Halloween Flash: The Stamp Of A Vamp

Alison Day was a mousy woman who had barely been scuffed by the wear and tear of life until the day she met Lulu, the effect of which was like lightning hitting a plane. The Autumn night draped itself over the city, and the moon bit into the sky as Alison rushed home from her usual Wednesday evening yoga class. She felt edgy and fumbled for her keys as she heard the click, click, click of high heels on the wet pavement. She turned. On the corner of the street, beneath a blinking street lamp, a woman was smoking a cigarette. Her silhouette seemed to appear and disappear like warm breath on a cold window pane.

The woman was tall and, like Alison, in her early thirties with wan looking skin, a slash of red lipstick across her full lips and her black hair cut into a Louise Brooks bob. She was wearing a red PVC raincoat and shiny black stiletto heels and Alison suddenly felt very dowdy with her green cagoule, Gap jeans and mousy, unkempt hair.

The woman slowly sauntered towards Alison-and in a muddy foreign accent, said:

‘Keep looking at people like that and you’ll be in for a good tongue lashing.’

And then she collapsed in heap at Alison’s’ feet.

* * *

‘Would you like a cup of tea?” said Alison, “I have …’
‘Something stronger, maybe?’ purred the woman as she sat up from the sofa.
Alison rummaged in a cupboard and found an unopened bottle of absinthe.
‘How about this?’ she said.
The woman smiled and lit a Gauloises cigarette.
‘My name is Lulu,’ she said, filling two shot glasses with absinthe. ‘Drink with me, eh?’
As the night hurtled on, Alison got drunk and in the process told Lulu her life story, such as it was. Lulu seemed fascinated by Alison’s idyllic, picture postcard childhood in Yorkshire and her job at Bermondsey Library. Lulu revealed little about herself, however, except that she had come from Bucharest shortly before the revolution and that she was married to a nightclub owner called Nicholas.

‘You know,’ said Alison ‘I hardly ever drink. My friends say that I can get drunk on the sniff of a barmaid’s apron.’ She giggled. ‘This is the first time I’ve drunk absinthe.’

‘They say it makes the heart grow fonder,’ said Lulu, licking the rim of the glass and holding Alison’s gaze.

***
At some point during the night Alison woke up in bed, in a cold sweat, with no recollection of getting there. Lulu, naked, was smoking and gazing out of the bedroom window. The tip of her cigarette glowed bright red and then faded to black.

***

In the morning, as slivers of sun sliced through the blinds, Alison awoke and saw that Lulu was gone. Memories of the night before fizzed like champagne bubbles as, on the bed, she saw a business card for Vamps Gentleman’s Club in Shoreditch. Written in red lipstick, was a phone number.

***

Vamps was suffocating in black leather and red velvet. It was cluttered with noisy groups of brash City Boys and semi-naked young women who wandered around with beer glasses full of money. The DJ played ‘Goldfinger’ as a statuesque blond, wearing only a pair of angels’ wings, crawled up and down a glistening pole.

Alison sat on a large black sofa next to Lulu, who was dressed in a red leather nun’s habit with a gold pentagram dangling from a chain around her neck. Tearing the label from her beer bottle she moved in close to hear Lulu speak.

‘I suppose marriage to Nicholas was a marriage of convenience.’ Lulu said. ‘I wanted to stay legally in England and he wanted…well, a pet. He promised me a job in a West End nightclub and I ended up here. But the worse thing is, he makes me have sex with other dancers. His business partners.’

She downed her drink in one.

‘Can’t you leave him?’ said Alison, red faced.

‘If I leave him, I’ll be deported and that will be that’, she said. Alison blanched.

As Autumn trudged on into Winter, Alison and Lulu’s meetings became more frequent and murderous thoughts hovered over them like a hawk ready to strike its prey until one night Lulu eventually said, ‘Okay. Let’s kill him.’

