Friday, 30 December 2011

Thirty Fifth Friday Flash: Santos, The Mermaid, and the Marine Biologist


*** this is a follow up from Gorilla Pequeno,Santos Returns,Mermaid Tale and Santos Vs. The Mermaid

Benson Marine Research Institute

“I don't believe you,” said Margie.

Santos had arranged to arrive with the crate. “Trust me, you want to see this.”

“This better be good, I like to sleep in on a Sunday.”

The delivery truck unloaded the large crate into the Institute's delivery bay and left. They seemed to sense that they weren't carrying around normal cargo.

“I remember from when you worked at the carnival that summer.”

“I can't believe you remember me.”

“You and Maria were inseparable, that's hard to forget.”

“How is she?”

“I would rather not talk about it.”

“Ah, she did have a roaming eye that one. Now open this up please.”

Santos ignored the comment and cracked open the crate, the side panel falling down to reveal a tank and the mermaid inside.

“Holy mackerel!” Margie backed away. “You weren't kidding.”

“We have to help her, she has had a tough time.”

“She looks sick, the water must be warm, I have a tank we can use, wheel her this way.”

Using a hand pump truck Santos followed with the mermaid close behind. The mermaid woke up and thrashed around in the small portable tank.

“Is she dangerous?”

“Yes, I would say so.”

Santos parked the tank next to round and larger tank that was almost crystal clear. As soon as he stopped the mermaid gripped the side of the portable tank and launched herself into the larger tank. Landing with a big splash.

“She's magnificent!” said Margie standing with her face almost pressed against the glass.

“I agree.”

Santos looked at the creature in the eyes, but it did not change, maybe it was too tired, or it didn't see him as a threat anymore.”

“The marine field will be blown apart! This is such a discovery!”

“What will you do with her?”

“Oh my word!” Margie fell back, trying to get away.

“What happened?”

“She changed... changed to look just like my husband!”

“That's her defense mechanism.”

“I wonder if I'm still wrapped up in bed and dreaming all this, this is just too strange.”

“Maybe you should believe that ma'am,” said a new voice.

Santos and Margie turned around swiftly. It was a man in black with dark sunglasses.

“Who are you?”

“Special Division. We will take over from here.”

“The hell you will!” said Margie with hands on her hips.

“You have no choice, step aside.”

The man took one step forward.

“Freeze creep!” said another new voice.

“Jonas! Thank you.”

The man in black took a step back, “This is the not the last you will see of me.”

Margie and Jonas hugged once The Man had left.

“Jonas?” asked Santos.

“Yes, he's my husband, I asked him to come, meeting someone I knew 15 years ago was just too odd for my liking.”

“I don't blame you. He's a Marshall?” There was something not right about the man's qet up. A little too flash for his profession.

The muscular man smiled, “Not exactly, I can do many roles, I'm strippergram, but it's only until I get some proper work.”

“Ah, I get ya.”

Margie was smiling ear to ear, “And he will, he's a really talented guy.”

“He sure saved us a spot of bother! What are you going to do with her?” asked Santos.

“Observe, and study, there must be more of her kind out there somewhere.”

“Keep me posted of any developments.”

“I will, and thanks for thinking of me, this will put the Benson Marine Research Institute on the map.

Monday, 26 December 2011

House of Fear, M is for Monster and PULP! (Summer/Fall 2011) - Short Story Collections Progress Review Part 2

You can find part 1 here

Here's a continuation of the reviews I'm doing of the books I won earlier this year via the #coffinhop and Kamvision review blog. I'm reviewing 3-4 stories of each book per blog post.

I've included website details of the writers where I could find them. I will also be posting the reviews on Goodreads (If you're one of the writers involved and I didn't link you, please let me know and I will).

House of Fear





Driving the Milkway by Weston Ochse

This was more a haunted RV than a haunted house, but a great tale none the less. Weston really plays on the nostalgia factor of what it was like to grow up, how wild our imaginations were (and sometimes still are). It shows us what lengths people will go to keep a friendship alive, a story I won't forget anytime soon.

The Windmill by Rebecca Levene

This is an honest look inside the head of a prisoner, how they feel they did nothing wrong and it's society that is persecuting them. An error he soon pays for, maybe a little too harshly, but that's for you to decide.

Moretta by Garry Kilworth

When and if I reach retirement I hope I have some excitement in my life like the main character does in this story, but maybe not as life threatening. Although the story wasn't particularly frightening it still had a nice charm to it.

M is for Monster



D by John Prescott

This story was quite chilling. Like what a proper movie should be like. Well some of it was predictable, it made up for it with its creepiness.

E by Paul Freeman <- I'm not sure if I've linked to the right Paul Freeman This story was a surprise, you don't get many horror stories (that I have seen) set in South Africa. It shines a light on the seedier side of trade with China. Namely ivory, but unlucky for the poachers and smugglers involved it was cursed. As you can imagine the those involved meet an appropriate sticky ending. It's unfortunate that it isn't true true story, the poachers and the people who trade in it deserve as much punishmet as we can dish out. G by Geoff Nelder

A fresh take on the David and Goliath myth. One that turns the tables on those involved. An interesting concept well executed. And it reminds you there's always at least two sides to every story.

H by Zach Black

This story will make you think twice before talking a walk at night, especially through an old church, not that many people would do that in the first pace. The story could have been a bit tighter, but overall a great tale. And I can relate to the main character, all he wanted to do was go home and get on with his life.

I by Jonathan Green

This story was unexpectedly hot and steamy and have to say Jonathan did a great job of writing from the female POV, although the ladies out there might disagree. A story that explores forbidden desires that most would steer clear of.

PULP! (Summer/Fall 2011)



Darwin's Demons by S C Hayden

Being a fan of the Fortean Times magazine I quite enjoyed this one. A fictional take on a typical article. Sort of like the day in the life of a Cryptozoologist. A must read for mermaid fans.

A Reason for Living by David M DeMar

I loved the banter between the two characters in this, a clash of two different generations and I can definitely relate, it's quite shocking what people call 'music' these days Haha I just made myself sound so old. Even though the probable outcome of the story is revealed early on it was still very enjoyable.

Good Fences Make Good by Chris O'Grady

I enjoyed the story, and even though it had a pulpy feel in some areas it felt out of place in the anthology. The action scenes were great and it shows you no matter how tough you think you are there's always someone out there who could most probably kick your ass without breaking a sweat.

Wonderboy by Charles Martin and Will Weinke

Anne Fredrick is the secret bastard daughter of a superhero, so you can imagine she has some issues. I think Charles and Will did a great job of imagining what it must be like to grow up with a father the whole world loves. A hero with a secret. A secret that takes up the latter half of the story. I appreciate the story is part of a series and I got what the secret it was, I think it could have been executed a bit better, it lacked that punch I was expecting. Not exactly a bad thing, it's all the more reason to find the rest of the series and find out more.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Thirty-Fourth Friday Flash Santos Vs The Mermaid



*** this is a follow up to Gorilla Pequeno/Santos Returns and a mash up with Mermaid Tale

Santos and his agent Winston T. Ford had milked his 15 minutes of fame for all it was worth, it was good while it lasted, but it was over now. His talk show had taken a nose dive, and his reality TV show was canceled after the second season.

He still had a few paid TV appearances from time to time and he got some royalties from the banana dance commercial and his other TV work, but it wasn't enough to pay for his lavish lifestyle and support his daughter.

That night he was playing at a place called Rusty Steve's, it was going to be a mishmash of his banana dance and some standup comedy he had been working on. Santos didn't mind that it was the smallest venue on his brand new tour, it would give him some time to iron out the kinks in his act.

Sitting in the front were his diehard fans that had been following him around in a mini-bus. They had endless questions and some were a bit odd, not that he minded, he loved the support.

Over the years he had become good friend with Winston, and even though he had bigger clients he still took time to come and see some of his shows.

Just before the show was about to start a lot more people crowded into the bar. Many looked like hardened sailors, it made Santos feel uneasy.

