In Death’s Shadow – 1st Chapter (2017)

It has been over a year since I first posted an extract of my current story. In that time I have learned a lot about editing and actually pushed to get reader feedback so now have a far more polished version of the story. This polishing isn’t fully finished yet but I figured that I would show how far the story has come by posting the 1st chapter of its current draft.

The original version can be found here.

Once again, any feedback is welcome. Enjoy.


Chapter 1

A dark shape flew through heavy clouds far above Abernethy Forest. In a land of ancient myths such as Scotland, where mountains vie with dark forests while snow and cold winds dominate the rugged landscape, it was all too easy to see contorted faces staring down from the icy heavens. The shape disappeared into the churning clouds before erupting out from the silently screaming mouth of an angry god to swoop down low above the treetops. Leathery wings glided serenely for several seconds then lunged into the greenery to vanish from sight completely.

A short distance from here was a large wooden building known as Aife’s Lodge. It had once been a private manor house but had been converted into a hotel in recent years. Fitting with its remote location it was the kind of place where people went to escape society completely.

The clouds parted just enough to reveal the moon through the black veiled sky. A warped howl echoed through the snowy night. Nobody heard it over the festivities though. 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. A stone fireplace dominated one wall while numerous stuffed animals showcased the local fauna. Long dead deer and wildcats seemed almost alive in the flickering light. The 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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The Ippa without a Hat.

All is not what it seems.

Have you ever put something down then find that it has gone?
Mummy and Daddy do it a lot.
“Where are my keys?” they ask. “I could have sworn that I left them here.”
They put it down to bad memories or say that somebody moved them.
But somebody didn’t move them, it was a something.
And that something is an Ippa.

Ippa are small fluffy creatures that live inside trees.
Their feet are big and soft and their hands are small and fast.
They have big eyes and little noses and mouths that like to laugh.
Each one has two things that make them special, their fur and their hat.
Some have blue fur some have pink. Others have orange, green or silvery zinc.
All the colours of the rainbow then more. All of the colours that you adore.
Then their hats are their pride and joy. Whether it’s a cap, a wrap or a top hat,
Paper, cloth and metal, big and small, the Ippa have them all. Continue reading

Words of Fate: Of Quills and Swords.

City walls of pale stone stood proudly on the horizon ahead. Around it rougher stone structures clung together in a hodge-podge of designs and materials like a cancer. Farmland covered the ground between the settlement and a lone hilltop many miles from it where a young man stood taking in the sight of the legendary city. Dense forests made a ring around it all.

It was early in the morning and the young man hoped to be within those walls come nightfall. He wiped an arm across his face to remove a trickle of sweat and grimaced at the smell that rose from his sleeve. He had been travelling by foot for over two weeks now without a single change of clothes. Washes had been few and far between and the summer’s heat had been like the innards of an oven for the entire time.
Continue reading