‘Cause I only wanna be your Saturday Saviour…

•March 31, 2010 • 6 Comments

Well, it certainly still smells the same. The dust is a little oppressive, but nothing insurmountable. Think I’ll leave the windows open for a bit, let the room air before I start moving around the furniture.

The sensation of being ‘home again’ may or may not arrive in the future, but for now I am willing to slump in the newly upholstered couch, stare at the flaking wallpaper, and hope a new pattern emerges……

All good things must come to an end….

•August 31, 2008 • 5 Comments

Sneaking in just before the deadline, my entry to the latest Dazzle competition. Make of it what you will.

When Colours Bleed

Does blood feel captive? As it flows through its prison of flesh, does it conceive of freedom, grow tired of constant motion? The smallest taste of escape, and it flows ferociously; but break the right wall, and its thirst for freedom can be explosive.

Roscoe wondered at the emancipation of his own blood. As it trickled and flowed and sputtered from various wounds, he felt sure that it must feel some regret. He most certainly did. And yet it seemed almost joyful to feel the night air, to cascade beneath the cold flicker of bloodless neon lights. Too much pain to feel anything, just a removed clarity birthing inane observations. Such as the business card clasped between the fingers of his right hand, the leering face on its surface blurring Cheshire-cat like, until the last thing he saw before the blackness seeped through him; a curved, quizzical eyebrow.

*  *  *  *

It may have been the plastic bag the tiny capsule was in, refracting the light in a way just so, but it really did look as if the pill shimmered a palette of greens and reds and blues. Detective Roscoe Scott held the bag up to the fluorescent lights, curious to divine an understanding of its secrets. The silvery surface seemed to promise answers, but only to those who could show faith. EAT ME. But Roscoe had tunnelled through enough rabbit holes to know that faith was perhaps the deadliest drug of all. Besides, even if he did slip the pill between his lips, the lab had emptied it hours ago. Which reminded him. ‘Chemical analysis match it to the bust at Tarrega’s?’ He replaced the bag on the counter and looked expectantly at the lab tech.

‘Exact. Which still leaves us with the same problem.’

‘No trace of any illegal substances…’ Roscoe’s voice trailed off. He didn’t have the energy to relive these conversations. Whispers, smoke and mirrors, dead bodies and then evidence that may as well have been sand. He made his way to interrogation, but knew this was to be yet another exercise in futility. The dead ones couldn’t talk, and the ones that could seemed only capable of preaching.

Roscoe stood before the glass for a moment, his sense’s primed for some clue that may make this one different to the others. The figure on the other side certainly held himself differently; expensively dressed, outwardly unflustered by his current predicament, yet the similarities were there too. One of which Roscoe now walked in to meet; a gaze that made him feel self-conscious, strangely unworthy.

‘Mr Witherfall. I don’t suppose I’m going to get a clear answer on how you came to have a considerable amount of Ishtar’s Necklace in your possession, am I?’

‘Ever woken up one morning, detective, and realised how grey everything is? Even when it isn’t raining, it always seems to be. You’re living the same day over and over again….oh sure, the details change, but none of the important ones….’

‘You do realise it’s only a chemically induced high, don’t you? You think this escape from reality that you ingest is more real than my so-called mundane existence?’

‘Did you know, detective, that the Ancient Greeks believed a rainbow was the pathway between Heaven and Earth? For the Chinese it was the slit in the sky sealed by Nuwa. Have you any idea what it feels like to have the sun shine on you? Not filtered through smog and the other sickness we fill our skies with, but a radiance that warms your very soul.’ The sick sincerity in his voice, the blind conceit were a push Roscoe felt he couldn’t back down from. He knew it was a mistake, but his fingers had gripped Witherfall’s collar quicker than thought. Yet he saw the hesitation in those arrogant eyes, knew he had to follow through.

‘You know I’ve got nothing to hold you on. So just keep selling this shit, because you’re going to sell it to someone it won’t agree with. And that dumb stiff will lead back to you. And when it does, I will send you to a place with no fucking rainbows and no fucking sunshine.’ Roscoe’s voice was an icy threat. ‘Give me a name, a location, or I will be your shadow.’