The show started and it seemed to be going well at first, but Santos soon realized it was just his fans cheering and clapping, the locals were just glaring at him. After a particularly bad joke even his own fans had a hard time laughing to, the crowd began to chant “Mermaid!” over and over again. Santos and his fans looked around in bewilderment. Rusty Steve himself walked through the crowd calling for quiet.

“What's going on?” asked Santos.

“It's time for the real show to begin.”

“Mermaid?”

“Yes, you're going to be fighting one.”

Winston ran up from the side of the small stage. “Are you insane?”

“No, but the bar is locked, and if the crowd doesn't get what they want, things might get ugly.”

“We'll call the cops!” shouted one of the fans.

Rusty Steve turned to a finely dressed man in the audience. “Good evening police commissioner?”

The man nodded.

“Is this some kind of joke?”

“Not at all, last a minute with the mermaid and I will double your fee.”

“Double?”

“Yes.”

Santos shrugged. “Okay, we have a deal!”

“As your agent I strongly advise against it.”

“My daughter's tuition fees are due soon, plus how bad could it be? I grew up in a carnival, I've seen everything.”

“Okay Santos, just be careful.”

Rusty Steve laughed. “Okay, let's get this thing started!”

The crowd cheered and clapped, even some of the fans got caught up in the excitement. The large black curtain behind them dropped to reveal a giant tank. There was a barely discernible human shaped creature lurking in the murky water.

“Just one minute?” Santos gulped.

“Now hop on in there!:

“Don't look at it in the eyes!” shouted one of his fans.

The locals didn't seem to like this and stared her down, the fan stiffly got back into her seat.

“You better survive this, you have a lot more show to attend!”

“I will,” said Santos stripping to his boxers and climbing up the metal ladder.

The creature in tank grew restless and thrashed around, water splashed over the side. Before he could change his mind and talk himself out of it he jumped into the freezing cold water. An overhead spotlight switched on.

The creature was revealed, it really wasn't like anything he had seen before, it had a large pearly-pink tale, and scales that steadily got lighter and smaller as they reached the top of her body, but that's where the beauty stopped, her face was haggard and weather beaten, the skin of her upper body wrinkled, her eyes red, and her teeth sharp and yellow. He scrambled to get out, his short legs spinning wildly, he did his best to look everywhere but in its eyes.

It came at him swiping with its clawed hands, scratching him badly, then it caught his line of sight, and transformed before his very eyes. Transformed into the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. His wife, his cheating ex wife Maria.

A woman he detested more than anything else in the world. Boiling with rage, Santos punched and kicked away, it felt like he connected with the creature's nose, it coiled away from him. It felt good to let go of all the frustration he had been carrying around for the last few years, anger he had kept bottled to protect his daughter and show he was a better person.

The mermaid was far from done, it whipped him with its tail, knocking him against the side of the tank. Santos kicked off the from the side and continued the fight, but he couldn't see anything the water was so bloody, he was sure a good share of it was his own. A bell rang somewhere.

Torn up and bleeding Santos was yanked from the water, he locked eyes with the mermaid again, he thrashed in Steve's grip.

“Whao... calm down there cowboy!”

Santos wriggled himself free of the grip and landed on the stage, he clutched his aching sides and caught his breath. “You people are sick!”

“Good job boy, no one has lasted that long before!”

“Shut up! Forget my fee, this mermaid is mine now, and you will deliver it to an address I give you.”

Rusty Steve laughed, “And why would I do that?”

“Because I'm sure there are plenty of laws against this, and my fans stream my shows live via the Internet.”

“Yes we do,” shouted one of the fans who was holding a camera.

Rusty Steve turned to the police commissioner, The Man shrugged.

“Sonofabitch!”

Santos was relieved that he had gotten all his frustrations out of his system. He wasn't sure what he was going to do with the mermaid yet, but he was sure he wanted to get it out of there and help it out in some way. Research would have to be done and favours would have to be called in.

Monday, 19 December 2011

A new The Red Stone review.




A new review was posted at Amazon.co.uk last night. And I have to admit it is one of my favourites! Thanks to @gavgates



"This is straight up classic fantasy, Smith has written a brilliant and very engaging introduction into a world that would fit perfectly into a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. The beauty of this novel comes into play through the interactions and the backgrounds of the different races to live on the Kingdom of Melin. Smith has used Giants, trolls, humans and Dragons and took them all from a very unique style of viewpoint where they don't necessarily have to be good or evil just because of what they traditionally are seen as, this, coupled with the brave writing approach of not needing to describe every sword swipe of every battle down to the finest detail makes `the red stone' into a very easy to follow tale.

From the first page in Tennen is a very likeable and obvious focal point throughout even before the introduction of his magical artefact or going into his history before your first encounter with him. Every character you meet from chapter to chapter is genuinely memorable and there are many lovely moments like the meeting of Tennen and Captain Norton who has a large role to play in Tennen's development and both wizards Rimotar and Venten whose opposing personalities work superbly with each other and makes me want to know about each characters back story a lot more than I got to. The real stand out is Berrinn, a Bronze dragon who befriends and builds a very solid human bond with Tennen that steals the story almost on its own.

The book ends on a perfect note and leads into a follow on that I can say with a huge relief I have sitting on my shelf and can't wait to start on next. If you are in any way a fan of classic fantasy then I can't recommend The Red Stone enough."

Story Challenge #55



Using the comment section below write us a story inspired by this image.

Just for fun and there are no limits

Friday, 16 December 2011

Thirty-Third Friday Flash - Raptor




They couldn't get in could they? Not through the solid door, surely? The door shook under another impact. Andy gripped the pick a little harder.

Why did he have to follow the gold rush? He was doing just fine back home, but no he had to let the gold lust get the better of him.

The commotion outside grew louder. They could sense him and they wanted to come in. How much of the rest of camp had been eaten already?

His whole mining shack was shaking under the bombardment, his pots, pans and utensils clanging together. He put his hands over his ears for a few seconds and took a deep breath. A bit calmer, he looked up, there was some morning light shining through his ill repaired roof. Pulling a stool closer he ripped away the roof tiles and made the hole bigger.

The door gave out and two raptors burst into the room. Freezing for a second he stared at the two beasts, their beady eyes were full of hunger, hunger for flesh.

He snatched his nearby satchel and tossed it up through the hole, a moment later he jumped up and scrambled through the hole, but he wasn't fast enough, one of the raptors had caught his ankle.

Andy screamed out in pain, the raptor yanked down hard, trying to pull him back through the hole.

Flailing his arms he grabbed the metal chimney, he held on for his life and kicked away with his free leg. Just when he thought the raptor was going to chew he foot off he managed to kick his way free. He tried not look at his shredded foot, biting back the pain he pulled himself further away from the hole. Before he could even catch his breath the roof began to tremble, the ravenous creatures jumping up at the ceiling.

The sun was just peeking over the hills, blanketing the valley in a golden light, any other day it would have been beautiful, now it was just mocking him. If only Jeb hadn't blasted his way through the rockfall and into the next valley.

Andy slowly made his way to the edge of the roof. He could see Jeb's favourite red hat, it lay a few feet away from his almost totally stripped carcase. Barely keeping down his supper he looked away.

It wasn't the way he wanted to go. Feeling weak from the pain and loss of blood he snatched his satchel and pulled out the bundle of dynamite. Before he could think himself out of it he lit the fuse. Waiting a few seconds, he cursed and rolled off the edge and landed in the midst of the creatures. Like pigs at dinner time they pounced on him.

“Chew on this you filthy varmints!”

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Story Challenge #54



Using the comment section below write us a story inspired by this image.

There are no limits and it is just for fun.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Thirty-Second Friday Flash and #Divinehell - Treachery


Mick and Keith were the best of friends, doing everything together since they were children. Everything from playing video games, stealing sweets to robbing their first bank when they were sixteen.

Mick was more reluctant of the pair and threatened to quit numerous times, but Keith always convinced him to come back. Over the years they had stashed up quite a retirement fund.

Then one day Keith was looking really down.

“What's up?”

“We have been a detriment to society, I'm going to hand myself in, but you can enjoy our ill gotten gains if you like.”

“If you're going, I'm going!” declared Mick.

They walked into the police station together.

“This is your man!” shouted Keith once they were inside.

