Vrytolka

It was an interesting thing to be counting, as I always did, (8 sets of 8 with one for good luck) when I heard the rapping on the window.

I stood with my cat in my arms. He all wild eyed and bristles, me feeling triumphant that the doors truly were locked as I heard the crrrk crrrk of someone trying to move the handle.

“You can’t get in!” I called into the night as my cat spluttered and hissed.

“That means nothing to me. If you hear my raps you hear me, and so let me be heard.”

I darted my eyes upwards to one of the rectangular windows that reached to the ceiling of the tall glass room, and bore witness to a most peculiar sight.

Its nails crooked and long scratched at the frame of the window, its eyes fully black as though made entirely of coal, and its teeth gleaming white as it smiled at me through gnarled thin lips.

My cat, I assume, saw this too, as he dashed from my arms to seek refuge beneath a wicker chair.

Despite how I felt with this creature’s eyes following me fixatedly, I turned my back and kneeled down to comfort the poor thing (as it still hissed quietly to itself between low grumbles).

“Hush, hush, hush, hush” I said, being sure to utter this four times, before I reached under the chair and tickled his head. A claw grabbed at me, tearing the skin of my hand and my cat slunk further back.

“You’ve frightened him silly!” I cried, turning on the creature accusingly.

“Let me in and I’ll soothe him”

Did this creature take me for a fool?

“I trust you no more than any would a stranger hanging from their roof and rapping on their window.” I glared at the creature as it grinned its eerie smile back at me.

“And those teeth that you’re so fond of showing, those are flesh tearing teeth and for that I trust you even less!”

The creature scoffed and dropped noiselessly to the ground, it was the height of the glasshouse if not slightly more as it leaned its head sideways to peer through the same window it had used to get my attention.

It, of course, had horns, that were visible now, as it stood in a stream of shallow light.

“I like you,” It said in its deep crisp voice. “I wish to grant you your desires.”

“You can’t like me very much if you wish to play these games with me,” I replied haughtily “and don’t think me so naïve, I’ve not seen the likes of you before but I know what you are.”

The creature’s grin widened and it tapped nonchalantly on the glass. “My dear”, it whispered “you have never known any the likes of me”

“Known? Thankfully not. Seen? Not in my darkest nightmares. But heard of? There isn’t a soul in the village who hasn’t heard of you!”

I empathised hasn’t, an appeal to vanity, for being decidedly lonely as I was the conversation was at least entertaining and at most interesting.

The creature was drumming its fingernails in a droll fashion. Drum, drum, drum, drum, drum, drum, drum, drum.

Thoughtfully rather than creepily did he look at me.

“You aren’t afraid of me, yet you don’t trust me. I know not what to do with you.”

“Oh,” said I disappointedly, worried that he might leave. “I was afraid of you but my fear lapsed under the knowledge that you can’t enter this room.”

And at that the creature laughed.

My heart beat quickened and that beat was all it took for him to be beside me within the security of my sanctuary.

“I can enter anywhere I choose, anytime I choose.”

I flew to the door, latching my hand onto the handle and shaking it vigorously.

“One two three four locked one two three four! Locked! Locked! Locked!” I cried.

The creature, its head tilted to the side, admiring the spectacle, took my wrist in its hot grip and pulled my hand away from the handle.

He leaned his head down to be only a few inches above mine and putting my finger to his thin cracked lips he said, “Shhh.”

I felt I was to feint. What was to become of me now this demon had welcomed itself into my home?

He still had hold of my hand, and, keeping his grip firm around my wrist despite the burning at my skin, he used that very same finger of mine and pointed it to myself.

“You are to take the wishes I grant you and make use of them. Do you understand?”

“And what if I don’t?”

A low growl came from beneath the wicker chair.

No sooner had the wretched demon released me from his grip did he have my poor cat in his grasp, and as it shrieked and it struggled he said, “I’ll eat your darling kitty cat.”

I reached out to take him but it was of no use, he only took him higher and opened his mouth, which gave a sickening crack as it unlatched, dangling my cat above his ready jaws.

“I’ll wish, I’ll wish!” I screamed.

He looked at me his proud black eyes shining with triumph.

“Your first wish?” he asked.

“Let go of my cat and never touch him again.”

He dropped the cat to the floor and it yelped as it hit the hard concrete.

I quickly dashed to its aid and found the pitiful thing to have broken a paw. Taking it in my arms I hissed, “you monster!” to the creature who stood smiling back at me, his mouth held wide, revealing those hideous teeth.

“I did as I was bid to do. You caused the harm you now seek to heal.”

Guilt surged through me as I thought back to what I had done, “You can never touch him again!” I found little relief in what I said, my cat purring quietly as cats do when in pain.