***

‘You see, ninety nine percent of the human race are just here to make up the numbers,’ said Nicholas, in a voice stained with nicotine and brimmed with brandy. He was an elegant, handsome man in his sixties. He indifferently smoked a large cigar, the smoke rings floating above his head like a halo or a crown of thorns.

‘They’re just cannon fodder. Don’t you agree?’

Alison couldn’t agree or disagree. She couldn’t say a thing and she couldn’t move.
The plan had been simple enough. She was to go to Vamps on New Years Eve and ask about work as dancer. When the place closed she’d accept Nicholas’s inevitable invitation to go to his office for a night cap with him and Lulu. They were to poison him and dump his body in the Thames along with the drunks who tottered into the river’s dank and dirty water at this time of year.

But after the first couple of drinks she realised that she was paralysed. In the oak and leather armchair she was like an insect trapped in amber. The clock struck twelve and the room was lit up by exploding fireworks. Lulu and Nicholas’ eyes glowed bright red and then faded to black.

‘Happy New Year, my sweet,’ said Lulu. ‘I hope you like your present.’

‘I’m sure I will, darling,’ said Nicholas, ‘I know how difficult it is to find fresh meat in these decadent times’. He chuckled and seemed to float from his chair.

As Nicholas sank his fangs deep into her neck, Alison felt pain greater than she had ever felt before. She wanted to cry, to scream, to tear herself apart but she could do nothing except listen to the sound of fireworks and Lulu’s cruel, cruel laughter.

(c) Paul D. Brazill

#FRIDAY FLASH: THE BRAIN SALAD MURDERS

The search was invariably fruitless.

            The path was cluttered with the debris of the past.

            The parade of childhood humiliations always led him down blind alleys.

            Religion and psychoanalysis failed.

            Rationalism was but a damp squib.

            Travel to foreign lands yielded nothing but more sores to scratch.

            Satiation, indulgence, rather than healing his scars, only lacerated him more.

            And then a chance encounter in a snow-smothered car park, as the night creaked into morning, brought a flash of anger.

            The slash of a knife.

            And release.

            For a time.

            Until the scars slowly returned.

            And he killed again.

            And again.

            ***

Another long hot summer had cast dark, elongated shadows that smothered The City’s pitch black secrets. As the sweltering, hazy days stretched out to snapping point, those secrets were jolted into the glare of light.

At times like these, being a private eye, especially a werewolf private eye, could take its toll. Which is why the womb of Duffy’s Bar was always so comforting.

“ The Professor’ss back,” I said to Duffy, who was clearing up the previous night’s debris.

I sipped a shot of Dark Valentine, rubbed my tired, red eyes. I ached for sleep.

I ached from the previous night’s prowl, too. I’d had a scuffle with Brother Cage, the leader of one of the many crackpot religions that were infecting The City. I’d managed to take out a few of his henchmen before ripping him to shreds, but they’d got in a few good shots themselves.

Duffy stopped mopping the beer and bloodstained floor. Leaned the mop against the bar.

“You sure?” he said. He scratched his acne-scarred face.

I grunted.

“Oh, yes. It’s him. Unless there’s a copycat killer. But according to Ivan, six corpses have been found with the brains scooped out. Presumably eaten by the killer,” I said.

Detective Ivan Walker was my former partner. Back in the days before I’d been afflicted by full moon fever.

“All rich old men between the ages of seventy-five and eighty?” said Duffy.

“Yep. They fit The Professor’s MO, alright. The only difference is that these guys had been ripped to shreds first.”

Duffy slammed a heavy fist against the side of the Wurlitzer jukebox. Stepped back behind the bar. Poured himself a shot of Dark Valentine.

Knocked it back. Poured another. A Julie London song about black coffee oozed through the room.

“How long is it since he went AWOL?” said Duffy, as he looked up at the plasma television screen that he’d recently installed in an attempt to bring in new customers.

An attempt that had pretty much failed.

Apart from me, the only other customer was a thick-set old man in a double-breasted pinstripe suit. He’d been nursing a pint of Guinness for over an hour and didn’t seem in any hurry to finish it. A typical Monday afternoon, then.

