Right Now

For Short Story Month, I’m writing three separate pieces with a single theme. It is time to admit we’re moving into a science fiction phase: I’ve always been a bit of an alternate history girl, when all is said and done. This triumvirate of stories all offer divergent timelines to the one you’ll be used to, with the possible consequences of women meddling in the affairs of nature:

All these stories have female protagonists. They could be written as men if I chose, but I’d like to believe that it is not just them sending this Planet to destruction. Everybody has their culpability in a massive ecological and sociological mess to shoulder. The subjects of the stories are, in order of the images shown: alien invasion, genetic manipulation and time travel. Occam’s Taser is the result of a conversation had several years ago with my friend Steve (who’s a morning US Television producer) about Vienna in 1913… and that’s all I’m prepared to offer.

The plan initially was to use one of these stories to enter in a Short Story Contest later in the year but instead, the project’s a platform to get my word count and writing style refined, before I work on two separate pieces for entry. This is being handled in tandem with editing my novel, which is finally in what could be considered a complete state. Today, that will be read completely and edited as that happens. I hope to have the first of these short stories available to read by this time next week, with them all finished by the end of the month.

March Short Story :: I Love You

This story was first published in 31 parts via Twitter during March. It is now reproduced now in a complete form, and a number of small edits have been added to improve narrative flow.

Enjoy.


I Love You

The last group of students chatter and squeal their way through the European History Gallery, more focused on mobile phones than the art their teacher brought them to study. In fifteen minutes, the Museum closes for another day, leaving only the security staff remaining within. There’s space in the room, marked off by temporary partitions, that finally can be filled. Alexis Grieg, Acquisitions Manager, has waited all month for this moment. Tomorrow, the newest piece of Museum content will finally be unveiled to the public, after months of speculation.

It is a controversial and divisive piece of European sculpture, which caused considerable debate even before being borrowed by the Museum from the collection of one of the richest men in Britain. Advanced ticket sales for the Gallery are at their highest level for several years. As July sun sets on London’s iconic skyline the sculpture is slowly wheeled from darkened basement; Gallery bowels to the only service lift, from back of building to its new, high prominence resting place. It is a journey of just under an hour, due to the fragility of the piece.

‘Icarus’ Wings’ is the last piece by celebrated Revolution artist Wilberforce Christie, completed weeks before death from natural causes aged 102. At his height in the 1960’s Christie was the wunderkind of British Pop Art: close friend of Andy Warhol, darling of Swinging London. His demise in 1994 was the least controversial thing completed in nearly thirty years. Everything else was either shrouded in contention or remains subject to various legal restrictions. He went to his grave carrying many secrets: this piece is very much a part of that mystique.

Finally, sculpture is in place with screens removed. This part of their job complete, Grieg and the rest of the Acquisitions staff retire back downstairs for a much-needed coffee and food break before the task begins of constructing a glass casing around flimsy parchment wings.

==

Only when it is clear that the staff are long gone, no-one remaining in earshot, do the wings themselves slowly stretch and rise; extension of the wingspan releasing tiny eddies of dust. It will be some time before the piece can move unrestricted, so time is of the essence.

The Gallery’s various inhabitants, previously immobile, slowly come to life with a new arrival. Renaissance art isn’t sure what to think of this odd interloper, 16th Century portraits awakening and observing in both confusion and disbelief. Impressionists are truly lost for words. Icarus rises above the already obvious waves of perceived snobbery: wings used to being abused and derided, part and parcel of their conception, construction and final completion. Born into the white heat of intense controversy, the delicate structure hides a cast iron soul.

When your wings are made from tax demands, sanitary towels and toilet roll, plus hundreds of other items that are daily thrown away, there is going to be some discussion on whether art is even an appropriate term to describe you. Icarus has heard it all, and knows how to react. Their owner spent considerable time explaining the ins and outs of the art word: highlighting perceived snobberies, various truths around why beauty has become the most subjective of discussion topics. Most significantly of all, Icarus’ patron’s devotion to them was obvious.

