Thursday, 26 December 2013

'Assisted Dying' - Published in Sirens Call magazine

On Christmas Eve I was informed that the new December Issue #12 from Sirens Call Publications was available for download. Another piece of mine is in it this month, on Page 18, called 'Assisted Dying'.

The theme this month is 'Dead & Dying' and I had to write about my own demise, so again these are not tales for the faint hearted!

The good thing about this ezine is that it is free to download.

Daily Picspiration - Throw Yourself Away

My Daily Picspiration piece went up on Sunday.

As soon as I saw the picture I saw the story. It looked like Mossman Gorge to me, near Cairns, in Queensland, Australia. When I visited it was cascading with water, although the second time I went it was as dry as it is in this picture. I liked it flowing, and that is what I envisaged in this piece. It contains elements of a visit I made to The 12 Apostles, along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria too. That's what it's all about - twist it all up and see what comes out!

You can read 'Throw Yourself Away' here.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Bad Santa Blog Hop 2013

This year I decided to take part in Ruth Long's Bad Santa Blog Hop 2013. It's about taking the idea of Santa and turning it on it's head, in which ever way suits, and writing a piece of flash fiction, up to 500 words bout it. This is what I came up with.


“Give me a look at that list, will you?”

Alfred handed over the computer print out. It was heavy.

“Wow, that’s grown since last year.”

“Yes, it get’s bigger every year.”

“But we only need a couple of hundred, don’t we?”

“Yes, that should be enough. How do you want to select them this year? Gender? Area? What?”

“Gender’s no issue, I don’t care about that, but area matters; we should just pick one. I don’t want to waste time like last year trying to get round them all – we cut it fine as it was.”

“True.” Alfred remembered the previous year when they’d only just managed to get away before sunrise. They couldn’t risk another close call like that.

“And remember; check birth dates - when I say over 18, I mean it! We’ve got to keep some kind of moral integrity!”

Alfred snorted a laugh. “Okay, that’ll cut the list in half then.”


“Anything else? I need to put this together quickly otherwise the invites won’t make it.”

“No, that should be it.” Santa rubbed his hands together. “I can’t wait; finally a good use for the naughty list.”

Alfred grinned. “Indeed.”

As they stuffed the last stocking, Santa stretched. “I’ve definitely had it for tonight.”

Alfred’s eyebrows arched. “You sure about that?”

Santa chuckled. “Well I’ve had it with stuffing stockings; it’s time to stuff something entirely different!”

They both let out a hearty laugh, and climbed back up the chimney.


They slipped through the gates and followed the thumping music. They’d never heard jingle bells set to a rave beat before and liked it, but the sacks hindered their ability to dance along.

Alfred had done a great job setting up; the DJ’s booth stood in the middle of the courtyard decked out in Christmas glitter, and Christmas trees lined the perimeter giving it a cosy feel. The place was heaving with bodies, all getting into the spirit of thing by way of free hot toddies and eggnog.

“A bit of a different kind of venue to last year.” Santa looked up at the derelict factory.

“Yeah, being able to create just has made it much easier, and we’ve got a huge turnout.”

“Indeed, perfect.” Santa pulled his sack up to the podium by the DJ and climbed up.

He grinned at the MC and took the mike.

“Ho, Ho, Ho boys and girls. I have arrived!”

There were raucous cheers and wolf whistles as he reached into the sack and threw out a handful of sweets to the crowd. They grabbed them eagerly. He exchanged glances with Alfred. “That should warm them up.”

Alfred laughed as they threw out more. “It’ll get them going that’s for sure, like it does with the elves.”

“Yeah, but hopefully they won’t start making toys on us!”

“No, hopefully it’ll be something else they’ll want to make!”

They sniggered at each other and threw a sweet into their own mouths. It was time to join in.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Surrender - MWBB

This weeks Mid-Week Blues-Buster brought an interesting song. It's only the second song I've really listened to from this band, but I really liked it, it said so much. But as always the challenge is putting those thoughts and emotions into a story. So here's what I came up with, and it earnt me an honourable mention. Enjoy.

