Monday 30 September 2013

A Daryl Dixon Fan Fiction Blog Hop - Family Life

To celebrate the return of The Walking Dead television series this month, some writing friends and fans decided throw a Blog Hop. The hosts, Ruth Long, Sarah Aisling, & Lisa Hollar are keen Daryl Dixon fans, so the main theme consisted of a piece of flash that contained zombies and Daryl. 

I found it tough initially to come up with something, and then after I read another writers entry, I was inspired and had trouble keeping within the word count! Here's my entry, which won me a surprising 2nd place. Hope you enjoy. 

Family Life


Jeanie liked the night shift. Up in the tower she had a good view over the compound, and the landscape beyond; the moonlight made it seem so undisturbed.

Unlike the elders, she didn’t know any other type of lifestyle, and this was the safest she’d ever been. She loved the commune they’d created up here on Dixon’s hill. They could survey every inch of land around it. Her father had been no fool in picking it; there was no way anyone could surprise them up here.

They had restored the ruined mansion that had stood on it and made it their own, fencing themselves in and making a fortress. The tower she sat in had been her father’s favourite, and although he was too old to take turns on the night shift now, he still came up from time to time to practise with his crossbow. ‘You’ve gotta keep you hand in or you’ll lose it’, he’d say.

There weren’t as many walkers anymore and the herds had become rare, so the risks were much lower than when Jeanie had first manned the tower. Although when she spotted one stumbling along the peripheral fence, she was quick to dispatch it with her crossbow, planning to collect the arrow when her shift was over. Jeanie remembered when she was little and her dad teaching all about crossbows and knives. She’d picked it up fast. Her mother hadn’t always been happy about it, and had said so in front of her from time to time.

“She’s too young Daryl, please stop with the knives.”

“Carol, she’s gotta be able to hold her own, we might not always be able to get to her.”

“She’s only five for Christ Sake! Let her be a child for a little while.”

“She might not have a little while if we don’t teach her – I won’t take the risk.”

“I don’t want my little girl thinking it’s normal to be a knife wrangler.”

“Carol there is no ‘normal’ anymore! I’d rather she be a live knife wrangler, than a dead princess!”

“Oh Daryl, that’s not what I meant.”

“It might not be Carol, but if you don’t let me do this it might be her future. She’s my daughter too. Let me do this; teaching her is all I’ve got.”

Jeanie missed her mum, but she was grateful a walker never got her. Sometimes people just got sick, and the best they could do was tend to them. The elders always talked about medicines and places called hospitals, but those days were over, or least they thought they were.

Jeanie saw headlights through the trees and stood up, looking through the sight on her crossbow. There wasn’t just one set of lights, but several in a convoy. She rang the bell on the tower. She wanted everyone up for this. The last time she’d seen these cars was when they left to go and find medical supplies, and after several months everyone assumed they weren’t coming back.  Jeanie wanted to be joyous, but caution was always warranted; it might not be their family driving.

She ran down the tower meeting her brother at the bottom.

“Is it them Jeanie?”

“I think so Merle, but we can’t be sure. Where’s dad?”

“He’s coming; you know he’s not as young as he used to be.”

“Yeah, but don’t tell him that!”

Jeanie grinned at her younger brother; he was the spit of his father and named after an Uncle they’d never met.

People started pouring out of the house as the headlights approached the main gate. Her father came to the front, his crossbow posed and ready should the wrong people get out of the car.

Then the lights flashed twice, and everyone cheered. This was the signal they’d been waiting for.

Jeanie’s heart surged as she watched Carl climbed out of the driver’s side, and raced to the fence so she could run into his arms. And it was lucky she did as he fell into them, barely able to stand.

“Carl, what is it?”

“It’s okay Jeanie, it’s nothing, just a scratch.”

But she knew he was lying as she virtually carried him through the gates.

“Did you find a hospital?” Daryl called as the group stumbled out of the cars, several more clearly wounded. “What happened?”

“We found a hospital, but it was occupied.” David replied.

“Occupied? By who?”

“Not sure, but he knew who we were, said ‘any enemy of the governors was an enemy of his’.”

“Governor? That’s gotta be twenty years ago?”

