Friday, 20 April 2012

The Pied Piper of Balham.

Ruby watched the country house fill the tiny window of the train. She’d been dreading evacuation. She hated leaving her mum with the tear stained telegram clutched in her hands. But the place was wonderful. She’d never seen anything like it in her seven years in London. The green fields were only broken by blankets of swaying yellow wheat.

Nightingales sang to her from the trees as the door creaked open. Their song was as sweet as the lullabies her mother sang to send her dreaming. But when she listened carefully she could hear a dark tone inside their song.

Yellow teeth grinned somewhere down the long dark hallway. Footsteps echoed towards her. The door slammed shut behind her. Dust hung onto the darkness as though afraid to land on the floor. The yellow teeth shone brighter in the black hallway. They came fast, but death came slowly.

She awoke after a long time dreaming of nothing but black rooms, golden fields and yellow teeth. She heard the nightingales once more. Their dark song buzzed in her ear. Soon she realised it wasn’t birdsong at all; it was the grinding of teeth, mechanical and fierce. She felt around in the darkness for a corner and huddled herself into a ball.

The blades finally cut through the cement wall sending broad shafts of light into the sealed room. She noticed signs above the holes. There was a red Tube circle and an exit sign. She remembered the bombs then, the government abandoning them to a rubble grave. She recalled the men sealing up the stations like forgotten graves. They gave less respect than the Nazis who dropped the bombs from above London skies into the dark city below.

A warm hand filled her palm. She looked up to see her mother’s buttery smile that thawed her heart.

“C’mon love, you’ve been asleep a very long time.”

They drifted into London stunned by the lights that burnt all around them.

“We’re free sweetheart.” A light bloomed behind her mother that filled the sky and fell to the ground around them. Soon she was locked inside again. This time in the warmth of light and her mother’s love as they left the pain behind for those who carried on living.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Red angels in golden skies.

There's a golden sky filled with 96 red angels. #ynwa #jft96

We still think of you and fight for justice.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Never Ending Tale of Magpie's.

A small update on the progress of The Magpie's Tale. I started this anthology as a way to place some published stories and some trunk tales into a collection of my own. I had everything planned out to the cover, trailer and the story order. Then I hit a snag. While shooting the video for the trailer an idea struck. This tied in with my wish to have a thread or a theme that connected each story similar to my favourite Amicus films I loved watching as a schoolboy.
As with all ideas this one came with a new set of problems. Some of the stories didn't fit into any theme. When analysing them again I also realised that some of stories, mostly the published ones, didn't feel right any longer. Not that I'm dismissing them as standalone tales, just for this anthology they felt like tourists rather than natives.

So I started sketching out new ideas, some worked, some failed and some gave me the story kick in my stomach. You know that feeling a writer has when an idea feels so right they get the butterflies wearing steel toe-capped boots. These stories usually feel stolen from the idea highway that runs along invisible lines all round us. After a moment of guilt for grabbing a tale destined for another writer's brain along the road, I started to relish these sparks of inspiration.

So here I am writing an anthology that only contains two of the original stories, one previously published and one I wrote especially as a lead in. I've also ditched three full stories I wrote and two more ideas I never completed. Yet after all this hard work and brain bashing indecision I feel I'm finally onto something good, something I'll be happy to release with my name on the front cover.

I have a theme and a framed story. I have tales about a man with a terrifying tattoo that causes the world to see him as their enemy, a story about a boy who gets more than he bargained for when he completes an old jigsaw and a tale of revenge with more twists than a game of Twister with the band Twisted Sister. And many more beside those little horrors. I have a concept that finally feels right. Hopefully I will be able to send it off into the world soon. Until then here's a sample from The Dust of Hell.

'Grace wrapped her tiny hands around the hatchet resting against the broken screen door. The thud of the heavy axe head falling against each wooden step filled her with dread. She looked down at her brother, a ten year old man who had suddenly found strength in the promise of food. It gave him power and speed like a wolf striding across the plains chasing prey. John never looked back. Grace strode across the invisible meadow dragging the axe that cut channels into the dry earth behind her.

When she finally caught up with her brother she saw him standing on the edge of the hole shaking. She dropped the hatchet in a cloud of dust. John peered into the smoking pit. The impact of the sky creature falling to the earth must have pushed the soil through the ground, opening up the trap. How considerate, digging its own grave, John thought.
But he slipped back falling to the ground when the clouds uncovered the silver Moon and exposed the creature in there. It was no goose. It was a man, a man with the wings of a goose.'

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Discordant calliope tunes oscillated from the carousel masking the growl of the creature hiding between carvings above the ride. It sprang through the blur of harsh coloured bulbs landing on a wooden horse below. He scrambled up the pole above the child unnoticed, scraping flakes of gold paint that fell on her blonde locks. The little girl was enamoured by the glittering snowfall. Looking around she saw his twig fingers scraping away the gold-leaf behind her, grinning like a joker from a pack of cards.

“Go fish.” it screeched.

She froze, her falling smile a row of cracked painted teeth, her head a carved block. The bulbs flashed and burst as electricity seeped into the night.

The mothers screamed as their antique children whirled past. Fathers climbed aboard with curled fists, angry and confused. The creature sniffed as it leaped from horse to horse, child to child. Corn-dogs and burnt butter popcorn wafted from the east. Another fair in another county waited.

Nobody saw it leaping across dark fields to its next playground. “I spy more fun at the fair.” It echoed leaping through the night.

Later that night across the land, all that remained were wooden children for mothers to love. They clung to them with broken hearts, punctured with splinters, flaking with old red paint.

Original concept first published on Lily Childs Feardom.

Paws: The Revenge.