The flickering TV showed an old black and white Tarzan film that had been colourised. I growled in disapproval.

“The Prof hasn’t been seen for five years. Same time as The Brain Salad Murders stopped,” I said.

The press had given the murders a typically colourful name, as if they weren’t lurid enough. Murders were ten a penny in The City, of course, but these caused a stir like no other.

The fact that the victims were all powerful, rich, old blokes probably had a lot to do with that. Every one was a big shot. Bankers, judges, media moguls. Even Police Commissioner O’ Neil. Every cop in The City had been told to make it a priority. And let every other one of The City’s crime victims help themselves.

Professor Galimova – a nutjob that had been fired from The City University for “an undisclosed matter” – sent a letter to The City Gazette confessing to the crimes and saying that he was on a mission to harvest The City’s corrupt souls. But, shortly afterwards, the murders suddenly stopped and it was assumed that Galimova had been killed. Until now.

I rubbed my eyes again. Yawned.

***

            The beast roared and shards and slivers of pain sliced through his flesh.

            The slivers became a throb. And the throb faded to silence.

            A stillness consumed him.

            A calming darkness.

            And the sea of sleep enfolded him.

            Until the chill night, when bathed in the milk of the moon, he raged.

            And he roared.

***

“Duffy, can I have the key to the back room? I’ll be canoodling with Morpheus any minute,” I said.

“Sure.” He handed me the big brass key.

Duffy’s spare room was Spartan, to say the least. A simple single bed. A table. A chair. And a bottle of Dark Valentine. I opened the bottle and took a swig, switched off the light and plonked down onto the bed.

I could hear an Al Green tune playing in the bar and was heading into the void when I heard a voice.

“Perhaps you would like a bedtime story, Detective Dalton.”

I wrenched my eyes open. Let them adjust to the dark.

Sat at the table was the old guy from the bar. He poured a shot of DV into a tumbler and sipped.

“My name is Professor Galimova. I believe that you are aware of my reputation?”

“Yeah, and you look kinda familiar,” I said, sitting up.

I held out my hand and he passed me the bottle of booze.

“Well, that’s nice to know. I’m sure you have infected many since your transformation. I assumed we’d all blurred into one.”

“We …?”

I took a swig of DV.

“Oh,” I said, twigging what the Prof was talking about.

“Yes, ‘oh’,” said The Professor, with a smirk.

“When?”

“Six months ago, of course. I was about to harvest your old friend Ton Ton Philippe, in fact, when I was set upon by a wild beast. You.”

“So that’s why you stopped …”

“Harvesting? Yes.”

“And now you’re back?”

“Indeed. I tried to cleanse myself of your disease, but to no avail. So I accepted that the affliction is, in fact, a gift and decided to return to The City to continue my work. But with an added strength when the moon is full, of course.”

He chuckled.

“So, cheers to you, Detective Dalton,” he said. He finished off his drink.

“Na zdrowia,” I said.

I took another mouthful of DV.

The Professor grinned, stood and walked out the door.

So, the worst serial killer in The City’s history was back. Stronger and more powerful than ever. And I was responsible.

I shuffled my stiff body off the bed and prepared to follow Galimova, but then I thought of the particular demographic of The Professor’s victims.

The crème de la crème here in The City. They’d be sitting ducks for a werewolf serial killer, for sure.

And then I lay back down and went to sleep.

***

The City’s neon-drenched, sin-soaked streets and alleyways called to him.

            The silver moon sang a seductive refrain.

            And The Professor was again consumed with a hunger.

            A hunger for the corrupt.

 

THE END

(c) Paul D. Brazill

Carcass at The Flash Fiction Offensive

FFO BADGE 2017OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINE’S FLASH FICTION OFFENSIVE have kicked off their GUTTERAL SCREAMS series of  Halloween yarns with a slice of Punk Fiction from me called CARCASS.