Mick was stunned to silence as he was cuffed and hauled away, watching in dismay as Keith grinned and rubbed his hands together.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

#Divinehell - Violence




Gertrude loved sales, and nothing annoyed her more than people who tried to stop her. Today there was a sale at her favourite shop Elegant Girl.

After pushing and shoving her way through the masses she spotted a gorgeous coat and ran for it, just missing it. Her rival held and caressed the coat. Raging, Gertrude slammed her trolley into the unsuspecting woman and ripped the coat away. There were gasps and shouts as other customers went to help the stricken woman

A smile plastered across face Gertrude went over to the checkout point with her new coat and other sales items.

Suddenly she felt very hot and flustered.

“Ma'am?” asked the checkout assistant.

“Urgh...”

Gertrude collapsed to the floor clutching her throat. Her blooding boiling as she burst into flames.

“Ma'am!”

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

#Divinehell - Fraud



Tony smiled as notifications of more payments into his bank account came in, all from OAPs paying a monthly fee for identity theft protection. It made him giddy, it was amazing how gullible people could be. All his brochures and sales pitches were a lie, he did nothing for them, in fact if he wasn't so lazy he would be doing a bit of identity theft himself.

Walking though the park he saw an easy target, an old man feeding some pigeons. Plopping down on the seat, the old man took no notice of him and carried on throwing bread crumbs.

“Fine day today, isn't it?”

“Very much so...” said the man, turning towards him, his face changing into a spitting image of Tony's.

Tony screamed and ran, but not fast enough, the pigeons descended on him. Pecking and tearing at him until there was very little left.

Story Challenge #52


Micro story challenge #52: Using the comment section below write us a story inspired by this image (image via @squidsquirt and @grasscraig)

There are no limits and it's just for fun.

House of Fear, M is for Monster and PULP! (Summer/Fall 2011) - Short Story Collections Progress Review Part 1

I recently won these short story collections via the #coffinhop blog contest and a Kamvison book giveaway.

House of Fear from Kamvison



M is for Monster from Ash Krafton



And PULP! Summer/Fall 2011 and other #coffinhop goodies from Julie Jansen



All wonderful books, and to do the giveaway and the fine people above justice I thought I would do a thorough review of the books. I will try write up a short review of each story, trying my best not to spoil them. I will do 3-4 stories of each book per post. I've also included website details of the writers where I could find them. I will also be posting the reviews on Goodreads (If you're one of the writers involved and I didn't link you, please let me know and I will).

House of Fear:

Objects in Dreams may be Closer than they Appear by Lisa Tuttle:

A case of sometimes it's best not to let your curiosity get the better of you, it could have been a bit tighter, but an interesting tale none the less.

Pied-A-Terre by Stephen Volk

I think Stephen did a great job of writing from a female perspective, and it might make you even more weary when next you go house hunting.

In the Absence of Murdock by Terry Lamsley

Terry has a very old fashioned feel to his writing and checking out his books on Goodreads he's quite the master of the short story. I think lovers of pulp fiction will enjoy this one.

Florrie by Adam L. G. Nevill

As much I liked the other ones so far, I liked this one the most, the transition the story makes from beginning to end is quite remarkable. It will certainly make you think about who lived in a house previously to you.


M is for Monster

(a collection of stories from A to Z, each letter representing a monster)

A by Ash Krafton

A fine little tale that shows you that nature has more ways to fight back than you realize.

B by Andrew Taylor

This story was quite predictable, but nicely written and it's not often you see a banshee is it?

C by D.M. Youngquist

I enjoyed this story quite a lot. A solider on the frontline discovers his family tree is more complicated than he thought and takes on a God...

PULP! Summer/Fall 2011

A Stranger in Ferrview by Frank R Sjodin

With a mysterious space monster and a space hero called into take it down you can really feel the sense of excitement and wonder in this story(told from a young boy's perspective), even thought it was recently written I think it would fit perfectly into a Golden Age Sci-Fi collection.

The Man in the Barn by D.L. Chance

Story has a Men in Black feel to it, but in a good way. It's sort of one of those stories where an alien race warns us that we are on the wrong path, but it has enough of a twist to make it interesting and enjoyable.

Darmok and the Mermaids of the Sea by Ethan Nahte

A hero with strange abilities that can take on pretty much anyone plus the allure of scantly clad women.. There were no surprises in this story, but finely written and a must for sword and sorcery readers.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

#Divinehell - Heresy



Jonas should have just left when he saw the salesman was dressed up as a priest, they gave him the creeps at the best of times, but they were having a 75% off sale, how could he refuse?

“Welcome to the Sixth Circle,” said the man in black rubbing his hands together.

“Sixth Circle?”

“All our jacuzzis are round...”

“Ah, can you point me to your best one?”

“Right this way, care to try it out?”

Jonas wasn't in a hurry. “Try before you buy as they say...”

Jonas stripped to his boxers and jumped in. Within moments the water was boiling. He tried to get out, but the priest slammed the lid shut on him before he could, laughing as he did so.

Monday, 5 December 2011

#Divinehell - Limbo


Rufus was beginning to regret turning away all those missionaries from his door, not as much as he regretted helping his drunk friend move a large fridge up some stairs, but almost.

The successfully lower limbo bars were lined up as far as he could see. Not that you would notice, each one was only an atom lower than the previous one. But he didn't have time to dawdle, the burning sensation that engulfed his body got worse the longer he lingered.

Most of all he wasn't looking forward to the one that was only one atom high.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Thirty-First Friday Flash: Aether Gilileo




(Image Source)

Brünhilda looked down at the landscape as it drifted by down below, the wind blowing through her long gray hair. It felt refreshing.

Her cat Zeplin leaped up onto the rail, Brünhilda swept away her morning coffee just in time.

“Not today my furry little friend!” she said scratching behind his ears. “I would love to stay and chat, but we had better get to work.”

Today, a village just over the mountain was in need of some rain, and it was her job to take it to them.

Plopping behind the controls she guided the ship higher. Her airship's tiny, but powerful motors responding nicely. Zeplin took up the seat next to her, Bob's old spot.

“Things were easier when Bob was around, but I do appreciate your company.. Ah there's a suitable cloud, a bit too large, but we don't have time to mess around.”

Gliding into position above the cloud she pulled the lever beside her seat, the cloud hitcher lowered, a long thin and perforated silver bar that ran along the length of her airship Aether Gilileo.

Meow.

“Your instincts are correct, we are just about centre.”

Brünhilda pushed a button on top of the lever. Nozzles along the silver bar began to spray a special formula that bonded the cloud to the cloud hitcher, freezing it just enough so that it would stick to the bar. The airship began to sink as the cloud got heavier.

The engines whined and complained under the extra weight. Brünhilda applied more power.

“Come old girl, keep it together!”

Zeplin meowed again.

“Yes, that should do it. Let's go give a little rain to the fine people of Claytonville.”

Brünhilda pushed Aether Gilileo to the limit as she tried to make her deadline. Finally clearing the mountains Brünhilda and her ship ran into a raging storm, which wasn't possible, the area was supposed to be bone dry!

Snatching up her radio she got a hold of Claytonville's mayor's office.

“What is going on Rick?”

“Oh, Brünhilda, I...”

A red light began to flash like crazy, it was the proximity alert, she dropped the radio and yanked on the controls. It wouldn't be good enough, she had to release the cloud.

A large object loomed up in front of them, with the cloud now released they shot up. Aether Gilileo almost shaking apart under all the stress.

Her heart sank as she saw the large logo “Air Corp” brandished across the huge airship she had almost collided with.

She had heard rumours, she had hoped weren't true, of Air Corp expanding into the area. A swarm of flying objects came flying towards them.

“They want to fight do they?”

Brünhilda grabbed her double-barrel shotgun from its holder behind her and raised it to shoulder level, she had never used it, she wasn't even sure it was loaded, but she would use it if she needed to.

It was a swarm of watermelon sized hoverbots. “This is restricted Air Corp airspace. Leave or we will be forced to take further action against you,” said a mechanical voice.

“This is my seeding area, you have no right to steal it!” she shouted back.