‘All you had to do was ask.’ Still the condescending tone, almost mocking. ‘Best keep your wits about you, detective. The problem with shadows is, you can never be sure of their allegiance.’

* * * *

Sirens flashed a red spectrum against walls, yellow tape fluttered. Roscoe watched the tip of his cigarette glow orange. Men in blue attempted to keep curious onlookers at bay while forensics combed every inch of the scene, scanners emitting a violet light. He’d played his part in the evening’s success, now to decipher whether the strange feeling in his gut was hope, or the fear that all of this would again lead to nothing. Still, there were enough minor charges to keep the warehouse closed indefinitely. Less supply, less income, and the major players were going to have to start taking law enforcement seriously. And perhaps they had saved a few lives tonight. Roscoe decided to walk the perimeter one last time, mostly for another smoke, but also on the off chance something small might turn up.

He barely felt the blade as it pierced the flesh behind his knees. The shock pinned his voice to the back of his throat, he pitched forward, punctured twice more before he hit the ground. A last cut to sever a major artery, and his assailant seemed satisfied. The figure knelt down to place something in his hand, then hovered close to his ear.

‘Don’t call us, Mr Scott.’ The lips were a curled whisper. ‘The guardians of the rainbow don’t like those who get in the way of the sun.’

Clearing out the attic….still.

•August 13, 2008 • 3 Comments

They lay, two of them, bodies enfolded, fingers entangled in hair, the sound of one heart beating. “Make me understand…”, he said, “…for sometimes it feels as if hurting me lets you take one more breath.”
She lifts her head from where it nestles in his shoulder, holds his eyes with hers. “My love…”, her voice is like an embrace before dying, “….why do you always ask for nothing less than my soul?” And she sighs, but it is the sigh of one who knows that never again does she want to be asked for anything less. “Okay, I will try….”

And so she says…..

when you are not here
it is day without night
it is a touch without skin
it is wing without flight

when I cannot feel you
it is note without song
kiss without taste
and right without wrong

when I cannot hear you
it is warmth without cold
sky without cloud
have without hold

when I cannot keep you
it is life without death
thirst without water
air without breath

and though my world will always have colour and laughter and that addiction that is seeing a glimmer of recognition in another, when you are not here my world does not have you.

And then she lay her head down again, and let his breathing stroke her face. He said nothing, but she could feel in his silence that, at last, he understood.

More vault cleanage…..

•June 20, 2008 • 2 Comments

The black glass pierced through a skin of thick cloud, and bled down a dark rain. And the castle to which this lustrous tower belonged, loomed like the shadow of some great beast against the horizon. Allegria pulled her coat tighter about her, fighting the chill wind that threatened to shatter her bones like porcelain. It was hard to keep thinking about what she had to do, hard to think that there was ever a moment when killing was the only solution. But this rain was drowning the land; she had to be the one to end it. And the cool whisper of steel at her side, once raised, would only be satisfied by blood. She only hoped that if their eyes met, she would not falter, not hesitate. This wasn’t the person she loved anymore, and any hope that the smallest of familiarities might remain had been dashed years ago. But still, how do you kill a sister?

Cleaning out the vault. Apparently it helps…..

•June 18, 2008 • 6 Comments

I have died a thousand deaths in this lifetime. At the end of each day, when I close my eyes, it is not dreams that welcome me, but rather a vortex of the lives and souls of all who die with me. And when morning comes, I do not wake from sleep, but am reborn. Each day is a life, each first breath of the morning is a first breath of life.

And even though I am reborn to the same life as the one I left the day before, I am not the same person who lives this life. I may look the same, but the changes are still there. Perhaps today I will fall in love with the smell of traffic, perhaps today it will be the sounds of jazz that soothe me. Did I love the taste of coffee yesterday? I do not know. That stranger in the lift, did I know him yesterday? It takes a few second, and then I remember. Yes, he works with me. And I remember who he is, remember his history, but will I like him today?

And yet one thing remains constant. No matter how many times I die and am reborn, every time I see your face, it is the only face I never forget. And though I have never stopped loving you, each day I fall in love with you anew. And so it shall be, for a thousand more deaths and rebirths. Every detail changes, every relationship alters, every sound and every taste and every sight is always different to how I remember.