“That I cannot, so heal him I shall not,” it replied to me and smiled its wicked grin. With that it vanished, and I took my cat inside, sobbing into its rough fur.

We went to see the veterinarian first thing the in the morning and when I was asked what had happened I lied and said the foolish thing had leapt from one of the high top cupboards in attempt to catch a fly that buzzed about its head.

The strange man with the big ears and hairy nostrils had looked at me in such a sceptical fashion I almost blurted out the truth, but in those few seconds that my brain recollected the truth, I realised it was a much wiser idea not to.

On our way home, my father driving, I in the passenger’s seat with my cat sat on my lap growling to itself, we happened upon a neighbour of ours.

She is a horrid thing.

We’d invited them over for dinner just a few months before and she lacked in any skill of conversation about anything other than herself. And the way she looked at my father! Why, it made my skin crawl so much I almost felt the spiders claw out of my flesh.

But there she was, basket on arm from fetching some food for her mother, leaning into our car suggestively as she always did and my father, being the kind but naïve man he is, invited her inside so we could take her home.

Oh she droned on and on about her new dresses and gems and the compliments she had received, not once did she question why my kitty was there in the car, and I know she had seen him! Then, that little snake, why she hinted and she hinted to be taken to a show I know she had little interest in seeing, but so stupidly had I mentioned to her in passing how my father wished to go.

Of course he offered to take her, and of course I kept my mouth shut and I just hoped that the demon would be returning that night.

And he did. The first man, if it were a man, to ever keep his promise to me.

It was after supper and father and I were both retiring after discussing the news, both of the neighbourhood, and international, that I heard a strange cooing noise from inside my bedroom.

I opened my door half in fear and half in excitement and there he was, sat on my bed besides my kitty. At first, in horror my eyes gaped wide as I thought he was touching my darling’s soft fur, but he wasn’t, his hand was but a few centimetres above it. Whatever he was doing I chose not to complain about as my cat slept soundly and purred complacently in whatever dreams cats do have.

“You came back.”

“I said I would.”

I sat beside the demon on my bed. He was less frightening now, by all means I should have been petrified but, after seeing that wretched creature earlier today with her deceit hidden behind fluttering lashes, I felt a sort of empathy for this demon who had kept his word and in comparison to that leech was a gem.

We sat for a minute in silence. The noises he was making to the kitty were so soothing I felt that they were putting me to sleep and soon shuffled back to rest my head on a pillow.

The demon rose from the foot of my bed and sat on a chair nearer to my head, such a gentlemanly action it seemed to have been.

“Are you going to make a second wish?”

I’d been expecting this question, and I’d been thinking over my answer to it all day. But first I had a question of my own.

“What do you get in return?”

There was something charming in his smile, when I looked away from his teeth I saw that it reached his eyes. Such an uncommon thing in humans, to see someone genuinely at peace, it was a comforting thing to witness.

“Humans are exceptionally give and take, aren’t they?” he said, a touch of his smile still lingering on his features.

“I suppose we are, but no more than demons.”

“That’s because most demons were once humans.”

“Then doesn’t that make your first statement void?” I was determined not to be thrown in circles this time.

“I’m not most demons.”

 “There is a girl who is courting my father…“

“After what happened last night, I’d advise you to be a little more specific.”

“Elizabeth Green, she’s twenty years old and lives just two doors from us. That would be Bristled Cottage. Is that specific enough?”

The demon nodded, leaned his head onto a leathery hand and smiled, “Go on.”

“I despise her. I’m not so certain that I wish her dead, but I want her to keep away from my father.”

“Is that your wish? To keep Miss Elizabeth Green away from your father, a Mr Jonathan Coal.”

I almost complied, but thankfully my wits were about me that eve.

“I don’t trust your methods, so let me devise the plan.”

“That is no longer simply a wish, that is working with a demon. Are you sure your Christian heart will not shatter by doing such a thing?”

“If God is not willing to help me, then it shall be down to the work of demons.”

“But would God break your precious kitty’s paw?”

“I’ve seen him do much worse without permission.”

The demon leaned back on the chair, “I’d normally refuse, as it takes the fun away. But I like you-“

“Yes, you’ve said.”

“Be quiet. I like you and so I’d like to hear what you can come up with. However, if it is boring, I shall proceed in doing it my own way.”

“Agreed,” I said, and reached out my hand to shake his.

“And now you’re making demonic pacts. I’d say you were easily corruptible, but this attitude appears to have been in place since before I arrived. Are you not christened?”

“Surely a demon such as yourself would sense that, whether it were or were not true. Now let me think.”

He sat back, placed his arms behind his head and waited patiently whilst I deliberated in my mind. There were so many loop holes that without writing a contract for this I thought it would be an impossible wish, one that I would have revoked. But instead I decided to change the wording and keep it simple.

