Tag Archives: Fiction

Book Cover Sneak Preview

Update: This is Version 2.0

Update: This is Version 2.0

Book Cover Draft 1

 I’d love any comments on this artwork I’ve mocked up for my first novel coming soon, I’m hoping to get it released onto Kindle in the next couple of months. Is it inviting? Does it grab your attention? Does it make you want to read inside? Thanks for any suggestions!

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The Death of Candi Morgan | Flash Fiction

Candi Morgan was a Bitch. It was for that very same reason that unfortunately (or not) she had to die. So when Candi Morgan arrived home early that evening expecting to shrug off her expensive coat and kick off her limited edition Laboutin heels, she was sadly mistaken.

 

You see, women like Candi Morgan usually get by in life by making other women feel insignificant, powerless and inadequate, therefore leaving men vulnerable for manipulation. Just the way she liked it. If it meant she made a few enemies along the way, then darling..damage limitation.

 

As Candi Morgan approached the breakfast bar on the ground floor of her newly renovated stucco walled duplex she almost didn’t notice the small plastic card tucked into the fruitbowl. Nestled snugly in-between this morning’s fresh bananas and plums, was an ID Pass. Not Candi Morgan’s ID Pass however. The small passport photo was a little grubby but the face of an unknown brunette stared back at her. Alexa George. Plain, unassuming, probably a virgin, Candi Morgan thought to herself.

 

Before Candi Morgan could think why Alexa George’s ID Pass was now currently in her hand, she heard a faint squeak. The kind you hear when a sports shoe hits the clean smooth surface of a squash court, or a school hallway….

 

Just as Candi was about to place the ID Pass back onto the counter, a sickening thud connected to the base of her skull and she dropped. A dead weight. As Candi fell her forehead met the counter, instantly splitting the skin and releasing fresh dark crimson droplets. As she lay crumpled against the cupboard, a thick heavy swell pounded through Candi’s head. Disoriented and unable to focus properly, although enough to see Alexa George stood over her, a large stainless steel Thermos hanging limply in her right hand.

 

With a groan, Candi managed to slowly and cautiously raise her own hand up in some last attempt at defence or mercy. Through the ringing in her ears all she heard was…

 

THUD.

Candi

Candi (Photo credit: SteinsGate)

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue | The Last Goodbye

“I’m so, so sorry…..” she said, as she looked out of the frosted window, her warm breath revealed as it met the frozen glass. The salt from her captive tears stung her eyes.

“It’s ok Kid”, he replied, “I guess it has to be this way now.” The brave warm smile betraying his true emotions inside. He picked up the suitcase, heavy, like his heart.

They had been together for nine years, nine amazing years. They had known each other inside out. But today, they didn’t know each other at all. They were strangers once more. The snow outside twirled in a flurry, whipping up against the window, then back down again to the street below. It was -10 degrees outside this morning. The mood was not much warmer inside.

“Having to choose,” her voice broke, the words catching the back of her throat. Stuck, and unwilling to escape voluntarily she had to force them out, a dry rasp as she continued, “it…was the… hardest…. decision…. of my… life.”

Kid rested her forehead against the coolness of the window, providing temporary relief from the throbbing in her head, emotions and thoughts bubbling and swarming around inside. It hurt. She heard him shuffle towards the door, taking purposeful steps.

It felt like a lifetime before he spoke again, in reality it may have been five minutes, most likely no more than two.

“Yet…you chose the easiest way out……didn’t ya Kid….”

She blinked. At last. The torrent of sadness erupted and flowed down her reddened face. Deep heavy sobs shaking her chest. Kid took a large breath in between the sobs, it had felt like forever she had been holding it in. Using the cuff of her well worn denim shirt, she mopped and padded her cheeks. Soaking up the tears as quick as they fell….

Kid turned away from the window to say Sorry once again…..

….to be faced with an empty doorway…

…he had gone.

This post is in response to:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/writing-challenge-dialogue/

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Backward | Dead Again

This week’s Weekly Writing Challenge asked us this: Sure — logical, clean order has its virtues. So does a bit of chaos, though (every once in a while). Instead of starting at your story’s Big Bang, drop us off right at the End of Time: the final line of a conversation, the last, dramatic moment of a journey, the messy aftermath of a wild night out. Then, devote the rest of your post to showing us how you got there.

As the bullet entered her chest, she knew. The world around her turned and faded, every ounce of colour draining before her eyes….until darkness fell. Until…nothing.

Una was trapped. Contained. There was no escape. They had finally caught up with her after almost 24 hours of running and hiding. She was tired, spent and had no fight left in her anymore…dropping the bag at her feet Una turned away from the wall to face her demons. With a deep breath, she opened her eyes….

The voices grew louder as Una ducked behind the refuse bin, one hand against the cold steel to steady herself and the other gripped firmly around the small bag. It’s contents unknown, but it wasn’t Una’s job to know. Just to deliver. If only she could make it around the next corner….

