Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Week at ThinkingTen - 5 Pieces

This past week has been Book Week at ThinkingTen, a great site that I frequent often. We were provided prompts based on famous novels and had to write a piece within ten minutes (hence the title - but editing can take as long as you need!!) Below are my five pieces, with the prompt underneath each one for reference.
A big thank you to Blake Cooper for the challenge this week - it has been a blast!!

Retreat Or Surrender

They had come for her around midnight.

She had escaped the city just before it was destroyed, retreating to her haven in the mountains. The air, although tainted somewhat by the noxious aftertaste of the bomb, was still a lot healthier than that of the city. For how long, she didn’t know – but she had been happy to have escaped at all.

They had come for her around midnight.

She heard them before she saw them; scrapes of flesh across the veranda, broken fingernails tapping out a message of damnation on her door.

She locked all the doors and barricaded herself inside the living room – the one with the floor-to-ceiling windows. She saw them approaching the house through those windows; torn flesh, rotten teeth, broken limbs; yet on they came, coming for her – and she was trapped within the one place she had thought would be the safest in the world.

On Location, Monday
A Room With A View

Me Thinks Me Is Sunk

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink – actually, to be more precise, a kitchen sink; not the one that is sitting in the bench-top of my condo down in Miami – no, I would be able to reach the phone from there. Instead, here I am, in the middle of someone’s horse paddock, legs tied (and ass-stuck) to this damn sink – and I am supposed to be writing a suicide note.

Damn this blackmailing crap – a couple of million dollars I was down, they gave me a loan, and now they want it back. They only gave me a really short time to pay it back – ninety days...ninety days? Why do they think I got a loan from ‘em in the first place? I couldn’t pay back the tenner I loaned from my eight-year-old son – and he’s mighty pissed, too, I might add.

So, here I am, knee-deep in seven flavours of shit, trying to write a convincing suicide note – how do you think I am doing? Pretty bad, so far, huh? But that’s least they had the decency to let me do it in my own time...

Now all I have to do is work out why they poured that sticky-as-shit honey all over my crotch...

Take It Away, Tuesday (Starter Sentence)
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.

Pelican Decoy

Did I ever tell you I was dyslexic? Probably not – we don’t know each other that well. I would like to tell you all about it, but then, what would be the pinto? It’s not like you will be joining me for a bark fest in the morning.

Anyway, my story is short. I’m dyslexic, and I work for the Collins Pelican Decoy. Pretty strange job for someone with my condo in it, but there you have it.

I was sitting in the lunch room with my boss – his skin was so pale, almost wrath I like - when both our grapes went off luminously east. We made a mad rush for the crap ark, in an effort to get to the big press crone fence; there was to be a huge emu net cannon regarding the future of the English gnu algae.

I still wonder why I was given this ensign mast.

Words Inc, Wednesday (Use these words in your story)
(1) wrath, and (2) grapes

Never Return


A young man lies on a quiet beach, enjoying the sounds of the beach; the rolling waves, crashing and dashing themselves on the rocky cliffs that formed the boundaries of his childhood playground.


Fast forward a few years to find him walking the beach, hand in hand with his own young children, sharing with them the joys of a beachside existence. He taught them to listen to the ocean, to hear its secrets. They gave him a bright, colourful seashell so he could always hear the waves.


An old man now, sitting on the porch; a discarded newspaper lay at his feet, the headline proclaiming the sea has taken another victim to its watery depths. Beside it, a broken seashell.

He will never go to the beach again.



The Plot Thickens, Thursday (Use these elements in your story)
An Old Man (include the sea)

A Boy & His Guitar

Dear Uncle Tom,

I am writing this missive to say thank you – thank you for the two biggest gifts I have ever received; the red Gibson ES 350T is such a beautiful instrument – I hope I get good enough to do it the justice it deserves. The other gift which I am thankful for is the chance to use your cabin down here in Louisiana – I enjoy sitting down by the railroad tracks in the evenings, under the giant evergreens. Sometimes I won’t even take that guitar out of the gunny sack, but just sit and feel the rhythm of the trains rolling past, feeling their power and trying to recreate that sound with my guitar. For all of this, I am thankful.

