Rings

Email pings.

Video.

“Watch this.”

Dark things.

Dark well.

Dark girl.

Welcome to hell.

Your new world.

Video ends.

Phone rings.

“Seven days,” voice sings

“Sorry, am already dead, Samara.”

“Curse you, Kayako.”

Ghost wins.

Runs rings round cursed kid.

Cross—fight—over.

 

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Modest Isn’t Hottest When You’re With Me

[Pretty sure this is overwhelmingly unfinished but I’m leaving it as it is—twas very much a “time and place” piece! Definitely imagined as a song in the style of the best angsty teen band out there…]

My fingers trace along your waist

Your sigh says as much as the look on your face

Innocent eyes – the real you

Or just a clever disguise only I see through?

 

Are playing up for me?

Sultry trying to impress me?

Is this you or what you think I want?

I fell before you felt the need for me to need you.

And I can tell you don’t know just what you’re getting into.

Test me til I snap and I won’t snap back.

Break me to your will and I can’t promise I won’t break you.

 

Cast your shadow cast your lot

In with me until we rot.

Show your soul I’ll give you mine

That side of you I can’t define

 

Hatches

She was coming. They could feel it in the air which, after days of hanging lazily above the house and the fields, now pressed down on the roof, pressed in on the windows and on the doors.

The clouds steadily darkened as Robert worked atop the ladder, hammering iron into wood that would be their first line of defence against her.

The creak of the old farmhouse door preceded Emma’s arrival, bearing much-needed liquid refreshment. “I’d like to see him get through this,” he said as he took the glass from her.

“Him?” Emma asked. “It’s a girl, this one.”

Robert shrugged. “Is it? I thought that was a man’s name.”

“Well this is definitely a girl. Jake was the last one, remember?”

“Quite right. Still, I think it’s a good name for a young lad.” He said it aloud a few times, trying it out. “It’s powerful.”

Emma tilted her head, her eyes scanning the horizon. “Yes,” she said after a pause. “I think I do too.”

Emma hovered her thumb over the torch’s switch and arched an eyebrow. Robert shrugged. There was nothing to see down here anyway as they sat and waited. “Sure,” he said, and Emma clicked them into darkness.

They remained together on the sofa they’d dragged down the stairs, their fingers entwined, listening to the forces that raged above them.

“There’s something soothing about it,” Robert said a while later. He felt Emma’s body jump a little against him. As suspected, she’d been drifting off. “Maybe it’s knowing that we’re safe.”

Emma’s fingers glided along the side of his face. “I think it’s romantic,” she said in a low voice.

“Is that so?” he asked, turning towards her. “Well, we’ve got nothing but time.”

She chuckled in response, but her lips quickly sought his out, fleetingly.  “Maybe she’s making such a racket because she’s jealous of me,” Emma said, shifting further towards him. “Holed up here with you…”

They blinked in the light as they prised open the basement door the next morning, scared to see what had become of their home. The sight of shattered glass sprinkled across the hallway carpet made Robert curse.

“Oh what does it matter?” Emma asked, wrapping her arms around him again. “We’ve still got each other.”

“Too true,” Robert with a laugh. He leaned down to kiss Emma lightly on her forehead. “We can patch it up in no time.”

He was right. Within a dozen hours, the house looked as it always had.

But within a dozen weeks, Emma began to look very different.

And within a few more months, she and Robert found themselves at a blank. They couldn’t agree on a single name. Robert wanted something strong, Emma something unique. As they sat brooding, Emma noted, “You know, he was probably conceived during that storm.”

They looked at each other. A moment passed. Robert arched an eyebrow; Emma nodded.

“It can be a boy’s name,” she said, looking down at their son nestled in her arms. “Yes, I think it fits.”

Robert stood and walked over. He considered the new-born, asleep and content. “Hey, little Koren. Nice to meet you.”

Cold Hard Cash

He could hear the faint sound of laughter filtering through the trees.

Shafts of sunlight poured through gaps in the canopy, but the air was strangely cold.

Robert thought back, brought up the map in his mind; there shouldn’t be people for miles.

He wandered into the nearest patch of light, glanced up, and confirmed what he expected: thunder clouds rolling in already.

A necromancer, and by the sounds of it, he’d brought a band of witches too.

Just when he needed an easy job.

Roberts sighed, gripped his sword a bit tighter, and jogged off into the gathering darkness.

[100 words]

 

Bound

They writhe, chained, below. No sleep, only the respite of discomfort before pain.

Soon they will be back on the oars, hauling themselves across oceans, fighting to live a life in chains rather than die in them. They’re just like us—the tribal tattoos inked on their forearms the only difference.

No, the men I work alongside are the real savages. They savour their positions: crew of a slave ship—what power! I don’t—but I’m grateful to be where I am.

They writhe; my fingers trace idly the scars on my forearms, where once my own tattoos were inked.

[100 words]

Hello/Goodbye

I didn’t recognise the number, but answered the call nevertheless.

“Hello?”

“Hi, who’s this?”

I paused. “It’s Toby,” I replied slowly. “Who were you expecting when you called my phone?” The sarcasm I was trying for didn’t quite work; the girl’s voice was so friendly that I instead ended up sounding helpful.

“No one in particular. How are you, Toby?”

“I’m fine, thank you…but who is this?”

“My name’s Gemma. Toby, you are the last person I will ever talk to. Goodbye.”

The line went dead.

I rushed to retrieve the number and called straight back.

There was no answer.

I Warned You

In London you’re never far from a rat.

Everyone knows that.

You’re also never far from one of my kind.

You know that too, to an extent.

You just don’t know what we are.

We’re waiting, suffering while we wait but that isn’t important.

The end will be so sweet we won’t remember the suffering.

I only call it the end so you’ll understand.

It is the beginning of a new age for us.

Most of my kind don’t care what happens to you.

Having a conscience doesn’t make me unique, but I’ve picked up more human traits than most.