“Air Corp legally bought out your contract and license to seed.”

“You did what?” Tears rolled down her eyes. What would Bob think? Their family business just being taken out like that.

She fired. The recoil of the gun sent her flying back into the wood paneling of her ship. One of the bots caught on fire and went crashing down.

The rest of the bots responded quickly and blasted away at Aether Gilileo with their green lasers, parts of the ship were catching on fire.

“I have to fight them off!”

She pulled herself up by the rail and tried to swat the dancing bots with the gun. Getting more and more frustrated that she couldn't hit any of them. Zeplin purred and wrapped himself around her legs.

“You're right it's hopeless,” she placed the gun down. “Alright! Stop! I'm leaving.”

The bots stopped instantly, and then zoomed off again. With the immediate threat gone she went about putting all the fires out, luckily there was no serious damage and most of the fires had been put out by the wind and rain.

Brünhilda sighed and picked up Zeplin. “Come on, I think it's about time we retired.”

Friday, 25 November 2011

Thirtieth Friday Flash: Roxy the T-Rex



Image Source

Calvin was one of the very few to have kept his Genopet, sure she ate a lot and didn't clean up after herself like the Robopets did, but she made up for it in companionship and loyalty. In addition for a four foot something T-Rex she was very cute. Not puppy dog cute, but close enough.

It had been a hard day at school and Calvin was enjoying the walk through the park with Roxy until Marybell the showed up. He didn't mind her too much, he just didn't like how negative and confrontational she always was. She made a beeline towards them.

“It's Cally and Roxy,” she pointed at Roxy. “You're so last cycle, how can you even look at yourself in the digimirror?”

Roxy scraped the ground with her clawed foot and snorted.

Calvin leaned over and hugged Roxy around the neck. “Don't listen to her Roxy, she doesn't know what she is talking about.”

Marybell scowled, her emotive clothing flaring red. It was the latest trend, matching the wearer's emotions Marybell's was often red.

“I so do know what I am talking about. I learned how filthy they are during my morning download.”

“I don't know how you can let them tamper with your brain like that. Six hours of learning crammed into half an hour is just not right. Plus they are way biased towards the Big Five. I wouldn't be surprised if half of it is brainwashing you into buying their junk.”

“You shut up! I am way smarter than you and you know it, but anyway that is not the point. Roxy is a polluter!”

“All lies, Roxy is very environmentally friendly, we use her waste as compost.”

“Ew! That's disgusting.”

“They also spread disease.”

“More propaganda, the Big Five just want more people to buy their inhuman Robopets.”

“Poppycock!” Marybell folded her arms. Her jumpsuit flaming an even brighter red. “It does everything for me, look!”

The bright orange humanoid robot stood beside her holding up a parasol.

Roxy nuzzled his neck and Calvin giggled. “What about friendship? It doesn't seem to care very much at all.”

“Huh!” She turned to her robot servant. “That is where you are wrong. XP7, are you my friend?”

“Yes, it is part of my duties.”

Calvin shivered. “His voice is so real. Doesn't it freak you out a bit?”

“Not at all, are you technophobe or something?”

“No,” said Calvin. “Without technology I wouldn't have my Roxy.”

“You're so annoying!”

Calvin turned to the robot. “What is Mary's favourite colour?”

“I do not have access to such information.”

“Her favourite food?”

“Irrelevant.”

“Her favourite thing to do?”

“Irrelevant.”

“Hey! Stop it,” said Marybell. “I don't need a friend anyway, it is just here to do what I tell it to do.”

XP7 turned to Marybell sharply. “I am not your slave,” stated the machine firmly.

“Yes you are, you piece of junk!” Marybell hit the machine with her handbag.

Calvin laughed.

“Violence towards the XP7 is prohibited.”

“Do you think that will stop me!” shouted Marybell hitting the Robopet again, this time a little harder.

Faster than any of them could follow XP7 grabbed Mary's hand.

“Ow! You're hurting me.”

Roxy growled and her nostrils flared.

“Let me go,” whined Marybell, her face almost as red as her jumpsuit.

“First you must promise to never hit XP7 again.” XP7 lifted its arm, Marybell had to go on tiptoes to avoid more pain.

“I will do no such thing.”

XP7 pulled Marybell off her feet. She had gone pale, but not as white as her jumpsuit.

“Roxy!”

Roxy shot forward, clamping her jaws around the android’s head as she took it down. XP7 let go of Mary and she rolled to the side.

XP7 resisted, trying to get a hold of Roxy's muscular body, but it was of little use, the miniature dinosaur was just too strong. Roxy's razor sharp teeth making short work of the plastisteel skull. XP7 went limp.

Roxy proceeded to play with the lifeless hunk of metal, throwing it around like a ragdoll.

Cavlin helped Marybell to her feet.

“Thank you,” she said, not looking at him in the eye. The colour of her jumpsuit turning to a calm and neutral blue.

“No problem, it will teach you to take better care of your things

Marybell pulled away. “You owe me a new one, you know.”

“You honestly want another one of those things?”

“No, no, I guess not.”

“You're far too angry for someone your age.” Calvin sat down on a nearby bench and watched Roxy play catch with the robot's now detached head.

Marybell looked down. “I can be, it's just so lonely you know, my parents are always working, and I don't have much friends.”

“You need to go to proper school like me.”

“But isn't that boring?”

“Sometimes, but the teachers make it fun.”

Marybell sat down next to him. “I will talk to my parents. Maybe if I sell some of my stuff we can afford it.”

“That will be great.”

She smiled, it was the first time Calvin had ever seen her do so.

“And can you see if you can find me a friend like Roxy?”

“Sure can, I know someone that has a cute polar bear. Will be perfect for you.”

“Can't wait!”

Calvin got up and joined Roxy in playing with XP7's head. Marybell soon did the same, laughing as she did so.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Story Challenge #50



(image source)

Micro story challenge #50: Using the comment section below write us a story inspired by this image (Floating with Sheep)

There are no limits and it's just for fun.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Story Challenge #48




Micro story challenge #47: Using the comment section below write us a story inspired by this image (CU-02 in Love by Goro Fujita)



It's just for fun and there are no limits.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Twenty-Ninth Friday Flash: Mermaid Tale


John was feeling down. He just got another contract to work out on an oil rig for a few months. The pay was good, and he appreciated the work, it was just that it got so lonely being surrounded by so many guys. Wanting to drown his sorrows before leaving the next day he went to Rusty Steve's to knock back a few.

The place seemed remarkably busy for a change, but he was still able to find a nice quiet spot near the kitchen. Ordering his usual John nursed his beer and tried to think of as little as possible.

There was some sports game on and everyone was paying attention to the big screen, even the bartender had to be snapped out of it from time to time.

John was just about to start his next beer when he heard some water sploshing sounds, it sounded like someone moving around in an overfill bath. The sound was coming from the kitchen. John looked over at the crowd, most of the kitchen staff seemed to be watching the game, maybe someone had left a tap on, with nothing better to do John went over to investigate.

The kitchen was brightly lit, but in desperate need of a clean. John told himself to stick to beer if he ever went back there again. The sloshing sound seemed to be coming from a side storage room. Taking another swig from his beer John pulled back a dirty looking curtain that separated the two rooms. It was dark inside. He felt around and found a pull string switch.

John yanked it.

Overhead lights burst into life. There was a massive glass tank in front of him, what was inside thrashed around crazily. John couldn't believe his eyes. It was a mermaid, a real life Ariel. She had a large pearly-pink tale, and scales that steadily got lighter and smaller as they reached the top of her body, but that's where the beauty stopped, her face was haggard and weather beaten, the skin of her upper body wrinkled like a prune, her eyes red, and her teeth sharp and yellow. The creature hadn't been thrashing because it was scared of him, it was thrashing because it wanted to escape. It was tethered to the wall with a chain, a steel collar around its neck.

John made the mistake of looking into its eyes. The mermaid transformed before him into the most beautiful creature he had ever seen, enchanted he walked closer and climbed up the steps that were next to the tank. The vision of beauty's arms were beckoning him closer. Grabbing a hold of the thick glass he leaped in. The freezing cold water brought him to his senses, but it was too late, the evil Ariel had him around the neck.

