Friday, 14 December 2012

Seventy Fifth Friday Flash: Penguin, Bear and the Shadow

Image Source: Douglas Orton Imaging 

At first she thought it was her imagination. It had been following from outside the store and when she saw it swallow an old woman she knew it meant business. Penguin waddled along, staring back over her shoulder. The shadow was fast approaching. Threatening to engulf her.

Looking for shelter in the underground parking hadn't been the best idea. It was well lit, but some of the lights were flickering which only put her more on edge.

The shadow was gaining. If only she had stayed at home and ordered her art supplies like a modern penguin, but she adored the old lady at the local craft shop and didn't want to see her go out of business.

An old bear was getting out of his battered yellow pickup truck. He wore a brown raincoat and a wide brimmed hat. His large nostrils sniffed the air. She went up to him just as he started walking towards the shopping centre entrance. He stopped and looked down at her. She pointed at the menacing shadow. Scowling the bear moved the penguin behind him with his big paw.

Just as the shadow was about to pounce the bear roared. The shadow quivered and stopped for a second before attacking. Roaring in pain and anger the bear flailed at the shadowy entity. Penguin had to do something. Then it hit her. Using her lock picking skills she broke into an SUV, hot-wired it and turned on the high-beams. The shadow shrieked like an banshee as it was blasted away.

Bear was in a bad way. He was bleeding and part of his left arm was missing. She felt awful dragging him into it and went over to help. Doing what she could until the ambulance arrived she rode with him to the hospital. It was one of many journeys they would be taking together.  

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Next Big Thing

I was tagged by writer, friend, reviewer and blogger Dave-Brendon. You can find out about his next big thing here.

If you would like to be tagged please let me know and I will add you.

Here's some info about my next big thing. Please let me know if you have any questions of your own.

What is your working title of your book? African Superhero. It is very likely to change. Hoping something catchy yet meaningful comes to mind soon! 

Where did the idea come from for the book? Conversations with someone close about African culture and that it would be a good idea to put a supernatural/fantasy spin to it. 

What genre does your book fall under? Superhero/fantasy/adventure plus a whole blend of other genres.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I'm still fleshing out the charaters, but so far Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Emma Stone, Zooey Deschanel and Sanaa Lathan

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? What if all the stories about the monsters you heard growing up were all true?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? We shall see.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Only about 5,000 words in. Long road ahead. I'm thinking it will take at least another 6 months to a year. There's a lot of research and character threads to piece together.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Not sure. Any suggestions?

Who or what inspired you to write this book? Above mentioned conversations plus the fact I needed to write about something closer to home and not try fit in with everyone else. Really let my imagination go and see what comes out. It may be a disaster or it may be my best project so far. Either way I'm sure it's going to be a fun journey. 

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? Hoping to bring the superhero genre to Africa, but have a worldwide appeal at the same time. Bringing in modern technology, social media and global politics into the mix. 

I've tagged some great writers too.
David Ward "| Whatever Writer | SEO/Copywriter | Deist | Cinephile | Stubborn | Gonzo Journo | Capricorn | Capetownian | Aspiring Novelist | City-Spy | Feather-Footed |"

You can find his short fiction under the Vicarius tab and his more philosophical non-fiction pieces under the Aliquam tab. 


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Seventy Fourth Friday Flash: Machka

The wind was strong and the rain was pelting down, not that it mattered much to Hocat, he had his trusty extendible umbrella and it kept the worst of it away from his vision sensors. Machka rode along on his shoulder, rubbing up against his brain case, it was the warmest and driest part of his body.

It was late and he needed an oil top up. On a low bridge in a street packed with restaurants he got out his old acoustic guitar and began to play. It was a soft and gentle melody. Machka stirred and stared at him with her wondrous green eyes. Her tail shifted side to side.

“Yes, my precious one, it's time to earn that tuna you love so much.”

Machka arched her back and rubbed up against him.

A group of potential customers came closer. Machka began to mew in tune with the song. Hocat felt he would cry if he could, it was always so beautiful to hear his little one sing.

Most of the passing group took no notice of them, except for an old lady who swayed with Machka's pining. The old lady swiped her hand over the collection hat, using a wireless connection to transfer credit. Hocat tipped his head.

Hocat felt a little better. Machka would be getting tuna tonight.

Maybe it would be a good night after all. But it wasn't to be, Hocat felt a spark of surprise and dread. Another robotic being was padding across the bridge. From the myriad of different sized parts and the odd way it walked there was no doubt that it was a scavenger. A part pirate. A bulldog with two cyborg front legs and white left electronic eye waddled next to it.

