Brick fitted in the space well. It was narrow, like a cupboard to slot in, a place to be noticed. Brooke Trout sauntered past him. When she saw Brick her eyes opened wide. He smirked at her bemused expression. She didn’t notice but he followed her up the escalator. When she exited out of the toilet he was there angling for her.
‘Beggars can’t be choosers,’ she wasn’t much of a catch but she had a sense of humour. He valued that.
Brick smiled, ‘Babe join me? We can disappear together…
This flash is based on a true life experience. I was walking to work yesterday morning thinking about creating more diverse characters in my books and I spotted this intriguing young man of colour to my left standing rigid in a narrow gap in the wall of the shopping centre (see that gap, its tiny!) His eyes twinkled with mirth at my wide-eyed reaction.. I went up to the toilet and when I came out he was seated as if waiting for me. He grinned. It was a bit startling! It was like seeing a character I’d been thinking about come to life! I walked out of the shopping centre and turned round. But he was nowhere to be seen. Brick had disappeared!
And yes there is a male name Brick!
I’m not sure what I will do with Brick but it has made me think more about creating #diversecharacters which can only be a good thing. One of my characters in my WIP – the second book in my YA Fantasy series The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer is a Rastafarian. I shall be doing some research…
To join in with Charli Mill’s flash fiction challenge follow the link:
For this I have imagined one of my characters, Ryder, from The Curse of Time Book 1 revealing a snippet of a story which I might use in future books.
It began with a rocking horse, a child’s toy.
Ryder discovered this antique treasure in a quirky street window, down ‘the lanes,’ in Brighton. He strolled along, with his rocking horse in hand and joined the queue for the busy student bus back to campus. A couple of ladies stared at his greediness, his decadence, taking up two empty seats on the bus. Undeterred he smirked, patting the rocking horse’s head. The ladies glared.
When he arrived back at his flat his flatmates exchanged knowing glances, cataloguing Ryder and his rocking horse in the oddity section. Only Olivia gave him the benefit of the doubt. He appreciated that and made a mental note to reward her later. A midnight kiss perhaps.
The perhaps became a definite. The midnight kiss became much more. When he left the embrace of slumbering Olivia the moon lay heavy in the sky, its orb a perfect circle of complete mysteriousness. Ryder hung out his bedroom window staring, pleading with the moon to notice him. He dangled precariously, goading the moon to come closer. The pumpkin moon glowed blood red, a bleeding heart, surrounded by an uncaring sky. The rocking horse began to move slowly absorbing the moon’s vital energy. The moon continued to bleed until it could bleed no more. Instead it became darker and darker until Ryder could see nothing but darkness.
Beyond the darkness Ryder heard the sound of an ice cream van, its tune winding its way towards him. He hung further out of his window wondering about this strange phenomenon, an ice cream van in the middle of an eclipse of the moon.
He hesitated for a moment wondering whether to chance rushing outside into the darkness to catch the van before it disappeared. In the end he only wavered for a moment, his senses overflowing with midnight promises, a feast of darkness consumed by sugary ice-cream. But, no van appeared. Instead he waited, displeased.
Again he heard the jingle of the van teasing him, laughing at his foolish, childlike desires. The music grew louder and louder, a jarring cacophony. He covered his ears about to turn away, now desperate to escape. The van came to a screeching halt just as he took his first departing step. Ryder smiled. The hatch opened, and a man peered out. He had a round face, the roundest face that Ryder had ever seen, vanilla white, pock marked, hair as black as the midnight sky. There were no signs to indicate what kind of ice cream he sold. So Ryder waited for him to speak.
“Well, I haven’t got all night, what do you want?” asked the man scowling, as his creamy white face turned a surly red.
“I’m not sure,” replied Ryder. “What ice creams do you have?”
“Ice creams? What? No ice creams here young man.”
“But you’re riding in an ice cream van, playing an ice-cream jingle.”
“That’s true, but that’s not what I do.”
“What do you do?” asked Ryder, frowning.
“Hop aboard, ride the van and you might find out,” said the man, his face returning to its original brilliant white.
Ryder hesitated. This was strange, but Ryder thrived on strange, so he agreed.
The man opened the back of the van and Ryder climbed in. Inside the van Ryder could see only darkness. Blackness drifted towards him filling his senses with a bleak sense of loss. The man handed him a tiny torch that gave off a brilliant light.
“Come,” the man said.
The van was motionless, yet Ryder could swear that he felt movement. They walked and walked further into the darkness. Suddenly they stopped. A bright light shone from the torch on to a patch of turf. How curious. The van’s opened doors revealed a vast land which stretched its tendril-like fingers, shadows extending everywhere.
Ryder recognised the land. He sighed. “Home,” he said.