‘One day, I will let you be exhibited, and when that moment comes there will need to be preparation for the torrents of abuse and derision you will receive. These people do not grasp aesthetics, no real comprehension as to the significance of your creation. They are fools.’

The wings settle, preparing themselves for the worst.

Francesco Laurana’s pale marble bust shifts, before breaking into a smile: long, oval face tilting slightly in undoubted approval. Then their opinion is presented with a deep, rich Italian cadence: ‘Sei propria bella, cara.’

‘Beautiful’ is the last word wings had expected to hear uttered, a murmur of disbelief ripples up and down the main Gallery space. Figures in the Realism paintings are jostling at the edges of their gilt frames, looking for the best angle at which to view the newcomer’s form. The Neoclassical section is arguing amongst themselves at the significance of contemporary objects being utilised in any artistic setting. Both of the Impressionist paintings remind each other that they caused similar controversy when initially created, which is not a bad thing.

The Matisse turns to Kirchner, hearing the Impressionists’ mistaken belief they were in some way contentious, before bursting into a torrent of expletives. The French Polynesian woman in Gauguin’s landscape stares at the painting’s outburst, before putting hands over her ears. However, one part of the Gallery continues to remain silent. The space’s oldest resident, piece of Celtic Art from the 9th Century, simply hangs watching. The room slowly quells its animation, knowing it is difficult to hear the figure of Christ unless everyone is totally quiet.

The simplistic human figure stares at what counts as the apex of humanity’s expression and does not see a jumble of inappropriate objects pinned together. After thousands of years watching artists find means to express existence on the planet, this concept makes complete sense. No longer is art the preserve of simply the privileged or rich. Each day the Celt watches children as they stand in awe, making pictures on the devices that allow communication in an instant, unaware they too are creating their own expression. Everyone has now become an artist.

What makes objects in this Gallery any more or less significant than the children’s work? It is only the choice of those with enough money to possess past, claiming to show these works of historical enlightenment but more often than not exhibiting ownership as status and power. The Wings undoubtedly remain a product of this consumer-driven, disposable age. Its plumage is recognisable as what most would consider rubbish. From wing-tip to wrist, primary feathers and coverts appear perfectly engineered: beautiful and faithful reproduction without fault.

When the Celt speaks, an entire Gallery is stunned with its utterance:

‘You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, as much a symbol of your age as I am of mine. Between us now all art is measured and will be compared. I love you.’

Icarus’ frame shudders in response.

The murmurs begin almost immediately: frantic whispering between aesthetics, groups of historical landmarks in art and history are confused, uncertain. Has the Celt somehow lost it and gone mad? Is this rubbish-built interloper casting some kind of spell upon the Ancient One? Then, slowly, implication of these words begins to register with the more self-aware pieces. Art is simply a reflection of those who produce it. Beauty is measured individually by what is seen, how history considers significance. Substance is fleeting: passing, ephemeral interest.

The less alert works of artistry take their cues from those they trust: the newcomer might not look or feel like the rest of the Gallery, but that is not at issue. It is still very much art, only mirroring the world in which the sculptor lived and worked before he passed away. The gallery begins to move, facing Icarus as much as possible within their own artistic frames. One by one comes acknowledgement of sculpture’s presence as part of a collective whole. The Celt, as the oldest piece in the room, remains final arbiter of what is considered creation.

Having spent its entire sentient existence expecting to be ostracised the moment they had appeared in public, Icarus’ Wings still cannot believe what is happening. This acceptance from other art-forms alters the entire landscape, becoming increasingly easier to accept as truth. This is all that the sculpture has ever wanted or desired: espousal by its creator was implicit, comforting but not enough. Having accepted there would be derision and abuse wherever they were placed, to have this credence from their peers before the public have been admitted…

Icarus has come home.

For the first time ever, fragile sculpture shifts on its pedestal. Wings begin to extend and stretch, far further than they have ever moved: as they do there comes a sound never to be heard by human ears. It is the artistic embodiment of pure, unbridled joy. At their highest extension, the furthermost fragile feather constructed from toilet paper and string brushes an overhead LED spotlight.

In a moment, wing-tip bursts into flame.