The Song Prompt for this weeks was:
Heavy in your Arms, by Florence & the Machine

He saw it in her face that first night; the look in her eyes. He didn’t let it distract him from what they were doing, and still lost himself in the moment of sexual ecstasy - but he’d registered it.

After she left in the morning, showering his face in kisses and making him laugh; he sat and pondered what he’d seen. He didn’t want to do it again; break someone’s heart, it wasn’t much fun. But this one? Could he love her?

He sighed. He wanted to; he wanted to give her all she deserved, but could he? Or would he just let her down like he had all the others?

Later that day he had to smile at the text she sent. She wasn’t going to wait for him, she was going to run the show and he liked that. And when she turned up at his door again the next day, throwing herself into his arms, he was overjoyed to embraced her, although he kept her in check with his silence.

The days grew into weeks, which gathered up into months. He took out the shoebox he kept under his bed and sifted through all the cards and scribblings she’d given him, trying to find the courage to return the emotion, but all he’d been able to give was his time; taking her out to dinner, shows, the cinema, pubs, bars, anywhere to keep her entertained and distracted, because he knew she wanted more. She would start to say something then stop, or tell him she wanted to know him better and then wait for him to speak, but he wasn’t good at speaking, he was only good at showing, so that is what he did. He took her to bed and showed her time and again.

It didn’t stop her pouring herself into him by including him in everything she did. He was happy to join her and get to know her friend’s boyfriends. He enjoyed the elaborate dinner parties she arranged and lost himself in the drunken conversations. But every moving it was still there; that look in her eyes.

Then the first year was over and they celebrated, and the whole evening she was watching him with expectation. He did all he could, spun her the best night they had had, and in the morning he thought he had pulled it off, but there she was looking at him only this time with a little box in her hand. He was terrified.

She had always been forward, moving it all along and he wondered how far she was taking it as he turned the box over in his hand. It was a perfect tiny square with a raised top. His mind reeled at the idea that someone else might pop the question. He fiddled with it, delaying, but she pushed his fingers against it, showing him where he could start unwrapping.

He fumbled it open and tipped the lid a crack, trying to glimpse what was within, before revealing it. And what he saw made him frown and he paused, opening the lid wider and picking up its contents.

“A key?”

“Yes, a key.”

“To your heart?”

She laughed. “No, to my apartment. It’s time, don’t you think?”

“What, for us to live together?”

She frowned at him and laughed again. “No silly, for you to be able to come round whenever you want. Why, do you want to live together?”

“Well...” He flustered.

She laughed again. “That’s what I thought. One step at a time, eh?”

“But..” He stammered.


“But, I thought, you know, that as we’re in love, you know, that was the next step? I mean, it’s been a year.”

Her jaw dropped as she looked at him, and he felt his cheeks flush. Then she threw herself on him, pushing her lips against his with such a fierceness he could only surrender - although surrender was all he wanted to do, so he returned the passion.

That night he packed a bag, and when they reached her apartment he picked her up, carrying her over the threshold. There were no broken hearts here.

Five Sentence Fiction - Alone

There was no way I was going to miss this weeks Five Sentence Fiction prompt or photo. It spoke to me immediately.

Alone… By SHA-1 SOURCE 

‘I am totally alone and always have been’, she thought to herself as she left, and with it came a sense of relief.

The visit had confirmed her feelings; feelings that she’d fought for so many years and tried to prove wrong at every turn - that these people weren’t to be trusted and never had been.

She walked across the park, her emotions swirling; going from deep pain to the elation of finally having closure, something she had longed for, for so many years. She had been seen, she had been heard, she had been acknowledged and that was enough; she could close this chapter now and move on.

There was going to be fallout as she came to terms with it, knowing that they weren’t really there for her - never had been, never would be, but at least she could be sure of one thing: herself, and that was all that mattered now. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Always a Price - MWBB

The Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge has returned after a hiatus for National November Writing Month and I was ready to get stuck in. Although the song prompt was not really my cup of tea, so I went with the lyrics. I struggled with the ending, it was difficult to find a way to end the piece. And it is probably behind why it didn't get placed. Have a read.

