I got my first follower! I feel stupidly happy about this, because I honestly wasn’t expecting anyone to follow me. Which probably seems really silly to the people with lots of followers, but oh well. Onward!
Lucian Earl was a man of simple pleasures, and also not the kind to rush. He strolled up the stairs, a plastic canister in his left hand, ignoring the scuffles and groans as he whistled. His friends called him Fox, named after his vibrant red hair, which fell just around his eyes in soft waves. His enemies also called him Fox. They didn’t get a choice in the matter.
In the other hand, Fox twirled a battered crowbar, the blue paint flaking away at the bend. He reached the top of the stairs and kicked one of the double doors open. The clang made him flinch, but he settled quickly. Fox scanned the empty city skyline and gave it a grim smile. Today wasn’t a good day to die; any day was like the rest in this new world.
Fox stepped out onto the open roof and kicked the door shut with a quick flick of his heel. He turned to face it and jammed the crowbar through the handles. That should hold. Fox set down the canister near the door, and then continued his leisurely stroll to the edge of the building. He pulled the backpack from his shoulders, removing a bottle half full of whiskey, his favourite whiskey glass, and a Zippo lighter. How he had managed to get the glass to this point without it breaking was beyond him, but thank God for small favours.
A laugh escaped his lips. God, huh? Where was God now? Fox leaned over the wall that held his life from the road thirty storeys below. Small figures shuffled aimlessly, ambling between the abandoned cars, or dragging themselves through the broken windows of ruined shops. Further to the right, a whole swarm of them was approaching. They reminded him of locusts or ants moving in for their next meal. Watching them was almost therapeutic from this distance, the horrific details removed by the limitations of the human eye. Fox shook his head and pushed himself away from the wall. He wasn’t here to think about Biology; it was the end of the world, damn it. If he was going to die, it would be on his terms, and with two of life’s greatest pleasures along for the ride. He’d have added the third if he could, but every woman he’d encountered had either been dead or trying to eat him. And not the good kind of eat, either.
Fox sniggered to himself, though the joke wasn’t funny. Really, none of this was funny, but if he didn’t find something to laugh at, he’d go mad. Amber liquid spilled into the glass, though he hadn’t been aware he was pouring it. The cool glass found his trembling lips, and he knocked the whiskey back. It hit him like a truck, and Fox felt himself reel. He shook his head, nearly dropping the damn bottle. Since when did booze have such a kick to it?
Fox glanced down at his hands to see they were shaking.
Since I’m about to die, he thought calmly to himself. He appreciated his body for doing him one last favour. Nothing like drinking sorrows away. Not after what he’d seen. Fox poured himself another one, and thought about the first of the…well, zombie sounded too ridiculous, even to himself. Creature? Yeah, creature. Neutral was good. He thought about the first creature he’d seen.
It had been his niece, or at least one of them. Lisa, his sister, had called him to ask him to babysit. Amy was sick, but Lisa had to go work. Fox didn’t have kids of his own, didn’t want them. But he did have a soft spot for Amy and Sarah. Sure, he’d said. When he’d gotten there, Lisa had been flat on her back, her intestines breakfast for little Amy. When he’d pulled Amy away, she’d tried to take a chunk out of him, too. He’d thrown her down in shock, and then rushed to see if she was alright. Apparently a split skull and a collapsed eye socket hadn’t been enough to stop her wanting to eat him. Fox had ran, but not before he’d gone to Sarah’s room, his youngest niece. The crib had been nothing but a bloodbath, the red-soaked, shredded nappy the only thing he recognised.
A smash brought Fox back to reality. He’d dropped his whiskey glass. Damn. Fox set the bottle down, and noticed the shaking had gotten worse. He rocked himself, trying to forget. This wasn’t the place for memories, just alcohol and cigarettes. Fox groped for the bottle again and raised it. A mouthful trickled through his lips. Fuck. He swallowed and stood, throwing the bottle to the ground with a dangerous sway.
