and don't flow at all. I apologise for that and will up my game for 2014 especially as the calibre of writing is absolutely wonderful.

Looking to 2014, I am full of optimism. I intend to blog more, write more, share authors more. I also intend to publish my own novel. It's not going to happen unless I make it happen and I have wonderful friends who are helping me make it happen (Lisa ShambrookLaura James and Ruth Long who are now thinking oh darn, forgot about that!) as well as friends who always love my work (Jan, Clare, Toni, Angela, Charlotte, Char, Shelley to name but few). So look out for The Adventures of Katie Button coming soon. 

I have other projects in my head that must escape. So watch out!  

2014 is going to be epic. . . . just saying. xxxx 

Happy New Year folks and to nick/adapt a famous Brucie phrase. . . Keep writing/reading. xx 



Friday, 27 December 2013

Oscar Mid Week Blues Buster

Waking up was painless for a split second. That’s how long it took the real world to fracture the dream world, replacing it with immediate emptiness. Molly lay still in the large bed, needing to stretch out her limbs, wanting to feel the warmth of Thom but knowing she would feel only cold, crisp sheets. She hated the weekends. Breaking up with Thom was harder to handle when there was no urgency to get out of bed, no work to occupy her mind. A whole day of nothing lay ahead of her. Just like it had for the past three weeks and still it wasn’t getting any easier.

But Molly had promised herself she would make today count, be a part of society, drink a latte at the corner cafe, buy a Sunday newspaper and maybe stroll through the park like she used to with Thom and Oscar. If Molly could be honest about her situation, she’d admit she missed Oscar more; she wasn’t angry with Oscar like she was Thom.

The cafe wasn’t so bad. She smiled as the latte was placed in front of her and was thankful the waitress didn’t ask about Thom. She sipped her latte, watching the world drift by, seeing how loved up everyone was, how they giggled as they walked by hand in hand. She and Thom used to be exactly like that. A swift gulp of her latte stifled a tear that threatened her veneered appearance of control. She had made it this far and was not going to turn back now. All that awaited her was an empty house, bursting with memories that was washed away momentarily with a bottle of rosé. If ever there was a sign of a broken heart, it was her recycling full to the brim with empty wine bottles. Not today. Today was the first of many painful first steps she had to take.

Buoyed up with confidence, Molly finished her latte. Feeling warm inside, she could now face the park; a brisk walk to blow away her constraints of misery. She paid her bill but was surprised when along with her change, Molly was given a paper bag.

“We’ve missed you Molly, and Oscar. Shame about you and Thom but life goes on and plenty fish in sea. Thom is a fool,” Dillon said with a smile. “But you can have these for Oscar. There’s some meat left on the bones.”

Molly never made it to the park. What was she thinking? The park? Without Oscar? It was bad enough without Thom but Oscar? It was Oscar that made her house a home. Oscar who bounded across the park after sticks, making Molly laugh, Oscar who snuggled at her feet, keeping them warm and Oscar who sat with her on those lonely empty nights whilst Thom was ‘working late’. It pained Molly even more when she realised Oscar was the only loyalty she had had in her life and how empty her life had now become now he was no longer in it.

My entry in this week's  Mid Week blues Buster over at The Tsuruoka files. You can listen to the musical inspiration called In a lonely place by The Smitherines here http://youtu.be/mlOVlqUcB8A . 



Thursday, 5 December 2013

House For Sale - Daily Picspiration

Gale stood at the top window, the nets billowing around him as he watched the couple outside in his garden. They seemed more interested than most; it was their second viewing and their excitement tangible, even in the garden that had seen better days. He watched intently as the couple stood on the patio, his heart thumping hard inside his chest, his voice catching in the back of his throat as silence drifted from his lips.

“Do you think think they're going to buy it?” Mia asked, joining Gale by the window. She liked this couple. They reminded her of when she first looked at the house, wanting it instantly, feeling it was right. A second viewing was a good sign and the estate agent didn't seem to be over working it or trying the hard sell which was the best sign of all.

“We'll see. I don't want to think about it and what it could mean for us.” He returned a warm smile to Mia and squeezed her hand as the couple wandered back into the house.

From the stairs, Gale watched as the man stood at the French doors, looking at the garden. It was an oasis within the city and Gale remembered many a summer eve sitting out on the patio with a beer in hand chatting with Mia after dining alfresco. But now was the time for others to enjoy the garden and the house like he had. He and Mia needed to move on and hopefully now was the time.

“So,” began the man, turning to face the estate agent, “you said we can move in straight away and all furnishings come with the price?”

“Yep, no chain, just a straight forward sale. 10K has already been knocked off the price so it really is a good deal to be snapped up right away.” The man turned to face the garden again. Gale watched him, his interest piqued by the man's fascination with the garden.

“I think he's going to free us from this place Mia, I really do,” Gale whispered. He continued to watch the couple as they whispered amongst themselves, looking at each other intently then towards the garden.

It seemed an eternity before the man turned to the smiling estate agent, “we'll take it,” he stated firmly, a broad smile spreading across his face. “I'm sure we can make this place a home again.”

“Indeed you can,” the estate agent said eagerly, shaking his hand firmly. “I'll start the ball rolling.” He left the couple, walking out to the hallway, mobile phone already at his ear.

“I know this house has a history Deb's but the location, the price, I just feel so at home here and comfortable.”

“Me too,” she replied., drawn to the garden with her gaze.

“The garden is beautiful Deb's but I don't like the patio. I'm thinking of ripping it up, decking the area and landscaping the rest.”

Gale and Mia knowingly looked towards each other, hope creeping in to their hearts that they could really be moving and leaving this house behind. It was a happy home once upon a time and would be once again.

“Right, “ the estate agent said, “in six weeks then, this should be yours with no hiccups on the mortgage front. And you'll have a nice bit left over no doubt for some home repairs, really put your stamp on the place.”

