Thursday, 29 December 2011


“Don’t bother with the passport. It’s fake.”

He doesn’t check, just smiles smugly.

He’s too young, too eager: immaculate suit, shirt, tie; cute haircut; sharp eyes; perfect muscles. That has to be his first body, top of the range, very expensive. Me, I’m down to cast-offs. This flabby thing stinks, but it’s all I’ve got left. That, two hundred years of experience, and a hidden blade.

“Ok, old ma—”

Evisceration. The best way to interrupt a man, or fleshwalker.

As I leave he’s trying to shove his guts back in, blabbing about how much that ruined meat cost him.

(Originally written for Lily Childs' Friday Prediction)

Thursday, 22 December 2011


Carl remembered cities. But ‘city’, like so many other words, meant nothing anymore. Infrastructure. Internet. Communication. Multisyllabic tendencies had become redundant. The world was turning feral, and brutal Anglo-Saxon monosyllables were a better fit.

The planet had burned and civilisation was just another unnecessary word.

He hadn’t spoken in over a year. In his head he would recite the words he could remember but the list got shorter with the days. Winter was here and you could barely tell the falling snow from the ash.

There was one word he would never forget, that would never lose its meaning...


Thursday, 15 December 2011


See our fair prince entering Pharaoh’s tomb, overburdened with delusions of heroism: rescue the princess, triumph over evil. Pitiful, really. Heroism is such an irrelevant concept, like good or evil. Time matters most: erosion, evolution.

There are traps down there but they are momentary, tripped, ineffective, then done, like a human lifetime. A good curse though, lasts forever.

The hero wins, of course. What did you expect? The princess is saved; they have many children. A grand dynasty is born.

They never suspect my sweet, lingering kiss in their DNA. I live on, insidious as decay, sweeping through the centuries.

(Originally written for Lily Childs' Friday Prediction)

Thursday, 8 December 2011


Youth is fleeting beauty, rose petals on the wind.

He tells them he is a poet. He publishes verses of bliss across their skin with deft finger strokes: here teasing, almost touching, just a tingle, then gone; there lingering, languishing softly in luxurious anticipation; now rushing roughly, sacrificing subtlety, cradling them as their cries crescendo, and letting the final line drift away, draped like wrinkled bed sheets at the end of the bed, the bottom of the page. The shape of a memory.

He never stays to watch the petals wilt. He leaves them with poetry, and not with pain.

(Originally written for Lily Childs' Friday Prediction)

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


She held his hand and kept her eyes demurely down. She wore her shortest dress to draw attention.

Men pretended not to look but when they passed she heard their gasps at the purpling licks of wicked bruises. She knew they were hoping for a flash of lacy lingerie, not that mottled ladder leading to the whitest, cotton naivety.

All the more outrageous he had sullied such innocence.

Later, under the actinic illumination of the bathroom strip light, he would kneel before her and tenderly sponge the stage make-up from her legs. And she would laugh softly at his shame.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Jack watches Sam and Lea from the shadows.

Sam is telling her about the tunnels, and the weapon. Of course he would tell his wife, he’s excited, damn the non-disclosure agreement.

Jack clicks the safety off.

Sam’s talking about their one chance to win this war... and that’s when the back of Lea’s summer dress explodes in a shredded mess as chitinous, jointed limbs erupt from somewhere inside her.

Jack steps out, pulls the trigger, blows wet gobs of Lea’s brains all over her husband. He hesitates, then holsters the Glock and reaches for his shaking brother.

"Sam, I'm sorry."

Monday, 31 October 2011


She gently swirls the glass, watching candlelight refract through crimson. She takes a sip.

Her hair is jet black, her skin is alabaster white. Cliché, yes, but it’s her choice, it’s a lifestyle.

At her feet a cringing wretch of a man, barely more than a boy, licks her boots. New boots, but she cut through the park on the way here to muddy their soles; he likes it like that.

She met a man in the park. She tries to remember his face but all she gets is shadow. She rubs her neck. The expensive wine seems thin, unsatisfying.