But you, You move to the sound of a song no one else seems to hear, a rhythmic sway, almost imperceptible, but it lends a grace to your motion, as if you had walked off the pages of a Victorian novel, or the screen of some 1950’s movie where the heroine could slay a man with a look or the tossing of her hair. Is it a song no one else hears? Or is that your bones are made of music? I do not know. All I do know, is that watching you is to be entranced by something magical, to see how the air parts around you when you walk is to know that somehow, a room is always sadder when you leave it.

Attempted dazzle

•May 26, 2008 • 5 Comments

Parenthesis announced another writing contest recently, and was kind enough to tag me, or perhaps ‘challenge’ would be a better description.

The brief was as follows:

In Europe and the UK the clocks go back at the start of winter and forward at the start of Spring. What happens to or in the missing hour?

You need to link it to your choice of the following images, i.e your storyline has to connect with the departure point above and any one of the pictures below:

And I selected image 5.

So, hope you glean something from it. (oh, and with apologies to Cult of Luna)


Saving Daylight

voices in your head. they lie they lie. no one actually has them. not voices always, but crushing noises; like what those scientists discovered, the echoes of the big bang like television snow. or something like that. the one about the tinnitus sufferer who blew his brains out because he just couldn’t handle it anymore. that stuff is all true, only more. live next door to someone who plays loud music always. try to be cool, everyone is allowed some fun aren’t they, but sometimes you just can’t take it anymore, all you see is noise. distraction fails and eventually you blow a gasket or something. that feeling just before you explode where you’re not even thinking anymore, you’re just on this level of seeing and hearing red, you’re so angry you could trash your own house. that’s the level i am on every second of every day, and no, you don’t get used to it. i dream up elaborate ways to kill everyone i meet, which these days isn’t very many people. the other patients, the staff, but mostly people on tv. god bless that beautiful mother fucker who invented television. only, sometimes the news will report on a death, and it would be someone i planned a murder about. and i suddenly start thinking that maybe i did it, and i go through one of my paranoia spirals for a few days. but then i realise that if it had been me, i would never get caught. not even sherlock holmes could even get close…..

(it’s here that the spidery scrawl changes, the forming of the letters more confident, but also more childlike)

I am the Owl with wings like a flood and a cavernous swoop and a hail of blood…….



I suppose you might have called it serendipitous, with the exception that I have yet to decide whether this is a gift of good fortune or not. All it has bestowed upon me for the moment are a pair of weary eyes, sore from staring. I’ve lost my grip on him, and as compelling as my curiousity is, I need to rest if my hope of making sense from nonsense is to live on. This isn’t the sort of prose one can read for longer than an hour, unless of course you are comfortable with exposing enough of yourself to the ravings of a lunatic to blur the line between him and you, and if you are comfortable with that, then perhaps that line blurred years ago. I should be accustomed to trolling through pages and pages of varying historical accounts, but when the history seems to be as fresh, as visceral as this; I only wish others would realise as I have that history is as much seen through the eyes of societies outcasts as it is those who mould it. Greater things await me tomorrow, or perhaps not greater, but great enough to assuage my thirst to solve this riddle, for the moment. Tomorrow I visit the place; unlike most stories not where it started, but where it ends.

I would have been the last one to guess that my nephew and his cohorts, and the aural assault that they call music, would have led to anything worthwhile. But Daniel has always been diligent and attentive, and if I have done nothing else for the boy, at least he can recognize value in a thing most would not. Thus, I cannot say I was surprised when he brought his discovery to me. His band has been rehearsing in what is now abandoned and derelict, but was once a home to men of criminally insane intent. If such a place could be called a home. Why they would choose this as a location is beyond what a man who considers Chopin to be extreme can conceive of, but from what I have often heard emanating from Daniel’s car, perhaps a ruinous asylum is indeed apt. He spoke of needing to maintain the oppressive atmosphere of the place, but moving to another section that might have walls imbued with even more madness; whatever their reasons, the section they chose had never been cleared. Or at least if an attempt had been made, it was a hasty one, leaving behind rusting equipment, creaking cabinets, strangely moulded plastics and, a journal. I’m not sure for how long Daniel kept that journal, or how much of it he might have read, but if he had I do not doubt I would have seen it in his eyes. The pages of this chronicle seep into the soul as if the ink had not been written on paper, but on skin, and one does not turn the final page without parts of it being left behind to haunt like a childhood memory.