“Yeah, Mark wants to start on the garden first,” Deb's replied.

“Good, yes, well, right, I'm sure the neighbours are going to be thrilled have the place full of life again. Put all the nastiness behind them and this house.”

“You said the couple disappeared? What's nasty about that?” the man asked.

“Well, the police have suggested foul play.”

“But there's no evidence of that is there?” he said, glancing to the patio.

“Well no bodies if that's what you mean.”

“Oh my gosh Gale,” Mia exclaimed, “he knows. We're going to be free.”

“I knew he was going to be the one Mia, I could feel it. He'll do as he said; dig up the patio, find us there and we'll be free.” He kissed her softly before they both drifted up the staircase to their bedroom, over looking their resting place in the garden.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Purple Or Green Daily Picspiration

I wrote this for http://picspiration.blogspot . xx 

Erin stood alone on the bridge; usually a tourist attraction but at this early hour of the morning, it was deserted. She’d heard tales about the bridge and the odd decoration that hung from the thick cables and how people added their own padlock and made a wish. She took a few moments to wonder how successful those wishes had been, whether they came true, whether a happy ever after followed. But that depended on the wish. Maybe some wishes were dark, greedy, self obsessed, causing someone nothing but pain and not knowing why.

She wasn’t here to make any wishes, good or bad. Her job was harder, almost impossible as she stared at the length of cables which had a padlock hanging from every inch. How was she to choose?

Another walk back and forth, staring hard at each padlock wasn’t helping. Sitting on the bridge, her feet dangling, didn’t help.  Frustration was too simple a word for the predicament facing Erin. But time was running out. Above the buildings, the sky began to turn to beautiful colours of dawn; wisps of deep pink, oranges and reds spread across a once darkened sky but Erin didn’t notice the beauty.  

How quickly time slipped by yet Erin wasn’t ready to make the decision; her heart wasn’t in it. Such a difference it made to everything. Without her heart, she was a shell. How could a shell make such a decision without feeling?

She heard the ticking of a clock, louder and louder, confusing her. Maybe she should just walk away and live her life without her heart; after all it had caused her nothing by grief. It had been broken twice; the second time most recently when Guy had broke off their engagement as he wasn’t ready, only to be ready enough with his work colleague.  That’s when she wanted rid of her pain, the heartache and pleaded with someone, anyone to help her.

Staring at the padlocks, Erin regretted every single word. What was life without a heart? Choose correctly, she’d get it back in an instant, choose incorrectly and it was gone forever, leaving her empty, uncaring, unloved and unable to love.

The purple padlock caught her eye. It had to be the one; purple was her favourite colour. She slowly reached out, her fingers just a tip away from touching when she hesitated. Her eyes strayed to the tiny, green padlock below. There was something familiar about it but she’d never seen it before. She hadn't noticed much since her heart had been taken. But the green padlock drew her in and her hand reached out and without hesitation her finger tips gently touched the cold metal.

Erin didn’t know what to expect but she hoped she’d feel different, feel emotion for everything around her. But she was indifferent. The sky was a dull blue. The river was murky. She squeezed the padlock until it dug into her skin hoping to feel some sensation of her heart back in my body. It was unacceptable to have chosen the wrong one. But obviously she had.

It was a long, despondent walk off the bridge to the bus stop where Erin waited alone. Finally, the bus came into view, trundling along an empty road. It stopped and the doors flung open. Erin stepped on, handing over change in exchange for a ticket.

“You get done what you needed to do at the bridge?” the bus driver asked.  Erin gave him an absent minded glance, nodded and took the ticket. “You don’t recognise me do you? I brought you here.”

“Oh, sorry, thank you.” She smiled but it was a half smile which was her life now; everything by half because she was not whole. The bus driver smiled back and Erin felt a jolt inside her, she felt a thudding against her chest like something wanted to escape but only as far as him. Erin took more notice as she stared at him. He stared back with his soft green eyes, smiling back.“Oh my God!” Erin couldn’t help but exclaim, resting her hand on her chest and felt the rhythmic beat. She looked around her and for the first time noticed how beautiful the town was with its quaint buildings, flower pots in bloom and the sun glinting on the river. Erin looked to the bus driver again and her heart lurched. The green padlock! The green eyes! Green!

“You made the right choice then?” he said grinning, “I knew you would when I dropped you off. The name’s Pete.” He held out his hand and Erin took it and knew she was never letting go.   

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Daily Picspiration Piece Traitor

A little treat for those who are already familiar with my vampire, Luke and his companion Claudette. A little back story for you written for my Daily Picspiration entry as I continue with the story for this year's Nanowrimo. xxx    


Picking up a pencil, Claudette scraped it along the desktop, gouging a trail the length of the desk, again and again until the pencil snapped in half. She threw it to the floor, admiring her work on the antique desk. This was Luke’s sanctuary, a place where he contemplated, relaxed, plotted and studied. He allowed no one in unless invited. Invitations were rare. Once behind the large oak doors, Luke shut out the world he had created, the world where the metallic taste of blood hung thick in the air, where the constant groans from slaves murmured throughout the walls, their wails and screams echoing through his bones, where his family laughed, argued, fought and feasted. 

It wasn’t a lifestyle choice, being a vampire. He was taken. Murdered. Only to be given life by the vampire who stalked him, wore him down before brutally feeding from his pulsating neck. Life had been good. Luke, an original Knight of the Garter, knighted by The Black Prince himself, the age where chivalry was standard, where knights jousted and fought for honour, love and bravery. Luke loved his life. But Francois set his sights on him, desired him, and hungered for the pure blood that ran through his veins. But Luke didn’t give up easily which only endeared Francois more to his quarry, respecting Luke’s fortitude, his desire to live, his spirit to fight. 