“You’re to keep my father away from her, not her away from my father. She is to contract-“

“Some hideous disease that makes her undesirable? I expected better of you, Katherine.”

His words hurt, and in that instance I realised I had been seeking to impress him, as well as see a way forward with this wish.

“I want to make sure my father is left unharmed, that nothing physical comes ail him, nor emotionally, nor have his reputations at stake either. Part of me wishes she’d never come into existence.”

“That wouldn’t be too wise, so much would be undone, who knows even where you would be. We all tie into each other’s existence; this becomes evident once we die.”

I wondered at his knowledge, at what great things he must know and that maybe one day I could come to know. I had been raised a Christian girl, but since my mother had died my faith had left me. It left me. I had been faithful to our lord up until the moment she breathed her last breath. And, faced with demons, his existence had become real to me once more, unfortunately it mattered little. Belief and faith are different things, you can believe in something, but to follow blindly? To follow a promise that is never truly given… that he will look after his children, he will care for them and keep them from harm. He cared little for my mother as she fitted and convulsed… as she swallowed her tongue, and so I cared little for him there on after.

The demon was real. I could reach out and touch him and for all his evils I could trust at least that he was present and the words said would come from his mouth and not a fraudulent messenger.

“Then what do you have in mind?” I asked the demon.

“Fun. I want to have fun with the girl.”

I admit that I smiled. It was as though he’d looked deeper into my mind than I ever had and found what I wanted. He described something called kleptomania, the irrational need to steal. He told me how it would be a good idea to allow my father’s meeting with Miss Green to go ahead, and that if I just left it up to the demon it would all be okay.

I asked him his name before he went to leave, and he said to me, “That is of little use to you, for once your wishes are up, which very soon they will be, we will no longer meet. Goodnight, Katherine.”

I sobbed myself to sleep that night. My dear kitty curled up beside my head, but his comfort couldn’t take away my thoughts. No, nothing I presumed could do that.

Had I come to have feelings for this grotesque demon? I think I had, and it was this that woke me early and led me downstairs to my father’s study.

My eyes still stung from the tears. I’d scorned myself for this, being so foolish of heart to cry as I did. So now I put my mind to work. I scanned each book title until I found it, my father’s small copy of an encyclopaedia of demons. He was a god fearing man; so much so that he had taken it upon himself to learn of demons, so that he in turn could create god fearing children. My parents only had one child, one that lived that is, and that was I.

The sun was rising when I had finally decided upon which demon was most probable. It was Vrytolka.

The picture bared slight similarity to how the demon looked. I wondered if he appeared differently to others, and then I disliked thinking of him helping other lonely girls, so I read further.

Vrytolka

 

In the hierarchy of demons Vrytolka resides within the higher circles. His image has been spotted in artist renditions of hell for centuries. He is tall and lean, with leathery black skin and large, feline ebony eyes. His teeth are pointed and in contrast to his skin a startling white. Upon his head are two smooth horns which protrude from the skull, these do not bare a leather appearance alike his skin, but instead appear of bone.

Sightings of him are rare from survivors. Many who witness the Vrytolka are unable to be saved. They speak of being granted wishes, although the number is unknown, it is usually three in mockery of our holy trinity. Needless to say, where the Vrytolka lurks, there will undoubtedly be trouble as wishes, often unjust, are granted.

Once the wishes are used the Vrytolka consumes its prey, devouring the heart and inhaling the soul so the child of God may not ever step upon the cool stone of heaven.

There is little known evidence of defeating the Vrytolka, it will pursue its prey until all wishes are granted; appearing in an alternative human form if necessary to hear the utterance of a wish from the one it stalks.

 

Vuhuuu! That was a long flashback, huh?! It’s also a kinda vision into the future. Meet Katherine, one of my Ironbridge Asylum characters. Unsurprisingly, she is one of the patients… What? What’s Ironbridge Asylum I don’t hear you ask? It’s the sequel to Samson the Storyeater! And is something I first started thinking about years ago (this was written in 2011 – uuurgh time stahp, stand still a bit!). Ironbridge Asylum is a book that I actually recently mentioned to Bia. I wanted it to have a bunch of little extras in there, such as character cases and letters and diaries and their own versions of what happened – mostly so readers could make up their own mind on whether or not these people were mad. This was one of them.

Anyway, the fun bit. I don’t really understand what style of voice I was going for with this, I think it’s just how I used to write. That or I’d been reading a lot of fantasy or Victorian stuff again. I had to edit this one because I think I wrote it very quickly in draft form, there were a lot of red squiggles telling me off when I first opened it. I also trimmed down a couple of sentences that were really running on (let’s call them Forest Gump sentences) to get some sense out of them. Other than that, it’s pretty much in its original form. One thing that is obviously wrong with it is that it’s not finished, and I have no idea where I was going with it or if I can even write in this way anymore, so finishing it even for Ironbridge Asylum might be quite clunky and awkward. Another flaw that bugged me while reading it is that I never named the damn cat. How hard is it to name a cat? I’ve never lived in a house without a cat. I thought I was a cat when I was a child – I’m ashamed to say this is true, I’d even meow and scratch at doors until I was seventeen I don’t know how old! I should’ve named the cat! Boris or something. Anything!