Moving through the crowd, she could feel her chest tighten, her pulse race. Una knew she was being followed and not just by one person, two, maybe three even. Trying to keep her composure she glanced momentarily back down the street. Eyes focused right ahead Una spotted her chance. A break in the traffic across the street. If she could quickly manoeuvre through it as the traffic slowed she may be able to gain more distance between her pursuers. Just as Una picked up her pace she heard a deep voice shouting from maybe 50 metres away…”Oi, guys! There she is the little Bitch!”

This post is in response to:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/writing-challenge-backward/

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The Lady of Brackenmyre (prologue) – A Poem

There’s a Far Away town, where day does not come

In Shadows and Darkness the voices are one.

Prying eyes through the windows and hushed tones linger there,

as the souls all lie restless and secrets laid bare.

Death and Decay dance a merry Olde dance,

whilst Fate and Desire are both left to chance.

But the widow in waiting knows more than she tells,

with her wretched old husband under one of her spells.

Yet not witchcraft nor wizardry are playing a part,

just old fashioned revenge from a neglected heart.

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Gronkowski Bros. | Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words

You love doing the A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words challenges, and we love reading your interpretations! Let’s have another go.

This week, tell us a story based on this photo:

So, it was to be another late night for the Gronkowski Brothers here in the eponymous restaurant, meaning tempers were frayed and fuses were short, with the stifling heat in the kitchen rising ever higher as the night drew on. Steam rose from pots, oil spat from pans. Spoons rattled in jars and knives sliced through meat, fish and vegetables.

For 20 years, the brothers had built up one of the finest reputations in the Falsham district of New Charleston City, ‘the’ place to be if you wanted to dine in style, people knew that if you wanted a great meal, and a fantastic night out, then the Falsham quarter was the place to go. Gronkowski’s served the best of the best, only the finest ingredients would be used for the immaculate dishes they produced, yet they struggled to compete with some of the other restaurants in the area.

William, the eldest by 3 minutes, had initially started up the business when their father Joseph had sadly passed away at the grand age of 74. Some say of a broken heart that never recovered after his beloved wife of 53 years Francesca had departed not 8 months previously. Christopher Gronkowski had always been the ‘foodie’ of the family from a young age, he had gone on to college to study and had excelled in Food Technology and soon earned the deserved title of Qualified Chef.

When Christopher had left college and went on to study at University, he realised that he might get further in life if he started up his own restaurant as soon as he could, but with little in the bank it was William who he would have to rely on to finance the venture. In turn, Christopher taught his elder brother everything he knew, passing on some of their grandfather’s recipes that their mother had kept in an old shoebox in her dresser.

Midnight, all the customers were now long gone, leaving empty tables and chairs scattered across the dining lounge. All that is, except for one.

Monty Delogne, the fiercest food critic in all of New Charleston City had dropped in unannounced, with ten minutes before closing. He was renowned for doing this to unexpected restaurant owners to test their mettle and patience. Understandably the brothers were furious, yet they both knew that they had to rise to the challenge, because if they got this right, and it paid off, then they would immediately earn 4 crescent status and officially secure their place within the best restaurants of the city.

They had their work cut out.

Feverishly concocting a medley of dishes the Gronkowski’s were plating, serving, wiping, testing and positioning every cover they could think of that would impress Delogne so much that he would simply have to hand over the award.

Delogne was notoriously a tough nut to crack. A tall slender man of 55, with Salt and Pepper hair. Expensive wire rimmed glasses framed his face, resting on that famous prominent Roman nose. Never breaking a smile, and hardly ever making eye contact, it was nigh on impossible to tell what he was thinking whilst sampling the latest dishes that had been prepared for him. Only the fact that after every mouthful, he would frantically scribble away onto his black leather-bound jotter, scrawling note after note until literally pages were filled with his ramblings and thoughts, gave him away.

He patiently sat alone, observing the décor, again, giving nothing away. As he turned his focus toward the kitchen, he could see the Gronkowski’s hard at work. Monty knew that this was their chance. It wasn’t a secret that the business was losing money by the week. Even with the restaurant full to capacity at weekends, the lack of trade during the week, and competition growing fierce elsewhere in the district, it was burning a huge hole in the brother’s pockets. But, he would have to treat them like everyone else, it was only fair. Although, secretly, he was hoping that they really would come through tonight and earn the extra crescent they so desperately needed.

Back in the kitchen, things were picking up pace even further still. The Gronkowski’s were perfectionists, so dish after dish had been left to one side after a mutual decision to abandon the idea, instead opting to start from scratch on yet another experimental creation. William carefully placed a piece of Sirloin onto a hot plate as Christopher served a trio of vegetables into a side dish. With a careful hand movement, he then took the red bottle from the fridge and drizzled a chilled red wine reduction over the glazed meat. Adding no more than 3 flakes of truffle to one side of the plate, William delicately scooped a small sample of Apricot jelly for the truffle slices to stand up in. The 2 brother’s seemed to work in unison, 2 halves of one machine. Seeing them work together like this was a marvel and had brought paying customers up to the bar to see them in action whilst sipping their drinks.

