Tag Archives: scraps

Random Writing: The Bells

The start of something, inspired by a peal on a Saturday. It’s still quite rough, and I’m not sure where it’s going yet! I may turn it into a flash piece.

It never fails to surprise me how, two cities and a continent away, the sound of the bells can still wake me from my sleep, bringing me bolt upright and sweating into the musty darkness of my room.

It was another life away, that peal – although it was not one, never one. There were bells for mass and ceremony, liturgy and matins. There were bells for birth, and marriage and joy; bells for death and separation and trouble.

And bells for disaster.

It is always that peal I hear, deep in the night. The slow, solemn thud of the ringer against the largest cloche; the deep, throbbing tone ringing out across the rooftops, shaking the birds out of slumber and the mortar in the walls, shaking the cobbles and the bricks, shaking the air itself as it bestirred all of us out of our lives.

Danger. Danger.


A snippet of an angry Ghost

An oddity that didn’t fit into the No Man’s Land canon. I find it interesting how everything coils inside and then come out, current events and news and Twitter feeds and old stories and new stories…it might fit into a wider story, might not.

I glance at my watch. “Luk, time.”

One of them says something in a tone that doesn’t need translating, and gives me a sideways glance.

Luk smirks, and says something with an undertone of laughter. But before I can make any move, he’s swung back to me and pulled me away with an arm around my shoulders.

I let him walk me away; probably better not to leave blood all over the pavement. But I can’t resist asking, “What was that last comment?”

I hope he hears the edge to my voice, but he doesn’t look down. “Just a stupid joke, sunshine.”

“And you agreed with it.”

He does look down now, frowning, not comprehending. “What?”

“Something along the lines of ‘women, eh? Bunch of bitches! Nagging and whining.’ Yes?” I pull away from his arm and turn, feeling the anger in my chest mingle with an old, remembered feeling. Some people can’t change – or don’t, until they want to.  “And you agreed with it. That’s what you think of me? A fucking nuisance that drags you places and nags?”


“You could have disagreed. You could have objected. You didn’t.”

He’s glaring at me, frustrated. “It was just a stupid comment-”

I spit at him, silencing him. And then I step up to him, nose to nose, even though I have to stand on the balls of my feet to be anywhere close. It’s enough. “Not to that man, it wasn’t.”

Luk flashes into his dark anger as I step away, an uncomprehending and bewildered anger that I know so well. “What the fuck is wrong with you? You’ve done similar, you’ve just agreed with a throwaway thing because you need people to like you and not try to kill you. I didn’t want to fight him. What the fuck did you expect me to do? I don’t think he took it as anything-”

I spin back and jab a finger at him. “You laughed. You didn’t object. You agreed.” I don’t know what he’s seeing in me, but it’s made him stop, condensing his anger back into his chest. “And every time he calls a woman a bitch, every time he gropes someone, every time he raises a hand to his girlfriend, it’s because you’ve told him he can. Because women are bitches, and everyone else agrees with him. Every time you nod and smile, it gets a little worse. It builds up. Because no one disagreed.” I turn and jam my hands into my pockets. “So fuck you, and fuck what you just bought into. I don’t need someone like you watching my back.”

“So what the hell do you want me to do?” he says to my back as I walk away. “Go back and beat him up?”

I turn, still walking backwards. “Next time, you’ll disagree. You’ll say you don’t think that. You’ll defend the woman you’re with, because that man sure as hell won’t respect her saying anything but he might listen to you. You’ll have a think about what your fucking attitude says to the people you hang around with, and what you think of their status. And you’ll apologise to me for implying I’m a nagging, whining bitch.”

“You know what?” he yells down the road after me. “You are! Fuck you, Ghost!”

I give him the finger and vanish. We’ve got a job to do? Well, good luck finding me now, you git.

Random Writing: snarky Ghost stories

Stories about a character named Ghost, that is. I probably should change her name, although it’s already confusing, so…meh.

I went to the Salisbury Writer’s Circle this week, just to see a) what it was like, and b) if I met anyone. It was ok – I’m never sure I’m the right candidate for writer’s groups, as I don’t often have work to share, write fantasy, and do not get on at all with language analysis. So the meeting was ok: it was busy (they had a lot of new people) but they had a fun interview with Barney Norris, and we also got given some writing prompts – so I thought I’d share the snippets!

The first was the prompt of a mobile phone not working, with a focus on the phone itself. This is straight from my scrappy notes!