Luke still carried these traits now, over eight hundred years later; the spirit of the fight, loving his prey to run, defend, fight to the last which was pointless against a vampire but addictive to his soul. Yes, vampires had souls. Luke’s soul was like any other soul belonging to a vampire; dark, mysterious, black and predatory. He savoured the hunt. He relished each victim on their own merit. But he had only ever taken one into his world; Claudette. 

He remembered the evening he first saw her, at the opening of the Louvre in 1793. He followed her in as she admired the limited works on display. He read her thoughts on every painting and sculpture, learnt much, hungered for her more. She chatted politely, curtsied when royalty approached. Her spirit captivated him and he spent the next three nights following her until he could bare it no more. Arm in arm they walked to a quiet spot by the Seine where he revealed his true self. She ran, screaming which only aroused Luke more causing his fangs to extend. 

Giving Claudette a head start he strolled along the river bank, her scent in his nostrils; the thick smell of fear, the metallic scent of her blood mingling with sweetness of her sweat. He caught her, mid flight, whisking her off her feet, burying his face in her neck, an insatiable thirst. But he couldn’t finish. He needed a companion since Francois had died. Wanted Claudette. She would forgive him in good time just like he had done with Francois. 

Claudette stared down at the desk, at her handy work. Luke would know it was her. Luke would now know what it was like to be betrayed. The etched W in the desk meant one thing to both of them; witch. Luke’s dalliances with the young witch had brought shame on the clan, his own clan. How could he hide the witch from them and keep her powers to himself? It was treachery. And Luke was about to find out how traitors were dealt with in the vampire world. No mercy would be given. it didn’t matter that he was their leader, the head of the family or the most powerful. It just made Claudette more determined for with Luke out of the way, she would have the witch to herself and become head of the family. With Kian by her side, they would be unstoppable. 

Friday, 1 November 2013

By Invitation Only MidweekBluesBuster


By Invitation Only

The half finished derelict Victorian mansion set in a small clearing amongst the forest was the perfect setting for the party. The trees creaked and groaned as stray branches tapped against the third story windows. The wind swirled dead leaves around visitors’ feet as the jack-o-lantern welcomed guests with a jagged grin. The door bell gave a ghostly moan before the heavy wooden door creaked open revealing a darkened hall with only a flickering of a candle dancing in the breeze.

Ahead of the guests, two large white doors were firmly closed and the silence was broken only by the clip clopping of their footsteps against the black and white tiles. Victor looked to his wife, Clarissa, “do I have anything stuck between my teeth?” he asked, running his tongue across his pearly whites and glistening fangs.

“Beautiful darling,” Clarissa purred, baring her own fangs for inspection. She flicked back her long, black hair revealing the silver streak, pulled her black dress down a little, showing a little more cleavage before the doors sprung open.

The music assaulted their eardrums as did the cheer from the crowd as Victor and Clarissa glided in. Manny was the first to greet them, offering an unravelling hand as he groaned a welcome.

“Dear Manny,” Clarissa said, air kissing him, “how lovely to see you looking so well wrapped.” She and Victor made sure they spoke to everyone before heading for the bar.

“Two Bloody Mary’s please,” Victor said, “type O.”

“It’s a fabulous turn out this year,” Clarissa observed, seeing every single creature represented at the annual Halloween bash. This year, even the zombies had made it after their popularity had risen due to The Walking Dead. Last year, they didn’t even get an invite; picking up after them was always a dampener on the night.

“Cheers,” Victor clunked his glass and sipped his drink, licking his lips. “This does give me a taste of the hunt Clarissa. I hunger for the old days when we could go about unnoticed and chase own our prey.” He sighed heavily, “and wearing this stupid black cloak. Why do we have to dress up for Halloween?”

“Stop being a grouch Victor. It’s fun. Besides, Manny wouldn't be seen without his wrap,” she laughed, “we wouldn't see him either.” She looked at Manny the Mummy as he waved back. “It’s the one night of the year where we can truly be ourselves and do what we were born to do.”    

A flurry of ghosts drifted across the room, before disappearing through the wall as the headless horseman took centre stage with his break dancing. Clarissa loved the party, loved they were altogether; loved the one night of the year they were all allowed and were able to walk amongst the humans, unnoticed.

But the climax of the evening was the sound of the moaning doorbell. With all the guess already arrived, it only meant one thing; the delivery of humans. Clarissa jumped with joy as the music stopped and everyone gathered eagerly. “Now we don’t want to scare them off just yet. We’ll have some fun before we share the spoils,” she sang as she walked to the door.

Adjusting her dress again, Clarissa opened the door. She smiled, not afraid to show her fangs; it was Halloween after all.

“Sorry to disturb your party but our coach driver is lost. Do you have a phone? Useless mobile; no signal out here,” the middle aged man said.  

“Why of course. You and your group should come in for a rest, some refreshment. We have plenty.”  The coach load of tourists traipsed into the house as Clarissa walked over to the driver.” Thank you,” she grinned.

“My pleasure,” the coach driver grinned, baring his own gleaming fangs that he’d kept well hidden whilst duping the tourists onto his coach. “I’ll just park up in the garage and join the party, Mother.”  


This week's Mid-week-blues-buster over at The Tsuruoka Files has given us a rather zany song which can be heard here http://youtu.be/KJzWGkgFcTU.  

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A Merry Minion Christmas #AMMC-DFQ Christmas Preparations


My second entry into this year's (hoping it's an annual thing) A Merry Minion Blog Hop for the Dark Fairy Queen and her Minions. The hop has been organised by Laura over at Office Mango Missy over at marissaames Nick at talesfromatightrope and Ruth at bullishink.com. It is hoped the entries will form a gorgeous little anthology by those creative people over at blueharvestcreative.com. Enjoy my story and please, read all the other fantastical tales of Christmas by other fabulous authors by clicking on any of the links above.  x

Title: Christmas Preparations
Author: Lizzie Koch
eBook: Yes
Dedication: To everyone who enjoys Christmas and family time. This is for you. xx

Christmas Preparations

Evie and Leah had done a great job in foraging for holly and fir cones under the watchful eye of Ben. The pile sat on the table. Lisa heard her girls laughing as they cleaned up. Her girls’ laughter was infectious but a rarity these days. Looking at the table, Lisa thought back to the days when she was little and decorated fir cones in glitter for a table centre piece, using the holly to place carefully around thick cream candles. Sometimes she would decorate the candles with images of Father Christmas or angels. Angels were her favourite and at times, Lisa felt she had her own personal angel looking over her. She had to. After what she and her family had been through, had survived, here they were, ready to celebrate Christmas . . . if Lucas came home. There was always an if now.

