Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Horror Bites - Troublesome Trips

The new Horror Bites photo prompt offered lots of different avenues for a little horror tale, and although I had one idea in mind, it turned into another as I wrote. Enjoy!


Elisabeth lay on the sun lounger and tried to relax, soaking up the last of the Italian sun. She moved a strand of hair out of her face and noticed her nails. The enamel was starting to chip. She wondered if the beauty salon in the resort was any good. Then she noticed a dark line under one of them and picked at it, wiping the flakes of dried blood off on the cushion.

She sighed. It was all Paul’s fault, him and his silly possessive behaviour. If he had just let it a rest, they could’ve had a nice holiday. But no, he had to make a thing of it, didn’t he? It wasn’t her fault she was an attractive woman and other men liked to compliment her. And it wasn’t as though she would’ve gone off with the guy either; his fat paunch was enough to put any woman off. It was the same on every trip.

They only had two days left and Elisabeth wondered how long it would be before the body was discovered. At least for the moment the ‘do not disturb’ sign was working.

She watched Paul come round the pool. He looked pale, his eyes darting all over the place.

“It’s still there.” He breathed as he lay back on the sun lounger next to her.

“I told you it would be.”

“How can you be so calm?”

“How will making a fuss help?” She adjusted the sunglasses on her nose.

“I managed to change the flights.”

“When to?”

“Tomorrow afternoon.”

“Good, that’s give me enough time to get a pedicure.”

“Christ!” Paul hissed. “How can you think of that at a time like this?”

“Paul, it wasn’t me that caused this mess, you were the one that picked a fight with him!”

“He was asking for it.”

“You should learn to leave well alone, remember Portugal?”

Paul didn’t respond. She knew he wouldn’t. The police car had pulled up just as they were leaving the hotel. She wondered if they’d be so lucky this trip.  

343 Words

Daily Picspiration - Interdimensioning Part 7 - Home at Last

Wrapping up the serial for my Daily Picspiration was initially difficult. I wasn't sure how to make the leap, but then I focused on answering questions from the last episode, and it sort of fell into place. I used both pictures this week too. I've really enjoyed the surreal aspects of this series. I really enjoy that part of the writing. But I am looking forward to a few one off pieces for a while.

You can read 'InterDimensioning Part 7 - 'Home at last' here.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Cut and Run - MWBB

Last weeks Mid-Week Blues-Buster turned out to be the final one for a while, due to the low turnout. I have also not been that good at turning in a piece, but I have also had a turn judging - which I love to do. I enjoyed writing this story, and it earned me a 2nd place. I will be sad to see the end of this and hope Jeff Tsuruoka brings it back in the autumn.  

The prompt song this week was:
'Going South' by Stan Ridgway

Jim flicked his cigarette ash out the window of the Carrera 911. He loved the car, even though he was defiling it by smoking, but he didn’t care, it wasn’t his - or ever likely to be.

He loved doing this job, being out in the dead of night, driving empty roads from state to state. But of course he loved the wad of cash at the end more…although it never seemed to last.

He’d tried to put some by, but it never seemed to work. Trish blamed his love of fruit machines, but really the fault lay in his location; Vegas wasn’t a city you could save money in – especially when you liked to have a flutter now and then. Trish would say it was more now than then, but he didn’t hear her complaining when he splashed out on a big meal for them both.

As a breeze picked up across the Nevada desert, cooling the car interior, Jim thought about Trish. Did he really want to keep things going, or was it time for a fresh start? This job would pay enough for an inter-state move, and he could finally satisfy the hankering he’d had for the bright lights of LA. But was he too far in to cut and run? He didn’t think so. It wasn’t as though he was signed up to paying rent at her place. Still, a twinge of guilt crept in.

He sighed, that was exactly what he’d wanted to avoid when they’d started fooling around together. He didn’t want to get tied to anyone, and she’d professed the same, although he knew that was what women said. But she was totally into her job as a showgirl, and he wasn’t even sure she was faithful – there were many nights she hadn’t come home, although she’d insisted it was due to work.

He never made a fuss, what was the point? He didn’t care. As long as he was still getting plenty, what did it matter? He found it odd at the beginning when she’d refused to let him come and see her show, but now he considered it the norm. He understood the need to keep work and personal life separate. It wasn’t as though he told her much about what he got up to. He was sometimes away for days and she didn’t question it, or give him a hard time.