One of life’s greatest pleasures out of the way. Time for the second. Fox fumbled with the inner pocket of his suit jacket, and produced a packet of cigarettes. The Zippo lighter lay on the wall, and Fox staggered to it, careful not to fall. He loved Zippo lighters. He loved the feel of the metal, the strange clicking sound they made when they were opened and closed. Fox spent a few moments flicking the lid back and forth, watching it with unfocused eyes. The was a loud bang at the door he had sealed, and he sighed. He stood up and grabbed the plastic canister by the door. Twisting off the lid, he sloshed the contents all around the door. The smell was strong and made him cough, but he continued until the canister was empty. He dropped it, and then returned to the wall. Another bang sounded.
“Fuck off!” he yelled as he opened the packet and pulled out the last cigarette he had. The banging increased in response. Fox ignored it and stared down at the lighter. Now was a dangerous moment. Would he get his last cigarette? Fox held his breath and dragged his thumb across the Zippo wheel. The lighter sparked to life and he let out a whoosh of air in relief. Smiling, Fox watched the flame dance for a second, and then put the cigarette in his teeth and lit it.
It had been worth the wait. His first drag was a deep one, and he felt a rush wash over him, taking away all his worries. He leant his head back against the wall, eyes closed, and let out a lazy trail of smoke from his lips. His last cigarette. He remembered his first, plain as day. Suzie Carmichael had given it to him when he was sixteen years old. He’d coughed and spluttered like a little bitch, his cheeks growing hot as Suzie watched him with her own fag. Coincidentally, she’d also been his first fuck. Inexperience with smoking hadn’t been enough to put her off completely.
Fox wondered if she was still alive, or if she’d been unlucky. Nah, not Suzie Carmichael. She was one hell of a smart bitch. She’d survive.
The cigarette was almost finished. Just in time, too. As Fox stood up, the crowbar gave way and the door burst open. The creatu-oh, fuck it-zombies stumbled through, before spotting their prey. Fox climbed up onto the wall, gave a salute and a smirk, and tossed the cigarette into the petrol trail he’d made. He jumped.
There was silence as he fell. Fox felt disappointed. He’d wanted to out with a bang, drunk and full of a nicotine rush. Maybe he’d missed the petrol trail. Maybe he hadn’t set it up right. Or maybe cigarettes weren’t enough for that kind of thing. Not that it would matter in a few seconds.
A sudden explosion rocked the air, flames bursting out from the roof he had been on moments before. Fox smiled and closed his eyes. He’d been wrong. Today had been a good day to die after all.
Generated Keywords: Cigarette, Fox, Nappy
Internet was cut off and then was rather ill. Kinda put a wrench in my writing/updating before I’d even got going properly. Oh well.
I’ll hopefully have something new posted later today.
My other, shorter, university assignment.
A Day in the Life of
Some girls, you never forget. You know the kind: your greatest love, the one that broke your heart or changed your life forever. This girl was different. I met her and never saw her again. And she didn’t speak to me, didn’t even look my way, not once. But I’ll always remember her face.
It was a warm, sunny morning, and the back carriage, where I’d acquired a seat, was nearly empty. There had been no one that day who had caught my attention, and as the train ground to a screeching halt, I sighed impatiently. Would anyone of interest ever join this journey? That was when she stepped aboard.
The necklace. It was the daisy necklace I saw first, my eyes immediately drawn to the glimmering metal flower hanging from its silver chain. Then I looked up and saw her features, framed by endless waves of light brown hair. I was entranced by her. She was the one. My gaze never left her as I leaned back in the worn train seats and studied her intently. Her name, I decided, was Daisy — and oh, how it suited her. She was beautiful, but gently so. Her features were soft and delicate; her clothes light and airy, and she wore a thick, beige scarf around her slender neck.
