Not Alone

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash 

I double checked the locks. I checked the windows and closed the curtains over. I pushed furniture out of place to block the door. Tonight is the last night. Tomorrow I will go back to my family, go back to my friends and beg them to forgive me, beg them to let me back into their lives.

As the darkness falls, I can hear them singing. Whatever they are, they surround this house, the place that was supposed to be my refuge, away from anyone who could hurt me, away from Steve.

But the strange singing and the tapping get worse every night. The haunting voices are getting closer and climbing the ivy and the outhouse roof. I feel so alone. I hope I make it to morning.

Writing Prompt 29th July 2019

The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

To love at all is to be vulnerable

C S Lewis

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Water’s Not the Worst of It

Photo by Meg Barnett on Unsplash 

“Are you sure about this, Mr Easton?” Kane said, looking down the dark steps. “And he won’t listen to you?”

Mr Easton shook his head. “It’s not that he won’t listen to me, it’s just that he thinks I shouldn’t be doing what he called ‘mechanical operations’ as I am a ‘man of the cloth’. I don’t think that dying has helped him become a calmer person.”

“He wasn’t calm when he was alive.” Vic said. “He was a terror. You had to grow a thick skin around him.”

Kane looked at the old man hunched next to him. “And you knew him when you were an apprentice?”

“Yep, sixty years ago, give or take. He was a bugger then and he’s a bugger now and there’s no way I’d go down that hole.”

Kane looked down into the dark cellar. “How bad can it be?”

“If we don’t it fixed soon, there will be structural issues.” Mr Easton said.

Vic nodded. “He could hear the start of it, went down to find the leak and hit his head on the doorframe and died.”

“I think it is a classic case of a spirit unable to rest until something has been put right.” Mr Easton said.

“It would have been put right years ago if he’d let someone get to it.” Vic said. “But he would never trust another man’s work. He wasn’t that good himself, though.” A tea cup flew off the draining board and smashed into the wall next to Vic’s head. “He had rubbish aim as well.” Vic said. “And I’m waiting outside in the car.”

Kane took off shoes and socks, then picked up Vic’s heavy metal toolbox, handed Mr Easton the lamp, and made his way gingerly down the stairs.

The cellar was cramped, with paint flaking from the walls and water flowing over the stone floor. Mr Gomersal was sitting on one edge, a translucent half smoked cigarette stuck behind his ghostly ear. He looked over the tool kit.

“At least it isn’t all this new rubbish.” He said, looking at Mr Easton. “This the lad?”

“It is.” Mr Easton said, “No-one else will come down.”

“When I was a lad people took work where they could take it, and none of this complaining.” Mr Gomersal said. “Right, lad, you do as I say and we’ll be fine. I’ve worked out what the problem i. Now get a wrench, not that one you idiot, that one. That’s it, now pick it up, it won’t bite you.”

“Yessir.” Kane picked up the wrench and looked at the oozing pipe.

“Can you see where the bolt is? No, not that one, you idiot, the one behind it. Bring the light closer so you can see what’s in front of your face. Yes! Give the lad a cough drop, he’s found it!”

As Kane struggled with the rusted pipes, he decided that being ankle deep in cold, dirty water was not the worst part of it.

Weekly Writing Prompt: 22 July 2019



The reason I’m posting this prompt because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

Photo by Meg Barnett on Unsplash
Please give credit if you use this picture

To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.

Anatole France

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Book Review: Dread Uprising by Brian K Fuller

Disclaimer – I don’t know the author, and I read the book through Kindle Unlimited, without being asked. This is a book I thought looked interesting and decided to read

First thing that I noted is that this is a chunky book. I usually read on my phone while waiting for my son, and most of the books I have been reading don’t take that long to read. If you read this in paperback, however, it’s over 400 pages long! It didn’t feel too long, though. As a writer, I’m aware that sometimes things can be trimmed or padded. It can be a difficult call to make. Objectively, I’m sure that there could have been some cuts made, but I enjoyed all I read and I didn’t feel anything dragged. The conversations, the descriptions and the action scenes all contributed to the story and the development of the characters. It was a well-paced, satisfying read.