The Song Prompt for this weeks was:
Dirty Boulevard, by Lou Reed.

He’d been told that there would be a good life there; that it was like the roads were paved with gold, that there would be plenty for him and his family – well what was left of it, now the war had taken his wife - but it wasn’t true.

He tried real hard to find a way; he worked any job he could get, sometimes up to four, but most of them were shitty, most of them consisted of him having to humiliate himself some how. And he tried hard not to give in to the darker side of life, but it was there for the taking, offering up pretty much as much cash as he wanted if he was prepared to stoop so low.

He thought about it, considered it, and spoke to his children about it. They looked at him and listened to him tell them how much difference it could make to their lives, how much it could give them; the opportunity of college, the opportunity of a good life, a proper home, not just some ramshackle broken down apartment, somewhere safe where they wouldn’t be surrounded by shootings, drugs, and violence.

They looked unsure at him, especially his son. He was just coming into teenage and the school wasn’t working for him, not when it was busy fighting the attitude of all the other kids in the area. But he looked at his younger sister and thought about how tender she was, and wondered how his father could ask her, or why he would. But she smiled up at her dad and said she’d do anything for him, so there was no argument. He promised her it wouldn’t be for long, that it would be okay and that he would be there to protect her.

And he tried hard to be, but he wasn’t a fighter, never had been, which was why he’d left his country in the first place. So he ended up in the hospital, along with his beautiful little girl too – who wouldn’t be quite so beautiful anymore thanks to the switchblade the guy was carrying, and having thrown all his money at the man he couldn’t cover what was needed to try and make it right.

So it was on his son, who faired better, and was able to hold his own and dictate his own terms. And for a while he thought they would be okay, that in just another six months they could get out of here and find a better place, and repair the damage he’d done. But he hadn’t bargained on the depravity of the people, the crude desire to hurt another, particularly a young boy, who, by the time they’d finished with him, would never walk again, dependant on a catheter for both ends.

He sat there in his scant kitchen with his head in his hands, staring out of the window, wondering how he got here, how he’d been reduced to someone who would abuse his children in this way, and then he caught sight of it on a billboard poster across the street and started laughing; the very image that had inspired him, and given him hope, making him believe in a better life, in freedom.

When his children joined him looking puzzled he could only point at it, unable to speak through the laughter, but their confused looks remained as they wondered why a picture of the Statue of Liberty was so funny.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Daily Picspiration - Taken

My fortnightly Daily Picspiration was posted on Sunday.

A short sharp piece this week, which came to me as soon as I saw the picture. I think it speaks for itself in that it pulls no punches. I enjoyed writing something so short for a change. Enjoy!

You can read 'Taken' here. 


Monday, 2 December 2013

Book Tour - Tyler Nitbone, by Imran Siddiq

A good writer friend of mine Imran Siddiq is releasing his novel Tyler NitBone on the 29th of November, and to support him I'm taking part in a book tour to promote it. 

Having enjoyed Imran's first book 'Disconnect' - Part 1 of the Divided Worlds Series, with the second two: 'Disassemble' and 'Disrupt' waiting in the wings, I look forward to reading this too. Take a look. Tyler can cross into parallel realities. Employed by a secret organization, he collects data about worlds encountered to improve the Alternate Worlds Map. Except the organization have apprehended him, tampered with his memory, and accused him of a crime he can’t recollect. They must have the wrong seventeen-year old? Nope – even Tyler’s friends have evidence against him.
There are rules to being a Alternate Worlds Viewer:
DO NOT interact with the environment.
DO NOT interfere with events.
DO NOT reveal the ability to Cross.
Tyler has broken with one. But which? All of them?
Worst of all he hates his surname: Nitbone.
Chased by the organization, he will Cross into explosive worlds to uncover the real traitor or risk the lives of zillions.
Tyler Nitbone must interfere to undo the interference.

It is available as an ebook on and in print on and you can also try and win a copy through Goodreads.

