Ghost of Christmas Past

I know what you’re thinking. By George, Arbie, where do you come up with such original titles?! They just come to me, you know.

Hilarousnotly I had intended to write yesterday when it was not a Sunday so I’m sure I’d have felt rather bemused. But, Sunday always finds a way. Kinda like nature you know but with more of the elderly driving around. For some reason my phone was desperate to write Linda rather than kinda, and because I believe in divine intervention, it is through me the true god of Sunday has been revealed. Behold, Linda! A pensioner with a headscarf in a Mercedes.

But I’m here to break my silence on where I have been these past two months. I was kidnapped by a lemur.

It began as any lemur encounter begins, with tea and shortbread. It soon turned nasty however when it became clear that one lemur, we’ll call him Gerard (with a long rrrrraaaarrrdddd pronounced in a posh English accent (his real name wasn’t actually Gerard but I have to change it for legal reasons (What? Lemurs have lawyers. (Yeah, surprised me too.))))

Gerard didn’t like the cut of my jib, and so it went that one minute I was enjoying a good brew and the next I was being dragged by ringtails into a hidden area. Now you might imagine the secret garden, and that would have been very welcome, but I’m talking lemur barbarians here. What I would have given for a mystical grove with a swing and a wise unicorn to tell me of future omens. Well, the swing was some type of Transylvanian torture device and the unicorn was drunk and ignoring calls from his sponsor so all he could do was tell me about my past.

“You will be taken against your will…”
“You mean like this?”
“A creature unknown to you will lead you astray…”
“Like right now?”
“You will shuffle uncomfortably under the grip of…”
“Now you’re just describing what’s happening.”
“Yes, I can see into both the past and the present…”
“And the future?”
“It looks very grim for you indeed…”

At this, I saw that Gerard was looking suggestively towards what I can only describe as an iron maiden, but given it’s size it was for badly behaved (and incredibly tiny) feet. They tried though, I have to give them that. By no half measures either, when the foot wouldn’t fit the hand was tested and when the hand wouldn’t fit the damn thing was opened up and just pushed against my face a few times. I gave a couple of convincing ouches and they were satisfied.

Proof of lemur kidnapping

The next month was a blur. I know I was fed daily on fruit and vegetables and that I learned to speak rumel, which is a guttural but beautiful language. I had a short romance despite being warned that he was a cad and a bounder. He was, and soon left me for another who had better access to the cantaloupes. It took 48 days to earn my freedom and whether it was lemurshock syndrome or having found myself while there (like all those people who take a gap year and come back as Jesus) I struggled to leave. My granted freedom soon became unwanted but beg as I might Gerard is a tough leader.

As I approached the passageway home my attention was drawn by gentle chanting:
“Rising up, back on the street…
did your time, took your chances…”

I turned to face the pungent odor of rum and well, more rum. The unicorn’s next words were masked by whooping lemurs, their tails swaying with the force of a thousand flung bananas (a phrase best heard in rumel – “yip tor ix anana”

“Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive…”

He swayed slightly. Then it struck me, something about the rhythm he was using, the words bringing back a familiar tune.

“Oh, wait, are you just singing-”
“Its the eye of the lemur
It’s the thrill of the fight-”
“Oh, yeah, okay you are. You’re just changing the words-”
“-up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night-”
“You’re oddly good at this-”
“It’s his karaoke song” a lemur to the left informed me, with urgency so he wouldn’t miss…
“-watching us all with the eyeeeeee
of the lemur!”

The finale sounded amidst cries of triumph and the same lemur to my left murmured, “You know what you need to do.”
“What? What do I need to do?”

The unicorn’s glowing red eyes (come to think of it, maybe he wasn’t a unicorn) fixed upon me.
“Dwell on your past, for it will determine your present.”
“Right, because you can’t tell me my future can you?”
“Your future will be lots of dwelling on your past and your present”
“Well ain’t that some fancy tricks”

Sharp canines, I mean, all it’s teeth looked like canines, grinned back at me. Broken, black and orange. Did I see a glint of gold?

I was home. The lemurs were gone. Gerard was gone. The unicorn that now retelling this I’m not sure ever was a unicorn was gone.

I was still here though.