Lisa wandered over to the boundary of their farm, the winter sun bright but weak in heat as it was every winter. But she was thankful for it as it brightened up an otherwise grey world. A light, cooling breeze rolled over her and brought with it the saltiness of the sea just a mile away. Straining her ears, she thought she heard the freedom of the waves crashing against the stony beach.

“Mum, do we have any glitter?”

“I don’t know Evie, you’ll have to look.” They’d only been at the farm for a month and trying to make it secure was priority rather than searching for arts and crafts. So far, the farmhouse was proving the sanctuary they needed; a greenhouse with seasonal fruits and vegetables, a thriving vegetable garden, two pigs which from the previous owners were pets going by the name plates on the pen; Salt and Pepper.  Once the boundary was secure, the farm made the ideal home.  With vehicles in good working order, they made runs to the nearby town and beyond.

“I’m sure the boys are fine,” Kelly said, joining Lisa at the fence. “They know exactly what they’re doing. I've turned the oven on ready.” Lisa loved Kelly’s optimism; better to have even a pinch of it in this new world rather than the bucket load of pessimism Lisa carried.

“Mum, look what I found,” Evie shouted, running from the house, carrying a plastic box. “It’s full of paints, glitter, sequins and look.” She held up a homemade angel made from a toilet roll, lace and an overload of cotton wool. 
“Can we put it on top of the tree?”

“Sure.” She wiped a tear. “Arg, this is so stupid! But I used to have a box like that. And now we’re using someone else’s memories, living in someone else’s home. It feels wrong.”

“The home was empty, like it was waiting for us. We need a home and to lead a normal life. It’s important for the kids. That’s all that matters.”
The sound of an engine and tyres on gravel made them both rigid; never knowing who was driving down towards the farm until the familiar blue truck came into view.

“Did you get the turkey?” Kelly asked as Lucas and Sam stepped from the truck.

“Not quite. But got us a chicken or two. They’re flapping in the sack,” Sam chuckled.

“You mean they’re alive? I can’t deal with that,” Lisa moaned.

“You’re gonna have to deal with a lot worse; there’s a group heading this way and I don’t mean chickens,” Lucas said, grabbing his holdall. “Get everyone ready.” He never used the zed word with Lisa. Even though they were in the midst of a zombie infestation, the zed word sent her into a blind panic and that wasn’t good to anyone despite face to zombie combat on many occasions.

“Couldn't you pick them off before you got here?” Lisa panicked.

“Too many. We’ll be fine here.” The group gathered as Lucas handed out weapons. With glitter covered hands, Evie grabbed her crude looking spear with ease and stood at her post as did Leah and Kelly’s teenage son, Ben.“Now remember, the head, you must aim for the head, twice to make sure. We've all got each other’s backs so the sooner we do this, the sooner Christmas starts. You good Lisa?” Lucas saw the determination in Lisa’s eyes but her shaking arm was evident. “I can see them. About twenty of them.” Lucas rushed back to the truck and surprised everyone as Christmas music blared out.

It didn’t matter what the circumstances, a blast of Slade wishing it was Christmas every day, lifted everyone’s spirit as zombies snarled and gnashed at the fence, clawing only air before dropping with a head split like a melon.

Silent Night drifted across the farm as the last zombie fell, piled high against the fence. Lucas walked over to Evie and Leah, both bloody but unharmed. Holding their hands, Lucas squeezed tight. “Good job girls,” he whispered, looking over to Lisa. “Seeing as you've just dispatched half a dozen zombies, I think you can handle the chickens,” he said grinning at her. “Come on girls, let’s start Christmas.   


Saturday, 26 October 2013

A Merry Minion Christmas #AMMC-DFQ It's Just Another Day


My entry into this year's (hoping it's an annual thing) A Merry Minion Blog Hop for the Dark Fairy Queen and her Minions. The hop has been organised by Laura over at Office Mango Missy over at marissaames Nick at talesfromatightrope and Ruth at bullishink.com. It is hoped the entries will form a gorgeous little anthology by those creative people over at blueharvestcreative.com. Enjoy my story and please, read all the other fantastical tales of Christmas by other fabulous authors by clicking on any of the links above. Oh and for my American friends, I have used English spelling and the preferred phrase 'Father Christmas' to 'Santa'. x

Title: It's Just Another Day
Author: Lizzie Koch
eBook: Yes
Dedication: There's a little Christmas magic in everyone. Merry Christmas Ralph, Ethan and Charlotte;  hubby, son and sister of a Daughter of Christmas. xx 

It's Just Another day

It had been three days since Ellison collapsed unexpectedly, now laying in a hospital bed. Nothing appeared to be wrong with him, his heart was fine, his brain functioning normally but still he slept. I wasn’t even sure how it happened. One minute we were arguing, the next he slumped into a heap.
But stress had been ruled out; Ellison was fit and healthy.

It wasn’t even a proper row; I only admitted I’d cancelled Christmas due to a serious lack of money after being made redundant. Oh, then I said something about it being just another day. That was mean. It was our wedding anniversary after all. But he must have known what I meant? I just didn’t want the fuss, the families, the huge amounts of debt. It was quite romantic when you thought about it really; just the two of us, celebrating our anniversary at Christmas. But then I went on about not believing anymore, the magic gone.