I think I have more longer pieces for flashback fiction Friday but I might post them in bits because I’m not sure how well it works to post such long pieces on here. I also use this blog as a bit of a portfolio though and I understand if these ones are a bit too long to read. I’m not sure where else I could post them, if anywhere!

Thank you for stopping by though, I’ll see you next time with hopefully something a bit shorter or a bit newer! X

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Making Wishes Out of Dandelions

Making Wishes Out of Dandelions

 

“What are you wishing for?”

“I can’t tell you that, if I tell you that then it’ll never come true.”

The girl blew hard on the dandelion and watched as the tiny winged seeds flew off with the breeze.

“I think that’s ghastly. You’re decapitating flowers.”

“I’m not. I’m allowing them to grow.”

“Come here; let me put a French braid into your hair. Perhaps some of the seeds will land on your head and continue to grow there!”

The sister’s laughed.

Time moved slowly, but pleasantly so, and when the call came from their mother that they should return home, they rose with full dreams and empty stomachs, as they trekked back the short distance for their supper.

“Emily, your hair looks beautiful,” said their mother as they entered the kitchen. “Did you do that for her Lucy?”

The older girl nodded. Her own loose golden curls bobbing about her head. She took her place at the table and waited as her younger sister received the quick jab in her thigh that had become a necessity three years ago, when she had been just four years old.

After supper, when their father had returned home, they sat in their beds and listened as he read to them the same poem as every night:

“With the lights dimmed throughout the town,

and all the little ones put down

to dream the wishes they pray come true,

which wish means the most to you?”

As he kneeled beside each of their beds and tapped his cheek expectantly, they kissed it softly then whispered in his ear their wish for the day, before he left, taking the light with him.

 

 

A door slammed shut. A cold wind shook the shutters of an open window and rattled the hinges as the door attempted to break free from its frame and shatter against the wall.

Lucy awoke cold, with droplets of sweat covering her brow. She stayed still for a moment; her blood jolting through her veins and breaths coming in short sharp jabs.

“Emily?” she whispered into the darkness. “Emily, it’s all right. I think it was just the wind.”

Lucy tentatively reached her legs over the side of the bed and searched for her slippers with her feet. Slipping them on, she crept across the creaking floorboards and towards the window. Shutting it she turned to her sister’s bed, “See, there’s nothing to be frightened of.”

No reply came.

Suspicious of her younger sister’s usual games she edged closer and carefully, should she still be asleep, peeled back the cover that was masking a part of her face.

Whilst being uncovered, Emily’s arm dropped limply over the side of the bed, and as Lucy grasped it to put back beneath the covers, she found it cold.

She pressed her hand to her sister’s cheek and found that too was cold. Her fingers were shaking as they moved across to her sister’s lips, and waited for the comfort of air to come from her mouth. But none came.

Lucy fled from the room, fled screaming through the damp, silent house.

 

 

Everyone is dressed in black. Everyone wants to know how each other feels and if there’s anything they can do. A girl, with curly blonde hair sits alone. Her back to the coffin placed before the fire, with the picture of the young brunette smiling warmly on the mantelpiece.

Outside the rain pours and through its splashes Lucy can see the dandelions sway back and forth in the accompanying wind. She knocks her glass to the floor and it shatters into tiny segments causing guests to leap backwards to be safe from its shards.

Racing from the room she throws open the front door and sprints out into the garden. She drops to the ground, digging her nails into the earth she tears the dandelions out from the soil in great clumps and tosses them into the rain and the wind.

“You can’t make wishes out of dandelions!” she screams. “You stupid, stupid girl! They don’t listen to you! They can’t listen to you!”

Arms clasp around her own, locking them in place, and a voice whispers into her ear, “Her wish was to keep you safe, for you to never see sickness as she did. Someone was listening.”

