The Dark Room

Nobody Behind the Door by Nicolas Gouny

Nobody Behind the Door by Nicolas Gouny

You know exactly what they look like; black and shimmering, with big long jaws full of bright white teeth. They stretch their arms out, but never come closer than you allow them to.

You stand there and wait, using the light beyond the door to study every shiny scale. They growl and sniff and howl, restless in the dim.

You think they’re the reason you’re still here, that you can’t leave until they are gone. They know better.

Just Beyond

Grey World via Josiah Munsey on Flickr

Grey World via Josiah Munsey on Flickr

“Think the sky is grey because we want it that way?” she asks.
Hell of a way to speak to someone on the other side of the line.
“Suits the mood, whatever the reason.”
She ain’t wrong, us facing each other in the misty quiet.

Above us it’s all spinning off, breaking up – reforming.
“Are you afraid of what comes next?”
She’s difficult to ignore but impossible to cut down.
“I’m not.”

Now that, I do believe.
They’ve the light of a million righteous souls behind them.
But us?
All we’ve got’s the guilt.

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My Literary Confessions

alice-disney

  • My favourite first lines are not ones that you’ll find on top ten lists:

“When a day that you happen to know is a Wednesday starts off by sounding like a Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.” – John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids

“It was a dazzling four-sun afternoon.” – Issac Asmiov and Robert Silverberg, Nightfall

“In defense of Althalus, it should be noted that he was in very tight financial circumstances and more than a little tipsy when he agreed to undertake the theft of the Book.” – David and Leigh Eddings, The Redemption of Althalus Continue reading

Slumland Symphony

Under a Rock, by Jonone

Under a Rock, by Jonone (click-through for full size!)

Garrett watched the sunrise from behind an old beaten up carrier that had been gutted decades ago. All that was left was the shell, a blistered, broken mass of metal that once knew how to fly. Sad, he thought, tipping back his hat and squinting into the wind. Time was he’d have maybe been a pilot himself. Sat behind a board full of pretty blinking lights and taken off, broken atmo with a smile and a purpose and money in the bank.

There was a creak followed by a muffled snap, distant and quiet, off to his left. Someone was trying to get closer. Garrett sniffed the air, and settled his hat back firmly on his head, down over his eyes. His back was aching, pressing into the ship’s old carcass, heating up with the sun as it rose.

Another creak, light footfalls skittering over the ruins of the graveyard. Woman maybe, or a boy. Young either way, starving like the weeds that sprouted up from between the cracked dirt just to wither. Whoever they were, they were getting closer and moving faster. Figured him for an easy mark, sleeping under the sky, miles from anyone who might give a fig about justice or the proper way of settling things… Continue reading

Hidden Below

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In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge over on the Daily Post, here’s a piece by photographer Andrew Brooks.

It’s a part of his ‘Hidden Cities’ collection, and was taken during an exploration of Manchester.

I have a lot of his worked saved and hidden away, because it has often served to inspire and save me from more than one bought of writer’s block.

The reason I love this particular picture so much is because I found it when trying to research locations for Underground, back when it was still a short that took place almost entirely inside a series of abandoned tunnels.

Whenever I’m having trouble writing that story, taking a look at Brooks’ work often helps me get back on track.

Be sure to click-through for the full-sized image and check out the rest of his site too!

Swamp Night Delight

Swamp Fever by Andree Wallin

Swamp Fever by Andree Wallin

There was a shotgun in my left hand. I remember the weight of it keenly. I knew how to use it.

Which was odd, since I’ve never laid eyes on a gun before.

It may have been dusk, though the trees curling above made it impossible to really tell. There was a green tinged mist in the air, a smell of moss and sodden dirt on the breeze. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked around and seen something so unfamiliar. Continue reading

Fooling the Trickster

Dark Deeds in London, by kirillart

Dark Deeds in London, by kirillart.

I could feel it, seeping out and soaking the green cotton of my dress. Sticking the cloth to my skin as it spread. I imagined the contrast as warmth blossomed across my chest and my heart began pounding. I wondered, bizarrely, if he was smiling.