Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 116

This week's picture prompt is concept art created by Gary Tonge for a psychological horror video game for CAPCOM. He has some incredible art - he also has a page over at Deviant Art which has some amazing images on it. 

There is definitely a spooky feel about this picture, and that is what I went with. I like how this one great. 

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.



The Forgotten

He stepped carefully across the hallway; he didn’t want to be heard. They wouldn’t be happy he was sneaking around downstairs, it wasn’t allowed after lights out.

He heard a creak from the upstairs landing, and froze. Would there be another? Was someone awake or was the house just settling for the night?

There was another. He rushed to the wall, hoping the shadows near the stairwell would shield him from view. He could hear his mother’s voice as she floated down the stairs in one of her fairytale evening gowns.

“We won’t be late this evening, I want to be back earlier. Teddy has his gala tomorrow night and I’ve still some prep to do.”

“Yes, dear.”

Teddy’s father trailed his mother in bowtie and tails – or his penguin suit as Teddy called it. They were going to the opening of the museum tonight. His father had grumbled about having to go but mother had insisted.

He watched them float out of the front door.

He missed them. His gala had been cancelled as had much of his life for several months after they had gone out that night. This was his only way of seeing them now.

He crept out of his hiding place and stood in the middle of the entrance hall, still staring at the front door. When he turned another figure was on the stairs, a young boy. He stifled a cry.

“Who are you?”

“I’m Oswald.”

“Oswald? You don’t live here!”

“Yes, I do, I’ve been here a while. I’ve been watching you.”

“Liar, I know everyone who lives here, all the new boys that are brought here and you’re not one of them.”

“Why don’t you ever speak to them?”

“Who?”

“Your parents. You watch them go almost every night, but you never call to them.”

“You can see them too?”

“Of course I can. I saw them my first night here. And I saw you, too, watching them. You’re Teddy Rosenblatt.”

“How do you know my name?”

“Everyone knows the name of the founder of Lost Boys Orphanage.”

“Orphanage? What are you talking about? This is a boarding school.”

“Yes, your uncle did turn it into a school after your parents died, that’s true, so he could keep on working and look after you at the same time. But then when you grew up and he died, you turned it into an orphanage, for other boys that had lost their parents.”

“Grew up? What are you talking about? I’m still a boy.”

“You are in your current form, yes. I think that’s because you lost your parents then, and your heart broke, something you never fully recovered from.”

“What do you mean, current form?”

“You don’t know, do you? You’re a ghost, Teddy, like your parents. You died. That’s why you should call out to them, you can join them now.”

Teddy looked down at his body and suddenly the memory of his life came to him; all the years that had gone by and how he had finally succumbed to a lung infection. He looked at Oswald.

“And you can see me?” 

“Of course I can. I’m a ghost too.”

“So you appear as a boy because you lost your parents as a child, too?”

“Oh no, I lost my parents when I was a baby. I died as a boy, here in this house when war came and it was bombed. The upstairs ceiling fell in.”

Teddy looked at the staircase. The luscious carpet, embossed satin wallpaper and oak banister rail melted away, revealing the bare bones of what was left of a derelict building. Panic rose in him.

“Am I too late? Will they be back tomorrow night?”

“They’ll keep coming back until you join them.”

“And what about you? When do you get to leave?”

“Oh I don’t. I’m one of the forgotten. No one knows I’m here.”



Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 115

This week's prompt is created by Kukubirdwei on Deviant ArtIt's a drawing of The Ifrit, a creature with origins in the Quran of Islamic religion, and Middle Eastern Mythology. It is said that they were among the races of Djinni created by Allah from smokeless fire. 

This one came ready formed in my head, making it an easy one to write. 

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.






Running

I couldn’t breathe; the smoke was thick and arid, the temperature had risen so high I was no longer sweating; the flames were licking all around me, any second I was sure I would combust. Then the flames parted and I saw movement, something coming towards me, something big, something aflame.

I sat up in bed clutching my chest, heaving great gulps of air. He was no longer coming. He was here. He’d found me.

I scrabbled out of bed, and grabbed what clothes I could, my mind racing. Could I outrun him? Where could I go and how much longer could I keep doing this? Everyone knew that sooner or later you had to face him; the Djinn was not to be trifled with, and I had trifled. I had been running for more than a century.

He tracked me by my fires. I had to reduce how often I was making them, but it was hard, they were my lifeblood. I hopped down the stairs of the apartment block, putting my shoes on as I went. Getting out of the city wouldn’t be enough I had to get out of the country.

