Archive for the Original Fiction Category

Friday Fiction: The Wailing

Posted in Original Fiction with tags , on April 30, 2010 by gobbets

Here’s the next installment of the Banshee story…

The bunch of flowers arrived on our doorstep the day of the funeral. The old ones always sent flowers, or chocolates, or made little oatcakes. Sometimes surviving family did the sending, sometimes the ‘thank-you’ tokens were organised as part of the ‘arrangements’. I couldn’t for the life of me see what they were thankful for.

Not everyone sent gifts though. Younger people often didn’t even realise what had happened, or put no faith in the ‘silly local superstition”. Lucky them. I wished the calling in my blood could fade away like the old beliefs – a silly folktale that no longer served any purpose. But it didn’t work like that.

“Sabine! Come and put these in some water!”

I had long since learned it did no good to mope about and refuse the gifts. Mum would just make sure they ended up in my room, and do her best to make me feel like I was somehow offending the dead. Like they cared anymore.

The flowers were purple irises. Pretty. I set them on my desk and tried to ignore them and finish my biology homework. It wasn’t difficult; I was naturally good at biology. Must have something to do with the full-colour, no-gory-detail-spared visions of how people were going to die.

I had my first vision when I was 13. I was washing the dog out in the yard and started to feel a kind of pressure in my head, not a headache exactly, that came afterwards, this was more like someone blowing up a balloon in my skull.  Then I could just see it – the artery closing, the heart struggling to pump the blood out, but filling up instead. And then my view changed and I saw Mrs McNaulty from down the road gasp and clutch her chest. It was all over in a few seconds. I ran inside terrified. Mum tried to comfort me but she was obviously pleased. Not that she was happy Mrs McNaulty was going to have a heart attack, but the genes were only passed on to girls, and usually to only one girl per banshee family, per generation. Mum’s sister had been a ‘wailer’ but she’d only had sons. I got the impression that mum had always been a bit jealous of her sister’s ‘gift’ and was proud her daughter would be next. Lucky me.

I’d gone to stay with Aunty Cora for a few weeks afterwards to learn how it all worked. She took me out to Mrs McMaulty’s house that night and sat with me until the time came.  She held my hand when the scream tore out of my throat, and gave me icecream when I could barely speak the next day. Aunty Cora tried very hard to make me feel like I was special, like I’d been chosen to take over the family business. I just wish we owned a fish and chip shop instead.

I cried when I heard Mrs McNaulty had passed away. Exactly one week after Aunty Cora and I had sat below her window and I wailed for the first time. It always happened a week after the vision but I guess it just wasn’t really ‘real’ to me until I saw the ambulance in her driveway. I’d taken to walking past her house every day on the way home from school, and every day I saw her in her garden or sitting on the verandah I’d thought that it was all just a silly mistake. She’d smile at me and nod her head, like we had some kind of secret. Then she was gone, and a packet of oatcakes arrived with a thank-you card.

Mum and Aunty Cora called it ‘the gift’. I called it ‘the curse’. Banshees see death, but they can’t stop it. What’s the point of an early-warning system if you can’t change anything? If the person is just going to die anyway? I asked Aunty Cora and she said that a Banshee’s job is to allow people to make their peace with the world before they pass on, to tie up loose ends, or set anything right that needed fixing.

“But that only works if they know that they’ve been warned!” I’d argued.

“Surely the old stories are going to die out, once all the old people have passed on, and none of the young ones will even know what the wail means, so what’s the point?”

Aunty Cora had just smiled. “You’d be surprised how many folks around here still believe in the old ways.”

That much was unfortunately true. I’d caught my best friend Molly tying a lock of her hair in a knot and slipping it into Bryon’s school bag last week. When I confronted her she just grinned and said, “well grandma said it worked on grandpa – it’s worth a shot!”

I don’t know why they even bother teaching science at our school.

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Friday Fiction: Monster Mash Ups

Posted in Original Fiction with tags , , , on April 23, 2010 by gobbets

I’m skeptical about mash-ups. I know Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has been immensely popular, it even has a sequel: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Not to mention the spate of other mash-ups that followed in its wake: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim; Alice in Zombieland; The War of the Worlds Plus Blood, Guts and Zombies; The Undead World of Oz; Emma and the Werewolves; Mansfield Park and Mummies; Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters; Android Karenina; Robin Hood and Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers….

But I just can’t help but lament the lack of new, original stories in an era of remakes, reloads and sequels – not to mention the fact that while the mash-ups obey the letter of copyright law I’m not convinced they’re really in the spirit of the law… though I must admit to a fascination with Android Karenina

Anyway, I digress…

In an effort to come to grips with the whole mash-up thing I thought I’d have a go at the genre – but using nursery rhymes.

Mary Had A Little Zombie

Mary had a little zombie, little zombie, little zombie,
Mary had a little zombie, its flesh was grey as stone.