I step out of the gateway, fish my phone out of my pocket, and thumb the button. In true helpful fashion, nothing happens. I swear – quietly – and push the power button. Two…three…there.

Still nothing.

I’m mindful of the commuters rushing past me, and manage the next virulent swear under my breath. Press and hold. Two…three…four…

I want to slam the damn thing into the ground, and manage to turn it into a snarl of frustration. Of all the days for my phone to break, it has to be now?

And the second prompt was “mist”.

I’m being followed.

In most cases, this wouldn’t be a problem. I’d slip on my invisibility, walk lightly, and hightail it out of there. In this case, though, I have two problems. One, it’s misty – so thick that I can pretty much walk on it. Being invisible ain’t going to help me if whatever is following me can follow through this cloud of misty, white cold.

And two, I have a strong suspicion that what’s following me is something rather nasty. Like…a hag. Skeletal, bent, and with a taste for human flesh.

This isn’t good.

Even having typed them out, I can feel my fingers itching for tweaks and amendments! I have no idea where either of these would go, but they definitely could be story starters.

Snippet of an Idea

This one’s from a colleague at work – “I send my books out into the universe”.

On space-ships. Through portals. On the colony transporters carrying thousands of sleeping passengers. On the cargo freighters picking up minerals from the asteroid belts and ice from the far-out moons before beginning their run back. On the orbiting stations above alien planets, circling above long-dead surfaces. On tiny skimmers flitting across the planet’s surface, darting there and back again.

The paper has been well-thumbed – maybe enough that you now have to wear gloves, or use a tool to turn the pages, so that you don’t wear the print off for someone else. There’s a box, or a shelf, or an alcove on every vessel; crammed with the crew’s choices, their precious sheets. There’s always someone amongst the team who knows how to repair a binding, or can coax the printer to spit out new pages to paste between the worn plastic covers. They are treasured, patched and repaired, bound and bandaged, to be read and worn down again and again.

They read in their bunks. In the long hours between asteroids. In the silence of the stars. In the howling storms of alien worlds, the bright sunshine of the galaxies, the darkness of space. On new worlds, deep under the crust or in new settlements on the hills, high above the surface or somewhere on the endless ice-plains. They read between customers at the dive-bars on the docking-station, before starting the day fishing on the narrow seas, after crossing unimaginable distances and back again.

No matter where they travel, stories go with them, and the scraps of paper and plastic are a better dimension to other worlds than any they can imagine in their own.

Writing update: June

I’ve mostly been editing for the past few weeks, but have managed to do a bit of writing…

“Drop the girl, get out of the mess you’re tangled in, and get us our information.” He gave me a thin smile and waved a hand at the door. “That is all.”

I had my hand on the door handle when the additional sentence that I’d been expecting slid out, smooth and barbed.

“We are watching you.”

I slammed the door after me.


It usually hurts when you find out that someone’s been lying to you, or cheating you, or stealing. It’s worse when they’re dead, and you can’t scream at them.

Luckily, if they’re a zombie, they can hear you just fine, and screams are normal around zombies. Something to do with the whole ‘living dead’ thing. People can be so judgmental.

So, say hello to Zombies R Us! That’s my service. I deal with anyone who’s got a grudge, and…give them a target. For a fee.

After all, it’s not like the zombie cares any more.


“I tried to get onto the project!” The man was probably drunk, Zack thought. Or at least had supped a few gulps of something potent. “I tried to get information!”

“It doesn’t look like you tried very hard,” Zack said, tired of the man already. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have been sent here.”

“They don’t trust me!”

“Well, of course they don’t.” Zack managed to not roll his eyes. “You haven’t exactly been a fount of information, have you? Most of the things you were telling us during the war were wrong.”

“That wasn’t my fault.”

“Of course not.” Zack took another sip of his drink, almost enjoying how frustrated the man was getting. He was definitely near the end of his use. “By the way, I saw your daughter before I left. She’s nearly fully grown, you know. Quite a woman.”

It took the man a moment to realise what was being implied, and Zack saw his fists clench. But as he’d expected, the man was too much of a coward to cause a scene. “What did you do to her?” he whined.

“Nothing she didn’t enjoy.” He leaned forward, dropping his faint smile. “But don’t forget that Jirlaen can do worse. She’s well cared for at the moment, but that doesn’t have to be the case.”


“Luk, how do you tell if someone’s a vampire?”

“Usually, wait until they try to drink your blood.” He spotted her expression and rolled his eyes. “It was a joke. Joking!”