It’s funny because we’re always told to let go of our past, but maybe the non-unicorn was right. The past should help guide our future, especially our dreams.

If the ghost of Christmas past were to visit me tonight he would take me back to a girl who wanted to be a cat when she grew up, but then a teenager who discovered books weren’t just to learn from or entertain – fiction could heal, and to a young woman who armed with a sock, a spider, death and all his homies decided maybe her parents were right, maybe being a writer was a path to wander down for a bit, because maybe along the way her characters could become a friend to those who need them the same way Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax became to her.

To all those who continue to write despite it all, just because you can, just because you need to, just because there’s a woman with a hammer threatening to break your toes if you don’t – here’s to you! Cheers!

To all those who think they don’t fit in the above category because they don’t write 500 words a day, you’re wrong, you do, you’re just a different kind of writer. I’m that kind of writer. So to you, to us! Cheers!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone, writers, readers, lemurs, and… come to think of it, maybe it was a minotaur.


Kidnapping Death’s Daughter Art – Sophie

Hey everyone!

Here she is, our main girl – Sophie, Death’s daughter. The art is by the amazingly talented artist Shio and you can find more of her work here:

I’ve very much been looking forward to posting these and so I hope you like them as much as I do! The second image is Sophie all dressed up for her birthday party, which is the opening chapter of Kidnapping Death’s Daughter.

I don’t want to say much more because I’d like this post to be about the art.



I hope you stick around to see more posts about Kidnapping Death’s Daughter up until it’s release in November this year! There will be more amazing art posted in the lead up and more quotes and snippets, too!

Thank you for taking a look.

Arbie x

Mr Nock

 The room was lit solely by the screen of an old TV set. Comedians walked to and fro, causing a raucous of laughter from an unseen audience. Light from the screen glinted playfully off a brown slither in a squat glass.

He lifts the liquid to his weathered lips, he sips in the warm bitter taste, and then lowers it with wrinkled fingers back to a small oak table beside a much favoured chair.

On his lap sits a cat, its own years easily matching his in age, if not older. He shuffles his slippered feet, and winces as cat’s claws dig into his knee.

“I’m staying put, Nickle,” responds the man to the cat’s protest. He pats the cat on the head, glances momentarily at a photo above a warm yet dying fire, before looking back to the moving men on screen.

The cat, however, already disturbed, hops down from his lap, and crosses the room to a locked door: scratch, scratch, scratch; let me in, let me in, he knows the cat is saying; purring, to the door.

“Not now, Nickle,” he replies.

Once more his eyes shift to the faded photo. He smiles, as it smiles back at him.




Meet Mr Nock. You may have liked him once, his educated voice and choice of words charming. The way in which he’d lean on his stick whilst sat on a bench chatting with friends, and the smile that would play not only across his lips but his grey eyes may have drawn you in.

But now that his smile is a smirk, and his voice is used selectively on only those he deems fit to hear it, could you even walk upon the same side of the street as him? And if you were to be so brave, would his snarl not soon send you skittering back again?

Mr Nock, of great height and little girth, as grey from head as he is to toe, is not interested in becoming your friend. In fact, your mere utterance of a hello is a hindrance to him.

Unless, of course, it begins with a “mia” and ends with an “ow”.




Mr Nock was taking his usual route to the post office. He liked this route, there were more cars than people, and cars didn’t engage in small talk. Plus, it was the usual, and the unusual did not often sit well on his stomach.

Although the trees leaned in on either side of the pavement, and golden leaves were crunched helplessly under foot or stick, blown by a taunting wind which also grappled at his hat, Mr Nock was smiling.

It was pension day. The day in which he would leave early that morning and return early that afternoon with a large fish, delectable for both himself, and Nickle.

He approached a drably painted red door and as his hand gripped round a shoddy metal handle he heard a most distasteful utterance, and shuddered as it shrieked through his ears and echoed round his brain.


Ever so slightly, and purposefully slowly, Mr Nock turned to face the perpetrator.

He was dressed in a black scarf, similar to Mr Nock’s own. A smart grey coat was buttoned up tight around it and on his head he wore a cotton hat. It was the kind he was familiar with from the thugs he saw being handcuffed to police cars. Those hats meant trouble and Mr Nock knew it.