Daisy sat down opposite me at the train table. My heart skittered, and for a moment, I thought she might look up at me. The scenario flashed through my head, and I allowed myself to slip into the daydream. She would glance up at me, notice me staring, and smile. ‘What is your name?’ she would ask, and I would tell her. ‘My name is Daisy,’ would be her reply. I would say that it fitted her perfectly. She would smile and call me a charmer, leaning forward and batting those…those…
It occurred to me that I didn’t know the colour of her eyes. Glancing back at her, I watched her for a moment while she stared out of the window. The light shone through the gaps in the trees as the train rattled on through the country, and lit up the colour of her irises so that they were plain to see. Hazel, and a pretty shade of hazel at that. As I was admiring them, though, I couldn’t help but notice the deep shadows under her eyes. As if on cue, she stifled a yawn, and then winced as the sun blazed through the window again. After a slight pause, she began to unwrap the scarf from around her neck, and I spotted her fingernails. They were broken and sore.
The scarf came loose and slipped off her neck. Almost immediately, she jumped and scrambled for the length of material, scooping it up and wrapping it back around her frantically. But while she didn’t pay any attention to me, I saw what she had momentarily forgotten: long, purple marks.
My mind was racing now. I flicked my gaze back towards her, but any trace of the angry blemishes were now gone. I took a few deep breaths. Perhaps I had just imagined it. After all, I didn’t get a clear view, did I? But in the process of convincing myself, I was unable to look at her. A strange sensation burned in my stomach, but I couldn’t place it. It begged me to watch her, to observe. ‘Look at her!’ my mind screamed. So I did.
Daisy was no longer there. There was someone in her place. It looked like Daisy, but it was not my Daisy. Her skin, which had seemed so perfect, had blotches of heavily applied makeup. It was meant to hide the purple blossoms that dotted her face, but instead enhanced them. The dainty nose was crooked, and that shapely mouth was marred by a half healed split in the middle of the bottom lip. The last thing I noticed, before I forced myself to turn away, was a tell-tale smear of blood on the hem of her shirt. It was a shadow of the girl who had first got on the train, stealing her from me and leaving a sad, broken form in her place.
I stared down at the grey, plastic table, my insides twisting. If I were to look again, she would catch my eye and look back…and she would know. She would know me, as I knew her.
A screech filled the air, and the train began to slow. The girl stood up, and my breathing began to steady. I was escaping her presence. She was releasing me.
The train stopped, and the doors opened with a mechanical clunk. A small band of people stepped off the train, while I continued to distract myself from watching her leave. I knew if I looked back, I would suffer.
“Claire! I’m so glad you’re home.”
My will broke, and I turned to the window. There she was, with another man. He held a bunch of flowers in one hand, an extravagant arrangement, while the other was clamped down tightly on her arm. I felt my heart tighten, just watching her with him. Daisy was dead. Claire, the girl I thought I had known, was all that was left.
The doors shut with a bang, making me jump. As the train began to flee from the station, I looked back to Claire one last time. I pressed myself against the window, my voice caught in my throat. My fingers dug into the glass as my heavy breath misted the window. The train began to pick up pace as the man led her towards a nearby car with a jerk. Trees started to obscure the view as they reached the vehicle, him opening the car door while maintain his hold on her. As he helped her in, the train reached a curve.
Written for my university assignment.
Through a Glass, Darkly
My eyes snapped open.
There was no sunshine; no warm, welcoming light to greet me as I was dragged into consciousness. All that could be seen for miles was the darkness; a crushing, loving womb of black that held me in its relentless embrace.
For a moment, only the sound of my fluttering breath in the dead air lay with me in my lonely existence. The air seemed to move around my weak exhales, before rushing in like the tide and swallowing the noise whole.
The black was interrupted by the faintest blur of grey. My vision began to return to me; it looked like cloud cloaking a moonlit night, and I waited in anticipation for the brilliant, glowing orb to appear before me. Instead, my eyes focused. I became aware.
The first object that revealed itself in my new world was a curtain. The banality of the object fascinated me, and I watched it hang with an unnatural stillness. Dust swirled lazily through the faint beams of light that bloomed from the tattered holes of the dirty fabric, beautiful in its own way.
