Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Rise of the Reavers

Failure is not an option.

Those five words could be seen everywhere. They were stencilled onto the walls, etched onto their personal items, even tattooed onto their skins. Their credo was with them each moment of the day, from their first conscious breath in the morning right through to their last thought every night.

There is nothing but success.

That was another of their conditioning phrases, second only to the first. They had no alternatives; they had to fulfil their missions. The trainers gave them no options, raising their requirements daily until the meek and the weak had all been eliminated from the process. Some of the candidates speculated on how the unworthy ones were treated after they dropped out, but those few people soon disappeared too, their voices quickly forgotten. There could be no distractions. There was nothing but success.

Taryn was the first from her family to be chosen. There had been others in the village who’d vanished, never to be seen again, but there was no proof of their fate. They could just have fallen victim to the Collectors, the raiding parties of the occupying forces always keen to take the strongest and the fairest from each community for their purposes, none of those returning alive, although sometimes their corpses were found.

The Reavers were different.  They were things of legend, a resistance force that battled the oppressors, fighting to take back all that had been snatched away.

They had to succeed.

Failure was not an option.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Flight into the gloom

He brushed her antennae. She released a cloud of golden dust which rose into his eyes, making him blink. They both chittered for several minutes and then fell silent, knowing the sun was now below the horizon.
Draven flexed his shoulders, seeking warmth from the stone. It was already beginning to cool and he knew they would both need to move soon. They'd be easy prey if they stayed here much longer, their joints becoming immobile and their attention dimming.
"We should find shelter", he said. "Night's almost here."
Emanelle raised herself up, her head outlined against the darkening sky. She clicked her mandibles, irritated by the necessity to stir themselves. She was already feeling drowsy, swearing like a hive-drone as she fought to move, her legs already beginning to fuse into rigidity. She weaved drunkenly, her coordination slow to return. It had been so close. A few minutes more and they'd have been lost to the cold. The oblivion that took everyone could take them both now if they lingered here much longer.

A meeting

He was anxious, she knew that. He'd brushed his knees of crumbs half a dozen times since they'd been sat here together and his hair stood no chance of falling over his eyes. He was a pleasant-enough man though and he made good conversation. He was also attentive and had shown consideration to her, pulling the chair out so she could sit at the table.
"Tell me," she said. "What are your passions? She held his eyes, resisting her own urge to look coyly down toward the table. "What is it that fills your dreams each night?"
Russell leaned forward toward her, clasping his hands between his knees. He'd be brushing them free of crumbs again soon, she thought, wagering herself a second cup of coffee if she was correct. Then he smiled, laid both his hands on the table and then returned to his previous position, sitting upright but not leaning back, not wishing to appear too casual so soon. This was only their first 'meeting'. She imagined it'd be a while yet before they began to have dates.
"I'm a painter. I've no real talent, of course, but it gives me pleasure." He stopped then, as though waiting for her to comment.
Diane said nothing. She waited. He'd tell her much more if she gave him the stage and an audience to play for. Even if he said nothing, his words choking him into silence, that would tell her a lot about this man.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Garden Party

Denise flipped the switch and the bulbs began to glow, their filaments like fireflies against the darkening sky.
“You can make the announcement now,” she said.
“Ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, colleagues and acquaintances, dinner is served!” I unclipped the thick red rope from the eye on the second post and hooked it up against itself. I stood aside and beckoned through the people we loved, one by one, the parade twisting and clumping as they continued to chat, speculating on the seating arrangements they’d find.
We’d taken days on this, the decisions crucial to the success of this night. Denise had hired the best caterers in the town and we’d hesitated before choosing the most expensive table d’hôte menu options they’d offered. There was something for everyone, our friends able to pick anything that had been on the cards they’d been sent, the difference being that we’d also engaged a chef for the night, her duty to cook and plate anything they asked her to prepare, ensuring that everyone would be happy with their meal.
It had cost us a fortune but it was worth it. It would probably be the last time we’d see most of these people, so we wanted to leave them happy and give them something memorable to remember us by.
Denise stood with me now, her arm around my shoulder. She leaned against me and smiled, her lips brightly painted and her eyes filled with stars.
“It’s perfect. It’s come together so well. We couldn’t have hoped for a better night.”
I nodded, my eyes running along the queues forming at the serving-stations the caterers had wheeled out onto the lawn. The manor house had been an inspired choice from the event organiser, the grounds and the gardens usually closed to the public. The organiser had known the family who lived there, having arranged private functions for them in the past, her success and her popularity making this possible at short notice. There was nowhere in town that could handle this many people, that could provide such a rich and varied menu, and do it with so little notice. We’d both taken a deep breath when the organiser had told us how much it would cost but that was the old James and Denise reacting. We’d won so very much so we could spend that and hardly notice. And it would be the grand event everyone would remember us by.
“Is that a cloud, Hun?” Denise leaned across me, her hand pointing to the west. A line of dark smudges were massing, growing larger and heavier as they neared us. Threads of light joined them and an ominous rumble began.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Sample post June 18th 2017

The demon whittled himself a toothpick from a thigh-bone, using a molecular blade. He jabbed it into his mouth, removing a gobbet of a quivering grey matter that looked loathsome. Then he threw them both away.
"There's never any shortage of donors' brains to dine on when you've as many enemies as I have," he said, spitting as though hoping to loose another clot of meat from between his teeth. "I've a six-and-a-half billion to none record of wins so far. You'd think people would learn...but they don't. There's always another thinking he's found a way to beat the system. Even though they realise the Game's rigged. People...fools...they're one and the same. No exceptions."
I tugged at the manacles looped about the gas-pipe that ran overhead, hoping to either get free or to release enough Butane to explode, killing me within seconds. The demon looked uninterested. He knew he'd get my soul whichever way things played out. He always have the advantage if he chose to play the long game.
"You might be interested to know you've called for a house party," he dead-panned, raising a pointed ear toward the ceiling. "Or at least someone who can carry off a pitch-perfect copy of your voice. Everyone you've ever known is upstairs at the moment. Even your very first teacher from primary school, Miss Watkins. She's very old now but she's still in very good health. She's thirty-two doting grandchildren who'd be devastated if she were killed in a freak household explosion. So many of them with their little tear-streaked faces. It'd be a tragedy, wouldn't it?"

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Things are beginning to move in my writerly life. It seems like I'm going to need to be more attentive to this blog. So keep watching... there'll be more to come soon and it'll be even better than it ever was!

Thank you for your visit.