==

As the fire alarm sounds, museum staff stare at each other in sudden terror.


 

 

Wondrous Stories

I only realised quite late in the week that I’ve not given any indication of what you can expect via Social media for April. The removal of Facebook and Instagram from my equation is still requiring a bit of work, and there’ll be some additions to the website as result starting on Monday. However, let us not look upon the negatives and concentrate on what is Coming Soon (TM)

#LookCloser#MoreFoolYou

For our #Narrating2018 and #Soundtracking2018, there’s a bit of a diversification of interest: 30 days of details (including the very small and extremely large) and a month of Comedy Songs because frankly there is not enough laughter in the World currently. We’re calling this Short Story Month because once the novel’s done, I’ll want a few weeks to let it rest before going back for a second, concerted edit. Therefore, there’ll be a couple of short stories started for a contest later in the year, alongside one for publication here AND the monthly Twitter story.

THRILLER

A woman goes to a Wiccan Faire in her local Sports Centre and askes an odd request of a seller she finds within… You can expect part one on April Fool’s Day, which in a rather odd clash of interests also takes place on Easter Sunday. There’ll be the normal selection of weekly poetry too, plus possibly some extras to boot.

Now, let’s get started on organising those images from Instagram…

February Short Story :: The Shape We’re In

This story was first published in 28 parts via Twitter during February. It is now reproduced now in a complete form, and a number of small edits have been added to improve narrative flow.

Enjoy.


The Shape We’re In

He’s been dreading this day for months. Lying awake, staring at the ceiling, there is no avoiding tonight’s inevitability. The annual Senior Year Five Dance is the undisputed highlight of his social calender; Charlie Fisher has never done ‘social’ in the same fashion as others. Maybe it’s because he’s the oldest boy in the year, or perhaps the notion of celebrating the most awkward phase of his existence has never sat well in a mind predisposed to overthinking. At least he doesn’t have to go to school today: thank the Deities for this small mercy.

There is the sound of raised voices above him: Tilly Craven is already complaining to her mother that shoes are nowhere to be found, and this day is, therefore, a disaster. Maybe if he didn’t live in a Communal Block he’d get more sleep at weekends… but it could be far worse. Lying in darkness, loneliness remains, nobody to share this children’s room with. His sister had died from Bird Flu before he could walk, no memory of her save the drawings his father had made. She’d never seen Year Five. He should be grateful for survival, especially today.

Things could be far worse. Charlie could be forced to wear the horribly restrictive outfits all the other boys were already being squeezed into, putting their manhood’s on show for all to see. His parents could embrace the Deity Doctrines: fortunately, both held no affiliations. Neither do they consider him the weaker sex, or a disappointing result at birth. Whilst everybody else asked for a daughter, his parents simply loved him as a person. Today he would wear his father’s antique dress, cut well below the waist, and that was the best thing of all.

Only then does he see his mother, dressed and ready to work in the woollen mill, sitting opposite on the sofa his sister’s bed had been transformed into. In her hand is his corsage: white roses, as it should be in Leeds. Even in darkness her smile beams, dark hair piled high.

She’ll be late, just to say goodbye.

‘I will never, ever get tired of your honesty and warmth in this house. Your father’s making breakfast. Just enjoy the day as much as you can.’

Leaving corsage on the sofa, she departs for her twelve-hour shift, as son heads for the bathroom.


Across town, in the Executive Zone, Lissa McIntyre’s 16th birthday party shows no signs of winding down. Birthday girl, however, left the Community Hall well before midnight, returning home for bag hidden beforehand. She’s abandoned the life that had become a prison and escaped. Neither parent will care or worry about her absence until it is too late. Her elder sister is of far greater significance, key to their aspirations of taking over all the Manufacturing Guilds in the county at month’s end. She left them all too drugged to consider anything at all.

Whilst the rich elite of their social circle smoked, injected and inhaled the fruits of their success using her coming of age as an excuse she’d been ready to run. Money was saved, transport quietly acquired and soon, Leeds would be a distant memory. However, there was a problem.

