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Monthly Archives: May 2014

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He drags the damp stick back and forth. So caught up in his task he barely hears the cry of gulls, hawking screeches that split the serenity of waves rumbling in repetitive frustration.

He works tirelessly, scarring the wet sand beneath his feet. Forging the lines and slashes that once were unfamiliar but now mean everything. Carving, till his fingers are raw and grains of fine sand coat his skin.

He stands back, his skin smelling of the ocean, admiring his labour lying there before him:

HARRISON 6.

Then the sea surges forward, hungrily obliterating everything.

Smiling, he begins anew.

Another Friday passed, another flash fiction entered into the ever expanding community that is Flash! Friday. Sadly no podium place for my entry, though two honorable mentions are greatly appreciated.

Berlin, Rückkehr Emil Jannings aus Amerika

Emil Jannings in Berlin. Creative Commons photo Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-07770.

 

The prompt was the above photograph along with a need to incorporate the theme of ‘comeuppance’. For a while I dallied with notions of poisoned bouquets, incensed actors and irritated canines.

Then finally the man behind the lens told me about his tale.

Hope you enjoy.

 

Metteur En Scene

The camera obscures my face from hers thankfully. The last time I saw those curves was when they walked out of our fleapit apartment on 25th and Main. Bringing the curtain down on a romance forged by a casting director and his notion of “chemistry”.

Chemistry that inevitably became biology. Each night in bed we mirrored the lovers we played on stage.

Romeo and Juliet.

Till her finest performance, the “its not you its me” eulogy. Fluttering eyelashes, damp eyes, masking the truth that her ambition to be a star had outgrown us.

Bags packed she moved on, seeking that lucky break. Never getting it in a city stacked with sirens.

Still you got to admire her. Muscling to the front, hugging the guy in the uniform. Working the lens with a face no picture editor could resist.

My Juliet, rolling the dice on finding fame.

I gently pan the camera ten degrees to the left.

 

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Deadline: August 1st 2014

Payment: $25

Link: embypress.com/book/occulte-detective-monster-hunter-a-grimoire-of-eldritch-inquests

A murder has been committed and another about to be. A fortune has gone missing, a letter and map have mysteriously appeared and something is frightening the children at night. Nothing is quite clear and the only thing for certain is that a detective is needed. But the first detective got a glimpse of what the children are afraid of and left without so much as a word…

And so a different kind of detective is needed—one who understands or at least accepts that not all answers or threats will be human or even physical. What this situation calls for is the Occult Detective. Van Helsing, Carnacki and Thunstone are classic examples. Harry Dresden and Anita Blake are popular contemporary versions. And now we want to read about yours.

Give us your best, most fascinating and eccentric characters, or continue the adventures of a character in the public domain. It’s up to you.

Just make certain that they are investigating something, be it murder by monster, death by curse, blackmail, fraud, theft, extortion, kidnapping, child endangerment, alimony payments, or anything that makes up a compelling mystery… And make certain that the mystery is supernatural in nature, or at the very least appears to point in an otherworldly direction, even if it ends with a gang of thieves using hallucinogens, a mastiff covered in phosphorescent paint, or even teenagers pulling off a villain’s mask.

Occult Detective fiction reaches back to at least 1855, and now we want to continue the tradition in grand fashion with A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests!

  • Edited by: Josh Reynolds and Miles Boothe
  • Submission Period: 2/1/14 through 8/1/14
  • Reading Period: 8/2/14 through 9/7/14
  • Acceptances will be announced 9/7/14
  • Tentative Publication Date: December 2014
  • Payment: $25.00 and 1 trade paperback and electronic copy of the book upon publication.
  • Word Limits: 2000 to 8000 words. Please query if longer.
  • Format: Submissions should be .doc (.docx is fine) or .rtf formats. The entire text will be reformatted, so no need to worry about margins, spacing, etc. Please use a standard font.
  • Genres Accepted: Dark Fiction, Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy. No poetry accepted for this volume.
  • Reprints Accepted: Yes. Please include a history of publication with your submission.
  • Simultaneous Subs: (submitting to Emby and another press at the same time) can be avoided by requesting an early response.
  • Multiple Subs: Each author may submit up to 2 stories. Only one story per author will be accepted.
  • Exclusive Rights: The contract will stipulate 1 year exclusive worldwide print and electronic rights. However, the contract does also state that under certain circumstances, Emby Press will consider granting permission to the author to place the story with additional publications.