Christopher wiped the edge of the dinner plate with his cloth, rotated the dish 270 degrees, and then back 45, perfect, he thought. With a glance over to William for a second opinion, he merely nodded, and a slight smirk. This was it. The one.

After nearly 50 minutes of preparation, sweat and a few burnt fingers the kitchen doors swung open, and there appeared Christopher with the serving tray. Monty Delogne looked up from his jotter and adjusted his blazer sleeves ready. William proceeded ahead with a meat knife and the dish of vegetables, placing them precisely on the table, before stepping back for his brother.

The smell was undeniably exquisite. The kind that instantly made the inside of your mouth water and salivate with anticipation at how juicy and tender the meat would feel on your tongue. How crisp and fresh the vegetables would taste as you crunched them in between your teeth. And the perfect blend of bitter and sweet with the apricot and red wine reduction, to compliment the truffle.

In his mind, Monty had already eaten this dish.

Christopher and William Gronkowski left Delogne to eat his meal in peace, although they were tempted to keep a spying eye on him from inside the kitchen. They chose not to, they knew better than anybody, that to be watched while dining was not good etiquette. Instead they focused on cleaning down the kitchen, scraping the wastage, filling the sinks and placing foods back into fridges and freezers. After 20 minutes the brother’s realised that Delogne may be ready to sample a wine or coffee after his meal whilst he wrote up his findings.

They approached the dining lounge to be greeted with a completely empty room. Delogne’s table had been vacated. Permanently. Concerned, William darted over to the table where a half-eaten plate of food sat next to a barely touched dish of three different freshly prepared and cooked vegetables. This did not look good, not good at all.

Christopher went over to the door to look outside, but the only thing he could see was the street-light across from the church, and the neon glow from the drug store opposite. No car, No Delogne. Turning away, disappointed and resigned, Christopher took a seat at the table next to his brother. They didn’t say a word to each other, they couldn’t. All that hard work. For nothing.

As William picked at the corner of a menu, something caught his eye. A blue cardboard folder on the seat next to where Monty Delogne had sat. He must have left it behind, he had clearly been in a rush to leave. Picking the folder up from the seat, William noticed a slip of card inside the folder. Christopher gestured to him, to have a look. Curiosity got the better of them.

Sliding the card out, they could see the name of the restaurant in large bold lettering at the top. Looking further, their names, side by side. Along the bottom was Monty Delogne’s famous signature, aloof and fanciful it sprawled across the card, and neatly below, 4 Crescents. There in print, officially.

The Brother’s looked at each other at first in disbelief, and then with joy. They had finally done it. They had the accolade they so desperately needed, the recognition, the confirmation. William and Christopher held each other in a brotherly embrace, so proud of this achievement, and as a single tear escaped Christopher’s eye he knew that they had protected the Gronkowski name now, and for many many more years to come…..

THE END

This post is in response to:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/weekly-writing-challenge-1000-words-three/

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Animalistic pt. 2 | Creative Writing Challenge: Metamorphosis

CHAPTERS ONE – SIX CAN BE FOUND HERE:- https://mattsden101.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/animalistic-creative-writing-challenge-metamorphosis/

Those naughty biochemists have been busy again, and have accidentally released a powerful mutative toxin into the water supply by mistake. Result? People left, right, and center are transforming into the animals they most resemble (in character, or looks) by the light of the full moon.

Tell us the tale of a human-animal transformation.

~ANimALisTiC~

CHAPTER SEVEN

Frank Dewey slid the bolt across the reinforced metal fence and pulled in open, the sound of rusting hinges scraping together struck the still morning air. The day was heating up rapidly, with not a single cloud in the sky, there was no shade to get relief. Flies buzzed around the reeds and grasses, flittering from one area to another, a swarm. As Anna and Geoff followed on they could now see, in broad daylight, what a mess and dump this place was. Empty containers, metal drums, dirty rags were strewn across the riverbank.

Anna had realised, as soon as Frank had mentioned that he had used this place to illegally dispose of all the toxic waste from the laboratories, that she and Geoff could be in serious trouble. Now instantly regretting last night’s dalliance in the lake, knowing full well what else had been taking a midnight dip, floating in the waters. Even in this heat, Anna shuddered.

Stopping for a moment, Frank who was leading the group further in to this cesspit, turned to face the other two. Holding his arms out to his sides he reluctantly gestured to all the mess that littered the land around them.

“So, you can kind of see what kind of trouble I’m in!” he announced.

Geoff gently rolled a plastic container under his foot, revealing it to be a highly toxic bottle of Batrachotoxin.

