I Simply Walked.

So, I’ve done another piece for Chuck Wendig’s weekly Flash Fiction Challenge. This week, the challenge was to come up with a story that’s only 100 words long. Here’s my effort. Hope you like it!

“How did you get here?” The Old King asked, confusion in his voice.
“I simply walked” The kneeling stranger replied, reverence in his eyes.
“None have crossed the Dead Plains in a thousand years. I ask again, how did you get here?” The Old King asked, voice rising to anger.
“I simply walked.” Repeated the stranger, eyes full of mischief.
“For a century, I have sat in this throne, alone. Now tell me, how did you get here?” The Old King asked, voice now thunder and fury.                                                                                                                                             The stranger stands, blade in hand, glint in his eye. “I simply walked.”

Thanks for reading.

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The Shooter Says Goodbye To His Love.

This is my entry to Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction, Short Story Challenge. Details of which you can find here

The challenge was to come up with a 1000 word story based on a choice from a selection of sentences he posted on his blog. The sentence I chose is the one I have used for the title of this story. Enjoy!

The Shooter Says Goodbye To His Love.

Smoke, perfume, sweat, the faint burning that comes with laser fire. These scents, toxic in my nose, mixed with what my other senses were trying to take in; flashes of green and red laser fire preventing my eyes from adjusting to the dark, the metallic taste on the tip of my tongue as I breathed in smoke tightened my chest, a sensory assault that made my head swim.

I shook my head and squinted down the barrel of the gun, down at her as she sat, back against the wall in the dark corner she thought would make for better cover than it had. She was shaking and breathing heavily. I couldn’t tell if it was from the exertion of battle or just from good, old-fashioned fear.

“I warned you,” I sneered at her “I told you not to go up against me, that I couldn’t be beaten. But you had to try didn’t you? You had to be cocky about it, didn’t you?”

She looked up at me through the damp hair, plastered to her forehead and laughed.

“I’m cocky you say? Really? You’re the one stood over me gloating when you should just be taking the kill shot? I don’t think you appreciate your own arrogance.”

She was still laughing as she replied. I felt anger boiling up from somewhere deep inside of me as she did. I hate being laughed at and she knew it. I also knew that I should just take the bloody shot and get this over with. I had her cornered; it would be an easy win.

But she was right. I was too damn arrogant for my own good. Hell, I was stood there, pointing the gun right in her face, in a prime position to finish this whole thing. Instead, I was trying to think of something witty and clever to say. I wanted to leave her with something memorable as I took her out. I wanted to draw this out, savour the moment, make this victory last. Maybe then it wouldn’t be such a shallow one.

It hit me all of a sudden, the perfect thing to say. But before I could make a sound there was a racket behind me, a door burst open and there was one of her squad. He stood there for a moment, looking as surprised as we were, caught in our little stand-off he had just stumbled in on. Then his face changed as the penny dropped. I knew what was about to happen and before he could level his weapon, I spun on my heel, dropping to one knee and firing rapidly. All my shots hit him in the chest and he fell back through the door in a blaze of laser fire.

I stayed in that position for a few moments, as if I thought that he was going to come back. My breathing was shallow and quick. I stayed that way for a moment longer, waiting for the adrenalin to stop pumping. Once I had composed myself, I turned my attention back to her.

She was still laughing. Either that or she had started laughing again.

“What are you laughing at now?” I snapped at her. She couldn’t answer me as she was now laughing so hard she couldn’t even look at me.

Damn, she’s pretty when she laughs, I thought. God knows where that thought came from. This was neither the time nor the place, also, right now, she was the enemy. But it was true. She is pretty when she laughs and I loved her, STILL love her, actually. She also had a way of getting right under my skin.

“Alright, enough of this bullshit,” I declared, hoping that I sounded tough, in command. I didn’t. I sounded weak and pathetic. Maybe it was down to exhaustion from the battle. Maybe it was because of her. “This ends now. You’re right, I am arrogant but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re stuck in that corner, with one shot left and I’m stood here with this gun pointed right at your head. This ends now. There’s no way you can win. Goodbye, my love” And with that I placed my finger on the trigger.