Charlie. Brilliant, individual, maddening; one boy who never saw the rich, spoilt brat everyone else thought she was by default. That poor kid on the School scholarship who’d changed the entire landscape for the better, whom she loved dearly. He had never been part of her plan. Love was for more worthy souls, this long-term future initially depending on leaving everyone else behind. Now heart grasped an essential need not simply to change direction but expand possibilities; everything willingly risked to not simply rescue him but both his parents too.

The Mill’s utilitarian cafeteria is packed: both sexes, mingling unhindered, unisex clothing the norm. There were no revealing tops or tights here, simply joy at being happy and relaxed, plus nobody cared who Lissa was. She existed as not simply independent but free of judgement. Looking up from her porridge and tea, the young woman meets Elizabeth’s gaze as she moves through the food queue. Charlie’s mother doesn’t seem that surprised to see her either, smile she gives making this change in plan worthwhile. The letter left at their home had been read.

Without the prosthetic breasts, coloured contacts and make-up, Lissa knows nobody will recognise her, not even the CCTV cameras will be able to make a positive identification. Elizabeth is the only other person who’s seen her without the trappings she was forced to wear by family. She’s already buying extra food, making sure the full ration of water is taken, quietly planning ahead. Charlie’s parents have already accepted the offer, now all that is needed now is to wait for him to return. If everything is going to plan he’ll have found his letter by now…


The boys are forced to line up against the School’s Gym wall, hands shackled above their heads. Many are in tears, and Charlie’s made the decision not to be one of them. The punishment for refusing to expose his manhood for public scrutiny is more palatable than this action. There’s no point in being here anyway, now he knows Lissa won’t be coming. She understands that bodies are irrelevant when minds matter more, and her plan… yes, it’s risky, but if his parents are willing as she believes to help them both, there is no need to worry about details.

Walking home in bright, uncompromising sunshine, Charlie thinks of mother at the mill, and that he could easily forget the last two years of School completely. He’d rather be working and contributing than spend another day being ridiculed. Life as a model student was overrated. This would be his first act of rebellion in five years, and once the punishment was served, he’d have gone anyway, because not another day would have been wasted pretending he was like everybody else. Lissa had ignited his spark of non-conformity: it burned now out of control.

He’s about to cross the road to his communal block when father appears unexpectedly, dressed as he did when working at the Community Centre. He ushers Charlie quickly into the alley next to the Corner Shop, away from the CCTV cameras: there’s a bag of clothing already waiting. He’d expected to have a chance to go back to the house one last time, but the clock is ticking. They need to be out of the town before the sun goes down, or else Curfew will keep them stuck here until tomorrow, and someone might then notice Lissa’s absence. It is time to leave.

At the other end of the alley, there’s a battered Range Rover in Manufacturing Guild dark blue. His mother watches from the driver’s seat, and in the back, Lissa’s blonde hair is hidden by a dirty brown wig. She has planned and organised everything, and Charlie loves her for it.


Charlie also loves watching Lissa sleep, tucked under his arm, more beautiful without the prosthetics than any woman he has ever seen. This future is now in their hands: he wonders if there will ever be a way to thank her for this as mother drives them into the Highlands and a new day. The flat chested girl and the boy with only one testicle were both damaged goods, in their own way. He’d never been whole, and she’d given up the right to live a lie in existence summarily left behind. No-one would come to look for them because neither were considered worthwhile.

Nobody would care if there were three fewer mouths to feed, one less cripple to make everybody else look bad. Polite society was more damaged than anyone wanted to admit. The future was away from the Empire and in Scotland, where diversity was joyfully embraced and celebrated. Lissa had freed them all with a mind that transcended what parents considered as her broken body. She was more than Charlie’s equal, and vice versa. The shape of them both together created a joyous and immutable whole, no more lies or deception.

The shape of things is perfect.


12 Spots to Moan :: Fertility; Rights

As it’s Valentines Day, I felt that there should be some love-related tomfoolery to celebrate. Therefore, here’s a VERY NSFW Short story, which will form part of my 12 Spots to Moan short story collection.

Have a Nice Day, and always remember to love yourself.