Ava drove her battered, old Ford Escort to the edge of the forest and parked beneath a pine tree. As she sat and watched the autumn rain batter the windscreen, she listened to the Siouxsie and The Banshees CD that Martin had given her for her birthday’

You can read the rest HERE.

#FRIDAY FLASH: Thicker Than Blood

TODAY

‘The thing is, Bren,’ says Craig Hornby, kissing his bloody knuckles, ‘you’ve just got to face facts sometime. You might be a nicer bloke than your Tony. Well, in fact, you are nicer. Much nicer. But your kid is more likeable. It’s just one of those things. And that’s why he always ends up getting what he wants. Getting his own way. If he fell in the sea, he’d come out with a pocket full of fish. That’s him, eh? Teflon Tony.’

Craig walks over to the window and closes the blinds. The room turns black. Specks of dust float in a shard of sunlight that slices through a broken slat and spotlights a pool of blood at Bren Murdoch’s feet. Bren’s head pounds. Blood trickles down his nose and is soaked up by the socks stuffed in his mouth .He twists but the fishing wire cuts further into his wrists and ankles.

‘And that’s also why you’re here now instead of him.’

Craig’s heavy feet echo off the concrete floor as he walks over to the corner of the room and switches on the strip lighting.

Bren clamps his eyes shut.

‘That’s why you’re the one who has to take the consequences of the shit-storm your kid brother brewed up.’

The dining chair wobbles as Craig sits. He’s sweating like a pig. Dark semi-circles under his arms. He knocks back a can of Red Bull and kisses his bruised knuckles again.

‘It’s just one of those things. Something I have to do. I have to, I have no choice , really. Have to make an example of someone. You understand, don’t you?’

Bren understands all right. He understands that in less than a week his life has turned from shinola to shit. And he knows who to blame.

YESTERDAY

‘It’s bollocks. I can’t believe you operate like this,’ said Bren.

He looked pissed off as he dragged the wads of paper from the bread bin and spread them over the shop counter. ‘It’s all in here?’

Tony Murdoch smirked and sipped a can of Carling. ‘Aye.’

‘You keep all your paperwork, all your receipts, invoices, tax bills in a bread bin and you expect me to do your accounts for you?’

‘You’re the accountant,’ said Tony. ‘I’m the … entrepreneur.’

He leaned against a stack of ‘80s 12-inch singles that were marked down to 10p. Star-shaped, day-glow signs hung everywhere in the cluttered shop. It was always cluttered these days. Not with customers, though. The second-hand record business wasn’t what it used to be. Anyway, Tony made more money from organising coach trips to stadium rock gigs. And then there was the other little business with Craig. The import/export business.

‘Well, I’m not your accountant, am I? Thank fuck. What happened to that bloke you used to use? Stewie Shorthands?’ said Bren.

He got up from the counter and walked to the fridge in the corner of the room.

‘He went AWOL, didn’t he? Supposed to have drowned out near Seal Sands. He’s been missing without a trace for a couple of days now,’ said Tony.

Bren opened a can of Carling. As he clicked the ring pull, it frothed up, soaking his expensive suit.

‘Shit, are you still buying beer from News N Booze? The stuff that’s past its sell-by-date?’ he said.

‘It’s half price, man. Yer, canna wack it.’

Tony, the great business man, thought Bren. He’d always wondered how the shop, Tony’s Tunes, had kept in business for so long.

‘Listen Bren,’ said Tony. ‘I’ve got a little proposition for you.’

‘Oh, yes?’ said Bren. ‘And what might that be?’

‘Well,’ said Tony, handing his brother a small bar towel. ‘I’m in need of a little bit of creative accountancy.’

THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY

‘He’s worm meat,’ said Veronica Fleece.

‘Are you sure?’ said Tony, switching off the Tupac CD.

‘Well, I’m no Doctor House,’ said Veronica. ‘But look.’