“He ran us off. As you can see they were well armed.”

“Shit, this is not good. I thought those times were over.” Daryl cocked his crossbow. “Did they follow you?”

“No, they didn’t leave the hospital.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. We camped outside town for a few weeks, most of us weren’t fit enough to travel – especially Carl.”

Daryl looked round. “Darren, John, Evie?”

David shook his head. “They didn’t make it.”

“So no medical supplies then?”

“Some, but not enough.” David handed Daryl a duffel bag, it was half full.

Daryl helped David through the gate with the rest of their haulage.

“What do you reckon David, should we go back and give it another try?”

“You’d have to convince me there’s something worth taking first.”

“What do you mean?”

“They beat us due to quantity not quality; many of them looked sick, and there weren’t any young people.”

“That’s good.”

“Is it?”

“Yeah, it means we don’t have to do anything. We can stay put and decide what we wanna do.”

“There’s got to be other hospitals.”

“Yeah, we’ll look into that, but first lets get you lot healed up.”

They all went up to the main house and gathered in the hall. Despite the sorry state of those that had returned they were all pleased to be together again.

(983 Words)

Fall Flash Festival - Change

To celebrate his 40th birthday, a writer friend, Eric Martell, has decided to host a flash fiction contest called Fall Flash Festival with the deadline of his birthday (3rd of October). He has themed it by the present season of autumn, and anything that brings to mind. 

Here's what came to my mind.

 California - Sonoma - autumn - autumn leaves

Emily looked out of the window and admired the bright autumn day. The trees in the wood behind the house giving their best before the winter took them. But as the leaves changed so did her mood.

Although Emily loved that the air turned cooler and preparation for festivities like Halloween and Christmas brought about excitement in so many of her loved ones, she couldn’t help, but feel low.

Was it the end to another year and not feeling any further? Was the feeling that her life was passing and she still had so much she wanted to achieve? Or was it something far more simple, like the darkening and shortening of the days? It didn’t really matter; she was helpless to change any of it, much like the trees were to stop their leaves from changing colour and falling. She had to accept there were limitations to how much a single person could do in one lifetime.

Emily could feel her mind baulk at such a thought; angry and frustrated. She started to chide herself for not being focused enough, or disciplined enough, not believing in herself enough. She was determined that this time she wasn’t going to tolerate such defeatist thinking, this time she was going to do the things she wanted to do. She grabbed a pen and paper and started scribbling furiously. It was time to reflect what she saw out of the window; it was time for a change. 

244 Words

Daily Picspiration - No.9 - Introduction

My fortnightly Daily Picspiration has been posted.

It took me a long time to come up with the next piece, particularly with the photo's for this week, but then I realised that I needed to follow up on another character and I was away. I already have the next one lined up too (in my head presently), and potentially after. But I am now thinking of how I am going to end this little serial - but maybe the pictures will guide me.

You can read 'Introduction' here.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Five Sentence Fiction - Magnetic

 Lillie McFerrin Writes

I haven't posted any writing for a little while, mainly because I haven't written any because I am busy editing my novel. But tonight I needed to get my writing muse going, and the photo prompt for this weeks Five Sentence Fiction worked for me. Enjoy.


Jonas looked out of the starboard window, and saw space shimmer as they impacted what everyone was calling the ‘magnetic zone’.

Some suggested that it might pin everyone and everything to the inside walls of the ship, like some kind of massive gravitational pull; others theorised that it would send all the machines and technical equipment on board screwy, causing them to lose all navigation data, even wipe all star charts, so they’d be lost in space forever; none of them were definitive and most only added to the escalating hysteria. No one knew what it would do - if anything - to the ship or any of them.

They slowed and there seemed to be some kind of resistance, much like the surface of a soap bubble before it burst, and then they were catapulted through at such a speed that the tracers of the stars seemed to be never ending.

Then a voice arrived, beaming out of all the ships speakers informing them ‘You have reached the end zone, turn back or prepare to be incinerated.’

Sunday 15 September 2013

Keepers - MWBB

My days of Flash Fiction writing are slowing down as I want to focus on editing my existing novel and gear up to this years National November Writing Month, which I really want to achieve this time round - third time lucky!