Halloween double bill: A curse catches up with Professor Hamilton in Beetles.


Professor Hamilton pressed his back to the sandy wall. Scarab beetles scuttled up his bare legs. He grabbed them. Shovelled them into his mouth. Crunched down to a burst of viscous, rank ooze: shards of chitin in a musty soup. Swallowing grew harder and harder.

He woke sweating, heaving, his stomach convulsing. Every night since Egypt. No pharaoh’s treasure was worth this.

He swept the lank, wet hair from his forehead. His hands were trembling, they were thinner, he was sure. His fair skin looked unhealthy, translucent; something black bulged and crawled beneath it.

He grabbed for his monogrammed letter-opener.

Halloween double bill: She's a lifestyle Vampire.

(Beetles originally written for Lily Childs' Friday Prediction)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


You can see all the world’s churches from here, every grand cathedral. All those phallic spires, thrusting impotently at heaven. Don’t they know it’s rude to point?

Besides, heaven is beyond, not above.

You can see the filthy humans, too. How they roam, pathetic grubs crawling through the fetid dirt of their lives. No use glossing over the truth, they have wasted what they were given. They have cut down, dug up, burnt and buried The Garden.

The Old Testament is prophecy, all that is to come. First things first: they will be driven from Eden, that they call Earth.

(Originally written for Lily Childs' Friday Prediction)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


I have infiltrated the Darkling megaship.

They are powerfully single-minded creatures; once an idea strikes, they follow it to its fullest. They have no fleet, just this one mighty warship. And quite aptly, they have named it Doom.

It carries their army, their entire race. They come to invade Earth, they call this Operation Doom.

I have seen what the megaship carries, deep in its hold: their ultimate weapon. To be used only if they cannot have Earth for themselves. Its blast will crack the ground, ignite the atmosphere and boil away the seas.

This bomb, also, is codenamed Doom.

Thursday, 22 September 2011


“You... Bob.”

“Brian, sir.”

“Right, you’re on lever duty.”

“I thought I was on shark duty.”

“The sharks can look after themselves. Apparently. That’s why I need someone new on the lever. That someone is you, Bob.”


“Exactly. Now. You, Bob.”

“Yes, sir?”

“Wait...? Your name really is Bob?”

“No, sir, just wanted to make you feel better. Sir.”

“Your job is not to make me feel better. Your job... what is your job?”

“Calibrating the elephant trebuchet, sir.”

“Right, right, carry on. So... you, Bob.”

“Emily, sir.”

“Right, Bob, clean that big, red button there. Very, very carefully.”

Having reached a hundred followers on Twitter, I asked for prompts. @gingerkytten suggested 'Minions and their many uses (for profit and fun)'. I had to edit out the minion who was waxing the war turtles.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


“YEW, triple word score. Surprised you left it open.”

“Well, I don’t feel good. What did I just drink?”

“Herbal tea. It’s good for you.”

“It tasted like arse. ZIG.”

“That’s how you know it’s good for you. ZIG isn’t a word.”

“It is, here, look. Awrr... Never give me that again.”

“I won’t. ZIG’s a stupid word.”

“Still a word. Nnn.”

“TAXINE. ‘X’ on triple letter.”

Mmp. I don’t, uhh, think that’s a word.”

“It certainly is. Here: noun, a poisonous alkaloid extracted from the leaves and seeds of the European yew. Apparently you brew it as a tea.”

Having reached a hundred followers on Twitter, I asked for prompts. @europeangirl was getting annoyed at Wordfeud (Scrabble) for allowing words like 'ZIG' and 'ZAG'. She wanted REVENGE...

Monday, 19 September 2011


A tiger stalked the empty corridors of Genesis station. His name was Flame and he had been a tiger for almost a century.

The underside of the station was transparent and from here he liked to watch the tranquil planet below with his own eyes. They had named the planet Gaia, the people who had transplanted his brain from his wasting body into this marvel of technology, this immortal, cybernetic tiger-form.