John struggled and kicked, whacking the glass with his steel cap boot. It began to crack, but it would do him little good, the darkness was already engulfing him.

The tank burst, the mermaid and John's lifeless body flowing onto the tiled floor.

The chef ran in. “Damn it, Steve!” shouted the man. “It's just killed another.”

Pulling the chain to its limit the mermaid scrambled forward, clawing away towards the doorway. The chef got out a broom and kept it back. “And bring the tranquillizer gun will you!”

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Story Challenge #47


Micro story challenge #47: Using the comment section below write us a story inspired by this image (Red’s Limonade Service by Mathieu Granjon)



It's just for fun and there are no limits.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Story Challenge #46


I've been posting picture prompts on a FB page (SA Writers) of mine for quite sometime. And sometimes I post a link on Twitter and since quite a few people don't use FB I thought I would start posting them here too so more people can join in.

It's just for fun.

Anyway here's the latest entry. Think something light-hearted.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Twenty-Eighth Friday Flash: Clockwork Deputy



(Image Source)

Tobias panted. His clockwork opponent stood opposite him. It was strong, nimble and didn't get tired. It stood there with its baton and its revolver waiting for him to make a move. Tobias gripped his axe a little tighter. He had to stop it. His family was behind him locked up in their house, the house the sheriff had repossessed because their crops had failed and they couldn't pay their tithe, but there was no way Tobias was going down without a fight. The farm had been in his family for generations.

“Come on you rust bucket!”

“Tobias! We must go, it will kill us all,” said his wife from the front door, a large frying pan in her hand.

The clockwork deputy advanced. “You will surrender your property,” stated the mechanical voice.

“I will do no such thing, you demon.”

“He's so cool,” said Timmy pulling himself up and peering over the half door.

“Get back inside Timmy!”

“Just give in Toby, we can go move in with my mother...”

“Are you insane?” Tobias lost it, he lobbed his axe at the tin man. It missed. Screaming in rage Tobias ran and tackled the clockwork man. The deputy staggered a few paces back, but he did not lose his balance.

The man of the law took Tobias by the throat and lifted him off the ground.

“Please, please don't hurt him!” said the farmer's wife coming out and pleading.

The deputy dropped him, Tobias clutched his throat choking.

“You have ten minutes to vacate the property, all trespassers will be eliminated.”

“No!” croaked Tobias.

There was a loud clang. Tobias fell to the floor. “He's very stubborn,” said the farmer's wife shaking her head. “Come on Timmy help me get your dad into the wagon, we're going to visit grandma.”

“Yay grandma!”

Friday, 4 November 2011

Twenty-Seventh Friday Flash: Fight For Your Right



There was a protest march going on outside the court house. Putting on his special goggles so he could see his interviewee properly the reporter went over to meet one of the protestors.

“Good day, Mr. Johnson.”

Mr. Johnson nodded and smiled. “Good day.”

“Can you please tell us a bit more about your cause?”

“Well, we're sick and tired of being marginalized, we have just as much right as everyone else.”

“Many see your efforts as frivolous, that it doesn't really matter?”

“Bah humbug to them,” said Mr. Johnson blowing a raspberry. “The way I see it they're lucky to have us, society has taken a nose dive , and I believe that myself and the members of our party have what it takes to pull this country and maybe the world straight.”

“No one can deny that you have a lot of experience in this field, what do you hope to achieve today?”

“The right to take part in the presidential election of course. We're have to aim high if we are going to make any changes.”

Slogan filled placards danced behind Mr. Johnson, ranging from the bitter to the jovial: “I can't believe I'm not getting any royalties from Teddy Bears.” “Presidents need free cosmetic dentistry too.” “Give us the reins!” "You don't get more transparent than us!" and “I can has president?”

“A lofty goal indeed,” said the reporter. “And I understand you will be voting for a party leader tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

“There are quite a few contenders for the spot?”

“Yes, Washington, Roosevelt and so on, too many horses if you ask me.”

“Who will you be backing?”

“Abe come here!”

A tall man in a black suit and top hat came over. He was carrying a placard that read: “I can has President?”

“How can you say no to this face?”

Abe Lincoln smiled. “I like the YouTube.”

“He's very umm... excitable?”

“Don't let his LOLcat addiction fool you, he can be a very serious man when he needs to be.”

“So there you have it folks, the Ghost Party, a gimmick or do they really have a shot at the presidency?”

* I wrote this earlier today so please point out any errors you might spot.
** If you liked this fantasy/reality blend you might also like these stories The Rainbow Effect Goblin Gobbling Frankie Goes To Tripoli

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Twenty-Sixth Friday Flash: Trick or Treat




Tom sat on his couch eating popcorn and watching a movie. He hadn’t felt so relaxed in ages.

The doorbell rang.

“Tom can you get it!” shouted his wife from the kitchen.

“Okay!” replied Tom.

Tom slouched over to the door and swung it open.

“Trick or treat!” shouted a chorus of little horrors.

“Ah!” screamed Tom. He had to get rid of them before they decided to come inside.

Doing his best to not look at them he reached for the prepared bowl of candy and chucked the contents outside. He slammed the door and leaned against it. The scattershot should keep them busy for a while.

His wife came into the hallway drying her hands with a kitchen towel. “Trick or treaters?”

“Yeah, they were gruesome, a nurse, a schoolboy, a plumber and a pilot. There was even an angry villager with a burning torch and pitch fork, can you believe that?”

His wife laughed, her fangs shining in the artificial light. “You’re such a wussy, they’re just kids. And besides have you looked in the mirror lately?”

Tom turned to the mirror. The stiches across his head were all in order and he was just the right shade of greenish grey. He stroked the stubble on his chin. "You’re right honey, I do need a shave.”

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

TuesdayTales Entry



(image source)



My entry into the #tuesdaytales challenge (100 words or less):

"There was no other way of putting it, what was once possibly peternatural was now real, a Yeti stood before him eating his lunch. From the furry lumps on its chest there was no doubting it was female. She seemed to be starving and a little worse for wear, her fur was hanging loose, dirty, and matted with blood."

You can read the rest here (first entry)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A short excerpt from Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar

Here's a short excerpt from my second fantasy novel Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar. I'm clearly not the best narrator, but I thought you guys might enjoy.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Twenty-Fifth Friday Flash: The Red Carpet



(Image source)

Morsai exited her limo. Flashing lights exploded all around her. Her chauffeur and bodyguard Gerald helped her to her feet. She felt nervous and excited. All these people were there to see her on her big night, the première of her first movie “Dying on the inside”, a biopic about her rise from banishment from her people to stardom in the human world.

“What does it feel like to be the first elf to star in a major movie?” shouted one of the reporters over the din.

“Great, thank you.” But her voice was soft and she doubted if anyone heard.

The police were having a hard time keeping everyone off the red carpet. Even though it had been fifteen years since her banishment she still felt awkward around so many humans.

When they were about halfway up to the theater a lot of loud shouting broke out. Gerald took her arm and pulled her faster towards the theater, frightened, Morsai looked down and followed as quickly as she could in her tight fitting dress.

She was suddenly jerked back. Gerald was on the floor. A dagger sticking out of his chest.

“No!”

Before she could crouch next to him someone grabbed her forcefully.

“Thought you could get away with this did you? Make fools of our people?”

There was no mistaking his voice. “Husband?”

“Shut up traitor. You abandoned us. Our family. Everyone.”

The police had surrounded them, but no one made a move. The tall and black clad elf was holding a knife to Morsai's throat.

“I had no choice. I couldn't live by those ways anymore. It was killing me.”

“It's too late for words.” He brought the knife in closer.

“Please don't!”

A few shots were fired. The elf collapsed. Morsai hugged herself. People came in to comfort her. She pushed them away.

“Fools! Don't you know this means war?”

She looked down at the elf prince. Even though the mad old king had more offspring than he could remember he would not let one of them die unavenged.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Twenty-Fourth Friday Flash: Rat Problem



Image Source

Gabby had a rat problem. Nothing had worked. Giving up, she phoned an exterminator. The doorbell rang as soon as she hung up the phone.

