The Last Day

Today is the last day of my life.

Ignore the inconvenient fact that this is the seventh day in a row that I had declared as such. As it turns out, setting into motion the end of my existence was proving to be more troublesome than I had imagined. The irony that I was failing at ending a life of failures was not lost on me.

That is my life. Failure. I’m too good for this shitty world. That is the only explanation. Everyone is against me because they are jealous. My art should have made me rich and inspired the hearts and souls of people all across the world, but instead, here I was. Miserable and alone. Well not anymore. Fate was in my hands.

At first I attempted the tried and true method of a razorblade. There I was, blade primed across the throbbing veins of my wrist, my heart pounding but resolute. I nicked the skin and saw the first beads of blood form. Then, quite without warning, I passed out. You see, I’m deathly afraid of blood, and the slightest sight of it always renders me unconscious. I had figured that a swift enough action, combined with the iron will of committing to death, would have avoided such a reaction, but alas, my feeble body betrayed me, just like everyone else. Continue reading

Something Like Life – Chapter 1

I watch as the world passes by without me. From my perch atop the old Record Ridgway factory, I can see for miles across the city. The void is calling me. It’s the only one that ever does. 

I’m just high enough to trigger that strange human urge to jump, but low enough to know that, unless I’m lucky, it would only leave me with broken bones. Cold stone and corrugated sheeting surround me, rust, broken glass and thick moss covering everything like a post-apocalyptic botanical garden of abandonment. 

I sit on the concrete lip and admire the frescoes of graffiti that punctuate the 1930s architecture. Ninety odd years didn’t seem too long a time, all things considered, but the view from here has changed drastically in that time. So has the world. The men who had worked their trade in the factory below were long gone. My granddad had been one of them. The company was sold to an American firm, and all production moved to China. Sheffield Steel couldn’t hold a candle to Chinese slave labour apparently.

Despite the brooding figure that I may strike, I am no vigilante or prowler of the night. In fact, it’s eight in the morning on a cold Tuesday, and I’m hunched up in a little ball up here with a pounding headache after drinking a full bottle of Jack the night before. Why choose a derelict factory? Why not? I find it a good place to reflect. The factory, like me, is little more than a ghost. Why do I need to reflect? Personal failure, as per usual. Continue reading

Truth Lies Beyond the Lines

The sun shone brightly as John Solorus made his way down the suburban street toward the local church. He had already helped a lost woman that morning and felt that he had done his good deed for the day. Not that he intended to stop at only one. Clouds loomed on the horizon, threatening to cover the sun and bring rain but he did not mind. Today was a good day. 

Just as he was nearing the wide wooden doors of the church he saw that an elderly lady was handing out copies of ‘Good morning magazine’. Slowing, he bought one with a smile and entered the church with it tucked beneath his arm. The vicar had not begun his service yet so John seated himself and opened up the magazine. He skipped past the first few pages that were dedicated to a young man from the village who had been killed in Afghanistan, instead favoring the more cheery articles about charity and marriage. Reading too much into negative things just left him sad and angry. Not like his wife who loved to read sad things like Shakespeare.

Despite the sun, inside the church was cold and grey, lit only by carefully arranged candles and what light was able to flood through the stained glass windows. John liked the atmosphere. Most modern churches were too bright and clean cut. They had no soul. If it was up to him, all churches would be grand buildings of stone fit for the Lord’s worship.

Mrs Clenmoor entered the building and took her seat on the front row of pews. She offered him a slight nod of her head. She was short and wore clothes that had not been in fashion for decades. The clothes hung from her bony body. She too was devote of faith. Continue reading

Buccaneer Jones and The Fires of Peace – Chapter 1.

A cannonball crashed through the wall of Buccaneer Jones’ tiny cabin. He yelped and fell out of his bunk, then frantically scurried underneath it. He stared through the hole in the wall at the raging ocean outside, and the pirate ship that was rapidly approaching.

There was a thunderous noise from above as The Singing Seal returned fire with its own cannons. Buccaneer grabbed a padded hat from a hook and rammed it onto his head, the thick material covering his ears to muffle the sounds. He picked up a dog-eared old botanical encyclopedia then shuffled back beneath his bunk and tried his hardest to ignore the battle around him, even as sea water sloshed into his cabin from the hole and the smell of gunpowder swirled around him. 

The two ships closed the distance until men and women could swing from one to another with cutlasses gripped between their teeth. Now shouts and laughter filled the air, punctuated with pistol shots and the clang of swords.

