Friday 26 October 2012

Zombie Run

Written for the Zombie Run Contest hosted by Lisa Hollar on her website Jezri's Nightmare which closes on the 30th of October.


Alice watched from the window of her top storey apartment. Bartie was trying to put up a fight out there on the green, but they had him surrounded. She could hear the screaming, but it didn’t make any difference; they still advanced on him. There were five of them and they were hungry. They were going to have him no matter what.

She wondered if he might jump up and over them or climb a tree, but unfortunately there were none nearby. He didn’t, he stood his ground thinking that his fearsome stance and continuing noise would put fear into their hearts and make them run.

Couldn’t he tell they didn’t have hearts anymore, or any sense of fear? They only knew one thing; that they had to eat.

They came closer and closer and Bartie still didn’t move. Then one of them dared to go for it, and although Bartie was younger, feistier and could throw a single one off, when the others pounced too he was quickly overwhelmed, and it was only a matter of seconds before the spray of blood was seen and the noise stopped. Only the attackers could be heard now, as they fought over the best part of his brain.

Alice watched the whole thing and it gave her an idea. It didn’t have to be human brains, it could be animals too. Maybe she could find a living cat or a dog too. She shuffled out of the apartment. She had heard a dog whining in the empty apartment on the floor below. Fresh blood.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Flash Flood

In response to the National Flash Fiction day, an international flash-fiction journal was set up called FlashFlood. So far they have had two issues, and there will be more next year.

I submitted a piece, which although was unsuccessful, I really liked. I reworked it from a previous entry I had written in April 2007 for short story competition held in Writing Magazine.

'Echo of a Whistle' by Miranda Kate

Jonas had no idea how long he’d blacked out for this time. His heart raced as he spun round trying to see if the man was still there, but all he could see were empty train carriages sitting in the disused siding.
He shook his leg and pulled at his foot, but it was still stuck. It was wedged right under the track and he couldn’t reach it.
           It was really dark now and the wind had picked up. It startled him as it hurtled round the corners of the derelict train sheds. Any second now he was sure the man would appear. He’d chased Jonas through the woods and out onto the embankment; he had to be here somewhere.
He fought back tears of fear and frustration; crying for his mummy wasn’t going to help him now - the man had been right about that. But the images of that underground room, with its dirt floor and rusty metal cot, haunted him. He couldn’t risk being taken back there; he couldn’t go through that pain again. The very thought of the man touching him; putting those metal things in him again, terrified him.
His freedom had been hard won as he’d had to wait for the man to finish relieving himself and slump back, on one of the rare days that he’d chosen not to use the other equipment on him. The man had expected Jonas to go and clean himself up, and shouted when he was gone too long. Jonas was grateful he was already halfway up the stairs when that happened, and started running for his life.
And he was almost free, but then he’d caught his foot when running across the tracks; too busy looking over his shoulder instead of where he was going. He remembered wondering why the man was still standing on the embankment, then a roaring noise filled his ears and his fall was punctuated by a blinding flash.
He tried to reach his foot again, leaning one hand on the track as he did so, and that was when he felt it; the vibration running through it. This stirred a whole new world of fear and panic inside him. He peered in the darkness and made out two pin pricks of light. They were moving; their size was increasing. In his gut he knew it was a train.
He expected to become frantic, but instead he became calm. This meant that the man couldn’t have him anymore; whether dead or spotted by the guardsman on the train, it was over.
He looked up at the oncoming train. He could see the lights clearly now; the shape of their perfect roundness. He waited for the whistle; the signal that they had seen him; alerting him to move. But it didn’t come. 
He’d already heard that whistle earlier that evening; the blinding flash hadn’t been his head hitting the track. He foot wasn’t trapped anymore, and the man was gone, just like him. 

499 Words

Sunday 21 October 2012

U got the 'Look'

Thanks to the lovely Susi Holliday, I’ve been tagged in this blog game which involves searching your current WIP (Work in Progress) for the word ‘look’ and posting the surrounding paragraphs, then tagging another 5 writers to do the same. It can be a short story, a poem, a novel, whatever you’re working on.