Later, he would network with the station’s sensors and search the deep seas for Sula in her dolphin-form. He might send her another message; this time she might reply.

(Originally titled 'Orbiting Body' (which obviously doesn't fit the one-word title remit here. ;) ) A friend requested, for her birthday: "drabbles. If I could beg one thing of you, it would be: robots and tigers and deep under the sea and unrequited love and faraway planets with lonely astronauts." And this is what happened...)

Sunday, 11 September 2011


Carl knew cults, cults were the job. Tied to this honeycombed altar, however, he was wondering if the Agency had maybe neglected to adequately brief him on this one.

The robed men chanted as their ‘Queen’ smeared some kind of sweet, viscous goo on Carl’s face.

The Queen opened her mouth wide, wider. Something moved inside, something that buzzed. Bees swarmed between her teeth in a ragged, angry cloud.

Carl clamped his mouth and eyes shut. He felt their horrible, furry bodies crawling through the syrup on his face. Then he felt them pushing into his ears and his nose.

(Originally written for Lily Childs' Friday Prediction)

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Putting the pieces together. Trying to capture the crime. Recapture.

Spilt vodka, broken bottles, Smirnoff, shot, shot, have another shot, glass shatters. Fat fingers select a suitable sliver, a sharp shard to stroke her soft, shuddering skin.

The machine stutters with staccato bursts of frenzied freeze-frames, too fast, faster.

Green olives, red pimento pips, cocktail sticks, stuck, pricked. A rash of red on flinching flesh. Blood beading, bleeding.

The doc adjusts the dials, drips adrenalin into the brain bowl.

The murder victim’s mind is a jagged jigsaw.

The screen slows, shows scenes...

Flickers... Flashes... Finally... A face.

Fucker. Found you.

(Originally written for Lily Childs' Friday Prediction)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


The Story

Today's 101, Cosmic, a murder mystery that spans the whole of space and time, in only 101 words, is guesting over at my other flash fiction blog, Xeroverse: Missing Pieces.

Missing Pieces is a year old and to celebrate I've got some awesome guest fiction going up every day this week. Please pop on over, say hi, and enjoy the stories.


Xero. =)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Dark, tenebrous things burst forth from the cracked ground.

She drew her twin pistols, Regret and Recompense, and began firing.

She had unleashed these dread things that would devour the Earth, this was her fault. And this was not a war she could win, she was under no illusions, but she could show humanity that a stand could be made. She could give mankind a fighting chance.

Her guns ran dry and she threw them aside.

She drew her knife.

“I name you, Hope,” she said, kissing the blade.

And thus did Pandora die. And thus was her legend born.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Clouds drift over the moon.

Ellen feels the cold metal of a gun barrel pressed to the back of her head.

Her heart stops and the chill spreads. Ice runs through her veins.

Her eyes widen, moisten. Fear climbs from her tight chest to her throat; it forces a choked sob from her dry mouth.

A breath like silk on her neck elicits tiny tremors. She can smell vodka and sour sweat.

“You are nothing, to the universe.” Male, low, soft.

The trigger clicks.

The moon re-emerges.

And she is alone, her heart beating wildly, warm piss soaking her jeans.

(Originally written for Lily Child's Friday Prediction)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


I am here, against intergalactic law, because important, anonymous people grew tired of waiting. So the galaxies turn.

The Darkling’s tower is impenetrable to our technology, and thus, invaluable. Scientists observing the structure from the legal sanctity of space have learnt nothing. And so impatience has brought me to this planet, to my death.

It has been called their Tower of Babel, though nobody knows if they even have a God. They have a devil. I have seen it. I have seen the pit beneath the tower, and the indescribable thing within.

Are they imprisoning it? Or setting it free?

(Originally written for Lily Child's Friday Prediction)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


He admired his engineered body. He was success, perfection; he was to be the template for the new breed.

Humanity had lost its way, stepped outside of evolution. The weak were allowed to thrive; the meek had already inherited the Earth. That would no longer be tolerated.