“Mrs Johnson?”

“Yes…” said Gabby frowning.

“I’m Gunther from Little Mountain Exterminators.” The short bearded man and three similar looking men in blue overalls squeezed past her.

Gabby followed them to the kitchen. “That was quick!”

Gunther shrugged. “We were in the area.”

“Boss!” shouted one of the men. “He’s in here!” The dwarf kicked at a kitchen cupboard.

“Get em boys!”

The men snatched little axes from their belts and bashed Gabby’s kitchen to pieces.

Gabby stumbled away from the destruction. “Oh my!”

“It’s the only way.”

A rat scurried away from demolition. Gunther swept it up. “Problem solved.”

“My kitchen!”

Guther handed her a card. It said: “Little Mountain House Repairs.”

Friday, 30 September 2011

Twenty-Third Friday Flash: Bear Necessities

*** This is a follow up to Endless War and Desolation

**** I'm also battling a dreadnought of a cold, so please forgive me for any errors you might pick up in the text. And I wouldn't mind if you pointed them out.

Amy hated being ordered around by Sergeant Whiskers, he was even more obnoxious and bossy than her previous CO. After scavenging what supplies they could find in the almost totally trashed research facility they headed further north. Amy tried to convince Sergeant Whiskers that they should stay and make it their base, but he refused, saying the job was not finished, the enemy was still out there.

They travelled for days. Amy used every spare moment looking for an escape, but it was hopeless, the Kitty Power army did not tolerate deserters, she would become an enemy the instant she left. Sergeant Whiskers would literally hunt her down. But still she hoped. There had to be a way out.

“Stop,” commanded Sergeant Whiskers.

Amy gladly stopped. They had been going all day and she was tired. Whiskers insisted she use her power suit manually, saying they had to be alert at all times.

Amy looked all around her. They were in an abandoned and almost completely destroyed town. They had seen no sign of human life since they left the research facility. It was most probably some starved creature looking through the trash for some food. And it wasn't too far from the truth.

A bear leaped out from behind a building and connected with Sergeant Whiskers before he could get a shot off. The bear was strong, but it was no match for Sergeant Whiskers and his armoured suit. The Sergeant shoved the bear away. It stumbled, and fell backwards.

“Don't hurt it!”

"You stay out of this Private Purkins!"

Sergeant proceeded to push the bear around. Amy was having none of it, she moved swiftly in, and whacked Whiskers solidly with the butt of her rifle. He went down like a log.

The bear moved in on Amy, growling. “Shh Shh... calm down, I won't hurt you.”

Fearing she might be crazy she grabbed a honey energy bar from her dwindling supplies, unwrapped it, and extended her hand slowly towards the bear.

It stopped and sniffed the air. Amy's hand trembled. The bear licked up the treat.

“Ew! Sticky.”

Amy contemplated taking out the sergeant then and there, but she couldn't bring herself to it. She wouldn't be able to sleep at night, but she did strip him of his rifle, and any other weapons. Even taking the batteries from his suit. Hopefully he wouldn't wake up.

The bear followed her as she left the town. Amy didn't try to stop it. She liked the company.

***

Sergeant Whisker's eyes opened.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Twenty-Second Friday Flash: Block Wars



(Image source)

Block Wars
 
The time was fast approaching. There was going to be two hours of pure chaos and unhinged anarchy. Angus couldn't wait to take his frustrations out on some loser from Block B. Four weeks of hard slog and now it was time to play. Angus and a few of his neighbours were lined up outside in the massive courtyard between the two apartment blocks, the rag tag bunch of Block B were lined up on the opposite side.
 
They were all waiting for the buzzer to signify the start of the block war. There were Golem referees in the middle of the courtyard to make sure things didn't get too out of hand, but Angus wasn't worried about them, they were so slow you could get away with pretty much anything if you wanted to.
 
*Buzz*
 
Angus let out a bellow as he rushed forward, a wicked grin spread across his bearded face. He could see the guy who had keyed his bike, a silver haired night elf from the local lawyer firm Fangs, Nightshift and Posterone. Angus slowed down his pace when he noticed that the night elf wasn't alone. He was holding two leashes.
 
"Curses!" Angus couldn't believe it. The scum had two hellhounds. Two invisible beasts capable of taking down a yeti. And the worst of it, it seemed that he was coming straight for Angus. Knowing his aluminum baseball bat would do very little damage Angus climbed up the nearest golem referee. The golem tried to swat him off, but couldn't reach him.
 
"You get off."
 
"It's not going to help you Angus, your number is up!" called the night elf.
 
"What did I ever do to you? You're the one who keyed my car!"
 
"Ha! Please, you and your buddies revving up your bikes every morning like a pack of banshees while I'm trying to sleep."
 
"It's just not me!"
 
"Oh, you're just the first. Your friends will pay soon."
 
The hellhounds growled.
 
"Save me," pleaded Angus.
 
"You know rules, once you in fight you can't leave until buzzer."
 
"But he has hellhounds! So unfair!"
 
"You should have got your own."
 
Angus remembered the bulge in his pocket, and whipped out his iFone. Within seconds he had opened up the IMercenary app. It would take him months to pay off, but it might be the only way he could survive. Clicking on the pay button he waited and hoped.
 
"Eat em boys! And I want nothing left!" Growled the night elf. The gray skinned man let go of the straining leashes.

Angus, climbed further up the golem and balanced on its head. The golem seemed to have amazingly caught one of the hellhounds by the leash but the other was loose and coming for him. Angus swung his bat, it connected with something. There was a small yelp, moments later the bat was ripped from his hands and was chewed up by the hellhound, it sounded like a bunch of spoons being ground up a garbage disposal. The hellhound seemed to be clinging onto the golem by digging its claws into the golem's referee uniform.
 
Seeing no choice Angus jumped from the Golem's head and landed with a roll. Taking to his heels Angus ran as fast as his little dwarf legs could take him, barging his way through the fighting crowd, for perhaps a dozen feet before the hellhound caught up. It plowed through the combatants, who quickly dodged out of the way when they realized what was going on, no one interfered with a hellhound.
 
Angus could hear the beast's heavy breathing, and snarls. This was it. His last block war, but all was not lost just as the hellhound jumped for him a griffon swooped in and picked him up.
 
The fair maiden, that was riding the flying eagle/lion, snatching him up by the arm and throwing him on the back of the beast behind her.
 
"You took your time!"
 
The pink haired nymph turned to him and grinned. "I could always drop you back down if you like?"
 
"No! No... as of today I'm retiring, no more block wars for me. I'm also thinking of selling my Harley, are you interested?"
 
"No, Griff is all the power I need," she said stroking her griffon affectionately. "But I know a warlock who might be."

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

TuesdayTales Challenge 7


Judging my first writing contest today.

Here are the details:


Please go on over to @theglitterlady's blog to take part




"Tuesday Tales is a 100 word flash fiction challenge that is based on a photo I take and post as well as one secret word to be included which is chosen by the current week’s judge!

They say pictures are worth a thousand words, well now it’s time to condense down to the most important 100 of them all.

To Enter, just post a comment with your 100 word Tale and add your word count then your twitter name. (max 2 entries a person)

The winner will be bestowed with the AWESOME BLOG BADGE! To be displayed with pride and honor on their blog, twitter pics or what not. Where ever the winner feels their awesome sauce should get the most praise, worship and of course minions.

By entering, every contestant agrees to shamelessly promote and praise the winner on twitter."

For all discussions about this challenge use hash tag #TuesdayTales

Friday, 16 September 2011

Twenty-First Friday Flash: Honey Trap

Jack the undercover detective walked into the newly opened Soulful Estate Agency. There had been reports of missing people. People that had last been seen at the agency.

“How may I help you?” asked the man.

“I’m interested in buying one of those starter pack homes you advertised on TV,” said Jack.

“Which one would that be?” asked the man.

“The one with three rooms and the sea view,” said Jack. It was a big advertising campaign surely the man working here knew what was going on.

“Oh, how exciting,” said the man. “You are our very first customer.” The man ducked down and brought up a big cardboard box and slid it across towards Jack. “That will be $50,000 will you be paying by cash or credit card?”