“I’m glad I caught you here.  Isn’t it funny? It’s the last place I expected to see you.”

The unusual stirred in Mr Nock’s stomach.

“Yes, it is odd how such things occur. How are you Nathan?” Mr Nock replied to his gleaming grandson, evidently pleased about this chance meeting as with a mocking smile Mr Nock cursed it.

“Well, thank you. Well, old man,” he half shouted as he patted Mr Nock’s arm in that affectionate manner Mr Nock found merely affronting. “And your health, or what I hear of it, is the reason I was hoping to see you. We have tried to call, both Marie and I. Are you so often out with the lads you miss our calls, eh?”

He ended this with a laugh, which grew slightly nervous when Mr Nock frowned over spectacles back at him.

“It’s off the hook. Only bothersome, impatient people make phone calls.”

Nathan laughed, noticeably nervously again, kicking at a fallen conker and watching it ricochet off a lamppost.

“It’s out of concern, Grandad… there’s been talk. An old friend of yours mentioned your hip, and I took the initiative to check your records and it seems you haven’t shown for appointments in months, possibly years.”

Mr Nock leaned back and drew in a wealth of icy air, allowing it to rush round his lungs and breathe through his nose, cooling his heart, before he answered. A disagreement in public was a scene, and Mr Nock greatly disliked scene making.

“I do not see it was your initiative to take, but of course, who am I to correct someone of such high standing as yourself? Doctors, as I’m sure you’ll agree, are rarely wrong, are they, Doctor Nock?”

Mr Nock held his glare, as Nathan shuffled uncomfortably underneath of it, fiddling with his scarf before glancing momentarily back to the conker.

“Grandad, putting your health at risk in regards to an old feud is for what logical reasoning? There is none. You need help. That stick is old and doing little good.”

“And what good can I expect from those who only see good in the numbers of their pay cheque?” At these words Mr Nock reached back to the handle of the post office and slipped inside. No more echoes of words, only echoes of leaves crunching as his grandson walked away.




The wind roared through the chimney angrily, throwing its fury back and forth it screamed: let me in, let me in! But a hot fire kept it at bay and Mr Nock sat smugly, chair reclined and full glass in hand, listening to the radio.

Though the volume loud, and the wind persistent, a bothersome sound soon seeped through the music and began to twitch at his ear. It was the knock of his door, and ah, then another: rap, rap, rap…let me in…let me in, the knock chimed with the wind.

Mr Nock’s lip furled up, and he wondered how soon it would be before the nuisance wished not to be let in, but to be let out.

“Did you not hear the door, Grandad?”

Mr Nock rose from his chair. His cat, Nickle, skittered to the floor in a flurry, before slinking off to hide. He turned off the music, and then faced his grandson with a smile that ached at his cheeks within moments.

“It was open, by the way.”


“Your door, it’s how I got in. I pushed the handle and it opened. That’s dangerous, Grandad, leaving it open like that, for both you and Grandma. Is she about?”

“My door was not open, it was unlocked. There is a difference, Nathan. And, danger is not always on the outside. Tea?”

“Yes, please,” Nathan stuttered, but chose it was better to edge the conversation in another direction.

His grandmother was a sensitive subject and he presumed she was resting upstairs.

“You seem happier today. I was hoping you’d be more inclined to discuss your hip.”

Nathan watched anxiously as his grandad shuffled awkwardly around the kitchen, he wished he had visited sooner. A year was a long time to go without the presence of one’s family.

Re-entering the room Mr Nock placed the tea tray on a side table, whisking the bags around, then plopping them on a small plate before placing the spoons, each with a coloured handle, back in the cups.

“You were always fond of the colour blue, weren’t you, Nathan?” Mr Nock nodded at his grandson, then tilting his head towards the cup with the blue handled spoon, nodded again.

“Ha, you remembered, old man!” Nathan took a seat opposite his grandad.  Leaning forth he took his cup, helping himself to two cubes of sugar before stirring the tea once more.

“I wouldn’t have supposed Marie would allow you here alone. She always wanted to be a part of something, anything.”

