The Final Moments of Lady Williams

Soft skin, delicately blushed with pink. She’d waited weeks for him to touch her, since the spark she’d felt from his hand at the store. Now here he was again, his eyes hungrily devouring every inch of her. She felt something move inside her as his fingers gripped her skin, his lips and teeth cool against her. He sunk his teeth deep into her flesh. She felt movement again, a writhing…
He spat out her flesh, disgusted at the creature now revealed in the gaping wound he’d left.
Cruel rejection as he tossed her carelessly into the food recycling bin.

Something Went Horribly Wrong Here…

Inspired by the mastery of Rohan from Pint Size Fiction, I decided to write some flash fic very quickly and knocked this up. The ending shocked me, I don’t like it, but here it is anyway:

(The kingdom of Rohan, just before it all kicks off in Mordor…)

The riders ride, an effortless glide, flashing past on noble steeds. If only Jaekir had a faster horse! The others soon leave him in a cloud of dust. Maybe if he hadn’t traded all his oats for tobacco, Galestrike (an ironic name now) would’ve grown up to be a bit quicker. Oh well. The fun they’d had blowing smoke rings out on the plains while on guard duty! He’d managed to get himself a decent sword on account of his brother being a big hero, so it’d be worth turning up late and slaying a few orcs anyway.

He was going to be so late! Damn this horse is slow… Several days of hard, slower-than-average riding pass. He just about catches up to camp on the first night before they have to leave again. Day four. The black clouds of battle rise in the distance. Almost there! He grips his sword tightly in anticipation as he makes it over the hill, finally, to see the battlefield, and his kin are trotting back towards him.

“You missed it, Jaekir,” explains his shaggy-maned uncle Ridiikulousaer, “That little sad-faced lad destroyed The Ring and now we can all go home.”
“Well that’s a relief,” replied Jaekir with a grin. He had been a bit nervous about fighting anyway. “I guess smoking paid off.”

Thanks for reading anyway; I will endeavour to write some more flash fic and avoid endings that encourage lung cancer…

Experiment One: Senescence

Hi friends! This is the first of what I plan to be a long-running series of poetic experiments, which I’ve explained in a bit more detail here. The gist is that I’d love to know what you think my motivations and ideas behind this were, so please comment with your thoughts! Without much further ado then, here’s my first poem, titled Senescence:
day 0001 0101 1111 1000 1001
again today I see the sun
again today I’m trapped inside
my prison with its walls so high
many days pass inside my maze
and yet
I face up to many more ahead
with ever increasing dread
occasional ‘heroes’ will wander
their ends come quick or slow
but none
will test my limits and so
my code, genetic, perfect, remains
I expect
beyond reasonable doubt
(for I idly ran the calculations)
I am obsolete outside
and I am obsolete inside
Created with not capacity to destroy
while I can and must maintain myself
repairs so simple as to keep
my beloved dream: senescence, at bay
and my conscience whirring
a chip off the old line
where the line no longer exists
in the factory that no longer exists
in the country that probably fell
and no longer exists
my maze and my make up keep me too safe

the beast longs to be slain

Hope you enjoyed it – let me know your thoughts!

It’s Raining Many (Aggressive Shadowy Spirits)

Death was just the beginning…

Not the start of my young adult book about a troubled vampire (I jest even though I am writing one!) but the follow-up to my last fantasy post here.

To recap, three heroes, imagined by myself, my best friend Andrew and my sister Emily, within our vast fantasy world, had just been killed by Andrew’s uncle (the one area devoid of imagination, up until this point at least, had been the names – we quested under our real life monikers) . Did death spell the end of our wild adventures running around the garden shouting and hacking at goblins? Did it heck! (Minding my language, children (or at least the reminiscences thereof) present.)

Barely had the Shadow Master slew us (this particular fight scene involved our jumping around on the trampoline and then falling over dramatically) when our three younger siblings (each conveniently similar to their predecessors in gender and appearance) turned up on the scene, ready to do battle at the tender age of probably about seven. Good on them!

The following scene was never actually acted out; however I imagined it hundreds of times and described it to my sister often enough that it may as well have been: it began with the tense first bars of Geri Haliwell’s cover of ‘It’s Raining Men’ and a deep, menacing laugh from the Shadow Master. He raised his dark, jagged arms (he was composed purely of sharp, black shadows obviously) and twisted shapes began to seep up from the ground. Insubstantial, misty at first, they darkened and took on human forms – these were souls, ghosts, wights – the ‘shadows’ our adversary commanded. As the music builds (perhaps without the lyrics which, while wonderful in their own right, don’t really suit epic battles of good and evil) the Shadow Master flings his arms higher, launching the poor trapped souls of the dead into the air. The three young warriors, still mourning the triple homicide of their siblings, steel themselves as the first verse reaches a crescendo and…


The shadows drop from the sky, surrounding the children, and begin their assault. It’s a terrifying onslaught. Did I mention their siblings had just been killed? And now this: swarms of shadowy corpses hurling themselves at our intrepid adventurers. The odds don’t look good. How could a bunch of even younger kids defeat someone who’d just killed the slightly older kids?  I don’t mind telling you now (to whet your appetite) that this younger trio would go on to great things, becoming world-renowned heroes and even making it to university, but how would they survive this? Enter our deus ex machina: Kyle.