“What are trying to pull?” asked Jack staring at the box.

“Look pal do you want it or not?”

“Want what? This is not the house you have advertised.”

“Oh, you don’t know…” said the man, Jack noticed that there was a name tag on the man’s shirt it said Manny.

“Don’t know what Manny?” asked Jack.

“You just go over to your allocated plot, dig a hole, throw the box in and water it. It’s a patented house in a box design.”

“My name might be Jack but I’m not falling for that scam.”

“What scam?” asked Manny “Sorcerers… sorry I mean scientists have spent over ten years developing this new technology and besides there’s a money back guarantee.”

“Sorcerers?” Very suspicious behavior indeed.

“Apologies, I’m a huge geek, but I promise you, there is no easier way to buy the house of your dreams.”

“All right, all right,” said Jack passing over his credit card. “I’ll take it.” It was a Police Department card. They could get their funds back once the investigation was over.

“A fine choice sir,” said Manny. “Would you like one of our expert techwizards to help you with the setup?”

“No, but I would like you to accompany me.”

“I’m afraid I have a meeting in a few minutes. Can I meet you at the site?”

“Sure, but don’t take long.”

His undercover identity’s new home turned out to be a nice little plot of land on the end of a beach road. It was in pristine condition and had a fantastic sea view.

Thinking there would be no chance that it would ever work Jack paced out the center of the yard and dug a hole. Once it was deep enough he unceremoniously dumped the box in and then filled it up with water, he borrowed from a neighbor. He covered it up and stood back and waited for the process to begin. The pamphlet said he had to wait a couple of minutes before it got working. Soon enough a giant plant began to grow out of the ground at an alarming rate. It was big and green and began to transform into a house shape. Pretty soon there was a modest but elegantly designed three-roomed wooden house standing before him. Jack was amazed that it had actually worked.

Cautiously he made his way into the new dwelling. It was bare inside. The whole thing was just wondrous to him, but something was wrong, the walls, they were moving, closing in on him. He ran to the door, but it was barred shut. Jack screamed. He knew that he was done for.


A green sedan pulled up to the now vacant again plot.

“How many is that now?” asked Manny.

“17,” replied a man in a immaculate business suit. Manny hated when his supervisor tagged along for the collection, the sulfur smell was a pain to get out of the upholstery.

Manny sighed. “Only 987 to go.”

*I found this story last night. Wrote it in 2005. Was cringe worthy reading, took quite a lot of chopping and changing, but hopefully I've salvaged it and made it readable.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Twentieth Friday Flash: Familiar



Harriet and Circe by Storm Shorter. Follow her on Twitter @Shewolf222

You can also found out all about her book The Key to Eternal Glory here


It was her birthday. At thirteen most girls would be thinking about guests, gifts, cake and whether the cute boy she liked would show up, but not for Harriet, today she was going to be summoning her familiar. Something she wasn’t particularly looking forward to, because it entailed summoning a demon and forcing it to possess a cat. A barbaric practice in her opinion. Just last month Sweetie Merryweather, who now calls a padded cell her home, had gone mad trying to summon hers. And if that wasn’t bad enough it was also Grelda’s summoning day too. Being a natural braggart Grelda hadn’t kept quiet about how great she was going to do and how awfully Harriet was going to fail.

Dressed in her finest Harriet made her way down to the basement. Charna the town’s most ancient and most senior witch was waiting for her. She greeted Harriet as soon as she stepped off the bottom step. There were rumours she was going blind, but no one had had the courage to ask her. Grelda was already waiting, smug smile firmly in place.

“Alright, girls, I hope you are both fully prepared, you only get one chance at this.”

Harriet thought of Elspeth, a once promising young witch, who now worked as a laundry girl because she failed. Harriet shuddered, the thought of touching someone else’s unmentionables was terrifying.

They both assured Charna they were ready.

“Very good, now both of you draw your summoning circles. Remember no breaks.”

Harriet and Grelda both drew their circles on the perfectly flat floor. Harriet stepped out of hers carefully.

“Now retrieve your future familiars.”

Harriet moved forward and grabbed her cat carrier from by the wall. The black cat inside stared at her intensely. The name tag said Crice, Harriet loved the name.

Grelda was not as pleased. “Mildred? Seriously?”

“It is, what it is,” said Charna firmly.

“Hmmpf.”

“Place the carriers in the middle of your circles.”

They did so.

“Good, now begin the summoning!”

Harriet got out her tattered hand me down spell book and began to say the incantation. The words were flowing from her mouth far better than she hoped they would.

Unbelievably, Grelda seemed to be having trouble with hers. Obviously she had been spending more time with her big shot warlock boyfriend Annae than she had been studying.

Two dark smoky clouds formed over the circles. Harriet’s was calm while Grelda’s was stormy.

Harriet looked to Charna, hoping she would step in to prevent disaster, Grelda also seemed to sense something was wrong and stumbled over her words more and more. An instant later the dark clouds condensed and shot into the carriers. Harriet’s stayed calm while Grelda’s rocked around violently.

“Open your cages and greet your familiars and new companions for life.”

Harriet opened hers, Circe sprang up into her arms and purred.

Brazen as ever Grelda opened up hers and Mildred leapt for her face, hissing and scratching. Grelda backed away in shock, but recovered quickly and managed to bat it away.

Mildred landed on its feet. It began to talk in tongues. Harriet could sense great evil. Something had gone wrong. The demon was in control. It was not under Grelda’s spell like it should have been.

Charna nodded her head towards it, “Take care of it, Grelda.”

“I… I can’t.”

“Then you, Harriet.”

“Me?”

Charna just nodded. Mildred turned to Harriet as if she knew who the threat was. Its eyes were silver and reflective. Shaking, Harriet flipped through her spell book until she found the right spell.

Jumping and dodging she incanted the spell. A moment later there was a loud explosion and smoke filled the basement. Mildred, seeming to be demon free emerged from the smoke. It went over to Charna and began to lick its paw as if nothing had happened.

“Good job Harriet, girls you may leave now, Harriet retrieve your full hat and Grelda hand your broom in, you are done.”

Harriet went over to pick up her carrier. A cold feeling shot through her, something didn’t seem right, she looked up, Charna’s eyes, they were different. They were silver.

“Run Grelda!” Leaving the carrier behind Harriet chased after Grelda.

They could hear Charna laughing wickedly. “You can’t get away that easy!”

Stupidly, Harriet looked back just as they reached the stairs. She watched in horror as a ball of energy zoomed towards her. Luckily, Grelda was quick on her feet and yanked on her shirt and pulled Harriet up just in time. There was an explosion and the bottom of the stairwell caved in.

“The demon must have possessed her.”

“Yes, but we must go warn the others before it is too late, the blockage won’t hold her for long,” said Grelda.

“Good thinking,” said Harriet shaking her head and pulling herself up. “Thanks for saving me.”

They made their way up the stairs. “It’s the least I can do.”

It definitely was the least Grelda could do, it was her fault wasn’t it? But she would have to worry about that later, a demon possessed witch was after them and there was no guarantee they would get out alive.

*On a side note. Two of my flash fiction pieces were recently published in this collection: A Flash of Inspiration: A Collection of Very Short Stories

Get your hands on a copy. It's free! It's also available at Smashwords

Monday, 5 September 2011

A Flash of Inspiration: A Collection of Very Short Stories


Hi all,

Just wanted to let you know two of my flash fiction pieces were published in a new anthology "A Flash of Inspiration: A Collection of Very Short Stories". They're super short at only 100 words long each. They were fun to write. So if you have a few moments please consider getting it for your Kindle. It's free :).




A Flash of Inspiration: A Collection of Very Short Stories

Friday, 2 September 2011

Nineteenth Friday Flash: The Other Side



Melvin pulled into the 24hr clinic. His hands were trembling and his chest tight. Gertrude would have taken him, but he had lost her a few years ago. He pushed the thought from his mind, thinking about his dear departed wife never made things easier. Melvin contemplated honking his horn to see if anyone would come out to help him, but they would most probably set security on him if he did. Taking a few deep breathes his fortified himself before extracting himself from the car.