I found the song for this weeks Mid-Week Blues-Buster inspired something dark, but I don't think I gave it enough time to gestate. I had a busy week doing other things and so rushed it a bit too much.

The prompt song this week was:
Red Eyes and Tears, by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

In her dream she was in a nightclub; she could feel the thump thump of the music in her chest. It was getting harder to breathe the harder it thumped. She gasped as something touched her face.

Laura opened her eyes. She could just make out a black hooded figure above her. She opened her mouth to scream, but she could only hear the screaming music. Then there was breathing in her ear. A hand trailed down the side of her torso to her leg. Her clothes were still on, but her arms were tied to something behind her. She felt her eyes bulge as she tried to look around her, but it was too dark, there were only shapes.

Her mind raced. She’d been in her car in the parking lot leaving the campus; fiddling with the CD player. Something had come from behind. Something had covered her mouth. Then there was nothing.

A whisper, “I’ve been waiting so long my love.”

A man’s voice; soft and gentle. He touched her face; fingers searching, touching her mouth, pushing into the side of it; metallic taste - dirty.

She could hear her laboured breaths over the loud drone of repeating lyrics. She shifted. Her ankles were tied. Was she on a bed?

He continued to whisper. “I have you at last. You’re here. I can’t wait to show you my love. Oh I can’t wait to show you.”

His voice brought an image; the common room at lunchtime. A conversation. A debate. The boy opposite her slouched back, long hair covering half his face. He spoke in short sentences, gentle tones. Did she know him? What was his name?


The figure jerked, pulling back out of her view.

“Is it you Nathaniel? Why are you doing this?”

Silence. She shifted again, feeling the strength of the ties. No give. Then something covered her face and her attempts to scream were stifled by unconsciousness.

Laura was shivering so hard she jolted awake. It was raining; she was soaked. It was night, but the sodium lamps were working. The alleyway was empty. The stiffness in her legs as she staggered to her feet told her she’d been here a while. She found her car at the curb, dark and empty. The keys were in the ignition, her purse on the seat. She couldn’t have dreamt it, could she?

When Laura arrived on Campus the next day she looked for Nathaniel in the lecture theatre. He was at the top, hair hanging over his face. She switched on the overhead beamer and addressed the class.

“Ladies and Gentleman, last night I had an anomaly; a moment I wasn’t sure was real or whether I was dreaming. So our task for today is to consider, how do we know the difference between reality and dreams? How can we be sure which is which? Give me your thoughts.”

Hands shot up immediately, including his.

“Let’s try one at the back. Nathaniel, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Miss.” The gentle tones were the same.

“Tell me Nathaniel, what do you think?”

“Rational thinking and logic, Miss.”

“Go on?”

“When awake we can think coherently, we can run our thoughts through a process. In dream state time and events jump about.”

“Give me a for instance?”

“Well say something happens, something disorientates you,” Laura went cold. “You have to take the key markers of the event and see if they run coherently, if one things plays after the other or whether they jump about. Like if you were in one place, then suddenly in another.”

“But there can be other reasons for that, like if you had fallen asleep - or even drugged - someone could move you?”

“Yes Miss, but is that logical? Is it likely?”

Laura didn’t respond, jumping to another student and continuing the class. When it was over she busied herself as the students filed out, preparing for the next class. She heard someone singing. A chill ran up her spine as she recognised some words; ‘Red eyes and tears’. She turned and saw Nathaniel. He smiled.

“Sorry Miss, I love that song. I just listen to it over and over.”

Long Listed

I was recently Long Listed for a writing competition, called The Writing Competition.

I was one of the final 20 to be put before the judge.

Despite not winning, getting in the top 3 or even having my story commented on by the judge, I am happy to have been able to get through. I must be doing something right.

You can find the Long List here.

The winning entries were interesting to read, although my favourite was the 3rd Prize winner.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Stay - MWBB

It seems my winning streak on the Mid-Week Blues-Buster challenge is over for the time being. I like to think that it is because there are more writers entering, all of whom have fabulous talent, than to consider that my entry might not be up to scratch. Particularly this week, as my entry was so emotive.