“Let's go, Machka!” Hocat clutched his guitar and his beloved close to him as he fell backwards off the bridge.

There was a moment of blissful free fall before they landed on the street below. The robot stared over the edge of the bridge. Its haunting red eyes seemed to scan them to see if it was worth the bother.

A moment later the bulldog leaped down. Hocat and his kitty ran with Machka balancing on his head and hissing at their canine foe.

“No my dear, you're tough, but he's too big for you.”

The rhythmic thud of the scavenger following suit echoed up the narrow street. The fiend most probably wanted to rip out his memory cards and sell them.

Pretty soon they were blocked off in a dead end. The robot pirate and his growling partner advanced slowly.
Hocat held his trusty guitar, after Machka it was what he loved the most.

“I like the dexterity of your fingers, I will have them.”


Hocat scanned the area for escape. It was between them, but there was a chance he could make it. Sprinting forward, Hocat jumped and grabbed hold of the bottom rung of a fire escape ladder. Pulling himself and Machka up he was stopped by the sudden tug of the metal jawed bulldog clamping on his foot. Its thrashing and weight made it too hard for him to climb any further. Making the split second decision to save them both Hocat released his leg and scrambled up the building. The dog dropped with a clank.

On the top of the building Hocat and Machka looked over. The scavenger was jumping up and down, but it couldn't reach the bottom rung of the ladder.

Finding a discarded piece of drainpipe and using it as a crutch Hocat hobbled along with his fuzzy friend on his shoulder.

“Come on Machka, let's find you some dinner.”

Monday, 12 November 2012

Lion Park Visit

Click on the image to enlarge.

Tigger the tiger having a bath.

A snake slithering across the pathway

Tigger and Rani sharing a moment.

Fascinating story: Living on a 14th story balcony

Happy lion

Simba is the oldest lioness in the park at 21 years old. She growled at us when we walked past and disrupted her sleep. 

Miniature goats outside the park.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Seventy Third Friday Flash: Antopia

“Come on, or we are going to be late!”

Manny clicked his mandibles in frustration. “I don't want to.”

“Do you want to learn about your past or not?”

“Okay, okay,” said Manny dragging himself away from his computer.

It was a five minute tunnel ride to the event. It was decidedly low key considering how much his big sister had been harping on about it. About a hundred other sectoids at most.

“You have me here, now what?”

His big sister shook her oval head, her compound eyes showing disappoint in him. “Such little respect. You see his gray hair and the languid way he moves?”

Manny was thinking about getting back to his game. The thing before was so fleshy and hairy, it made him cringe. “Yeah.”

“They say he's old, not much time to live, lost his appetite for food and life when his partner died.”

“And, doesn't it have a Queen, isn't there millions more of them?”

“That's the fascinating thing, there were millions of them, billions of them in fact, until a disease wiped most of them out a long time ago. Scientists found remnants of a colony underground. Breeding programs were tried. None worked. I suspect maybe they were too old and most of them had the same sexual equipment.”

Manny shrugged. “A bummer for them.”

“I don't know why I even bother.”

“Okay,” Manny went up to the glass tank. The old shriveled creature seemed to regard him with open fear. “I'm sorry you guys were wiped out and stuff. Better luck next time.” Manny whipped around. “See, are you happy now?”

“I should slap you,” said his sister raising two of her left limbs up in the air.

“Try it and I will tell mom.”

His sister shook her head. “I wonder if our species will fair any better than this poor soul and his people in the long run.”

“With annoying sisters like you around I doubt it.”

:”You know what I think this guy is the lucky one, let's go home so you can get back to your precious game.”


Friday, 12 October 2012

Seventy Second Friday Flash: Love Beyond Death

“You're doing it wrong,” said his girlfriend.

“Woman!” said Hamill with a mouth full of foamy toothpaste. “Will you leave me in peace!”

“Ha! If it wasn't for me your teeth would have fallen out by now.”

“And for that I thank you, my dear,” said Hamill, his voice softening.

Hamill spat out the toothpaste and gargled water before turning around and walking straight though his girlfriend. For you see his girlfriend Angie was dead. She had been for over a year now, but it hadn't meant that she had stopped telling him what to do.


“Slow down,” she said. “Your work isn't going anywhere.”

She sat next to him like she always had. Her mother was an English teacher and her father a concert pianist. Prim and proper described her to the bone. Her eyes watching his every move. It had been different when she was alive. Then he could keep her quiet with a kiss on her beautiful lips.

At first he thought it was madness of the grief he was going through that produced the manifestation. Over time it became all real, even some of his friends and family swore they saw glimpses of her.


