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

Words of Fate: Of Quills and Swords. (Issue 1)

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.

“If I intend to rejoin society today then I’d best make myself presentable. I smell worse than the old man’s attempt at cooking,” he said to himself.

Humming lightly, he made his way down the hill and veered toward a small stream that he had spotted from his vantage point. He found an area that was out of the way of the working men that dotted the surroundings and stripped off. The water was refreshingly cool but the man wasted no time with relaxing. He scrubbed himself clean then applied a flowery scented lotion from a bottle to himself until his entire body smelt faintly of roses.

He left the water then waited until the heat had dried him. The filthy clothes that he had worn were shoved into his pack and a fresh outfit of clean, well made wool was carefully donned. The clothes marked him above a peasant but they were still cheap and basic by any nobleman’s standard. He needed a shave but the slight beard and slightly too long brown hair did not detract from his handsomeness, simply adding a charming ruggedness to his already pleasant appearance. He would not be thrown out of any respectable establishment and that was all that the man needed.
Continue reading

Drunk in the Amber Moonlight

I sit here in the amber darkness, pleasantly drunk on fruity toxins that tug on my thoughts like children on their mother’s skirts. Two decades and more have not immunised me of that harsh orange glow that outlines my midnight world.

I stare from my window, my portal from comfort to the outside world. All that I am rests at my back while nature’s shaded husk greets me through the glass. There are no stars, only an indistinct blur of civilisation that consumes the heavens like oil on water. What was once fields, woods and marshes now stand in regimented rows of brick and plastic watched over by tall guardians of fluorescent light. Darkness is but a ghoulish shade of our minds.

Before me, blocking my view and blinding my jaded eyes like God upon Mount Sinai stands one such guardian. It fills my mind and my world with amber imaginings even through closed curtains and eyelids. All that it truly protects is my insomnia. My insanity. This beacon of society surveying my sovereign kingdom, as foreign as the square sun that rises in my dreams, as familiar as the eyes that have looked upon it their every damned day.

Writing, Publication and Depression.

“When the researchers looked specifically at authors, they found that they are overrepresented among people with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety syndrome, and substance abuse problems. Authors were also almost twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population.” – (http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/10/study-writers-are-twice-as-likely-to-commit-suicide/263833/)

Continue reading

Christmas Sale!

Winter is coming and that means so is Christmas. Money is tight so I have made it that much cheaper to pick up a nice read.

If you still haven’t had chance to read ‘The Sword Summoner’ now is your chance. Throughout December you can pick up the ebook version for a single pound. That’s right, £1.00 for 350 pages of entertainment.

Visit any ebook retailer for this great deal or click the link to the Amazon page below:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Sword-Summoner-His…/…/178306322X

Pinnoca

The death happened on a sunny day down by the peaceful brook where families often picnicked in the warm days of summer. Who among the villagers would have guessed that a venomous snake lurked among the dark bushes that lined the silver stream? The girl Pinnoca, who was entering into the cusp between child and woman, certainly didn’t. As she picked the sweet smelling flowers of dazzling colours that grew beside the water, the snake had struck out and plunged its fangs into her rosy flesh. In her shock she had staggered back, lost her footing and plunged into the chill waters. The bite was not deep but the venom spread through her veins and froze her limbs. She drowned, her lips inches from the air that they so desperately sought.

The villagers grieved for a time, then moved onwards. The girl’s father, a widowed carpenter, was driven mad by the loss of his only child, his dead wife’s only legacy. He locked himself away in his workshop, living on the stale bread, potatoes and small wedges of cheese that an elderly women left on his doorstep each week. Friends and neighbours feared for his health, but no amount of knocking or calling out his name summoned him forth from the decaying house.