Anyway, I have to go and do some chores.

Thank you again,

Jonathon Bartholomew Goode

P.S. Mother is funny – she thinks one day I am going to be so successful that I will be in front of a big band and that many people will come from miles around to hear me play. Isn’t she a hoot?

Member’s Pick, Friday
Uncle Tom (include a cabin)

Monday, July 26, 2010

If You Go Out In The Woods Today... - FFF #37

Friday Flash Fiction time again and this week Cormac Brown, our fearless moderator and genuinely decent chap, offered up the following starter sentence: "As with juggling, the key to life is to keep the procession moving steady and don't look down." I stopped and started this piece three times, each time going in different directions, and I hope this one came out well. So, without further (insert French word here), here it is:

If You Go Out In The Woods Today...

As with juggling, the key to life is to keep the procession moving steady and don't look down. This is my motto and what I constantly tell the groups of snotty-nosed, private school kids who were regular visitors to these parts. School excursions had sure changed since I was a kid; no more museums, science fairs and historical monuments – no, now they came to me.

My name is Luke Lashner and I am the tour guide for the National Parks, usually in charge of leading these groups. I usually got dumped with old folks or bratty teenagers – god knows why, must be my charm.

This latest motley crew of adolescent misfits arrived at the assembling point – twenty minutes late. Their teacher – a mousy man with a roadmap of veins winding across his cheeks and a nose that Rudolph would be jealous of – introduced himself as Mr. Marshall (call me Reg) and apologised for the delay. His appearance gave me the distinct impression that he was scared stiff of the upcoming walk – not that I could blame him; it didn’t matter how many times I began this walk, I always found myself taking a deep breath (or three) before starting out.

After making sure that everyone was ready – water, food and good hiking shoes – we got on our way. It would be a long day for these kids and I took my time leading them down to the metal and stone steps that would eventually take us to the valley floor. On my own, I could do it in ninety minutes but allowing for teenage gossip, talks of girls and arguments about who had the better football team, it would take nearly four hours.

Mr. Marshall (call me Reg) gave some final instructions to the group – something about not fucking about and to pay attention to what they were told – and we started down. The first few steps were cut directly out of the mountain side (as were about half of the one thousand or so stairs we had to descend) and were slightly damp and therefore slippery. I told the kids to be careful coming down and I was quite surprised when they actually did as instructed.

Boys, at times, like to show off to their mates, but these kids were unusually quiet – I don’t know if it was fear or something else that made them hold their tongues. Maybe they had been threatened with school expulsion if they acted up but whatever the reason; I didn’t hear a word from any of them for the first hour or so of our descent.

About halfway down, we came upon a rest area and I told the boys to take off their packs and relax for ten minutes. The journey down is hard on inexperienced legs and some of the kids were huffing and puffing (would more than likely blow a house down) and they accepted my offer gratefully.

I could hear voices down below us, probably on one of the lower look-outs.
Sound travelled a long way out here – something to do with thinner air and atmospheric blah-blah-blah – and I turned to ask Mr. (I refuse to call you Reg) Marshall if he knew why it was so but he was nowhere to be found. I looked back up the stairs, scanning the zig-zag pattern of the walkway but to no avail – he had apparently disappeared.

“Boys, have any of you seen your teacher in the last few minutes?”
Heads turned my way slowly, sending a tremor of unease through me. Their silence did nothing to alleviate that. One of the boys – the tallest one in the group – sauntered toward me with a lopsided grin stretched unnaturally across his face.

“He had an...accident. He won’t be joining us for the rest of the day.”

I was amazed that I hadn’t been told and told the boy exactly that. “Where is he? Did he go back up the stairs? I had a look a few moments ago – he couldn’t have got far...”

I was cut off by the boy raising his hand, gesturing for silence. His apparent authority scared me; I could feel that little vein in my forehead pounding rapidly, keeping the beat in time with my heart. My hands were sweaty – like a boy, no older than these ones before me – awaiting the arrival of his very first date and hoping he didn’t screw it up.