You can even watch the wonderful trailer for it here.

Here are a few interview questions about how the book came into being:
What inspired you to write Tyler Nitbone?
The Greenhouse Literary Agency Funny Prize competition in 2012 made a call for humorous novels. Although I had certainty that I’d never win, it gave me a spark to write in a more relaxed manner than the serious overtones used in the Divided Worlds Trilogy. In some ways, it allowed me to write much as I think and behave?
How did you come up with the title?
Unlike previous novels where the title is a representation of a theme, TN is the protagonist, and the name – Tyler Nitbone – makes me take notice and giggle. Nitbone rolls off the tongue. I wouldn’t have used the name if it didn’t have that extra punch.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Oh most definitely. In fact it’s there on the cover as a tagline. Interfering in anything has consequences. They won’t always be bad, but they won’t always mean good either. Often people say or do something without realising the long term effect. TN is about how he must interfere due to the interference of a previous action.

How much of the book is realistic?
The bits that don’t involve the non-realistic parts… like parallel universes… and robots… and a certain orang-utan. Then again, maybe it is all possible.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
TN is an extension of me whereby I always try to help and do good, but sometimes it can be misconstrued and puts me in trouble. Poor TN… he doesn’t know when to stop and reflect.

Who designed the covers?
I seek out top-notch artists to create the character art. I pull together the art, and then create my text, style, background, colour changes, adaptations, tweaks and go all nuclear on creating what would grasp my attention. Covers are massively important. The TN cover is quirky and rather different from similar books in its genre, but still says YA Fiction from a visual viewpoint.

Imran Siddiq may have tried to leave Leicester a few times, but its become his place to wake up to two cats, freeze when the heating’s off and most of all, get down to writing. At a young age, his primary school teacher commented on his creativity and ability to tell stories.  At the age of 29, during a night in the jungle, the bug inside awakened, and for the last 5 years he’s been sacrificing every second that he can to write. A veteran of writing festivals, a presence on Twitter and gobbling up all forms of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, he hopes he can bring a smile to others in the same way that he had, aged 5, reading with a torch under his duvet. Imran’s preferred genre  is YA Sci Fi, and he has a tendency to throw a droid in every novel.
Imran can also be found on:

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Five Sentence Fiction - Pieces

I've just managed to get this weeks Five Sentence Fiction in before the deadline. Great photo, great prompt. Enjoy!


When she dropped the granite statue into the middle of the glass table, it shattered with a boom, making her smile; she’d always wanted to do that ever since she’d laid eyes on the damn thing.

He’d loved it more than her, always polishing it, nagging her every time she wanted to put a drink on it, using it as a tool to compare her imperfections to - even holding her face against it. She wondered how he’d love it now.

She relished the crunching sound as she walked across the floor to the door, grinding her heels hard into it, making sure it left marks on the tiled floor, although none of them would be as deep as the marks he’d left on her – and not just those he’d made with his fists.  

She grabbed her case and went to the front door, wishing she could be a fly on the wall when he got home.

Daily Picspiration - The Bend

My fortnightly Daily Picspiration was posted on Sunday.

I wrote this little piece in a bit of a rush, while a writer friend from the US was staying over. The photo talked to me and I had the first line straight away, which is all I needed. It is a sort of a twist on another, rather famous car crash, which in some ways inspired it. Can you work out which one?  Enjoy!

You can read The Bend here. 


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Daily Picspiration - Cable Terrors

My fortnightly Daily Picspiration was posted on Sunday.

I have returned to one off flash pieces inspired by photos and this one definitely did that. As someone with a fear of heights I have been put in this situation so it wasn't hard for me to write.

You can read Cable Terrors here.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

'Limits' - published in Sirens Call Publications monthly ezine

Today I have been informed that the new ezine from Sirens Call Publications is now available, and my piece, 'Limits' is in it.

It is on Page 40 of Issue #11 - Revenge.

My friend Laura James also has a piece in it called 'Charlotte'.

These are not tales for the faint hearted! ( ; >

The good thing about this ezine is that it is free to download.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Visual Dare - Parallel

It's been a while since I have written a Visual Dare, but this photo intrigued me too much to pass up!