 

 

 

 

Aaaah, finally one I can grab by the scruff of the full stops and give a good beating to! I don’t like this. At all. Alright, alright – the first bit isn’t completely awful, the little dad poem bit is pretty cute. Anyway, I remember writing this a few years ago and attempting to put forward a moving short story. It fell short. There was no punch at the end – in fact, the end doesn’t really make sense now I’m reading it with fresh eyes. I don’t recall the illness the younger sister had being contagious, so how could she have got her wish that her sister never see sickness as she did? It was far too soon (only a few weeks later) for any words like that to be offered. Don’t get me wrong, perhaps if I had used a more chilling or affective line this story could have come together in a better way.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the experience in writing short stories (or much of anything to completion) to do that. It’s always in completing things. I think that’s where we, as writers, really learn how to improve. This story is far too disjointed, we don’t really get chance to bond with the little girl so although we may care because…well, child – sick – we’re not evil, we don’t form a connection because we love the character, it’s because we’re not monsters (except you, back there. yeah, I spies ya). I think, also, it just isn’t my style of writing. I like to be silly and I’ve noticed far too often that when I play a game of serious-o-fiction I fail. It may be a skill I need to learn, or, it may simply be that if I want to be a writer I feel like I need to write a particular type of novel, even when I don’t enjoy writing it.

Shove it. I don’t hold other writers to those rules so I’m going to quit putting them in place for myself. Write, write, write. That’s all there is to it. Do you hear that, brain? Do you?! Ignorant swine.

Pay Your Respects

“He’s dead.”
“Dead?”
“Dead!”
“Oh my goodness.”
“Don’t slump into your chair like that.”
“You’re complaining about how I sit? There is a dead man on the floor!”
“You’re right, you shouldn’t be sitting at all.”
“Don’t man-handle me like that, Humphrey!”
“I need you up and helping me to shift this body, woman.”
“Don’t touch it!”
“It’s part of the job, you old trout.”
“I don’t like it when you talk to me that way, Humphrey.”
“Then don’t pout at us in that wrinkled fashion you have.”
“Us?”
“Yes, us.”
“He’s dead.”
“Oh, he is? He doesn’t look so dead. Look his cheeks still look rosy. Hello!”
“Don’t wave his arm like that Humphrey, it’s disrespectful.”
“He’s dead.”
“I can’t lift his leg, not even one.”
“That’s because you’re weak, woman.”
“It’s because I’m tired, Humphrey! You drag me to a house that’s chilled with death, and stinks of it too, and then ask me to carry this lump of a man upstairs!”
“Oi, like you said, be respectful. There, he’s sat up right now; we can roll him onto the board. His face might smack it, but if they want him upstairs they need to make exceptions. Fetch his hat.”
“I don’t think he’s too bothered about his hat.”
“No, he’s not, but the family upstairs are. He was a respectable man, very respectable indeed.”
“Oh yes, Humphrey. I can see the respect glinting from his pocket to your eye. Oh no, you shouldn’t!”
“They won’t notice. Foggy eyes and puffy faces, that’s all they’ll be.”
“Are they going to have him sitting on that fine chair they have?”
“No. They want him propped, so we’ll need the metal prod.”
“Oh, Humphrey, isn’t it grim? Disgusting even, and the eyes held open in that unnatural manner. It gives me the chills.”
“It’s their last respects, having him photographed to look as he did in life. A refined gentleman ‘n all he was. It’s the son you have to feel for, poor kid. He’s going to have to stand there with a dead man’s arm around him.”
“I thought he had three young girls, too?”
“Nobody cares about the women. Here, you got him now? We’re at the first step. Careful, careful!”
“I’m being careful! You’re moving too fast and I’m carrying all the weight!”
“Damn woman, his arm is hanging off. There can be no sign of a struggle, or I won’t get the pay. And I want that pay!”

 

I don’t really mind this one too much. I think it’s because it’s purely dialogue so I can’t see too much cringe-worthy writing like I usually find in my descriptive pieces. I’m unsure of how clear the scene that is unfolding is, and I wonder if anyone without the knowledge of Victorian post mortem photography would have any idea what I’m rambling about. If you’re curious about it yourself, I’d warn you away from searching it during the night…if I were a nicer person. Are you in the dark? Search it. Go on, I double dare ya! Mwahaha. Other than that I’d have probably worked on the woman’s personality a little more, the man’s outshines her – probably because of his lack of care and cheeky behaviour towards the corpse.

On a side note, this was an exercise from my undergrad and I’d recommend anyone with a bit of a writer’s block to have a bash at it. I took the idea of post mortem photography and whacked two riff raffs into the scene and this is what I came up with. You don’t need to worry about description or being too word-fancy, you can just have fun with it. At the same time, you might find a character or two you like and can build upon.

The Shadow in the Lake

        “No, of course I didn’t pull him onto the boat!” my uncle yelled while sitting at the bar. He slammed down a small shot glass on the wood in agitation, before even taking it to his lips. “It wasn’t an ordinary hand.”

My father sat beside him and from his reply it could be heard that he, too, was becoming frustrated. “You said it was a human hand and that the hand moved,” he replied, each word enunciated purposely. “You said that it struck up through the water as though there was someone below struggling for their life.”