“Mr. Marshall wanted to have a good look at the valley – and we accommodated him.”

I found myself slowly trying to back away from these kids (not that they acted like kids, no sir-ree.) The others began to draw in around me, creating a wall around me that I wouldn’t be able to physically break through. Talking was all I had left.

“What is it that you want? Why are you doing this?”

The tallest boy took a few long strides and was quickly standing nose-to-nose with me. I could smell the sourness of his breath and the fear in mine.

“No more questions or you shall have a guided tour as well – our style.”

“I was only asking about...”

I felt a hand grab me roughly by the collar and the boy shook his head, almost ruefully.

“I’m sorry, but I did say no more...”

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Not A Good Day, All Things Considered

Another week, another dare over at JM Prescott's A Reader's World. This week's dare was to include a light - "Go outside and write in the sun, curl up under your favourite reading lamp or light a candle. Turn your writing into a literal flash and somehow include a light in your piece."

Not A Good Day, All Things Considered

Robbie tumbled down the last few steps of Playbirds International – the self-confessed innovators of adult entertainment – and rolled onto the pavement in an ungainly heap of arms, legs and cigarette butts - another day in Paradise City.

Paradise City wasn’t its official name – it was actually Kings’ Cross, the red-light district of Sydney – but it was how Robbie thought of it; although, that definition was rapidly beginning to change. Last week, he had been tossed out of the Bourbon Bar on Darlinghurst Road – that wasn’t so bad as there weren’t twenty nine steps to be thrown down (Playbirds did – Robbie had counted them on the way up – just in case.)

He rolled over onto his back, made a quick check of all his vitals (wallet, watch and phone) and, when he was satisfied all was in order, he put in the effort to raise to his feet.

Halfway up, he felt a boot slam into the back of his right knee, sending him back to the filthy pavement. His knees cried in protest, but it soon went ignored when he felt the hard rubber sole of what could only be a policeman’s boot on the back of his neck. Robbie struggled to free his head from the pavement and, after thirty seconds or so, he felt the weight lift. Things didn’t improve, however, when he turned his head to face his tormentors. Immediately, he was squinting as the light from the officer’s high powered torch shone directly into his eyes.

“Well, lookee-here, partner, looks like we got ourselves a D and D.”
The two cops grinned as Robbie tried to get to his feet.

“Hey, don’t we know you from somewhere? Yeah, yeah...we do. You were that idiot we kicked out of the Red Lantern in Surrey Hills the other night. Yeah, sure, we know you.”

Robbie grunted and tried to sit up. One of the officers put his size thirteen boot into his back and pushed him back into the pavement. Robbie felt a hand in his back pocket and sensed his wallet being removed.

“Now, look at this, Jimmy,” one of the officers said to his partner. “Seems our friend here has a fair wad of cash in his wallet - I’m sure he won’t mind if we lighten it a little.”

Robbie kept his head down, not wanting to argue the point with them - not that he was in any position to argue. A few seconds later, he felt the foot remove itself from the small of his back and then something hitting him in the back of the head. He reached up and felt his wallet next to his head and he turned to see that both of the cops had disappeared. Well, that was reasonably painless, Robbie thought, I’m only down a hundred bucks or so.

His opinion changed quickly when he realised that, stuffed inside his wallet, was an infringement notice for drunk and disorderly, with a fine attached of one hundred and seventy five dollars. He was wondering what else could go wrong as he was crossing Darlinghurst Road when he saw the police car, headlights off, coming his way – fast.

He shouldn’t have asked.


This week's winner was the wonderful Sal Buttaci and his story "Up In The Air". Congrats, Sal, another fantastic piece!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Acceptance at Pill Hill Press!!

This morning I received an email from Jessy Marie Roberts at Pill Hill Press regarding my submission for their upcoming "Daily Bites of Flesh:
365 Days of Flash Fiction"
and the good news is:

I was accepted!!