The well-lit entrance was just a few dozen paces away. He wobbled his way through the parking lot, bumping into a few cars along the way. He passed two smoking security guards who just stared at him as he went by. Melvin would have refused their help even if they did offer. He hated smoke.

Shuffling along at his sedate pace he eventually made it to the reception area. It was so bright inside he had to cover his eyes. He must have looked quite a sight in his night gown and wellington boots.

“Sir, sir can I help you?”

Melvin blinked and pulled away his hand. A tall and thin middle aged nurse stood before him with her hands on her hips and a stern look on her face. Gertrude would most probably have called her a cow the instant she saw her. Melvin on the other hand liked to give people a chance.

“My chest, I think I’m going to have a heart attack.”

“Hmmpf, are you sure it’s not gas or something?”

Melvin laughed. “I’m 83 years old, I think I know the difference.”

“Right, take a seat and the doctor will see you when he can.”

More pain coursed through his chest. He clutched his chest for emphasis. “I can’t wait.”

The nurse shrugged. “The doctor is dealing with a hit and run drunk driver, who was beaten up by friends of the victim.”

Mevlin shook his head in disgust and fell into the nearest seat. He tried to calm down, but it seemed like his heart had lost its brakes. Giving into it, an intense calm feeling fell over him, it seemed like all his worries had flown away. The doctor could take his time if he wanted. A few more minutes wouldn’t kill him would it?

Then the strangest thing happened. Someone suddenly appeared behind the upstart nurse. This person was oddly see-through, as if they weren’t really there. The young lady proceeded to pull faces at the nurse. Melvin chuckled.

The apparition turned to Melvin, he couldn’t believe his eyes, it was Gertrude, a young and vibrant Gertrude.

As perfect as the day he met her.

Melvin wondered if he had lost his mind.

Gertrude walked through the counter and smiled that dazzling smile he so fondly remembered.

“You’ve most probably wondering if you’ve gone crazy?”

Melvin nodded.

She pulled him to his feet. Her hand feeling warm and soft. “Look.”

Melvin looked. It was himself slumped in his chair as if asleep.

“Am I dreaming?”

She pulled him closer and kissed him. “Dead, I’m afraid.”

“Dead?”

“Yes, and about time too, I missed you.”

“I missed you too.” It felt so unreal. “What do we do now?’

“We go home.”

“Heaven?”

Gertrude laughed that tinkling laugh of hers he had missed so much. “No, don’t be silly.”

“Oh.”

“Don’t worry, I will be with you every step of the way.”

Melvin smiled.

They both vanished.

Melvin’s body toppled off his chair. The highly strung housewife of the drunk driver, who had been sitting a row behind Melvin screamed…

Friday, 19 August 2011

Eighteenth Friday Flash: Wolfenstein the Hamster

Distant future

“Remember, only five minutes.”

“I will be taking control of the doctor, right?”

“Yes, he’s there to check up on his mother. His sister Paula might be there too.”

Tom rubbed his hands together. “I can work with that.”

“And remember…”

“I know, I know if I die there, I will lose my mind here.”

“Exactly.”

1909 – Austria

Even though he had jumped back in time many times before he had never got quite used to it; it felt like falling from a great height. This time felt even worse than normal. He put it down to the fact it was the furthest he had ever jumped back. He shrugged it off as best he could. There was a mission to be completed. Tim waited a few moments as his conscious adjusted to the new body.

Tim opened his eyes. Something was wrong, very wrong. His vision was blurry and he felt hungry. Maybe the doctor had bad eyesight and skipped lunch. Voices could be heard. He had learned German five minutes before he had left, but still he could not understand what was being said.

There was some movement above his head, Tom pulled himself up. The noises and lights become brighter. Big blobby flesh toned shapes moved around before him. One of them all dressed in white looked remarkably like a doctor. Tim gasped in alarm, or at least he tried to, all that came out was a high pitched squeak.

Suddenly Tim was lifted into the air. Tim looked down at his body. It was all furry and brown and white in colour. Twisting and turning in horror he tried to break free, but the grip was just too firm. He was some kind of rodent. Maybe Paula's pet hamster? How was it even possible?

Placed on someone’s hand, another hand proceeded to stroke his back. Tim calmed down. It felt good. His training kicked in. All had to do was wait five minutes and he would be back home. Then they could try another date in the timeline to take him out.

Another human shaped blob entered the room. This human was stiff and walked with his head held up high. Could it be him? Maybe he would have a chance after all. The newcomer moved in closer, he spoke but Tim couldn’t make out what he was saying. Tim looked at the face to make sure, and much to his delight he saw a little black patch under the man’s nose. Tim twittered in excitement. The man turned and stared at him.

Tim leapt into action. Using all four legs to propel him forward, landing on the man’s nose Tim scratched his clawed feet and bit as hard as he could. The man shrieked out in pain. Moments later a hand gripped him. This was not good. It felt like he was being crushed in a vice.

The man shouted something as he threw Tim out the newly opened window. Tim hoped he would leap back to the future before hit the ground, but most of all he hoped he completed his mission and saved millions of lives.

Distant future:

News Headline: Wannabe Hero Tim the Time Traveller lost in mission, but Hitler dies of infected wound.

Reports suggest that far from preventing war the mission has exacerbated the situation and led the world into an even worse war. Expect world changing, maybe even catastrophic changes soon. The Time Agency is on the case trying to clean it up, but don’t expect miracles.

*Just finished this. Please let me know if you spot any typos etc... Thank you and hoped you enjoyed the read.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Seventeenth Friday Flash: Where do tigers go when they retire?

Tiger by Emily, age 10 Image Source


12th August 2011
Joey Windercombe (age 12)
Class: 8E
Teacher: Miss Beckett

It was all too exciting. My first visit to the circus, I so wanted to see the tigers. They’re so fearsome, so awesome. Thomas says you can train a tiger so you can ride it like a horse. I don’t believe him. Thomas tells a lot of lies. He once said if you eat apple seeds an apple tree will grow out of your belly button. I checked my belly button all the time for a week until my older brother told me: “Stop being a knob. Don’t believe everything people tell you.” The next day I called Thomas a knob head. It sounded cool at the time. He wasn’t impressed. We fought and both got into trouble.

I still have bruises, but anyway back to the tigers. Thomas’s theory is just stupid, tigers are wild beasts. They would never allow you to ride on their back. They would eat you first!

Wow, I can blabber on! To the circus we go. I sat with my dad near the front. It was musty and smelt funny. Dad said it smelt like mom’s cooking. I agreed, but it was unfair, mom wasn’t there to defend herself. Dad has had a lot of bad things to say about her since she left on that long holiday with her boss. I wonder when she is coming back. I miss her.

But I had popcorn so it was all good. Then the tigers came. It was quite a disappointment! They were both very old. They looked bored. I’m going to write to the ringmaster. They should be in a tiger retirement home or something.

It looked like it was going to be a bust, but then the clowns came. I thought they would be lame, but they weren’t. They were frigging awesome! You like my new word? The clowns taught me that one. I learnt a whole bunch from them.

Then a bloody brilliant thing happened. They were one clown short, and they were looking for volunteers. There were many kids wanting the job. My dad waved a 20 in the air. I was chosen. Best money ever spent. They even let me drive!

Me and seven clowns in a clown car. We whizzed around. Froyo said I was the best damn driver in the whole stinking universe.

It was all going well until Zappo one of the other clowns sneezed. It was so loud I got a fright and smashed into a barrier.

There were a lot of groans and complaints. It was also where I learned all the cool new words. There are some very special ones I’m keeping until later. Sprinkles, the only really creepy clown called me a little dirt bag.

I was a little upset by this. Froyo the head clown was too. He punched Sprinkles right on his big red nose. The crowd roared with laughter. The other clowns joined in. Pies, overgrown shoes and all sorts were flying everywhere. It was scary, but damn awesome. My dad pulled me to safety. Next to Foryo, he’s my favourite hero.

In a nutshell I thought it was the best damn frigging show I ever saw.

(6½/10)

(Very imaginative Joey, but your language was awful! See me after class.) – Miss Beckett.