“Sit up straight!” she said from over his shoulder at work.

“Yes dear,” he mumbled.

“Talking to yourself again?” asked a coworker.

“Yup,” said Hamill with a sigh. He had given up trying to fight the reputation that he spoke to himself.


Hamill snapped when he was eating food with his hands.

“How many times have I told you to use utensils!”

“Why couldn't you have stayed dead!” he growled.

Hamill instantly felt guilty and his heart sank when he saw the shock and hurt look on her ethereal face. He approached her to try comfort her, but she disappeared before he could. With a heavy heart he carried on with the rest of the day's duties. The incident playing over and over in his mind, wishing he had reacted differently.

Expecting to see Angie waiting in the car, he was sad she wasn't there. He leaned against the door and cried. Maybe her soul was finally in a happy place.

Driving along slowly back home he was taken by surprise when an unseen force slammed his foot into the accelerator. The only thing he saw before the truck hit him was Angie's lips mouthing the words “I love you.”

Friday, 5 October 2012

Seventy First Friday Flash: The Great Eggscape

Rimotar had never been so scared in his life before. A biting beak of death was only feet away from him, ready to snatch him away even if he relaxed for a second. To make things worse the egg he had stolen was definitely hatching.

Another part of the egg shell fell away. Rimotar inched forward with one eye on the mother griffin that appeared to be resting just outside his rock overhang. He peered within, a small front paw shot out and scratched his face quite badly.

“Ah!” he shouted. He was bleeding from three places now.

The tiny griffin busted out of the rest of the shell. It snapped its jaw and scratched at the ground, squealing as it did so.

“Shh!” hissed Rimotar with his finger on his lips. It was of little use, the mother was shifting her weight to have a look.

Scrambling, Rimotar had only one option, he covered himself in the gooey remnants of the egg. The mother looked in with her big head, the baby griffin crawled out. Rimotar followed suit. Hoping the covering would disguise him as one of her own.

The mother griffin sniffed the baby griffin, satisfied it nuzzled its head against it, crooning as she did so. Next she went up to the slowly moving away Rimotar. Rimotar paused. She sniffed him and then looked at him with its big eyes. This was it, Rimotar's mother would discover his mutilated body later and that will be end of him. The griffin moved in closer and rubbed her head against him. Rimotar found it oddly comforting.

Rimotar wondered if she didn't see him as a threat anymore or that she wanted him as a snack for her young ones. The thought made Rimotar shiver in dread. The baby griffin came over and yapped at her feet. Squawking she grabbed them both and took them up to the nest, just in time to see that the other eggs were hatching too.

Rimotar edged away, trying to escape, but she was a sharp one and pulled him back. For almost a day Rimotar suffered many more scratches and bites and having to eat raw meat because the mother griffin was expecting him too was not something he wanted to relive.

Then the next morning one of the babies leaped for freedom, and the mother went after it. Seeing his chance Rimotar went for it. The other two squawked in protest, but their mother was too far away to hear.

Exhausted from the climb up the cliff face Rimotar collapsed under a bush for shelter. For the next couple of hours Rimotar caught bits of sleep as the mother griffin came searching for him minutes at a time. She didn't want to leave her young ones alone for too long.

After an hour of stumbling and resting Rimotar eventually crashed through the kitchen door of his family home.

“Rimotar! My baby!”

“I love you mum.”

She hugged him tight. “You are never leaving the house again!”

“I don't plan to.”

“And mom, it's true, I can use magic.”

“Your father won't be pleased.”

“I know.”

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Seventieth Friday Flash: A Whole Nest of Trouble

Image Source

Rimotar was going to be in trouble again. He could just imagine the look of disappointment on his mother's face. Just like when he forgot a sleeping toad in his robe and it leaped onto the dinner table and broke his grandmother's teapot. Father fixed it, but it was never the same after that.

Now he found himself covered in mud and peering over the edge of a cliff, staring down at a griffin's nest. There were three golden eggs glittering in the morning sunshine. Timing was important, their mother wouldn't be away for long.

The fact he had seen it hunting near his parents' cottage had given him the idea to inspect the nest. They were so tantalizing close. He just had to risk it. Going down Rimotar went from handhold to handhold. Using skill and patience he made his way down, a few minutes later he lowered his foot onto the branch. He tested his weight. It seemed alright.

Turning around he almost lost his balance when noticed how high up he was. Steadying himself and taking a deep breath Rimotar lowered himself down into a sitting position. Inching forward, he wished he had brought his backpack so he could lift all three.