Buccaneer sighed and started to hum loudly. Despite his name, Buccaneer didn’t like fighting. In fact, he hated it, just like he hated his name. To his friends he was just Bucc. Not that he had many. Bucc was considered odd by most people. He didn’t like violence, couldn’t stand loud noises, and he willingly washed at least once a week. How were you supposed to treat someone who didn’t like to fight, pillage, and drink?  Continue reading

Words of Fate: Darkness of Men. (Issue 3)

A low fire crackled in the predawn several miles north of the segmented city of Moorhenda. Sytheis Tia Menrha, a young wordsmith, prodded the flames idly with a stick to keep the fire burning. It cast a red light through the trees around him, illuminating the sleeping forms of his unlikely companions.

Strange circumstances had him working the a Banndnori mason called Fortas Tillor, a beggar child known as Chipper and two street thugs known as Rantier Zalnot and Bibbi. Together they had entered the inner city’s sewers to hunt a monster but had ended up fleeing for their lives from Draknori warriors who were thought to be long dead. Their escape had left them in woods miles from the city with one less man than they had begun with.

The sleep that Sytheis had managed only served to stiffen his battered limbs. He had been set to watch the camp for an hour now and that time had been spent trying to loosen up his protesting muscles. There was little else to do. His journal and ink bottles had been destroyed and he had left his instruments back at his room. Luckily his Klash cards had survived inside their waterproof case but he had no desire to handle them in his numb hands.

The air was humid and warm even without the fire. Sweat prickled his skin. He stood up and stretched before walking a short distance from the camp to gather more wood. The sun would be rising soon but a meal of cooked rabbit before they set off would go down a treat. Rantier had assured them that he could catch something for them. Continue reading

Words of Fate: Monsters of the Past. (Issue 2)

Buildings shimmered sickeningly outside the window of a second floor room of an inn called The Rose and Thorn. The distant towering wall of Moorenda’s inner city was little more than an indistinct blur. Sytheis Tia Menrha stood by the window staring out at the city beyond. The sun hung heavily in the sky and only the most determined of people were out in the streets unnecessarily. The days were only getting hotter it seemed and Sytheis had no intention of leaving the shade of his rented room.

He studied his reflection in the glass for a moment, running a hand through his sweat-slick blond hair before slumping back into the chair at his desk. Papers lay scattered all across the surface and words were scrawled across every piece. Some of it was his own work while others belonged to other tellers or bards. He grouped them all together into a category that he liked to call ‘the competition’.

At the top of the pile was Moorenda’s most popular Venndi news pamphlet The Stag. Most of the issue was dedicated to the battle that had taken place outside of the city on what was now referred to as Queen’s Hill several days back. The centrepiece of the pamphlet was written by none other than Sytheis himself. It had been written under a pen name to avoid awkward questions but all of the coin had gone into his pocket. It was pure propaganda filled with buzzwords and emotive phrases but with little depth. This was what sold best though.

He had also sent another version to a Chalemite teller under a different name that outlined the events of the battle in a grim, unflattering light. It had been a commission from the queen of Chalem herself and had paid well. It was that bloodsoaked retelling of the battle that had allowed him to rent this room within a good district of the city.

Absently he flicked through the pamphlet, skimming over the pages about the battle and its political implications, until a rough sketch caught his eye. It depicted some kind of large animal lurking in the shadows. The artist had tried to make it appear terrifying while applying only the vaguest of detail to what the creature actually was. He read through the accompanying writing with growing interest. Continue reading

Thorns of the Shadow: The Taste of Lead and Lightning – Chapter 1. (Book 2)

(Book two of Thorns of the Shadow. Contains spoilers of book one.)

Heat rolled in shimmering waves across every surface. The sun hung proudly in a cloudless sky above. It was the kind of day that seemed to drag on and seep the energy from the world. 

On a suburban street, in a house like every other upon it, a young woman sat slouched across a sofa where she had been for the past few hours without moving. She was called Catherine Redthorn, but preferred to go by KT. Her black hair ended half way down her back and she had an athletic build that was currently clad in black jeans and a simple white vest. A few scars marked her arms but many more lay hidden in a chaotic pattern across her torso.

On the other end of the sofa was the sprawled out shape of her twin brother, Mordekai,  known better as Kai. He was taller and broader than his sister but shared her green eyes and love of dark clothing. He too bore scars, as did their mother and father, but nothing near to the level that punctuated KT’s skin. Continue reading