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.

You can read Kane’ story from the beginning here

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.

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!

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!

Writing Prompt Response by Marianne Gustavson Madson

Mr Suave

Here is Marianne Gustavson Madson’s response to the writing prompt. Due to similar technical difficulties to Katy, I’ve posted it onto my blog so it can be shared, and I think it is amazing, and I want to know what happens next.

It was the summer of 1974 when Mr. Suave strolled into the popular Hollywood Restaurant’s bar where I sat at a darkened corner table. My head had been bent over my journal as my hand scribbled but the paper suddenly wafted as if struck by a breeze.

My eyes lifted to the sight of a very attractive man whom I immediately named ‘Mr. Suave’. He leaned causally against a bar stool and faced the bartender as if they knew each other.

“Welcome back, the usual?” The bartender said with a smile as he reached where the expensive liquor was stored.

Mr. Suave nodded yes as he gracefully eased onto a bar stool.

My eyes secretly admired Mr. Suave in his expensive black suit which he wore comfortably as if he were in an old shirt and jeans. His body looked agile and lean and he was tall and graceful yet very masculine, I thought as I drank him in.

As if he felt my gaze upon him, he casually looked over his shoulder … at me. His dark chocolate bangs hid one eye while the other checked me out. I blushed from being caught and half lowered my eyes so I could still see him through my lashes. He gave me a lazy smile as he shook his glass in greeting.

I didn’t answer but instead bit my lip as my pen hovered and then froze midair when I saw the chair across from me move.

“Mind if I join you?”

I looked up into a handsome face that made my eyes fully dilate, he looked like a young Cary Grant.

“What are you writing?” He didn’t wait for my answer as he went ahead and sat across from me.

“Just stuff, thoughts.” I said as my eyes met his. “Let me see,” his right hand reached for my journal but stopped …when I said.

“You have pianist hands.

” He looked at me and then at his hands. “I am a pianist, a composer.”

“I knew it, may I?” I asked to hold his hands. He let them rest in my mine as I studied his. I explained with envy in my voice, “you have the right length, that extra tip to play Chopin.”

He laughed, “I can and do, and I know what you mean.”

“What did I say that made you laugh?” “It wasn’t what you said, it’s like the saying, don’t judge a book by its cover.”

“So you’re saying I look like a dull book?”

“No, yes, I mean, it’s Hollywood and you look normal to be sitting in a bar.”

“I’m sitting in a dark corner,” I said as if that held weight.

He gave me a long look as he held his glass in front of his lips, he suddenly took a sip and then said. “I want you to hear a piece I’m writing, come back to my place with me.”

I rolled my eyes at him, “I don’t know, I’ve heard tortuous killers can also be good-looking.”

“Harve, please assure the lady she’ll be safe with me.” Mr. Suave called out to the bartender without turning around.

“He’s good,” Harve assured with two thumbs up

Writing Prompt Response from Katy van Cuylenburg

There were some technical difficulties with Katy’s response, so I’m posting it here, but I can’t claim credit. This awesome story is from Katy van Cuylenburg

You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve – JK Rowling

I knew this day would come. I didn’t sleep all night. Awake mostly for the celebrations, dancing, embracing. Including the trepidation of what was to come, the journey.

I must have dozed off. ‘Wake up! Get up!’ yells my Mom shaking me. ‘You’ll be late’. My Mom is a stickler for the rules, old fashioned some would say. She’s okay, she keeps me in line…and goodness knows I need to be kept in line sometimes.

I’m up, dressed, and psyching myself up for the journey. I’m looking forward to the ceremony. I get to see Sadepisara. She’s also making the journey. She’s really cute. I hope I end up in her group. My friend Rankkasade is coming too.

‘How late can you be??’ ‘Stop daydreaming and get you brother ready, your father is waiting for us’. Snapped out of my daydreams, I get my brother into the tram and we head off for the Village Square. The bells are just beginning to ring.

I can hear the roaring coming from the square. The bells are ringing. Have to admit, I’m starting to feel special. I worked hard for this and was chosen. It just seems a bit overwhelming. I don’t like I have to leave, but I’m happy a couple of friends are going with me…and Sadepisara. I’m hoping she notices me.

‘Hey Lumi!’ ‘Over here’ yells Rankkasade. He’s standing with a few I don’t know. I think I recognize two of them. I’m busy looking for Sadepisara.

‘ATTENTION ATTENDEES, ATTENTION’ comes from the podium. A lull falls over the square. The bells ring out the anthem and then also fall silent.

‘Time to form your groups for the journey’ ‘This is special. You are special. Please make sure you report to your group by 1200’

The drums start beating!! The lights flash, flash, jagged lines, and then more drums. They are harder now. I’m looking for my family to wave at them. We are in our groups. ‘Lumi! Lumi! Over here Lumi!’ It’s my Dad. I wave. I think he saw me.

I’m scared. I don’t know what’s at the end of the journey. The lights are bigger now. The drums louder. It’s almost time. A few groups have already gone. We were kept back. We are the biggest, strongest. We are ready! I am ready! Jump!!!!

Here we go….I am the downpour in your Thunderstorm! I am the strongest raindrop you will ever know.

But my future is undecided in what puddle or place I arrive.