My very first "published" (read that as 'printed') piece!! I am absolutely ecstatic. I was really happy with the final story and apparently, so were they. It isn't a paying publication but, as far as I am concerned, it is just as good as. They have some fantastic publications every year and I am just so happy to be a part of that.

Nothing quite like a major (for me) acceptance to get the creative juices flowing...

Onwards and upwards!!

A thank you to Jessy Marie Roberts, editor and compiler of the Daily Bites anthology for the acceptance. I appreciate it so very much.

A big thank you to all of my friends from 6S and T-10 for your constant encouragement, advice and support. You guys are the greatest!

Monday, July 19, 2010

'Good Help Is Hard To Fry' up at The Glass Coin

My story "Good Help Is Hard To Fry" is now up at The Glass Coin. The theme for this issue was Fame/Fortune. You can read my piece HERE.

A huge thanks to both Sairah Saddal and JM Prescott, co-editors of The Glass Coin, for accepting my story. I am very honoured to be a part of this publication.

While you are there, check out the upcoming themes and submission guidelines. Certainly worth a look!!

Her Family, The Nightmare - FFF #36

Friday Flash Fiction time again and this week, due to a malfunction that moderator Cormac Brown blames on the lack of Bundaberg Ginger Beer in the States (it's an Australian product!!), we had a choice of three starter sentences. All were great, but I chose the one supplied by Sue.
Thanks again to Cormac for hosting this great site, and to all those who participate weekly and make it a wonderful place to frequent.
(As a word of warning, this is a little longer than usual - but not by much.)

Her Family, The Nightmare

You know that feeling when you wake up sweating and thing “thank goodness it was only a dream”? The cooling sweat that makes you shiver? The rumpled bedclothes that indicate a night of terror? What if it wasn’t a dream – what if, deep down, you know it is your subconscious reminding you of an event you have tried – for years – to ignore, hoping it would go away?

Karen had dreams like that. Karen – young, beautiful and ambitious – had been plagued by dreams of this nature for the last few weeks. She couldn’t put her finger on the exact time they had started; it was definitely before Rob had left her for the dumb blonde in the office, so she reasoned that wasn’t the cause – as much as she would love to blame the cheating bastard. No, the more she thought about it, the more she realised that the nightmares had begun when her biological father has made contact with her, wanting to see her.

Her recollection of her childhood was vague to say the least; snippets of home and school, remnants of friends made and lost – all circulated inside her head, never forming a complete picture. Her mother had passed away when she was young and she spent much of her formative years being shuffled from foster home to foster home; she was a troubled child for the most part – not really a bad kid, just extremely withdrawn and introspective. The few friends she made were snatched away from her when she was shuffled along the adoption highway.

Karen had come out the other side of this childhood as a shy and reclusive adult. Her one long-time friend, Sheena, had introduced her to Rob, a financial whiz kid, and her life had seemed to instantly improve – her confidence soared, her interests expanded and she soon found herself finishing her education at the local community college and gaining her first real job – as a receptionist at Rob’s office. She made many friends, attended book clubs and bridge nights, art exhibitions and all-night bowling parties. Marriage had come quickly after – it had seemed the most natural thing in the world. Life had become good for Karen.

And then the dreams began; she couldn’t always remember them in the morning at first (who wants to remember a bad dream?), and then she started to keep a journal, writing down everything she could remember as soon as she woke up. Rob had laughed about it – he thought she was being silly – didn’t everybody have bad dreams from time to time?

The dreams continued – her journal filled with notes, brimming with fragmented memories of frightening and frenzied nightmares. She started a second journal after seven weeks – a third just three weeks later as her recollections become clearer, the nature of the dreams more consistent. The vestiges of the previous night remained in her mind’s eye longer every morning. She wrote down everything, forced herself to remember every detail, every word said, every scream uttered. She never had sweet dreams, happy dreams – they were always the same, horrifying dream.
After the third notebook, she decided to see a psychiatrist. She hoped he would help distance herself from her past.


Transcription of interview between myself, Dr. Eugene Banks, and new patient, K.