“What the Hell?!” Geoff exclaimed, “You even had this crap in the labs?”

Anna glanced over, Geoff was well within his rights to be angry, she thought. Seeing the label herself, Anna was in disbelief at the severity of the situation. Potentially the world’s most dangerous chemical, exposed and lying around these marshes by the riverbank. Anna knew full well that Batrachotoxin was the most potent poison known, deriving from Frog excretions, passed on through the digestion of Melyrid beetles. Used in poison darts, this is what it was most famous for.

“You realise this stuff can be fatal if ingested directly into the bloodstream Frank?!, Anna cried out, hands on her head.

Frank shot a look of panic over to Anna, even though he knew exactly what these chemicals and poisons were capable of doing, it had only become real now someone else had vocalised the danger. Furiously mopping his sodden brow with his shirt sleeve, Frank stumbled over the grass and foilage around, trying to think of a plan. But he couldn’t.

“Well, ok, Anna…Geoff,”, he asked in turn, “At least we know that no-one has been in here other than me, and there is no other access across the whole perimeter of this land, right up to around the lake down there”

“You can be totally, 100%, sure of that can you?” Geoff replied.

Confused, Frank shrugged. “Course I can, I mean, I’m the only one with keys, well, apart from A…..”, he stopped mid sentence. Taking a minute to realise. Anna also had a set of keys, as the designated key-holder in Frank’s absence. But as Frank had never been absent in all 4 years of his employment here at ChemCorp, he had totally forgotten about the spare set.

“You’re not saying you guys have been in here are you? Please say you haven’t been in here!” he pleaded.

Glancing at each other like a couple of kids being told off by their parents for fighting, Anna and Geoff nodded.

“Aw Christ”

CHAPTER EIGHT

Back inside, Frank, Anna and Geoff made their way up to Frank’s lab. More colleagues had arrived now so they had to be discreet and careful. Negotiating the corridor along the 5th floor mezzanine, they quickly poured into the vacant room and locked the door behind them. Taking a seat at his desk, Frank put his head into his hands and sighed.

Anna and Geoff had explained what had happened briefly last night, obviously a watered-down, censored version, but Frank had definitely got the gist of things. They had both been exposed to the lake and its contents, prolonged exposure it had seemed. And as Frank tried to reason with himself that everything would be fine, he knew that the likelihood was, that it was going to be anything but fine.

“Show me these marks you mentioned.” Frank insisted.

Geoff approached the desk and carefully pulled his shirt collar open to one side, revealing the weeping, green scab that had now spread further down his neck and onto his chest. Pus filled blisters glistened under the harsh strip lighting of the lab. Reaching down to the drawers on the desk, Frank pulled out a small medi-kit. After a moment or two of fumbling around it’s disorganised contents, he managed to extract a couple of testing swabs. Gently applying a small amount of pressure to one of the blisters on Geoff’s neck, Frank was able to burst the sac and take a specimen of the fluid that oozed out.

“Jesus Frank! You could have warned me!”, Geoff retaliated as the stinging sensation spread through his chest.

Anna was next, and after witnessing what had just happened to Geoff, she was quite obviously reluctant to offer up herself for the swab. Closing her eyes and trying to think of something nice and relaxing, Anna chose to sit down on one of the lab chairs. She wasn’t good with pain. With a deep breath, she indicated to Frank that she was ready.

She felt the pressure first, as the swab gently pressed down on one the blisters. Then the warmth of the fluid trickle down her neck. Then a sharp, intense burn seemed to erupt from the epicentre of the burst sac, and the stinging sensation escalated along her collar bone and down to her chest. Taking her breath away, Anna gripped both arms of the lab chair in shock.

“I’m sorry,” Frank offered, genuinely. “It is a highly toxic poison I’m extracting here, but it’s obviously not pure anymore. You’re both alive for one thing, I can only assume the chemical qualities have neutralised somewhat in the water from the lake, I need to run some quick tests and find out if there are any cross-overs.”

Geoff looked puzzled.

“Cross-overs?”

“Yeah, sorry, it’s the term I use when certain chemical compounds and toxins mix, they sometimes, ‘cross-over’ at a molecular level to create new strains”, Frank explained.

“So how long will it take you to run these ‘quick tests’?” Anna asked, rather hoping a solution to this epic problem would be found sooner rather than later.

Frank reassured them both that he would only need an hour or so, although he knew that may not be the case, but damage limitation was in place, and didn’t want to pressure or scare Anna or Geoff anymore than they were feeling at this moment. Frank suggested that they take the keys to his apartment and wait there. He would sign them both out and try to cover for their absences until he was able to get back to them with the results. They clearly could not stay here with the risk of being seen and exposing the rashes that were growing and spreading by the hour. Agreeing to use Geoff’s car, he and Anna took the back stairwell leading from the fire exit.