I should have guessed it would be around a corner in a leafy lane. But no rusted, iron fencing, only a high brick wall that struggles to keep a sprawling bougainvillea in check. And disappointingly, far more urban hospital than Victorian haunted house. Over twenty years, the grounds of St Lucinda the Benedicted have somehow managed to ward off any attempts at redevelopment, or perhaps none have chosen to pursue that end. This place has been left to die like a vagrant, wheezing his last few breaths on the side of the pavement. Everyone can see him fading, but no one wants to touch him. And like the vagrant, beneath the tattered paint and rags of dust, just something that has lost its way. The only oddity is a low hum, like being in the presence of power lines, only electricity is fed to this area in underground cables. Not strange enough, though. A glance around the reception area, but my imagination fails to populate it with the scurry and hustle it must have once had. No conjurations to fill this place with memories of life, only the fading grey of linoleum floors. I try to empty my mind of intent, to enter rooms and open doors on impulse. Most on the ground floor appear to be utility rooms; staff lounges, ablutions, visitation rooms. The canteen still has a half dozen metal tables, and though most of the chairs are either broken or stacked high against the far wall, if this place had ever been full it might have fed about sixty patients. And it is this realisation that makes me shiver for the first time. The rational part of my brain reminds me that many types of mental illness are non-violent, but my fear has already tasted doubt, and breathed spectral life into the room. At the end of the second row, a thin man contemplates the tray before him, patches of limp, dark hair cling to his scalp like dying grass. He spends five minutes arranging and then re-arranging the layout of the food on his plate, but his eyes never seem to settle. Opposite him and to the left, a larger figure casts a long shadow across the table, and it’s hard to see whether that shadow falls over nothing, or simply devours everything. Something lingers there, a daydream unborn. By the time I look up, the occupants have lost their shape like dissipating clouds, and soon the room is empty again. The room feels heavier, though. There was sickness here, yes, and those afflicted were lost children, involuntary victims to a ruthless condition. But others, few, I sense something less insistent; as if the stranger that knocked had been welcomed in with a smile. And that smile leaves a metallic taste in my mouth.

That hum is getting louder, more like a generator now then power cables. But for what purpose would the generators be in operation? Pausing at a flight of stairs leading to the first floor, should I continue on and let this place whisper more of its secrets to me? But this hum, I can’t even hear my thoughts anymore. There’s a door at the end of the corridor, opening out behind the asylum, leading to a generator room perhaps? It’s colder outside now, a coldness that brings with it a crispness, almost as if I’ve walked into a snapshot of the perfect autumn afternoon. Not a sigh of wind, the sky, the trees, everything in a kind of hyper-focus. Even the blades of grass look sharp, if I run my hand across them, it would be torn to shreds. I feel like an intruder, and with me I bring this noise, a hum now more like the screech of an owl, that seeks out the crispness and taints it, until my vision blurs. A warehouse, god, the noise seems to spill out from inside, but I’m fighting to keep my balance, pain lances through my shoulder as it collides with the frame of a door and I stumble inside, and this noise, it feels like a splinter in my mind. I can’t hear my footsteps any longer; it is only from the low thrumming that creeps through my bones that I know I am still in motion. The nausea has me clutching at my stomach, stopping me from plunging my fingers through my skull; there’s a new facet to the unforgiving noise, and the detached part of me is unsurprised to see that it emanates from my throat. A scream to end worlds and bring gods to their knees.

What is this place? But in the same instant, what does it matter? I need end, need release. Crawling now, unable to tell if I’ve stopped screaming, searching……beams, rope……


Inspector Parthon just didn’t get it. Why the need to make a statement? If you’re going to end it, then end it. What does it matter the flow of time after your passing. Not that he’d ever contemplated it, but an overdose, a decent mattress and perhaps a little Schubert would be the way to go. He’d been standing in a corner of the warehouse, watching forensics click around the scene like scarab beetles, and once they appeared to have finished, made his way over to the figure scribbling furiously into something in its palm. Cornelius lingered in his notebook a fraction longer, then looked up to meet Parthon’s gaze.