And everywhere that Mary went, Mary went, Mary went,
Everywhere that Mary went the blood was soon to flow.

It followed her to school one day, school one day, school one day,
It followed her to school one day – breaking quarantine.

It made the children run away, run away, run away.
It made the children run away, to protect their brains.

Any nursery rhymes you’d like to see invaded by zombies (or vampires, werewolves or other nasty bitey thing?) Let me know for future Friday Fictions!

What’s your take on the mash-up phenomenon?

Friday Fiction: New (Untitled) Banshee story

Posted in Original Fiction with tags on April 16, 2010 by gobbets

I’m working on something new – a story about a teenage banshee. Thought I’d give you all a look at the first installment. It’s untitled as yet – so send your best Banshee-themed puns!

***

The yellow eyes glared at me accusingly. I huddled down further into the dirt below the windowsill, but it was no use. The eyes kept staring – a wordless protest at my intrusion into their territory. My foot was falling asleep. I tried to wiggle it gently, without disturbing the plants that hemmed me in, but stealth is really not my thing and my shoe crunched down on a small pile of dead leaves, sending a crackling chorus out into the night. The eyes blinked in disdain, and crept away. Obviously I was ruining the evening hunt.

But the eyes were back again a few minutes later. Evidently a 16 year old girl hiding in a garden in the dead of night while the old man inside watched television was more interesting than chasing already tail-less lizards. Believe me, given the choice I’d pick lizards all the way. I was cold, bored and had a pile of unfinished homework. Yep, give me lizards or homework any day.

The eyes moved closer, and now I could see the outline of two little triangle-shaped ears flattened against the cat’s head. It seemed more agitated now, sniffing the air, sniffing at me. I tried to shoo it away without making too much noise but it simply dodged out of reach, and I fell sideways, off balance, my hand coming down heavily on the ground beside me, right on top of a stick that split in two with a sharp ‘snap’.

I started to rub my palm, mumbling something unrepeatable to the cat who stood off to the side, wide eyes mocking. Too caught up with my unwanted companion, I didn’t realise until the last moment that the time had come.

The clock inside the house struck 2:00am and my chest seethed with a sudden, burning pain. My tormentor forgotten, I clenched my teeth against the coming tide, trying to hold it down, to stop it from spilling upwards, but it was no use: the pain moved up my throat, wave after wave of boiling air, and I gave in like I always do.

Eyes streaming in pain and embarrassment, I opened my mouth and wailed.

The cat hissed and fled into the night.

Friday Fiction: Zombie Poetry

Posted in Original Fiction with tags , , on April 9, 2010 by gobbets

Zombies are big at the moment (I mean popular – the idea of giant-sized zombies is too terrible for words!). So much so that the Cordite Poetry Review has dedicated their recent edition to zombie poetry: Zombie 2.0.

Normally for Friday fiction I’d give you something new of mine, but since I’ve got two poems published in this edition (Zombies are People Too, and Dead Things Come To Those Who Wait) I though I’d cheat a little and let you enjoy the whole delicious feast of zombie morsels to your heart’s (or brain’s) content. Don’t forget to chew!

Friday Fiction – His Rightful Place (featuring the nekomata)

Posted in Original Fiction with tags on March 26, 2010 by gobbets

By request this Friday Fiction features a ‘nekomata’ – a creature from Japanese folklore that is a kind of demon-cat. Nekomatas have forked tails, can change their shape at will and are known to be, well cat-like in their actions.

His Rightful Place

He watched them through the window.

The way she leaned her head against his shoulder as they sat there watching television annoyed him. But everything about him was irritating.

The stupid tone of his voice.
The way he stank of deodorant.
The fact he didn’t like fish. (It was her favourite.)

He especially hated the fact that he kept her away. Took up her time. Monopolised her attention. Sure she’d still talk to him, feed him, stroke him now and then – but not like she used to. Not like when he was her whole world.

He wanted her back.

***

It was late – the house now in beautiful darkness. He’d snuck inside when he was taking the rubbish out. He used to be allowed inside all the time – but he couldn’t stand the competition – so now he had to be clever about it. Not that he could go and lay with her on the bed – that was out of bounds now and sure to get him kicked out – but he could watch her, listen to her, be near her. It was something – but it wasn’t enough.

He was being stealthy tonight. He had a plan.

He sat on the couch, too lazy to go to bed. Two yellow eyes blinked in anticipation from just behind his feet – a favourite spot for watching, waiting. His forked tail twitched restlessly. He always made fun of his tail – called it a deformity. Said it made him look like ‘Frankenstein’. He didn’t know what a ‘Frankenstein’ was, but since she would seem unhappy when he said it, he knew it was something bad. Just another thing to get even with him for.

He slunk down even lower, shiny eyes narrowing to a slit, and waited some more.