Now on the East side of the car park, they were able to manoeuvre over to Geoff’s car quite easily without being seen from the office windows from around the front of the building. Starting the car, they both gave each other another look. Like it or not, they were both in this together.

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTERS ONE – SIX CAN BE FOUND HERE:- https://mattsden101.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/animalistic-creative-writing-challenge-metamorphosis/

This post is in response to:  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/metamorphosis/

Readers who are following this story:

http://norilane.wordpress.com/

http://18yearsyoung.wordpress.com/

Thank You!

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Animalistic | Creative Writing Challenge: Metamorphosis

Those naughty biochemists have been busy again, and have accidentally released a powerful mutative toxin into the water supply by mistake. Result? People left, right, and center are transforming into the animals they most resemble (in character, or looks) by the light of the full moon. 

Tell us the tale of a human-animal transformation.

~ANimALisTiC~

CHAPTER ONE

The midnight moon reflected brightly over the water of the river bank, the long reeds gently swaying in the warm breeze. As Anna removed her bikini top she felt alive again. Sure it was risky, there was an element of danger, but that’s the one thing Anna never did…play by the rules. With a cheeky grin, Geoff surveyed her body. His lustful eyes lingering over every curve. As he went to touch, Anna quickly brushed his advances away with a playful slap.

“Not until we’re in the water Mister!…” Anna reminded him, “…and you still have your pants to take off!” she giggled.

As Anna quickly slid the bottom half of her swim-suit off, Geoff fumbled at his buttons. Intoxicated and giddy, it was hilarious to see him make such a meal out of a simple task. Yes, she could have helped him, but where was the fun in that? She thought.

The blades of grass tickled and brushed her feet as Anna lightly skipped down the embankment, taking a momentary glance back towards Geoff as he managed to hook one leg out of his trousers, and then the other.

“Hurry Geoff!”, Anna teased.

“I’m trying Goddamn it!” Geoff hollered back, his deep voice echoing across the water and beyond. “You are in such trouble when I catch you lady!”

The sudden coolness of the still water took Anna’s breath away for a second while she adjusted to the instant change of temperature to her naked body. Not one to tip-toe in, she fully submerged herself underneath the water and let the cold take hold of her. It was pitch black. And silent. Nothing penetrated beneath here. Holding her breath she gently treaded water, her long auburn hair flowing gracefully across her face and shoulders. She was a Mermaid, for those few seconds.

With an almighty crash, the peace was disturbed. Anna quickly bobbed back over the surface of the water to see the huge cascade of water erupt from the lake where Geoff had obviously jumped in. As his head reappeared, Anna gracefully swam over to him. His large, protective arms enveloped her and pulled her close. Their lips connected and so too did their bodies.

CHAPTER TWO

It was Monday morning, again, the blinding sunlight streamed through the bedroom window, illuminating every corner. Turning to her left, she observed the empty space beside her. For a moment she paused, and remembered. Geoff.

Unhooking her robe from the bedroom door, Anna made her way through to the kitchenette and began to make herself coffee. Black, extra sweet. If anything was going to shift this awful hangover in time for work, it was that. Tying her hair back into a simple knot, she took her coffee to the table and sat. With a careful sip, Anna allowed the hot drink to do its work.

“Darn, that tastes good”, she muttered to herself.

Glancing across the table she spotted a note, she recognised the handwriting straight away. A knowing smile spread across Anna’s face as she took the letter in hand and read it.

Morning Beautiful, thanks for last night, let’s do it again soon?

XX

It was a nice feeling. To be liked, wanted, adored…but Anna knew all to well not to get her hopes up again. She had seen Geoff less times than the fingers on one hand, and this was early days. The fun times. Feeling like college kids again, getting drunk on Sunday nights and frolicking with each other in the lake behind where she worked. She only discovered that place recently, it was handy having the keys to the security gates,put it that way.

Noticing the time, Anna quickly slugged the remainder of her coffee down and grabbed her uniform from the dresser. Walking in to the bathroom she quickly threw on the clothes in front of the mirror, before running a brush through her hair. As she pulled and teased, and combed, Anna noticed a mark on her neck.

“Oh Christ,” she panicked, “Please don’t tell me I got a Hickey!”

Okay, so she struggled to remember the night before at the best of times, but Anna was almost certain she had not allowed herself to be branded like a cheap date. Thoughts flashed in her mind, trying to recollect. No, definitely didn’t happen, she thought. So what the hell was it?

Pulling her make-up bag across the shelf, Anna fished around and found the small compact mirror. On closer inspection the mark definitely did not resemble a Hickey. Almost green in colour, raised and blistered. No bigger than a coin, but large enough to be noticeable. Curiously, Anna lightly picked at the scabbing forming on her neck, it felt greasy. Maybe it was an allergic reaction to something, Anna pondered.

Realising she was already running behind for work, she grabbed a silk scarf from the closet, lightly wrapped it around her neck and brought her hair forward at the sides, nicely covering up any sign of the mark. Knowing that would have to do for now, Anna picked up her car keys from the side unit in the hallway and made for the front door.