I ran down the block, trying to flag a taxi. I had a holdall in a locker at the airport with everything in it. I had learnt to be prepared. Last time I wasn’t, and it had cost me my face. I got a taste of what my victims experienced. It should have made me more contrite, but it didn’t, it made me more liberal, taking less care, increasing the amount of victims.

The taxi driver dropped me off at the airport; I rushed to the lockers and fumbled my bag out. I walked quickly to one of the ticket desks, but it was too late: alarm bells rang out in the main foyer, people started running and screaming in hysterics. Smoke started to fill the hall. I couldn’t resist a smile, he had class.

I skirted around the foyer, keeping away from the worst of the smoke, but trying to catch a glimpse of the flames, because there were sure to be them, he needed them to make his entrance. I continued round, finding another exit, but as I approached people were running from that direction too.
This time I could see a flicker of orange reflected in the chrome of the desks lining that direction. It was increasing, as was the heat. I intended to back up, but I was always drawn to the spectacle; the dance of the flames as they bobbed up and down, as they caressed the surface and consumed everything they touched. He had me there; I was mesmerised. Fire had always been my first love, it had taken over everything: my home, my parents, anyone that came near me. I was its servant, it was my master.

And he was there. I could see his deep red eyes, encircled by a whipping circle of fire that spun to form his features and his torso. I had expected to feel dread, but instead I felt excitement. He was glorious, ablaze as he was; he was everything I wanted to be.

I felt nothing as he swept me up in his arms and took me in his embrace. This was a penance I would gladly serve.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Sleep, by M K Boers - Cover Reveal & Release Date

Finally the day has come that I can announce the release of my new book:

Sleep, by M K Boers

I have chosen a new pen name as this is a different genre from my previous books; It's a Psychological Thriller


It will be released on the 1st of September 2019. 

The kindle version is already available for pre-order.






Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 114

This week's prompt was a photo taken by Trashhand, a Chicago based photographer. You can find this post on his blog, where it tells us that it is a from an abandoned bank in Gary, Indiana. He also has a website and has a wonderful collection of interesting shots there. 

This story wanted to run away with itself. I had to cut it down and change the POV to get it to work as flash. Another story that I might have to revisit. 

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.



Empty State

When the children got off the school bus, and stood on the road, there wasn’t a sound, just the wind blowing the ash about. It was still pretty thick here as no one had bothered to clean it up. The land was unliveable now it had turned sour, having been on the edge of the blast zone of Big Yella, and why Indiana had become one of the empty states.

There were buildings, many of them just rubble, along the main street, but the bank was still intact, and that was what the class was visiting today. It was a fortified building created to house thousands of tiny metal and paper objects people perceived as valuable back then. Although their teacher, Miss Gilbert told them it wasn’t just a perception, they had had value because objects could be exchanged for them (or “bought” as she called it). But over time more and more were needed to get the same objects, so there were problems even before the blast.

The children were given special hats to wear in case of falling debris, and they were led into the bank through a big open room, Miss Gilbert called a “lobby” and then down some stairs at the back to an underground room. The walls were a mixture of the original orange paint and crumbling plaster, no one dared touch, and they gathered in the middle of the room, in front of a huge round iron door that led into what looked like a cage but had wooden slots covering one wall.

‘They called this a “vault” and this is where they locked away all the metal and paper they referred to as “money”,’ Miss Gilbert said.

‘What are those funny little boxes, Miss?’ asked Nancy from the back.

‘They were called “safety deposit boxes”. People would store things in them that were precious to them.’

‘What like pencils or sheets of blank paper?’ Marshall asked.

‘No, Marshal, back then those things weren’t precious, you could get them everywhere; people threw them away in their millions.’ The class drew a collective gasp. ‘No, the things they put in them were jewels, stones set in metals that glittered and were considered to be of value–”

‘Oh my great, great auntie used to talk about those!’ Penny exclaimed. ‘She said they were beautiful, people would wear them, but it became dangerous during the dark days, post-plume, because people would attack each other for them, and they all got broken down to be used for other things.’

‘That’s right, Penny. In the museum we are going to next week you will be able to see the remains of some.’ There were shuffles of excitement. ‘But we haven’t finished here yet. Besides jewels, they put paper items in, too, but not blank paper, they were papers with writing on that related to ownership of buildings and land, and distribution of belongings after death.’

‘What like we still do? My Pa went to a dish-out last week, we got some great tools!’ Jefferson interrupted.