“Yes,” said the man. A note of melancholy filled the air.
“Why have you brought me here?”
“It’s nearly Halloween, lad. A time to visit the place of your birth.”
Ryder heard the sound of the fairground, the laughter, candy floss and excitement, but behind it all he knew there was the ride. There was no point in pleading with the man, asking him to take him back. He had to accept his fate, whatever that might be.
“Come,” said the man.
Ryder lifted his heavy feet, a ghostly chill settling in his bones.
A curious cat muse. Each day is a discovery. I am five again, and my nine lives are creeping away…
Time is ticking and I yowl to tell stories, so dear MJ grasps her keyboard and pounds the keys, stealing seconds, minutes and moments.
No wonder MJ writes about time: time is precious, each day offers vast adventures. Writing has taught her to embrace and explore every moment.
So on her way to work she prowls, stalking victims. We imagine stories, we marvel, or rage at the inequality in our society. Memories invade our consciousness: a homeless person standing up, swaying in his sleeping bag like a ghost in motion, a lady in a red hat glaring at us.
MJ is an addict: a nosy parker, an eavesdropper. People notice and give her evil looks. What they don’t know is that evil look is her’s. It just became a character in her new story.
MJ spent her teenage years in 5 Craigcrook Park, Scotland. Such a strange sounding address. No wonder she possesses a cat-like curiosity, a criminal intention to steal words.
And a love of trees. Trees have oodles of energy and some have grumpy faces!
And… a zest for the beauty of the natural world: rocks and crystals.
Creep into our crystal grotto in Juniper Artland, Scotland.
Or explore five crystal beauties in The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone: Merlinite, Red Jade, Quartz, Black Obsidian, Bloodstone.
Witness a grasshopper sculptural clock in Cambridge, England, The Corpus Christi Chronophage Clock.
Today, I am thrilled to share with you details of a crystal that I have recently discovered.
Chiastolite is such a fascinating crystal! I have chosen to feature it in the second book in the Curse of Time YA Fantasy series. This current work in progress stands in the region of 70,000 words. I am very excited about how it is progressing.
Chiastolite exhibits may be brown or green with a black cross pattern. The meaning of its name comes from the Greek word “chiastos” meaning cruciform or crosswise.
It has many wonderful properties: stone of balance, harmony, creativity. It is spiritually grounding, an excellent tool for meditation, psychic protection, problem solving, understanding aging, death, and is considered to be a stone of prosperity.
Let me share with you the unedited prologue/first chapter of The Curse of Time Book Two – Golden Healer. I hope you enjoy! Any feedback would be gratefully received.
Eruterac wore a round knitted rasta cap embellished with bright sun-cured palm leaves. At the centre, he’d attached a shining Chiastolite – otherwise known as the death crystal.
The Chiastolite shared the brown colour of the earth he inhabited apart from a distinct black cross in the middle. Other than that and several cakes of mud he was naked, if you can call such a creature naked.
His filthy, matted dreadlocks tumbled forwards as he picked off a wriggling worm which dared to crawl across his bony frame. He held it inches from where his mouth used to be and dangled it in front of Leanne’s nose.
‘Dinner,’ he joked, as he bobbed his skeletal head.
‘No thanks, dearest creature,’ replied Leanne, as she tucked a strand of her silver pink hair behind her ear. ‘I prefer caviar. But I do like your new hat – that Chiastolite is very fetching!’
Leanne picked up her teapot and poured the liquid into a cup. It flowed slowly, twinkling with the brilliant colour of a thousand crystals. When it filled the cup, it turned the colour Leanne expected. She’d thought of green tea and magical green tea it was.
Eruterac reacted by choking and spluttering on clods of earth as he laughed. ‘That’s foul. Green tea, how can you drink such muck? Stinking Caviar. Sturgeon’s excrement.’
‘Huh, you can talk! You’re the one infested with worms.’
‘Worms… yes… I don’t blame you for hating worms. Worms are a wriggling nuisance but heavens to cemeteries they are nowhere near as bad as rats. Disrespectful Vermin!’
‘Poor you! Take heart,look, it must cheer you up to see such beauty every day,’ Leanne turned and pointed at the rose and myrtle garden and the cottage beyond with its walls of brilliant crystals.
‘My heart beats no more but I adore the tranquillity and beauty of this magical garden and cottage.’
A white dove landed on Leanne’s shoulder, she turned and smiled. But the dove thought better of it and alighted on the Creature’s hat. It pecked away at the worms making the creature smile.
‘Cheeky doves, always favouring you and your sunny hat when you’re around.’
‘They know who provides them with a constant dinner of worms. And who’s… boss.’