Mr Nock took his own tea, added no sugar, placed his spoon beside the used tea bags, and sipped, watching his grandson carefully.

“She doesn’t know I’m here. I thought it best to keep it between us for now. Prevent a crowd. She’ll have the whole family round again in no time once she knows though!”

The thought of his home crowded with that family caused him a minute’s unease. He shuddered as his mind began to dwell in another, distant world. It was hot, his palms felt sweaty and eyes could no longer focus on his grandson.

scratch, scratch, scratch.

If they were here, they would know. They would ask questions. He would need to find answers. But didn’t he always have answers?

scratch, scratch, scratch.

Of course he did! They came to him for the answers. Why else would his grandson be here now? He’s here for answers of where his grandmother is. He wants to know where his grandad’s dear old friend has got to, that meddling post man. He had no right, no right! to speak to Nathan about his ailments.

scratch, scratch, scratch.

The whole family… in this house? In this room! That wasn’t possible. Then they’d know, they’d know he failed her. But he did not! It was the doctors! Their carelessness, his grandson’s carelessness! How a letter addressed for his wife, not him… he wasn’t dying, it was she.

scratch, scratch, scratch…let me in, let me in…

“Grandad, are you alright? The cat is desperate to get in your study. What are you keeping in there? A fish mongers?” Nathan chuckled, rubbing at his stomach, then grimacing, the skin of his face pulling tightly around his skull.

“I’m fine, it was an old man’s moment,” Mr Nock said coarsely.

“I think I’m having one of those myself! My stomach is turning, my throat has gone dry. Thank heavens for this tea.”

He gulped in some more, but became suddenly aware of his grandad’s change in demeanour. It made him nervous. His head was beginning to spin, and as he watched his grandad approach the small key hooks, one, two, then three keys were held, but then just one again.

“No, don’t stand Nathan, not just yet, you stay put.”

Mr Nock walked past his grandson, who was growing ever paler, and he wondered if he was aware his head was moving in slow circular movements.

He pushed the key in the lock and listened to Nickle’s purrs as it clicked.

The door opening before them.





Aaaah! Reading this was painful! Not for the usual reasons (that weird feeling when looking back on older work), but because I imagined this differently to how it read. I always loved Mr Nock! Or so I thought I did.

Admittedly this was saved as a first draft and I can’t find any others because I most likely deleted them or lost them or sold them to a travelling story salesman. I had to fish this one out. I could have sworn it was more enjoyable than this. Pinky promise!

This is what we have though, a story that reads as incomplete despite being complete. I’m quite sure of that. I do still like the character of Mr Nock, and some of the writing is okay and sets a sort of atmosphere and style, but the majority feels pretty skeletal.

Anyway, this is another from around six years ago. The final draft never to be seen. Let’s pretend it’s glorious!



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.



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



Sympathy for you,

                                           is that for the devil.

Hidden beyond the river,  in the mouth of a god.

a tireless melody

once irresistible,

now tuneless,

rehearsed without song.

Echo forth, in search,

it finds me.

Kneeled down, wounds concealed

in mud that clings


Magicians step, between natures gold,

amber, red,

tears of the forest,

soundless above the fall of the Earth.

In casted shade, broken shadow of dusk,

my senses tricked

I pause.


forever tempted, by ancient dance.

Cupped salvation,

secret of ageless alchemist,

                                                               antidote to deceivers curse,

Holy water

flows over lovers palms, through marked destiny,

branded by sun, obeyed by moonlight,

 lifted upwards,

before a silhouette.

My sympathy,


I offer to you.




Hello everyone!

I finally motivated myself to take part in a word prompt, just uh, a little late (this is from Tuesday). The prompt “sympathy” is from the blog The Daily Post. Is this a blog? Or wordpress witchcraftery? Not sure! I’m following it either way.

I might write another post deconstructing the poem and talking about how each part is relevant. However, poetry is supposed to be whatever is made of it by the reader, and with that in mind, I might not. The only reason I guess I’d do it would be from a writer to writer perspective. The workings out like in maths, so to speak.

The cards in the picture are from the incredibly (and I mean incredibly) beautiful Shadowscapes Tarot Deck.

I hope you enjoyed this.

As always, thank you for reading!

Arbie x