He sighed again. Thinking about it like that made him wonder if really did want to quit. He shook his head. He needed to follow his dream, and living in Vegas wasn’t it. Trish wasn’t it. They only really tolerated each other. He was going to cut and run, it was best for everyone. But first he had to get this car delivered. 

A road sign warned him he was approaching the Mexican border. He found a spot to pull over and check the car. He made sure the plates were fixed properly and there were no distinguishing marks. He spent more time that normal and put it down to his love of Carrera’s, but there was something niggling him, he just didn’t know what.

He set off again and the lights at the border control came into view. He pulled in, cool and calm. They asked him to step out as he knew they would – a car like this always drew attention. He remained collected, giving them all the false documents.

But then another car showed up, an unmarked one, and he felt his stomach begin to churn.

They walked him to a customs hut and left him there to greet the new arrivals. He went through the story in his mind, the one he always had as backup. Plead ignorance to stall an arrest,and play the victim of a car thief. He’d slithered out of this before, he could do it again.

Then the door opened and two plain-clothes police officers came in. One was a woman; he smelled her perfume as she passed. He liked it, it reminded him of Trish. Then she pulled up a chair in front of him and straddled it. It was Trish.

She smiled. “Hey Jim, fancy meeting you here?”

Five Sentence Fiction - Pages

Being a writer I couldn't miss this weeks Five Sentence Fiction photo and prompt word. I'm just managing to get it in before the new one comes out. I'm also going with a totally made up name. I hope it works.  Enjoy!



Feminy flicked through the pages of the book trying hard to remember what it was he’d said about where she should look, trying to visual him saying the words in her mind as he’d said them to her.

“Somewhere in the middle it’s there, hidden between the lines, several words in sequence reading vertically, and if you read them out loud it’ll manifest what you are looking for.”

She tried lying the book open on the table to see where the pages would fall, hoping it would turn to the right one automatically if the spine had been broken at right point due overuse of this particular cantation – but it didn’t; several pages remained upright and there was no definition.

Feminy sighed, knowing she would have to go with own her intuition instead, although she didn’t have complete faith in it. She took a deep breath and opened the book, planting a finger on the top line and reading out loud each word she found in the middle of every sentence, her flow only being broken by a smile as the world around her began to shimmer.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Zombie Apocalypse Flash Fiction Contest 2014

To promote the Kickstart project of an author friend of mine, J. Whitworth Hazzard, I have been asked to judge a Zombie Apolcalypse Flash Fiction Contest and I'm quite excited about it!

J. Whitworth Hazzard has set up a Kickstart project in order to publish the final episode and paperback compendium of the 5-star rated "Dead Sea Games" saga. I have read this saga and it is one of the fastest moving, on-the-edge-of-your-seat reads I have had in a long time. I can't wait for the fourth episode to come out - and I can't wait to get all four of them in print! You can buy the first three episodes of the saga on amazon.

The Flash Fiction contest is also to promote my newly published Personal Writing Critique website, which I have set up to offer a critiquing service. One of the prizes for the winner is a 20-page writing critique from myself.

The prompt for the contest is a setting:


The people are gone but the zombies remain. Somewhere in this concrete and steel jungle are a thousand stories of bravery, heartbreak, love, and adventure. What will yours be?

Your flash fiction piece MUST

…be 500 words or less.
…be posted to your blog before July 27th at midnight, EST.
... (if you don't have a blog, we can post it for you)
…conform to reasonable standards of adult society (read between the lines, folks)
…include the promotional links highlighted below
…be set in New York City after the zombie apocalypse.

The setting is similar to the setting of Dead Sea Games, but don’t let that hem in your creative spirit. We want to read all of the great stories that I know can come from this great big melting pot of humanity—totally gone to hell-in-a-hand-basket. Your piece can be any genre, any universe, any characters (even mine!), any set of rules you like. Just be entertaining and make us feel.

For details of the prizes, and to add your entry, go and visit J. Whitworth Hazzards website. 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Visual Dare - Vigilant

This last week's Visual Dare took a little while to surface, but once I had the opening line it poured out, turning a sad tale. I absorbed the photo in the store, the word only reflecting in the new found job of the speaker. Enjoy.


Her heart broke to watch him. Everyday he came carrying roses. Everyday they were a different colour. She wondered if they represented something - an emotion of some sort. She didn’t know. He’d always sit on the ground at the foot of the grave for at least an hour, clasping his knees, sobbing.