I glanced out of the window, before leaving for the hospital. The whole world seemed greyer this morning. Even the twinkling lights looked limp and dull. The atmosphere outside felt different. People trudged by with hunched shoulders, ignoring the shops. The charity singers weren't in their usual spot. The decorations on the town’s tree lost their lustre and the tree itself, only a few days up, lost its needles. The radio in the taxi wasn’t even playing Christmas tunes.

“Are you looking forward to Christmas?” I breezily asked the cab driver.

He eyed me in his mirror before turning back to the road. “Just another day,” he sighed.

The hospital was worse. I noticed decorations were missing especially in the children’s ward. There was no tree and the nurse that attended Ellison was now minus her flashing snowman broach.

“How is he?”

“Same as last night. Wish I could tell you something different Bella. But a specialist is coming in later today. All the way from Iceland or Greenland or somewhere like that,” she said as she wrote on his chart, “Let’s hope he has some answers although there doesn’t seem to be any hope,” she mumbled. I blanched. “Not with Ellison, sorry Bella. I meant in general. There seems to be an immense feeling of nothingness.”

“Christmas is around the corner,” I ventured.

“It’s just another day Bella”

What on earth was going on? How could people be so dismissive about Christmas? I clutched Ellison’s hand. He loved Christmas. He was Christmas. Not Father Christmas but he had the spirit of Christmas and it was contagious to everyone he met.

“Bella?” I turned. A short, grey haired man in a black suit walked in, a sweet smile on his creased face. He held out his wrinkled hand. It was warm to the touch and soft. “I have come to help.”

“You’re the specialist?” He nodded, looking gravely at Ellison. “Can you help him?”

He looked at me, his watery blue eyes mournful. “No I can’t. But you can.”

“Me?” My patience imploded. I couldn’t understand the lethargic nature of everyone and now stupidity was joining in. I know I swore. I know I wanted to leave and find a sane doctor but the door closed. It wouldn't open. I know I turned the air blue again but the little man just sat calmly, staring at me.

“Now Bella, I need you to listen. The key to all this is you. Only you can make it all better and Christmas again.” Banging on the door, I yelled for someone to come and get me away from this madman. “As you wish.” 

In a flash of red light, I was standing in an unfamiliar room full of sparkles, the smell of cinnamon and chocolate filling the air. Toys littered every corner. Music echoed through the room; Here Comes Santa Claus. I peered out of the round window. A shimmering, snow covered landscape stretched as far as the eye could see.

“Lovely to see you Bella,” a voice boomed. I turned to see a plump, jolly man wearing red velvet trousers and a white t-shirt. His beard was as white as snow and looked as soft as a pillow. “Yes it’s me. You’re at the North Pole.” I was handed a tray of chocolate and a hot cocoa by what looked like a little girl but was an elf.

“Is Ellison your son?”

“Yes and no. He is a Son of Christmas. Throughout the world there are daughters and sons of Christmas. They are born with the spirit of Christmas in them, have the Christmas gene so one day, one of them can carry on my work when I can no longer do it. Don’t worry; I've plenty of years left in me yet.”

“Why is Ellison ill?”

“Can’t you guess?”

“Because I said I didn’t believe?”


“But thousands of people don’t believe.”

“They’re not married to a son or daughter of Christmas. Ellison and others like him can’t just fall in love with anyone. They are drawn to those who carry true Christmas spirit.”

“And I've lost mine so Ellison is dying?”

“Yes. Come, let’s take a walk.” I timidly followed him around his magical world. The work shop was buzzing, the reindeer resting in beds of fresh straw, the kitchens baking up a storm of gingerbread, cookies and candy canes. As I walked, I felt the gloom embedded within me lift. The grey shadows of my heart faded away as Christmas spirit and magic returned in abundance.

“It’s not just another day,” I realised, “ I was wrong.”

“I know.” He smiled. The red flash surrounded me; I looked down at Ellison, his dark eyes sparkling, the rosy glow back in his cheeks, his smile welcoming. “How do you feel, meeting the Big Man?”

I grinned, my face flushed. “Oh you know, it’s just another day.”




Friday, 25 October 2013

An Uninvited Guest - Daily Picspiration piece

My Daily Picspiration piece. A place where writers post a story fortnightly based on a photo prompt. You can visit http://picspiration.blogspot.co.uk and read and comment on this and other stories as well as leaving your comment here. Enjoy. xx 


An Uninvited Guest

Lorna’s Halloween party was ready. She was ready and with broom in hand, she walked down the cobwebbed stairs to greet her guests.

“You look very bewitching,” Mason said, exposing his fangs.

“Not so bad yourself, even if modern.” She untied his tie, letting it hang loose before unbuttoning a button or two, ruffling his black hair. “Much better.” A kiss left him with crimson smudged lips giving him that just fed look as he greeted the guests.

The weather was kind for October, unusually mild and dry and the moon came out to play in all her glory as the clouds shied away, knowing they were uninvited. Candles flickered, bringing to life carved pumpkins dotted around the garden as the party spilled out from the house.

A rousing cheer stopped all conversation and Lorna looked over to the apple bobbing where Mason stood, his black hair dripping, with a shiny red apple locked in his mouth.

“He’s such a good sport,” Tracey cooed, “a few more beers are well and truly needed before Dan even thinks about it.” 

“Mason’s a show off,” Lorna joked.

“Totally agree,” said a woman’s voice who had sidled up next to Lorna unnoticed. Lorna and 
Tracey looked at her. She was captivating. Her long, flowing raven coloured hair framed a pale face where eyes as black as coal sparked like diamonds. She licked her ruby lips, before looking at the two women. “I work with Mason,” she said with a smile bearing the whitest teeth before wandering off to mingle.

Both Lorna and Tracey followed her with their eyes, watching how she entered conversions with ease. “Who the hell was that?” Tracey asked.