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This is all you have to do.

Sit down once a day to the novel and start working without internal criticism, without debilitating expectations, without the need to look at your words as if they were already printed and bound.

The beginning is only a draft. Drafts are imperfect by definition.

Walter Mosley

Flash! Friday’s prompt was one of those that stirred the writer within me. The image was startling, a photograph of an installation by Jeff Uitto entitled The Sea Horse:

 

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Sadly the writer in my went for a cliched fantasy piece, partly due to the keyword this week being ‘knighthood’. Yet the world that unfolded before me was one I’m tempted to explore further in the future.

Anyway hope you enjoy.

The Joust

Sand shifted under Willow’s hooves causing Astrid to pat her anxious mount. Suddenly the Festival of Equus erupted into life, cheering spectators, trumpeting horns, fluttering flags. Caused by the morning sunlight glinting off of the burnished steed of House Alloy, her bronzed rider bearing his lance aloft.

Bronze.

Soft metal.

Treacherous metal.

Silence fell. The crowd watching the grizzled Seer whose gnarled hand held clutched aloft a red pennant, fluttering in the breeze.

Astrid summoned her concentration, demanding the wooden form beneath her acquiesce. Slowly bark and root flowed over her, fashioning a centaur out of this knight of House Forest and her steed. Extending out her right hand, Astrid watched a branch forge outwards, transforming her arm into a lance.

Jeers from some Alloy supporters, mocking the impudent child with the temerity to call herself a champion.

A moment.

Then scarlet fell.

The world around Astrid disappeared, consumed by the rhythm of hooves and the beating of her heart.

Spooky Clown Portrait on Black Background

Image courtesy of © Katrina Brown – Fotolia.com

Currently featuring within the speculative fiction realms of The Were Traveller is a flash fiction of mine entitled Clownish Delights. A slight deviation of both form and genre for my writing but delighted to find my work residing amongst some other fine fiction inspired by the theme of Southern Fried Freak Show.

If you like engaging with characters stuck on the darker edges of society then you will discover some freakish delights awaiting you.

Hope you enjoy.

IR

 

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The photo above was a recent prompt offering from the Angry Hourglass which inspired the flash fiction below:

The Offering

‘You reap what you sow.’

‘Sorry?’

‘Nothing.’

Archie looked out beyond the wire fence of the viewing platform to the dead city that surrounded them. The icy chill of the polar vortex, that had once been dismissed as an anomaly but now was ever-present, made being outside almost unbearable. The icy wind biting deep through the blankets they had wrapped around themselves. Dawn was rising, cloaking the icy cityscape in an illusion of warmth.

As if birds disturbed from their roosting by daybreak, the song of the choir filled the world. It wouldn’t be long now. Archie leaned over, looking down at the two steel crosses set into the centre of Wall Street far below. Someone was moving to and fro, adding more wood to the pyre.

‘You hear them?’ Annabel said.

Archie nodded, taking her hand in his. His finger tracing the red dollar tattooed on her cheek, matching the one etched onto his. The Mark of Judas the Preacher had told them, as resolute hands held them down, allowing the tattooist’s needle to sear judgment into their flesh.

They were meant to have been safe in the zone. Secure behind soldiers and walls. Yet the power failed, money became worthless, their guardians deserted. The promise of a safe haven proving as false as the capitalist dream he had once sold too gullible fools.

The Preacher, a man of brimstone and Old Testament beliefs had recognised what Archie once was. As his gang returned Archie and his peers back to Manhattan the Preacher scolded them for their wickedness. Telling them that Yahweh demanded restitution, that only then would the coldness pass.

The door shook, the metal strut he had scavenged from the penthouse suites holding firm. Angry voices cursing.

Annabel let go of his hand, scaling the wire fence that surrounded the viewing platform. Archie knew that he should follow, that the choice was the flip of a coin with two heads. Yet his feet refused to move. He slumped down, Annabel pleading.

Finally she blew him a kiss, then leapt out into the silence.

He closed his eyes, muttering a prayer as the door finally gave way.