He flexed his weaponry, watching sharpness shift beneath his inky, black skin. Spikes of bone clawed at him from the inside, thirsty for freedom, for the fight, for a bite of human flesh.

He was just the first.

War was coming. To the victor go the spoils.

To the victor go the planet.

(Originally written for Lily Child's Friday Prediction)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


“Ah ha! Found it!”

Doc Carmine brandished the template with blue-stained fingers.

He returned to his workbench and pressed his head to the girl’s bare chest, listening. Lingering a little too long.

Still alive, good. They always overdid the spike... it just wasn’t good business to spoil the merchandise.

He hauled her onto her front and held the template against the pale skin of her hip, spreading his fingers to keep it in place, grabbing more flesh than was perhaps necessary.

The spray paint would only stain for a week or two. By then she’d be someone else’s property anyway.

(Originally written for Lily Child's Friday Prediction)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


My mind is in pieces.

They tell me that with every jump I left a part of myself behind.

They tell me it’s gone forever, but I’ve had time to think, in this padded room. If I concentrate, I can feel the different pieces, in all the different worlds.

There are threads stretching out from me to them; from me to me.

I’ve been pulling at the threads. I feel the walls between worlds resisting; they are not easy to breach, but I feel them cracking, I feel reality ready to splinter.

It’s my mind, and I want it back.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


Rose remembered how grandmother’s magic shimmered and shivered around them. It smelt acrid and sweet, like burning cupcakes; felt like hot soap bubbles bursting on their skin. Grandmother’s fragile voice would rise and fall deliriously, from crow’s shriek to baby’s burbling chortle. Round again, and again.

So many years ago, lives ago.

Now Rose is grandmother.

The magic swells inside her, wailing and whispering its way from her startled mouth. It pulls at her, wild and strong... and she’s sitting with her mother and her grandmother, and other women, older and deeper... everything echoed in time. Round again, and again.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


He turns the death garland over in gnarled hands.

A wreath of bones, and things resembling bones; fragments of animal, man and machine. Lives, deconstructed.

Death, reconstructed.

Debris, become the key to beyond.

He had been bound for millennia; buried with penumbral beasts from the flickering, cave-fire dawn of fear, with the scritching, scratching of fraying claws and too-big teeth in snapping jaws. Then the Earth split and scraps of modern man fell in.

Now he yearns, a yawning ache, for the world without.

He turns his key. The lock cracks.

He walks free... and dark things ride his shadow.

(originally written for Lily Child's Friday Prediction)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Madame Fox cries tears of black tar.

She is the heartbreak that is the last thing ex-lovers share. She is the dead rose, caught in the middle.

She could surrender to this and be torn apart – a conjoined heart still beating as it is ripped asunder, geysering lifeblood in faltering plumes – or she can change, shift and escape: grow fleet, grow feral.

They call her name, make bets on who she will come to, but she is wild now, and besides, they are calling her old name, her human name.

Her tears turn to white whispers. Petals in a snowstorm.

(Originally written for Lily Childs' Friday Prediction)

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Jeremy leaned against the rough brick wall of the clothes shop at the corner of Davey Place and Castle Street. He couldn’t remember if the shop was still a Monsoon and he didn’t check; another unresolved thought in his head was all the better.

He nodded to the big issue seller, closed his eyes and listened.

He could hear two off-key flautists busking down the street; the shuffling conversations of passersby; the thump of bass from the Panasonic shop; the Royal Arcade’s Christmas music; some Asian singer warbling from the Thai takeaway.

He couldn’t hear the voices.

What blissful cacophony.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


I denounce my body.

Is the first commandment. You are but fertile ground for the red plague: let it inside you, let it become you.

I denounce my bonds.

Is the second. Forget your past, forget your family and friends. Those things have no meaning.

I embrace my thirst.

Is the third. It will be all you know.

She licks the warm, sticky gore from her hands, trembling as it slides down her throat.

She looks at the flesh that lies around her, broken, torn and hollow. It had names yesterday. She had family yesterday.

Today she has the plague.