“I have absolutely no idea.” Lorna couldn’t take her eyes off the woman as she sauntered from group to group; she seemed to know everyone and going by the response, they knew her. Funny how Mason hadn't said he had a new colleague at the office; something he usually never failed to mention. She coiled around the men in their little group, laughing as Mason cracked yet another punch line. Envy rose in Lorna. She wanted to go over, stamp her scent all over Mason but her pride stopped her being so foolish. It was a party. People flirted. A bit rude flirting with the host right in front of the hostess but flirting was harmless as far as Mason was concerned.

“Who’s the girl?” Lorna finally managed to ask Dan as he helped himself to cold chicken. He shrugged. “You don’t know her?”

“Nope, never seen her before. Thought she was one of your friends.”

“Why do you say that?”

“She said.” He finished the drumstick, picking up another with his zombie made up hand. “Great spread. Better than braaaains,” he laughed as he dragged himself away.

“Looks like you've seen a ghost,” Mason said, taking Lorna in his arms when he finally decide to spend time with her, “although I suspect Dan was telling another awful zombie joke.”

“Do you know that woman, the one standing with Tracey and Dan.”

“No, she said she works with you.”

Lorna shook her head. “No one knows who she is. She makes me uncomfortable. Can you ask her to leave?” From Mason’s expression, Lorna could tell he was about to protest. It was nearing midnight and the party would soon be over save for a few close friends. The woman approached. Lorna wanted to avoid her stare but couldn’t and felt her black eyes penetrate deep within her. She seemed to glide effortlessly, her long, black cloak wrapped around her.

“Great party,” she purred. “I love Halloween. It’s usually my busiest night of the year.” 

“Really? Are you in the trade?” Mason asked innocently.

“Yes. But I've been suspended from the Council of Witches.” Mason laughed. His laugh was contagious, filled with warmth but Lorna clutched him tight, her face as straight as a poker, hard as stone.

“Who are you?” Lorna finally asked; her voice strong belying a fear creeping through her bones.

Clarissa is my name. I am a witch of course.” By now a small group of people had gathered around to hear. Some laughed at her response, others stared, the same feeling as Lorna deep within them. “You know this is true Lorna; which is why you fear me. I can smell your fear. A witch can smell a human’s fear just as she can smell the lust in a man.” She looked directly at Mason. “Those who mock me will want proof.”

“Yeah,” Dan shouted drunkenly along with a few others.

“Very well.”

“No, just leave,” cried Lorna, panic rising in her voice, “just leave.” But Clarissa closed her eyes, raising her arms to the full moon. Her sleeves fell, revealing transparent white skin as she chanted words with no meaning, words with no sense. With one hand, she reached out, touching Mason’s bare chest. He didn’t flinch, didn’t hear Lorna’s pleas to move away, didn’t feel Clarissa’s nails dig into his flesh, didn’t hear the terrified gasp from Lorna. His eyes closed.

Clarissa opened her eyes, wide sparkling, filled with mischief. She let her grasp go and trickles of blood ran down Mason’s chest. He couldn’t move despite Lorna’s touch, trying to pull him away.

“Mason?” Lorna shook him. His eyes opened. Lorna let out a shrill cry as black eyes of a stranger stared back; his beautiful green eyes and their memories gone. The blood on his chest started to run back into his body and the nail marks healed. He grinned. Fangs glinted against thin bluish lips, his tanned glow gone. But white wasn’t a word Lorna would use. Her fear was replaced by awe as the beauty of Mason’s skin captivated her; smooth, lucent, soft to the touch, cold. “Mason?” she whispered. He looked down into Lorna’s wide eyes, tracing her features, down to her neck where he could see her pulse beating a rhythmic, inviting tune.

“Leave her, for now, she won’t be going anywhere.” Mason obeyed Clarissa despite the hunger and desire overwhelming him. “There is more for you to hunt.” A thin smile formed as Mason eyed the guests, hearing every beat of every heart. Screaming filled the night as they ran like ants scurrying out of the rain. “It’s Halloween! Let the fun begin!” Clarissa sang as Mason quenched his thirst in a frenzied blur as Lorna could only watch in a terror filled trance. 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

A Cherokee Rose/ Daryl Dixon/Fan Fave/ TWD Blog Hop Emma


A taut bow, with a quick release, the arrow flew to its target, a thud between the eyes. The walker dropped. Emma edged forward, crossbow poised, retracting the arrow with a squelch, wiping it clean and moving on. Hunting for dinner was much harder now she was on the menu. A rustle up ahead stopped her. She waited, only to be met by silence.  A feeling she was being stalked shot adrenalin through her body. But her attention was drawn to tracks; a small dear, fresh too. And just up ahead she saw it. The creature was grazing, unaware of the danger. Silently, Emma raised her bow, her breath steady as her fingers pulled back, ready to release. Without warning, the deer fell. Startled, Emma kept her crossbow aimed where the deer once stood as a man approached it.

“Hey!” Emma whispered, “That’s mine!”

“Don’t see how when it’s my arrow.” Emma edged closer. “I don’t feel comfortable with you aiming that thing at me,”

“It’s not aiming at you,” Emma replied coolly, releasing the bow. A walker dropped.


“You can thank me later Daryl,” she replied with a smile, giving him a quick kiss.   

Emma had met Daryl whilst out hunting not long after the walkers came or turned; Emma wasn’t sure which. After having to kill her own mother and brother after they were bit, she was on her own, moving around the woods, stopping in barns for shelter, until Daryl. At first they hunted together; finding two bows better than one, sharing the spoils. Then Daryl invited Emma into his sanctuary once she had earned his trust. After that, he invited her into his bed. His brother, Merle, was less than thrilled. But somehow, the three got along; as long as there was enough food.

For so long it had just been Daryl and Merle and Daryl wouldn't have been half the man if it wasn’t for Merle looking out for him, saving him from the abuse of their father. That’s why he hunted; solitude kept him sane, focused his mind, ready for the onslaught when he got home. Little did he know how useful it would be now there were walkers.    