I grew disinterested in the glimmering patterns and slowly sat up. My joints creaked, an ache shooting throughout my body as a struggled to move, and I found myself tangled in a creature wrapped around my legs and arms. I struggled, panic jolting through me, and then relaxed. It was merely a sheet, greyed with age and grime. Inspecting it for a moment, I noticed smears of unpleasant colouring all along its frayed length; faint browns, murky yellows, and a darker stain that I could not identify. Against my better judgement, I leaned forward and sniffed the sheets, before reeling away, gagging. The smell was rank, like meat left out to spoil, and I jerked away violently. The room tilted, and I fell from my putrid altar.
The water hit me like concrete, and I thrashed in it, gasping with terror as a chill crept through my veins and caressed my bones. Then my flailing arm cracked itself on the tile floor, and I realised the pool was only ankle deep. Pushing myself to my hands and knees, I steadied my breath and then allowed my fingers to explore my throbbing jaw line, gently touching the newly formed bump. It hurt, but didn’t seem serious, so I drew away from it.
My hands were coated in thick algae. I glanced around to find something to clean them on. The platform from which I had toppled was actually a bed, the mattress sagged and rotting, the metal frame battered and tarnished. The sheets had been completely submerged in the slimy water, and the mattress, upon closer inspection, was actually damp. There was a hole in the ceiling, where liquid dripped down every so often with a slight pattering sound.
I sighed and looked down to wipe my hands on myself, before stopping. The garment I was wearing, while ruined from the pool, still showed signs of being clean prior to my fall. The loose, pastel shirt was intact, with no unexplained stains or rips. I considered this for a moment, and then wiped my hands on it anyway. Wriggling out of the old bed sheets, I grasped the leg of the bed and pulled myself up. My arms burned, while my legs screamed in protest, the muscles desperately resisting my will. I gritted my teeth and continued, groaning with pain until I was onto my feet. I inhaled deeply, savouring the air despite its musty, damp stench, and examined the room.
Many of the windows had been boarded up, the wood so badly decomposed that it was split and splintered, chunks missing or covered in greedy fungi and moss. The little light there was filtered through the gaps in the deteriorating boards, highlighting ruin and decay amidst the deep murk. Old, metal cabinets framed the edges of the room like ancient gravestones. Some had their doors wrenched off, others overturned, their innards scattered.
Something brushed against my leg and I jumped, choking back a scream. It was nothing more than a square, plastic bag with a long tube attached at the bottom. There appeared to be some form of congealed, dark liquid in it, but the mere thought of what it could be made my stomach churn. I nudged it with my leg and watch it float away like a grisly little boat.
My hold on the bed slipped slightly and I stumbled, sending up waves of filthy water.
“Who’s there?” I cried out, squinting into the gloom. “Hello?”
No answer. This did not deter me, however. I knew I had heard a voice. I knew it. “Please, is someone there? I don’t know where I am and I can barely walk. Just…please…help me….”
My voice cracked and trailed away. I felt no shame for the blatant desperation laced within my pleas. Now that I was moving, the temperature of the air had plummeted and I was shivering violently. If I didn’t get out of there soon…
The whispers did not return. No one was there, and no one was coming for me. I decided it was time to explore and leave this place on my own. Perhaps when I reached the outside world, everything would make sense. Carefully, I let go of the bed and began to wade forward unsteadily, my legs shaking with every step. Then, out from the murk, a figure appeared. It was sat upright in a chair, its head tilted back against the metal frame. I told myself they were merely sleeping, though I struggled to believe it, and then called out to them.
“Excuse me,” I began warily, before stopping dead in my tracks. My mind tried to process the existence of this new person, but failed. For a fleeting moment, disbelief kept me there, hanging on the edge of sanity over a dark, yawning precipice as I stared at the mouldy remains of a long dead skeleton. Their clothes had all but rotted away, a few discoloured scraps clinging to the aging bones, and protruding from between the ribs was a long, sharp piece of metal. Reality crashed down, and I fell to my knees, terrified.