This just made her laugh even harder. So hard that she dropped her own gun and put her head in her hands, her whole body shaking with the convulsions of laughter. The sound rang off the walls. Then I heard her say something through the giggles and guffaws. She repeated it a couple of times. I knelt towards her to try and make out what she was saying. Then I heard it. “Check your ammo.”

“What?” I asked, making sure I had heard her properly.

Suddenly she stopped laughing and looked up at me with dark, sharp eyes that were deadly serious.

“I said ‘check your ammo’, dumbass.”

I looked down to my gun. The ammunition meter was flashing a red light at me. I felt my stomach turn. Zero, it said, charge weapon.

I looked back at her, my stomach doing yet another flip. How could I have been so stupid? I had been so intent on making a point with that idiot who burst in on us that I had gone and used up all my remaining shots.

She now had her gun pointed at me. “So, Mr ‘You Can’t Beat Me’ it would seem that I have one shot left but you have none. Oh well.”

It was her turn to sneer, and sneer she did. She dropped her gun an inch and pulled the trigger. The laser bolt hit me. I fell back, too shocked to do anything else.

“H-how could you?” I stuttered as she stood over me, sneer turning to a wide grin. “I-I’d won that’s not fair.”

“Oh, Sweetie,” she replied. “Life’s not fair, and neither is Laser Tag.”

She held out a hand to me and grinned. “Now, let’s go home. It’s your turn to make dinner.”

The Morningstar Plays The Devastation Suite in D Minor.

As I may have mentioned already, I’ve been sorting through some old files and have dug out some of my old short stories. This is another of those stories, one of my earliest. Looking back, it’s a bit on the pretentious side but overall I’m pretty happy with it. If nothing else, it is a bit of a curio, good for seeing how much my writing has changed. It also has a slightly biblical theme but I think that was to do with the theme of the competition it was entered into (I think it may have won but can’t be sure as it was a very long time ago). Anyway, take a look, enjoy and let me know what you think of it.

From the highest window of the highest tower, he looked down on his kingdom. He truly was the master of all he surveyed, and he hated it.
He hated all of those who roamed its streets, the lost souls, and the damned. All of them seeking redemption and finding only punishment torture and eternal agony, an agony that came from his hand, and he hated it.
How had it come to this? How had he, who had sat for so long at the feet of the one, come to this? He knew the answer, he knew who to blame and he hated himself for it. Before the fall, he had been in a position of exultation, a guiding light for those who lost their way, the voice of the one that had sang higher than all others.
Now what was he? He also knew the answer to this. He was now filth, filth to lead the filth. The one to whom all those without hope turned. When their last chance was up, he was who they came to, crying out for forgiveness and absolution and all he could give them was the cruellest of fates, he gave them more pain than they had ever experienced. When they had finished with their pitiful lives and they hoped that they would find peace in the next life, all they found was him, waiting, looking down on them from the highest window of the highest tower. His shallow stare from empty eyes, setting fire to their very souls, and he hated them for it.
Now, though, it would all be different. Now they would truly know the true meaning of the end, now they would learn the true meaning of his name and everything he wanted from before the fall would be his, the power, the glory: everything.
He picked up the plain, ivory, violin and stepped through his window and out onto the balcony. Almost immediately they all looked up to him, their silent mouths making shapes of pleading in vain. He closed his eyes and slowly pulled the bow across the strings. They made a very low mournful sound. In the streets below they still looked up but now they wept, some tears of joy and some tears of despair. He started playing faster, the pitch becoming higher; an urgent, panicked tune flowed out from the balcony.

Below, they clapped their hands to their ears; the once silent mouths now screaming out a million decibels of fear. Their cries started shaking the ground beneath their feet. As they fell to their knees, dying a second death, the buildings fell around them until only the highest tower remained, yet he did not stop playing.
In the world above, people stopped in their tracks listening to the terrible yet beautiful sound that emitted from beneath their feet. Soon they too were screaming, soon they clapped their hands to their ears, only when they fell to their knees they would only die a single death, and when their buildings fell around them he still did not stop playing. Not until he heard the voice.
He had not heard the voice in so very long. He had forgotten how majestic, how kind, how commanding, how cruel it was.
“Stop please stop” The voice said gently yet in a thunderous tone “You must, this time we will all fall. YOU MUST STOP!”
He did not stop, he merely opened his eyes and saw darkness and heard silence, and that is all there ever was.