Isabel heard her mum calling. She put a finger to her lips as she listened to her coming up the stairs. There was a tap on the door.

Isabel said, “Come in.”

Her mum’s head poked round the door. “What you doing sweetie?”

“Nothing Mama, just playing dress up.”

“I thought I heard someone talking up here? Isn’t Janet over from next door?”

Isabel pulled a face. “No, there’s no one here. It’s just me, and her.” She pointed at the mirror.

Her mum laughed. “You’re funny.”

Isabel grinned at her.

“I’m downstairs if you need me.”

“Okay mama.”

As she closed the door her mum paused. Something wasn’t right? Hadn’t only Isabel’s head turn when she’d spoken to her? She shook her head. She must be overtired. 

Isabel breathed a sigh of relief and her other half in the mirror rolled her eyes wide. They’d almost been caught. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Five Sentence Fiction - Determination

I couldn't resist this weeks Five Sentence Fiction. It was just asking to be written about. Enjoy!


Henry licked his paw slowly, he had time – in fact he had nothing BUT time.

He flicked a glance at the hole, having seen movement at the edge his vision; the retraction of a whisker. It had seen him, he knew it, but it didn’t matter, he wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, well only to check out his food bowl, although if his human spotted him they might be helpful and leave it close by, within chase range.

Henry paused, tongue out, his tail the only thing moving as it snaked its way up and down. This little mouse wasn’t going to get the better of him – oh no.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Mating - MWBB - Winner!

This was my first Mid-Week Blues-Buster in several weeks, and the second I heard the song the story appeared. I love it when that happens. And it clearly works too as it earned me a winner! I haven't been ranked in the Top 3 for a couple of months now, so I am stoked about that! Have a read.

The prompt song this week was:
 Howlin’ For You, by The Black Keys
The white line in the middle of the road kept him on track. His brain couldn’t compute much else in the darkness; it was mush after seeing her.

With each white streak thoughts came to him, images of how he would get her, how he would have her; he knew he could do it. A smile crept across his face. His incisors touched his bottom lip for the first time in months, and he looked up, seeing the road for the first time, tires screeching as he did a U-turn.

He hoped she would still be walking. She always did when spending the night at Duke’s shed. She couldn’t stand to get in a car when she was drunk, made her queasy she said.

He passed the bar, the external lights not quite reaching the road, and slowed down, seeing figures walking on either side of the street. Then he spotted her, striding ahead of the rest.

He reduced to a crawl and ran along the curb, rolling down his window. She flicked a glance his way.

“What do you want Dean?”

He bit his tongue over the obvious single word answer, and grinned at her.

“Come get in the car, Darleen.”

She laughed at the sky as she walked, her hair flying back. He wanted to wrap his hands in it and draw her into him.

“You know that ain’t gonna happen, Dean.”

He glanced in the rear view mirror. He couldn’t see anyone close by, so he mounted the sidewalk in front of her, leaning over to open the passenger door; letting it swung out in front of her.

She stopped raising her hands as though touching it would get her all dirty. He would love to get her dirty.

“You know you want to Darleen.”

That laugh again - he wanted her. 

She stepped off to the side, planning to walk round. He growled under his breath and leapt out of the car. This time there was a look of fear and he felt a surge run through him like someone had plugged him in. He liked it, but he stayed by the door not wanting her to run; that wasn’t how he wanted this to go.

“Arh, come on Darleen. You know me, I ain’t gonna do anything spooky. I just thought it’d be cool to take a ride. Go look at the moon over the ridge. Maybe have a smoke.”

This last brought a raised eyebrow. He knew she liked having a smoke; they’d been stoned a few times - but always in a group. He could see her wavering. He turned, putting a foot back inside.

“Come on, Darleen. Please?”

She shrugged. “Oh what the hell. It’d better be good shit.”

“Don’t worry, it is.”

Once she was settled in he pulled out, doing another U-turn back the way he came. He could smell her musky sweet scent and he shifted in his seat, itching to reach over and touch her.