[Incidentally, at 444 words, the above is exactly four times the length of an excellent recent piece by a good friend of mine, which you can check out here]

Fighting My Best Friend’s Girlfriend

Apologies to anyone who thought this was in any way related to the similarly-name post Fighting My Best Friend’s Uncle. It’s not, but struggle is a constant theme in my life. #misunderstood

My adversary this time is a woman I’ve never met – the mysterious Mary* who’s recently started dating my good friend Beej. This threatens to disrupt our steady-as-a-rock bromance (we recently coined the term ‘broulmates’) while she sees me as competition for Beej’s affection. It’s all speculative and light-hearted, of course; they’re coming to stay and we can’t wait to meet each other. And beat each other. A few taunts fly and, before I know it, my declaration that I’m ‘coming for her’ draws a battle-rap response, sent to me by Beej (loving the attention).

A challenge of competitive creativity, hey? It’s like she knows me already. I spend a good half hour crafting my response, a heady mix of put-down puns and superlative self-promotion. I mention how I’ll win Beej – we’ve already agreed to settle our dispute over him through a game of RoShamBo (rock-paper-scissors for those of you who don’t play ultimate) – and threaten to ‘knock her out for days’. After a few practice repetitions, I record my rap, one take. Word filters back from Beej that she’s impressed.

Come the weekend, and I greet Mary for the first time with a huge hug – we’re instant best friends. But the gauntlet we laid down is still the elephant in the room. That evening, as Beej films, we perform our respective taunts and I lay down the slickest, sickest rap of my life. Mary concedes defeat on that front but now it’s the highly anticipated best of nine RoShamBo showdown. I stare her down, formulating my first symbol. ‘No one ever goes paper first,’ I think. Given that this is so serious, she’ll put some thought into it, and go paper. I go scissors. Mary goes rock. Damn.

I equalise and we trade points to 3-2, then I stutter, caught off-guard by her speed, and paper cuts me to 4-2 down. “You need to win three in a row now,” Beej gleefully informs me. His preference is with her, perhaps because the rap battle was so one-sided, or perhaps because she has boobs. My scissors beats her paper and it’s 4-3. One match point saved. Now, I’ve worked out she’ll go paper again, so I’m going scissors. But wait! She’s smarter than that – she’ll have taken that step too, and gone rock. I should go paper, got it. “Ro, Sham, Bo, [panic] Sho!” At panic, I change my mind, running back a step to scissors…

Mary’s great. She rocks, you might say. She rocks.

*name changed to preserve Mary’s raputation. Thug life is unforgiving, she tells me.

My Dirty Little Secret and All Consuming Hobby

I play ultimate.

I shan’t clarify that with the appending of a genericised Wham-O trademark, won’t make it a pretentious proper noun by capitalising it, and refuse to even discuss whether or not it’s a sport. If you really don’t know what it is, simple, just google it!

I should apologise. This post’s title is totally misleading because I’m actually proud of the fact:

I play ultimate.

Ultimate has a bad rep, to the uninitiated it’s the sporting equivalent of the Mathletes – social suicide. Telling people you play ultimate is a constant struggle against ignorance, scorn and adjective substitution – relatives, ironically trying and failing to ‘relate’, will ask me all about it and then tell they next person we see I play ‘extreme frisbee’.

Yet this is a fast-growing sport, with an extremely dedicated player base, making waves in the wider world. I’m one of those ‘extremely dedicated’ types. I regularly train with and play for my local club side , have started weekly sessions at work to teach new people the sport and keep in touch with my uni friends by meeting up for tournaments across the country. Even then, I find myself longingly tossing a disc around on my days off.

My situation is far from unique – ultimate fever grips plenty of my teammates as well. But why? That would be an essay in itself but a few key points:

I’m really good at it!
Partly because other people aren’t – very few have played ultimate before uni, let alone as long as most kids have played football, hockey, netball – and so a few years of playing gives you a good level of experience on almost any scale. An athletic kid who throws themselves into ultimate at school has a real chance of making the GB team in no time at all. And it is fun being really good.

I look really good at it!
Its steady assault on ESPN’s weekly highlights in the US confirm that it’s not just ultimate players who find plays where people sprint, jump and dive to keep a bit of plastic carving up beautiful aerodynamics at high speed around a pitch pretty damn exciting. These aren’t advanced, unobtainable techniques either. Sure, the level of athleticism and skill is higher for the guys on TV, but anyone can run, jump and catch, and so anyone playing has the potential to pull off a highlight play at any moment.

Everyone’s nice!
Unbelievably, this is almost true. I’d say 96% nice people at the absolute minimum. While mainstream sports hoover up the necessary thugs to keep lad culture alive and well, ultimate in the UK attracts those disenchanted with bigger sports or even trying competitive sport for the first time. Add in mixed gender teams and a rule-enshrined commitment to fair play that goes as far as demanding positive attitude and often incorporates post-match mini-games between opponents, purely for social purposes, and it’s no wonder the ultimate community are a close-knit and friendly bunch. They’ll welcome you in, train you up and ensure you’ll always have a sofa to crash on for tournaments wherever you are.

This is just the tip of the iceberg really, but hopefully now you’ll understand if ultimate features on this blog again at some point, and you won’t need to ask what it is!