(originally written for Lily Childs' Friday Prediction)

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


Tied down with burning sheets.

Her cool hands are excruciating relief; soft flutters of calm; gentle bulwarks against the storm I can feel swelling once more, drenching the linen and washing me away. My wife shush-shushes me as I am tossed between lucidity and patterned blindness. In the distance I hear someone crying for their wife, my wife. My wife is long dead. I am seeing everything and too much and none of it makes sense. My limbs writhe of their own accord, seeking some form, some sigil that is free from these panic-laden eddies.

Drowning in my own mind.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


Leaves swirl around her. She becomes the centre of the eddying wind, the sudden focus of the world.

No longer just a passing stranger, she is transformed:

A hidden princess – no, too old, too lined: a queen – discovering the truth and power of her ancient, Elven lineage. A web of invisible arcana reaches out from her, pushing at reality.

She is transformed:

Her dabblings in arch-diablerie catch up with her and the demons she thought contained dance about her, stirring up the leaves, cackling, unseen by everyone else.

The wind shifts again, she walks on, once more just another passerby.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


Ansel took a bite of lamb. He savoured the salty burst of juices and smiled at the crackle of delicate bones between his teeth – the sound reminded him of happy days playing in human camps, amongst wooden huts.

He took another bite. It was these simple moments he enjoyed the most.

The third, final, bite. Some of his brothers would be done in two, but Ansel always saved the best for last. He popped the lamb’s head into his mouth. Mmm, the crack of the skull; the delicious, spongy brain meat.

He let out a contented belch. The ground shook.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


Wired. Silken strings throb beneath his skin, uplifting.

He takes his first steps, tentative, a newborn foal.

Step, step. Steady, step, step.

He dances for them, for all of them. And they all want him, want control.

And none of them want to share.

Pushed, pulled, thrust, thrown. Too many hands on him, too many puppeteers.

He screams, screams and they panic.

They let go and he crumples, a deflated dream. They stare at him. They accuse him with their shock and their silence.

He would walk away, should walk away, but he hasn’t the strength to rise by himself.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011



MyLife YourLife MyLife YourLife MyLife

Your Life My Life. Your Life My Life. Your Life

My Life. Your Life. My Life.

Your Life.

My Life.

Your Life.


Ah. Oh dear.

You lose.

Rigged? No. Quite impossible.

I did suggest chess, remember? You can’t blame me for a game of chance.

Can’t blame yourself either, though I suppose that’s no comfort.

I’ll give you a minute.

Just remind me, what was your wife’s name? I’d hate to slip up on something so basic.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


He dreams a vast emptiness.

Sometimes it is a desert, lifeless sand for miles, other times it is bare stone or warm, soft dust. Once it was gently swaying grass as far as the eye could see; just the once.

He crosses on foot, for hours, until he reaches the doors.

Hundreds of doors.

Behind them, he is sure, so sure, are wonderful places where his family and friends wait for him. But whichever door he picks, as it opens he knows he has chosen the same door, again. And it is too late.

He steps through, he wakes, alone.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


This little pixie went to market,
This little pixie stayed at home,
This little pixie had roast meat,
And this little pixie had none.

And this twisted little pixie, sat alone in his police cell, couldn’t stop giggling hysterically.

Wee, wee, wee, wee, wee!

All his older brothers were dead. The eldest was in pies; the next in the cold, damp soil beneath the floorboards. He had tied the twins up... cut parts off one, seasoned the meat with salt and a slow poison, then cooked it and fed it to the other.

Never would he be ‘little piggy’ again.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


“Can you smell chocolate?”

“What? No.” Charlie frowned, “I was trying to explain how magic has evolved, pay attention.”

Elizabeth paused. She sniffed at the air.

Charlie continued, “People still think of magic as it was in the middle ages.”

“I’m sure of it.” Elizabeth muttered. “I can. Now I really want chocolate.”

Charlie took hold of her chin and examined her eyes. He sighed and looked upwards.

“Hey, you,” he shouted at the rooftops. “Not this one.”