He had to hurry, there was no telling how long their mother would be. The nest smelt horrible and made his eyes water. It was covered in bones, feathers and other remains. Holding his breath he put his hand on the closest egg. It was surprisingly warm. He lifted it up, it was a lot heavier than expected. He looked up at the steep slope, going back up wasn't going to be easy.

There was something moving in the egg. He had better go if he was going to make it back in one piece. Climbing was a lot harder with only one arm free, but his legs were strong and he made good progress. About halfway up heard a loud shriek behind him. The claws dug into his back and the egg slipped out from under his arm as he was pulled up. Luckily Rimotar was able to clamp on to the egg with his feet before it was dashed on the rocks below. He kicked up the egg and grabbed it with both hands, and held it tight against him. The warmth of it reminding him of his mother's embrace.

The griffin pulled him in closer as it glided around. His heart pounding and doing his best to ignore the searing pain Rimotar bit the griffin's lion like front paw. Rimotar, egg and all plummeted down towards the ravine below. In mid air he twisted until he was between the egg and the ground. At least the egg would be safe. His only thought was at least he would going out with a bang and not shackled to a desk like his old man.

A warm feeling flushed through him, like he had been placed in warm oven for a couple of minutes. He shut his eyes and waited for impact, but it never came, or not as bad as he thought it would be. Rimotar stopped an inch away from the floor for the briefest time before dropping the last inch The drop jolted and shook him, but he was still alive.

Was it finally confirmed? Did he really have magical abilities like he had expected? But there was no time to think about it, the griffin was barreling towards him. Scrambling, he hid under a rock. He had to push himself back more when the beast rushed at him and swiped at him with its massive paws. The rock wobbled dangerously, but try as it might it could not get close enough. Squawking angrily it retreated.

Rimotar shifted, trying to get into a more comfortable position. The griffin came rushing back, clawing and swiping with its massive paws. It caught Rimotar by the ankle and ripped up his shoe. It left again. Bleeding from two wounds and trapped he wondered how he would explain all this to his mom.
The egg began to crack.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Sixty Ninth Friday Flash: Golden Years

Being a veteran of the Elfwood war and the quest for the golden chalice Ogg was no stranger to danger. But these were supposed to be his golden years. Years of rest and relaxation. The young fire troll didn't seem to know that. The fur of the neck of the red furred fire troll was standing on end and she was crouched down like a cat. It had only been a matter of time before someone challenged him for leadership of the clan, but it was surprising that it was coming from a girl, especially his own daughter, Tumalta.

Short and fiery tempered she definitely took after her mother.

“Tumalta, have to do this?” asked Ogg just standing there, towering over his daughter, his green fur going gray in places.

“Shut up, dad, I'm sick and tired, when I become the leader no one will tell me what to do!” she shouted.

Ogg sighed.

Trolls of various kinds were gathered all around them. Things had become more interesting after the clans began to mingle more after the war.

“No daughter, too young.”

“I challenge you!”

There were gasps from the gathered crowd. Ogg shook his head. There was no turning back now.

Tumalta shrieked and charged forward and tackled Ogg around the midsection. Ogg was pushed back a few inches, but did not fall over. Seeing that she wasn't getting anywhere she pulled away and bashed him with her fists. Ogg gauged the crowd. A few were cracking smiles and some were on the verge of laughter.

Ogg pushed Tamalta as gently back as he could. They had wrestled a lot when she was younger, but it was different now, she was almost a lady. Enraged she charged back at him and punched him. Ogg doubled over. “Ouch!” It really was more painful than he thought it would be.

Taking advantage she bashed at him more. Raining blows on him. As much as he loved her, she was just not ready for such a leadership role. The tribe was at a tipping balance and they still needed him.

For a few minutes he let her get all her frustrations out. He remembered being the same at her age. So much anger. It was a part of being a troll.

Exhausted she stumbled back and collapsed into a sitting position.


“Yes, father.”

“Good,” he said helping her up. “Maybe next time.” He added with a wink.

She smiled weakly.

Creaking and aching all over, maybe she would really win next time.

*For those of you have read my books you might find Ogg familiar, but if not you can find out more about him and the books here The Red Stone and Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar. 

Friday, 31 August 2012

Sixty Eighth Friday Flash: Dragon Breath

Fire Breath (image source)

“Today we're reporting on another dragon fire outbreak. A hot summer coupled with dragon migration has resulted in record numbers of forest and house fires. Randy, is there anything that can be done about it?”

The dragonologist shrugged. His red and black uniform looking too warm for the heat of the day. “Dragons are Alsatian sized lizard type creatures that fly south for the winter. They're not used to the early onset of the season. Being prone to be bad tempered it's making them more likely to vent their anger by breathing fire.”

