Thursday, 31 December 2015

Backwards and Forwards (With Links!)

It struck me recently that, things having become busy towards the back end of the year, I haven't mentioned a couple of recent publications here to date.

First off, I was extremely pleased to have a couple of short poems published as a result of my participation in Three Line Thursday this year- first off, twice over in Light Lines, an anthology full of superb, compact three line poems stemming from photo prompts posted throughout the year due to an unexpected win at the competition website one week and, secondly, in Flash Fiction Magazine due to a "Special Challenge" win for the week.

I was also lucky enough to secure a second win over at Angry Hourglass for the year, which I hadn't
really expected.

Even more surprisingly, I managed to secure a win over at Flash! Friday during the final week's contest - a competition I had always genuinely thought placing for would prove a feat impossible, having seen the superb standard of entries for week after week.

It was also lovely to be blind placed as winner by Dragon Team 8, with one half of the judging team (unknowing prior to having e-mailed the results in) being a fellow Poised Pen member !

Given my win was the last for the competition prior to Flashversary and, sadly, the competition's closure, Rebekah was kind enough to waive the word restriction for first time winners and allow me to expand on the interview questions posed.  If you so wish, you can read the final interview here .

I'm really proud to have my Winner's Page on the website alongside such talented writers!

Finally, I have also been working on three flash fiction stories which will be published as part of the Flashdogs ' third anthology (Volume Three), in due course.

(Image Credit goes to the very talented Tam Rogers ).

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Possibilities Multiply (3LineThursday)

Possibilities multiply; chaotic refractions of infinite volume;

A bubble universe - distinct - beyond life’s experience.

Myriad reflections of what might be, glimpsed, before evaporating.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Raven Girl (Luminous Creatures Summer of Super Short Stories)

Image Credit: Nereid by Claire Elizabeth Flickr CC 2.0 (via Luminous Creatures)

Raven Girl

Death comes to everything, eventually. The whispers tickle Branwen’s ears, burgeoning within; butterfly bodies beating within her stomach, as they tell her so. “Shut up,” she says. “Give over now.” The teenager clasps a hand to her stomach, rubbing it, over and over. “Not yet,” she says. “Not now.”

The raven haired girl scans the sky for a small silhouette as the light fades. “Come, Corvie,” Bran bids, swallowing saliva. Her eyes dart upwards, shifting, here and there. “Quickly,” she adds, word clipped.

A dot on the horizon plummets towards the slim figure, who stretches out a hand. “Four score, seven times seven,” Bran whispers, voice trembling. A tear forms at the corner of her eye. Her fingers curl into a trembling fist, knuckles whitening. The girl’s brow is sweaty as the black bird descends. She watches it; avid.

Moments later, Branwen opens her lips wide – hasty – all pink tongue and black backed throat; the image of the parted beak from which an indistinct grey blur drops from above. Within moments the girl has swallowed it whole, throat working quickly to pass it through her oesophagus and onwards into her system.

“Hallie,” Bran says. “Hello and welcome.” She sighs once, eyes closing, fingers caressing a slightly distended abdomen. “We travel a little together – until you disembark.”

“I’ll take another, tonight,” Bran commands quickly, addressing her jet winged companion, whose feet grasp her right shoulder. Beady eyes shine before feathers fly skywards, up and away.
“Perhaps still another,” the girl murmurs, frowning. “I hunger – today.” She clears her throat; guttural. “So it begins, in the end.” The girl nods, eyes clouded; unfocused. “I will take you – all – when I go. We are one with another.” Silence surrounds her as her chin levels.

“Though you must direct me,” the girl says, voice lifting as she finishes speaking. “What is, is unavoidable. We are what we must be, in the end,” she adds hastily.

Time lengthens. “Come, Corvie. Quick,” Bran says, voice thin.

Death comes to everything, eventually – but Bran must fill herself from them before she numbers amongst them.


The phrase to include this week was "Death comes to everything".

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Sins of the Flesh (Flash! Friday)

Joan Crawford & John Gilbert: publicity photo for the film "Four Walls", 1928 Public Domain Image in the US

Sins of the Flesh

The coffin lies length-wise along the mahogany table, glass to one side, bowl the other, lights dimmed.

“Take your leave,” I say.  “Close your ears.”

The dark haired man leaves quickly, avoiding my eyes – fumbling the mental into my hand.

I drain the vessel in one draught, placing the grubby coin in my pocket; tribute paid to the old ways.

"Free yourself," I say.  "Rest easy."  He won't hear.  The hunger rises through my gut, riding me roughshod.  "Damn."  My mouth descends; ravenous.

I gag - stale ash and sweat on my tongue - swallowing to keep it down, afterwards, before opening the door.  

"It's done," I say to the client, brow creased.  "He'll pass now."  The man nods, without asking.  They never do, after dinner.

The cough threatens premature regurgitation at the entance.  I'll reunite it with its owner later.  Money is an unfaithful mistress.  Some sins have an altogether price.