“Yes, yes,” my uncle snapped, pushing his hands against his face and brushing them aggressively back through the straggles of straw-blonde hair. “It wanted to lure me towards it. I saw it though, as I rowed closer and the sun glanced through the clouds. I saw the mass of its body and it was no human form that I saw.”

The bartender leaned in close. He had heard their conversation; the rest of the room quiet, the voices of the two men desperate. “You know there’s been a couple gone missing, don’t you?” he said. His grey eyes caught on my father and the wrinkles beneath his right eye strained as he squinted it.

“I know.”

“We’ll have to go back,” the aged man pushed.

My father was already standing from the bar and while pulling a cap onto his head he said again, “I know.” He placed his hand on my uncle’s shoulder and patted it firmly, then repeated the bartender’s words: “We have to go back.”

I had been sat in the corner listening to the conversation with the other children. To us it was the urban legend the town needed. The hanged man was drawn and quartered, the banshee’s screams no longer anguished, and Bloody Mary was nothing more than a way to fret our sisters’ vanity.

We followed the adults outside and separated as we went with our respective guardians. I sat beside my father with my uncle in the seat behind, and amidst the silence my mind raced with what we would find at the lake.

Arriving there took little time, it being but a few minutes’ drive from the bar. Once we were all parked, a dozen or so doors opened and slammed shut again and the car headlights were left on to light up the dark water.

They saw the hand in the shallow ripples of the lake. It reached out like my uncle had said it had, but it didn’t lure them, or beckon them towards it, it only swayed helplessly as the slight current willed it to.

Along with the others I began to rush towards it, when I felt someone grab the back of my shirt and prevent me from going any closer.

“The waters too shallow,” my uncle stammered into my ear. “It’s not the same, there isn’t any way it could be the same.” I could hear the blood start to pump quickly through his heart and his breathing become irregular as we watched them pull a body from the lake.

“I know what I saw,” he panted, his grip on my shirt first growing tighter and then relinquishing completely. I was barely listening to him, my attention absorbed by what was happening ahead of me. He knew this and so he turned me towards him, holding my shoulders tightly when I struggled to turn back. “It wasn’t human!” he insisted, looking into each of my eyes imploringly.

He started to speak again, only to be interrupted by the bartender who called him to come closer but for me to stay where I was. I watched as the other children were being led away from the body and I felt angry that they had seen it and I had not.

I looked up to find that my uncle was staring out, a way past the small crowd and across the water.

“Don’t go near the lake,” he muttered as he stumbled backwards to my father’s car. I tried to peer into the distance, to see what he had seen, but there was nothing other than the silhouette of the surrounding trees.

He hurriedly got into the driver’s seat, his primal instinct for survival urging him to act as he did. When the adults started to run towards him, I rushed towards the lake and gathered around the body with my friends. I found myself staring into the empty eye sockets of a drowned female, her mouth gaping open to reveal that her tongue was also gone.

From behind I could hear the men calling for my uncle to stop. I heard the car engine start and the tyres screech but I did not turn to look as the other children did. I stared off ahead and across the lake where the movement of the car headlights had now lit up an otherwise darkened area.

I felt my body grow numb and my legs heavy as I watched a shadow of a hand slowly reach up through the water. It soon became an arm and then to my childish horror and confusion it became something much more. Attached to the arm was a dome shaped head that skimmed the top of the water. It surfaced until two oval black eyes peered across the lake and towards where we stood. I was transfixed and I simply stared at this monster until it sank back below.

After just a few days another body was found in the lake. Just like the last it was missing its eyes and tongue. Despite no evidence, other than his impulse to run, within weeks my uncle had become the urban legend we felt we needed. He was the ghoul that took the sight and speech from the living and drowned them in the darkest waters of the lake.

But, no one else had seen what I had that night. I believed my uncle and perhaps that belief and the guilt that became entangled in it is what led me here.

I can see the hand swaying in the dark waters and I’m asking myself: why did I come back?

I have a confession to make… I have no idea why he went back. I think at some point I thought about making this a longer short story but only because there was something about the concept I liked, although the monster is not my creation. I was inspired by this picture http://www.mattdangler.com/280036/recent/ by Matt Dangler. On a side note, I actually find the creature in the picture rather sweet and would happily shake its hand.

There are a couple of things that I would change now. For one, I’m not sure how a wrinkle strains and I also don’t know how the boy could hear his uncle’s heartbeat over all the commotion at the lake. They are only minor details but while reading through they’re parts that I would reconsider if I were thinking of editing this story, which I’m not. You know how it goes on here! Have a natter about it and file it in with the rest of my writing past. All in all, I don’t mind this bit of writing in the slightest and unlike with a lot of what I’ve written I didn’t cringe reading it.

Forget the Stars

Are your memories the same as mine?