I could not bring myself to look at it again, and crawled past it towards the door, dry, petrified sobs wracking my body. A sudden pain shot through my hand and I yelped, retracting it up from the water. I was greeted by an old, cracked syringe, its rusted needle embedded deep into my hand. All too aware of the mouldering husk behind me, I rocked back onto my knees and used my free hand to gently extract it. Soft whimpers escaped my lips as my wound throbbed. The needle was resisting, but if I was too forceful, it could snap and become stuck inside my flesh. I took a gamble and wiggled it as I pulled. It felt like I had just plunged my hand into fire, and I hissed between my clenched teeth. The needle came free. I looked at it for a moment, revolted, and then threw it across the room. It clanged against an empty cabinet and ricocheted away into the darkness. What else lurked in the murky pool? I continued to crawl, but carefully now, my right palm pressed against my chest to stem the bleeding. The only exit lacked a door, apparently ripped from its frame as the twisted hinges still remained. I shuffled through it, my other hand deep in the water, guiding me along the cracked tiles littered with countless hard — sometimes sharp — objects.
The corridor was almost deserted, save for a few skeletons, their bones bobbing gently in the water as I scurried by. The dark stains that had been on my sheets were also on the walls in huge, streaking splatters. I rubbed my injured hand against my face, smearing wet blood onto my skin. I couldn’t pretend anymore. Wherever I was, this had clearly been some kind of slaughterhouse. All those bones, the walls, the sheets…
But what had happened here to leave it in such disrepair?
I reached a set of stairs and clambered up onto them, glad to be on dry land. The wood was warped and covered in a thick layer of moss, but at least now I could see where I was putting my feet. For what felt like an age, I stumbled up the steps, occasionally slipping on the slick ground. At one point, my foot had gone straight through the rotten wood, and I had only saved myself from a tumble back down the stairs by grabbing at the banister. It came away almost as soon as my weight tugged at it, but it gave me a few precious seconds to find my footing and force myself steady.
Once I’d reached the next floor, I leaned over, stopping to catch my breath. When I looked up again, I could do little but choke.
Skeletons, dozens of them, lined up against the walls. Some were hanging by the neck from rope nailed to the ceiling. Others had their hands bound, with their skulls cracked or broken in one way or another. The remaining were simply slumped against the crumbling walls, their heads missing. Was I next in this corridor of death? I didn’t want to find out. I turned to run back down the stairs, and then screamed.
The water level had silently risen up the stairs, like an assassin stalking their target. I would not be escaping that way. And even as I stared at it, I saw it shift and gurgle, before creeping up another step. The only hope lay forwards.
I spun around to the source of the whisper, but there was no one. The skeletons, however, had moved. All of them now faced me, waiting for me to join them. My heart was racing, thrashing against my ribcage with such ferocity that I feared it would break through. The bubbling behind me indicated that I was running out of time. I clenched my fists, ignoring the pain that shot through the right, and let my thoughts wander. I would relax. I would relax.
” Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” I quoted, and took a step forward. The silence that followed was music to my ears. A faint giggle slipped from my mouth, but I barely noticed. I inched forward again. The skeletons remained motionless. I began to walk at a brisk pace, making my way past the macabre guardians of the corridor. It was then I noticed a window, and decided to look outside to see if I could spot a way down. My insides froze. All around the building was dark, murky water, as far as the eye could see. I was isolated here, a wanderer locked in a tomb.
You are mine, David.
Despite my distress, I felt a strange sensation come over me, and I threw a quick look over my shoulder. Then I turned fully to face them, my mouth a perfect ‘o.’ They were following me. All of the skeletons were looking directly at me, their positions changed to a desperate crawl. The nearest, a decapitated husk, was lying flat on its stomach, one bony arm reaching out for me.
The slapping of my feet against the ground became rhythmic; I was a train hurtling along a track, unable to escape from its course. I could not leave this place, this building, this nightmarish hellhole. Every glance back revealed the creatures stalking me, getting closer and closer with every passing moment. I reached the end of the corridor to find the door chained shut, a thick padlock preventing me from going any further. I turned to face my hunters.
It was a stalemate. For as long as I remained awake, they could not take me. For as long as I looked at them, I controlled them. But they could wait; they would never get tired, never sleep. I considered the possibility of just closing my eyes and ending everything there and then.