Tony was trying not to gag as he looked down at Shorthands’ naked, flabby body, spread-eagled across the hotel bed. He had to agree with Veronica. The accountant had croaked. ‘What are we gonna do?’ said Veronica, pulling on a kimono.

‘We can’t exactly call an ambulance, can we? Not with all the happy-talc he’s got in him,’ said Tony. ‘Shit. Shit. Shit.’.

‘I told the daft, fat twat to take it easy with that stuff,’ said Veronica. ‘Eyes bigger than his gut.’

She collapsed onto the squeaky leather sofa.

Veronica and Tony both glanced at Shorthands’ stomach and burst out laughing.

‘Getting rid of him won’t be too hard. I’ll phone my dad. He’ll sneak him up to Jed Bramble’s pig farm,’ said Veronica, wiping the white powder from her nose.

Shit, thought Tony. He needed someone to prepare a set of accounts for him to give Craig, so that he didn’t know that Tony had been skimming off the top of the delivery payments. There was no other way, he realised. He’d have to contact Bren.

TODAY

‘I’ve mellowed, Bren. I really have,’ says Craig. ‘I’m a granddad now. I play golf. I go to car-boot sales. I recycle. But if there’s one thing guaranteed to get my goat, to wind me fucking up, it’s someone pissing down my back and trying to tell me it’s raining.’

Craig stands and stretches, yawns. ‘And that’s pretty much what you and your brother did. Eh?’

He walks over to a cupboard in the corner of the room. Unlocks it.

‘But, it’s not so much that. Everyone has their fingers in the till here and there. It’s standard practice. But getting found out. Getting caught so the whole world knows you’ve been taking the piss. Well…’

He pulls a golf bag from the cupboard. It clatters over, spilling clubs over the floor.

‘Fuck,’ says Craig. ‘Give us hand, eh?’

‘Maybe a nine iron,’ says Tony Murdoch, putting out a cigarette and walking over. ‘That should do the trick.’

(c) Paul D. Brazill

Dave Wilde Reviews 13 Shots Of Noir

13 shots2Over at Goodreads, he says:

‘These are all good stories. “The Tut” begins with the unforgettable line: “After enduring forty-five years of a marriage that was at best, like wading through treacle, Oliver Robinson eventually had enough and smothered his wife with the beige corduroy cushion that he’d accidentally burned with a cigarette two fraught days before.” Wow, what an entire history Brazill packed into that one sentence! The second selection “Anger Management” is another short masterpiece. It is sort of a mood piece, but it is filled with lines like: “I’ve heard it said that eighteen months of sleep deprivation can drive you crazy.” You can honestly open up the book to any point in these thirteen stories and find something of interest, some dark haunting poetic line. “The Friend Catcher” is another short (they are all short) that begins with an amazingly thick line of prose: “The morning after Charlotte killed her father, the air tasted like lead and the sky was gun metal grey.” That’s a whole story right there.
Thirteen little gems packed into a short little book. I enjoyed these little glimpse into the darkness.’

Short, Sharp Interview: Beau Johnson

20525595_1907272402872470_5546300016962871857_nPDB: Can you pitch your latest book in 25 words?

BJ:  Nope.  Not enough space.  If I had more space, maybe.  But even then, maybe not.  Hate.  The book is about hate.  How we can use it better.

PDB: Which music, book, films or television do you wish you had written?

BJ:  Oh man, there are tons.  Silence of the Lambs.  Seven.  Lost.  Breaking Bad.  Up to season 7 of the X-files.  The episode where Buffy’s mom dies.  As for books: everything by Thomas Harris excluding Hannibal Rising.  The Long Walk by King.  The Jaunt.  The raft.  Music?  Wheat Kings by The Tragically Hip, our very own Canadian treasure.

PDB: Which books do you think would make great films or TV series?

BJ: I want to say the Dark Tower, but as it seems that particular ship might have somewhat sailed.

a better kind of hatePDB:  Who are the great British Writers?