CHAPTER THREE

Looking into his rear-view mirror, Geoff could still see the mark on his neck, just below his right ear, under his jaw. He had noticed it in the shower earlier when he had gone to shave. The pain had been unbearable as the blade had skimmed over the blisters. The green, almost scaly texture felt nasty to the touch he recalled, and a vigorous scrub with a cloth and soap hadn’t helped either. An abrupt car horn brought Geoff back in to real time and realised traffic was moving freely again onto the highway. Pulling away, he wound his window down a little further to freshen up the stale air inside the car. Geoff felt clammy, and knew that it sure wasn’t warm enough outside for him to get the sweats.

As Geoff drove up towards the security gates at work, he could see a crowd of people waiting outside. Banners and placards waving in the air. He could hear a commotion coming from the group of what appeared to be protesters. With a deep sigh he gently beeped his horn to alert them that he was coming through. Down to a crawl, Geoff could now see the banners properly as he drifted through the swarm of angry people. One read:

Homeland not your Wasteland!!

Another in big red letters said:

TOXIC SHAME!

Geoff soon realised that this was NOT going to be just another Monday morning at work.

CHAPTER FOUR

Frank Dewey was having the mother of all mornings. His tie felt like a noose around his neck, which, if things carried on the way they were today, may ironically come in handy later. Beads of cool sweat escaped Frank’s forehead as he aimlessly tried to mop his brow whilst being interrogated by the CEO of ChemCorp. Spluttering and stuttering, he was unable to get a work in edgeways as insult after insult rained down on him. He had been called useless and pathetic at least 3 times in the past five minutes.

Having such a large overweight frame didn’t help matters, as Frank felt wedged into the office chair, clearly designed for people 100 pounds less heavy than he was. He was trapped.

Frank had always done a great job at ChemCorp, rising from factory worker to department supervisor in less than 2 years. But the constant pressure of cost savings and longer hours had put a real struggle on him and his workforce. To save the company money, Frank had taken it upon himself to cancel the contract for the Toxic Substances Collection Agency, and find a cheaper alternative of disposing with the harmful chemicals that the company produced.

Told to go and wait in his office until further requested, Frank managed to pry himself from the chair and shuffle apologetically out of the CEO’s quarters. As he walked down the corridor he glanced out of the 6th floor window, and down onto the car park. The group of protesters were still outside, and numbers appeared to have doubled, almost trebled since an hour ago. The news had obviously got out somehow and spread like wildfire as a local T.V. crew had now arrived, the main reporter positioned directly in front of the company’s signage with the loud angry crowd behind them.

“Aw Crap……”, Frank whispered.

CHAPTER FIVE

Anna crossed the car park with her head down. Embarrassed. She had narrowly avoided being spotted by the news reporter just 2 minutes earlier and was almost at the main doors.

“Anna!”, someone called out.

Oh no! She thought, not now! She was almost inside and wanted to just hide away. The scab was now itching like a Bitch and she was desperate to check it out in the bathroom. Plus with everything going on at the gates, she knew there was a hectic morning in the office ahead of her.

“Hey Anna, wait up!”

It was Geoff.

“So, Beautiful, you just gonna ignore me like that? After last night and everything?”, he asked.

Anna turned around purposefully slow. She really wasn’t in the mood.

“Look, Geoff…..”, she sighed, “….I’m just a little stressed right now, and with all that going on over there I just wanted to get straight in and down to business”

With a cheeky grin, Geoff replied.

“Oh, I know all about how you like to get ‘down to business’ now don’t I?”

“Geoff!”, Anna responded in disgust, “Please! Not now ok? I’m honestly not in the mood!”

As Anna turned to go inside, something caught her eye. Normally it wouldn’t have concerned her any, but the recognition made her pause for a moment. Gently pulling at Geoff’s shirt collar she saw the mark. The green, scaly mark with blisters. Looking Geoff in the eyes, then back to the mark, then finally back into his eyes again, she gulped.

“What is that Geoff?”, Anna asked.

“What’s what?”, Geoff replied, knowing full well what she meant.

Anna pulled a face as to say, “Well?”

Removing Anna’s hand from the collar, Geoff ushered her through the company doors and into the large, spacious and modern lobby of ChemCorp. Brushed metal, dark woods, and crystal glass features made it feel more clinical than any of the research labs down the other wings of the building. But it felt instantly cooler as the ice cold air conditioning churned out.

Just as Geoff was about to speak, the figure of a large, plump man, arrived at the foot of the stair way. With laboured breathing and sweating profusely he approached them right away.

“Guys, we got ourselves a big problem”

It was Frank Dewey.

CHAPTER SIX

Anna, Geoff and Frank had moved into one of the spare conference rooms on the 2nd floor. It was still only 08.35am so the risk of anyone else coming through was minimal. They were able to speak freely for the time being. Pacing the room, Frank was trying to think of the best way to explain what had happened. Frustrated with waiting Anna chirped up.