And speaking of things dragging (or not), I thought the pace throughout was good. It was varied and interesting, with some great action sequences. I am a sucker for a good fight scene, and I think that these were great. You never lost track of who was doing what, which is testament to the skill of the writer, because these fast paced, detailed scenes with plenty of characters can be hard to track.

It wasn’t just a series of action scenes, though. The characters were distinct, interesting and well drawn. I loved that the characters developed through the story, changing and responding to changes in a believable way.

The plot is modern day fantasy, where Ash Angels battle Dreads, the forces of Good versus the forces of Evil. The setting has a well thought out, consistent and subtly complex background. At first it seems to ignore the theology that comes with the concept of Angels, but the implications are addressed as part of the plot. I should add that the plot has plenty of twists and turns, and some amazing surprises. I’ve had to be careful to avoid spoilers, because it’s worth uncovering the layers as the story progresses.

I am going to risk being a little controversial. I would say that this is a masculine book, as in there is more focus on the characters and the action than on relationships. This does not mean that the relationships are treated poorly, and that the interactions between the characters are not well drawn, just that romance is not the main focus.

I really recommend this intense, well paced, action packed story and I shall be dipping in to the rest of the series. Here’s a brief taster from the prologue:

The shot hit to the right of his forehead, tearing away part of his skull. Even that wouldn’t keep a Dread down. She took a quick bead on the pale face of the Dread next to him, a chunky biker with a devilish grin. But before she could pull the trigger, the glowing red radiance around him blasted outwards like the dawn of an evil sun, and a demonic haze washed out her vision – Spirit Shock, a dark gift some Dreads possessed. Everyone in the field called it ‘Getting Torched’. Everyone who survived it.

Dis

Photo by Mauro on Unsplash

I was desperate. This was the only thing I could think of to get me out of this mess. I looked around the attic. This had taken the very dregs of the money I could scrape together. If this didn’t work, I was sunk.

I took a breath. The book had to be right. I’d found it in the box of old cookery books that I’d hoped to flip. That hadn’t worked either. Everything I had tried had turned to dust. This was my last throw of the dice.

I looked around again. All the chalk marks were exactly as the book had shown. I had copied them again and again, just to be sure. The coloured candles were just as shown, the incense was correct, and I’d set it out exactly as specified.

I felt tension run through me. How bad was it to summon a demon? It wasn’t like I was going to worship it, I just needed to get out of this hole. I swallowed. What if I’d got it wrong, what if the demon controlled me? What if I was responsible for evil? All the books and films of evil being unleashed on the world ran through my mind. I ran through my mental checklist. No, I had followed the instructions to the letter. It had to be alright.

What would happen when the demon appeared? For a moment I almost forgot to breathe. I hadn’t thought of that. What was I supposed to do with a demon? Did they understand the stock exchange? Could they find buried treasure? I looked down at my notebook and my hands were shaking.

“What am I supposed to do when the demon comes?” I didn’t realise I had spoken out loud until I heard a step behind me. I whirled around. He was there. He made me think of some sort of aristocrat, tall and slim with finely carved features, piercing blue eyes and thick red hair, trimmed and combed away from his face. The shirt looked like silk and the jeans looked tailored. I swallowed. 

“I believe it is customary to offer a guest a drink, even if that guest has replied to a summons.” The smile was mocking and his eyes knowing. “You can call me Dis.”

Weekly Writing Prompt: 15th July 2019

The reason I’m posting this writing prompt is because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

Photo by Mauro on Unsplash
Please give credit if you use this picture

Without a dream to light your way, the world is a very dark place.

Marrion Zimmer Bradley

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!

Katy van Cuylenburg: Response to the Writing Prompt!

This is the response from Katy van Cuylenburg to this week’s prompts, which is also in the comments.

Oh wow, that sunrise is…is. I always enjoy a sunrise.It’s so beautiful. Now I have to deal with my sister. I don’t want to do this ever. She killed somebody. She just went out there and killed somebody…a guy. Sliced him to death. She said it was self defense. I believe her. I believe she was left to her own defenses…and her own weapons.

So I’m pulling up in front of the cottage to see her. We have always enjoyed being by the ocean. The rhythm of the tide and waves has always been our zen.