Night and day the steady sound of hammer and chisel reverberated through the house. The carpenter worked to ease his pain, his tools the vassals of all the emotion that could no longer flow from his body. Numb was his mind but skilled were his fingers. A single image was burned into his mind, all the more vivid in the troubled dreams that filled the scant scraps of sleep that he could not fight. Continue reading

Our Father

 

God. The Father, the Son and the bastard ghost

The mirage in the sweltered landscape of humanity

As true as anything in a false world

Of false people who wander through life

Like sheep to be flocked

Wish away our problems

Wish away our responsibilities

To dwell in the darkness of our minds

Lit by a flickering bulb of yellow

When the sun is just outside

Who are we to deny the Lord

We the animals grown beyond our bounds

We who are gods and madmen

Warped mirrors of ourselves

As we are warped mirrors of Him

And He is a warped mirror of us

All powerful in a powerless world

All seeing among the blind

All knowing to those bathed in ignorance

Never forever the one and only collective

Love is the sacred soul spread thin among us

Eternal like a legal contract wrought from toilet tissue

The Lord our savior

Our Creator

Our creation

Our damnation

Free will gifted as a catch twenty two

Excuses for abandonment

Blood and flesh is wine and bread

Artificial constructs created to appease our wants

Needs augmented to suit our tastes

A need for answers embodied by our minds

To fill our forms and child like search

For guidance from the wise infallible parents

We left behind to become who we are

He who burns cities, floods worlds

And requires the blood of children

This thing that we call Father

This king of men who died for our sins

Yet still we suffer and always sin

We hate like we love

With a passion burning from unnatural fires

Yet never do we stop to think

To think is to find thoughts that we fear

And fear is to realise we are but beasts

Beasts in the dressings of a civilised society

Under a civilised God pissing enlightenment

Like the Bible cursed rich who piss money to the poor

God’s chosen children orphaned

As their father is dragged drunk to the insane asylum

Babbling at the walls

Screaming for a mother never had

Lost in a sea of faith that none can know

Because who could know the unknown

The flows of life and death

That bind and separate us in chains of fate

Chains that we as humans make

To live, to die, to procreate

Beneath the eyes of Heaven

The eyes so misted by the time

Between each blink eternity

How could we comprehend it all

The vastness of the universe

And how could the universe possibly feel

Comprehension of an ant in space

An ant, a man, a race

A myth to our own imagination

An idea blowing in the wind

A cry to God and Allah and Buddha

And to Thor and Superman and Santa

And the ghosts who lurk in the peripheral vision

The visions of madness and glory and destiny

The ravings of the lost souls

Desperate for a hand to hold

Poem: The Thoughts of a Friend.

Running

Grass becomes fields becomes streets

Feet slow

Cars Cars Cars

Chase

Bound by neck but chase the same

Happiness

Smells fill the air

Acrid, sweet

Padding feet

Wolf down forgotten chip

See the catcatcatcatcat

Bark

Gone

Tail wags powered by joy

Home

Treats and a hand

Pat pat pat

Fuss fuss fuss

Wag wag wag

Bliss.

The pointlessness of my course.

So as some of you might know, I am in my third year of a Creative Writing course at university. I don’t much like it. To tell you all the reasons why would be an entire dissertation so for now I will simply say, it is all pointless.

Last week on a module called Experimental Writing (which sounds pretentious as hell) we spent two and a half hours studying a poem by Gertrude Stein called ‘A Completed Portrait of Picasso’ (Read it here: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~jenglish/Courses/Spring02/104/steinpicasso.html. If you can make it to the end without losing a shard of your mind then you are a better person than me. (Or are insane). I lost the will to continue at this point and longed for a strong drink to destroy even the memory of the poem. Continue reading

‘The Sword Summoner: History Repeats’ Chapter One.

Here is the first chapter of my book to give y’all a taster. It does get darker and more ‘Fantasy’ oriented, I swear. Enjoy.

000 000 000

1: An Average Day Gone Astray.

Birds scattered as the old morning bell began to toll, its deep echoes ringing throughout the ancient city of Pastrino. The noise was met by stirrings as the city below began to awaken and the people rose from slumber to begin their day’s work. All except one that is: Trey Sted. He was still fast asleep like he was most mornings.

People were amazed at how he could sleep through the morning bell because it could wake up everyone else in Pastrino, even those on the outskirts of the sprawling city. Ironically, his house stood in the shadow of the bell tower on the wide hill that marked the centre of the city. It left any who were that close to the tower with ringing ears when they chimed, but Trey never even stirred from his sleep.

“Trey, wake up! Trey, get out of bed!” his mother called from the doorway.

Trey did not move. His cheap woollen cover was wrapped tightly around him like a cocoon even though it was the middle of summer.

His mother called again. “Trey, get up now or you’ll be sorry.” Still he lay motionless. “I warned you, Trey.” Continue reading