‘No Jefferson, they only left things to their family members or people that were special to them. It was always about the individual then, never the community. They called those paper’s “a Will” because the owner “willed” that those people got those things. People had a lot of things back then, far more than they ever needed, but they didn’t believe in sharing as we do now, they believed in keeping it all and gathering it around themselves.’

‘Sounds cluttered, Miss.’

‘It was, Nancy. They filled their homes with them covering walls and floors. Some of the houses were really small, too. Nothing like the big open meeting houses we all reside in today, but then families lived separately, apart from each other.’

‘I don’t think I would have liked that, Miss.’

‘Me either, Marshall, me either. Anyway, back to the “vault”. You can all step inside and take a look around, but be careful, no touching.’

By the time they had finished looking round and had returned to the bus, they were ready for lunch back at the homestead. These trips were the highlight of their year, one of the few days they got a chance to look outside the living zone and try and understand what life must have been like when there had been billions of people living on the planet. The few pockets of humanity left were considered the only valuable thing now and the collective well-being was paramount. Visiting these places served to remind the new generations of that. 





Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 113

This week's prompt taken by photographer Silena Lambertini from Italy. She has some fantastic photos on her site, with so much atmosphere. We will be revisiting her work. 

This was one of those stories that I had no idea was going. I also didn't know how it was going to end until I wrote it. I love it when that happens. 

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.




Free Fall

She was trying to work out how she got here. It was cold and everything was snow covered. The last thing she remembered was lying back to sleep on the plane. Had they crashed? If so where was the wreckage? Had she been flung out somehow? Why couldn’t she remember?

It was foggy, maybe that’s why she couldn’t see any of the wreckage. And although the sun seemed to be up in the sky, it was diffused and muted. Everything was a dull white.

She waded through the drifts of snow. Her legs numb with the wet cold. She had no real sense of direction other than moving towards the sun. She could see something on the horizon but it was just a smudge. Was it a house or some kind of building? She hoped so. She’d die if she stayed out here too long.

As she drew closer she could see it was a stand of trees, a small copse forming a tight circle. Maybe she could shelter inside, but there was something odd about them; despite the snow everywhere they had none on them. There was no breeze shifting the dense fog, so what had moved the snow off? Their sharp twig-like branches reached up to the skies resembling people up in arms, frozen in mid argument. There was no rustle from the branches, the snow and fog muffled everything.

She approached, the silence felt like something tangible as though waiting, pregnant with expectation ... but for what?

She stood on the edge looking into the circle. It looked no different from outside: the snow was thick and undisturbed. But there was something caught under the snow, an edge peeking out. It was red, it looked like material. Was it something from the plane? Some evidence that she’d been on a plane and it wasn’t just in her imagination?

She stepped inside the ring of trees and immediately felt the air shift. The fog was gone the sunlight was bright, even glaring. The item was still there, if anything it was more apparent. It was definitely material.

She stepped to it carefully, the crunch of her feet the only sound in this lifeless place. She squatted down. It looked like part of a coat, a corner sticking out. She put her fingers on it. They were numb and she couldn’t be sure of what she was feeling, so she tugged it and it resisted. It wasn’t small, and the weight of the snow had pinned it. She pulled harder, taking more of a handful of the material; it still didn’t give. She brushed some of the snow away, revealing it to be what she had thought: a coat. But it also revealed a hand; a white alabaster coloured hand.

She stood up with a jerk, her cry blunt and short. The little girl was wearing a ring – her ring. She looked at her fingers, she had no rings on. And despite the cold, a chill ran through her. The coat looked familiar too, like one she’d had as a child. It had been her favourite.

She knelt this time, working the snow away where she thought the head must be, and sure enough blonde hair was revealed, just like hers. She slowed as she uncovered the face, brushing gently, and revealed her eight year old face.

She stared into it. The eyes flew open causing her to jump back with a yell. They focused on her face.

‘You’re here, at last. Come, join me.’

The hand with the ring lifted up and reached out. Dumbstruck, she took it.

Then she was falling, tumbling over and over, the ground rushing up to meet her, the air around her full of debris and screaming people. The plane had crashed; she just hadn’t experienced it yet. She knew where she would land. 



Monday, 24 June 2019

Review: The Reaper's Bride, by A J Richmond

The Reaper's Bride (The Reaper Chronicles #1)The Reaper's Bride by A.J. Richmond
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to have seen this book in its developmental stage, so I was already excited about it before it was transformed into its current polished state.