The wind carried soft laughter, and a swish like a fishing line being recast.

“It’s gone,” Elizabeth sniffed. “What were you saying?”

Wednesday, 16 February 2011


a trilogy


“No! Leave him alone!”

Rian shoved the white-robed Waabuleh priests away from his father’s corpse. The blue-skinned godlings trilled their incomprehensible language but he ignored them, hunching protectively over the charred remains.


Rian curled up on himself in the mud. His father’s murderer, Brattak, emperor’s wizard, turned his back on the squire and walked away.

The wizard’s spittle felt heavy on Rian’s face.


Rian charged Brattak; he was drenched in the demon wyrm’s still-warm lifeblood and the wizard’s blackfire spells rained impotently against it. He drew his father’s sword, forever his father’s son, and swung.

Dedicated to the memory of James Miller, who led us on many an epic adventure; who embarked upon that final, greatest adventure far too soon.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


“That word doesn’t mean what you think it means.”

“Oh, so just cos I ain’t a city boy I don’t know what I mean?”

“You know what you mean. I know what you mean. ‘Bespoke’ is not what you mean.”

“So now you know me business better than me?”

“No, but... my signs are bespoke; chickens... are not.”

“Listen, kid, poultry farming ain’t what it used to be. If I says me chickens are bespoke, they’re bespoke.”

“But, they’re chickens. Chickens happen, you don’t tailor-make them.”

“I do. Guaranteed to the millimetre, to the pantone. Bespoke chickens. It’s the future.”

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


A billion suns and I get lumbered with this one.

Stroking his ego and stoking his flames all the endless day. There is no respite for me, no eclipse or turning the other face. No night.

Mama Void and Papa Dust cast us together and their dictates are final. They are not indulgent of their children, they brook no quarrels. Not to suggest they are uncaring, but unwavering, certainly.

He lashes out, plasma exploding in a burst of magnetic energy which settles across me warmly, tenderly. He is showing off, showering me with particles and radiation, kisses of fleeting eternity.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011


The wind carries their howls. It carries their bloodlust and intent.

They are hunting us, even as we hunt them.

They are the only prey we do not eat though; such flesh as theirs must never pass our throats. We hunt them purely for survival.

They hunt us for sport, for slaughter and dark joy; a need for torn flesh in their teeth, blood spilt in moonlight.

They are stronger, but we are cunning. We are wolf.

They have lost nature’s subtlety, there is too much of man in them; too much of the men they were, in the daylight.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


His soft skin was pale as driftwood; his hair as unruly as tangle weed. His slender body was featureless as a child’s, his hoofs like those of a goat.

He played a breathy, fey tune on wooden pipes.

Slowly, they approached, like the first hint of an evening star. Coy, delicate and pretty. Winged, tiny and bright.


They danced for him.

And when they tired they snuggled in amongst the curls of his hair and fell asleep. Then, one by one, he popped them into his mouth; crunching their bones carefully, quietly, so as not to awaken the others.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


Robert caressed his iThing.

It murmured as it adapted to his touch, downloading apps, auto-evolving as it predicted his desires.

‘Hyper-ergonomics’ they called it. The iThing was ‘whatever you needed it to be’.

It began as a flat lump of stylish white potential. It was intuitive beyond any of its predecessors; shape shifting; building a dynamic, custom control set from the moment you picked it up.

Robert knew he could never find someone that understood him as well as his iThing. He pressed it to his face, feeling it penetrate his skin. He moaned as it whispered in his brain.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


It was all about performance.

A man was sat on a bench in Windsor Park, where the path curves round the willow trees and the duck pond is just out of sight. Mothers hurried as they dragged their staring children past.

The man stared back with bright, sharp eyes atop an expansive, unruly beard. His clothes were ragged, a faded rainbow of dirty greys.

He winked at two young boys, chosen at random, then reached into his coat and theatrically produced a scraggy chicken. Its dead head lolled.

Next, with the children’s undivided fascination, he bit the head clean off.