Do you remember me for who I once was?

I never thought it would take losing you to find myself again.

To remember I used to feel something other than this, something less; yet how can feeling nothing be so much more than at least feeling something, anything at all?

I said I wouldn’t shed a tear for you, and I have not, but for us I thought they would never stop – they were empty as they fell, as within time I found myself too to be.

As the sky is now, as it was when you sighed,

“They should shine for us tonight.”

And I replied, in bliss without,

“Forget the stars.”

And as I search for them, as you once did, I believe they forgot us too.

 

This is one of those things that you write as a teenager when you first experience heartache. At least, for me that’s what this is. I mean it’s pretty dramatic. I understand why I was feeling that way though, so reading it is almost like finding an old diary entry. Now, with my eternal wisdom after many years (I’m actually still quite young and probably even more annoying),  I’d probably respond to a break up a little less romantically. Maybe that’s because now we have Netflix? Anyway, I actually lost this for some time so I was happy to find it again. Even though it’s pretty embarrassing, as you know I’m trying to get over that stopping me from posting, so here: posted. Oh, as for what I would change? I don’t particularly like the line beginning with “To remember I used to feel…” it’s a little too riddle me this for the rest of the writing. I prefer it just being simple and to the point. I have no idea what I’d change it to though, this is a part of old me and she can keep it as it was originally written!

Elizabeth

“I know you…”

I was repeating myself; in my mind, with my voice.

I was saying, “I know you, I know you,” mentally screaming, “I know you!” and I did, I knew her.

The light of a church shone brightly nearby and in it I could see her fair hair, her eyes: their depth and their emotion. The slight figure I had only recently held in the very hands she now restrained; how small and helpless se had seemed then.

My wrists weren’t bound but the pressure of her delicate hands holding them together felt like they were clad by iron.

I could feel the sweat dripping down my bow as I desperately tried to move my fingertips.

Reaching a hand upwards she ran it smoothly over my cheek, feeling the moisture on my face; my sweat, the heat of her breath on my skin.

She inhaled quickly, suddenly drawing her hand down to my throat and within seconds pushing me backwards.

My head cracked off solid stone and although already wet with sweat I knew the liquid now soaking through my hair was blood.

I gasped as her lips came to my neck. As I felt the sharp sting of her teeth piercing my skin, the pain of them sinking into a vein, the sensation of my mind opening to such an impossible possibility as I realised I had been expecting all of this but refusing to believe it to be true.

I felt my eyes begin to blur and body begin to numb, but my thoughts were clear and no, I could not go down this easily.

I clawed at her hair, tangling its waves in my fingers, pulling at the strands with what strength I had left.

I tried to scream, but I could muster little sound, little more than a spluttering that sounded more like I was going to vomit the word vampire than scream it.

Before me I could still see the lights of the church, how dim they were becoming, and with an emotion I cannot explain I realised my body was failing me.

I was but moments away from death…

I felt my limbs weaken, I felt the faintness, I felt the exhaustion, the submission, I felt my hands weakly fall down her back and I felt my lips part as I choked what I thought to be my last words:

“Elizabeth, please.”

“You are too alike. I thought that by ridding myself of you she would be gone; would no longer haunt me.”

I sighed knowing that such a thing to say should be followed by an outburst of tears. But I had cried, cried until I thought no longer tears could flow, and now it appeared as though they could not.

I placed my hand on his head as I felt him stir. It was gently that he did but I felt a rush of content flood through me knowing I had stopped in time. My peace ended abruptly as with his next movement I felt him begin to shake. I had given him my own blood in an attempt to heal him. It wouldn’t matter the type, my blood could heal any I had fed on, a way to redeem one’s self I thought bitterly and grunted a laugh.

I took a deep breath and looked down at him; he looked so weak, so helpless. I wanted to pull him closer, to tell him I was sorry and beg for forgiveness, but instead I chose to do something I thought I would never have the courage to do.

I pulled my coat which I had laid over him higher to cover his neck and the wound which I had caused. He needed to be kept warm. If I had the strength I would have moved him, but from trying to revive him I now had little; I was drained.

Steadying my breath I held my voice no higher than a whisper as I began:

“You know what I am, you always knew.” I said to him, as though replying to his previous comments, only a life time too late.

“But how I came to be, what led my path to yours, the result of which could have been your death in exchange for my eternal life, you will learn only through my story.

“A story I am finally willing to tell.”

You know, just yesterday I was talking to someone about how we get from A to B when writing a story. This is part of my A. When I get an idea, I first get a feel for it in my head, and then I write something in that world. I never have, and probably (unfortunately) never will, go straight to the plotting board. I like to write a sample first, something that gets me into the mood of the story. I found when I wrote my book that the final story turned out very differently to what I had first started writing, and I can’t help but wonder where I would have taken this story.