They chit chatted over the night in the bar, then silence fell as they came up the rise of the road and the moon came into view. It was fat tonight and he felt his ears twitch. Behind glass he was safe.

He pulled off onto the rocky track, driving to the look out. She sighed as it came into view.

He pulled up, the moonlight streaming in like a false daylight. He had no trouble skinning up without the lights on and they smoked in silence.

She opened her door first, arching her back as she got out. He imagined running his fingers down her spine. As his feet touched the ground he could feel the ripple. He arched as he stood too.

When he turned and looked at her across the roof of the car he smiled. His incisors enlarged, and he knew that he displayed the same yellow eyes that reflected back at him. Her laugh was raspy.

“I knew it! Get over here now!”

Her demand caused him to howl and she joined him as he scampered round to her.

Onlookers would think they were seeing two wolves mating that night, but they knew the truth.


Daily Picspiration - No.10 - Final episode - Outcome

My fortnightly Daily Picspiration was posted yesterday.

I had planned for this to be the final episode of my serialisation - not because the story is complete, it isn't - in fact there is a whole lot more - but because I didn't want to continue. I wanted readers to enjoy my Daily Picspiration pieces without feeling they had to go back and read all the other entries first.

It was extremely hard to bring this photo in, but neither of the photos for this one helped me with what I planned to write - and that there was another reason for ending the story, I wanted to write what the picture inspired me to write, not try and fit it into another story.

So enjoy the final episode of this mini serial. You can read 'Outcome' here.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Five Sentence Fiction - Malice

  Lillie McFerrin Writes

I'm a bit late with this, as it is last weeks Five Sentence Fiction, but I couldn't resist this picture, so had to write for it.


With each strike of the mallet she felt her rage quell; the thump of the glass as it caved in leaving her feeling satisfied.

But with the rage dissipated the sick feeling of loss replaced it, and the rip of each piece of duck tape felt like a strand of her heart.

She stuck it on the windscreen, shaping the words while tears rolled down her face. She picked at the glass to give it form, wondering if he would understand it or just be enraged.

As she shuffled off the bonnet the sound of her sobs reached her ears and bitterness grew once more, this time only releasing with the hiss of air as she let down the tires for good measure.  

Friday, 11 October 2013

Published in 100 Doors to Madness!
In the summer I submitted a 100 word piece of flash for this anthology run by Forgotten Tombs Press. I didn't receive any kind of confirmation initially so didn't expect to hear anything further, but a few weeks after the deadline I received an email to tell me my piece had been accepted. I was overjoyed!

And it turns out that two other of my writing friends also had their submission accepted - Susi Holliday and J. Whitworth Hazzard, which is brilliant too! Couldn't be happier to be published alongside them.

It is available in print and in ebook and you can buy it any of these places.

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

Monday, 30 September 2013

A Daryl Dixon Fan Fiction Blog Hop - Family Life

To celebrate the return of The Walking Dead television series this month, some writing friends and fans decided throw a Blog Hop. The hosts, Ruth Long, Sarah Aisling, & Lisa Hollar are keen Daryl Dixon fans, so the main theme consisted of a piece of flash that contained zombies and Daryl. 

I found it tough initially to come up with something, and then after I read another writers entry, I was inspired and had trouble keeping within the word count! Here's my entry, which won me a surprising 2nd place. Hope you enjoy. 

Family Life


Jeanie liked the night shift. Up in the tower she had a good view over the compound, and the landscape beyond; the moonlight made it seem so undisturbed.

Unlike the elders, she didn’t know any other type of lifestyle, and this was the safest she’d ever been. She loved the commune they’d created up here on Dixon’s hill. They could survey every inch of land around it. Her father had been no fool in picking it; there was no way anyone could surprise them up here.

They had restored the ruined mansion that had stood on it and made it their own, fencing themselves in and making a fortress. The tower she sat in had been her father’s favourite, and although he was too old to take turns on the night shift now, he still came up from time to time to practise with his crossbow. ‘You’ve gotta keep you hand in or you’ll lose it’, he’d say.