“Just spit it out Frank, for God’s sake!”

Geoff pulled up a couple of chairs for him and Anna to sit on. It was evident that Frank was too jittery and fired up to take a seat as well.

“Okay, so, basically….”, Frank began, “….Um, you see, I may have done something really really bad. No, I HAVE done something really really bad. You know how I cancelled the contract with that agency the other week?”

“The guys that took away our toxic waste to be disposed of safely, you mean?” Geoff asked.

“Yeah, yeah, those the ones” Frank admitted. “Well, I kind of used my own initiative to get rid of the waste myself, try to save the company some money…I thought I was doing a good thing right. Um, but it’s all come back on me now.”

Anna looked over to Geoff. He was itching the side of his neck aggressively. The mark she saw, the one like hers. A tickling sensation started under her ear and she couldn’t resist giving it a little scratch. Flakes of dark skin caught under her finger nails. She could feel that greasiness once again. Peering down at her finger tips she noticed a green filmy layer smeared on her skin.

Glancing back at Geoff she found he was staring at her, at her fingers. He could see the green substance all over her hand. As she tried to wipe her fingers clean on her dark trousers she saw that Geoff was doing the same thing.

“I, um, basically dumped all our waste out back…”, Frank continued on, “You know, behind the back perimeter down in the lake. I knew there was nothing in there, and no-one ever goes near it you see, I just figured it was an easy job!”

Anna felt a sense of dread wash over her. The lake.

(CHAPTERS SEVEN – EIGHT CAN BE FOUND HERE) :-

https://mattsden101.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/animalistic-pt-2-creative-writing-challenge-metamorphosis/

This post is in response to The Daily Post: Creative Writing Challenge :

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/metamorphosis/

Relating posts:

http://cvillewinter.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/on-being-golden/

http://starvingactivist.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/dp-meets-100-wcgu-91-an-anthopod/

http://heatherdroberts.com/2013/05/27/growl-bite-and-howl/

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Dead Space | Daily Prompt: Elevator

English: LED elevator floor indicator

English: LED elevator floor indicator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with an intriguing stranger. Write this scene.

Checking her watch a third time, Letitia admitted defeat.

“I am definitely late” she thought.

With a deep sigh she pressed the elevator call button again. It really was one of those days…

Taking a gulp of her Caramel Macchiato, the doors pinged and opened slowly. Almost spilling the coffee down her pastel pink shirt Letitia stepped over the threshold and entered the small metal container that was to take her 34 floors up to Langsworth & Hyde, the City’s premier law firm for the last 8 years.

Flustered, she didn’t even notice the tall gaunt fellow stood in the corner until she looked up to check her hair in the reflective panel next to her. Startled, she felt slightly embarrassed. Less the fact she jumped out of her skin and more because she had been blatantly caught out checking herself in the mirror. Letitia was a proud woman.

Clearing his throat, the stranger spoke softly, “You cannot control your Destiny”

Bewildered, Letitia wasn’t sure she had heard him properly. As she looked through the mirror at the man she noticed that he wore dark sunglasses, dressed in a black pinstripe suit that seemed to hang off his slight frame.

Feeling slightly uncomfortable she chose not to respond.

“Your fate has already been decided lady”, the man continued. Running his bony fingers through his lank dark hair, his thin, pale lips cracked into a crooked smile, revealing broken yellow teeth.

Now she was feeling scared. Swallowing hard, Letitia looked away praying the elevator would miraculously zoom up to the 34th floor in record time. Contemplating hitting the emergency button she could not hide her unease.

“Not much longer to go now my dear…..” he rasped. Now looking over the top of the glasses, his eyes, grey, wide, and bloodshot penetrating through to Letitia’s soul.. The stranger reached inside his jacket and with his left hand pulled out a small metallic orb. No bigger than an egg it appeared to shimmer and shine in his palm. Perfectly round and perfectly clear it began to spin.

It was hypnotising.

“I’m s-s-sorry” Letitia whispered, her gaze transfixed on this impossible sphere, “I just n-n-need to get to Langs……”

“Shhhhh,” the Stranger interrupted, “No need to talk now, the process has started dear”

As the ball whirred and flashed, Letitia could feel an ice cold sliver working it’s way through her chest, rising up, she began to panic. Trying to reach the alarm, she discovered her arms were immobile. She was stuck, trapped. Frightened.

“Please, s-s-stop”, Letitia begged as a single tear escaped her eye and rolled down her cheek.

Taking a step closer, the Stranger brought the spinning sphere up to her face, wanting to look away, but to no avail, she couldn’t understand what was happening to her as the cold chilling swell caught in her throat, she wondered who this man was. What did he want? Why was this happening?

Almost as if he was reading her thoughts, the man spoke once more.