He’d often speak between those sobs, crying out his pain, as though talking to her and she’d listen, dismayed by the guilt that wracked his soul. He was innocent; the car accident had been just that: an accident; his heart was pure. She’d always known that, even when she was alive and able to touch and hold him, able to return the adoring love.

But now all she could do was sit here and watch, the only comfort the wings on her back, reassuring her that she’d never leave him and always be here to protect him. 

150 Words

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Horror Bites - Bag of Troubles

The new Horror Bites photo prompt was an interesting one this time, and provoked all kinds of ideas, but this one stayed with me. Enjoy!

Office Work

When the sack arrived Herman was intrigued. Everything in the post room came in a dull grey, so silver stood out, catching the eye and glimmering in the muted overhead lights.

He heaved it up onto the counter, curious what could be so heavy; it was bulkier than normal post bags and less flexible. He pulled at the draw string and a pair of shoes fell out.

Herman jumped back startled, then checked no-one had noticed. Fortunately the repetitious sorting of letters was still taking up everyone’s attention.

With thumb and forefinger he gingerly picked up one of the ladies pumps. His heart raced and fear clenched his stomach as he recognised it. When he picked up the other one he found a spot of blood on the heel and couldn’t help but release a moan as his initial dread increased.

A couple of colleagues heard the sound and looked over. Seeing Herman with a hand on his stomach, one called out, “If you’re gonna up chuck, go to the toilet and do it, will ya?”

He didn’t respond; his eyes transfixed on the scarf that had fallen out too. There was more blood on it and he knew that if he looked further he’d find more than just clothing.

His mind raced. How had it arrived here in front of him? Who had sent it? Who knew?

Herman took furtive glances round him, sure someone must be watching, but those that hadn’t gone out on deliveries were busy filling their bags; no-one was looking.

He gathered himself, taking in a breath as he stuffed the shoes and scarf back into the bag and pulled the draw string tight. Then he lifted it onto the trolley with the other bags ready for his van. 

He’d take it out with him and find a safe place to dump it, but he had to be careful, clearly someone was observing him. Although, if he played this right Lizzy’s body would be the only one he’d be dispensing with today.

The knot of fear released and he laughed as he got in his van. That would make two in two days. He was getting quite good at this murder lark.

367 words

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Visual Dare - Precarious

This last week's Visual Dare prompt couldn't be missed; such a provoking picture, begging so much possibility. It could offer surreal, but I went with symbolism, using as many facets as I could find. Enjoy.

He had to think carefully about his next move. He’d seen others go under and it wasn’t pretty. Some of them were sure they’d reached the other side safely too. They hadn’t realised they’d overextended themselves.

Like a game of chess you had to think about their move as well as your own, and you had to see several moves ahead, otherwise you didn’t stand a chance.

Last time he’d made a move without thinking his life had been turned upside down. For months he’d felt like he was walking through a desert; he couldn’t catch a break no matter how much effort he put in. But he’d kept on going, because that’s what you do, isn’t it? It wasn’t like you had options.

He had to keep the board turned his way this time; he had to keep his opponents guessing. Life was a precarious business.

147 words


Daily Picspiration - Interdimensioning Part 6 - Off Kilter

This time it was tough coming up with a continuum of the story I had created for my Daily Picspiration serial. I struggled with where I wanted to go with it. But I had the idea of the sunflower being given to the lead MC, Elise, and once I started writing it, the rest fell into place. I do enjoy writing surreal stuff. I find it limitless, enabling the writer to see round corners and explore more possibles than are apparent. Enjoy.

You can read 'InterDimensioning Part 6 - Off Kilter' here.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Five Sentence Fiction - Ballerina

This week the Five Sentence Fictionprompt word is felt rather than used. I worked more with the photo and what it inspired. A softer, gentler story for me this time. Enjoy.


Lilly’s heart soared when the beautiful ballerina stepped out; the graceful steps she took to the spotlight mesmerising her, her eyes fixed on the ballerina’s perfectly poised hand as she positioned herself to begin.

Lilly’s breath caught in her throat as the hypnotic pirouette increased in speed, to such a point she could no longer see the ballerina’s face, just the perfect outline as she spun on her blocked toes.

Lilly clutched her mother’s hand when the male dancer leapt onto the stage and picked up the ballerina, tossing her about as though she was nothing but a feather being buffeted in a breeze.

Then as they danced together, each step in sync, not a ballet shoe out of place, and Lilly’s heart ached for such an interaction.

When the curtain came up and the audience gave them a standing ovation - those closest showering the stage with roses - Lilly knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.