***

Eventually he got up and went to the kitchen. He heard the tap running and knew the time had arrived. Slinking out from his hiding place he positioned himself just around the corner of the kitchen bench – he couldn’t be seen, but he would have no choice but to walk past him on the way to the bedroom.

Clumsy in the dark, and too vain to wear the glasses he needed, he stumbled around the corner. So weak. So unworthy. It was but the work of a moment to put his body here, lean his weight there, slide between his legs like this, and bring him crashing, swearing, to the floor. He stiffened for a moment afraid she might wake, but his superior hearing could still detect her deep, even breaths a few rooms away. She always slept so soundly – it made her a fantastic companion.

Quickly he leapt upon the man tangled on the floor and, finding his throat, began to tear, his deformed forked tail worming into his mouth, gripping his tongue to muffle the screams. This was the nekomata’s weapon, not his embarrassment. He had endured the torments for this moment, the look of horrified realisation on his face sweeter than the flesh of a newborn rabbit.

***

It took ages to bathe all the blood off his fur. He’d been as tidy as he could, getting no more than a few spots on the carpet, and licking them furiously clean with his rough pink tongue, but it congealed in the fur of his chest, annoyingly difficult to reach. He took his time, knowing she would sleep soundly until morning. But he still had one more task to do.

Rising up on all fours his body shimmered for a moment then rearranged itself to mirror that of the body now lying at his feet. He regretted the fact that he had to assume this loathsome form but it was for the best. Humans come looking for other humans. A solitary cat gone missing would attract little attention. He secretly hoped she would mourn for him, but knew that in his new role he would be better able to comfort her. To be the companion she needed.

Grabbing his ankles it was now his turn to take out the rubbish.

Friday Fiction: Horror for Toddlers

Posted in Original Fiction with tags on March 12, 2010 by gobbets

Know a toddler learning their letters? Help them out with the Monster Alphabet!

There’s a monster for every letter – except ‘E’ – that’s your job! Send me your best monsters (by type or by name) starting with E! The reader with the best answer wins a prize (they don’t have to be present for the Monster Alphabet photo shoot!)

But there’s more! Which alphabet monster do you want to see featured in future Friday Fiction? Comment to cast your vote!

A is for Anansi
B is for Banshee
C is for Chupacabra
D is for Drop Bear
E is for ????
F is for Frankenstein’s Monster
G is for Golem
H is for Hellhound
I is for Iceman
J is for Jaculus
K is for Kobold
L is for Lake Monster (of Loch Ness)
M is for Minotaur
N is for Nekomata
O is for Ogre
P is for Poltergeist
Q is for Quasimodo
R is for Revenant
S is for Selkie
T is for Troll
U is for Unicorn
V is for Vampire
W is for Wendigo
X is for Xing Tian
Y is for Yeti
Z is for Zombie

See – isn’t learning the alphabet fun?

Friday Fiction: Carla’s Lunch

Posted in Original Fiction with tags , on March 5, 2010 by gobbets

Well ‘zombie in a tutu’ was the winner of the Friday Fiction poll – and your wish is my command!

Carla’s Lunch

Carla had been hungry for as long as she could remember. Her long, lean legs stretched out in front of her and she sat, staring at them absently. While the other kids at school munched on chips and drank bottles of softdrink, Carla would nibble halfheartedly on an apple. They thought she wanted to. They thought she looked down on them. But oh how she envied their chocolates and burgers from the tuckshop, the smell of the greasy meat and melted cheese filling her nostrils with the wonderful savoury scent of fat, making her want it so badly that she had to walk away from them.

She dreamed every night of food, of grabbing great handfuls of their lunches and running away to stuff herself behind the tennis courts. But then she’d wake to her muesli and fresh juice and stare down at those thin legs, the flat tummy and slender, almost bony hips and know that it was worth it. She’d get to dance the lead again this year.

Carla shifted awkwardly, smoothing her tutu under her legs. She was starving. The hunger just got worse and worse. She didn’t just miss food – she craved it, her mouth filling with sour spit at the thought. Her hunger had become a burning hole in her shrunken stomach, her throat constricting with her need. When she couldn’t stand it any longer – when the gaping hole in her stomach threatened to devour her entirely, Carla rose slowly, carefully to her feet and made her way to the corner where she’d left it after her breakfast earlier that morning.

“Look at me now, Mrs Glodny!” Carla thought smugly, drawing out the anticipation of her lunch. The cold blue eyes of her dance teacher stared back at her, fixed forever in that disapproving glare. Carla knelt beside her meal reverentially, giving thanks in her own way for the gift she had been given. Drawing the scent deep into her lungs, she grabbed a handful of Mrs Glodny’s innards and started shoving the gobbets of flesh into her mouth ecstatically. She had been hungry for as long as she could remember but only now was she finally free to satisfy her hunger. Becoming a zombie was more fulfilling than she ever could have imagined.