It was going to be about Elizabeth, our main vampire lady, and the love story that had destroyed her. Nothing new there then, but that’s okay. It was also going to somewhat link in with the Verity story I posted a few weeks ago, but now I know that Verity will be a part of my series, I don’t think Elizabeth will be joining her.

Anyway, about the writing: it ain’t awful. It’s when I was developing how to write. Now, I’m kind of over that over emphasis on everything that I seemed to have enjoyed doing back then. I’m also not so big on writing in first person, which I seem to have also done a lot of in the past. Supposedly, young adults (and I was a young adult when writing most of my Flashback Friday Fiction) relate better to first person, so I find it interesting that it’s also how I wrote. My book isn’t in first person, however. I now prefer to write in third and be a bit of an omniscient narrator (I know all your secrets, mwahaha).

Another thing I’m not so keen on is the switch in point of view so early in the story. It just confuses things and I’m fairly certain that I had planned for the story to be told all from Elizabeth’s point of view. I suppose I was going for some kind of reaction, wanting the reader to somewhat fear Elizabeth and see her as a mysterious character before I introduced her as the main.

I don’t have any plans to write this story. It actually might be one of the only stories that I’ve started and don’t plan to go back to. I think it’s because of how serious I planned it to be. I don’t recall having any characters in mind to add humour and now when I write I like to have those characters. Also, vampires. I don’t believe vampires have been done to death in literature, I just think that for me they have. I was massively interested in vampires as a teenager and read a lot about vampire mythology and, of course, I was a huge fan of Anne Rice. Now, I just feel bored the minute I see something is about vampires. Although, I do still really want to watch What We Do in the Shadows!

Until next writing time machine,

-A

In Which a Girl Follows a Cat

The cool flow of the water rippled between my clammy toes and placed me in a soothing day dream. I sighed peacefully as the warm rays of the beaming sun embraced my body.

I had paid little attention to the rustle of the trees behind me, and so I was taken by surprised when I noticed I had company. As his eyes met mine, I realised that he too had not expected to find someone in such a desolate area.

He sat down beside me and watched with me the darting of the flies across the glistening lake.

I looked at him sceptically as he reached forward in attempt to catch a wandering dragon fly upon the reeds, and found myself laughing as he steadied himself from a near fall into the water.

He did not look back at me. Instead, he turned his head sharply in the other direction and then rose to walk away.

I found myself following his light footsteps in a soothing silence.

He led me out of the small woodland which surrounded the lake, down a well-trodden path, and across to a large run down barn.

Once inside, I saw to my surprise that it held little but dust and scraps of hay. I tagged along behind him as he stalked to a dark corner of the barn. I eyed the rafters above me suspiciously as though any minute they may fall heavily upon us.

Once I had reached him I crouched down beside him and gasped at the sight below the hay he had uprooted.

A family of mice sprinted desperately from beneath their hide out, scattering in all directions as he made petty attempts to catch one. I pulled him gently away, deciding his game was becoming more of a cruel past time than light hearted teasing.

We walked in our familiar silence towards the gap through which we had entered, when suddenly above us we heard the sharp crack of thunder, and outside the heavy pitter-patter of rain.

Foolishly, I poked my head through the gap, as he sat down and watched. Within moments my hair and shoulders were soaked. Sulking, I made my way over to join him on a makeshift seat of hay.

As the rain grew heavier and the claps of thunder louder we huddled closer together, shielding one another from the crisp wind which swept its way in and wrapped its chilling grip around us.

I awoke to the soft feel of him against my skin and the distant calling of a name.

“Louie!” cried a gentle voice.

Sadly, I watched as he rose and began to leave me.

I sprang up from my position against the hay and grabbed him before he could go. I held him tightly to my chest and muttered softly, “Take care, Louie.”

He made his way towards the door turning only once, his amber eyes sparkling as he opened his small mouth and with a low purr gave me his reply, “Meow.”

Meeeeeerh. This is a weird one. Some of it I like and some of it I really, really, dislike – and much for the same reason I came to dislike the excerpt of VERITY I posted. I grew out of beginning sentences in the style I sometimes use above and so reading it now irks me a little.

It’s a shame really because I remember writing this story and it is about a cat I met in France. We didn’t go on any adventures, but I suppose I wrote this to remember him by and it doesn’t do anything. It gets from A – B but nothing is really going on. I suppose it’s just a wandering story. Admittedly though, it’s only recently that I’ve been prodding myself to remember the reader. It’s too easy to just get carried away wording it up.

I know I have something written about my own cat, and I remember preferring it but I can’t find it (this is a common theme, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m making my supposed favourites up!), I just remember it was called Paddy Paws.

Anyway, next week I’ll try to remember when Friday is. So, until then,

-A