‘Huh! Yes to dinner, but a boss? You? That Chiastolite’s making you big-headed. Oh, my days. The mythological protectors and my dearest doves are all I – and my dear cottage need. And… to return to our earlier conversation, the mythological fly is up to his tricks.’
‘Where’s that stinking fly from hell been to this time?’ asked Eruterac, leaning forward, sending a bunch of worms tumbling towards Leanne’s teacup. Her eyes grew wide as she placed a protective hand over the top but a few swift worms landed in the saucer. She swiped them away.
‘Oh, anguish me. Worms in my saucer! How my flesh crawls. Ugh. I feel giddy,’ she placed a trembling hand on her forehead.
‘Leanne, forget the innocent worms. We were talking of the fly?’
‘Yes, we were. Now let me see. The fly has been to Amelina’s,’ she paused for a moment, her eyes wide. ‘He flew in the window but I am at a loss to figure out what happened next. My naughty crystal ball refuses to grant me a vision. I do know this – I placed my trust in Amelina – but I fear I was hasty.’
‘Your heartfelt sigh makes me glad I’m dead. I no longer experience human stress and with time to waste, I’m a master at pontificating about nothing. But, I have a gurgling sensation in my once gut which tells me that the Grasshopper and the fly are in cahoots. Either way, I could suggest this or that, but it would all be for nought. Amelina is young, she will learn to master the magical crystal gifts you have entrusted to her. Time is on her side. I have every faith in her.’
He lifted his hat in a calculated salute to Leanne. A family of rats who had been resting on his dreadlocks ran free, knocking over Leanne’s cup.
‘Ugh. I wish you wouldn’t do that Eruterac,’ said Leanne. ‘You pretend to honour me but the last time you did that, you broke my precious teacup!’
‘Me! Mercy!’ replied Eruterac, laughing so hard that his eye sockets crunched together producing a horrendous grinding sound.
‘Stop that! You know you have no eyeballs – you devil! The rats devoured both your eyes long ago. Enough, our conversation is at an end,’ she paused for a moment before proclaiming, ‘The Bloodstone will find a way.’
‘Of Krystallos blood and Amelina I am certain,’ replied Eruterac, bowing.
Here’s my entry – I didn’t win… I got the fury but forgot the sound effects! Lol.
How’s your day been?’ ‘Exhausting, but exhilarating. I saved a young man’s life today. And you?’ ‘Boring, I hate being a butcher.’ ‘Your meat’s the best!’
My identical twin sister is an eminent brain surgeon. I dream of her delicate hands working their masterful magic.
I raised the scalpel in a fury of sibling rivalry. My eyes twitched, but no one questioned my power to play God or to ruin my sister’s reputation as a top surgeon. My hands shook, until I sliced. I smiled, she’d be so proud. Blood pounded in my head as bright, red blood spurted.
I’m a sponsor of Carrot Ranch – a wonderful community of flash fiction writers.
I’m a contributing author in the Plaisted Publishing House Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018 with my short story Ghostly Goodbye.
Ghostly Goodbye by M J Mallon
Ghostly Goodbye is a paranormal love story about a young woman called Iris who can’t get over her husband’s death. She is mourning him so much that she feels dead inside. Her husband Ed sends her a ghostly message from beyond the grave via an old forgotten garment in her wardrobe. She responds by dragging herself from her tomb-like bed and he draws back the curtain of death to visit her in a most unusual way.
Reviews needed! Please support us.
Available on Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo, Scribd, 24S, Playster, Indigo, Angus & Robertson, Mondadori Store: Universal Buying Link
This is my entry for Blog Battle, it is a poem so hope that is okay! I didn’t have time to write a full story as I didn’t get home from work until 7.30pm and the prompt seemed to scream poem, poem, poem!
I had the idea for this poem whilst walking to work this morning. I often get inspiration in the early hours of the day. I love the idea of a heart being like a cave – my title!
My Heart Is A Cave
My heart is a cave,
Hidden, dark and mysterious,
Stalactites and icy caverns,
Rock pools and hiding places.
No one visits anymore. I’m alone.
The ice is melting, and the stars seem so far away.
I long for light, life and laughter to discover me again.
I imagine it all.
While I wait ice drips in darling drops,
The moon is high,
An orb of brilliant light, it grins at me.
I remember my past, days ago,
Children, a husband, lovers – even.
So I wait for someone to come,
For a torch to shine.
It comforts me that the moon is full.
Soon I will be reunited with you.
I imagine you smiling down on the cave.
The Prompt Word will be given the First Tuesday of Every Month.
Post your story by the 30th of the Same Month.