It's a hard book to categorise. Paranormal? In places, but spooky? Only a little bit. Humorous? Definitely. It's an adult contemporary paranormal fantasy.

Two old women, Mildred & Molly go to funerals to critique them and fantasise about their own, until one of them sees something she shouldn't be able to see - the Reaper. When he realises he wants to recruit her and turn them into his helpers, only downfall is she won't join alone.

A J Richmond creates funny, and vivid characters that enthrall, and carry you through the book. And gives the read a glimpse into an imagined afterlife. I would love to meet James on a dark night - or Angel. They were captivating.

The only downfall is that it's left on such a huge cliffhanger! I can't wait to get my hands on the next one.

If you want funny and slightly spooky, this is the book for you.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 112

This week's prompt is a sculpture, sold on Etsy by Dellamorte & Coin New Jersey, Apparently it glows in the dark and can be used as a nightlight! 

Sometimes the biggest shame about flash is you have to cut all the bits that add more characterr. I had to cut down on her drunken comments and state, as well as lose some of the background story. Fortunately the essence still worked. 

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.





Drunk or deadly?


Row upon row of doors, but all of them locked. How had she ended up here? One minute she was partying with the rest of them in the big ballroom, the next she was up here, trying to navigate her way out of this labyrinth of corridors.

Vicky was drunk, she had to be. It’s the only thing that explained the sudden switching and chopping about, like her eyes could only see in snapshots. They didn’t call it blind drunk for nothing.

She’d look down one corridor, looked back and the carpet had changed colour or the paintings were in a different order. She knew she’d had a lot to drink but this was beyond that, she was also losing chunks of time. She wasn’t registering walking from one corridor to another.

Vicky really needed a pee, it must have been why she came up here in the first place, in Johnny’s dad’s oversized mansion; a surprise to all of them. You’d get lost in here even if you weren’t drunk. She started trying all the doors along the next corridor. It had a blue carpet. Finally at the end one of the doors opened.

It contained a formal looking bedroom suite, which looked unoccupied, and a door leading off it which Vicky hoped was an ensuite bathroom. It was. But when she glanced back at the room while closing the door, the furnishings had changed colour and position, and then so had the bathroom layout when she shut the door and rushed to the toilet.

She sat on the loo and put her head in her hands while she went, hoping to clear it, but it didn’t help, it started spinning and she felt sick. She opened her eyes, finding it incredulous that the bathroom had changed again. Someone had to have spiked her drink.

But the mirror over the basin hadn’t changed. In fact it had been the only constant since she stepped in. It was a fancy ornate one, probably antique with a carved wooden frame depicting cherubs – or were they demons? Their faces moved in the low light through Vicky’s incoherent perception.

After she flushed, she went to wash her hands. The sink worked perfectly, but try as she might she couldn’t see a reflection in the mirror. It was unnerving. It showed the bathroom – or another bathroom seeing as the decor in it was drastically different from this one.

Vicky shook her hands out in the basin looking round for the towel and that’s when it happened: drops of water hit the surface of the mirror and it rippled ... actually rippled. She was losing her mind, she was sure of it. She flicked the water at it a second time and set off pools of ripples.

She lifted her finger to touch the surface, the tip disappeared. She withdrew it sharply, wondering if it was water or something more deadly, like mercury. Her finger looked fine. Shit, whoever had spiked her drink had used some serious stuff.

But she couldn’t resist, she put her finger in again, and then her whole hand. The liquid seemed to stop after a point. Did it come out the other side?

Vicky contemplated it for a second and then stuck her whole face in. She held her breath and pushed hard, feeling a popping sound as her ears came through, as well as a rush of music. It was the ballroom! And they were all there!

She pushed her arms through, too, with the intention of climbing in – why the hell not, quickest way back, beat going back along the corridors. But somehow she couldn’t get her torso up and through, and when she went to move her arms back to leverage herself, she couldn’t. They were stuck out in front of her. She tried to wriggle, but it was only her back end moving.

She looked outside herself for help. She could see her mates, and hear them, but she couldn’t move ... and she was beginning to have difficulty breathing.

She saw Becky and Richie come over.

‘What an awesome mirror! It really looks like someone’s trying to climb out. God this place is full of cool stuff, wonder where his dad gets it all?’

‘I’d love to have a house like this full of quirky shit. Can you imagine buying anything you want?’

They wandered away again, but Vicky was too weak to watch them go. Instead she was beginning to drift out of consciousness, her last thought being that at least they’d have something to remember her by.