But then this song prompt would do that to me, as it is from my favourite band at present - Hurts, and the song Stay is one of the best off their first album - the voice of the lead singer, Theo Hutchcraft is just exquisite, and this song shows it off brilliantly.

Grab your box of tissues! 

He watched her move round the lounge, collecting, packing; he hated it…but he just sat there.

He wanted to speak; he so wanted to express how he felt, but how could he? How could he form the words she wanted to hear? He’d tried so many times - and several times he thought he’d managed it, but she still kept doing this, still kept insisting that she was going.

But this time it was different; this time she wasn’t screaming, she wasn’t ranting, this time she was silent, quiet – methodical. And she’d never packed this much before.

The children sat and watched too. They wondered if mummy was serious, if this time she would actually go, but their silence – and their presence - said that they believed that this time she just might.

And that was the problem, wasn’t it? He hadn’t believed her when she said she’d had enough, when she said she couldn’t do it anymore, that she couldn’t live in this emotional silence; that it was killing her, and her love for him. He hadn’t really listened - thought she was just having another of her tantrums; that it would blow over like they always did, and she’d be fine in a few hours, and all would be right with the world again. She’d attempted to leave before, three times in fact; walked out. But she’d come back, and to be honest he found it irritating now; he’d grown tired of it.

But today she wasn’t doing any of that; she wasn’t telling him what she needed, she wasn’t screaming at him, telling him where he’d gone wrong and how he’d failed her. She wasn’t doing any of that – and actually hadn’t for months. She’d been studying her self-help books, seeing her therapist and things were looking up. She’d started to return to the woman he’d met, the loving, warm, caring individual he’d fallen in love with.

So why was she packing?

He desperately wanted to know, but he daren’t speak. Whenever he spoke it always went wrong, somehow his words would be misinterpreted, and she’d start screaming, or crying. His words never seemed to work, she complained that they didn’t really say anything. And today, if it went wrong, that would be that, she wouldn’t be coming back. He knew it; he knew it in his soul.

She zipped up the last bag and stopped. She went over to the children, not speaking – not able to with the tears pouring down her face, and grabbed them off the sofa, squeezing them as tight as she could. The little one implored her with his eyes, and when that didn’t work, he wouldn’t let her go. She had to peel him off. That’s when his tears started and he ran to his Papa for comfort and support.

She turned to him, and again he tried to speak, he tried to form the words that would make all this stop, but he fumbled when she looked into his eyes, and only said, ‘So, this is it then?’

She blinked, the disappointment in her eyes palpable, and looked at her cases. ‘Yes.’ She walked over to them and gathered them around her. He knew she was stalling, waiting for him to say or do something, but he felt paralysed, frozen inside, not able to form anything. She picked them up and took them to the front door, managing to fumble it open and push herself out.

She faltered on the doorstep, turning again. And he stood there at the door holding the little one, while the eldest stood by his side, still trying to get the words out, still trying to form anything that would work, that would stop this horror unfold. But part of his mind was waiting, waiting to see if she would really go.

She turned. She walked to the car and loaded the cases in the boot. The children were crying loudly now. He had to do something.

‘STAY! Please stay!’ He shouted.

She stopped; pausing for a moment as she opened the car door.

‘I can’t.’

As her car pulled out, his tears started too.

Sunday 8 September 2013

Visual Dare - Implore

I haven't entered a Visual Dare for some time either - but then the school holidays keep me busy. It was nice to get back in the swing, and this photo prompt couldn't have been missed. Although the prompt word didn't get a chance - the main character didn't allow it! Enjoy. 

Elisa had been waiting all evening, but finally she heard the keys rattle in the lock. She was glad she’d practised the pose otherwise she’d never have lasted so long. She hoped she could keep it just a fraction longer.

She heard the key turn in the lock and his shoes clicking on the parquet floor. She heard them falter then stop – not daring to move her eyes from the focal point she’d found above the front door.

She heard him gasp in amazement.

“Elisa, come out and see this! Elisa, where are you? This is amazing, the likeness is uncanny. I know you said he was good, but… Elisa?”

Thinking about the next step was the only way she could keep a straight face.

His head turned sharply at the ‘thwang’, but he didn’t utter a sound as he fell backwards, dead before he hit the ground. 