December 2, 2009

Dr: Good morning, K. How did you sleep last night? Did those tablets help at all?

K: No, Doc, they didn’t help one little bit. In fact, I think it was worse last night than ever before.

Dr: Tell me what happened.

(K. remains silent for a few moments; her face twists in torment – I think she is trying to decide how much to tell me.)

K: It was the same as every other night, except for one small detail – I saw his face...

(K. nervously glances from side to side, as if in search of the cause of her nightmares.)

Dr: From the beginning, K. I need to know everything – if I am to help you.

K: The dream started the same way as always; in a darkened room, but a sense of someone standing over me. I couldn’t see – it was very, very dark, like I was blindfolded – but I knew someone was there. I couldn’t speak; I tried to yell but nothing came out. I tried to move but it was as if I was tied to my bed – but it wasn’t really my bed, you know? It was like a conglomeration of all the beds I had slept in, in all the houses I had lived in. (K. stops here for a few minutes – a steady stream of tears have forced her to pause and regain her composure. She apologises, and eventually continues.) I felt a hand touch me – just one at first. I couldn’t pull away from it, I couldn’t...I just couldn’t... (K. pauses again, but only briefly.) Then I felt lots of hands; touching, caressing, and then pushing and pulling. It hurt and there was nothing I could do about it.

Dr: Do you want to take a break? Get some fresh air?

K: No, thank you. (K. wipes her eyes, still crying silent tears.) After the touching for I don’t know how long, I was suddenly free. I was able to move my arms and legs and the first thing I did was flail my arms, trying to beat away whoever it was torturing me. I came in contact with nothing but thin air. I got up from the bed and bolted to where I thought the door was. It took me a few minutes – it felt like hours (you know how dreams can be?) – everything seemed somehow distorted, warped.

Dr: What happened next?

K: I made it out the door and ran down unfamiliar hallways, searching for an exit. The carpeted halls seemed to go on forever, never leading anywhere. I eventually discovered a doorway that led outside but as soon as I put my hand on the knob, a familiar voice crashed into my ears.

Dr: Who was it? Did you recognise the voice immediately?

K: Not straight away.

Dr: What did the voice say? I take it that it was a male voice?

K: Yes, it was a man and he said that I would never be free, that it was entirely my fault and the guilt would drive me to the same end as my mother. He kept on blaming me; calling me dirty – a slut, a cheap little slut. And that I was going to get what I deserved – just like mother.

Dr: Did you recall during these dreams what the man was talking about? Or have you discovered the meanings of these words since?

K: Oh yes, I know exactly what he was referring to. It took me a while to remember why it was that I was sent off to foster homes; my mother had passed away and my father told the authorities that he didn’t have the means to support me on his own. My father would arrange for people to care for me; it was like he was a pimp – I realise that now. He would send me to people who liked to take advantage of young, innocent girls. And that is exactly what happened – every foster home I was delivered to, every family I lived with – I was sexually abused by either the father, or both he and any boys that lived there. I hated myself more than I hated them, but more than anything I hated my father. He caused this...this nightmare life for me. And I want to see him dead.

Dr: You mean your father wants to see you again because he wants to – what? Abuse you some more? Torment you? Kill you? Shut you up for good?

K: Make no mistake, Doctor. He wants all of that – and more.

(I am not entirely sure what I make of this: it felt good to start but on reflection, it doesn't really go anywhere...and it was too late to start again. If you have any suggestions on ways of making this better, please, shoot em at me!!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Woman Scorned - FFF #35

After a protracted absence, Cormac Brown has been kind enough to allow me to return to Friday Flash Fiction...and what a great starter sentence we have this week, supplied by Flannery. So, without anymore rambling, here is my piece for this week:

A Woman Scorned

"I don't disagree with you, but you have to admit, this puts me in a delicate position." Charlene Faulkner didn’t like where this conversation was headed. She had faced up to the fact, long ago, that if her husband found out about her five-year-long affair, that he would walk out on her and take her kids – her kids, damn it – and leave her with nothing. She was used to having everything (two of everything if you included the open tab she had on her lover’s credit card) and to lose it all would be devastating – not so much the loss of her family; she was young, she could always start again – but the loss of privilege and standing she had in her small community of friends and associates.