BJ: PDB, naturally.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

BJ:  I have a few shorts in the pipe, some coming soon.  Bishop Rider has been poking his head up too, just headlining a new finished piece titled Old Ghosts.  It’s companion story to a yarn called Shift Work, where I once and for all debunk his reasons for retirement.  It might include dismemberment.

PDB: Anything else?

BJ:  Big thanks to you, Paul.  For offering this platform and for supporting me in the past.  If memory serves, you were one of the first who started sharing my work when I first got on to Facebook.  I want you to know I appreciate that, Paul.  I always have.

 BIO:  Beau Johnson has been published before, usually on the darker side of town.  Such fine establishments might include Out of the Gutter Online, Shotgun Honey, Spelk, HST, and/or the Molotov Cocktail.  A collection of Beau’s, A Better Kind Of Hate, is published by Down and Out Books.

The Last Shot at Near To The Knuckle

near to the knuckleI have a new yarn up at Near To The Knuckle. It’s called The Last Shot.

I was ten minutes late. Chunky Baines stood in the crisp factory doorway with his hands on his hips or at least where his hips used to be. He was wearing a grubby string vest, stained tracksuit bottoms and a pair of worn tartan slippers, despite the fact that it was pissing down with rain. He chomped on a bar of chocolate.
I jogged up to him, sweating like a pig.
‘You’re late,’ said Chunky, grinning.
‘No shit Sherlock,’ I said.
‘Yes, I know Sherlock’s shit,’ said Chunky. ‘But Wilson’s been looking for you. He knows you’re late.’

Read the rest here.

I Have A New Yarn At Near To The Knuckle

Check out THE DOMINANT HAND: 

‘I met him on a Monday and although my heart didn’t stand still, per say, it certainly skipped a beat or two, I can tell you,’ said Martyna. She giggled. ‘But then that was Philly Bailey. He was a charmer, alright. Not to everyone’s taste I know, a bit rough around the edges and that. But he always had something about him. A twinkle, you know?’
Martyna finished her gin and tonic. She sucked on an ice cube.

‘He was certainly a hell of a ladies man,’ said Ryan. ‘I’ll give him that.’

Read the rest HERE.

Fiery Jack at Spelk Fiction

I’m flashing again at Spelk Fiction. Fiery Jack goes a little like this:

Jack walked across the pub carpark and found Sidney Round’s BMW. His bony hands shook as he took a petrol canister from his backpack. He closed his eyes and counted to ten. Tried to control his breathing. He was dripping with sweat. He emptied the canister’s contents over the car and then took out another petrol can.

Read the rest here.

I’m at the Flash Fiction Offensive

SNAPSHOTS AT THE FLASH FICTION OFFENSIVEWith a little yarn called The Contender:

‘It was a Saturday night and The Cobble Bar was only slightly busier than it was midweek, which really wasn’t very. Indeed, if the place hadn’t been useful for the local criminal fraternity–money laundering, distribution of contraband and the like—it would have closed down years ago.

A big screen television was silently showing a 24-hour weather channel though no one seemed to be watching it.  Status Quo’s ‘Paper Plane’ blasted out as I walked up to the bar and took off my raincoat.’

Read the rest here.

I have a Twist Of Noir

I’m up at the all-new A TWIST OF NOIR with a little yarn called THINGS I USED TO LIKE.

‘I used to like playing football when I was a kid. Loved it, I did. I could spend hours kicking a ball around a muddy field or up and down a dirty back street. When I got older, I even played in goal for the local pub’s Sunday league team. But I put on weight because of all the beer and pork pies. I liked that bit too much, and it became hard work. A slog. No fun at all.

That was another thing, too. I used to like spending a few nights a week and the odd afternoon down the pub but heartburn, indigestion and ulcers soon put paid to that. Sitting sipping a mineral water when other folk got pissed wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs, so I lost interest.  I began to fear I’d lost my capacity for joy, I really did.’

Read the rest here. 

Keep It Simple. Keep It Short.