“Evening Inspector. Been a long time since I’ve been through these gates.” His awkward dress and unkempt features did little to mask a keen intelligence. Cornelious was a man of many words and numerous opinions, and both were always invaluable.

“Cornelius.” Parthon’s angular jaw dipped imperceptibly in greeting. “Anything I should be concerned about?”

“It would seem not, Inspector. Aside from the surprising identity, nothing indicates anything that differs from precisely what it seems. To the naked eye, that is.”

Surprising, perhaps. But as strange as finding a local professor swaying from a beam in an abandoned asylum would seem, it required a larger dose of the surreal to lift either of Parthon’s eyebrows. Tonight was a time for collation. Questions could wait for tomorrow, And answers, well, often answers never came at all. As he turned to leave the warehouse, a hesitant voice gave him pause.


“Yes Cornelius?”

“Er, perhaps one irregular detail?”


“Ah, yes.” Cornelius zipped open the blackness encasing the corpse. Gloved hands gently retrieved a right arm and lifted a sleeve. “It’s the, er, watch.”

“The watch?”

“Or more accurately, the time. It’s ah, inaccurate.”

“Care to illuminate me?”

“Er, sorry. Yes Inspector. Well, it’s an hour behind.”

An eyebrow raised.


•May 15, 2008 • 2 Comments
it was something in the way you suppressed a smile
not self-conscious concern
being caught laughing at a corny joke,
more a slight pursing of the lips
a lover whispering a forbidden promise
in the midst of Sunday morning congregation
I raise an outstretched palm to shield my eyes from the sun
light seeps through the tiny gaps
between my fingers
a red luminescence.
that is what I saw in you
a joyousness.
the curve of your smile prevented its escape
so it poured out of you
in every other way.
I half expected you to explode
in a hail of fireflies.

Phoenix Revisited

•February 6, 2008 • 6 Comments

There was this really great theory, Bryce recalled, about planetal orbits and the distances between them, something about mathematical equations that matched musical notes, creating a kind of melody. Musica universalis. That might have been it, but as science had progressed the theory had been disproven, and besides, Bryce’s memory was a little dusky from the journey, and this was many years ago.
Still, as he looked out from the observation deck at clusters of stars and nebulas and galaxies, it was a theory he wished were true. If there were no reinforced window between him and the inky depths of space, might he hear the softest of hums, a gentle frequency that would resonate through his body as the blackness ate him? It would certainly be better than the incessant drone of the warp engines, thrusting the ship onward at speeds beyond light. This shift business was starting to get to him. He appreciated not having to sleep for the entire thirty years to their destination, but the tedium of spending a month working, only to be put back into cryo-sleep for another six, well, his brain didn’t seem to cope too well with this arrangement. He knew that more than a month of working in solitude would probably drive him crazy, but who was to say he wasn’t already crazy? Oh well, only three more days until he went under again, perhaps he would feel differently by the time his next shift was due. The Phoenix was the pinnacle of scientific and technological achievement, and was more than capable of making the journey unaided, but the powers that be thought it better to always have a member of the crew awake, just to be sure. Of course, the powers that be also thought having more than one crew member awake was a waste of money and supplies, so Bryce didn’t have much faith in the intelligence of the ‘powers that be’, but he wasn’t exactly in a position to argue.
Halfway through the journey, and the ships logs had yet to record a mishap of any kind. Endless repetition meant that Bryce could now complete all the usual checks in four days. He had now worked out a schedule that saw him spend the rest of the time divided between exploring other sections of the ship, attempting to read everything in the ship’s onboard library (which held close to 6 million books in its database, from the complete works of Shakespeare to Hyperdrive Maintenance for Dummies) and tasting every possible combination of food and liquids the ships Nutritive Regeneration Dispensary could come up with. Sure, the crew were all injected with the necessary substances to keep their bodies healthy and functional whilst in cryo-sleep, but giving them access to approximations of food on earth when during their shifts would see to their mental health. Pleasure is as much a human need as food, water or sleep. And yes, there were books for that too.
It was hard to believe that the Phoenix was moving at such incredible speeds, as everything beyond the safety of the observation window seemed to be static, unmoving. Bryce knew it had to do with the vast distances between them and the nearest star, but he wasn’t interested in the logical explanations. Right now, has was happy to lose himself in the thought that perhaps they were moving that slowly, that has really wasn’t that far away from home.
But the thought of home had barely formed in his mind, when he saw it. It was close enough to the ships barrage of sensory equipment to slow the ship to a true stop, somewhere in the depths of the Phoenix, a million nanochips had begun analysing and quantifying, but all Bryce could do was stare. It was huge, filling the entire observation deck with a warm glow. Of course, all temperatures were regulated by the ships core, so it couldn’t have really been warm, yet Bryce could think of no other way to describe it. It was almost as if a tear in space had occurred, leaking light from another universe. Bryce could have sworn it was pulsing, it seemed to swell larger and then in the same instant shrink back down again. It seemed alien and alive, perhaps the birth of a new heavenly body, or the death of one. It was so bright, he didn’t even notice the deck lights whisper off, and he couldn’t have noticed the lights in every other part of the ship die either. It pulsed every shade of red imaginable, or was that every sound of red? There was something else in his head now, something louder than the drone of the ships engines, although as with the lights, the sudden quiet of the engines failed to distract him.
It still felt warm, as if the ships titanium hull were on fire. Perhaps were it not so beautiful, Bryce would have noticed the floor glowing with its own dark red, noticed the tear filling every inch of his gaze. Had his last thought not been of light and heat, Bryce might have considered the legend from which the ship took it’s name. The Phoenix, burned to ash, only to rise again.
And Bryce rose again, yet not Bryce. Not his memories, nor his thoughts and dreams. But Bryce, beyond the confines of space, of time, and glowing, pulsing with a music more ancient than the universe.