Fertility; Rights

Their divorce had been messy and hugely unsatisfying, effective reflection of a wasted life together. Christine had no qualms allowing Russell both house and car, wasn’t concerned that the deal skewed so far in his favour. She’d never cared for the material: that last straw between them had been net worth mattered more than shared experience. The money quietly funnelled away to accounts in her maiden name when his indiscretion became apparent years before amazingly never came up in proceedings: her skill playing Stock Market Futures meant departing husband provided a present that was more than secure. At thirty-eight, there was still a chance at another life, but right now she wasn’t interested.

Christine Frances wanted to travel far more than pretending to be happy with somebody else.

Her tiny scarlet hire car had made a slow crawl across Europe during the last three months, finally depositing the woman in Italy. Of all the places visited, this was the one which felt most comfortable: the French obsessed about her accent, the Swiss over her single status. Nobody in Italy had seemed to care at all about anything except accentuating happiness and comfort, especially in her current pension. In fact, since arriving ten days earlier at the red brick complex she’d been treated as something akin to royalty. There is no desire to complain either: with full board paid until end of the month, this beautiful and largely unspoilt area is hers to explore at leisure.

The Pertosa Caves are blessed relief from the heat of the Italian summer, drought in the area becoming something of a concern for local landowners. This guide-book is in awful English but Christine can grasp the gist, as place heaves with schoolchildren and pilgrims coming to offer their prayers to a particularly worn and battered statue of some long-forgotten patron saint. Christine however is more concerned with the state of her own body; the contraceptive coil she had fitted to regulate menstruation before departure had effectively stopped all bleeding. For a while she’d not been concerned, because it made life considerably simpler, but now…

The sensations had begun the night she’d arrived, after the voluptuous middle-aged landlady had served an amazing dinner of fresh pasta with a brilliantly rich fruit dessert. After months of no sexual desire at all, body had painfully reminded her that she was able not only to feel arousal, but was often in its thrall until satisfied. She’d ended up masturbating in the shower at 2am so there was chance of sleep, and the simplest things had become steadily more arousing as time had gone on. Before there would be a couple of nights a month where ardour would rise then fall, but not now. For the last week, all she had been able to think about is sex.

That thought suddenly draws her eye to a part of the cave’s natural construction behind the statue, seemingly unnoticed by anyone else.

She stares with increasing amazement at a particular stalactite, suddenly illuminated in a shaft of sunlight from an opening above. It is thick and long, jutting almost contentiously out of the soft, worn rock, damp and moist. There’s an undoubted head to the formation too, slightly larger and fatter than the shaft, and just staring at the thing is making Christine uncomfortable, flustered. Nobody else seems to even register its presence but it is all the woman sees or wants, because the urge to fuck herself against it is now overwhelming and desperate. The arousal hits lower body instantly, dampness spreading as a flood, breasts hard and irritable beneath the flimsiness of her cotton top.

Noise from the assorted throngs is silenced, and all that matters is the stone: she can imagine it, penetrating hot flesh, cooling the desire within. It almost calls to her, a song of need and satisfaction, suggesting the impossible could become real, brilliant. Go home and eat, then take an evening stroll. The cave entrance closes just before sundown. Return here and satisfy yourself, give your pleasure to the Earth, and it will reward you in return. The woman stands, whole body aroused, as world blithely continues its existence around her.

She has never imagined anything so wanton in her life and now this was all that mattered.


It is hard to look casual, slipping in with the last round of pilgrims and nuns, dressed as conservatively as she can manage. Christine’s underwear is loose, easy to remove and she’s stolen a small bottle of olive oil from her pension’s dinner table, because lubrication is likely to be a problem. It’s at times like this that she wishes her breasts were bigger, that she’d love more flesh beneath her own hands to manipulate, the same with her arse. Mostly she was too thin, and maybe it was time to stop punishing body for the sins a loveless marriage had intensified.