“You see, I have always been the ‘go to’ girl; having trouble with your husband...go and see Charlie. A bit short of funds this month...Charlie will help you out. I like that and I will miss it if this comes out. I agree that we can’t continue to sneak around; meeting discreetly in motel rooms and deserted park benches. I know I need to leave my husband, but it is something I am just not ready to do. Surely, you can understand that?”
Charlie looked into the eyes of the man who had held her last night, and the previous five nights. As far as her husband was aware, she was in Adelaide for a business trip, when in actual fact, she and Brady (what a sexy name, just like the main characters in those awful books her sister loved to read) were in a motel in downtown Sydney, just a few kilometres from her husband and home.

“I understand, Char, but something has to give. I have lived up to my end of the deal – the divorce paperwork is going through now. Not that Belinda really cares. She hated the long hours and the not knowing where I was – or with whom.” He kissed her softly on the forehead and gently slid a stray hair out of her eyes. “I want us to be together, and I want it soon. Do you understand?”

Charlie nodded once and started weeping as she watched Brady walk out the front door.


Charlie hurled the telephone against the wall. “Bastard,” she screamed at the top of her lungs. “Just wait ‘til I see you again, Mr. I-Want-Us-To-Be-Together.” A deep breath. “Bastard.”

She had received a phone call from her friend – a desk jockey down at the local police headquarters – informing her that the man she was seeing, the man of her dreams, was actually a private detective, hired by her husband to keep an eye on her, especially on her extended ‘work trips’. Her friend had told her that she had been tipped off by one of the other rich socialites who had discovered that her husband had done the same. Charlie’s friend put two and two together and knew she had to ring Charlie – as much as she knew it was going to hurt her.

“You bastard...I will teach you to try and have your cake and eat it, too.” Charlie picked up the telephone – the parts of it that were still attached to the cord – and threw it back down onto the floor in disgust. Cheap Japanese crap, she thought to herself as she fished her mobile phone out of the pocket of her Hermes handbag. She studied the phone for a moment, trying to remember his number. She wasn’t even completely sure she had it. The more she thought about it, the more she realised that he had always been the one to contact her, he was always the one that made the dates and times, that she was just a passenger on his train of deception.



Damien Faulkner was ecstatic. His wife, Charlie, had rung him and told him she had to stay away for another three nights – the convention was going longer than she had previously thought – and that she would be home on Sunday. Did he mind? Hell, he didn’t mind at all. Two phone calls later – one to the private eye he had following his wife, and the other to the sexy, if not slightly docile, secretary from the office he had been seeing for months – and he jumped in the car for a quick drive down to the local cellars. Kelly (or was it Kerry?) was always willing to ‘put out’ over a bottle of Dom. Long Live the Dom.


Brady sat alone in the near-empty restaurant awaiting the arrival of Charlie. She had sounded needy – desperate to see him. He knew in advance that she was going to call – Damien had told him about the conversation with Charlie – and he was excited to see her again. He knew that playing both sides was tricky – dangerous even – but she was such a good sort, he just couldn’t resist.

He saw her enter the foyer, dismissed the maitre’d with an annoyed flick of her delicate wrist (she was lucky she wasn’t really angry – the wrist would have snapped right off) and searched him out across the room. Their eyes met and Brady could sense something different about her; her hair was not perfect, she had left off the make-up and she was dressed like she had just come from the gym.

Brady watched her approach with growing apprehension; she looked mighty pissed off about something and he had already made the assumption that he was going to be the target of her fury.

“Bastard,” she screamed at him, “you complete and utter bastard.”

Brady knew – just knew – that this was not going to end well. He was even more sure when he saw he remove the snub-nosed pistol from her coat pocket (both coat and pistol he had paid for – bitch was going to shoot him with his own money) and point it in his direction.

