Death’s Shadow – First Chapter

Here is the first chapter of my newest novel. It is fully written but I have had no luck with agents. Let me know what you think and if you’d like to read more.


Chapter 1

Scotland. A land of ancient myths where mountains vie with dark forests while snow and cold winds dominate the rugged landscape. In modern times though, the warriors have faded into the history books and the wilderness has succumb to the advances of civilisation. Where once foreigners had sought to avoid the harsh land, now they flocked there as tourists.

Deep within Abernethy Forest in the Scottish Highlands was an example of this tourist trade. It was a large wooden building known as Aife’s Lodge that had once been a private house but had since been converted into a hotel. It was the kind of place where people went to escape society completely.

The moon was high in a black veiled sky. It was just before midnight on New Year’s Eve and the few guests of Aife’s Lodge had forgone seclusion and gathered together in the main hall to celebrate. It was the biggest room in the building. A stone fireplace dominated one wall while numerous stuffed animals showcased the Scottish fauna. The dozen guests mingled awkwardly in groups of two or three, the conversations gradually becoming less passive as the alcohol flowed. Continue reading

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Perfection

Perfection.

“Magnificent,” announced the king’s assistant. “The detail, the colour, the emotion! It is simply wondrous.”

From the darkness nearby, Ellion Demerre, a scrawny, unkempt man with dark hair and dark clothes, approached the painting that had drawn the other man’s praise. It showed a woman of great beauty, naked on a backdrop of a midnight field. There wasn’t a brushstroke out of place.

“It is still not right,” sneered Demerre critically. “The symmetry is all wrong, the skin varies in shades, the hair has odd numbers of strands and freckles never match. It is infuriating.” Continue reading

Whispers on the Wind

This is a 2014 piece that I wrote for my Writing: Theory and Practice module at uni. This piece is what really taught me how to edit. It was originally twice the length but had to be cut down for a strict word count. As I writer, I tend to be quiet rambley and also added a lot of unnecessary descriptions. Before that module I had the passion and creativity but was lacking the discipline and editing skills required to write at a professional standard. I’d like to think that this piece reflects that.


Whispers on the Wind.

Rain made a rhythmic pitter-pattering against the window, filling the room with the sound of a thousand tiny drums. Flames burned softly in the fireplace, spreading warmth and light into every corner.

Thomas and his sister May were seated on a thick rug, looking up at their father who sat in a large armchair. Their mother sat beside the fire on the only other seat. Their father’s voice carried above the rain as he read from a weathered old book. The children listened, completely enraptured with his words while even their mother leaned in closer as her hands worked a sewing needle. Continue reading

The Electronic Dreams of Man

This is a more recent story, written in 2014 for a short story submission under the theme of ‘Augmentation’. It didn’t get accepted. I think they were wanting more sci-fi and less psychology. Still like the story though. It made a change to write something without multiple characters and events.


The Electronic Dreams of Man.

A scorching wind blew through the streets. The air still crackled faintly like far off popcorn while everything shimmered hypnotically in the heat. A sickly smell hung over the buildings. It was quiet. Birds sang and leaves rustled but they only highlighted the void that had filled the world.

A man shambled along the side-walk with the aid of a walking stick. He had ruffled white hair and moved with a pronounced limp. Old Grouch was what he was called by most. It had been too long since he had heard someone call him by his real name. He had no family or friends and his bitterness left a sour impression on any who knew him. Continue reading

Points of View

Another of my Six Form stories. This was written during a lesson about character perspectives and differing points of view as a narrative device. It was also an early flexing of my satire muscles. I think that I must have been reading some Pratchett at the time. The first half is pretty meh but the second part still makes me smile.


Two points of view from opposite sides of the same event.

POV1
It was raining. It lashed down in great torrents, whipping the faces of me and the men around me as we stood and waited. We were all sodden to the bone and could feel our strength seeping away with every second we stood idly by. To either side of me were lines of grim faced soldiers all awaiting our commanders signal to attack. Continue reading

The Sinning Saint

This is a story that I wrote around the same time as Pinnoca for a different English teacher. The darkness with the minds and hearts of humans is always something that has interested me. Looking back through my work, I see these themes of twisted killers with cold outlooks on humanity keep popping up. This isn’t a great story but it is in a style I don’t often write in.


The Sinning Saint.

England, London, Thames House (MI5 Headquarters), High-security detention wing.

A cold, white walled room built from sturdy blocks of stone. Sat around a heavy wooden table were three men. Two were in suits and sat at one side while the third wore simple street clothes and sat opposite them. His hands and feet were in chains. Continue reading

Humans are the Machines of Nature – Is Free Will real or an Illusion of a Predetermined Mind?

I have just been listening to the latest episode of Brady Haran and CGP Grey’s popular podcast Hello Internet (42) and the topic of accurately replicating the human brain to be used by robots came up. Grey goes on to explain that human free will does not exist and that everything we do in life is determined exactly the same way as anything processed by a computer would . There are a series of inputs and outputs that direct our choices leaving us with as much freedom in our decision making as a computer with a complex algorithm.  Continue reading