Tonight she would wait until a full moon lit the cave and then indulge desire: she’d bought a sleeping bag to accommodate sleep until the complex opened, when she’d slip out unnoticed. Christine’s body is already vibrating with anticipation, thrill of deviancy and impropriety combined. She waits until the gates can be heard being locked, lights turned off, making anticipation and arousal all the greater. With torch light from her mobile phone as guide, slowly the metal railings that keep visitors from the cave area are negotiated. Moving carefully down onto slippery stone floor, the small alcove where stalactite juts upwards is all that matters.

She is concerned that there’s insufficient space to fit, that ground beneath knees will be harsh and unyielding, but the base of the area is soft, springy and slightly damp. Stripping naked, Christine prepares to position herself, massive head of the rock inches from her already soaking wet opening. The oil seems like an afterthought but its use is more stimulation, moving and pouring it onto the top of the stone where she rubs first hand then crotch, feeling consistency of nature under shaking body. The surface is almost warm to touch, smooth hardness that now needs to be felt inside as well as out, and so she positions herself to begin.

Flesh and stone contact, settle: with first movement body expands without aid. This is far larger than anything she’d ever accommodated, including her ex-husband’s fist. Expecting both pain and resistance as a result, neither are forthcoming: pushing against the stone, her body swallows the head whole in one motion, leaving Christine gasping with amazement.

She is frozen, rock solid: part of this whole is no longer enough.

Body shudders at realisation, that as she moves down it will fill upwards, unyielding and permanent, and so body begins to shift, crotch moving closer to dampness beneath. Each tiny shift makes breasts harden further, increases already frantic heart-rate and finally, amazingly pubic hair and labia collide with soft, springy moss. Christine is shaking uncontrollably, unable to contain the pleasure simply gained by filling herself and has to struggle to remain upright as a result. Clitoris screams to be stimulated, urging completion of an orgasm already in progress, yet hands go to breasts instead, oil on flesh that is oddly pliant, strangely liquid under smooth fingers. As she massages it is as if the flesh expands beneath her touch, swelling and hardening as she twists nipples, increasing pleasure at the point that cunt hits moss.

Then floor shifts beneath, faintest of upward thrusts.

Christine’s not sure if she’s hallucinating due to pleasure overload or that perhaps there’s an earthquake in progress, but the movement is unmistakeable now, stalactite rising and falling as her body remains frozen, intractable. Breasts that barely existed have grown to grapefruit sized, heavy balls of flesh she refuses to release because the pleasure they’re sending to her lower body will not be interrupted, regardless of the increasingly surreal nature of this situation. Closing eyes she gives herself completely to pleasure and there is sudden pressure on her clit, unmistakeable, repetitive massage and it doesn’t matter how, just that this never stops, because she is so close now to a series of orgasms that threaten to rend body asunder.

Touches appear everywhere, kisses on arse and stomach, caresses behind her ears, backs of knees. Every sensitive spot is stimulated simultaneously and the thrusts are now fast, urgently pushing the point inside that blossoms with the same sensations outside, connected to breasts and the back of her neck. She begins to gasp, not caring about being discovered, pleasure needing to be vocalised. Still there is no apex to the sensation, simply building intensity that is become maddening, almost blinding. Are her eyes open or closed? She looks down and a hand is reaching up, another rising from the warmth of the cave floor, grasping willing hips as she begins to ascend, other hands holding legs in place as the thrusts within her become frantic, blurring to a speed that should split her open but only serve to further intensify this pleasure.

Christine’s breasts have increased to watermelon size, hardened balls that bounce without pain, only intense sensation from their massive nippled tops to connection at her crotch. She expands too at hips, earth’s mossy hands on swelling expanses, becoming a goddess, Botticelli swells and falls. No fat or waste, simply muscle and skin, warming as the red blush of orgasm spreads from chest to stomach. The reinvented body finally explodes, screams of pleasure multiple and unbridled, echoing around the cave walls as release floods everything in a massive wall of water.

Her orgasm, spark of primal awakening, is truly enough to move Earth itself.


Christine is suddenly conscious, in the low wooden cot at her pension, to surprise at her location. Lying inert, the passion of an almost endless orgasm still resonates through flesh and bone, yet here she is in her own bed. After dinner, when she’d come up to the room to collect backpack with sleeping bag, had she simply fallen asleep and dreamed the entire experience? Feeling down to her crotch there is no wetness, but strangeness to being which causes sudden alarm, enough to move body from lying to sitting. Looking down, with mounting amazement, her torso is not as it was.