“You picked the wrong field to play in, mister,” Charlie screamed as she fired twice, taking most of Brady’s head off in the process.

“Game over.”

Friday, July 9, 2010

Coated in History - I Dare You Challenge

Another week and another I Dare You from Jo Prescott at her wonderful site JM Prescott - A Reader's World. This week, the challenge came in the form of clothing..."Clothing can set the scene as certainly as a wedding dress, predict plot like a ski mask and laytex gloves, or reveal character like chaps and spurs."

So, here is my piece for this week's challenge, entitled Coated In History. I hope you enjoy it.

Coated In History

I sit alone at the end of the bar, looking every bit like the sad, pathetic loser that I feel. Everywhere I look there are groups of people gathered together, enjoying each other’s company; several men, dressed in coal-covered overalls are gathered together near the open fireplace that is blazing in the far corner of the room, laughing loudly and slapping each other on the back as good friends are comfortable doing; half a dozen attractive younger women are seated in the middle of the floor area, simultaneously preening themselves in the long mirror behind the bar and whispering to each other and breaking out in huge fits of giggles, occasionally glancing over at the miners to see if they are paying them any attention.

My night hadn’t started out this way. I had come here with Jo, my friend from the office where we worked ten hour days, slaving over endless reams of tax forms and, this being Friday, decided to drop by the local for a few cold ones before heading home to our respective empty homes. Halfway through our second beer, Jo’s phone rings and, after a few seconds, puts the phone back in his pocket, apologises to me (my brother has just been in a car accident – I gotta run), and he leaves me, sitting there alone at the end of the bar.

I finish off the beer that I ordered half an hour ago – it has gone warm and I contemplate getting another but decide against it. As I gather my things together, I notice Jo has left his coat – that damn ugly coat he so loves to wear – hanging off the back of his stool. I don’t want to ring and bother him so I figure I will take it home with me and will return it to him on Monday, maybe even drive by his house over the weekend and drop it off for him.

I step out into the night and find it has become quite cold; thick, heavy clouds have rolled in – they look like snow clouds – and I do the only thing I can think of – put Jo’s jacket on. It is woollen inside and extremely warm. I snuggle my body inside it and head out into the darkness.
My trudging footsteps are halted by a sudden, blinding headache. I hear myself moan from the pain and I feel a mixture of beer, bourbon and bile rise in my throat. I crouch down, limiting the chances of falling and injuring myself.

A rush of images assaults my mind; flashes of Egyptian pyramids, sand storms, and wall after wall of hieroglyphics. I cannot fathom what is happening. In a panic, I try to throw the coat off, but only succeed in tangling myself inside it. As I struggle with it, a final, terrifying image of a man who could only be a Pharaoh, speaks inside my head.

“Imposter, who are you to wear the Soul of the Pharaoh? Be gone and suffer a slow and terrible death.”

A fresh burst of pain shook me and I fell the rest of the way to the ground, finally able to pull free of the coat. I threw it across the gravel parking area and lay, trembling on the stony ground.

The trembling, however, has nothing to do with the cold.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

'Flagging Popularity' up at JM Prescott's A Reader's World

I must admit, I have never really been a fan of FanFic. It feels a bit strange borrowing so blatantly from others (although we borrow all the time from our favourite writers...if only in a subconscious way.) So, when the challenge came from Jo Prescott at her blog A Reader's World to write a piece of FanFic, I wasn't sure what to write. What resulted was something I am kinda proud of. My piece, entitled Flagging Popularity, can be found by clicking HERE.

A big thanks to Jo Prescott for the dare.

A massive thanks to Uncle Stephen for the inspiration.

As a side note, I just wanted to mention that Jo is also co-editor of a great e-zine called The Glass Coin. They are always open for submissions. Why not go and have a look-see? What can it hurt?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Justice Is Served, Sir up at 50 To 1

My piece "Justice Is Served, Sir" is now up at the cool microflash site, 50 to 1. If you haven't seen it, be sure to get over and have a look.

My thanks to Glen and Sam for accepting my story.