Ed to Add:-  This one received an Honourable Mention this week.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Lord and His Lady (Flash! Friday)

Lyme Part House & Estate CC2.0 photo by Purpura Mare Asinus

Lord and His Lady

Lord lives – seventh of seven times seven before him half-hearted.  His Lady took his thumping whole, instantaneous, while he held still willing.  Now, the Eve the Year Dies is upon him, a multitude of little deaths gone before; blood sucked from its protective layers around his bones by his lady’s lips.  He holds no regret.  The hollow it should reside in has no beating inhabitant.  
Lady was hearty, laughing whilst life sustained her, duly bound, its beating within her fist.  Lord is her promise to herself, self-gifted – though their contract was written between marrow margins long ago, had he but known it.  Some things are as she wills it.  She is tired now; tithe falling due.  All things must end.  Men though – mortal - live in the moment.  Licking her mouth, Lady summons her Lord to his final standing.

Lord’s skin was sold at birth, time ticking afterwards.  He answers at All Hallows, son for father, as did son from father before him.  Half a heart for a future functions well enough.  Thus, Earl, eloquent, escaped his lover’s arms without compunction, to answer to another’s call.  Time, irresistible, reaped its tithe on him.  Lord still lingers.

Lady savours sucking Lord’s soul from its moorings; his life having no need for it, once wholly consumed.  Lord ponders their partnership, deceased, eyes downcast.  Head raising, he turns away from her.  He gave love freely.  Bad bargaining cannot catch hold, where its central sacrifice is missing, though she has had his heart from him.  Time take him, too, instead.  All things must end.        


This week's book prompt was Sherlock Holmes "Hound of the Baskervilles".  I wrote about a lord under a family curse and themes of cunning/(lack of) guilt.  The story had to be between 240 and 260 words.

Ed to add: This one received a Special Mention for the week as "Master of Language" - and a comparison to "Beowulf", no less! Really pleased to receive such wonderful feedback - especially given there were so many fantastic stories this week too.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Barabashka (Flash! Friday)

Scene from "Anna Karenina" , 1914 Russian film by Vladimir Gardin (via Flash! Friday)


Barabashka is wailing, from below, though I broke bread and salt pieces last night after he pinched – sharp - to prompt them from me.   I hold blankets tight over my ears, to no avail.  His neglect grows louder, penetrating my covered hollow.  Bruises the length of my arms, throbbing, I creep through his domain; rules drawn dusky in reminder on the hearth.  We guarded one another once; before. 

I spy traces of his finger marks as gusts extinguish the candles, swift. The stove is unlit, tonight.   I shuffle, slowly; sound a guide as I shiver onward.  Pitch prevails as I grope into the unknown.  He has not abandoned post – this I know.  There is yet a way to tell what follows.  I feel for his form, as Mama told me – to feel his hand in mine.  Ice answers me, fur freezing.  Eyes watering, I hug myself hard; inevitable cold comfort.


The challenge this week - based, unsurprisingly, around "Anna Karenina" was to take two of the elements from the text and produce a piece of flash fiction.  I chose conflict and tradition.  The piece needed to be 100-150 words.

This received an Honourable Mention this week, which I was extremely pleased to find out!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Isle of Roots (Luminous Creatures Summer of Super Short Stories)

Image Credit: Anthropomorphic Roots by Mike DelGaudio Flickr CC 2.0 (via Luminous Creatures)

The Isle of Roots

Few walk the Isle of Roots; its twisted, misted shores.  Little lives amidst this creeping fear, the writhing souls wailing underfoot.  A calcified collection, preserved in partial dessication, of self-sought deaths from whom answers may be sought by those brave enough to ask - though they speak only when they choose, to guide the way.  Wandering spirits return seldom when they cross the island’s bounds.  Truth takes chances in the speaking.  It has ever been the case.

The tree itself lies amidst a heart of knotted roots for those who swim tear salt tides to it, casting themselves towards the child-like keening reaching from the boughs into the ocean.  Those who reach its sanctuary place their offering before it, adding to the pile heaped about the thick trunk.  There they wait, a body of bark surrounding them, bones beginning to dry, animation engineered by their questions.  They do not know and cannot guess which items warranted success.  They do not ask.  They will not waste their singular opportunity, should it be offered.  

Once whittled to a skeletal sylph, the ghost takes residence in the brittle embrace of the prone and prostrate, lying within reach of their goal.  Pilgrim, now, she is.  Poor, those dismissed as unworthy to proffer themselves properly.  Still, they hold her close in their clutches whilst they may; scant communion with opportunity.  They number many.  There are others to be added.

Time turns before the undulations begin underfoot and she stirs, stretching arms wide.  Such is the island’s speech.  Branches hold fast to her ankles and grip at her wrists as her fingers touch the ground, hesitant, to raise her from it.  Silent amidst the now still limbs, surrounded by the entombed, she nods; an affirmation.  The answers are many, though the question was but one.  She caresses the uneven surface, which releases its hold on her hands, freeing her feet to stand.

Within an indeterminate period, a once wandering spirit returns to the island’s bounds, laying herself in offering on its twisted, misted shores, bones breaking into bark with the touch of the tear salt tides.