So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed it. Most likely not the best thing ever written but hopefully not the worst either. Like I said above, let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading

The Write Side of Life: Reader Questionaire

I saw this on a rather wonderful blog I found today called The Bookie Monster, which you can find here. It looked like a fun little exercise and I thought it might give you the chance to learn a little more about me. So here goes:

1. What is your favourite book?

This is a question I’ve been asked a lot over the years. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and came up with two. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Shining by Stephen King. The reasons being are that these are the two books that sparked my love affair with books and also the reason that I wanted to become a writer myself. Maybe one day I’ll get to tell such imaginative and well loved stories.

2. What are your goals? For the year? For your life?

For the year, I want to get my blasted manuscript finished and ready to start submitting to agents. I hope that by 2016, I’ll have a big pile of rejection. For life? Well, doing this writing lark for a full-time career would be nice but that’s just a pipe dream.

3. Are you a writer? If so, tell me about your work.

Yes and, erm read this blog?

4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Somewhere hot and sunny with a beach and with free-flowing whiskey.

5. What was the last movie you saw in the theatre and was it worthwhile?

Big Hero 6 and yes it was. One of the best animated movies I’ve seen.

6. I’m curious, are there any books that you’ve tried to read and simply couldn’t finish? This is a no judgement zone. 

There are but I’m not going to name them. I don’t feel that would be fair to the authors, editors or publishers that created them. They work extremely hard to get those books out there and into the hands of readers.

7. Are you currently working on a new book/project right now? If it’s secret, you don’t have to tell me about it. If so, however, I hope it’s going well.

I am. It isn’t secret but as I’m still working  a lot of it out, I don’t want to go into too much detail and commit myself to things within that project that might change. Suffice to say, I’m working on a book, a couple of competition entries and also making this blog something successful and worthwhile.

8. If you could live in any of your favourite books, which one would you choose?

That’s a tough one as many of my favourite books have aspects that would be amazing to experience and others that would be downright terrible and horrifying. I guess as long as I didn’t have to go to anywhere like Mordor or the Lonely Mountains, Middle-Earth would be fun.

9. Are there any book-to-movie adaptations that you think are just incredible? That you absolutely hated?

Obviously, The Lord of the Rings absolutely nailed how you adapt a book as did the film version of To Kill A Mockingbird. Ones I hated, well the film of The Road was a major disappointment for me. It was like they kicked out the main themes of the book to include more bloody violence which was only really hinted at in the book.

10. What do you look for in a book that you want to read?  What’s the first thing to capture your attention?

Even though you’re never meant to, I do judge books by their cover. If it’s got a snazzy illustration or a dragon, it will get my interest. I then tend to scan the first couple of pages and see if I get hooked.

11. If you’re an author, what do you do when you first get an idea for a book?

Scribble it down, and then lose the bit of paper I scribbled on. Or failing that, jot in a notebook or on my phone.

12. How do you feel about different genres? Romance? YA? Sci-Fi? Poetry? Do you have any favorites? Any least-favourites?

My favourites are SCI-FI and Fantasy but I will give anything a go. Hell I’ll read the back of a cereal packet if that’s all that’s at hand.

13. If you could meet any writer in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

Stephen King so I could steal his mojo and become an amazing author.

14. Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Both. Depends on the subject matter.

15. Are there any characters that everyone loves that you can’t stand? Or vice versa?

Not that I can think of. Those Night Garden things bug the crap out of me.

16. What do you like to do besides reading/writing?

Watching movies, TV and Football. Also some outdoors stuff such as rock climbing and hiking. I also have a fondness for classic cars, not that I can afford one.

17. If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?

Being an all round good guy would be nice.

18. What is your favourite guilty pleasure book?

I don’t have one as I’m not ashamed of any of the books that I like.

19. Do you have a reading goal set for this year? 

Currently just to keep recording them here and read lots more than last year.

20. Tell me anything about yourself that I haven’t asked. Random fact. Weird human trick. Whatever.

My favourite food is sausages.

There you have it. If you like what you’ve read, have a go yourself and either answer the questions in the comments or link to your own blog in the comments. I’d love to see how your answers differ.

Thanks for reading.