RULES 1000 words max (give or take a few) fictional tale (or true if you really want) Any genre that fits within PG-13 (or less) Content – let’s keep this family friendly! Your story must contain the randomly chosen word(s) and/or be centered around the word meaning in a way that shows it is clearly related. Go for the entertainment value! Put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section Please tweet and otherwise share your battler buddies’ stories across social media. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting all the stories so we can cross-share. Have fun!
Some of my more regular blog visitors might have noticed that I haven’t been posting, commentating, engaging in social media, etc, as much recently. This pains me a lot. Sigh. But, sadly this will continue indefinitely while I am writing/editing the second book in the series The Curse of Time. I can’t write, blog, and work in a demanding full-time job – it is just not possible.
I know that I profess to have magical powers but I am feeling the pinch. My superpowers aren’t holding up well. I am in desperate need of a magic wand to give me energy. Quite by chance I found this in the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge. It’s a bit small but I like the snake-like look to it. The top pic shows its eye well and the bottom one its mouth!
So bear with me. Don’t desert me!
I am very excited about the progress of the second book in the series. All I can divulge for now is: expect a cruel rollercoaster ride, a crazy grasshopper who natters incessantly and some seriously odd shadow demons.
Ha ha… my mind works in some crazy ways…
There will be the same cast of characters from book one: Amelina, Ryder, Esme, The Mirror Girl, The Creature Eruterac, Kyle, Amelina’s friends: Jade, Ilaria and Joselyn plus Shadow the cat, Toby the dog, The Spirit, and of course Amelina’s mum and dad and her dear aunt Karissa…
Yes quite a cast!
Recently I was tagged by Vashti Vega on twitter @VashtiQV who I’d cast as the leads in my book… I chose Tyler Posey, Dakota Fanning, Amanda Seyfried, and Colton Haynes.
5 Star Review News
I now have several reviews for The Curse of Time Book One Bloodstone on Goodreads and Amazon. My last two reviews were both five stars which made me do a double happy dance. This has really encouraged me to press on with this series.
Thank you so much to Linda and Richard for featuring me. Really appreciate it. 🙂 x
What are my other plans?
I will be focussing on writing my reviews on books I am reading – which I love to do! It makes me very happy to read and to share my thoughts with other readers/reviewers. I have several review requests which I have to catch up on and I will be reblogging book-related posts and anything which might be of interest to my readers.
Oh and recently I’ve been on a bit of a winning streak.
It was such an unexpected but lovely surprise. To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement! I’m sure I blubbered a whole lot of nonsense when I went up on stage to accept my award… talk about unprepared! OOPS!
The bash is such a fun and informative event. I have been lucky to be able to attend every single bash (all four in total.) It’s a way to connect beyond the virtual world with like-minded authors and book bloggers.
If you haven’t been to one before, I urge you to do so – you won’t regret it.
This year I noticed a new trend. Many book bloggers won awards. Book bloggers work so hard to promote a love of reading and to promote authors who might otherwise not be so successful. So keep up the hard work.
I took a few photos… Here are three lovely lasses – Esther, Ritu and Willow. Ritu did an awesome job with her speech. I truly believe she is wonder woman! Her energy and enthusiasm for blogging needs to be patented.
A special treat went to Little Miss Bad – Sacha Black – Organiser of the Bloggers Bash…
But, I’m a bit alarmed by an odd sprinkle of fairy dust floating into Sherri’s specs…
Then came the panellist questions, one came from Lucy At Blonde Write More’s readership who asked a very dodgy question – Do you write your blog posts in the nude? Graeme Cumming’s expression, and the laughter from the panellists says it all. But, Geoff is looking very thoughtful… His body language and that blue beard Smurf look speak volumes…
After teasing his beard again and again Geoff Le Pard admitted that he’d indulged in writing blog posts in the bath! In the nude, (well you can’t have a bath fully clothed can you?) Of course you can’t.
I wonder whether there were bubbles? Blue ones perhaps, to cover up the necessary!!!
Moving on from Geoff’s confession Suzie Speaks strange expression below suggests an ability to see Sacha’s weird martial art movement behind her…
What a day to remember! In typical Marje fashion I had a bit of an accident when I got home. I fell on the stairs. Total Miss Clumsy! Pleased to report that no harm done just a touch of bruising…
Getting back to Geoff’s confession about his habit of blog posting in the bath. Do you think this could be a new blogging trend? Or, is this a unique characteristic that only a blue-bearded Geoff could master?
The prompt words this week are Renew and Fresh. I chose to use improve for renew and shocking for fresh.
The idea for this particular Cinquain came from a recent critique session at Cambridge writers. I’d submitted the first draft of my prologue for Book Two. Not everyone is a fan of prologues so the comments were kind of… make it shorter…. so short it would be tiny. Dare I make it a four, five line prologue? Anyone got any advice on tiny prologues?