Five Sentence Fiction - Beauty

Lillie McFerrin Writes
It's been a while since I've written a piece for Five Sentence Fiction, but I loved this photo, it said so much, I just had to. 

She didn’t mind that the mirror reflected her out of focus; it’s how she felt most days.

She saw the beauty in the frame and felt ashamed that her reflection didn’t match it, but then a maudlin face didn’t match much.

She felt cut off and isolated, even when she was standing in a crowd of people she knew.

They all talked to her and interacted with her, but inside she felt she wasn’t really coming through and showing her true self, like trying to break through a transparent plastic bubble; she pushed against it, but it kept flinging her back.

She touched her fuzzy hand, to her fuzzy face, and knew she did exist, but pondered how she could really make herself feel heard and seen – longing to be defined and crystal clear, so no-one misunderstood her.

Monday 2 September 2013

Daily Picspiration No.8 - Connections

My fortnightly Daily Picspiration piece is up.

I struggled with the pictures this time, and wondered if I would continue my serialisation of The Jester, or just write a random piece of flash, but suddenly inspiration hit me as to how I could continue, and I even managed to include both photos in this weeks piece.

You can read 'Connections' here.

Mob - MWBB

My latest entry for the Mid-Week Blues Buster didn't get anywhere - there are a lot more other entrants and some incredible writers out there, so the competition is hotting up. I think my winning days are over, and to be honest, I'm just fine with that.

Again a soundtrack to a movie was the prompt and I really liked the piece that came out, although it didn't come out as dark as I had initially planned. Enjoy!

The prompt was a song from a soundtrack this week
The song is; “Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano”, sand by Italian crooner Fiorello, with Jude Law and Matt Damon riding shotgun, from, “The Talented Mr. Ripley”.

Silvia was late. If she rushed it might not be noticed. As she neared the entrance to the club she slowed from a flat out run to a fast walk, straightening her skirt and primping her hair as she approached the door.

The club was in full swing, the music blaring out onto the street, and as she skirted the queue, Don opened the door for her whispering, ‘Hurry’ as she passed. This made her stomach clench; if Don knew she was late then everyone did, which meant he’d been looking for her.

She pushed through all the bodies hanging around the cloakrooms and went into the club, circling the edge where there were less people and scanning the tables facing the stage. She spotted him, sitting proud, arm over an empty chair next to him, foot taping to the band, but not as enraptured as those around him, instead looking round – looking for her.

When Johnny spotted her, she smiled, but he didn’t. She squeezed passed the other tables and finally reached the chair he’d kept for her, sinking into it.

“Hi Honey.”

“Where have you been?”

“I was getting ready, but lost track of time. I’m so sorry.”

He eyed her without smiling, and then leaned over. She thought he was going to kiss her, but his nose went to her neck and sniffed. She shifted in her seat, resisting the urge to pull away.

“You’ve bathed to cover the smell, haven’t you?”

Her eyes shifted to the band for a second before she replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“If I find out you’ve been with him, I’ll kill you both. You know that, don’t you?”

Silva didn’t speak, only looked at him wide eyed. His glare didn’t falter. She held it, refusing to back down, until a waiter interrupted with a bottle of champagne.

Once their glasses were filled they were joined by the rest of his entourage, and Johnny behaved like all was fine with the world; laughing, joking, and pretending he was one hell of a guy. Silvia knew it was far from over, but his vengeful plans wouldn’t come to fruition tonight.

When Marcus came in and joined them at the table Johnny was all smiles. Silva paid little attention to Marcus, sipping her drink and focusing on the band, not wanting to spark any more suspicion in Johnny’s paranoid mind. But when the cue came and Marcus dropped his wallet on the floor, she practised what they’d rehearsed and swiftly slid under the table.

The gun fire came from more than one direction and she covered her ears until it stopped. As they’d agreed, she waited for a hand to come under the table and fetch her out to give her the all clear. The band started up with something fast and furious to quell the customer’s nerves, as people returned to their tables, and sure enough a hand appeared.

Silva grasped it and her smile grew as she looked forward to finally embracing the man she truly loved. But it died on her lips when she came face to face with her husband. Johnny’s wasn’t smiling.