I was a little daunted by the amount of times 'look' came up in my WIP, my soon-to-be-finished novel, Jade (working title), but I decided on a piece that hopefully tantalises!


 Kate silently studied Michael's face and he simply smiled in return. She knew she wasn’t going to get anything more from him than that; she had seen that look in his eyes before - it was so blank she couldn’t decide if he was being guarded or totally open. It made her wonder if she was just trying to connect dots that were on different pages and reach for something that wasn’t there, but ever since Michael’s reaction when meeting Donny and Donny asking him if they had met before, her suspicion had been raised – about what she had yet to figure out.
Michael waited for her to say something else, but could see she was at a loss for words. He knew her suspicion had been peaked. She was clearly starting to pick up on some things; his tension around Donny, Donny finding him familiar, and now a name connection. And even he was a little thrown by Donny making such a connection, but while the BBQ was still going on, he had to keep it together – he didn’t dare to even think about the implications of the conversation he had just had with Donny, not yet, not until it was all over.
Michael put his arm round Kate and pulled her into him, kissing the top of her head. “Stop worrying. That call was nothing but a wrong number. But I have to say I do find it a bit disturbing that I remind Donny of an ex-girlfriend!”
This comment cracked a smile on Kate’s face and she finally loosened, responding to the hug saying, “Yeah, I know, I’m grabbing at straws, aren’t I? I’m just being silly.”
Michael pulled her away from him slightly so he could look her full in the face and said in a serious tone, “No, you’re not being silly, you’re being insecure. And I need to do something about that – it’s just I’m not sure what yet.”
Kate saw genuine intent in his eyes this time, along with deep emotion for her. It reassured her and it made her want to kiss him hard and passionately – so she did. He responded, but tried to keep it short as they were on public display in the garden and the hosts of the party. Unfortunately it was too late there were a few whistles from the male counterpart and general cheering all round.
He raised the bottle of beer he still had in his hand as acknowledgement while they finished their kiss, and smiled round at them when he broke away. Kate laughed, feeling mildly embarrassed. He then said loudly, “I’d better get back to serving up the beer!”, which brought a renewed round of cheers. 

I have tagged this lot of awesome writers (there are so many) and hope to get a 'look' at what they are working on!
@DionneLister  (if only to get a sneak preview of the sequel!)

Saturday 13 October 2012

Behind the Curtain

 Written for the Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction Contest, hosted by Anna Meade over at her blog Yearning for Wonderland.

Performance of her life
Helena switched on the music and one by one they arrived.
They hung out with her daily; flopping down onto the sofa or sitting round the table, gathering in the room to enjoy the same music as her, talk about the same things and just enjoy the ambience of good living.
Every morning her husband would go to work. She would prepare his pack lunch, kiss him goodbye and think about what was in store for her that day. Who would come? How many would  there be?
When Helena had first moved here, she had struggled. When you’re born a city girl, village life was hard to get used to even if you weren’t in a foreign speaking country. She had believed she was coming to join a community, share a life, be a part of something, but she hadn’t been prepared for the enormity of the culture differences, especially the language barrier. They could all speak English when she was just a visitor; it didn’t occur to her that once she was living here they would stop.
Helena’s favourites would always come. Many knew each other - it was hard not to when they were all in the same business. They liked coming; it was an opportunity to network, to hang out in private and away from the public eye; a place where they could be ordinary people again and not ‘celebrities’.
Once everyone had arrived she would turn the music up and the show would begin. She would get up and dance, even sing sometimes, and Kate would join her; they would perform together, totally in synch and everyone would be mesmerised. And she would feel alive again, appreciated again, surrounded by people who wanted to be around her.  
But she would always keep an eye on the clock; make sure she had enough time. She had to make sure there was time to switch off the music and usher them out, so that the house was tidy and dinner was waiting.
As Helena performed for them, she performed for her husband too as the dutiful wife. She didn’t want him to know about their visits.  She wanted to keep them separate. Even if they were only imagined, they had become a tangible part of her life here and the only thing that kept the intense loneliness at bay.