The Hanging Tree

•January 24, 2008 • 6 Comments
There’s a certain way sunlight strikes the tree, in the dying days of Autumn, that makes it seem as if it’s underwater. It doesn’t filter through the branches so much as it flows down them, and as the breeze strengthens, the tree sways with the languid ease of a ripple upon an ocean.
Perhaps, before Adam’s kind, giants had claimed this place as home. Perhaps they had congregated at this spot, desperate to flee whatever the affliction that threatened to remove them from the earth’s memory. They lifted their arms to the sky, in supplication, in hope that their Creator would save them. As their desolation grew they clung to each other, crying out in voices the sound of granite and dirt and dust.
This was what the tree looked like, giant arms intertwined, curving up to the sky, an unanswered cry for deliverance. It was as if the earth had answered instead, in the only way she could, giving of herself, of her lifeblood, where once was flesh now wood.
At least, that’s what the elders of Adam’s tribe would have them believe, and that as this tree was the remnants of an ancient wisdom that walked paths long forgotten, it must have been imbued with magic. Sacred, to be revered. But Adam had yet to see any evidence of this magic the elders spoke of, and was at that stage in his young years where the world that can be seen begins to nudge the unseen world closer to the edge of an abyss. Stories could not transfix him as they once might have, the world he could touch was the only thing he believed in now.
But he had not yet lost his curiosity, nor the impish drive to tread beyond the borders of what was permissible. Besides, with a foot pressing down upon a branch his hand had but clasped a few seconds ago, it was too late to give concern to rules and superstitions. If he was not meant to climb the tree, than why had it been created with such perfect footholds, bark that was not rough against the skin, branches that seemed to offer support where his hands sought it?
The only real concern tugging at Adams mind was that the more he climbed, the further it seemed he had yet to go. Still, he must reach the top eventually, and with his father’s blade he would cut from those topmost branches whatever he found there, and return triumphantly, revealing to the whole tribe how blind the elders truly were, how set in their dying ways.
But the tree knew better, somewhere from deep within, it remembered wanting to be saved, and centuries had spawned from that memory a cruelty, a malice sharp as the blade sheathed in Adam’s belt. Let this creature climb, let it’s arrogance and petulance make it feel invincible.
Bark suddenly went smooth, a branch snapped, hands clutched and missed, and a scream slowly faded into the distance. The tree knew better.

•September 6, 2007 • 8 Comments

Someone turned 1 yesterday….