Dinner is on! The bbq is working. Loving this beach house. Okay Sis, tell me…
What gotcha there…How hard did he hurt you? Glad she didn’t go to jail.

This is a great space. Fine house. Beach, tide, sand. I’m happy being here. Glad to have this space. How wonderful she puts on the music.

And then the uniformed contingent arrived. Okay. I can listen. It’s time for alternative situations. Good grief, my sister has always been convinced quicker than me.

I say No! Nee! Nien! Nyet! She yells at me. I don’t care. I feel the need to be me.

I do not run. I do not hide. I leave. I

I love the madness of this!

Madhouse

Photo by Christopher Harris on Unsplash 

I paused outside my home. It all looked as it should, with a neat step and a bicycle propped outside. I made a mental note to get the ivy trimmed back. The last thing I needed was to look like a haunted house. I picked up the parcel and opened the door. “Hi, I’m home. Jacob, the new polish you wanted has come.”

The sofa cantered up to me. “Darlene, you have to do something! Melinda thinks she has woodworm.”

The hall was wide and spacious, but it was still a squeeze for Cassie to get in. I grabbed the vase on the shelf before it toppled over. “Do you think it’s serious?”

Cassie jiggled awkwardly. “I know that Melinda is very upset.”

“I’ll go and have a look.” I said. “Perhaps I can calm her down.” I waited patiently as Cassie manoeuvred forwards and backwards to get the angle to get back into the drawing room. She wasn’t a very large sofa, just big enough for two, but it was still a squeeze to get through the door. The portrait of my grandmother sniffed.

“That dresser is always making a fuss about nothing. I mean, even if it was woodworm, it isn’t the death sentence it used to be.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.” I watched Cassie wiggling and reversing yet again.

“I know, but I will tell you something to worry about. You don’t have a young man.”

My heart sank. I dreaded coming home to another lecture about how it was time to provide children to inherit the house. “I need to check on Melinda and give Jacob his polish.”

“You aren’t getting any younger.” The portrait called to me as I squeezed past Cassie and into the kitchen. The dresser was looking as dejected as it could, propped against the sink.

“I’m so sorry to put you to trouble.” Melinda said, her voice catching in her throat, “But I’m worried I might be contagious.”

“Let’s have a look.” I pulled out my phone and switched on my torch to get a better look. “Here?”

“Right on the hinge.” Melinda said, “Perhaps if I’ve caught it early enough, I can just have my cupboards removed.” She paused. “Will that hurt?”

“It’s just a speck of grease.” I picked a cloth from the sink and gave the edge of the cupboard. “There you go – all gone.”

“She was really upset.” Leah said.

“I’m sure anyone would.” I told the stove. “Anyway, I’m just going upstairs to give Jacob his polish.” And as I walked upstairs to the wardrobe, I wondered who on earth would be mad enough to bring children up in a house like this. 

Weekly Writing Prompt: 8th July 2019

The reason I’m posting a writing prompt is because I like writing a little flash fiction. It’s something I treat as going to the gym for my writing muscles. If you want to join in, that’s brilliant, but there’s no pressure. If you want to leave a comment with a link, that’s great, but if you don’t feel ready to share yet, that’s also great. Or you could decide that you had a good session at the ‘gym’ and want to submit it somewhere, or use it as the basis for other work, which would be amazing. It’s up to you how you use this prompt. The only thing I would like to insist on is that you enjoy yourself.

Here is a picture and a quotation. The challenge is to write something that is sparked off by one or both of them. It doesn’t have to be directly related to either, just the story you hear when you see them. It’s limited to 500 words (or less, lots less if you need to, or a little more, and I don’t check), and you should try and finish it by next week. It can be prose, poetry, fact or fiction – just have fun.

Photo by Christopher Harris on Unsplash
Please credit this photo if you use it

What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?

Ursula K LeGuin

If you wish, leave a link in the comments and I will drop in, read and comment, and I encourage everyone to do the same. I’ll also be sharing stuff on Facebook and wherever else I can think of. There are no prizes and no end goal, unless it is to have fun writing. I hope I get to see some awesome stuff sparked by this. Good luck!