“What do you think of calls to declare open season on them?”

“Don't get my started on them. Besides being protected by the law dragons are majestic creatures and should be respected.”

“Any advice for our followers?”

“Yes, keep your distance and if you like you can download the dragon spotter app and report all sightings.”

“I hear it's quite popular.”

“Oh, it is. The more dragons you spot the higher you climb up the scoreboard.” Just then a flight of dragons went flying overhead. Roaring and flaming as they went by. “And one more thing. Make sure all small animals and children are indoors at all times during the migration season.”

“Very wise precaution indeed. We don't want a repeat of the Morning Rise creche snatchings of last year.”

“Oh, not at all. Not at all.”

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Sixty Seventh Friday Flash: Phantom Footballer

Joshua Harmony (2005)

“I can't believe it, Barry Burma will be playing with us tonight.”

“Nah, it's not really him, it's a gimmick. A ghost.”

“Not just any ghost, a revived and holofied ghost. Hell, my shoulder is still smarting from yesterday's training session.”

“He's good, but it's kind of cheating isn't it? To have an all time great on our side?”

“Are you kidding me? The Rockets have Steve Stoner on their side. He can take on a freight train and win.”

“It's a good thing they only allow one holo player per team.”

“Exactly, my friend, so let's get out there and kick some ass. Maybe one day we will come back and get all the holofied babes.”

*If you like this ghost story you might like these others too: Ghost BusFight for your Right and The Other Side

Friday, 17 August 2012

Sixty Sixth Friday Flash: Fire Awakening

Part 1Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 and Part 5
Image Source

“I can't believe it, so you bribed the receptionist?”

“If you call chocolates and flowers bribery... then yes.”

“Oh, I thought you had your eye on me?” said Phoebe with a raised eyebrow.

“The kind lady behind the desk is old enough to be my mother and you know it.”

“Maybe so, but love can spring up anywhere.”

“Granted,” said Tony with a smile. “Been having a bit of trouble getting back into your stride again?”

Phoebe brought her hot coffee cup to her chest to warm herself up, “Yes, not easy, plus I think the coma has broken me.”

Tony frowned. “How so?”

“Weird dreams and things happening when I blackout.”

“That's why I wanted to see you, I've been thinking about the whole thing, with the doctor and nurses, all burnt to death, plus how I saw you when we first met, with that fire costume. Somehow it's all connected.”

“You seem so confident?”

“Maybe I'm crazy,” said Tony looking away.

“No, I think I'm the one who is crazy.”

“Not at all,” said Tony, moving forward as if to comfort her.

“So, what are you going to do now? Turn me in?”

“Far from it, besides, what evidence is there to connect you with any of it?”

“I'm still questioning if all of this is real.”

“Maybe we can learn how to control it.”


Tony laughed. “Do you think you will be able convince someone else to help you?”

“Don't need help.” Phoebe crossed her arms.

“Didn't seem like that a little while back, that was no simple nightmare.”

“Possibly, but what can be done?”


“Oh, super. A convenient store clerk is going to teach me how to channel my Chi.”

“Hey, I have doctorate in philosophy.”

“Alright, alright, then what?”

“Then maybe you can control the power, use it for good.”

“How do you know I'm not the next super villain in waiting?”

“I checked up on that doctor and nurses, not the best people.”

Phoebe smiled, “Such enthusiasm.”

“Ah, such a beautiful smile.”

“Buster,” she said staring him down. “Let's focus, ready to get started?”



“That's it, that's it, I can see you.”

“How clearly?” asked River Fire.

“Clear enough, your costume is so tight fitting,” said Tony forward and looking her up and down.

River Fire vanished again. “Thanks, a lot!” said Phoebe from his side. Looking up from her crossed leg situation.

“Still very good progress, and can't believe it, you can actually manifest an ethereal being outside yourself.”

“We should work on the fire next, I want to be able to control it more and not rely on my emotions.”

“Maybe tomorrow, you've been working hard this week, I've never met much an avid student.”

“I don't know, that coma guy is regaining his power, I saw him yesterday, I think he's planning another attack.”

“Only in your dreams, he can't manifest himself like you can.”

“Still very scary though.”

“If he does just remember the escape tricks I taught you.”

“I will, once we're ready, what happens next?”

“We go bring some justice to the world.”

“Oh, goodie, can't wait,” said Phoebe sighing and collapsing onto her pillow.  

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Old Red Tricycle

Found this in the storeroom. Old red tricycle. Has a hosepipe as a front tyre.