There weren’t as many walkers anymore and the herds had become rare, so the risks were much lower than when Jeanie had first manned the tower. Although when she spotted one stumbling along the peripheral fence, she was quick to dispatch it with her crossbow, planning to collect the arrow when her shift was over. Jeanie remembered when she was little and her dad teaching all about crossbows and knives. She’d picked it up fast. Her mother hadn’t always been happy about it, and had said so in front of her from time to time.

“She’s too young Daryl, please stop with the knives.”

“Carol, she’s gotta be able to hold her own, we might not always be able to get to her.”

“She’s only five for Christ Sake! Let her be a child for a little while.”

“She might not have a little while if we don’t teach her – I won’t take the risk.”

“I don’t want my little girl thinking it’s normal to be a knife wrangler.”

“Carol there is no ‘normal’ anymore! I’d rather she be a live knife wrangler, than a dead princess!”

“Oh Daryl, that’s not what I meant.”

“It might not be Carol, but if you don’t let me do this it might be her future. She’s my daughter too. Let me do this; teaching her is all I’ve got.”

Jeanie missed her mum, but she was grateful a walker never got her. Sometimes people just got sick, and the best they could do was tend to them. The elders always talked about medicines and places called hospitals, but those days were over, or least they thought they were.

Jeanie saw headlights through the trees and stood up, looking through the sight on her crossbow. There wasn’t just one set of lights, but several in a convoy. She rang the bell on the tower. She wanted everyone up for this. The last time she’d seen these cars was when they left to go and find medical supplies, and after several months everyone assumed they weren’t coming back.  Jeanie wanted to be joyous, but caution was always warranted; it might not be their family driving.

She ran down the tower meeting her brother at the bottom.

“Is it them Jeanie?”

“I think so Merle, but we can’t be sure. Where’s dad?”

“He’s coming; you know he’s not as young as he used to be.”

“Yeah, but don’t tell him that!”

Jeanie grinned at her younger brother; he was the spit of his father and named after an Uncle they’d never met.

People started pouring out of the house as the headlights approached the main gate. Her father came to the front, his crossbow posed and ready should the wrong people get out of the car.

Then the lights flashed twice, and everyone cheered. This was the signal they’d been waiting for.

Jeanie’s heart surged as she watched Carl climbed out of the driver’s side, and raced to the fence so she could run into his arms. And it was lucky she did as he fell into them, barely able to stand.

“Carl, what is it?”

“It’s okay Jeanie, it’s nothing, just a scratch.”

But she knew he was lying as she virtually carried him through the gates.

“Did you find a hospital?” Daryl called as the group stumbled out of the cars, several more clearly wounded. “What happened?”

“We found a hospital, but it was occupied.” David replied.

“Occupied? By who?”

“Not sure, but he knew who we were, said ‘any enemy of the governors was an enemy of his’.”

“Governor? That’s gotta be twenty years ago?”

“He ran us off. As you can see they were well armed.”

“Shit, this is not good. I thought those times were over.” Daryl cocked his crossbow. “Did they follow you?”

“No, they didn’t leave the hospital.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. We camped outside town for a few weeks, most of us weren’t fit enough to travel – especially Carl.”

Daryl looked round. “Darren, John, Evie?”

David shook his head. “They didn’t make it.”

“So no medical supplies then?”

“Some, but not enough.” David handed Daryl a duffel bag, it was half full.

Daryl helped David through the gate with the rest of their haulage.

“What do you reckon David, should we go back and give it another try?”

“You’d have to convince me there’s something worth taking first.”

“What do you mean?”

“They beat us due to quantity not quality; many of them looked sick, and there weren’t any young people.”

“That’s good.”

“Is it?”

“Yeah, it means we don’t have to do anything. We can stay put and decide what we wanna do.”

“There’s got to be other hospitals.”

“Yeah, we’ll look into that, but first lets get you lot healed up.”

They all went up to the main house and gathered in the hall. Despite the sorry state of those that had returned they were all pleased to be together again.

(983 Words)