“You thought I didn’t know? You thought the two of you would get away with it? Not tonight doll, not ever. He touched what wasn’t his, he paid the price.”

Silva’s eyes flitted to Johnny’s right, the crumpled body on the floor still seeping blood. A single tear fell from her left eye and rolled down her cheek. Johnny caught it with his thumb.

She whispered, “And me?”

Johnny smiled then, but only with his lips.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart, you’ll be paying too, but not until later.”


Bar Brawl - MWBB

I'm a bit delayed posting my Mid-Week Blues Buster entry. There never seems to be enough hours in the day! This didn't reach the top three, and I do feel I tried to cram too much story into this flash piece, having to cut more than 100 words from it. I do like it though, and maybe I'll expand on it at some point.

The prompt was a song from a soundtrack this week
   Samuel L. Jackson’s rendition of, “Stack-o-Lee” from the Black Snake Moan soundtrack.

Steve was looking forward to tonight. It had been a while since he’d been out; she didn’t like him going, but he wasn’t going to miss out, not on seeing his favourite band.

He asked her to come, but she refused, claiming she didn’t feel well, another ploy to try and keep him home. He would’ve liked her there with him though, maybe then she’d see there was nothing going on behind her back. He loved Sam, why else would he put up with all her abuse? But he’d be damned if he was gonna stop living just because of her petty jealousies.

He pulled up in the parking lot and scanned the other trucks, seeing that Jake and Wes had already arrived. He sauntered over to the main doors and marvelled at how a simple barn conversion in the middle of nowhere had become so popular; the blinking pink and blue neon like a beacon into the night, calling them all to come and party.

Much to the chagrin of those waiting, Steve walked straight in, the bouncer giving him a smile and a nod. Inside cheers went up when they saw him and several beers were lined up on the bar waiting. He handed his keys to Vince at the bar. It was going to be a big night.

By midnight Steve was steaming, oblivious to everything around him except the band. Propped up against a bar stool he thrashed his head about to the beat, ignoring all the women hovering around him. It had been too long since he’s heard Harvey’s band play. But when a glass smashed on the bar and warm blood spattered his face he was suddenly sober, and seeing it was Wes, leapt to his feet.

It only took two swings and the guy with the bottle was on the floor. He foolishly hadn’t noticed Steve – his mistake. The bouncers cleaned the guy up, but Wes was bleeding badly, so he and Jake rallied, along with the two girls who’d been standing with them.

They all headed to the door carrying Wes, until a scream stopped them. When they turned, Steve saw Sam had one of the girls by the hair and was pulling her to the ground, punching and kicking her as hard as she could.

Steve let go of Wes and rushed her; grabbing her by the waist and pushing up against wall, restraining her with an arm across her chest.

“What the fuck are you doing?!”

“I’ll teach that fucking floozy to mess with my man!”

“What? Are you crazy? She’s got nothing to do with me; she’s helping us take Wes outside. Can’t you see his head? It’s been cut open!”

“Yeah right, good cover.”

Steve was speechless. He stood staring at this crazed woman while she struggled to break free, still focused on the girl who was being helped up off the floor.

“Let me go!” She screamed, but Steve just pushed up against her, making it clear that wasn’t going to happen.

“What the hell are you doing here anyway, you said you were sick?”

Sam stopped struggling, although anger still blazed in her eyes. “How the hell else was I gonna to find out who you were screwing?”

Steve nostrils flared, and he abruptly stepped back, the sudden release causing her to stumble and fall to her knees.

“You really don’t fucking get it, do you Sam? I put up with all your shit and I still come home every fucking night.”

From her prone position she sneered up at him. “What? You trying to make me believe that you love me? Ha, don’t make me laugh.”

“No Sam, I DID love you, but I think I just stopped.”

Steve turned to leave, but Sam grabbed his leg. “Don’t you try to make me out to be the crazy one!”

“Oh no, don’t worry, your not the crazy one, I am; crazy to think that loving you would be enough.”

Steve yanked his foot out of her grasp and walked to the door, taking one last glance back at the crumpled woman on the floor. She looked broken - just like his heart.