Merle eyed the deer hungrily, expertly butchering it quickly, disposing of the waste cleanly so as not to attract walkers. And they feasted.

The full moon looked down as Daryl let the cool air roll over him, sitting on the porch with a beer and a full belly, crossbow at his side. Despite the world turned on its head, he felt life was good and he could make a proper go of it. Not one for sharing, Daryl was ready now to share everything.

“Hey,” Emma said, sitting down next to him. Daryl pulled Emma in close, staring into her soul, running his fingers through her dark strands and showering her with feather like kisses, nuzzling her soft silky neck as she melted into his arms.

“I’ll keep watch tonight,” Merle said gruffly, plonking himself down. “Seriously, go and do what you do,” he grimaced, swigging on a beer.

Daryl curled into Emma and for the first time in a long time, since the walkers, he slept soundly. She gave him comfort and normality in a crazy world.

A crack shattered the silent night and Daryl was up, grabbing his trousers along with his crossbow, “Merle!”

“Walkers, god dam it!” Merle screamed, firing his gun again and again. “They’re everywhere!” The air was thick with the smell of rancid flesh, the sound of rasping and rattling as they dragged their carcasses towards fresh meat. Snarling, showing their teeth from which they ripped flesh from bone, they came. Daryl was quick with his bow, his aim true as one by one walkers fell. Emma joined him as Merle continued with the gun.

“Stay with me Emma, whatever you do, stay with me,” Daryl urged.

“We need to get out of here!” Merle yelled, “There’s too many of ‘em.” Daryl grabbed Emma’s hand and they ran, round the back of the house, Merle following. They could see the jeep, tantalisingly close but two walkers were heading towards them. Merle aimed his gun.

“Will you stop firing that thing!” Daryl shouted, firing his crossbow. A walker fell. But a knife piercing the skull finished him off. “Get to the jeep, I’ll be right there,” Daryl ordered as he reloaded and aimed. The walker fell in a pile of decaying flesh. Another appeared out of nowhere and Daryl swung round, knife impaled into the stomach, putrid guts spewing out over him. Sinking the knife into the skull finished the job. He heard the sound of the jeep choke into life, a scream from Emma and Merle’s gun firing. A walker dropped. Daryl jumped in and Merle sped, ramming into a walker before leaving their home for good. They drove into the night, the house and walkers far behind before Emma asked them to stop. Merle ignored her, wanting as much distance as possible behind them.

“Stop the jeep!” she yelled, “I've been bit!” The car swerved to a halt.

“What . . . . . How . . . . . . Where . . . . . . . Are you sure?” Daryl was a mass of confusion as he followed Emma from the jeep. She turned and faced him, tears running down her pallid cheeks as she showed him her ankle; blood still dripping from the deep gouge. Daryl stared, horror etched all over his face, burning deep into his heart.

“When I was getting into the jeep . . . . . . a walker . . . . . . I didn’t see it,” she sobbed. Daryl rushed to her, wrapping his strong arms around her. “I don’t want to turn Daryl. I saw my family turn, please don’t let me turn.”She kissed him, hard, wanting to devour him and stay like this forever.  

“I can’t.”  

“You have to.”

“Lay with me.” They curled up, beneath a tree where a bed of white roses bloomed, lying together, crying silently, until Emma fell into a sleep from which Daryl made sure she would never waken.


And that's my entry. A snippet into the life of Daryl Dixon before he met up with Rick and co. Thanks to Ruth Long over at bullishink and Lisa McCourt Hollar and Sarah Aisling for hosting this awesome event. Now go and find your inner zombie and write a tale of walkers. . . . . .

PS I was sooooo tempted to call Emma Lizzie. . . . . Love Daryl!!!! xxxx

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Thursday Threads Then I Can Help You

It's been a while since I contributed to Thursday Threads over at Siobhan Muir's The Weird, the Wild and the Wicked. Actually, it's been a while since I submitted any flash fiction. But, slowly getting back into the groove and really hope you like this piece where the phrase 'then I can help you' has to be included somewhere in the story. And no more than 250 words. . . . . 

Her heart wasn’t just broken; it was shattered into sharp splinters of bitterness, puncturing all her memories with a thick, black slick of revenge. Molly had shed no more tears after finding Daniel tangled up with a mystery brunette. No more swollen, red face, no more wallowing on the sofa with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s in her Disney pjs.  

A passing comment had given her a new direction, a new focus, a new zeal for life. Meeting ‘H’ for the third time, Molly took extra care with her makeup, new hair and a more modern, sophisticated wardrobe that celebrated her figure. Her time was now spent pondering ‘H’ and what it stood for as well as how her friend knew him in the first place. He wasn’t one for giving information as he sat and listened to Molly’s tale, nodding occasionally before declaring, “then I can help you,” once Molly handed over the manila envelope across the sticky pub table. His large, tattooed hand reached out, not checking the contents before sliding it inside his deep leather pocket. It unnerved Molly.

“You won’t see me again, you won’t try to find me,” he said gruffly as he stood, towering above her.

“How will I know it’s done?” Molly’s ruby lips trembled.

“You’ll know.” He opened the battered pub door before turning back, “A word of advice; get rid of the gangster’s moll lippy; you’re supposed to be heartbroken, not putting out a hit.”


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Dear Willow- My Daily Picspiration piece

Dear Willow

Marcus stretched out an arm and on feeling the cold, crisp sheet, he awoke. The dim light of dawn slipped through the blinds, outlining the sumptuous bed, showing he was alone. He lay, staring up at the ceiling, sleep evading him as the big, cold empty bed mocked him. He glanced towards the door where the outline of a shoulder bag hung against what he knew was his favourite shirt. That frayed and faded denim shoulder bag! Everywhere Willow went, that bag always hung at her side. She called it her ‘day bag’ which was why it was hung on the back of the door; night time called for something glamorous, chic and small; just enough room for a lipstick, house key and cash. 