A deep rumbling interrupted my thoughts, and I watched as the ground began to shake, rattling apart the loathsome predators. It gave me a great amount of pleasure to watch their mouldy bones skitter across the tiles, but my glee was short lived as an unstoppable wave of thick, black water thundered around the corner and towards me. I opened my mouth to cry out, and tasted death. Then I slipped away into nothing.
Come back, David.
My eyes snapped open.
There was no sunshine; no warm, welcoming light to greet me as I was dragged into consciousness. All that could be seen for miles was the darkness, and my mind fumbled through memories, trying to piece together what had happened.
A faint spattering of grey marred the perfect black, and then expanded to reveal my surroundings. For a moment, I blinked in confusion, and then realisation hit me. I was back in the room.
I sat up sharply, and found myself face to face with terror itself. The guardians stood around me, still and silent, their empty sockets watching me. At the foot of my bed was the first skeleton I had encountered, sat in his metal throne, his head now forward, eyeing me with a mocking grin.
I’ll never let you go, David.
A woman sat in a metal chair next to a man lying in a bed. The man was motionless, but breathing, a mask fixed to his face, tubes coming out of his arms. A heart monitor was set up next to him, beeping steadily. She fixed the pristine, white sheets, pulling them up to his neck and tucking them around his arms so that he was cocooned. Then she caressed the man’s gaunt face, tracing the stubble on his chin while lips trembled.
“David?” she tried again. No response. Her hand dropped to her side and tears began to roll down her cheeks. “David…”
She took a tissue from her pocket and dabbed at her eyes, sniffling. A man in a white coat walked into the room, glanced at the woman, and then immediately busied himself with a nearby cabinet, sifting through boxes of syringes and IV equipment. He then walked towards the patient and inserted a needle into the back of the patient’s right hand, before setting up a drip. The woman did not turn away from the man at the bed, but instead fiddled with the gold band on her finger. After a slight pause, she leaned closer and whispered into his ear.
“Remember when you first said you loved me? You told me you were mine.” She pulled back the newly fixed sheets and gave his exposed hand a squeeze. “You are mine, David. Come back. Come back, David.”
The doctor moved to the end of the bed, smiling, as others filed into the small room and crowded around the bedridden man, mumbling their reassurances to the woman. He glanced at a clipboard, and then caught the woman’s eye. “Talking to him is good, Carol. It’s very usual for people in his condition to hear everything that is being said, so keep it up. Your voice will be a great comfort to him.”
Carol beamed at the doctor and kissed the patient on the forehead. She bent forwards once again, ignoring the other visitors, and stroked the man’s face.
“I’ll never let you go, David,” she whispered.
Even though no one is reading this and I’ve no idea who I’m talking to, this will be my writing platform for the foreseeable future. I had a conversation with a videogame developer and he recommended I write one short story a week as practise and make a site to place them all. I can’t afford a site, so a blog will have to do.
I want to work in the videogame industry as a game writer when I leave university, so this will be a place to build my writing portfolio. I prefer to write dark/horror stories, and especially like creating creepy material with strange, unexpected plot twists. I will also be experimenting with other genres (though dark/horror will be my main ones), perspective (I’ve always wanted to try writing in second person, and I would like to improve my usage of first, too), and working within episodic constraints and set limitations. I feel this will help me stick to a goal given to me by a company rather than going off in my own crazy direction and producing something unwanted.
Character bios and other ideas will also appear on here, and maybe in the future editorials and game reviews.
And, finally, as well as the short stories, I will be creating a mini series of vignettes. I hope to write a series of stories about the final moments of various survivors in a zombie outbreak. To help challenge me, I will go to random theme/character/scenario/word generators to produce setting and themes for me to work with. Once I have these tags, I have to produce a story that adheres to the themes given to me, no matter how strange or difficult to write. If I can’t write it, I will state as such and consider a ‘reroll’ of words.
Phew! Now with all that out of the way, welcome to my blog! I hope my future work will convince you to stick around.