“This is your Fate and it is your Destiny, now is the time!”

As the overwhelming chill consumed her body, every hair stood on end, pins and needles flooded her arms and legs as the shivering grew more intense with every second. Now unable to speak, Letitia mutely gasped as her eyes rolled back and as her body snapped back in shock, the elevator plunged into darkness….

….the lights flickered momentarily, a quiet hum as the electricity buzzed back through the elevator, before illuminating the metal box once again. With a slow, rattling creak, the doors opened on to Langsworth & Hyde’s office space.

Mack, the law firm’s representative appeared at the doorway ready to greet his new client, knowing she was already running behind and eager to commence proceedings. Puzzled, he looked back towards his receptionist at the desk opposite. She gave a slight shrug and held her hands up to say “I don’t know?”

Peering into the elevator, Mack was confronted with an empty space, it had been called up to the 34th floor empty possibly, he wondered before he noticed a small shiny object, in the centre of the floor. A metallic orb, no bigger than an egg. As Mack stepped inside he carefully bent down to pick up the sphere, curious.

As he stood back up to observe this strange object, the elevator doors closed swiftly. Pressing the call button to open them again Mack stumbled back in shock. Stood in the corner was a tall gaunt fellow, wearing a black pinstripe suit and sunglasses. As a bewildered Mack stared on at the Stranger, he spoke.

“You cannot control your Destiny……”

This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/daily-prompt-elevator/

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Using Forms Creatively (Part 2 of 2)

Earlier this week, The Daily Post asked us to utilise the Forms options on our posts as part of the Weekly Writing Challenge. Split into 2 parts I hoped to be able to, firstly gather the required information needed, and then write up the 2nd phase of this challenge. The first part of this exercise can be found HERE, where I asked readers to choose 1 of 3 Genre ‘settings’ for a new ‘interactive’ piece of fiction that I will be writing on the blog.

The 3 options were:

  1. Realistic – (within the realms of possiblity and true to real life situations)
  2. Enhanced Reality – (think ‘True Blood’ for example, realistic setting with fantasy elements)
  3. SciFi/Fantasy – (completely open world with no limit to what is possible)

After selecting just 1 option, the reader was then asked to submit a comment, explaining why they made that choice. Obviously the majority of the responses explained it due to personal preference to what they like to read. Naturally. Although a few people took it from a different perspective and thought about me as the writer and how the decision could affect the way I produce the work.

One reader commented:

Why restrict yourself? SciFi/Fantasy allows you to be as imaginative and creative as you like, no boundaries. Creating a believable world in this genre will challenge you as a writer but the end product will be so much more worth it.

I have to say, I kind of agree with them to some respect. Before I began this task I was contemplating a realistic, true to life piece of fiction, where I could ground my characters within natural environments. I have found through my adult life that the majority of books I have read that drew me in emotionally where those that stayed true to ‘real life’ situations, for example: My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I will put my hands up and admit, that’s the only book I have ever read to make me cry. Maybe that’s what I wanted to emulate with my writing. It seemed others agreed with this style too.

Another comment read:

If it is going to be interactive I think realistic will work best. Supernatural and scifi dystopian fiction is so popular at the moment that you may get better input instead of subconscious repeat ideas of things just read or seen. (sic)

It really is interesting to see other readers point of view! We all assume we know what is best, and maybe for the majority of the content within our fiction that is true, but it goes to show that if we become a little bit more open-minded, and willing to listen to what people like or want, then surely this can only help and improve our writing. After all, are we not creating narratives for other people to enjoy as much as for our own pleasure?

This is why I wanted to make my online fiction partly interactive, because I realise that there are lots of ideas out there that I may just never come across without a little bit of help. It’s not cheating to ask for a bit of guidance, or an opinion if you truly believe that it will benefit the writing. I will be using ‘Custom Forms’ more in future to allow my work to evolve and also to get other followers and visitors involved, after all, that’s the essence of blogging isn’t it?

The final decision was undoubtedly down to me, I had to be comfortable with the genre of course, I couldn’t just go with the majority vote as though this was an election. That wasn’t the purpose of the experiment after all. It was to engage and interact, to challenge and question ideas. Although I have decided to choose the overall majority favourite Sci-Fi / Fantasy I have decided that I don’t necessarily have to go overboard with the ideas, and I guess that’s the beauty of it, I can decide how little or how much whilst not restricting or limiting myself.

Creativity is about freedom.

For those interested, I have provided the final tally of submitted ‘votes’ below, and I would  like to thank everyone involved for taking part. This really was a very interesting challenge / experiment!

  1. Realistic  –  4 votes
  2. Enhanced Reality  –  6 votes
  3. Sci-Fi/ Fantasy  – 9 votes

This post is in response to: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/writing-challenge-forms/

and a follow-up to: https://mattsden101.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/weekly-writing-challenge-using-forms-creatively-part-1-of-2/

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