Marcus looked at the clock; ten past four. He imagined Willow would be hobbling along the street towards the beach for breakfast, watching the sun rise after dancing the night away, carrying her heels in her hands, enjoying the cool paving stones and sand against her sore feet. He smiled. What was the point of shoes you couldn’t possibly walk in, let alone dance in! But a whole wardrobe of assorted high heels proved he didn’t know what he was talking about. 

Eventually, Marcus rose from his emptiness, stopping at the door. Touching his shirt, he smelt Willow’s perfume. It was his favourite shirt because she looked so good in it, roaming around the flat as it draped her curves; just hiding what he knew was his. He closed his eyes, feeling her smooth, silky skin as his hands balled into fists, scrunching the shirt. He hated waking up and finding her absent. He hated the worry, the wondering and the anxiousness. He hated having to listen, straining his hearing for the sound of a cab outside, the key in the lock but hated it even more that the sounds were missing. 

The kettle boiled. Steam swirled around the window to the ceiling. As he drank his black coffee, Marcus saw the smiley face appear in the window. Willow always drew them. One would be waiting for him in the bathroom mirror after his shower and on the windows of his car. He didn’t mind the smiley faces but he drew the line at her leaving meat and two veg all over the car windows especially when he was stopped by the police. Another smile spread across his weary face, remembering such an incident and trying to explain the window art. Dangerous territory loomed. He hated being alone. Mornings were the worst; everything was so quiet. 

He reached for the notepad and pen that sat in the middle of the table. Flicking through the pages of notes to each other, he found a blank page. 

Hi Willow, he began to write, another fine morning, promising to be a glorious, sunny day. You always said the best part of clubbing was the morning sunrise on the beach and you’re amazed at how many people are ignorant to it but then, it’s more for you to enjoy. You’d hate the crowds if they descended on your special time and space. I have realised there is so much I now hate Willow. I’m not usually so full of it but right now I hate the world! He stopped, pen poised, waiting for his anger to dissipate.

I saw the smiley face you left me. Better than your previous artwork. But I still wish you were here rather than g- 
he was going to write gallivanting but knew it was wrong.You know how I hate an empty bed. You owe me. He paused. The jingling of milk bottles on door steps, a dog barking, a car starting. Life was waking up. 

So I guess I’ll be seeing you later, all bleary eyed and moaning you’re tired. Well it’s all self inflicted Willow, Honey. And please, don’t nag me for chocolate because you’re hung-over. I’m not going to stop off to buy you any. I’ll give you a hug instead. Boy, there is nothing I’d like more than a hug right now Willow. Today is going to be tough. But then you already know that. He stopped again, staring down at the words, words he knew were false. What on earth was he talking about? Chocolate? His hand wanted to screw the page up, knowing it was stupid, but instead he abruptly stood up. A hot shower soothed him and on throwing back the curtain he was met by the smiley face in the mirror. 

Marcus dressed in his charcoal suit with slim tie. He quickly buffed his shoes and took one last glance in the mirror then at the denim bag and white shirt. He gulped, taking a deep breath before closing the door. 

“You alright mate?” Neville asked as Marcus sat in the passenger seat. “I guess that’s a dumb question. Here.” He handed Marcus a bottle a beer. 

“It’s a bit early for this.” 

“Thought you might need a little bit of courage,” Neville replied with a shrug. Marcus knew he meant well and cracked open the bottle. He’d been up hours already so technically it was lunchtime as far as his body clock was concerned. “I also got you this.” Neville handed over a small red rose for his buttonhole. Marcus stroked the delicate petals, Willow’s favourite flower which was his fault. It was their first date and he drunkenly bought her a red rose from a seller in the pub. Everyone did it and he felt a bit of a prat for doing it but she loved it especially when even now, he still bought her the single red rose when in the pub, three years later. Why had he waited three years for today? He thought he had all the time in the world. How wrong was he? The buttonhole in place, flanked by Neville, he walked into the room where Willow’s parents were waiting next to their drowsy daughter. 

She looked beautiful. 

Willow’s dark hair was glossy, her lips stained in a frosty pink. She held a small bouquet of red roses in her delicate hands where her nails had been painted in her favourite colour; purple. She opened her eyes and they sparkled, well at least to Marcus. They would always sparkle. Marcus sat by her, taking her hand, planting a gentle kiss on her warm lips. 

“I guess we’d better do this thing,” smiled Marcus, “if you still want me?” It was a joke. nerves getting the better of him. 

“You know I do Marcus.” Willow’s whisper was barely audible. A nurse adjusted the equipment and the wedding service began. It was over in five minutes. Willow and Marcus were now married, surrounded by flowers, cards and balloons as well as monitors, wires and drips. 

“I wrote you another letter,” Marcus began, a tear running down his cheek. He had found writing letters to Willow was his coping mechanism,“but I forgot it.” He always forgot them. They were for his eyes only. 

“Tell me what it said.” She closed her eyes as he told her about the silly heels he’d miss, the smiley faces, her late nights out as he waited for her to come home, hating the wait. But she would never be coming home, not now, after the taxi ride home ended up in a collision with a stolen car a week ago. 

The tears ran freely down his face, dripping onto her soft hand. He heard the gut wrenching sobs of her parents and Neville. Time was precious and vanishing quicker than water through a sieve. Lastly, he spoke about that tatty denim bag and white shirt, before declaring his love for her always. He knew they were the last words Willow heard. The strong, caring hand of Willow’s father rested on his trembling shoulder as Marcus cried helplessly, burying his head in Willow’s fading warmth. 

If you enjoyed this tale, inspired by a picture prompt, them please visit http://picspiration.blogspot.co.uk/ where you can read and comment on this story and others by amazing writers. xxx