Getting up to stare at the naked form in an ancient, patina-stained mirror by hand-carved dresser, Christine Frances is no longer wafer thin with an exposed ribcage. This body now curves with weight; taut, strong muscle plus a light tan. This physical form she had always craved, but had no idea how to achieve. Turning, the sound of laughter in her mind is as amazing as the thunder which echoes throughout the Pertosa Valley. Rain outside, torrential yet calming illuminates the truth… she’d been carried from the cave, returned here by the Earth itself. Bathed and pleasured by something not of this world, her release served as catalyst: explosion that returned not simply life and prosperity to the Valley, but to its ancient, sleeping protector…


This human’s fertility had awoken something very old, far less interested in virgin worship, which craved specific forms of energy to survive. Now She was again awake, coursing through this woman’s body, continued need maintained a level of chemical complexity to both feed from and grow… There was no need to sacrifice this fragile form, but reward it for joy provided… and there were already others. The local women knew these truths via stories and songs, would soon queue to give their offering to the cave.

With each one the Valley would become more fertile.

The ancient statue of the last human Vessel of the Goddess had already been removed from the caves. Christine’s new form would be sculpted and placed in its stead. The First would be to whom prayers were offered, in return She would share the secret of transformation… plus means to maintain its potency. For that, Her followers had already been prepared, feeding Christine special food and awakening within desire long lost. It was time to communicate directly with the new Vessel, securing mental link between Earth and human going forward.

Thank you for trust given back to this land, making whole and full again. In return, your wishes are granted. We ask in return for continued passion and our flesh anointed. All that you require will be provided. As you pleasure us, we will maintain you.

The scarlet-clad landlady stands at Christine’s open door, Hand of the Goddess, ready to help provide the next step forward. In open arms is a warped, ancient wooden box: inside which sits a massive offering, made of living cave stone.


 

2000 Miles

Today has seen a significant step forward in planning/organisation. I have a short story finished and ready for editing: granted, it was not on the timescales hoped, but I should still be able to have a decently polished final form ready to go for Valentine’s Day. I’ll have an hour to edit novel tonight and get myself back on track for completion. Most importantly of all, this was also done without my domestic life falling apart, and a pulled back muscle.

2000 words will form the short story benchmark going forward, especially as this is to be a contest standard for entry to a number of different Awards. The more practice I get at this, the easier it will become to judge my competence. Right now it is as much about telling a decent story as it is about aesthetics, but with time I feel there may be more esoteric tales to be told using the word count.

For now, I’m just here to commemorate another mark in the sand. Every time I manage progress, it is worth celebrating. Today, I’m particularly pleased with results. If I can get two short stories written a month, I’ll be more than happy with that as long-term progress, as well as finishing my long form manuscripts.

Tightrope

Today is the last push for me to be ready for February’s new Content Onslaught (TM) and, as it stands, things are looking pretty well finished. I won’t get the Short Story archived in one hit as I’d hoped, but it is close enough now for me to not stress about that process happening in a few pieces. The secondary content will follow and be introduced as time goes on, and I have a decent window of opportunity to even take a day off (of sorts) on Friday to organise some domestic stuff.

All in all, the balancing act is beginning to pay off.

There will be a new content appearing tomorrow on various pages too: the January #Narrating 2018 and #Soundtracking2018, plus the first of our short stories will all have their own spaces. It is the necessary evolution of using Twitter as a delivery medium, to place this content in a static space for long-term consumption. It means that stories that I don’t produce in this way but still want to share will have a long-term home, and I hope there will be a lot more of them going forward.

surprised5.gif

I’ve also reached out to Twitter in the hope of finding someone to prepared to start working with me, perhaps on a reciprocal basis.

I certainly would not have considered this course of action a year ago. I hope it can be the start of steps forward into new spaces and bigger Universes, but until I put myself on the line, I’ll never know.

BRING ON THE MONTH OF LURVE.