4 picsI think I’ve always liked singles more than LPs. Preferred the short, sharp burst of a 45 rpm vinyl to 33 and 1/3 rpm of a few decent tunes padded out with fillers. And maybe that’s why I was drawn to flash fiction.

I started off my crime writing ‘career’ – arf – submitting yarns to the late lamented Six Sentences website – short stories in just six sentences. Indeed, my first writing to appear in print was in the 6S volume 2 anthology.

Here’s an example of a 6S yarn:

A Cold Day in Helsinki

The January night had long since waned when Mika blasted Aki’s brains over the snow covered street, producing a more than passable Rorschach test. A murder of crows sliced through the whiteness as the purr of the passing motorcycle grew to a roar, masking the sound of the shotgun. When day eventually melted into night, the moon hung fat and gibbous, the bloodstains now black in the moonlight. Mika draped Aki’s cold, dead skin over his own pallid flesh as, shivering, he breathed in the scent of cheap aftershave, cigarettes and booze. Sour memories trampled over his thoughts with bloodstained feet. Together forever he rasped, as tears filled his bloodshot eyes.

Or:

Snap, Crackle & Pop! 

Snap went Larry’s index finger when Mo bent it back. Crackle went the cigar that Mo slammed into Larry’s face. Pop went the pistol that Mo shoved under Larry’s chin. Snap went the paparazzi when Mo was led into court. Crackle went the electric chair when Mo was sent to meet his maker. Pop went the champagne cork in Curly and Shemp’s hotel room.

And I’ve also enjoyed writing a few other forms of flash and micro fiction too, such as 6word stories a la Ernest Hemingway.

Quentin.

Blah blah. Bang bang. Ha ha.

Or there are stories limited to fifty words for magazines such as Blink Ink.

Old Town, midnight.

The moonlight oozed across the dank cobblestones like quicksilver; creeping between the cracks, crawling into the gutters. Howls sliced the silence. Lara shivered, pulling the fur close to her flesh. Each heartbeat was like the tick of a clock. As the limousine growled into view, heavy footsteps shuffled closer.

And flash fiction in 100 words, which is known as Drabble.

Swamplands

Elvis awoke in a cold, dank sweat, hungover from bourbon and bad dreams. The nightmares had consisted of him being hunted through a swamp by the murderous spectre of Jesse, his stillborn twin. His pounding heartbeat seemed to echo through the mansion. He stumbled into the bathroom, splashed cold water on his face and looked in the mirror, only to be confronted by his own ashen reflection and that of his grinning doppelganger. Jesse tightly wrapped the umbilical cord around Elvis’ throat and pulled it until Elvis breathed no more. The king is dead, long live the king, he muttered.

Indeed, if you feel the urge to take the plunge into writing but just want to test the water, there are plenty of flash fiction sites online. Spelk Fiction, for example,’ limit you to 500 words and Shotgun Honey have a 700 word limit.  And it’s a great way for more experienced writers to practice disciplining their writing too.

So why not get flashing!

This post first appeared over at Debbi Mack’s blog.

Train In Vain at Pulp Metal Magazine

PULPLOGO (1)I have a new yarn up at Pulp Metal Magazine.

It’s called TRAIN IN VAIN:

Seatown train station was certainly a lot better looking than I remembered it but it still smelled of puke. And shit, And sweat. Well, it did now that Smiffy was there. He’d spruced himself up a bit, slicked back his hair, put on a double-breasted pinstripe suit. But his rancid stench still oozed out. I hadn’t really seemed to notice it when we were boozing together in The Cobble Bar but out here in the fresh air it seemed overpowering.

A small group of football fans, watched by an equal sized group of bored policemen, snaked out of the station, through the streets and toward the town centre. They were quieter than I expected but then I’d never been much of a football fan, even as a child. I assumed supporting a football team was something you just grew out of although a few of the fans looked as if they’d grown a bit too much. Especially around the stomach area.’

Check it out, if you fancy.